HELSWANE DUNGEON QUEST TWO: LAIR OF THE POISONER Peace had been made, between the villagers and the strange arrivals steeped in their slavemasters' blood. Though fearful at first, the show of coin and the speak of common gods had thawed them a little. And whatever reticence remained had been dispelled by a mutual hatred of the goblins in the caves below. The natives were greyer-skinned than the heartlanders, and what little the adventurers could gather was that they were the offspring of fishermen and missionaries who had penetrated the island cliffs many many generations ago. There were settlements, in valleys and coves, all along the coastline, so these people were no strangers to other humans. By the end of the second day, the five newcomers had been more or less accepted... ...providing they paid good gold. And this they did, when not taking shifts to watch over Lindon. For though Mallow had healed over the two days, their Cleric friend had only grown worse. The poison was deep in his blood, and neither Darius nor Jace could relieve it. The locals called it the Taint of Vardig, a potent magical disease brewed by the Hobgoblins. And only one man in the village knew of a cure. So it was that they had brought Lindon to the house of Addison Dawnbreaker, a man of Pelor who saw to the people's ailments. * * * * * * Darius sat by Lindon's bedside, sorting his backpack, pushing inside the length of rope and two potions he had bought from the local vendor. He had kept his watch for an hour now, and kept his oath, sworn in the dark of the goblin stronghold, that he would stand by his allies come what may. Though servant to an uncertain God, Lindon had proved his loyalty, and for that Darius could not desert him. Even if he could smell the sea... even if parts of the towering cliffs seemed scaleable... even though his wife and children waited across the ocean with eager hearts. He sighed and pushed the memory away. It would serve no good thinking of them. Putting his backpack aside, Darius glanced at the feverish, twitching body of Lindon beneath the sealskin blankets, then reached for his mug of water. It was the best his host could offer, but there were petals floating in it that gave the subtle taste of cinammon. Together with the fresh crab he had bought from the vendor, he was feeling fit and rested. And ready to help his friend. "So..." the paladin began, as he fixed eyes on his host. Addison was on the other side of the bed, checking Lindon's pulse. He had the same look as the other villagers, but with paler skin. "You say there is a poisoner who holds the cure to this disease?"