Note: This is a completely homebrewed portion of our campaign. My husband (the DM) likes to break stories into parts to be able to include a few modules as well as homebrew for a better experience.
Our heroes woke up in a bright white tent. They were spread out on cots. Aleera got up first. Her gaze swept over their surroundings. A flash of something caught her eyes and her head whipped towards that direction. It was the sunlight streaming through the flap in the tent. Her eyes filled with tears of hope and disbelief. Kariss reacted to the sight as well when she sat up from her cot. Everyone came to and got up. Malachi wondered if they were dead. Aleera shook her head. She didn’t think so. She thought, maybe, they were back. She voiced this to the party and they all shared tentative smiles. They did notice that Milo was the only one of them who didn’t have any of his items. None of them. He was stark naked. The others checked themselves to make sure and they all had their things. Aleera took out a long expanse of silk and wrapped it around Milo in toga fashion taking care to make sure he was well covered before exiting the tent.
They stepped out into the bright sunshine and took deep breaths of fresh air. It was the sweetest they had breathed in a very long time. They had noticed faint noises outside the tent but upon exiting they realized there were people everywhere and everyone was silent. All eyes were on the group. Mouths were gaping open and someone even fainted. The party just stood there unsure of what to do or say. As they were standing there a hunched over old man walked up to them. He looked them up and down for a moment before speaking. He said it was about time. Introducing himself as William Wise, he led the group through the throngs of people. He yelled at everyone to get back to work and led them to the doors of a hall.
On the way he had explained that we were at the Haven’s Cross Guild. None of us recognized our surroundings and asked where we were. He gave us a funny look and told us we were on the Island of Novos. We asked about the mainland and he said the Sword Coast was far to the east, across the vast ocean. He told us that our party had been found 1 year ago today. We had all been unconscious in the woods not far from the guild hall and found by a hunting party. They had taken us back to the guild for healing but found that we were all intact and healthy. The only issue was that we would not wake up. Without any answer to our predicament, the guild had erected the tent and placed us on the far side of the guild grounds with hope that we might someday wake up. It seemed like today was that day. The party members were dismayed. It had been a whole year since Barovia. A whole year since that failure of a mission. In their eyes it had only been moments.
William Wise, or Old Bill, as he was referred to, led us through the hall. It was a long building with an arched vaulted ceiling and built in a dark wood. There were people milling about at the bottom but very few people on the upper level. Old Bill told us that we could join the guild or set out on our own. He did warn us that Haven’s Cross was one of the last bastions of civilization on this side of the island before traversing open lands. It was more dangerous without a guide, as there were pockets of wild magic that fluctuated through the island and dangerous creatures that lurked everywhere. We were told to think it over and that we could stay in the tent outside until we made our decision. We asked about renting rooms at the guild but he said it was for members only. We made our way back outside and roamed around looking at the people training in groups and vendors lined up along the tall walls of the guild. We walked around checking things out and Milo immediately went to get some weapons, clothes and helpful items.
The party saw a food line forming and joined up. We got steaming bowls of stew and bread on the side. There was also plenty of mead and ale to go around. We ate like it was the first meal of our lives. We discussed the prospect of joining the guild once Milo was back from replenishing his gear. We agreed that, at least for now, this was the only way to get gold and back on our feet. With that resolution we enjoyed the rest of our meal. We even spoke with some of the people and learned that many came to the guild to make a better living but not all were chosen. Only the ones who could pass the test were allowed to join. We went to bed wondering if we were strong enough but so relieved to be back on our home plane.