Swamped Chapter 17 Page 15

“I want to know what’s up with your little crew here.”

He gives you a look like he doesn’t know what you’re talking about.

“Your group. Most of you haven’t been in the Bogknights more than a year, you included. So why’d you decide to team up?”

“It was Dean’s idea,” Jackson mutters.

“Then why did he pick all of you? I know you bring the rope talents, but what about the rest? Especially Marshall, who’s been here barely a week and already lost an arm. Why pick a bunch of newmucks?”

“We weren’t planning to go in this deep. Dean was planning to get in by himself. He figured if we were caught, new knights would be punished more lightly.”

“But you must have had some skills that made him pick you out.”

“I’ve got my rope skills, plus I know the layout of the swamp better than most newcomers. Walter was there for his patrol expertise. Tom Tenth brought his shield, which we figured might be useful for rougher waters.” He glances at the shield in your hand. “Guess it caught your eye, too.”

“I’m sure you Bogknights won’t have much trouble finding him a new one,” you say. “So what of the others? We have Mary Baker and Marshall in custody, and I know you had another teammate who slipped away. Why’d Dean want them to come along, and was there anyone else?”

Jackson gets quiet.

“All right, one question at a time, then. Who’s the girl who got away?”

“Her name slips my mind,” Jackson said. “Good swimmer, that’s about all I remember.”

“And what about Mary Baker?”

“She’s good at throwing and catching. Guess Dean might have had some plans there.”

“Good, good. Now. What about Marshall? Why was the newest member of the Bogknights, who’s only got one arm, brought along on this mission?”

Jackson doesn’t seem to want to say anything.

“I don’t know,” he finally concludes. “It was Dean’s idea. Why don’t you ask him?”

“And were there any others in your group?”

“Don’t see how that’s your business.”

“Well, if they were lost in the swamp, I’d think you’d want us to help find them. It’s much safer in here than it is out there. Why, who knows what sort of trouble your swimmer friend might be in already.”

“I think she can handle herself.”

Well, this seems to be a dead end. You’re not really getting a sense of who to ask about the library, either. Maybe you can use this as an excuse to question Dean, though. You’ll need to find an officer you can get permission from…

It suddenly strikes you that Jackson’s tied up with rope.

And chances are, nobody in the Marshguards knows their way around a rope like he does.

The thought comes to you just in mind to get your shield ready to block as Jackson’s ropes fall to the ground and he rushes at you.

Now what?

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well, you’ve got the defensive advantage what with the shield and all. if this is going to be an old-fashioned fist-fight, your best bet is, all pun intended, rope-a-dope.


Oh ho, not this time. After you lost the first time, you spent hours working out in your cell, since you had let your routine go during the month long rain. You’ve been keeping that routine up when you’ve gotten the chance. The second time, you were dealing with a skyslicer blow to the head. And both times, you’ve ruminated over exactly what you should have done, and how your opponents fought.

This isn’t a surprise attack, you’re not dealing with head injury. And you are NOT going to let him tie you up to the shield he thinks you’re going to prop up against. The cell door is locked, his only real option for escape is to tie you up and coerce you into opening the door.

Plant the shield hard in the ground and step back. It’s unlikely he’s truly unarmed. He’s not foolish and wouldn’t have let go of the best weapon someone could have given him. You recall he was right handed, so the attack should come from your left. Wait for either wrist or rope to show itself, then grab it, and PULL HARD. Get up close to him and pin his hands to the ground.

Then you can continue your questioning.

Why did Marshall come anyway? He’s been curious about the marshguards – even feigned that dumb leg injury to talk to you. Did Mudviper have something to do with it?

Maybe you can get Jackson to be a little more cooperative. You’ll keep his little escape attempt a secret if he keeps a secret for you: That Marshall came by to chat with you while you were imprisoned at the bogknight base, and seemed pretty interested in the Rider and what was over here. Maybe he wanted more than to help you all “apologize”.