Swamped Chapter 13 Page 3

Smoke.

Fire is an ever-present danger here in the swamp, and even more in the wooden halls of the Marsh Fortress. At least back at base, most of the walls are stone.

But you happen to know that it’s not just fire that can produce smoke.

The last time you were home, you found a bouquet of mistflowers waiting for you. You never did figure out if they were from an unknown admirer, or a would-be prankster who didn’t know you that well.

The flowers collect a lot of moisture, and when enough pressure is applied, that moisture is released as a beautiful white mist. That’s when they’re in the fields that they normally grow in, of course. If, on the other hand, they sit by an open window in a swamp for a month or two, they tend to pick up a good deal of other particles. Enough to make the mist greyer and dirtier.

You knew you’d have a use for it some day, and now seems to be the moment. You pull out the petals you’d been saving and start pressing on them. They disintegrate, leaving a mass of what seems to be smoke in their wake.

That should keep the guards distracted for a while as they try to find the fire. You start making your way to the roost, carefully watching and listening for guards.

It’s quiet, though, probably because of the attack. You soon make your way to the ladder leading to their roost.

Now you have another problem, though. If anyone is in the roost, they’re bound to see you climbing the ladder. But last time you were here, they didn’t have anyone disciplined enough to fit the role of Postmaster. You can’t be certain the roost is occupied.

So how can you find that out without climbing up or giving away your presence?

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Suggestions:

Bird calls. The right one should send the ravens into a tizzy. If someone is up there, they’ll shut them up quickly.

Climb the ladder as fast as you can and hope the roost is unoccupied. Keep your eyes peeled for a boot or something heavy flying towards your face!