Swamped

Swamped
RE: Swamped
Well. The easiest way to start is to get on with what you were supposed to be doing.

"Actually, while I've got your attention... Did you hand anything over to be cleaned? There's a few items we're a bit unclear on the owners of."

"Who would 'we' be?" she asks. It's not really an accusing tone, more like she wants to know how you fit into this.

"Ah. Well, I'm sort of a volunteer. Not very good at this, admittedly, but they're pretty shorthanded." You shrug. "And this is a simple enough task to do, so it might as well go to a fool like me rather than a nurse. So, er, did you hand anything over?"

"Nothing important. Just my scarf." She looks to the side a little. "Got three more like it at home, so don't bother yourself looking for it."

"Ah, I don't believe we were having trouble with that one. I'm sure we'll get it back to you. But if there's any problem with a scarf, I'll check if it's yours."

"Not necessary, but thanks all the same. Now, come along you two. Let's get Oscar to a bed."

She helps Oscar up, and the other grebling hides behind her. You lean down a bit, trying to put on your most apologetic face.

"Really sorry about that, both of you. I got the wrong idea."

"Rest assured, they'll be hearing from me about this once Oscar's recovered," the older woman replies. "I told them to leave you alone, but the minute I took my eyes away, they think it's fine to pretend they're a tracking party."

"I'm sorry for frightening them."

"Sasku macha!" the younger grebling shouts.

"You're not helping, Dorrie," sighs the older woman. "Come along, now, and help me hold up Oscar."

They walk off, leaving you to your own devices. May as well head to the wizard, then.

You manage to avoid any more diversions on the way, fortunately. When you arrive, the doctor isn't around - he probably has other patients to see, though.

The wizard, however, looks annoyed.

"Keep some distance. If we get too close, I get confused about which conversation we're having."

"Which conversation?" you ask, scratching your head, and backing away a little.

"Ah. If you're confused, then it must be the one where I try to explain things." He frowns. "No, wait, I don't have a chance to explain right away. First I need you to get to the meeting, since I can't make it. After that I'll try to explain things."

"What meeting is this?" a voice asks. You glance behind you - it's Minnie. "And when were you planning on telling me you were meeting the wizard, at that?"

"I was going to tell him about you first. This is Minnie Laikenne."

You're now the wizard.

You're seeing several conversations with the man in purple over the course of a few hours all at once. The current one is at least more in focus at this distance, so you're fairly sure that you're being introduced to Minnie Laikenne.

You've been hoping to meet her for a while, so you've had some time to think about what you want to ask first.
Quote
RE: Swamped
Someone stole a page from the book of your ancestor tonight, assuming you're actually a Laikenne. Any idea why someone would do that?
Quote
RE: Swamped
"Do you have any idea why someone would steal a page from Matilda Laikenne's book?"

You decide to hold off on questioning ancestry. It doesn't even matter much - what matters is if Minnie can tell you anything reliable.

"That depends. I know why I'd grab a page, but I don't know why anyone else would." She pulls a page out of her pocket and shoves it into your hands. "I hear you're a wizard."

You look over the page. It looks like a map. It's also got traces of ether in it.

"Why would there be a map in a book of folk remedies?"

"To make fools pursuing stories of Grandma's treasure follow the obvious map, instead of the magic one hidden inside it," Minnie replies. "Unfortunately, I didn't inherit any wizardry from her, so I need your help to see what it actually says."

"That could be... slightly complicated. I am indeed a wizard, but I'm having difficulty using my magic tonight." You glance over the map, though, and notice what it seems to be pointing to. "I'll see what I can do, but in the meantime, I think you may actually want to look into the obvious one. Someone's stolen a copy of it."

"So?" Minnie asks, rather nonchalantly. "How's it my problem if some fool tries to dig up a treasure in the wrong place?"

"The issue is exactly where that wrong place is."
Quote
RE: Swamped
The swamp? The ceremonial grounds for the big festival!
Quote
RE: Swamped
"What do you mean?" Minnie grabs the page again and glances at it. "There's just a bunch of spots she's marked off."

"Yes. And they form a path, though it's a bit hard to spot with just your eyes unless you've stared at as many maps as I have." Your work with the navigator necessitated a fair amount of it. "You can make a path from spot to spot that's the same distance and angle. If you continue he pattern from the last point, it goes directly to the center of the festival grounds. It might even be that's the spot and the page itself is a key rather than a guide."

"In which case I'd need a wizard to use it," she grumbles. "And even if you're bluffing about not being able to use magic, it wouldn't be easy to get you there in your current condition."

"No. But I do have an appointment with someone who may be able to help you. And since I can't make it myself, you might as well take care of that for me." You rub your head - you're starting to lose track of the conversation. "Regardless, even if that's not the spot, the festival grounds are bound to be a source of trouble. It would be good to have a look at them anyway, and figure out just who you're dealing with."

"Problem with that. The hospital is locked down," the man in purple interjects. He's also saying several other things that he won't be saying for several minutes, or perhaps hours. "It's not going to be easy for us to get out for an appointment or an investigation. I might be able to persuade them to let me go out, but Minnie's got no protection from gas."

Ah, right. The warning you had issued. You'd forgotten that had already happened.

But fortunately, you can offer a solution.
Quote
RE: Swamped
Take small doses of the leaf the doc is studying along with spikyterror extract the combination makes you a bit... Dull but helps with neurotoxins.
Hopefully preventing the plot where armor guy goes rampage and the people try to use the leafs to knock him out only brings more time instead of causing problems
Quote
RE: Swamped
"Well, I wouldn't be surprised if someone around here were still hiding a mask, but there isn't much time to look," you mutter. "So you'll be better off asking the doctor for some of the swampleaf they've got here."

"Swampleaf?" Minnie asks. "What, do I put that over my mouth?"

"No, it's..." You're struggling here, because you're fairly sure the explanation running through your head is years away. Fortunately, the man in purple is able to pick up the explanation.

"It puts you to sleep," he explains. "But if you dilute it enough, it just slows down your body processes for a little while. In particular, you'll breathe slower and take in a lot less gas. You'd need someone to lead you around, though, tends to dull the senses a bit."

"No offense meant, Crow, but I don't like the thought of my senses being dulled around you."

"Yeah, don't think I would if I were in your position either. We could get a bottle of water and a scrap of leaf and save that for emergencies, but that wouldn't be as good as a proper mask."

"Then give me yours," she replies.

That seems like a bad idea, considering it's from a different time period. You should probably push her away from that thought.
Quote
RE: Swamped
That's not sanitary
Quote
RE: Swamped
"Do you have any idea how much spit gets on a mask?" you ask. "Seems like asking for trouble to me."

"So I'll clean it first."

"That'd take a while," Crow says. "They really aren't meant to be shared, so they're designed around a quick cleaning and you put your own mask back on. You'd need to be pretty thorough. If we've got that kind of time, we might as well try to find someone around here with a mask."

You think his name isn't actually Crow, but trying to carry that thought too far forward is very disorienting.

"And do you have an idea for doing that?"

"Maybe," Crow says. "I've got to hand some things to their owners. I might hear something while I'm doing that."

"Or I could do that for you," Minnie replies. "Since I imagine you know more about cleaning your mask than I would, and I won't draw as much attention. And then if I don't get any leads, you give me your mask."

Crow looks a little worried, but seems resigned. Well, worst case he can pretend he messed up the cleaning. Then he turns to you.

"Before that, though, I wanted to ask you about the stuff just in case you knew anything." He holds up an officer's hat from the Lansor navy, a small device that seems vaguely familiar... and a book...

"Get that book out of here!" you shout. "Wait... Don't hold it yourself! Give it to her!"

Confused, Crow hands the book to Minnie. She steps back a bit.

"Further! Further!"

Minnie steps past the curtain. It takes a few minutes before you can relax.

"You okay?" Crow asks.

"Not really. I'm going to need you to leave, too. But there's something important I've just realized."
Quote
RE: Swamped
We're not the only ones who don't belong in this time. That book must have been displaced by another such visitor's arrival...

Don't suppose you know of any enemies of the gods who hail from or reside in the mountains?
Quote
RE: Swamped
"Someone else here is in the same position we are," you say carefully. You most certainly do not want to be overheard about this matter. "It would be difficult to explain how I know that from the book, so just take my word for it. And if you work out who it is, try not to get too close."

"Ah," he says. He does seem to be getting the message. "Speaking of that, I had a bit of an odd experience a while ago, just before I found this. I... saw things. Worried I might have been exposed to something."

Hmm. So a time magic spell activated. He's old enough you can clearly tell he's not a wizard, but on the other hand, there's a good deal of ether around him. Still, even that amount shouldn't be enough to allow someone with no ether affinity to use it... not without some other kind of trigger...

"Was anyone else around at the time?" you ask.

"One of the nurses. I think her name was Susan?"

She's not a wizard, either. You're even more sure of that - she was working a rare day shift when your mentor discovered you. So there must have been some other factor.

"And was that book nearby?"

"No. I found it two latrines over. Susan had been in there before, but didn't notice it. I did find a box in that room, and a wooden board hiding it. Which was real close by, come to think of it."

Well. You'd really like to get a look at those, but you think it's best to ask the doctor or one of the nurses to show you once Crow leaves. If your hunch is right, and both of you are near one of those objects, that would be serious trouble.

And you wonder if this third out-of-time person might have something to do with your mission. But it's very difficult to say either way.

If they brought multiple objects with them, though, then they were more likely better prepared for the journey than either of you were. Which means it's probably very important you work out what they were trying to do, so you know if you should be trying to interfere with it or just stay out of the way.

But you're not getting out of this bed for a while, so you suppose you'll have to ask Crow to investigate. And there's one idea you have for what he can look at first.
Quote
RE: Swamped
You've seen the book before, at the ship's naming ceremony. Somebody rushed in and flung it at one of the Lansor dignitaries, shouting something about freeing the mountain people.

You had a talk with one of the more politically astute sailors about it later. There was apparently a longstanding border dispute with Kandria over a mountain range, where one of their more traditionalist tribes still lived. Both countries claimed it but the tribe wanted independence. Activists who had taken an interest in the matter tended to focus pressure on Lansor, for the simple reason that being an activist of any sort in Kandria was a good deal less safe.

The book was about a dozen years old and had become a symbol of the respect the mountain tribes had once held. Its authors were supposedly hiding out somewhere in the kingdom, with several factions who wanted them gone.

That's how you know the book must be out of time. It won't be written for years. But it's also not something just anyone would have.

The activism predates the book by decades. You suspect that whoever brought it here means to use it as a sign of goodwill towards a local group - perhaps in sincere hopes that it will aid with independence, or perhaps to manipulate the group for their own ends. And while you weren't much of an activist of any stripe in your youth, you know where they tended to gather.
Quote
RE: Swamped
The Grove, it was used as a meting place of sorts to stage "attacks" on the occupation by locals, it part because of that it still stands, a old runestune circle(much like the one you found earlier) is still used as popular gathering place for the local activists
Quote
RE: Swamped
"I think it would be worth investigating the Grove when you have a free moment," you say. "It's a historical monument not far from the council hall. A gathering of trees."

"Am I looking for anything in particular?" Crow asks.

"Activists. The Grove is where the people of this town planned their stand against a military occupation some years ago. So activists of all stripes like to use it as a meeting ground. It's large enough to have several groups meeting at once, and the trees provide a measure of privacy. I think somebody might be planning to get help from a group like that... maybe more than one, actually." You don't know for sure that the book about the mountain people is the only one.

"Is anyone even going to be there at this hour?"

"Some of the more radical groups might," you muse. "Of course, that makes it an easy place for authorities to find them if they're actually looking, but the symbolism of the Grove is a powerful lure. But really, it's more like something I think is worth looking into when things calm down a little."

"Good luck with that happening," Crow grumbles. "Anyhow, I think it'd be best for me to find Minnie another mask. Don't suppose you have any ideas?"

As he asks, a different conversation comes more starkly into view. You're talking to somebody else with a mask...

"About time I got this damn thing back. Now, let's talk about the rest of our bargain, Long. I risked a lot selling out to you, so your info better pay off real big."

The image is a bit hard to focus on. But they've got a distinctive wound, which could help with identifying them.
Quote
RE: Swamped
It's a scar across their cheek. Burgundy?
Quote
RE: Swamped
You can't make out most of the facial features, but the scar on the cheek stands out. You can't see clearly enough to be confident of the shape, but it's certainly a scar.

"I think someone with a scar on their cheek has one."

You're now Crow... er, Corvus, rather. And you're groaning internally. You really don't want to talk with Burgundy.

Although, it does make a little sense that he might have a mask. He seemed wary of your uniform, so he might already be with the Bogknights. He's not wearing a uniform, but he strikes you as the kind of person who might have brought a mask with him on leave. Just in case something happened where he needed it.

"I saw someone like that. Might be good to check up on him," you say noncommittally. Not that you particularly want to, but what other lead do you have?

You think you hear a sigh of relief from the wizard as you start walking away. You decide to begin your search by heading for the emergency exit, the last place you saw him.

And he's still there.

"Are the latrines blocked, then?" he asks.

"Yeah. Had to get cleaned up after that."

"Good. The door here is locked, too. I've got some comrades checking the windows, but I thought it best to stay here in case you or the nurses needed any more help."

Well, that's something of an opening. You aren't sure that just asking about a mask is going to work, though.
Quote
RE: Swamped
Are they checking the windows on the inside or outside?Ask if the comrades checking the windows have appropriate breathing protection against gas.
Quote
RE: Swamped
"That could be dangerous if the gas is released already," you muse.

"We have means of dealing with that," Burgundy says matter-of-factly. "Special masks - not really meant for civilian use, but not a secret either. Captain Mills recommended we bring them with us on leave. Just so we don't have to readjust to carrying them around when we go back."

"Huh, that sounds useful," you say. "How many of you are there in total?"

"Five here. Two more staying with their families. They weren't around when the fight broke out on the docks."

"They have masks, too?"

"If they listened to Captain Mills, they should," Burgundy says. Bit of a judgmental tone to his voice.

You aren't sure where you're going with this just yet. You want to get a mask for Minnie, but you'd have to convince him she can do something that his comrades can't. You need to think about how to lead the conversation there.
Quote
RE: Swamped
Appeal to his strict sense of justice, talk about the guild and how they might be involved in this and maybe drop that you know someone that can deal with the situation if only they had a mask
Quote
RE: Swamped
You may as well keep things going in hopes you think of something as the conversation goes on.

"Got to say, I'm worried about what's going on out there. Seems there's criminals roaming the streets. I don't know if the town guard is up to dealing with it."

"I'll send a messenger to see if they need help," Burgundy says thoughtfully.

And then a thought strikes you.

"Hold on. You military types will stick out like a sore thumb. One or two troublemakers see you, they'll go running. A whole group of 'em, though? They'll pick you out as a threat and gang up on you. You need someone who can blend in better, look like a scared civvie, but can handle themselves in a tight spot."

"Are you suggesting yourself?" Burgundy asks skeptically. "Because you stand out more than I do in that outfit."

"No. But there's another actor here who can do the job." You try to look as if the problem has only just occurred to you. "Only thing is, it's probably not safe to go out there without a mask..."

"Hmm. Bring them here and I'll see what I can do to help."

He's clearly not sold on the idea, but he's willing to give it a chance. You thank him and walk off to find Minnie - hopefully she can convince him. You find her waiting near the wizard's bed.

"Found a guy who might have a mask to spare. But he wants to meet you first. He's waiting over there by the emergency exit."

"Has he been wearing his?"

"He wasn't when I was talking to him, but he suggested he had one. Ask him yourself. And yes, I'll start washing mine just in case," you grumble.

"Actually, something else came up. I was about to take care of it, but maybe you could handle it for me."

"And what's that?" you ask.
Quote
RE: Swamped
A lizard stole the map. But I've got it trapped in this storage closet.
Quote
RE: Swamped
"When the wizard freaked out and I had to run, I dropped the map. Then, of all things, a lizard scurried off with it!" Minnie shakes her head. "A lizard, can you believe it. I chased it into a storage room and shut the door on it. I was just about to ask a nurse for something to help me catch it, but now that can be your problem."

"Right, I think I can deal with that. As long as the lizard isn't hanging around with a muckbeast."

She smirks.

"I'm sure you'll be able to devise a plan if it is. I'll check in on you after I talk to this friend of yours with the mask. The storeroom's over there."

It's the same one you helped the nurse grab the weights from. You hope Mortimer doesn't hurt himself on those throwing blades.

You could just open the door and call his name, but you might want a bit more of a plan than that. Worth taking a moment to think first.
Quote
RE: Swamped
"Mortimer? You in there?"
Quote
RE: Swamped
You open the door just a little bit.

"Mortimer?" you ask.

You know, maybe it's not the same lizard. You also aren't sure if Mortimer is its name - you just remember it offering the name unprompted when you tried to greet it. But it'll probably react to that either way.

"Don't know any Mortimer!" a voice calls back. "Now please leave me alone, I'm busy."

That's extremely strange, considering there's only three employees here right now and the voice doesn't sound like any of them.

"Busy, you say. Doing what, exactly?"

"Taking inventory! With all the commotion, it's important to make sure things don't get lost."

Taking inventory doesn't sound like something a volunteer would be doing. They wouldn't know what's supposed to be there, after all.

"I'll just check what the doctor has to say about that," you reply. Backing down too soon would seem suspicious, but you want to make him think you're gone.

You take a few steps away, without closing the door, then you slip into the nearby latrine and find a spot where you can see it. You want to see if your little suspicious person closes the door, or makes a run for it.

He pokes his head out and looks around. And you barely suppress the urge to shout as you recognize him.

It's the damn wizard from the airship, and he looks just as old as when you saw him in the future. What in the hells? Has he stopped himself from aging, or did he follow you here with time magic somehow?

Well, whatever the story, he quickly goes back in and shuts the door. He must be looking for something in there.

You've got a chance to get the drop on him... but a wizard isn't someone to take lightly. You need to think very carefully about what you're going to do.
Quote
RE: Swamped
Wait until he turns his back on you and sneak behind him, best to not give him a reaction time
Quote