Swamped Chapter 3 Page 5

You shift uncomfortably in your seat, which doesn’t escape the medic’s notice.

“Anything you say to me stays between us,” he says. “I want to help you, Marshall, and to do that I need to know if anything is wrong.”

“It’s just… I know so little about this place. I feel like a fool every time I say something.” You look down at your feet. “I don’t even know what all the fighting is about.”

“I don’t think any of us really know that,” he chuckles. “But if you know so little, and you feel so uncomfortable here, why did you come?”

You breathe out a deep sigh. You haven’t wanted to talk about this, but he’s promised confidentiality.

“My father disappeared seven years ago. He was fascinated by this swamp and the stories surrounding it. On the night he was last seen, I saw a bright green swamp beast on the outskirts of town, and I wasn’t the only one. Because of Father’s, well, obsession… I couldn’t help but think there was a connection.”

“Bright green, you say.”

“And then, when I came to the city, I heard stories of the Rider of the Swamps. A fearsome warrior mounted on an emerald-green swamp beast. Every description I heard of the creature made it sound like the one I’d seen so long ago. But nobody in town really knew more, because no one ever visits the swamp…”

“Except for the Bogknights’ suppliers and new recruits. So you signed up hoping to find your father here. Perhaps that he would be the mysterious Rider of the Swamps, is that it?”

You nod a little sheepishly. It sounds silly now.

But the prisoner said the Rider had taken an interest in you… a fact which you don’t feel ready to share with the medic. You just aren’t sure what to do about it.

“Well, I can tell you that the Rider is real enough, and fighting on the Marshguard side. Not much more than that, though – we’ve only gleaned a little knowledge of how the Marshguard command structure works, and most of what we do know is classified. Not to be told to just anyone.”

“Oh.”

“But I can tell you the Rider’s been around for more than seven years. I doubt it’s your father. I can’t say for sure the Rider wasn’t involved in his disappearance, though.”

You feel overcome by emotions. You’ve been keeping so much to yourself that it feels good to just tell someone about it. You stand up and give the medic a hug.

“Thank you,” you say quietly. “For listening, and for telling me what you could.”

The medic smiles at you.

“I can do more than that, if you like. If you want to go back, I can arrange that. As for your father, I’ll find out what I can and pass it along to you. Of course, you’re welcome to stay here and continue your training if that’s what you really want; the choice is entirely up to you.”

What do you say to that?

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Suggestions:

Despite making a fool of yourself so much, you’ve already made better friends here than you ever did back home! Stay!!!!

I mean, if the swamp turns out to be a real dead end there’s nothing to say we can’t leave later, right? But in the meantime we’re learning valuable life skills like how not to drown in a god forsaken swamp, reading in our native language, and so on that we aren’t gonna learn back on the farm.

Plus what’re you gonna do when you get the message “Oh hey, found your dad, he’s in the swamp after all better get back down here” from the medic? You’d just have to turn right around and you wouldn’t even be prepared for swamp adventures.

Learn a cool medicine thing from the medic also what’s medic’s name

(here I note that I will consider name suggestions even if I don’t specifically ask for them)

The Medic’s name is John Two-Hundred-and-Sixteenth.

They run through a lot of johns

Author’s Note:

After setting up the question “is Rider Marshall’s father” in the last update, I immediately introduce a fact that makes that highly unlikely. I don’t think I had settled yet if I was going to go with “Marshall’s father inherited Rider’s role” or “Rider is somebody else” – this was still early and I wasn’t entirely sure where I was going with the storyline. But at the very least, I wanted to complicate the answer a little.