Swamped Chapter 19 Page 13

“Well, it’s kind of gross,” Shorty begins.

“We’re in a swamp. Everything’s gross.”

“I think I saw a severed toe,” he says awkwardly. “A big one. Didn’t get a good look at it, because it made me wince, but there was definitely something there.”

“Unpleasant, but it doesn’t really mean anything. Crows are scavengers. Maybe one of them passed a corpse on the way and…”

You notice the disturbed look on Shorty’s face.

“Well, no need to get into the details. Point is, that’s relatively normal when you’re dealing with crows. I’ll head over and take a look at it, but it’s probably nothing unusual. Is that all?”

“Well, I could see the west guards from the roost. They were napping, and their gate was open. I thought we were on lockdown?”

“West guards? We’ve only got one entrance to the fortress, and it’s in the south. We don’t have a west gate, we have a west wall.”

“It looked like an open gate to me.”

Now you definitely need to see the roost for yourself.

“Right, you stay here, I’ll go take a look at this.”

You head over to the roost. You soon see the “big toe”; it’s just a chunk of carrot in some vomit. Still rather disgusting, but…

…wait, hang on. Crows aren’t fed carrots, certainly not this large. And the only food you get in here is swamp mush. Then where did this come from?

But that’s a secondary concern, because you’ve already looked at the west wall. What Shorty thought was a “gate” actually seems to be a large section where the wall has simply collapsed.

You look further down. You wish you had those long goggles that Bogknight scouts sometimes carry, but you think you can see a gaping hole in the ground under the wall. The muck around it seems to be rushing in.

The hell? Are there full-grown tunnelers under the swamp? You can’t think of anything else that could make a hole that size.

You rush to the roost’s alarm bell and sound it furiously. You’ll need to have a talk with Shorty later, but right now you’ve got an emergency.

Claws comes rushing up the ladder.

“Who’s sounding the alarm? What’s going on?”

“The western wall’s collapsed! There’s a hole under it! And the guards at it are out cold, or worse!”

“The hell… it has! What could even make a hole that big? And how did we not notice until now?”

“What should we do, sir?” you ask. “The base is on lockdown, isn’t it?”

“And we’ll have to lift it to check that out. Bah! I’ll go tell Razor, but it would make things a lot easier if we could catch that prisoner soon.”

You’re now Marshall.

The last hour or so has been a mess. First, a very intimidating woman asked you a lot of questions. Then Crook stopped by your cell in a panic. From what you’ve gathered, it seems Razor’s after you again.

Crook covered your escape, and led you someplace he said would be safe. But there’s a lot of Marshguards running around, especially after that alarm went off. They must be taking your escape seriously.

And just where did Crook take you, anyhow?

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the roost. they’d never look for a one-armed guy there!