As the three outsiders were forcefully shoved out of the massive western Elder Village gate, the small jester’s magic returned to him in the form of a sudden and violent coughing fit. The man fell to the ground immediately, and his hoarse squeaky coughs grated Mu’s ears familiarly. Hoisting the entertainer up from the ground, the three continued their trek away from the gates.

“Hey, so why exactly did those people think the sword would be attracting magic to their city? They never really explained that. I mean, I don’t fully care, but it seems like that might be important information for me to know,” Mu asked out loud, thinking about the sailor they had encountered that yelled something along the same lines.

“I’d be lyin’ if I said I was well read on magical weapon ‘istory,” Sheila responded while scanning the landscape around them. “Ye know, speakin’ o’ that, I think I might remember somethin’ about a village o’ priests that worship the god who made that there sword.”

“Right! They lived in the Elder Forest! It’s supposed to be a forbidden area, but…” Mu paused, looking to the north east at the forest’s tree line. “But we could just beat up anybody that tries to stop us, right?” he asked rhetorically with a grin from ear to ear.

“I like the sound o’ that, sure!” Sheila chimed. “Let’s just ‘ope the village still exists.”

Their small jester’s coughing fit petered out in the background of their conversation, and finally came to an end after a few more minutes. When the three had traveled west sufficiently to escape the gaze of any guards remaining at the gate, they changed direction to the north, to start their arc back towards the forbidden forest.

********

“I’ll warn ye, if the rumors be true, then leave the fightin’ to me. Undead can be nasty little things, they can!” Sheila lectured, clearly proud of her experience in the field.

Sheila’s lack of humility completely entertained Mu, as he had always been raised to keep his achievements and strengths hidden. The warrior stayed silent during their journey, as the abnormally tall woman continued her rant about all things undead-related. Their jester attempted to chime in throughout the monologue, but Sheila made absolutely no room for others to speak, and the small man simply gave up after an hour or so.

By the time the three arrived at the tree line to the Elder Forest, the sun had set, and tall shadows extended deep into the region. The whole area felt a little bit off to Mu, and the three slowly edged their way past the initial shrubs and grasses slowly, while the hairs on their necks stood straight up. For all of Sheila’s experience with undead, she did not seem even the least bit prepared for whatever this was.