Swamped Chapter 75 Page 8

You head on over to Jeb. You’ve got more of a rapport with him, after all.

“Hello,” he says, somewhat blankly. “Looking for spiritual guidance? Or does the Director just want my latest results?”

“Actually, I’m here about Jeremy,” you say. “Or rather, the unusually quiet group he brought with him.”

“Ah,” Jeb says. He seems even less enthusiastic than he did a moment ago. “That would be the so-called Protectors of Life. Not bad folks, at least the ones I used to know were just fine. But more than a little bit odd.”

“Protectors of Life?”

“That’s the name they give themselves. They’re… well, they’re sort of like mercenaries who only take jobs from the clergy. I don’t know how else to describe it.”

“What sort of jobs?”

“The most common one is serving as security when a priest has to go on a diplomatic mission. The church has its own guards for the main temple and other important sites, but they don’t have enough to spare. So the Protectors fill that gap for a modest fee.”

“Any idea what they’re doing here, besides serving as backup for Jeremy? He seems to have gone missing, and they don’t seem all that concerned.”

Jebediah shrugs.

“No clue. I recognize a lot of them, but I also haven’t seen those people in years. I only know what they tell me in letters, which tend to be sparse on details.”

“How about their leader? You know anything about him?”

Jeb pauses for a good long while.

“I did know him back when he was a guard here,” Jeb finally says. “Not too well, though. He was never very talkative. But there was one thing that stood out about him.”

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He was unusually interested in bird noises.