Swamped Chapter 34 Page 10

You see no reason to hold back the truth.

“We are here to provide aid to my comrade, who has come down with desert fever. Once we can treat him, we intend to leave as soon as possible. We are not in this particular region of the desert by choice – we came from the swamp, through a gateway that we do not fully understand.”

The man on the ground seems to pause for a moment once you mention the swamp. Then he chooses to speak, rather than scrawl.

“Vahad ridus,” he says, and you realize you know those words.

“Saren… giol?” you say. “I apologize if my pronunciation is off. It’s been ten years since your last message, after all.”

He nods. You withdraw your lance. He stands up, and motions to the others to lower their weapons.

He goes over to his desert horse, and pulls out a quill pen and an empty scroll from a pouch.

Matters are not yet settled, Marshguard. As I recall, you are still in our debt.

“We are. But, you have not yet made a request for us to fulfill. I ask for safe passage for myself and my comrades, and by the time we leave the desert, I will personally settle not only the old debt, but this new one as well. Is this acceptable?”

He shakes his head.

I am but one man. I cannot speak with the force of the whole tribe. I can pass your message along, but it will take time for the elders to consider it.

“Unfortunate. I am in a hurry. As I said, my comrade is suffering from the desert fever, and I must aid him as soon as possible. I need passage for this wagon now. Is there any way you can grant that to me? You have my word that I will repay you for it before I leave.”

I would risk the anger of the elders. I mean no disrespect, but it will take more than your word to satisfy them.

You thought as much.

In truth, you know little about this group. The Marshguards have had a line of contact to them since long before you joined; but messages between the two groups have been very infrequent. You didn’t even realize they were desert-dwellers.

Still, you know enough to have some idea of what their leaders will want from you.

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Shoot, they probably want rainspawn information or samples… not exactly the best time or place for you to provide that now!

Maybe they’d be satisfied examining Marshall’s arm.


Your animals. Or at the very least, your animal handling skills. It would give them the upper hand in skirmishes.