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Turn 60 Village of Fen

Sammael looks at him puzzled and says, "That is a thing that I have never heard of. I will, however, offer an oath that I will not draw steel in this village for the length of our stay unless I am defending a member of the group an innocent or myself. Will that suffice?"

Gareth chews on the inside of his lip for a moment, reminds himself very quietly that not everyone does as he does, and nods assurance. "Peacebonding weapons often removes the instinctive response draw that we as trained warriors develop... on numerous times, I have seen the same snap draw accidentally injure innocents simply bystanding. If your oath will be held,, by all means. Pardon my curiousity, but whom leads your party and what exactly were the orders regarding my party?"

Jahl remains quiet and follows along without hesitation, he continually looks around for the "hidden unwelcome guests" within this village. After a few moments, Jahl speaks, "It would be my guess that the shaman is the one who procliamed the totem as a 'gift from the god' and that seems too convienient. I suggest that we interview the shaman well when we find him."

"My peoples have been here in this village for many generations. We have never started a problem or fight with the humans camped near the swamp We have nothing to do with the humans unless they are lost in our swamp. I believe some may have seen these imposters you speak of. A few hunting parties have seen pairs of lizardmen who avoid our village for unknown reasons. Maybe these are your thievess. Perhaps if your humans have had troubles with lizardmen, it is these rogues who travel the swamp but know not how to hunt. There is a dragon lair to the east" (pointing on Cole's map, you realize the 'dragon' is the hydra you deafeated) and a temple to an older god (pointing again you note it to be the temple of the snake god you encountered before). Maybe these thiefs are hidden in one of those places. Our shaman has powerful magic from our God. he can help you maybe if you ask him. You may feel free to wander our village, provided your weapons stay sheathed. ask any questions you like.

Gareth bows at the courtesy extended. "We would indeed be honoured to speak with your shaman.. if he can converse with your God, then he can confirm our tale. If you could show us where the pair of foreign lizardmen were sighted, that would help our cause immensely, should they prove to be the foes in question. We travelled to the temple..." Gareth grits hits teeth and stares at the floor until he regains control of himself. "As I said, " the paladin continues, "We have already been to the temple shown, and found nothing there, so I would put it as a place to check only at last resort. The dragon you speak of we call a Hydra... we slew the beast after it attacked us. Its lair was indeed an area travelled by the shapeshifters, but the gods instructed us not to wait but to return back to this village; therefore I also place this as a last to check location. I think we should stay together and go to speak with the shaman. As Malissin is our only translator, little information can be gleaned from the other villagers without him, and the shaman is most important now for confirming our story and locating the two 'shifters that have intended troubles for these peaceful folk. Perhaps if we can capture them, it will also add validity to our explanation. " Turning to face the group, Gareth unconsciously shifts into "authority mode" and briskly requests that all weapons be peacebonded to prevent even accidental problems from occurring. After bonding his own blades, Gareth once again faces the leader. "I thank you for your courtesy... it has been long since I have encountered such. know not what is an appropriate manner in which to express thanks and farewell, but for us it is a clasping of arms in respect... and to indicate that weapons are peacefully away." Gareth extends his forearm , ready to withdraw it should the action be deemed offensive.

The chief extends his arm as well, and clasps your elbow in a hearty hand/arm shake. The feel is strange but not unpleasant, sort of leathery, not reptilian as you would expect. He recoils not in the least, while pointing the way to the shamans home. You approach the shaman's hut (building 7) This is one of the more impressive buildings that you have past, decorated on the outside with iron candelabra, worn tapestries, and brass plates, all hammered intot he walls. He does not appear to be home at this moment. Speaking to wandering villagers, you glean no added information at this time, except for the general consensus that the goblins left the swamp decades ago. You are told that the various buildings in town are. School, armory, supper hall, worship hall, training hall, greater and lesser shamn huts, leader and subleader's homes, the well, totem, hunter's hall, fishers storage.

The knight performs a slow half-bow to the aged lizardman. "Greetings elder. My name is Sir Gareth Arr, a servant of Pikahl. Might I have the grace of your name? ...

Malissin translates the name as 'old one'

"We have been charged by King Arion of Dragonmeyr to travel the lands and determine if they are once again safe to travel for the average townsfolk. Allow me to explain how we arrived here. At the nearby human town that borders these swamplands, we discovered that, as good Caoimhin mentioned, the idol they held of their god Krahs had been stolen; I am certain you could imagine how devestated they were. We followed the tracks of the thief to your village, and there we saw the idol ...atop your totem pole veneration." Holding up a hand to forestall and angry denials, Gareth continues. "In spite of the fact that the tracks the led to here were those of your race, your people certainly did not seem acting like thieves. It was then that we were given divine guidance by Pikahl to lead us towards knowledge of the true thief., the one that tried to cause great problems between your village and that of the humans. There we met Jahl, a victim of the thief. Apparently, there is a creature or two that have some magic to appear as lizardmen and other races. Also, this shapshifter has often left people like Jahl and I believe other lizardmen as meals for a great hydra! We defeated the beast with the good gods' blessing, but saw no signs of its master(s). Then the gods sent a visitation to us, bestowing upon us these rings, "the knight removes a gauntlet to show the silver band, " and telling us to return back and challenge the evil force. A glowing creature we met along the way confirmed that your people were not at fault, but that the 'shifter either dwelled within your village or close enough to be thought so. Thus we return to find out the truth." Straightening his surcoat and medallion (in spite of the gibbled arm), the paladin lays the situation on the line. "And so lieth the situation. There are one or two within your camp that have endeavoured to disguise themselves as your people while removing true lizardfolk. The have framed your village as thieves of holy relics. With your wisdom, you can see how much that would agitate the situation with the humans nearby, to the point that conflict...bloodshed... looms a spectre on the future. I have noticed that you wear a ring similar to ours, and hold a position of great respect within your village. I would ask that we share knowledge and ability to restore this situation peacefully and bring the wrong-doers to justice. It might also be prudent if we shared information about worship and customs to better understand each other... especially if you can communicate with your god about the situation." Gareth spreads open his hands peacefully and clasps his amulet of faith, praying for goodwill and understanding.

Malissin translates as best he can

"The pretty appeared while we were dreaming sleeping. We awoke and it was as you see it. We have no want to war with the human settlers, and want only to be left alone to hunt and survive. We have never caused problems. Can you prove this claim that it was stolen? This does not look like out god, but looks instead like the fish in the sea. we know not why our god brought it here to us, but if you can find these " malissin stumbles over the word but guesses "shapeshifters" and prove your claim, we will allow you to lay claim to the pretty."

Caoimhin looks around the village, then turns towards the party. "Well, it seems the shaman isn't in just now; this is, I suppose, to be expected. Men -- or lizards, or whatever -- of magic are often much in demand. I think we would benefit by waiting here until he returns. Patience is its own reward..." He sits down, pulls a book from his pack, and begins reading, flipping a small stone from finger to finger as he reads.

After Jahl's little stretch he props his arms on his bent knees and scrutinizes the object in his hand. He flips it over a few times and declares in a soft voice to whomever is listening, "does anyone know anything about old coins? or perhaps previous kings before good king Arion?"

Caoimhin looks up from his reading. "I know many old tales, and some concern old kings. Might I have a look at your coin? I cannot promise anything, but perhaps the sight will stir some memory."

"I am afraid that coins have never been the greatest of my concens. If everyone is now finished, I suggest we pack up and walk around to find the shaman." Gareth rises, snaps his newly-cleaned tabard to display the golden hawk on azure, then shoulders his backpack. "Are we all ready?"

Barbaxle and malissin go hunt down the leader. he lets you know that the dining hall, hunters hall, worship hall, training hall, and the school are all places the shaman frequents. There is really not telling where he might be.He reminds you the village isnt all that large and you could probably canvas the entire thing in an hour or so.

Turn 61