"Hmm, fair enough," Ella says with a sweet smile. "I hope you enjoy your stay tonight, m'lord. And good luck with your business. 'Tis a...dangerous time to be traveling the wilds." With that, she goes back to serving the other customers.
"I were trying to find a permanent path through the place," the fiddler said. "They say roads don't stay for long, what with the changing seasons - ices and thaws, flooding, and whatnot. But I think there's more to it. Place seems to defy navigation. 'T ain't natural. Y'know, they say them marshes is the site of an ancient battle, long ago, betwixt no one knows who really. Maybe Old Drenheim warring with each other, or the tribes of old before that, who knows. But mark my words, a fell power holds sway over that place. Best watch yer step if you go there.
"As far as I know, ain't no one fool enough to make their home in them swamps, 'cept the beasties of course. Hags, hydras, slimes, spiders, ice toads and the like. Odd goblin war party now and then. If you've a good navigator, you might avoid such trouble altogether. All the same, make sure you're well stocked with weapons and other gear. Any trek in there's likely to be nasty. Avoid the winter witch, the marzanna called Dorcha. Never seen 'er meself, but if the tales be true, she's a force to be reckoned with in them swamps.
If you stop in that little hamlet just afore ye get into the swamps, be on yer guard, some queer folk livin' there. Probably livin' in the shadow of Fuar Dubh's addled their brains a tad. Not a dangerous place, just...odd. I'd sleep their with the doors and windows locked, if you know what's good for you. Now that's all the advice I got fer ya, methinks...thinkin' about that place is not a happy thing for a cold night." With that he hides his face in a deep mug of ale.
"Yes, yes, quite interesting," the mage says quickly. "Official business in a tavern? How...interesting. Yes, quite interesting. Of course, I won't ask you any more about it, it must be quite important. Yes, yes...well, now, if you excuse me...quite tired, time for sleep, and all, you know?" The mage downs the rest of his wine almost instantly and shuffles quickly up the stairs and out of sight.