Echoes of Invasion: Kachen Release | Scene 13

After working some more on the boar carcass outside of the keep so as not to disturb Kachen’s rest, Tric cuts off a hindquarter and swings it up over his shoulder. “In case we run across the saurian,” he explains to his cousin. “You wanted to see the bog iron, right? It would be a good peace offering.”

“Are you friends with the saurian now?” Heppa asks.

Tric shrugs. “We made a deal. It’s good to honor your deals. You never know when you’ll need to make another.” 

They wipe down the raft cum butcher block as best they can and set about carrying it down the hill to the edge of the swamp. Heppa brings the crystal along, just in case it does attract undead. That way Kachen can sleep in peace, or at least try to. She finds she is almost thinking of him as a friend. “You can be friends with the saurian,” Heppa tells her cousin encouragingly.

“You know, I could,” Tric agrees. “She looked malnourished, too. If we run into her, maybe I’ll tell her I changed my mind and she can eat him,” he jokes, nodding his head at the chunk of meat on his back. Heppa laughs. “It turns out he was pretty good eating after all.”

“Have you ever eaten human?” his cousin asks.

“No!” Tric replies, appalled. “Well, except for the times I’ve bit my tongue.” Heppa continues to hypothesize about how humans would taste compared to elves, saurians, or the hog, and wonders if the skirmisher would know. It is not a topic Tric intends to bring up if they do meet her again.

They get the raft in the water, and it occurs to them that they will just have to paddle it, since they no longer have the halberd. Fresh off her success with the crystal and discussions with a human mage, Hepalonia decides to try calling to the brambles with her elvish magic. She manages to get some to stretch out and twist around each other, forming a long pole that they can use to push the raft. “Take that, Mother,” she mutters under her breath.

“Whoa! Nice job, Heppa,” her cousin congratulates her. “That’s super handy.” 

They shove off from shore, and Tric guides them to a source of bog iron. Heppa happily defers to him as the more experienced scout. She knows he lies about some things, but so far he has proven himself quite adept in the wilderness.

Tric is a little worried at first. So much has happened since their first arrival at the swamp that he is not sure where that initial patch of bog iron is. However, after some looking around, he finds a murky area that is more brownish than blackish, indicative of the presence of iron. He plays up how superior this bog iron is to the previous find in order to stave off any questions from Heppa about the different location. 

His cousin does not care about the spot they are in, but once she sees the material, she asks what one does with it, forcing him to think quickly on his feet about potential uses. “Well, all the same things you do with regular iron, it just comes in a wet form. That’s why water dowsers would be interested. You don’t want to drink it, certainly not. And you don’t distill it, not exactly, but there’s a process… You have to build a proper forge to extract it. A chunk of bog iron would probably only get you a tiny pellet of iron. It’s not a good source of iron, it is just a source of iron.”

“Gathering this is probably safer than mining though, since you don’t have to dig anything up,” his cousin observes. Then she takes a sample in case the water dowsers back home are interested in studying it. Tric reflects that she would make a great water dowser herself, given her interest in this and the contaminated water issue.