Swamped Chapter 1 Page 5

You wonder if the Marshguards might know anything of your father, but you’ve got no idea how to phrase the question. Frankly, you hadn’t given much thought to how you were going to investigate once you got here.

And it’s not as if you’re likely to get more information out of him than the Sergeant was. If he does know something about your father, he’s not going to tell a Bogknight trainee about it.

So you decide to start with a question that’s been bothering you since you saw him.

“Why purple?” you ask. He returns your question with a baffled stare, as though he’s wondering if you really know so little.

“Really, now. You’re wondering why a company of exiles and outcasts wears the color of shame. I’m sure the great poets have spent many sleepless nights pondering that question.”

In truth, you hadn’t known much about either side, only that the Bogknights were recruiting. You assumed that the Marshguards were representing another kingdom, and that the whole conflict was a territorial dispute that the respective rulers didn’t actually care that much about because it was just a smelly old swamp.

But asking the prisoner who already thinks you’re an idiot doesn’t seem like a productive way of learning the political background you’ve awkwardly inserted yourself into. So you decide to bluff and act as though you were asking something else.

“What I mean is, it stands out against the swamp, doesn’t it? Brown and green everywhere. I’d think that would make it harder to hide.”

“We don’t need to hide,” he snaps. “This is our swamp. The armor protects us and it’s waterproof, that’s all we need to fight you bastards.”

“Must come in handy when it rains,” you say with a smirk.

Judging by his expression, he doesn’t think that’s funny. Neither does the knight wandering the deck; he walks over to you, his face barely containing his rage.

“Let me be clear on this, newcomer. You never joke about the rain,” he says. “Especially not when we’re all still recovering from a month-long storm. Do I make myself clear?”

“Yes, sir. I’m sorry.”

Not even a day on the job and you’ve already managed to embarrass yourself by breaking unwritten rules you never tried to learn. Bored or not, you decide to keep quiet for the rest of the trip.

The sun has started to set by the time the barge reaches base, thankfully without another ambush. The prisoner gets locked up, no doubt to be questioned further tomorrow, and you’re given a simple, rather unappetizing meal before being shown your quarters.

You’ve got about an hour before you should get to sleep, considering the time you need to wake up for training. You might like to use it to learn more about this conflict you’ve gotten yourself mixed up in, or perhaps just to talk with some of the people you’ll be spending the next six months with. Or you could just go to sleep now and get as much rest as you can.

How will you use your time?

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Suggestions:

fuck up some more, you fuck-up

Throw the closest object in sight at the tallest object in sight

Get more sleep.

you don’t need to learn anything more about the people you’re with, the people you’re fighting, the place you’re in. just get some rest! if there’s anything important you need to know, you’ll find out without really trying

get as sleep-deprived as you can.

Author’s Note:

I was very glad for the suggestion to comment on the weather. The rain was one of the few things I had planned at this early stage, and this gave me a chance to start leading up to it.