Swamped Chapter 32 Page 30

You’ve got a little time. You decide to stay out of the way. If the compass starts acting up, you can just rush out and warn whoever’s coming.

You listen very carefully as the footsteps converge. Well, this sounds like trouble.

You hear Rider. He’s warning everyone else about the gateway.

That sounds like your cue. You might be all right staying under here, but you’d rather play it safe. Besides, you have to get your notes out.

The lizard-worm’s starting to flail a bit. It doesn’t seem frightened, but it seems disoriented. Maybe this is the gateway starting to open?

Well, you don’t have time for regrets. You just pull yourself out, grabbing the worm’s tail.

“You want to give me a hand?” you ask Rider. “I figure it’ll be better if we take this thing out of the floor when we go back.”

You glance at the assembled group as Rider pulls the lizard-worm out. You recognize Rivers, and that kid from the laundry cart. You also recognize the woman with the claws. And… you’re not sure if you saw the last one. Maybe you caught a glimpse of him once or twice.

The clawed woman is some distance back. You tear Rivers’ note out, since she’s right here, then toss the whole book at the clawed woman. You’ve got more notebooks back at camp.

“Got some notes there to give people,” you say. “Since I’m not planning on coming back here. No offense, but this whole place stinks.”

She doesn’t seem to know how to respond. She seems to settle on just running off before the gateway hits.

“So what’s with the crowd here?” you ask Rider, as he lifts the lizard-worm out. You can tell he’s taken aback by the regrowth, but you can explain that later.

“I drew more attention than I was hoping,” Rider sighs. “I’ve already warned them, so anyone who gets too close has only themselves to blame.”

Well. This is it. You’re heading home, at last, after what feels like the longest day in your life.

Not that you’re clear on just who’s coming with you.

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Hmm… Howsabout Shrike?

Marshall (with a mask), obviously.

Corvus is going so Mudviper gets the council seat rather than him, even if he hasn’t managed to resolve the Starling and Jackson conversation dilemma.

Rivers considers following Corvus, but decides to stay (mostly because of Starling).

Starling plunges into the room and drags Rivers into the gateway with her at the last minute anyway (thankfully they both have masks with them).

Author’s Note:

I don’t know just how long I was planning to stall when my one suggester at the time wasn’t willing to answer this question a while ago and I started on this sidetrack. It ended up being four months.

Overall, though, I’m pretty happy I took the detour. I was able to introduce greblings and show another side to some of the events going on in the Marsh Fortress. It wasn’t what I was expecting when I started this section – I was just expecting to show some events at the Bogknight base. But there are some scenes here I’m very happy with.