Swamped Chapter 21 Page 6

“Well, for starters, ‘heard’ is kind of simplifying things. You feel it everywhere. Nothing smells quite right, you feel out of place, kind of dizzy… well, okay, I was pretty drunk when I first felt it, so it’s hard to say where the one began and the other ended. Maybe it’s not always quite that bad. But I didn’t feel quite right until I stepped into the swamp.”

Razor looks thoughtful.

“Did you know right away that’s where you were headed? Or did you have to work that out the hard way?”

“I knew I needed to come to the swamp. Didn’t know why. Of course, I had a few close calls with the merchants before then, so I probably would have ended up there sooner or later just out of desperation. Thought about joining the Bogknights, but I figured they’d never take a wreck like me. Might even have handed me back if the merchants demanded it.” You let out a weak laugh. “Besides, I’d heard the Marshguards had decent booze.”

Razor smirks.

“Ah, yes. You joined right in the middle of our crackdown, didn’t you.”

“Yeah. Just my luck. I want some good hard booze right when you’re taking it away. I don’t think I was even all that surprised, honestly. It was about how my whole life had gone up to then.”

You shake your head a bit before continuing.

“But things were a lot clearer once I got here. Sure, I was still a total mess, but for the first time I could remember, I felt like I was home. Wasn’t a great home, but it was what I had.”

“So, the call of the swamp is a sense of homesickness for this place?”

“Yeah, that sounds about right. Don’t know where it comes from, but somewhere deep in my heart, I love this stupid stinky craphole filled with deadly beasts.”

“Interesting,” he says. He’s looking thoughtful. “Is that all you have to say on it?”

“Well… for a while, I fought the call. Tried to go anywhere but the swamp. But it just got worse and worse.” You don’t know that you want to mention that Ash fought it harder than you ever did. “I feel like if I hadn’t listened and dragged myself over here, I’d have gone mad.”

Razor seems to be taking it in for a while.

“Good, good. Now, I think I have just one more question for you at the moment.”

Oof, you’re not sure you’re going to like this. What could he be planning to ask?

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How would you deal with a traitor?

Author’s Note:

Whenever I reread this, I find lines I wrote years ago that I still like a lot.

“I love this stupid, stinky craphole filled with deadly beasts” is one of them.