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
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."