Swamped Chapter 48 Page 18

They take a turn onto a winding road, which seems to be heading downward. Deep downward. Somewhere in there, it turns dark; your “guides” don’t seem especially concerned, though.

When you can finally see again, you can barely believe your eyes. You’re in a cavern, but it looks more like a garden. The light seems to be coming from some of the plants.

You get carried over to a corner, where you see an old woman hunched over at a large canvas. She grunts something as she turns around, and the one-armed woman puts you down in front of her.

You notice your two captors backing away as the old woman approaches.

Then you hear, of all things, a crow.

“Hmm? This is the one?” the old woman asks, in perfect Common. She seems to be talking to her canvas. “Well, then. Before we get on with this discussion, you need to apologize for senselessly attacking my Gertrude.”

She steps aside, and you can clearly see the crow drawing from before. It seems agitated, probably because you… dispelled it? You don’t really know how this works.

“I’m sorry,” you say to the canvas. “I didn’t know what you were. I thought you were attacking me, and I panicked.”

The crow caws again, then seems to vanish into the distance.

“She accepts your apology,” says the woman. “Not very gracefully, but that’s just how she is. Now, with that settled, we can move on.”

The old woman sits down.

“You are Marshall Laikenne. You joined the Bogknights in search of your father, who went missing seven years ago. You were captured by the Marshguards as part of a ploy to prevent an attack on your base, and while you were in the Marsh Fortress, you convinced one of your guards to help you escape. Then you found yourself dragged through a mysterious gateway to this desert. Since then, you’ve learned that you possess the potential for magic, and you’re here because you were in a scoundrel’s wagon when I had Archibald bring it to our mountains. Now you’re wondering how I can speak your language and how I know all this.”

“I’m guessing magic has something to do with it,” you say. You’re too stunned by the whole demonstration to really take it in.

“You were willing to tell me all of that, so I know it already. Saves time that way. I don’t really have other questions right now, so you go ahead and ask yours. You’ve got a bunch of them swirling around, after all.”

She’s right about that. Where do you even begin?

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Can you teach me how to do that?

Why did you want the wagon?

What was the fighting about back there??

Why is that giant mushroom winking at me???