In the morning, Kachen leads Tric and Heppa up onto one of the more stable stretches of wall so that they can look over the swamp and compare where they have searched so far. Tric expresses appreciation for what a good job Kachen has so far done finding where the shards are not. He considers not-finding to be an important and valuable skill.
Kachen questions them about technique and direction. “What led you here? Have you found one of these shards before?” Tric indicates that they knew there had been a battle at this location, which is why they came to search here, though he recommends they focus on shallower areas than where the halberd and the shield were. “So you have no means of detecting a crystal?” Kachen presses.
That perks Heppa’s curiosity. “Like what?”
“Elvish magics, perhaps,” Kachen puts forward.
Tric Manu expresses relief that he is not suggesting crystal-dowsing rods while Heppa thinks over a proper answer. She can barely get brambles to twitch reliably, herself. Detecting crystals seems far from anything she has ever even heard of the druids and sorceresses doing. “No,” she tells Kachen, “elvish magic is nature-based. It’s organic.” It is possible some other species that is more attuned to rocks and stones might have something that could find these crystals, but many are so secretive about their magic that no outsider can learn of it. “I don’t know what other magics might be out there,” she admits. “And obviously necromancy is a magic….” She considers that her father’s artifact might have helped them with this. “Are there any human magics for locating these shards?” she asks Kachen.
The corners of his mouth twitch up slightly, as though he is suppressing a smile, and then he replies, “Such magics very likely exist, but that sort of knowledge is lost to time. And certainly nobody in Wesnoth would have access to any of that.”
Heppa gets the feeling that he is concealing something he knows related to this topic. She wonders how long it takes for humans to “lose” knowledge. Thirty years? Is that enough? “Have you seen undead around here?” Heppa asks. “Or even evidence of existing undead in this swamp?”
Kachen nods. “Yes, I have encountered evidence that those who have fallen here are not fully at rest.” Hepalonia inquires whether that is what he is using as an indicator to find the control crystal. “That is why I suspect such a crystal is in this area, yes.”
“It’s a good theory, Kachen,” she offers. He then proposes that they all work together to cover more ground. “To what purpose?” she asks. “It is not like we can share a single control crystal…. Or can we? Can we break it?”
“I do not know if it would still be of any use after fracturing,” Kachen admits. “But if we, all working together, find one, we can examine it and determine if such a thing is possible. Do you intend to use it for some purpose?”
Heppa does not have an immediate response, because the answer seems so obvious: yes, of course. Tric Manu steps in to fill the silence. “We’re planning to study it for defensive purposes. Cutting it in half might be useful; then we can see what’s inside.” Heppa clarifies that they themselves are not the researchers, though. They need to take the crystal back to their scholar.
“Well, is there any reason we could not all do that together?” Kachen asks. “If you have a scholar who is interested in studying the shard, that might be somebody that it would be interesting to me to speak with.”
Heppa wants to stay out in the greater world, but the reality is that once they have found what her father wants, it makes sense to return home soon thereafter. What am I thinking, that I’m going to investigate all these mysteries while carrying around a necromantic control crystal everywhere with me? And Daddy would probably love to talk to somebody who might have knowledge on this topic. But it is one thing to send Marvin and Connie to the edge of Estbryn Forest for a trade arrangement. It is quite another for a human—and a somewhat off-putting one at that—to chat with her father in her family home. The village is pretty secure, though, and how much harm could such a sickly person do? Kachen might be tempted by her father’s scrolls, but there is no reason to give him access to the library. Maybe they could meet in some neutral location… Such decisions are way more responsibility that Hepalonia cares to bear. “I can’t promise anything,” she declares.
Tric softens the non-reassuring response. “Maybe we’ll find two. Or three. One for each of us!” he says encouragingly. With that somewhat ill-defined agreement in place, they head out to search the swamp.