Swamped Chapter 17 Page 5

It occurs to you that Sieve’s left you an opening to change the subject.

“Hang on. What’s this about an empty seat?”

“You mean you haven’t heard?”

“I’ve been in debriefings all morning. I’m not exactly up-to-date.”

Sieve’s getting excited. He figured he wouldn’t get a chance to tell anyone, no doubt.

“So last night, during the raid. Long challenged Rider to a one-on-one fight. Now, you know how that’s gone before; with Long flat on his back. But this time was different, you see.”

“Different how?”

“Long challenged him to a fight at the Knob. And what a fight it was! I saw it with my own eyes. Long held his ground like I’ve never seen before, got in a couple good hits even. Now, of course Rider’s no amateur, a couple of stumbles won’t knock him off his game, no. And he was ready to hit back hard. But!”


“But Long, he stood his ground, staff planted firmly against the hill. Everyone thought he was just bracing himself… but it turns out, he was preparing a spell! I told you that man really was a wizard!”

“A spell? You’ve got to be kidding me.”

“Saw it with my own eyes! There was an explosion, a cloud of smoke, and then they were both gone. If that’s not magic, then tell me, what is it?”

Magic! There have always been rumors about Long, of course, but you always assumed that was just an act. He wanted to give the impression he had that kind of power, just to keep the Marshguards on edge. Surely he doesn’t really, though; no one’s seen a real wizard for decades.

“Rider’s gone,” you say. Even hearing it a second time, it’s still hard to believe. You still sound just as surprised as when Viper told you.

“Mudviper thinks she knows what happened. Not that she’ll share her ideas with the grunts, of course.”

“Who could possibly replace Rider on the council?” you ask. “Who would even be so arrogant as to assume they had a chance? There just wasn’t anyone else like Rider.”

“Well. Crosswinds thinks they could. And many’s the time I’ve heard Doc and Keeper muttering together about how it’s a shame Mantis is the only support officer on the council.”

Keeper gives Sieve a glare, but not too harsh of one. He knows, just like anyone else, that any information Sieve hears is essentially public knowledge.

“We’re both far too busy to add Council business to our workloads,” Keeper says. “What we’d really like is if there were more recruits with the skills to do our jobs. But, it’s not as if we can really do much active recruiting.”

“But if you had a sympathetic ear on the Council, maybe they’d be able to do something,” you say, in realization. “We’ve got some contact with the outside, could tell them we’re looking for another medic.”

“That’s what we hope for. Unfortunately, Mantis doesn’t handle the same sort of problems we do, so he doesn’t really see it as a priority. I’m glad we have him, mind; Doc’s a wonder, but she’s no good when it comes to matters of the spirit.”

“Seems to me like you’d have an idea who you’d like to fill that seat.”

Keeper laughs hoarsely.

“Maybe we do. Maybe we already made a recommendation to the council. What’s it to you?”

Well, you’d like to know who it is, for one thing. Seems like you’ve got to push Keeper for info, but he’s not going to part with it readily. Especially if Sieve’s still around to blab it all over the base.

How are you going to approach this?

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Offer to do something for him if he tells you the sweet deets.


you know what this is, right? it’s seedy smoky backroom electioneering. you have to convince him or doc that you will be the best representative of his interests… without letting him know you’re running for office. you will need to be a master of subtlety and glad-handing. good luck


Wait it’s not Requiem is it? You’ve been polite but you can’t hide the fact you think they’ve done a terrible job as postmaster. Sure, everything at the fortresses is in shambles but the rookery has gotten even worse. Mantis put Requiem in that position because he thought it would be a cushy job for his pet disciple. Ugh.

You could probably get rid of Seive if…oh hey it’s Shorty off in the corner. Shorty doesn’t know anything about the fight with Rider better go tell him Seive (sorry shorty)