Swamped

Swamped
RE: Swamped
"You were outside a little while ago, right? How was the weather?"

You think you shivered a little. Which, you realize, is why he asked. He's trying to see if the subject of the weather is upsetting.

You really don't like him now. On the other hand, the other Bogknights are looking at him as though he just swore in a church, so you're probably not alone in that.

But you're a quick thinker.

"Clear, thank goodness. Don't know what I'd do if there were heavy fog on a night like this."

That should offer another excuse for your nervous twitches. Swamp rain isn't the only weather-related trauma, after all. And the goodwill he's lost among his fellows will hopefully discourage them from asking too closely.

He looks slightly disappointed, and you don't think he's lost even the tiniest ounce of suspicion. But he also seems to realize how much that gamble hurt his reputation.

"Sorry," he says, very insincerely. "Stupid question. Never mind."

He's not so much backing down as he is picking his battles. He's sure to try to catch you out later.

"Is it settled, then?" Burgundy asks. There's some more murmuring, but everyone else seems to nod. "Right, then. I'll hand my mask off so you can go out safely." He pulls one out from a backpack - it looks quite a bit larger than the ones you're used to. "Anyone else got one to spare?"

You catch a twinkle in the suspicious Bogknight's eye. If you say you've got a mask, he's sure to jump on that.

But reading the crowd, you don't think anyone else is willing to trust their mask to you. So you'll either need to be a bit more persuasive, or give a good explanation for why you've got one already.
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RE: Swamped
You got one from one of the masked people, you fought one when they attacked the theater you were having a play in
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RE: Swamped
"It's not that big of a problem," you reply. "There were some people with masks causing trouble in the theater. I managed to grab one while I was there."

Everyone looks very concerned all of a sudden.

"Wait. People with masks?" Burgundy asks. He looks even more serious than usual. "Where did they get them? Ours aren't exactly commonplace. Don't even know of any other army that has 'em."

"Can you show it to us?" the woman who heard the call asks. "It might offer us some clue as to who they are."

Hmm, that's worrisome. It might look a bit suspicious if you show them one that matches the color of your armor, and it wouldn't actually offer any help, since it's from the future.

But there's an easy bluff.

"Should be in my pouch..." You reach in and look worried. "Well, damn. My pocket's been picked."

"So you'll be needing a spare mask after all," Burgundy says. And everyone still looks reluctant.

"Actually... I might know who picked it. I'll go hunt 'em down."

"Best you hurry outside after doing that," Minnie adds. "It'll be best if we get the scouting started as soon as we can."

"Yeah, good point," you agree. "I can show you the mask afterwards."

Or maybe Minnie can. The important thing is that you don't have to show the Bogknights your Marshguard mask right now. You run off before they can ask too many questions. Then, once you're sure you're out of sight, you head for the front door.

You get your mask on. But before you open the door, you listen through it, just in case someone's waiting out there.

You don't hear any voices, but you do hear something unusual.
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RE: Swamped
Sounds like a snoring muckbeast!
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RE: Swamped
You soon realize it's a sound you've heard before. When Rider was treating a wounded muckbeast, you heard noises just like that through the door at night. Rider said she was fine, just asleep - apparently they snore rather loudly.

You open the door carefully, and confirm that there's an unconscious muckbeast blocking the way. Well, you know how to deal with them if you need to. What concerns you more is why it's asleep.

If it were gassed, would it be snoring? That seems a little unlikely. And you don't see any sign of gas in the immediate area.

You step outside, carefully walking over the beast, and close the door. You don't see anyone else around - but that doesn't mean they aren't here. For one thing, you're pretty sure someone tried to send some gas in through the sewer system.

Which makes that seem like a good place to start investigating. First, though, you should meet up with Minnie. You carefully make your way over to the emergency exit to see if she's gotten out yet.

That's when you see something even more out-of-place than the muckbeast.
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RE: Swamped
It's that lady!
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RE: Swamped
It's the woman in the animal mask. You think her name was Arlene. There's no sign of Mortimer, though.

She waves when she spots you.

"We didn't find Mortimer's father, but he spotted an associate rushing out of the hospital a little while ago," she says. "He told me to stay here, something about how I'd draw too much attention."

"I can't imagine how he'd think that," you reply. "Someone's apparently trying to gas the hospital - I think they're in the sewers, but they might try to launch an attack from here if that doesn't work out. I don't think that animal mask is going to help you much."

"Oh, that's not a problem. I've got another one on under this." She pulls the animal mask up just enough to show you a breathing device, before putting it back down. "We ran into some trouble on the way out of the tavern, and I got myself a souvenir. Got one for Morty, too."

Before you can think of what else to say, Minnie comes out, wearing a mask. You find its colors quite familiar, if not the exact style. She's also carrying a jar with a needle in it.

"Arlene! Good, just who I wanted to see," she replies. "Crow, did you get the map back?"

It takes you a moment to remember that you did - the whole business with the mirror left you a little muddled.

"Yeah," you say, pulling it out. "I found some weird stuff when I was looking for it, too. A mirror that didn't quite seem to reflect properly, a wooden figurine, and an uncooked sausage."

"Oh, how fun!" Arlene declares. "Can I see?"

"All I've got on me is the sausage. I left the other things in a safe place." You hand the map to Minnie. "If you think that's exciting, well, I can show you, but I didn't see anything special about it. I just found it in a weird place."

You pull out the sausage.

"See? It's a sausage."

You expect one or the other of them to make a dirty joke, but instead they both seem to be staring at it in disbelief.

"Is there something I'm missing about it?" you ask.

"Not very familiar with sausages, are you?" Minnie asks.

"I don't eat much meat."

"I don't either, but this one is rather distinctive."
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RE: Swamped
It's a whalewurst!
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RE: Swamped
"It's whale sausage!" Arlene declares excitedly.

Now you're staring at it.

"Didn't realize whales were that meaty. Which part does it come from?"

"It's not from them," Minnie says. "Hunting ships use 'em to catch whales. Which is banned by treaty."

"I didn't know whales liked sausages."

"Normally, they don't. The meat's coated with some substance that draws the attention of the whales. You put it in salt water and the stuff comes off and the whales come looking. That's when they catch 'em." Minnie stares at it. "What on earth is one doing here? We may be by the ocean, but there's no whales for a good hundred miles."

That's a good question. Another good question is why someone would bring such a thing through time, though you don't think it would be a good idea to suggest that. So you stick to the one thought you have on the question at hand.

"Well, they're mixing up gas, apparently. Maybe the whale stuff is an ingredient in one of their weapons?"

"Why would that be in a hospital, then?" Minnie wonders. "Is someone on the staff involved?"

"I dunno, we've had plenty of patients running around tonight. With so few staff, it could be anyone in there. And we don't even know the real reason it's there, so it might not be worthwhile to investigate." At least, not for someone who's actually from this time.

Suddenly, Arlene speaks up.

"I just thought of something."
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RE: Swamped
It could be planted in a ship's cargo to get the captain in trouble... Setting them up for blackmail or just destroying their reputation. And someone in the local government has been pulling similar stunts lately...
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RE: Swamped
"Maybe it's been planted," she continues. "It's illegal, right? So maybe someone hid it in the hospital to try to get them in trouble."

Minnie shakes her head.

"That's a little too weird to work. Investigators would ask, why is it in a hospital. The first thought they come up with is maybe there's some elaborate scheme between the hospital and somebody else, so they go poking around and try to figure out who the partner is. But if there's no actual partner, they're more likely to find evidence of who snuck in and left the fake contraband there. There are way easier stories to sell if you're planting evidence, and you want an easy story so they don't dig too deep. I'd buy that if it were in a ship's cargo hold, but..."

And then it clicks for you.

"And what if that's where they wanted it to be found?" you ask. "There's a specific ship they're waiting for. The hospital's just temporary storage."

"That's more plausible," Minnie concedes. "I mean, I don't know why they'd pick the hospital to hide it in, but there could be any number of reasons. Maybe they just think it's not likely to be searched."

"Well, it's not that far from the harbor, and come festival time, there's a lot of rowdy sailors who might need a stay. You probably don't even need to provoke a fight," you muse. "At night, there's not that many staff, so it's pretty easy to move about unnoticed. And the storeroom's not especially well-guarded, plus there's some medicinal wine in there. Serves as a decent excuse if you're caught. So I can see it..."

"I think you're both overlooking the real question," Arlene interjects. "If they're waiting for a ship, which ship is it?"

"I dunno," you shrug. "I'm not from around here. I've got no idea which ship someone might think is important enough to frame for sausage-smuggling."

"Oh," Minnie says suddenly. "I think I know. Haven't lived in this town for a long time, but there's one ship I remember hearing about a lot. Only ever docked here for the festival, but it was always a big deal when it arrived."
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RE: Swamped
The Golem, a group of volunteers that keep the inner islands from turning into pirate havens, they come every year to get Nual blessings and switch the crew, but if there were a investigation on them a lot of things could go down, less recruits, leaving port delay and potentially government appointment(something that have been debated for years)
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RE: Swamped
"It's called the Golem. So-called because they protect the islands from pirates."

"A warship, then?" you ask.

"If you believe the stories, no. But I'm not sure how much they propagandize," Minnie says with a shrug. "For whatever it's worth, the story they tell is that it's a ship blessed by Nual, and anyone foolish enough to attack it will suffer a grievous fate. So they come here every year in order to tell Nual of their deeds, and if he is pleased he grants them another year of blessings."

"And if this year is special, like I've heard, that'd be an extra big deal," you muse. "So it'd probably mess with the ceremony if contraband were found on board. At the least it'd delay things a lot."

But then you pause for a moment.

"Still, if I've got the illegal sausage, that pretty much shuts that plan down, right? Plus we've got other things to deal with. Got to meet that person the wizard was talking about, maybe back Mortimer up, figure out what the deal is with the gas, investigate the Grove..."

That and figure out what's going on with this other person out of time. But you'll take care of that yourself.

"So in short, we've got to figure out what we're doing, and who's doing it," Minnie concludes. "There's three of us, but some tasks might be too dangerous to split up that much for. Best make a plan now."
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RE: Swamped
Let's make sure Mortimer is safe first, then go meet the wizard's contact together. After that we can split up as circumstances dictate.
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RE: Swamped
"Let's start by seeing if we can catch up with Mortimer. Keep our distance so as not to draw attention" - you glance a little in Arlene's direction - "but we should at least make sure he's okay. If he needs help, we'll help him. If he doesn't... I say we make the rendezvous on the wizard's behalf."

"Ah, I see where you're going with this," Minnie says. "Might be able to get Mortimer or the person we're contacting to help us out on whatever else we end up having to do."

"Pretty much," you say, nodding your head. "It might not work out, but it's worth a shot in case we can. Arlene, which way did Mortimer go?"

She starts rushing off. You groan a little as you follow her.

"You know, he was worried you'd draw attention to yourself! Maybe be a little more discreet?"

"It'll be fine. She's weird, but she's reliable," Minnie says.

After a while, it becomes clear where you're headed - you catch a glimpse of Mortimer walking towards some trees, and disappearing into them. Arlene stops running, and starts pointing her arms at the spot where he vanished.

"Yeah, I saw," you mutter. "Is this the Grove?"

"I've heard it called that," Arlene says. "Isn't that another thing you mentioned?"

"Yeah, the wizard suggested looking into it," Minnie says. "Though he didn't expect any activists to be here at this hour, and that's what we were looking into. Might be something else going on here."

"Or at the council hall," you muse. "I think he said it was close by."

"It is," Arlene says. "It's right over there."

And just as she points at it, you spot someone climbing out one of the windows. Guess something's going on over there after all.

You're about to suggest catching the thief when you hear a scream coming from the trees. Seems this would be a good time to split up.
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RE: Swamped
Arlene can take on the thief, you and Minnie head for the scream
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RE: Swamped
"Don't know who's screaming, but I think it's best if two of us go investigate that. Arlene, see if you can catch that burglar who just left the council hall."

Arlene doesn't even say anything. She just bounds off. You and Minnie start running towards the Grove.

Going in, you find it's thick with trees. You can't immediately see what's going on.

Minnie seems to have some kind of idea, though, as she's rushing ahead of you. May as well follow her.

She rushes around some trees, and you find yourself in a fairly clear spot. You see a woman collapsed on the ground, but there's no sign of anyone else.

You know a little bit of first aid, thanks to Doc. Not a lot, but enough to tell that the woman is alive.

"Can't see a wound on her," you tell Minnie. "Maybe she fainted from shock?"

"In that case, who or what shocked her?" Minnie asks. "Could have been Mortimer, or whoever he was chasing after..."

You take a glance.

"I think it's an animal," you say. "I see tracks in the dirt, but they don't look especially human, or grebling for that matter. Can't really identify 'em, though... looks like paws, and I'd guess about the size of a wolf, but the tracks are totally different. Don't think it's a woodcat or a greatrat, either."

"Setrus," Minnie mutters.

"Pardon me?"

"Rumor I've heard. There's a fellow by the name of Setrus who's fairly high-up in the guild. He has a strange pet that's about the right size. Heard stories that it's real fearsome when it bares its fangs. Don't know exactly what it looks like, but it could be Mortimer's chasing him."

You glance down at the unconscious woman.

"Well. We might be able to follow the creature's trail and find its master. But I think we've got to do something for her first. She doesn't seem seriously injured, so we probably just need to wake her up."
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RE: Swamped
Better get a good look at her first for a clue as to what she's doing here and who she is before you wake her. Could she be with the guild?
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RE: Swamped
"Hold it. Not saying we should just leave her here, but we don't know who she is. Maybe she's with the Guild," Minnie says.

"You just said it might be a Guild bigwig's pet that spooked her, though," you note.

"Yeah, but she might not have met 'em before. Or they might be on opposing factions - I hear there's quite a few of those these days. Look, I just want to play it safe. Is there anything you can tell me about her?"

Well, she looks vaguely familiar. You could swear you've seen that face somewhere before, though you can't quite place it. You don't recall meeting a lot of people with red hair, though.

None of that tells you if she's with the guild. But she does have a badge with a symbol on it. You don't recognize it as a Guild symbol, but it might be outdated, or specific to one of the factions. Maybe they didn't make it through this fight.

You show the badge to Minnie.

"Don't know if that has anything to do with the Guild. Does it look familiar to you?"

"Hmm. Almost looks like a family crest," she muses. "Not one I recognize, per se, but I know a little about the general symbology of them. There's a couple of interesting ones here."

"I'm sure that's fascinating, but I'd rather not leave her like this for long. So quick answer - does it suggest any association with the Guild?"

"I know the crests of the main families by sight, and it's not any of those," she replies. "Guess I'm willing to take a chance."

"Good. Now, how do I actually wake her up..."

The fastest way you know of to wake someone up is to toss swampwater in their face - you learned that the hard way. But you're not in the swamp, and there's no obvious water source around. You might need to think of something else.
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RE: Swamped
Gentle slaps on the cheek won't do it?
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RE: Swamped
Well, thinking back, swamp water might be the most memorable way if it happens to you, but it's not like Doc didn't tell you about other options. She was actually pretty annoyed people were using swamp water.

"A little pressure on the cheeks is all it takes. Or, if you want to be really sure, a good slap. Stimulates the nerves and gets the brain wanting to know what in the hells is going on, so it wakes 'em up so they can figure that out."

So you slap her on the cheek. She opens her eyes, looks around, and screams.

Well, you're pretty confident that's the scream you heard before. So you don't have to go looking for somebody else who's been screaming. You clap a hand over her mouth and try to figure out what in the hells you're going to tell her.

"We apologize," Minnie says. "We heard you shouting before, and found you unconscious, so we tried to wake you up."

"Yeah," you say nervously. "Sorry for the fright, wasn't thinking about how my costume might come across."

You tentatively take your hand off her mouth. She still looks worried, but she's not screaming.

"I... oh. That creature isn't still here, is it?"

"We haven't seen it," Minnie says. "And we're a little busy, so we'd appreciate it if you could get yourself somewhere safer."

"Oh, dear," she mutters. "I suppose if I fainted, I should go see a doctor..."

"Wouldn't advise it right now. There's trouble going on down at the hospital. Just go home - you can go in when things settle down."

She picks herself up, and nods slowly.

"Thank you. Er, would you mind walking with me for a bit? Just until I'm out in the open? I wouldn't want to run into that dreadful beast again..."

"We're a little busy, but maybe one of us can escort you while the other keeps going." You glance at Minnie; she gives a quick "do whatever" gesture. Guess it's your choice which task you're taking on, then.
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RE: Swamped
Might as well accompany her. Ask her where she was going this time of night.
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RE: Swamped
"I'll help you out," you tell her. "We didn't see any creature, so I'll take you back the way we came and you can get your bearings from there."

"Thank you," she says. You help her up, while Minnie runs towards the tracks. Hopefully she'll be okay.

As you walk out, you figure you may as well ask the obvious question.

"Why were you even out here this time of night? Doesn't seem very safe, especially in a place like this. All sorts of shady characters might be trying to hide out here."

She pauses a little before answering.

"That's more or less what brought me out here. There was someone I was supposed to meet with, but they were hesitant to meet somewhere more open." She pauses again. "Oh, but I make it sound worse than it is. I'm with an orphanage, you see. I received a letter from someone who wanted to bring a child to us. The details were extremely sparse, but they claimed to have found the child somewhere in the wilderness and didn't think they in any position to raise one."

"That sounds pretty suspicious to me," you say.

"I agree. We spent quite some time discussing it, but in the end we decided that if the child had been kidnapped or the like, it was best that we take care of them until we could determine that, rather than leaving them in the hands of a scoundrel. So I decided to accept their offer. But all I saw was that creature, and then..." She pauses. "Well, it's clearly too dangerous right now. I dread what's happened to the child, if the whole thing wasn't some kind of twisted ruse to get me out here alone. But I'm in no state to deal with it."

Hmm. Was Setrus the one handing over a child? Or perhaps he was who the donor feared. Either way, it's not your immediate concern - getting this woman to safety is.

You step out, just in time for someone to run right into you. You both collapse, and the woman screams again. Wonderful.

"Hey, good job!" Arlene shouts suddenly. "I was worried she was going to get away."

You untangle yourself and get up just as Arlene arrives; she grabs the other person, a woman dressed mostly in black. Must be your thief. The lady from the orphanage is still screaming - maybe because of Arlene's mask.

"It's another costume," you sigh.

"Oh," she says, calming down slightly. Then she glances at the thief. "What about her?"

"I don't think that one's a costume. I think she snuck into the council hall." You turn towards her. "Any chance you might tell us why?"
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RE: Swamped
Free Custard.

No, really. There've been a lot of people upset about the imprisonment of Captain Custard. Maybe they were leaving graffiti in the council chambers to communicate their displeasure?
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"Custard," is all she says. You're more than a little confused.

But it seems like you're the only one here who is.

"She's done a lot for us," says the red-haired woman. "So I can understand wanting to help. But how does breaking into the council hall help with that?"

"I dunno," Arlene chimes in. "I mean, I get that people respect her, but I don't see another way to explain those barrels."

"Could someone fill me in on what we're talking about?" you sigh exasperatedly.

"Captain Abbie Custard, famed sailor," Arlene replies. "And apparently famed smuggler as well. She was locked up three months ago after they found illegal goods in her ship, and a lot of people don't think it's fair."

"And I know she wouldn't sully her hands like that," the red-haired woman interjects. "She must have been tricked somehow. But the poor old girl blames herself for letting it happen, so she didn't dispute anything."

That sounds familiar. You glance at the thief.

"So, what? You were looking for evidence? Keys to the jail? Dropping off pamphlets at the council table?"

No further answer. You wonder if it's even worth pressing - you've got other things to deal with, after all.
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