The truth is, you were quite the reader back at home. Your father had amassed a significant number of books before he went missing, and you had little else to do when your chores were finished.
But you’re hardly feeling confident right now. You decide to act ignorant. If nothing else, you can pass yourself off as a quick study, and get some kind of good reputation.
You tell the medic you don’t know how to read, and he hands you a picture book. Much to your relief, it isn’t swamp-themed.
However, you have a moment of shock as you realize that you actually can’t understand the title. The medic smiles as he sees you struggle with it.
“This is A Simple Guide to the Alphabet. We find this is good for beginners. It’s pictures of things that begin with each letter, you see. Helps you to recognize them and connect them to a sound. See, here. A is for apple… B is for burnwood… C is for coalcrab… Let me know if you need any further help.”
As he reads through the book, you start to grasp what happened. Your father’s books must have been from his homeland, and in his native language. But when he read them to you, he spoke his new language. You learned to recognize most of the symbols by the words he used, and so you never learned to properly read in your own tongue.
But on the plus side, you’ll be an excellent translator if any books from Kroska pop up here. Not that you expect that to come up, but you need to take optimism where you can find it.
You pore over the alphabet book again a few times, then glance at a simple reader. You’re starting to grasp the basics, at least.
You are a Marshguard. You’ve been captured by the Bogknights.
It shouldn’t have happened. Six on three should have been an easy win. But you were out of practice after a month indoors during the damned rain. Now you’re stuck in this stupid cell, with even worse food than the recruits get.
But then, you’re used to hardship. You wouldn’t have come to this swamp at all if you’d had a real choice in the matter. Most Marshguards are exiles, criminals, or runaways, living in the blasted swamp because they’ve got nowhere else to go. You’re no exception.
What unfortunate event ruined your old life and forced you to flee here?
you learned to read
You lost your nerve.
Wait are we purple guy? Just yell until they make you shut up
I was still getting started, but I felt like I had gotten a good enough sense of how things worked in the Bogknights for the moment. So I wanted to show things from the Marshguard perspective for a little while, both to show the audience and to help me pin things down.
Only one Marshguard had actually appeared so far, so I opted to start with him.
This marks the end of Chapter 1. Technically, the second half of this page fits better in Chapter 2, but I wasn’t thinking in terms of chapters when I started writing these, so we’re going to get quite a few awkward divisions like this.