Eventually the team is lead into the swampy marshes. This is the site of the Halfbridge, where a noble lord once attempted to build a bridge and was beset by bad luck and setbacks until he gave up. The water level is high and the team carefully picks their way over the unstable ground until Jacob sets his staff on a woman’s dead body.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, they also spot a basket floating on the water beneath the half-finished bridge. Goenall gathers his courage and climbs the bridge to free the basket so it floats down to where Halsa can collect it. Lord Cyneweard’s banner is also there, but honestly who cares because there was a baby in the basket.
Halsa immediately sets to tending its needs as the baby is very weak and near death. When the team tries to leave the swamp to get the baby to safety, they are stopped by a spectral woman who clearly claims the child as hers. Halsa tries to explain how the baby desperately needs care but the woman refuses to listen to reason. The woman attempts to stroke the baby’s cheek fondly and is confused when the baby screams in pain; her fingers are so cold that they have burned the baby’s delicate skin. She orders Halsa to touch the child and watches as Halsa’s touch brings no harm.
Through a show of compassion and intelligence (some would say luck and panic), Halsa is able to put the spectral woman to peace, and the body is dislodged so it can go downriver and rejoin with nature. The team rushes as best they can to exit the swamp and run back to Stamford. Elfeda and Aelferyd are summoned to help the baby, everybody gets a stiff drink, and the “not an actual druid” contingency gets sent back to town. Halsa, Jacob, and Goenall present the banner to Lord Cyneweard to his congratulations, get the more important congratulatory bath, and are prepared for the night’s feast and celebration.
- Attempt to cross marsh, to get to the remaining part of halfbridge
- Jacob pokes for safe places with staff and leads the way. Disturbs a wisp
- Goenal hears a noise from near (baby cry?) the bridge. sees basket
- Jacob finds footprint in muck
Wind makes lullaby sounds, Jacob sings along, goenal notices.
- Jacob dislodged drowned woman
- Reach other side.
- Goenal climbs tower and finds the banner of Earl Cyneweard of Three Rivers
- Looks and sees waterlogged baby in basket (barely alive), dislodges basket with staff.
- Jacob retrieves basket from water, gives baby to Halsa.
- Halsa sits and tries to help baby by removing wet items and warming baby and feeding it some milk.
- Jacob and Goenal notice a woman arose from the water and walk across it. (Not drowned woman)
- Woman reached forward and said “”/characters/caelditha" class=“wiki-content-link”>Caelditha is mine"
- Halsa asks to help the baby, gets stuttered reponse, then the woman approaches, and asks how.
- Baby is cold and needs warmth, woman touches baby, baby flinches. Woman pauses, touches baby again, baby flinches.
- Woman tells Halsa to touch baby, she caresses baby, baby doesn’t flinch.
- Woman walks back into the river, never taking eyes off the baby.
- As she enters the river she says, “Her name is ”/characters/caelditha" class=“wiki-content-link”>Caelditha"
- Group hurries back towards stamford pausing only to pay respects to drowned woman.
- Goenal runs ahead to get Damathair
- Damathair comes and handles the baby, makes goenal go get milk, jacob go get Demothen and head ionnthen, and halsa sit and tell the story.
- All come back, all tell the story to the elders, then get given hard alcohol (which goenal drinks to much of) then told to return the banner to Lord Cyneweard.
- elders take baby
- banner is returned, then the group takes a bath (it was very necessary, Lady Rivers didn’t like the smell of us)