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Hydra lair

You spend the next hour tracking down the hydra and completing your self appointed task of putting it/you out of it's/your misery. With the hydra dead at your feet (relatively speaking since it's of course much larger than any of you) it's necks seared to disallow regrowth, and yourselves slightly rested, you decide to return for your search of the lair. Glittery objects, shiny coins, fancy boxes, weapons, and scroll cases abound. However you are momentarily distracted from your search by the site of what would appear to be a young human male, who is bound and gagged to a nearby tree. It would seem this young man is in perilous danger of drowning as the swamp water continues to rise slowly, and is now covering him in his seated position at approximately chest level. There are no discernable tracks here other than your own, and the hydra.

Upon seeing the young man bound to the tree Wulfgar rushes over and cuts the ropes that hold him bound to the tree. "Well what have we here? Lunch for a Hydra?" Wulfgar Laughs out loud as he helps the young man up "I am Wulfgar and these are my friends" Wulfgar motions to the others with his arm "Are you hurt in any way?"

You see a young looking half-elf of average highth slaping at a small cloud hovering above his head which is raining colored flowers on his body staining his skin and clothes. He doesn't acknowledge you but is swating at the cloud and yelling something at it in a strange language.

I stand and shake the stiffness from my legs. I am a tall young man with lanky brown hair, and a warm, round face. I am wearing a dark blue cloak that is clasp together with a plain silver broachpin. "I thank you for releasing me from my bonds. I was beginning to wonder about how much time I had left. I am called Jahl Silverlock and had traveled here with a small band of friends. Some while ago, I am not certain how long, we were ambushed. Then next thing I know I find myself tried to this tree. Did someone mention food? I am a bit hungry. I have noticed a lizardman stop by here from time to time. I've seen him change shape and use magic too! and as I could see he didn't appear to have any trouble. He has also brought others here, men and lizardmen to feed the Hydra. I did thank you for releasing me, yes?"

After the stranger introduces himself Barbaxle will say "It is a pleasure to meet you Jahl. My name is Barbaxle." After everyone has introduced themselves Barbaxle will suggest searching the area closely. Watch out for those chests they might be trapped. Wulfgar and I would be interested in those scrolls.

"So, young lad how did you get yourself into this fine little mess? You were very lucky that we happened to stumble upon you, or you might have either died of starvation or been a meal for that Hydra. Where are you from? Do you require healing or food. I do believe that we can assist you in these matters. Have you noticed anything different or unusual happening in this area since you have been here, and what brings you to this area?"
"We are on a mission from the King to find out why all the magic has been going foul. As you can see our companion Cole over there had one of his spells back fire on him. (Hehehe, laughin' under his breath) This has been going on over most of the land."

A short, lean, young man steps towards the newcomer. "Good day to you. I am Caoimhin, of the clan Dubhlachan." He pulls an orange kerchief from his head, then rubs his hands through his short black hair. "You've seen some trouble of late." He looks down at his mud-soaked woolen breeches and sighs. "And now you've found more. As Barbaxle has said, we are the appointed representatives of the King, finding whatever trouble we can. We have a knack for the job: all the trouble for leagues around smells us coming and crosses our path.
"The King has charged us with learning all we can of the lands, now that the great evil that plagued us for so many years has seemingly passed, and it is again safe to travel. Shortly after we began our quest, a fell storm swept across the land, and since then, all those who practice magic dare not: the consequences we've seen have ranged from comical [he nods at Cole] to messily fatal, and we cannot yet predict what will happen. Nor do we know what has caused this, but it is a matter of some interest to us.
"Most lately, we have been running headlong down a blind alley. A statue of the god of fishermen has gone missing from a nearby village, and the locals are blaming all sorts of bad luck on their loss. They suspect that the lizardfolk have stolen the idol, and so we are in this godsforsaken swamp hoping to retrieve it.
"Thus do you find us here. And what of you, good man? Who did you so offend that you were made a present for the hydra?"

Cole removes his tunic from his torso and covers his head with it hoping to slow if not stop the shower of colors onto his head.
" did you say he used magic with no adverse effects." shaking his head with a sigh he continues. "well thats good for him, at least he doesn't have to deal with this." indicating the cloud still drenching him from above.

A rather tall, lithe man with green eyes and bound-back black hair smiles as the party eagerly frees, greets, and overwhelms the captive stranger. Kneeling smoothly, he clears a bit of the ever-present water and proceeds to remove bits of muck and hydra that have managed to find purchase on the sky-blue surcoat. A quick bath for his swordblade and the water leaps skyward in a stream of droplets as his longsword is thrust skyward and a symbol of some sort is clasped at his chest with the free hand. After the communion of sorts is completed, he rises and strides over to the new companion. Across the surcoat stretches a golden hawk with wings outstretched. Curiously, althought the fighter wears gauntlets, greaves, and neck guards, all body armour is absent. With a courteous head nod, the warrior offers greeting.
"Hail and well met friend Jahl. I am Sir Gareth Arr, a servant of Pikahl and a knight in duty to our good King. As my companions have indicated, we are indeed on quest... and a dangerous one it hath proven to be. We seek to ascertain the safeness of the lands, and, hopefully, to restore magic.." The paladin pauses and looks downward at his chest for a moment, "... to some order. We have lost several companions, and find our ranks small. I would offer you opportunity to join us if it please you. But think on it, we should see if perhaps we can equip everyone with items from the lair... mayhap it will replace what hath been lost. Also, you can tell us of this shapechanger... perhaps we can find more of its habits... THIS.. my friends... sounds like the true culprit of the idol confusion. Praise be to Pikahl! But come let us dry off, clean up, and converse on a drier area."

Wulfgar walks over to Gareth and rest a hand on his shoulder "Now my friend let me take another look at you and see if there is anything I can do to ease any pain you may have. We should search this lair well and see what we can find that may aid us in our quest."

Caoimhin scans the surrounding swamp as Gareth speaks, then nods to the paladin. "I agree that we should make such use as we can of the hydra's trove. But we must exercise caution: if this shape-shifter comes soon, we will be hard pressed should he decide to attack."
The small man tugs absentmindedly at his short black hair. "Jahl, did you note from what direction this changeling comes? It would be good to set a watch on the path, so that we are not surprised."
He breaks into a wry grin, then puts his hand alongside his mouth, as if to keep Gareth from hearing. In a loud whisper, he adds, "Watch is the secret codeword for ambush, when one travels with a paladin." Removing his hand from his mouth, he turns and bows to Gareth, "I know of your code, good sir, but I'm all for cutting down one who's amply demonstrated evil intent, even without giving him a fair fighting chance. *Especially* without giving him a fair fighting chance."

Wulfgar speaks thoughtfully "Yes that is a good idea which direction did he come from? I will take the watch. Gareth if you find any items which may be of use to me please take them. Any healing items and some arrows would be greatly appreciated."

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