Swamped Chapter 72 Page 10

Jeremy pulls a sketch out of his pocket and waves it in your face.

These relics,” he says. “I’ve seen them in this camp before, but I couldn’t prove where they were from. Until now!”

It takes you a little bit to interpret the drawing.

“These just look like cages. What’s special about them?”

“They have been blessed by Reth! What more reason do they need?”

“Well, look, I know the ways of the gods are beyond mortals and all,” you say, making a very limited effort to sound humble. “But why bless a cage?”

“Supposedly, because some legendary figures escaped from them,” Yvonne says suddenly. “But I can tell you we didn’t get them from the mountains. We got them in the ruins of an old city, one we haven’t figured out the name of.”

Jeremy’s face turns pale.

“But they’re supposed to be in the mountains! Look!”

He pulls out a weathered scroll, with another depiction of the cages.

“Maybe they were at one point, but if they were removed, it wasn’t by us.” She looks at the scroll. “Hang on. Just what language is this in? I don’t recognize the script.”

“I… I don’t know, my source didn’t say. They just provided me with a translation…”

You stare him right in the eyes, which is probably very intimidating given your relative height.

“And just who is this ‘source’ of yours?”

“A concerned servant of Reth. They didn’t tell me their name, and I didn’t see a need to ask.”

Of course he didn’t. He doesn’t seem the sort to ask questions when they’re inconvenient for him.

“Well, either they’ve uncovered a previously unknown language or they gave you a forgery,” Yvonne says. “So have you got anything proving it’s real?”

“My faith in Reth tells me it is real!” Jeremy howls. He definitely wasn’t expecting this.

“Well, it’s not my place to question where you put your faith,” Yvonne says calmly. “But what’s the church going to think if you’re claiming faith in this scroll and they have reason to believe otherwise?”

Jeremy doesn’t even respond. He just scurries away. Dominique arrives just as suddenly.

“About time you shook him off. We’ve got a lot to talk about.”

Yvonne looks a little bit pained.

“I suppose we do,” she sighs. “Step into my office and let’s get this done.”

You follow her in. Dominique seems annoyed. The two of them don’t seem to like each other much, but for some reason, the dislike seems more pronounced now.

“Rider ran off when I told him about the prisoner trying to kill him, then Marshall and Captain Long disappeared trying to follow him,” you explain. “I got the details as best as I could from a talking lizard, which I promised to feed, and also I found a strange sphere buried in the ground.”

“And I have a theory as to what that was for,” Dominique interjects. “Based largely on the ring you found.”

“Ring?” Yvonne asks. “Oh, right, you were saying something about that a while ago.”

“Right. The ring was weirdly heavy. I asked Dominique to have a look at it.”

Yvonne turns toward her.

“So what did you find out?”

She starts explaining what she already told you – the ring is mostly useless as a magical item but has a distinctive ether signature and a trained wizard could identify it from a long way off.

“But there’s one other oddity about it as well,” she says.

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The way the metal was forged matches distinctly modern techniques, and can be traced to its manufacturer.