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A door to the closet was a bit opened, you remember it being closed
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You remember closing the door to the storage room, but you happened to notice it was open a little. And you saw the doctor and both nurses at work on your way here, so they wouldn't be getting things out of it.

Seems worth investigating. You walk over to the door, and take a quick look inside.

All you see is a lizard. Not the same one as before, though - this one's black, with blue stripes. And about twice as large, to boot.

"Do you talk?" you ask it. It responds by spitting at your shoes. Doesn't seem particularly friendly, but not all that hostile either.

For a moment, you wonder if this is the eavesdropper. But then you spot something else that wasn't in here before.
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A wizard's staff?
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There's a staff leaning against the wall.

But not just any staff. Long's staff.

From what you've heard, it doesn't technically belong to him - it's a ceremonial item granted to the captain of the Bogknights. It's just that most of the captains didn't use them to fight.

Which makes it all the stranger that it would be here. Even if it turned out not to be out of time, shouldn't it be in the swamp? Burgundy's a long way off from being promoted - plus, officers aren't generally allowed to take ceremonial items with them on leave. Hells, you once intercepted a message complaining that Long was using it to fight instead of keeping it at the base.

Well. That's one more thing to tell the wizard about, you suppose. You feel it would be dangerous to touch it, and anyhow, you're supposed to be looking for an eavesdropper.

But then something strikes you. If the staff were stolen, the Bogknights would go looking for it. And there happen to be a lot of Bogknights in this hospital. Maybe it's not a coincidence.

If that's the case, though, why would someone leave it here? Hells, how would they get it in here without being spotted? The thing's almost as tall as you are.

And maybe, just maybe, whoever slipped it into this room is the eavesdropper you're looking for. And probably not too far away.

You glance down at the lizard. Transformed by magic, maybe? Hells, maybe the staff is enchanted and it zapped them when they touched it wrong.

But then you see something that makes you think that's not it.
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The lizard left a trail when it came in here.
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There's a thin trail of some kind of slime heading out the door, and you can see that it's on the lizard's tail. Which raises an obvious question - what's on the other end?

You back out and follow it, and you can see that it leads to one of the beds. In fact... you think that's the bed with the patient who seemed to guess you were a Marshguard. But you didn't see them with the Bogknights, so how do they fit into all this?

Well. Unpleasant as it may be to talk to them, a little investigation might be necessary. You walk over to the bed...

And it's empty, though it certainly looks like someone was in there recently. More interestingly, there's a pool of slime on there. Maybe they were keeping the lizard as a pet and hid it in their clothes.

You also spot something else, something that might offer a clue as to just who this person is.
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It's a feather. Not one from a bird you recognize... but somehow it's familiar.

And then you remember. You reach into your pouch and pull out an identical one. It's supposed to protect you from long falls... though who knows if the magic even works with all you've been through.

You also have no way of knowing if this feather is also enchanted. But the match is so close that you're certain it's from the same type of bird - probably one from the desert.

So maybe this is someone from the desert. Maybe even from the same place as Ember, not that you know where that is. And a funny thought's crossed your mind.

What if Ember's people want the staff? What if there's some kind of deal between them and the Marshguards over it, and that's why the person here was acting so weird - they thought you were their contact. And now a lizard they were keeping in their bed is near the staff...

...and marked your shoes with its spit. Potentially identifying you somehow to its master.

You're making a lot of guesses right now, and you're not sure any of them help you even if they're right. You think your best move is figuring out where the patient is, whoever they are. Because you do feel pretty confident in your guess that they're the eavesdropper.

In which case, wouldn't they have heard you already and gone into hiding? So you're basically trying to guess where they'd hide.
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If your theory is correct, you'd better keep your eye out for someone from the swamp.

Check under the bed.
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The most obvious place is under the bed. Too obvious, really - anyone worth their salt hiding under there would ambush you when you got this close. Still, might be a clue.

Or... they might be unconscious and strewn under there, instead of properly on top of it. Pretty badly bruised, too. Looks like somebody got to them before you did.

First things first, you pull the poor sap up and put them on the bed, wiping the lizard's slime trail as best you can.

You aren't sure what this means for your theory. And it kind of puts you back to square one on finding the eavesdropper... unless it happens to be whoever did this.

Unfortunately, your efforts to wake them up and get more information on that don't seem very effective. Maybe they've been drugged... or maybe they're in even worse shape than they look.

So you're not going to get a lot of answers from them. Best to just alert one of the nurses. You turn around and spot... Evan, you think his name was? You wave to him.

"Found this poor soul under the bed," you say. "Looks like somebody pounded them pretty hard. Haven't been able to wake 'em, either."

The nurse examines the patient.

"What's this stuff on the bed?" he asks.

"Don't know. A lizard in the supply closet was leaving a trail of it. Maybe it's their pet?"

"Well, I don't see signs of severe damage, just bruising." He feels the patient's head. "Not even a concussion, in fact, which is strange if you can't wake them. Best guess is they're drugged."

"Any patients unaccounted for who might have done this?" you ask.

"Last time I saw this patient was just after I locked the emergency exit," Evan muses. "After we locked down and things settled a bit, we got everyone into their beds, except Mortimer Flame and that military group. But we've kept pretty close tabs on the group, and the way Mortimer is, I doubt he was even in the hospital at all."

Hmm. You can't say for certain where Mortimer was the whole time, and he did end up with some blowdarts somehow.

"Aside from the patients, there's Ms. Patterson and her employee, that priest who stopped by for a bit, you of course, the woman who came in with you, the old man you found in the storage room, and my sister dropping by to remind me we're having a family dinner tonight. We haven't had a chance to let Ms. Patterson or Monty leave, the old man is still on a bed but not marked down in the records yet, and everyone else left as far as I can tell." He pauses. "Oh, wait, I think there was one other person, but they weren't around for very long."

"Do you remember anything about them?"

"Not really. I asked who they were, they just said 'sorry' and then left." He thinks for a bit.. "Oh, but there was one thing that struck me as odd, even aside from the suddenness."
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They smelled bad
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"They had a real nasty odor about them. Stood out even though I'd just emptied a grebling's chamber pot. Couldn't tell you what it was, though - nothing I've ever smelled in town."

You think you're just getting more questions now. But there's one thing you can clarify, hopefully.

"When was this?"

"Would've been, let me see... just after the first time you came in, I think."

Okay. You didn't see this patient until after the lockdown. Come to think of it, that means that whoever it was would have been in here at the time... or has their own way to slip in.

Well, if they can slip in and out unnoticed, you really don't know where to start. For the moment, then, assume that's not it. Who had a chance?

The bruises suggest a fight, which would have been noisy. So probably they would have gotten the patient away from here... but then why hide them under their own bed? Why not hide them wherever the fight happened?

Okay, different angle. What if they were trying to get back to their bed? If they're drugged, it might have taken some time to knock them out. Maybe they came back here, passed out, and happened to fall under the bed.

Not the most likely thing. Unless they were looking for something under the bed and the drugs kicked in while they were there. Or hiding.

So.... Maybe they sneak off somewhere, and get attacked by someone. Get badly beaten. The assailant has to stop for some reason, maybe run off to do something else. They drug the patient, figuring that'll keep them quiet, and the patient decides to hide. They go for their own bed because... because they don't want to be spotted, and maybe they figure the attacker doesn't know where their bed is. And they pass out while hiding.

It's just a guess, but you don't see anything that doesn't fit with it so far. If it's right, what does it tell you?

Well, first it suggests that the attacker wasn't very familiar with the drugs. Probably thought they'd work faster than they did. Maybe grabbed something from the hospital?

You decide to ask the nurse, for a start.

"Is there anything here that might have been used to drug them?"

"There's some leaves we're studying," he muses. "I only glanced over the report, but I don't think this matches the symptoms. Their breathing is fairly normal."

Oh, that's right - the wizard mentioned something about that.

"Anything else?"

"We do have a sleeping medicine, but it's not very reliable and it's a bit expensive to make. So we keep it locked up."

"I'll take a look and see if anything's been disturbed, then."

"All right," the nurse nods. "We keep it near the showers."

You hope you aren't getting too sidetracked with this, but you also don't have a lot of other ideas. You make your way to the showers.

And something immediately strikes you as off.
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There's water all over the floor!
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There's water as far as you can see. You immediately rush to the shower to figure out what's going on.

Someone's face-down in there, and the water's everywhere. Another victim? You quickly grab their arms and pull them up.

Then they turn suddenly and spit an awful lot of water at you. What in the hells? Good thing you've got this mask on.

When the rush of water finally stops, they start trying to kick at you and pull themselves away. And they manage to break free when you notice the strange webbing on their arms and get distracted.

Are you dealing with merfolk? You were pretty sure they didn't exist, but you were also pretty sure it was impossible to go to the past, so you're not as surprised as you might be.

You start to give chase, but by the time you get out of the shower, you can't see them at all. Or any sign that they went through the door.

Whatever just happened, you're pretty sure that magic's involved somehow. Seems worth talking to the wizard about. And you should probably tell someone about the water in here, since you've got no clue how to fix it.

But while you're here, you think this place warrants a little more investigation. Starting by figuring out if anything's been stolen.

You do see a burst lockbox on a table. So your hunch about the pills is probably right. No water on it, though, which makes you think maybe the merfolk isn't responsible. Then again, maybe they did that before they set the water loose.

You take a closer look at the lockbox, in hopes of finding some sort of clue.
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The only thing you find is a small jar filled with beetles.

It's not a clue to the thief, per se - it's just the one thing they didn't steal. You remember Doc told you about these - even kept some. There's a lot of tiny creatures that like to live in people's skin and these beetles have a taste for most of them. Of course, most people don't like to have beetles crawling around on them, so other remedies have been found over the years, but apparently there's a few where these beetles are still the best option, even in your own time. Or at least, the best option available to Marshguards.

Everything else in the lockbox is gone. Maybe the thief didn't like bugs?

Or they were looking for something in particular, and the beetles were the only thing they were sure wasn't it. Well, that doesn't help you much, does it?

Just as you're about to put the jar down, though, you notice that the beetles are moving in strange patterns...

Oh hells. This again. They're making letters. As if you didn't have enough problems without the gods poking their noses into it.

You don't feel much better about it after reading the message, either.
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"On thin ice" ???
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All it says is "On thin ice". Which could mean any number of things, but they're nearly all bad. Unless Qlat is pointing you to a freezer or something of the sort.

Do they even have freezers in this time? You're not sure.

Well, you'll need to tell someone about the flooding here, you might as well ask if they've got any source of ice while you're at it. So you head back to Evan and inform him about the water and the vanishing intruder.

"So, wait, they spat a lot of water at you and then vanished?" he asks. "I didn't see anyone leave."

"Yeah, well, just be careful when you go in to fix it. I've got no clue how." You pause. "By the way, this might be a weird question, but you wouldn't happen to know a place to get ice, would you?"

"Ms. Patterson brought some over. We needed it for cooling some special wine. Why do you ask?"

So they do have freezers, probably.

"I dunno. Just a weird hunch. I don't suppose you could tell me where it is?"

"I'm not sure. Last I heard, the patient had been treated, but we were waiting to see if there were any complications we might still need the wine for. If it's still here and the patient's done with it, I suppose there's no harm. Maybe you could ask Ms. Patterson what happened with it - she'll be sitting around somewhere. She's got an eyepatch, so I don't think you'll have trouble identifying her."

"Thanks," you say. You worry this is all a big waste of time, but on the offchance that a god really does want you looking into it, you don't want to get in trouble for not doing it.

So you wander around and soon enough, you spot Ms. Patterson. She's talking to someone, though.
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One of the grebling patients. It seems they're trying to leave the hospital
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She's talking to a grebling - not one of the ones you were talking to before, though.

"Why can't we leave?" the grebling grumbles. "I saw some people walking out."

"People with masks," Patterson says calmly. "Don't know where they got 'em, but that's why they were allowed to leave, best as I can tell."

Hmm. How does she know that?

"And I suppose they don't have any that fit greblings," the patient mutters. "Because of course they wouldn't."

"Don't think they have a lot that fit humans, either. Honestly, I don't think I'd wear one even if I could. They look a litte, military to me. Anyhow, they probably wouldn't let you leave until morning anyways."

"They let a human leave earlier in the night," the grebling mutters.

"The old man? Yeah, I think they had him helping out. He kept coming back, anyhow. Look, I ain't gonna pretend this is fun, but they're not picking on you. Lots of humans are stuck here, too." Patterson pauses. "Or is that why you want to leave?"

The grebling doesn't comment. But you're getting the sense that Patterson likes to gossip.

Hmm. In that case , you might have more to ask her about than just the ice. But the grebling seems pretty agitated, and you're not sure speaking up while wearing a military uniform is going to help - even if you pass it off as a costume again.

You need to approach this carefully.
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Well, you can't just wait for them to finish their conversation, you've got things to do! Maybe you should just bring Long's staff to the wiz... Maybe he'll know what happened with the ice anyway, since Patterson doesn't seem to be carrying it.
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Maybe it's best to play it safe. You've got some other stuff to take care of and if you keep an eye on this conversation as you work on that, maybe you can step in when it ends. Or find the ice on your own, if it even matters.

The thing that's weighing on you the most right now is the staff. And who better to ask about a wizard's staff than a wizard.

In fact, it might be best to show it to him, to avoid being overheard. But if you just take it out of the storage room, the Bogknights might see it, or the desert-dweller if your theory is correct. You're going to need some way to hide it. Grabbing the sheets off a spare bed, maybe?

No, that would draw too much attention. You're probably being watched by more than a few suspicious eyes already. Best if you can do this entirely inside the storeroom.

So you walk in, and make a show of chasing the lizard out. You don't want to take the chance that it can alert someone to what you're doing. Of course, anyone who was watching you is focused on the storeroom now, so you've really got to play this carefully.

But the mess the lizard made is also a pretty good excuse to carry a mop around. Should make a good disguise for the staff. You quickly find a mop and bucket, and the bucket's even filled up.

Perfect. You pull the head off the mop and put it over the crook of the staff. Time to do a little cleaning. You stash the handle of the mop behind a shelf, and head out, wiping up the lizard's trail.

After a little bit, you make your way over to the wizard's bed.

"No luck yet," you say. "But I found something interesting. Anything you notice about it?"

You very carefully turn your mop around and uncover the head.

"You just found that?" he asks, incredulously. "It's not the sort of thing someone usually leaves lying around."

"That's what I figured. I'm wondering if there's anything, you know, special about it. Aside from the obvious."

He frowns.

"I have a guess but I'd need to examine it more closely. Leave it here, and deal with the eavesdropper. I should have something figured out by the time you get back."

"All right," you sigh, handing him the mop. "By the way, you wouldn't happen to know anything about any ice, would you?"

His response to you is a little strange.
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It's a sailor's rhyme involving ice bergs
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"We didn't think twice, we didn't play nice," he sings. "Now we've paid the price, we're on thin ice. And we'll sink to the bottom of the sea."

"Pardon?" you ask.

"Oh, it's a sea shanty I remembered. The chorus, anyways. The whole song is a lot longer. It's about a ship that sailed to the far north and sank when it hit an iceberg. First thing that popped into my head."

And it uses the exact words "on thin ice". Was Qlat warning you about a ship? The Golem, perhaps?

But you hear a faint sound, an unusual one. You quickly move to investigate it.

And you find a man in a nearby bed, holding an ear trumpet and in a state of panic.

"No... Not the ice! No!" he mutters to himself.

This must be the eavesdropper. You feel bad for him - he might just be a curious soul, and by sheer bad luck - and a little divine intervention - he heard something that haunted him.

Wait. You spot something on his bedside table. Something that suggests this was more than simple curiosity.
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Enciphered and possibly encoded instructions disguised to look innocuous
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It looks like a letter. A fairly unremarkable one - from a friend, perhaps, or maybe the man's children. Tells of what the writer's family have been up to in the months since the last one.

But you recognize it for what it really is. Seems the Guild hasn't changed most of the codewords in a few decades.

Severely injure target. Fake injury to monitor. Keep watch on all visitors.

You turn to him.

"So you're the one who's been spying on us," you say. "Got some questions for you."

He starts shaking wildly.

"No... No! The ice!"

Wow, he's really not in good shape. You wonder if you've got any hope of calming him down, or if you should just get one of the nurses.