Swamped Chapter 5 Page 13

You consider asking about some of the medical equipment in the room, but you don’t feel you’re alert enough to remember any sort of complex technical information. You decide to go more social.

“Why did you join the Bogknights?” you ask. You feel a bit awkward, as Cindy’s the first person you’ve asked that of, but you can’t deny it seems a bit of a strange choice for her.

She seems a bit taken aback for a moment.

“It’s… it’s hard to explain. It’s as though the swamp was calling me. Asking me to come here. That’s how it was for most of us, really. I suppose you’re just an exception.”

“Calling you?”

“Asking for help. I don’t know what else to say. If you didn’t hear the same call, well, it’s not something I can make any clearer to you.”

You don’t quite understand it, but you can’t help but be reminded of your father. Did he hear the swamp’s call, too? And if so, why isn’t he here?

Suddenly, there’s a loud knock on the door.

“I’ll get that,” Cindy says. “Should be back soon.”

You sit back and wait. You can just barely make out some words in the distance.

“Yes, what do you… oh. Yes, sir, right this way.”

A moment later, Cindy comes back in, accompanied by a very tall, imposing man. He wears a swamp-green cloak over his armor, and carries a large, crooked stick. You’ve seen that in picture books before – a wizard’s staff.

But he looks like no wizard you’ve ever seen. His eyes look stern, yet kind, and he seems only middle-aged at most. Rather than a lengthy beard, he just has a thin, black mustache.

“I’m Captain Long,” he says, not waiting for any sort of proper introduction. “I want you to know that I greatly regret what has happened to you. As commander, I bear responsibility for all decisions made by officers on this base, and I thought you should know what I intend to do about this grievous, grievous error that has cost you your arm.”

He turns to Cindy and waves her away before taking a few steps closer.

“To begin with, the immediate fault is clearly Sergeant Burgundy’s. It is possible that you disobeyed her precise orders, but that is irrelevant; she never should have ordered someone so new, and unfamiliar with the rain, into danger in the first place. Consequently, she has been given a temporary demotion, and will take on the duties of a private for the next three months. At that time, I will decide whether to reinstate her, or whether further disciplinary action is required.”

He steps even closer, and sits down in a chair next to your bed.

“But assigning blame is not a solution in and of itself. The more important question is what we will do to prevent another such accident – one that could have easily gone far worse. Many knights have asked that we start speaking openly of the rainspawn to new recruits. I will hold a meeting of the officers to discuss this, but in all honesty, I do not expect this policy to change. That said, I can promise to absolutely forbid allowing recruits who have not been explicitly warned of the rainspawn to leave the base if there is any report of rain.”

At this point he turns to look you directly in the eyes.

“But all this talk of punishment and future policy must be of small comfort to you now. The damage has been done already. So, let me tell you what we are able to do as financial compensation, slim comfort as that may be. If you wish to remain in the Bogknights, you will be granted fifty gold pieces in injury payments every month, in addition to your regular monthly salary. We don’t really use money on base, but it could be nice when you go on leave. Or, if you wish, you may resign from the force, and leave as soon as the opportunity presents itself. In that case, you will be given one month’s salary and five hundred gold pieces. The choice is yours, and yours alone. And you need not make it now. I simply wished to let you know the specifics.”

He stands up, and turns to you one last time.

“I believe that is all. Do you have any questions for me before I go?”

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Ask him if you can talk to him later if you need to.


hot dang I wanna be a swamp wizard

We should ask if he knows anything about The Dad


And how can you contact him?


Author’s Note:

This is the first time the call of the swamp comes up. It’s something I’d thought up before starting this story, but I hadn’t really had a chance to bring it up before.

The basic idea is that most of the Bogknights feel a strange homing instinct for the swamp. We’ll hear more about this later, but this was the first chance I had to introduce it.

As for Captain Long, I honestly don’t remember at what point I decided that he had a cloak and staff and basically looked like a wizard. I just thought it would be an interesting direction to go in.