Swamped Chapter 9 Page 14

You decide to go for stealth. You’ve already got what you need to improve your chances.

For starters, you’ve got a dead rat. You grabbed it to use as bait for the adult flies while you harvested the eggs; but it occurs to you that they’d also make a good diversion for the marshguards.

And Nina happens to have a crossbow.

You tie the pouch with the rat to one of her bolts and make a hole to let out the stench. Nina fires in the direction of the guards, intentionally aiming for the water. Then you start rowing away.

You can already hear the buzzing as the flies swarm the carcass. You can also hear the panicked shouts of the Marshguards behind you. They’ll be too preoccupied to notice your boat, especially as it’s still dark.

It’s not long before you reach the breeding grounds. You fill as many nets as you can with eggs, being careful not to break them.

Then you head back to the barge. You don’t have time to raise the lifeboat, so you just leave it in the water; it’ll have to be retrieved later, after you report on everything. The Captain’s going to want to know about what happened.

You make your way back just a little before the deadline. You toss the nets at the greatrat pile while everyone else stands back, and before long the poison does its work. There’s nothing left but greatrat corpses.

You talk with the other squads and agree to just leave the corpses for the burrowers. It’s not clear what you should do about them just yet. They’re not likely to collapse the hill, and they won’t harm anyone so long as you keep a safe distance, but the tunnels they’re digging might allow in more unwanted guests.

Still, that decision isn’t really yours to make. The officers are going to have to contend with it. Just as well, you think; you’ve had enough problems to deal with in one night.

You also write up a quick report to the Captain explaining your acquisition and use of fly blood toxin for pest control, and that the Marshguards may mistake this for an attempt to use poison as a weapon. While you’re at it, you draw a quick map to where you left the boat so you don’t have to retrieve it.

Finally, once all the rooms are checked for holes and stray greatrats, you head to your room so you can get some sleep. You recall volunteering to share your room with a displaced knight if it’s needed, so you’re not that surprised when you find Tom Eighth on the floor with a sleeping bag.

“There’s greatrat piss in my room and they told me it’s best if I stay out until it’s cleaned up,” he grumbles at you. “So, they sent me here.”

“Well, they’re right. Greatrats carry all sorts of diseases. Wouldn’t want you forgetting about that puddle in the middle of the night and stepping in it and catching something nasty, right?”

Eighth doesn’t say anything else. He just lies there. You can tell he’s not in much of a mood to sleep, but he’s had a busy night himself.

“You can have the bed if it makes you more comfortable.”

“No,” he mutters. “I’m fine here.”

You decide to let it go at that, and just head to sleep. Hopefully you won’t have another night like this for a while.

It’s mid-afternoon. You’re Marshall again, and you’ve just woken up after last night’s ordeal. Everyone’s schedule has been thrown off by the alarm, not that you have one formally any more.

What are you going to do with your day?

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Suggestions:

You’ve done a lot of training, and working, but the action last night confirmed one thing for you: you can still fight.

There’s still the decision to be made, however, about if you want to stay or not…

You’ve heard people talk about the “call of the swamp”…is that what your father heard?

Grab your equipment and seek out Burgundy. You want to go outside.

 

Ask an officer what they want you to do! Help with closing a burrower hole???