Your life went to ruin years ago.

You were a courier, delivering messages between a number of merchants. They had a whole network of couriers like you, youths who had never learned to read.

It had apparently never occurred to them that one of you might pick up the skill on the job. You couldn't quite understand the full context of the messages, but the overall pattern to them was disturbingly clear.

Not that you did anything, not at first. You were smart enough to realize what they'd do to you if they found out, so you kept your mouth shut and kept working.

But you couldn't keep that up over time. Each message was a reminder of what you were involved in, what you couldn't stand to be involved in any more. Yet, you had no way to fight it.

No way, except to run away from it all. And the only place beyond the merchants' reach was this stupid swamp.

The worst of it is, you're the first prisoner taken since the last rain. The other cells are empty, leaving you no one to talk to except your captors. And you've got no inclination to strike up a conversation with them, not least because they're trying to get information out of you.

As if you know anything in the first place. The only thing you know that they don't is that you had orders to take the new recruit prisoner. You've got no idea why this rookie soldier is of any importance to the Marshguards, or even how your commanding officer knew there was an incoming recruit at all.

You don't especially care about the reasons, either. Inquisitive types don't generally last long in the Marshguards, seeing as nearly everyone there has secrets they don't want dug up.

This is probably why they've barely bothered to question you. They know it won't do them any good, so why waste time? You'll just rot in here until after the next rain.

You tried yelling for a while, just to make a general nuisance of yourself. But you soon found that just made your throat tired; they didn't give you any more attention for it, not even to try to shut you up.

So what are you going to do with yourself while you wait for another cursory interrogation where you don't tell them anything?
exercises, exercises, you must do your exercises
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it's time for that prison break you've been planning and preparing for for months. you're the best at everything so it'll be no sweat
Why are they bad
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make sure you've got enough spit stored up to hock a proper loogie at your interrogators
You realize that you're facing another problem aside from the boredom. The main reason you're here in the first place is that your whole squad was out of practice. If you just sit here all day, you'll be out of shape to boot.

So you spend your time doing whatever exercises you can manage in this stupid cell. You can't do much in the way of actual combat maneuvers, seeing as your weapon's been confiscated and you don't have any sort of opponent to face; but you can do push-ups, and that's something.

It's not particularly entertaining, though. Just tiring. You lie down on your cot once you're done, too worn out to do anything except think about how satisfying it will be to spit in the face of your next interrogator.

Granted, you'll probably only get away with that once. Everyone's got waterproof masks, after all. But damned if you're not going to make the most of that one opportunity.

Suddenly, you hear a very light knocking coming from one of the walls. Huh, someone actually gives a damn that you got captured? You take a quick glance around to confirm there are no guards and knock back with the "all clear" signal.

Another round of knocking indicates your conversational partner is Shorty, one of your squad members. He must have decided to hitch a ride on the barge after getting knocked into the muck yesterday.

Well, you might be able to get out of this cell sooner than you'd hoped. A few more knocks confirm that Shorty's got no chance of getting in unnoticed, but he can find a way to sneak some small things into your cell so you can take care of the rest.

So you just need to think about what to ask him for.
(01-12-2016, 10:32 AM)AgentBlue Wrote: »math.

ask shorty to bring you your homework, which contains the mathematical formulas that you'll need to solve to calculate the trajectory on which you'll spit a proper loogie directly into the face of the next guard
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But why are you taken prisoner
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A double-decker wedding cake. You can hide all sorts of things in that!
(01-13-2016, 06:20 AM)AgentBlue Wrote: »A double-decker wedding cake. You can hide all sorts of things in that!

Marry Shorty to sell the story
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(01-13-2016, 06:22 AM)Papers Wrote: »
(01-13-2016, 06:20 AM)AgentBlue Wrote: »A double-decker wedding cake. You can hide all sorts of things in that!

Marry Shorty to sell the story

But you are married to Shorty!
Anniversary cake??
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Unfortunately, you fail to think of any remotely useful ideas. You knock back and tell Shorty that you have no particular requests, and you'll just leave it up to him.

He knocks again to acknowledge, and that's the end of the most meaningful conversation you've had in a while. Maybe if you're lucky, Shorty will get himself caught with a reckless plan and you'll have someone to talk to.

Seems you sent him away just in time, as a guard comes along with your evening meal. You let loose a good wad of spit right then, getting you a nasty look as she shoves it in your cell and walks off.

You can't think of much else to do in here, so you just eat your near-tasteless mush and then go to sleep.

Could be worse, you suppose. You could be some poor sap caught out in this stupid swamp in the middle of the night.


You are now a poor sap caught out in this stupid swamp in the middle of the night. Who are you, and what are you doing?

I'm running for my life away from a creature I don't recognize
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you are a sap golem, birthed from the great tree at the center of the swamp. You were just playing with your sap golem friends but you got separated and now you don't know the way home.
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You're Legs, and you've been sent to find out where Shorty and your other squadmate ended up.
You were looking for rare herbs. Now you're just lost.
Your name, out here at least, is Legs. It's not one you care for, but then, it's not like you cared for your old name either.

After your failed ambush, you had to swim back to shore and meet up with the rest of your squad. Unfortunately, your squad leader was not among them, and as he was the last one you saw up there before getting shoved off the barge, you had to assume he's been captured.

Shorty is also unaccounted for, but Greeneye said she saw him slip onto the barge. So he'll either have gotten himself found like the clumsy oaf he is, or he'll be running around getting in over his head on a rescue mission.

And Rider told you to find out just what the two of them are doing, and to bring them back if feasible. You're the most senior remaining member on the squad, after all. This wouldn't be so bad if you had the rest of the squad with you, but Rider also insisted that this is a clear sign you're all out of practice from the rain. So, everyone else has had to go into immediate remedial training.

Hell, you'd be happy just to have Greeneye here to navigate. You took a wrong turn somewhere and you've got no idea where the Bogknight base is. You've got half a mind to just wait out the night until someone finds you in the morning, but then you'd be looking at either another lecture from Rider or the inside of a cell, depending on who found you.

And, of course, it's not safe to stay out in the swamp at night. You can already see something moving in the water nearby, and you have no intention of sticking around long enough to find out what it is. You paddle away as fast as you can, not so much heading in any particular direction as just looking for the nearest walkway.

When you find one, you climb on immediately. A few seconds later, you hear a loud chomping sound, and look back to find your raft in pieces.

Gods, you hate this swamp.

At least you're near what passes for civilization around here. The walkways don't build themselves, after all. You take a closer look at the path beneath your feet; it doesn't look like it's one strong breeze away from falling apart, so this must be Bogknight territory.

Suddenly, you hear footsteps approaching. Someone on night patrol, no doubt. You'd better make a move fast if you don't want to get spotted.
Climb down and hang onto the underside of the walkway
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Leave something for them to trip on
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Climb a tree.
Your first thought is to scramble below the walkway, but a sudden and distinctive hiss suggests that's a worse idea than risking capture. So you scramble upwards into the nearest tree's canopy instead, watching and waiting.

In your haste to flee, you knock down a vine and leave it hanging across the walkway. A patrolman soon comes along and nearly steps on the discarded vine, but notices it just in time and picks it up.

Hells. They're shining the lantern towards the trees now, probably trying to figure out where it came from. You hide yourself deeper in the leaves, not daring to even look - they might catch a glimpse of your eyes if they did.

Then you remember the raft.

If they're looking around thoroughly, they're sure to see its remnants, and there's no chance for you to do anything about it now. Your only hope is that they mistake it for driftwood. If they go on full alert, you're definitely in trouble.

After an agonizing few minutes, though, you just hear their footsteps on the walkway again. You grant yourself a sigh of relief before peeking out to confirm that yes, they're moving on.

Even better, from here you can clearly see the Bogknight base. It's not as far as you feared, though still a good distance if you stick to the walkways.

When you see the patrolman walk far enough away, you take a chance and climb down, moving carefully and deliberately. It wouldn't do for your footsteps to expose you, after all.

As you get closer, you slip into another tree, hoping to get an eye for when the next patrol approaches.

Unfortunately, Shorty panics and screams as you enter what he thought was a good hiding place. You clap a hand over his mouth, but the damage has likely already been done.

"It's Legs, you damned fool," you whisper at him. "I'm here to find out what happened to you two. Though I suppose I'd best drag you back now that I've found you."

He pulls your hand off.

"Not without the boss."

You roll your eyes.

"It's not worth the trouble. Sooner or later we'll take one of theirs prisoner and then we can bargain for him back. It's his own damn fault anyways, we're not supposed to all fight at once." You smile a little as you think about how Rider's going to let him have it for that.

"I'm not leaving him behind. You want to leave, go ahead."

You're just about to make your retort when you spot a flash of light out of the corner of your eye.

"No time to argue, your shrieking's drawn the knights. We'd best move fast, before they find us."

"You scared me!"

You just glare at him as you think about how best to handle the knights.
Throw something
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A distraction seems in order. You pull a twig off the branch you're sitting on and fling it at the walkway as hard as you can. Before long, all the lights are focused on that spot, which means they're not pointing your way.

"Come on! And don't say a word!"

You grab Shorty by the hand and climb down into the darkness, slinking away as the patrolling knights converge on your twig. They'll likely start a full-on search soon, and you'd best be long gone before they do.

Unfortunately, you haven't got a raft any more. And even if you did, you've already learned that you don't really know your way around in the dark. Your best chance is to follow these walkways as close as you can to Marshguard territory.

Of course, Shorty's already insisting that you go back and help your captured squad leader.

"And do you have an actual idea for how we should go about doing that?"

"Well, no. I asked him if he could use any supplies, but he couldn't think of anything."

That doesn't surprise you in the least.

"There's no real need to worry about it. You know how it goes - they capture one of ours, we capture one of theirs, then we exchange one for the other. Why bother with anything more complicated than that?"

"Then let's capture one of them now."

"We'll have enough trouble getting ourselves back to base without a raft. There's no way we can handle a prisoner."

He stares at you.

"You don't have a raft?"

"Not any more. Lost it to a hungry swamp beast."

"Then how, exactly, were you planning to get out of here?"

"Mostly by not wasting time with rescue attempts, taking captives, or useless arguments. I suppose two out of three will have to do."

"Well! Why should I go with you, then, if you don't have any plans either? At least if I stick around, I may still be able to figure something out."

How are you going to respond to him?