The next morning I rose to a beautiful sunrise, stretching my back as I snacked on a biscuit. With a smile on my face, I inhale the morning air. Sometime in the night, I figured out what I am going to do. I am going to attempt to make peace with the Lizardmen. So with another inhale of the morning air I went to find Cora.
"Going to be gone a few days to take care of some problems. Please keep working on the wall. Build it about thirty feet from the shoreline as we talked about last night." Cora look puzzled, "I am going to try to talk to the lizardmen." I said, hoping to clear up her puzzlement, only to see her eyes get wide with surprise. I held up my hand to stop her from saying anything. "I'm not going into the swamp just to its edge. I have an idea and want to see if it works."
I went to find Kari. She looked like she was getting ready to head out to get herbs for health potions.
“Kari! Hi, I need you and Ann to watch over Safehaven for a few days. I’m going to try to gain us some time.” I said.
“Tarla can do that, and Ann is waiting for you at the east gate. We’re both going with you,” she said, “I already told Tarla and the rest.”
Shaking my head, “I thought I could sneak out and see if I can delay our fight with them or make peace. Guess I can’t fool either of you.”
She laughs, ”Wasn’t us that figure it out. It was Frigga. She pulled Hans aside when they were with the gods. Said there was a ninety-four point six percent chance of you doing this.”
I opened my mouth as she held up her hand. “She said there a fourteen point four percent chance your idea will work.”
Closing my mouth, I said, “Okay, show me the swamp entrance where you went in.” I followed as her as she headed toward the east gate, where we met Ann. I shook my head at both of them as I walk up to Ann.
After a mile of walking east down the North Road, Ann spoke up, “You have a plan?”
We walked in silence for a few more minutes, “I have an idea but have to get them to talk to me first. I’ll know more when we reach the edge of the swamp.”
As we walked, I kept seeing Ann and Kari looking and waving at each other, pointing at me. I finally stopped and looked at both of them. Shrugging my shoulders, “what do you two want to ask?” while looking at one, then the other.
Ann spoke up, “We were wondering about how you met your wife.”
“Oh,” I turned around to walk away, then stopped, sighing deeply.
“Marie joined my mother's Humanitarian Group, Helping Through Action. We would go into small villages and fix homes, dig wells, teach people to grow food and support themselves. My Mother is a Doctor and Marie had replaced the nurse that gone home. I happened to walk in, covered in mud from helping to dig a well by hand. I needed first aid to take care of some cuts from falling rocks. I think we both stood there frozen for a minute or two staring at each other. I never did believe in love at first sight until that day. We got married three months later. Our daughter was born ten months after that. Marie was by my side from that moment on until her death.” Feeling my eyes watering up, I started to walk down the road but stopped upon hearing Kari.
Kari turned to Ann, “what about you? Husband, boyfriend or girlfriend?”
Blushing, Ann shook her head no. “None, too much time getting a degree and trying to find a job until I was offered a position on board this ship. Botanist and land management. The resource was getting harder to find, and the food was getting harder to grow. With all the genetic researching forcing farmers to buy seeds every year. It became harder for the farmers, even the corporate farmers to survive. I'm hoping to be on a team that will help keep our new planet sustainable and healthy.” She began to turn red at both of them looking at her.
“What?!” she shouted, staring at them both.
Kari started laughing, “Eco babe! Wow, you are passionate!”
Nodding, I said. “Yeah, we’re going to need your talents in the colony to survive. We need to go.”
“Wait! It’s Kari turn.” Ann stared at Kari.
“Let just say I had a boyfriend, he was killed by a gang, and I survived.” Kari turned and started walking away down the road, passing me.
I watched her go, “Guess I not the only one to lose someone.” Glancing at Ann, I followed Kari.
Several hours later we were ambushed by three Bog Hounds. They look like Great Danes on steroids. Each one of the hounds crashed into us. One of the brutes snaps his jaw around my left arm, and I cried out in pain as I heard bone snap. The intensity of the pain nearly knocked me out. It took a moment to recover. But it was enough time to get my health down to half. Casting Flare, hitting it in the right eye, it turned into a misty form of itself and finally released my arm.
Scrambling back, I blasted another Flare into Kari's hound which had her pinned to the ground. She cast thorns on herself just as the beast turned to mist and fled to one side. I rushed over to her side and pulled her up.
“Guys…. a little help over here.” We saw Ann playing tug of war with her bow in the beast’s mouth. Kari cast a healing spell on me as I threw my third Flare causing fifteen points of damage to Ann's hound. It would seem they only took half damage as the beast dissolved into mist and turned toward me. Hearing growls from behind me, I glanced over my shoulder as the other two became solid. I rolled to my right as I prepared a fireball spell. Both of the beasts lept towards me as the ball of fire slammed into the chest of the closest hound. The blast knocked both of them and me back. Lucky for me, it made the third hound miss by inches as I rolled on the ground, smoking. I took ten points of damage from the knockback. The third beast gave out a yelp as an arrow slammed into its chest. Looking at the other hounds, I see vines entangling them. I cast Flare at the Bog hound that is nearest me, an arrow in its chest, killing it.
“You have…” I waved the prompt away as the other two beasts turn to Mist. Both Bog hound stepped out of the entangling vines, growling as they became solid again.
I cast Fireball just as Ann hit the one on the left with an arrow. Kari threw a bolt of green energy at the one on the right. The fireball faded away, showing two Bog Hounds dead.
I checked my prompts to see that I had made thirty experience per hound for my split. Several more prompt appear on killing the hounds.
Ann went to work skinning and butchering the hounds. She used her skills in getting a better quality pelt and more meat.
In all, we got three High-quality Mist Hides that could be used in crafting: thirty steaks and three potions of unknown type. I guessed I would need to get them identified when I got to the settlement.
1/2 damage from normal weapons (Mist Hide)
Turn to Mist for 1d6 seconds.
Surprised at the amount of information, I realized my Inspect must have raised again. I thought we might need to find some Bog hound pups to breed. If not for both Kari and Ann I would have died, had I been alone.
“You both okay?” I asked, looking at them as I held my left arm. Kari cast several spells to mend my bone, then healing me up.
Ann replied, “Just my pride I should have noticed them.”
Kari said, “Bog Hounds are hard to detect because they are part mist, making almost no noise. I ended up fighting one a few months ago had to kite it to survive.” She looked over the dead hounds. “All three of the young males must have been kicked out of a pack. Doubtful that there will be another pack nearby. They rarely run in the same area as another pack.” Looking around, she said, “The fact we were attacked outside the swamp means they are afraid to hunt in there.”
“Good enough for me not to go in the swamp,” I muttered as I rubbed my arm from the ghost ache of being wounded earlier. The rest of the skinned hounds faded away. If this had been real life, it would remain until something ate the rest of it.
We continued on our way watching for more Bog Hounds. I should have been watching the ground as I fell into a nest of twelve Swamp Spiders all about the size of a small dog.
Poison: 3 Damage per seconds for 30 seconds.
I killed one of them as I landed on it. Would probably have died if not for Ann leaping into the nest crushing another one. They were just level two creatures, so it wasn't too bad. Ann got bit by one, and Kari kept her heal as the poison wore off. I killed four of the spiders. Ann killed six of them while Kari killed two of the spiders between her healing Ann. Six Spider-meats, three hides 72 spider legs 24 spider silk and two sets of leather armor and two daggers, plus 14 copper pieces. Also, we got two goblin skeletons that were in the leather armor. The skeletons crumble into dust when we touch them.
“Gema and Kas could wear the armor,” I commented, putting the armor into my pack.
Ann stated, “The spider silk makes expensive clothes that can hold magic. But they are also sought after for bow strings.” Looking over at me, she continued, "If there is one nest here, there are more. Could be good revenue for the settlement."
“Good to know.” I reply, "You can hunt them if you want. I’ll just tax you." Grinning at her.
"Where is your sense of adventure?" She threw her hands up and looked at the sky, laughing.
"Okay, you two less flirting and more watching," Kari growls.
I snuck a peek at Kari to see if she was annoyed or jealous. She was already turning back down the road.
After five hours, we reach the wayside east of Safehaven, just as the sun was setting. Kari got a fire going while Ann scouted around us.
I sat there in meditation and felt a flicker of power at the wayside. Getting up to look around, I could feel parts of the wayside was broken where the stones were smashed. I spent several hour hours to mending the wayside. If I stayed a few more days, I could make a nice safe place for a traveler. I found the rune carved into the center stone. I studied it for an hour to gain a level in Runes. I closed my eyes and poured mana into the rune a brief flare of blue light engulfed the wayside before disappearing.
|Ward of protection III.
Ward of Holy Word II.
Ward of Warning I.
All three wards were powered for twenty-four hours.
Looking over my mana, I saw that I had lost thirty points left.
I looked at the three wards with my inspect.
Wards of protection keep all level one to level five creatures out for twenty feet in diameter. Ward of Holy Words II kept all level three to six undead out and destroyed level one to level two undead. The Ward of Warning gave all the people inside the Ward a buzzing feeling when someone enters or touch the Ward. I guessed I would have to come back to learn this for the Settlement. But before I could do anything, I fell to sleep.
The Next morning we ate a good meal and headed Southwest of the Wayside toward the Swamp. We avoided several more Swamp Spider nest and marked them on our maps. Slowing as we came to the edge of the land that leads into the swamp itself, we saw nothing but grass and water and trees, some living some dead with moss and vines hanging from them. The smell of rot and saltwater hung in the air. The swamp was a mixture of swamp and marsh grasses that seemed to strain the seawater from the fresh.
Looking for the right place by the edge of the swamp, I directed my elemental to level a four hundred square feet area near the water edge. Then I had the elemental dig out the steps along one length of the level ground down to the water. I placed one post at each corner and cast light on them. For the next three hours, I set the stones in the ground as a foundation floor, then laid some stones on the dirt steps.
At both the East and West ends, I raised two columns. Each column was two feet thick, rising to twelve feet high. I placed a rough serpentine of stones up and around the columns. Then I made a rough shape of a serpent head facing away from the swamp. In the center, I built a shrine. I was prompt.
|Do you wish to make a shrine?YES//NO?|
I sat down and chewed on a grilled wolf steak. I was tired.
Kari looked at me. “Get some rest while we will keep watch and wake you when anything happens.”
I awoke at dawn to find myself surrounded by lizardmen. I didn’t see Ann or Kari anywhere. I sat up and saw two of the tridents cover in blood. The blood was slowly fading away from the blades.
An old lizardman crouched before me staring at me for a long time.
“Why you build this?” he demanded, waving his hand at the shrine.
“For peace,” I said while staring at his crocodile teeth.
“Peace,” He spatted, “You bring war! Shoot an arrow at Kumua!” Thumping his chest.
Three Tree Clan
Pointing at his shoulder holding up an arrow. "You people," he spat on the ground, "Shot me!"
I pulled out a crossbow bolt carefully and placed it on the ground in front of him. He spat again and hissed, backing up as the guards pointed their spears at me. They advanced until a bone tip spear point was just inches from my face. I was trying very hard not to flinch.
Kumua hissed them back. He looked at the crossbow bolt on the ground, then at the arrow in his hands — " Yours?” while pointing at the bolt.
“Yes, mine.” I nodded, pointing at the crossbow bolt on the ground, then pointing at the arrow in his hand I said, ”not mine.”
A few minutes passed as he crouched near me showing me the arrow. Looking it over I see that it had a bone arrowhead, I point ”bone,” pointing at mine, “metal.”
He moved off to watch the sunrise. He was about six feet in size and thinner than the warriors around him. They all looked like crocodiles that walked upright. Kumua wore a cloth hood that had bones and feather hanging from it. Just like the warriors around me, he was wearing bone armor on his front that covered his lower body and tied around his back. The skin on their back looked like thick, scaly ridges like armor that ended at the tip of their tail. Where his tail was not covered, the Warrior had a leather bracer like covering at the end of the tail. It had long sharp teeth sticking out of the leather like a weapon. I didn't want to be hit by that. The Warrior looked to be about seven feet tall and broad in size. They carried a bone knife at their belt. All ten of the warriors were holding a trident made of wood, with three prongs of the trident was a sea serpent tooth, each over a foot long.
|Trident of the Swamp
+30 MIGHT to Impaling into an object
2/3/4 Damage per second while impaled.
Thirty minutes later he stood and motioned me to rise, then pointed at the shrine, “Why you make that?”
“For peace. I did not want war, and we do better working together. I built this as a gift.” I said. “Touch it." I put my hand on the shrine, declining the prompt again.
Kumua touched the shrine. His eyes got big, and after a long moment he said, “Jörmungandr.”
A carving of a sea serpent swallowing its tail appeared on the shrine.
I was prompted.
|Do you wish to complete shrine? YES/NO?|
I scrolled through the menu until I found a large serpent twining around the column. Its head was on top of the round column. I pressed “yes” as both columns begin to change.
A gasp escaped from all the lizardmen upon seeing the changes to the shrine and columns, and they all dropped to grovel to the shrine. I tossed a silver into the water basin, and as it disappeared, I received +3 MIGHT.
After a few moments, the Shaman stood up and bow as five large lizardmen stepped out of the water. Each was wearing scale armor made of metal with spears or tridents. They made threatening gestures at me and argued with the shaman. Several minutes later, two of the lizardmen spat at me and left back into the swamp.
“Three tribes have accepted the shrine for peace. But two tribes seek war. If your tribe survives the war and come here, we will discuss trade then. I am sorry we killed your females; sadly I was not able to stop them, but I was able to spare you.”
“Thank you; I am honored you saved me. I am Jack Stonewright,” I said, bowing to him and the three clan chiefs.
“This shrine goes a long way to peace between us,” he said, waving toward the shrine. Turning and signaling the warriors to leave, Kumua followed the leaders back into the swamp.
|Three Tree Tribe reputation +20 (+0), Wary
Green Moss Tribe reputation +20 (+0), Wary
Stone Rock Tribe reputation +15 (-5) Untrusting
Black Claw Tribe reputation -20 (-40) Hostile
Swamp Gas Tribe reputation -20 (-40) Hostile
Hostile, Untrusting, Wary, Neutral, Friendly, Trusting, and Ally. Seemed to be the layers of the reputation needed to get the others to at least go to neutral.
They left him standing. Pulling out his stone, I found thirty messages on the communication stone. Then I heard Kari's voice from the stone.” Jack! Are you there?”
“I’m here,” sounding tired, “sorry about your death.”
Feeling a sharp pain in my back and chest, I look down seeing three points of a trident sticking out of my chest. In shock, I watch as my health drops to one. "This is how I ensure peace.” Sars pulled the trident out.
|You have been killed by Sars of the Black Claw Tribe!
Black Claw Tribe reputation -1 (-41)
|Black Claw Tribe declare Raid on Safehaven!|
|You will spawn in one hundred and sixty-seven minutes.|
Everything faded to white.
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- Wasola Mo
Bio: Disable Trucker with lots of time on my hands and little money. Been a gamer PnP, wrote some tournament game in the 80s and 90s, play Everquest, and was a guide. Played WoW, LotR and a few others. After caring for my mother until she past away in 2016. I was hit with three blood clots that took away my ability to walk far or drive far. Fell in love with a wonderful woman and with Gamelit/Litrpg books.