You almost can’t work out what you’re seeing – it’s too close. You slip back in and pull up your goggles before looking again.
You turn back and put a finger to your mouth. Dean nods, and motions to everyone to move further back.
You do, and watch carefully. The Marshguards soon come into the bushes and find the dead bear.
“What the hell is this, a bear? Since when does this swamp have bears?” one of them asks. You recognize him as the one who was captured when you first arrived. You don’t think you ever caught his name.
“I’m more worried about what killed it, personally,” says a shorter one.
“It’s not hard to guess, Shorty,” said a third guard, with noticeably tall legs. “We just had rain a few days ago. This is more than likely the work of the rainspawn.”
“I wish you wouldn’t just, y’know. Mention them.”
“That’s stupid. They’re the most dangerous thing in this whole damned swamp, how can we not talk about them.”
“Quiet, Legs,” the first guard says. “This is definitely not the time to argue about that again. Greeneye, is this about where you saw some movement?”
“Yeah. And I doubt it was this bear-thing.”
“Could be scavengers,” Shorty chimes in. “Maybe we scared them off.”
“Or maybe there are intruders. You know, like the ones we’re supposed to be keeping watch for?”
You feel a tap on your shoulder, and turn to see Walter. He’s holding up his fists and giving you a questioning look. Seems he wants to know if you’re ready for a fight.
Yes. you don’t have a choice, really. Think tactically, is there a place where you can flank them, maybe wait for them to get through a particularly narrow bottleneck and surround them?
I forgot we never named that marshguard! He was a courier for merchants (particularly unscrupulous ones)…perhaps even from Dorvin, before the mail-birds were set up.
He keeps in good shape and has command of a squad that reports to Rider. His name is Corvus, a reference to his old occupation, and a tribute to the clever birds who even in flight seem covered in tar.
These marshguards, you recall, tried to kidnap you once before . They take orders from Rider and know he wants you caught – maybe have even figured out why.
You don’t want to fight them. Your team could take them but you couldn’t stop them from recognizing you and possibly giving away your relationship to the most feared man in the swamp. You remember how Walter reacted when he just saw the rider. How would he feel knowing he had been protecting his son?
You don’t think you can stop your group from going for it though. Stacy’s already slinked into the water. You ready your skyslicer and hope to knock the leader out in a single blow – he’d recognize you the easiest after you feigned an injury to chat with him. Dang though, he looks like he has done lot of push-ups. You’re not sure you can take him.
And no one in your group notices Greeneye scouting from afar. ooor maybe she’s just right there.