Swamped Chapter 36 Page 7

“Why didn’t you intervene?”

You were honestly expecting that, even though you’re groggy.

“Wanted to listen. Hoped to find out who they were, to report them once way was clear. Changed mind when I heard they were planning to start… mutiny? Is that word?”

“You don’t know what it means?”

“Not exactly. Not word I have heard often. Believe it is bad.”

“It means, essentially, a takeover attempt. We get them occasionally. A group that thinks leadership is too strict tries to attack Council members, we fight them off, and then dismiss them. We don’t see a lot of them because, if you’re banished from the Marshguards, you really don’t have anywhere else to go. It’s not something you risk lightly.”

“They also said they were working for, what was the country, Kandria, I think.”

Razor doesn’t show any reaction.

“I didn’t ask what you heard yet. But thank you for volunteering that information.”

He turns around for a moment.

“Stinger. Do you miss your homeland?”

You feel a little sick.

Razor’s question immediately calls up a hundred painful memories you spend your days trying to block out. What was done to you. What you did. Who betrayed you. Who you betrayed. The countless excuses you fed to yourself about how you didn’t have a choice.

It was a miserable place, and you put yourself through hell trying to get away with it. When you can pull yourself away from the pain, you answer him honestly.

“Yes,” you say.

Razor looks at you very carefully. He can see the pain written on your face, the truth behind your answer.

He nods in understanding, then hands you a sheet of paper.

“I believe this is written in your own language. Can you read well enough to tell me what it says?”

You glance at the paper. He’s right – you know this language well, and your old life forced you to learn it better than most in your country.

What does the message say?

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It’s…it’s a magic spell.

“Magicians” were common in your country. These people claimed to have dark power and the ability to curse those who they disliked. If you didn’t pay them due or show them respect, it was said that misfortune would befall you. Of course, the more prominent magicians had persons under them who could make that misfortune happen.

The paper contains a curse, strongly worded, but not unfamiliar. It prophesies destruction if the proper sacraments are not made to the one who called forth the curse.

Most of the time these are signed with a seal or sigil, something to let the recipient identify who to pay sacrament to. This one is burnt where the sigil would be.

You’re not too superstitious but…something like this…it’s unnerving.

At least this is the only one floating around…right?