Swamped Chapter 5 Page 12

“What happened with the prisoner?” you ask.

“Well, I wasn’t told the specifics, but, ah. I can guess. The Marshguards are mainly exiles. Some of them don’t handle being captured well, because they spent time in a prison before coming here. We don’t usually keep prisoners in cells during the rain, as they’ve got enough to worry about already, but even so… well, anyhow. I can’t be sure if that’s the problem, but I’ve seen it enough times.”

She looks a little nervous.

“Oh, I’m sorry. I’m rambling again, aren’t I.”

“It’s all right,” you say. “I don’t mind. What’s it like being an apprentice medic?”

“Well, I wouldn’t say it’s easy. I don’t usually have to go out into danger, but I do see a lot of wounds. Even if John looks after the worst cases, it still takes a toll.”

“I’m thinking about what I can do here with, well, with my missing arm. Wondering if I could handle training to be a medic. Maybe it’s a bit soon to be thinking about that, but, well, I haven’t got a lot else on my mind right now.”

“Hmm. Working with one arm would be hard, but a lot of the time I think it could be manageable. Maybe you wouldn’t be able to handle everything, but if you weren’t working alone, that might work out.”

She seems more comfortable now. Evidently, she likes talking about her planned career.

“Is everything going to be all right? This is the first rain I’ve seen here, and, well, you probably heard that. How long does it usually last, and what happens when it clears up?”

“Well, we had the big storm a couple of weeks ago. So this should be cleared up by morning. The rainspawn will disappear, back to wherever it is they go when it’s dry, and then we try to survey the damage. Find out who’s dead, on both sides, and what they broke in their rampage.”

“It sounds rough.”

“It is. Sometimes it seems we fight the rain more than the Marshguards. And I have to say, I’m a bit worried – we don’t usually get rain again this soon after a storm. It feels like an ill omen… I want to say it’s just pure chance, but it’s hard to believe that when the rain is involved.”

“What do you mean?”

She sighs.

“I imagine you’ve heard about by now, there’s a fear that speaking of the rainspawn brings the next rain sooner. I don’t – I don’t want to believe it’s true, but it’s hard not to be afraid of it.”

She seems to be getting nervous again.

“And, well, that’s not the only story going around. The rainspawn are so fearsome, and we know so little about them. How can we not come up with rumors trying to make some sense of them?”

Cindy takes a deep breath.

“I’m sorry. I shouldn’t… I shouldn’t be talking like this, after what you’ve been through. It’s true that the rain is a hardship on us all, but most of us haven’t lost limbs to it.”

“It’s all right,” you say. “Right now, what I most need is someone to talk to. About anything.”

“I understand. I know I’d be terrified if I were in your position. You’re holding up well, considering what happened.”

“I suppose it’s mostly that the pain has stopped,” you say with a one-shouldered shrug. “That, and I always felt a bit useless around here even when I had both arms. So I suppose I just don’t feel that different.”

“Well, I hope you feel better, both physically and in self-regard,” Cindy says. “I don’t really know much about you, but I do know it can be hard to find your path in life. I know it took me a long time to realize that what I really wanted was to be a medic, help out others in need.”

She seems lost in thought.

“Anyhow, we’ve got about an hour before someone brings your dinner by. It might be John, if he’s managed to calm down the prisoner, but even if he’s busy you’ll still be able to eat. What would you like to do while you wait?”

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Can you give me a pseudo-tour of the medical area? Like point at each of those weird medical thingies on the wall and tell me what they are and what they do?

Let’s hear about her life history. Why did you join the Bogknights, Cindy?