RE: Swamped
You consider staying in here and waiting for him to come out, then making a move when his back is to you. But he's a wizard - and for all you know, he might be able to send himself elsewhere without even leaving the room. Or maybe he can turn himself into a lizard and use that to hide. You aren't exactly sure what he knows how to do, but you have to consider him a serious threat.

You might be able to ambush him while he's in there, but the noise of the door opening will likely draw his attention. And if he's actively watching it, then you've definitely got no chance. But if he's looking for something in the storeroom, that might distract him enough for you to surprise him...

Well. He'll be expecting you to come back. And since he almost certainly doesn't have the doctor's permission, he'll be expecting you to be hostile.

But he won't necessarily know you're on to him. He might try to bluff his way out if he doesn't want to draw too much attention... and that seems more likely if he thinks it might work.

You head back over to the door, and knock on it again.

"The doctor says taking inventory is the clerk's responsibility. And the clerk isn't here. So who exactly are you?"

The key is to sound confident. Brash, even. People like that are easy to bluff because you just have to agree with them.

"I suppose you've caught me," says the voice inside. "I couldn't help myself. I happened to notice there was a wine cask here, and I badly wanted a drink. Been sober for three years now, but today's been so miserable for me..."

Ah. So that's his game - posing as a desperate recovering alcoholic. You feel a little bit insulted by it, frankly.

You've got him bluffing, though. Now you need to think about where to take things from here, in order to get him to let down his guard.
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Show sympathy and suggest that you could help him sneak out to the bar next door so he doesn't go blind drinking medicinal wine.
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You opt for simple lecturing. That might convince him you're buying it. But you try to sound a little skeptical - don't want to seem like a pushover or he'll suspect you're playing along.

"That stuff's for medicine, you know. The doctor might need it, and besides, I'm pretty sure making it taste good isn't a priority. And if you'd just asked twenty minutes ago, I could have grabbed you something from the bar."

"Yes, obviously I haven't been thinking clearly." He seems to be committing to the bluff, at least. "I think it's this lockdown pushing me over the edge, though. No way I could get a drink through that..."

You think this is a play for sympathy.

"Well. Why don't you get back to your bed, and I'll see what I can do about finding you something. Just come on out."

You open the door, but you also step to the side a bit. Maybe he won't recognize you in however many years, but you don't see a reason to make it any easier for him to do it.

There's no response. You don't like this. Maybe you sounded a little too gullible and he pulled a vanishing act.

On the other hand, he also might be cautious because he can't see you, and he's waiting for you to make a move. But then, couldn't he ask where you are if that was it?

If you weren't dealing with a wizard, you'd probably just take your chances peeking in there. But that seems a lot riskier when magic's involved. You'll need to think carefully about what to do next.
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Muffle your voice like you're far away and make bird sounds, just to see if you can startle any reaction out of the wizard.
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Well, when you don't have any particularly good ideas, try a foolish one.

You cover your mouth and start cawing.

"What? No, they can't possibly..."

You don't hear the rest of it, because by then you've rushed in and tackled him before he can try anything. You knock him towards a large box and he falls unconscious.

Which is good, because it gives you time to notice the map he's been holding. You grab it, but you wonder why he bothered to stay in here. Was he looking for something?

You spot Evan nearby, so you call him over.

"Found this suspicious character poking around in the storage room. You might want to restrain him."

"Huh," Evan says. "Doesn't look like any patient I've seen tonight. Maybe we should ask him some questions when he comes to."

"Well, in the meantime, you'll probably want to take care of him."

Evan nods, and carries him off. Leaving you to figure out what the little old man might have wanted in here.
RE: Swamped
Looks like he might have been doing something with the ceiling tile
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Nothing seems obviously disturbed, but you notice a length of string on the floor. You don't remember that being around earlier.

Looking up, you see a throwing knife lodged in the ceiling, with a bit of string tied to the handle. So maybe he was trying to investigate something up there, and you knocked the string down when you tackled him. Or maybe he just pulled too hard on it, tough to say.

You're baffled as to what he could be trying to do with it. Is he looking for something up there? The knife hardly seems like the best tool for the job if that was it, although it's probably the only thing at hand.

Well, there's a single weight lying on the floor here. You think you can reach the knife if you stand on that. You pull it out a bit and step on it, then reach for the knife and pull.

A tile of the ceiling comes out with it. You don't see anything behind it, though - just wood. Doesn't look like there's even a gap for something to hide in.

But then you look a little more closely at the back of the tile in your hand, and you notice something odd about it.
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It's looking back at you
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There's a mirror on the back. It's completely undamaged, though - looks like the knife didn't go all the way through the tile.

Your immediate questions are, why was a mirror hidden on a piece of ceiling, and why was a wizard looking for a mirror hidden on a piece of ceiling.

Well. Maybe it has something to do with the map. On nothing more than a whim, you hold up the map so it's reflected in the mirror, and... it looks like the same map, only backwards.

Except, that's not entirely right. The map in the mirror looks a lot cleaner, not like a worn-out page. So... is the mirror showing its appearance from years ago? Or maybe there's just something weird about the lighting.

Well, now you're looking at the reflection a little more closely. And that's when you spot something odd.
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It's not you in the reflection
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You're not seeing your own face. Actually, you can't quite make out what you're seeing. It looks a bit distorted and... reptilian?

You suddenly catch on to what's happening. You put the map in your pocket, reach onto your helmet, and pull down Mortimer the lizard. The angle you had the mirror at must have reflected him more than you.

Yeah, now that he's not there you only see the top of your helmet, with your eyes barely poking out under it. And it's hard to make out details of the helmet, at that. Maybe the mirror's slightly curved? Doesn't explain what you were seeing with the map, though.

"I guess you were in here after all," you mutter to the lizard.

"Here!" Mortimer declares excitedly. "Guess!"

So it wasn't Shume pulling a trick - he must have seen the map and grabbed it because he could. Which means it probably doesn't have anything to do with the mirror after all.

"Guess! Guess!" Mortimer continues, interrupting your train of thought. Does he want something from you? Does he want you to guess something?

"I'm not sure what you're trying to say."

"Here! Guess!"

The most obvious meaning you can think of is that there's something he finds interesting here and he wants you to guess what it is. Might as well play along - if that's not what he means, maybe giving him more words will help him clarify.
RE: Swamped
Map? Wizard? Gas? Applesauce?
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"A map?" you ask with a shrug.

"Map," he replies, sounding bored. Probably not it.

"A wizard?"


"Gas?" You hope not, but if he's noticed any then you should probably do something about that.

"Gas," Mortimer says dully. You almost feel like he's disappointed in you.

Well, it's not like he's giving you a lot to go on. At this point, you may as well just toss out the first word that comes to mind.

"Applesauce? Is there apple sauce in here?"

"Apple...sauce!" Mortimer declares. Starts out with the same dejected tone, but gets more excited. So some other kind of sauce? Is he just hungry?

"Sauce, then. Is it in a container? Or did somebody spill some?"

"Sauce!" There's a bit of a hiss to it. Like he thinks you didn't quite get it.

Well, if he didn't mean sauce, then what... Oh, wait.

"A sausage?"

"Sausage!" Mortimer declares happily. He starts dancing on your hand.

"Where is it?" you ask. You put him down and he climbs behind a box, then returns carrying what definitely seems to be a sausage. Not cooked, and covered in dust, but it doesn't look to have rotted. So it can't have been there that long, for whatever that's worth.

You wonder how it got there. A rat swiped it, perhaps? There's no sign of any bite marks, but that's the easiest explanation, and it would be bad if there were an infestation. So you move the box to see if there's a hole or anything suggesting that.

You find something else entirely.
RE: Swamped
It's a bogknight. Tom Eighth?
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It's a carved figurine. Looks like a Bogknight uniform - a modern one.

You think the wizard was trying to hint that someone else here was from another time, not just the two of you. So this might have something to do with it... as might the sausage.

So you're starting to think Shume is the time traveler. He was just in here, after all, and the other explanation is that he's somehow lived decades. But why would he leave stuff like this here?

A thought strikes you. You hold up the figurine to the mirror...

"I hope you understand, Eighth. After what just happened, we need to question everyone who Ash was mentoring. Even the ones who helped out against his coup attempt."

"I get it. But he didn't involve me in the worst stuff. Just asked for a few odd jobs. So I don't know how much I can tell you."

"Did he ask you to build anything? I understand you're good at that."

"A few times. Usually he started by asking me if something was possible to build with what was at hand in the swamp. A bunch of those weren't, just because we don't have a big enough forge. When the problem was materials, though, he asked what would be needed. Then he gave it to me. I didn't complain too much, because none of those projects took more than an hour, maybe two, and they weren't that common. Left me plenty of time to work on my own stuff."

"So that major project that everyone's been complaining about. That's got nothing to do with him?"

"He got me materials I asked for. That's all the involvement he had. Didn't tell him what it was, though I ended up telling Penelope and who knows what she said about it. Is that all?"

"For now. I'd like you to give me a list of what you made for him if you remember, though."

"Sure. No problem. None of it seemed that out of place, but I can't say I know what he wanted to use it for."

You shake your head. You think you have some idea of what this mirror is about now. Although you've still got more than a few questions, and you're kind of worried about what you'll see if you hold up the sausage.

In fact, it might be a good idea not to have all this stuff in one place. But you're not sure who you can ask to hide it...

You glance down at Mortimer the lizard. Well, he seems pretty cooperative. And he's probably not going to ask you questions about why.

Still, you think you want to hold onto one of these objects. You'll give him the other two. Question is, what should you keep?
RE: Swamped
I have no idea what the sausage is for maybe the wizard was just hungry but we better keep it or else Morty might eat it, the figurine too since that cancels the utility of the mirror but hid the mirror
RE: Swamped
You really don't feel safe carrying more than one of these objects. So you decide to keep the sausage, since it might get eaten... you don't think Mortimer's likely to eat it, since lizards don't have especially strong stomachs. But he might run into another hungry creature that's not as picky.

The figurine is probably sturdy enough to be safe. Unless he hides it in a nest of termites or something.

You put down the mirror and figurine in front of him.

"Hide these somewhere safe," you say. "And not near each other."

"Hide!" Mortimer declares, grabbing the figurine and running off. He leaves the mirror there - maybe he'll come back for it. You decide to wait for a little bit, and come up with a different plan if he doesn't return by then.

He scurries back in just as you start to lose patience, and puts the mirror carefully on his back. He seems to be balancing it well.

So. Now you've got a raw sausage.

You wrap it in some note paper and put it in your pouch. May as well see how Minnie's doing.

As you approach the emergency exit, though, you notice there's a bit of a crowd gathering around it. You think you might want to stay back and watch for a moment, just to get a sense of what's going on.
RE: Swamped
Quite a few patients don't want to miss the festival
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Looks like a group wants to go out and confront the attackers directly
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"I don't like staying in here," someone grumbles. "We've got masks, and we know how to fight. Why don't we go out there and stop whoever's got the gas?"

Nobody's got a uniform, but they're probably Bogknights.

"Numbers," says Burgundy. "There ain't that many of us. Not to mention we ain't all in the best of shape. Plus, if we provoke the enemy, they might get more desperate and it's the civvies who'll take the brunt of whatever they do next."

"Well what are we supposed to do? Hole up in here until they go away?"

"You think they're going to keep this up past daybreak? The town guard'll be on them by then," Burgundy replies. "Don't see why you're so impatient, we've all waited out worse than this. In a much worse place, at that."

"Look," Minnie interjects. "I get what he's saying. He wants to help, not just sit around. And I can help, too. I can scout around and figure out just how many of them are out here, and if they've got any tricks other than the gas. Then I can come back and tell you all, and you can work out if it's a force you can take."

"Now hold on," says the Bogknight. "Who exactly are you? And why would you be a better scout than me?"

"She's an actor," you reply. "So if she gets caught, she can talk her way out of trouble."

You suddenly realize you have several Bogknights staring right at you.

"I'm an actor, too," you explain quickly. "Ended up coming here in costume. Funny story about that..."

"Looks awfully good for a costume," one of the Bogknights mutters. "Hells, looks better than our stuff."

"Way better than what the Marshguards have, though," says another. "The color must just be a coincidence. If they had something that good, they'd use it. And it's not like they can go on leave."

There's some murmuring. It's interrupted when Minnie speaks up.

"What's a Marshguard?"

"Criminal scum, for the most part," says Burgundy. "They hide out in a fortress in the swamp. Though really, it's more like a prison, only run by the inmates."

Whatever doubt you had this was Burgundy, it's been erased. Sounds very much like the sort of thing he was known for saying.

You think it would be best to try to take this conversation in a different direction. Preferably one that lets the two of you get out of here.
RE: Swamped
How about we focus on the criminals out there?
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"As interesting as this is, those Marchguards or whatever are in the swamp, and we aren't. The criminals outside are a more pressing concern."

One of the knights is giving you a very unpleasant look. The others seem more or less satisfied, even Burgundy.

"Well, that's what we've been talking about, isn't it?" one of them says, throwing her hands up in the air. "What we do about them. I don't want to miss the damn festival because of this."

"If you don't want to miss the festival, go to sleep," Burgundy grumbles. "They'll probably be gone by the time you wake up. And if they're not, then they're a strong enough force to occupy the whole damn town and that means they're definitely more than our makeshift squad can handle."

"Oh, can it, Burgundy," the woman grumbles. "You're not even a corporal, however much Sergeant Turner might dote on you. I don't see why you should be barking orders like you are."

"I'm not giving orders, I'm giving suggestions," Burgundy replies. "Not to mention, I was in the East Legion for three years before the Bogknights. I think I know a little more about military operations than a haberdasher who ran off to the swamp a year ago because of a voice in her head."

"Don't even start on the call!" she snaps. "You always think it's some kind of joke, that we've dropped our lives to fight in a swamp because we've just gone mad. I wish I'd gone mad. It would have been gentler than trying to fight the damn thing."

So there's some tension here. And Minnie's giving you a look that suggests you ought to try to defuse it.

Easier said than done. They're already wary of your uniform.

On the other hand... You know the call yourself. You don't think it would be helpful to explain that, but it might help you figure out what to say.
RE: Swamped
If you were called to the swamp and your subsequent circumstances brought you to be here tonight, it might have been divine planning from the get go. Whatever the reason, we're grateful your squad is here to help with this situation. Let us investigate and we can report back so that you can decide how best to apply your resources. We're in this together, we have to trust each other.
RE: Swamped
"You're here now," you note. "Not in the swamp."

"It calmed down after I finally got to the damn place. Enough that I could concentrate."

"That's not what I mean." You take a moment. "The gods work in mysterious ways. Maybe they led you to the swamp so you'd learn what you need to know for tonight."

You don't believe that for a minute, and she probably won't either. But it might get Burgundy off her back.

"You a priest as well as an actor?" asks one of the knights. It's the one who was giving you a fierce look a moment ago.

"Is it that strange? We do shows about the gods," Minnie interrupts. "Know more than a few people in the troupe who started seriously thinkin' about their faith after being in one."

"My point being," you continue, "be it the work of the gods or just coincidence, we're all here tonight. And we all have our own skills. I don't know what the best way to make use of yours is, but I'm glad we have your little group around. But... look, are any of you scouts?"

There's an awkward pause. You were pretty sure that was the case, because if there were any, they would have said something.

"Now, I don't know a lot about the military." After all, the Marshguards aren't really organized like one. "But I do know they've got different people who are good at different things. People who go out and scout aren't necessarily the best at fighting, and people who've trained to fight don't necessarily make good scouts. I'm not saying we'd be great at it, either. But there are tricks you pick up in the theater. Tricks for passing yourself off as someone different, or for drawing attention elsewhere. I think we're the closest thing you'll find to good scouts in here. And going out there without good scouting, well..."

"It'd be a big mistake," Burgundy says, nodding. "Could tell you plenty of stories from East Legion veterans about how things went wrong when they didn't scout first."

"Don't really like either of them," mutters the woman. "But we are in a rough spot."

"I don't like 'em either," Burgundy agrees. "And they're actors, so they could probably tell us a real sweet story if they wanted. But he's got the right read of the situation. So he's not a total fool, at least."

Higher praise than you would have expected from all you know about Captain Burgundy.

"I'm inclined to take the risk. But the rest of you should feel free to speak your minds. Do you have a better idea? Including sitting here doing nothing? I think it's clear enough heading out there without knowing a damn thing is likely to end in disaster."

There's some murmuring. Finally, the one who was giving you a dirty look speaks up.

"Got one quick question for the guy in the Marshguard getup that could help me make up my mind," he says.
RE: Swamped
How's the weather?