Swamped

Swamped
RE: Swamped
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You can't help but worry that whoever or whatever brought you here is going to arrive, but the fact that you haven't seen them yet suggests you have some time to find your bearings.

You take a quick look around the wagon for things that might be useful. About all you can find is a length of rope near the post. You're not sure how well you'll be able to use it with one arm, but you might well find yourself wanting it. You coil it up and put it in your pouch as best you can.

After that, you decide to risk opening the door and slipping out.

You immediately regret it as you feel the eyes of several nearby desert-horses turning towards you. They're not doing anything aggressive, at least, but they definitely seem wary of you. You'd best not disturb them.

You can't see any sign that these desert-horses have been tamed. There aren't any reins or saddles on them. On the other hand, most wild animals react noticeably to humans; they hide, they scream, they run away. These desert-horses are just standing around. They seem bothered by your presence, but otherwise unconcerned.

You don't know what to make of that yet. Maybe it would be more productive to look at something else in the area.
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RE: Swamped
Go to a nearby city and find a horse tamer to learn from.
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RE: Swamped
You decide to search for signs of civilization. The first one to catch your eye is a fence surrounding the area.

It's not much of one, mind. It barely goes a foot off the ground. The desert-horses could easily step over it if they tried.

But that's just it - they'd have to put effort into escaping it. Most likely it's good enough to keep them from wandering too far afield. Considering this is a mountain, that's probably good for the desert-horses as much as it is for their keepers.

You walk over to the fence, keeping low to the ground in case there are lookouts watching. There doesn't seem to be a gate, but with how low it is, they likely don't need one. However, after a little searching, you manage to find a trail that leads to what looks like some kind of settlement. There are dozens of tents.

It's some distance away. It would probably take you a good fifteen minutes to walk there. That seems odd; why keep your mounts such a long distance away from your homes? Even if they don't see much use as mounts, presumably they have to be fed regularly. Wouldn't it make sense to have a caretaker near them, at the very least?

But you don't see any sign of such a person. That's odd.

Just as you wonder about that, you spot some figures leaving the settlement. They're likely to be headed this way.

You should probably get ready for their arrival.
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RE: Swamped
Hide under the horses.
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RE: Swamped
Scope them out if you still have your longglasses
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RE: Swamped
Fix your hair so you at least look presentable
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RE: Swamped
Somewhere along the way, you loaned out your long goggles. You wish you had them now, you might be able to get a better look at whoever's coming.

Well. You have the rest of your uniform, at least. It should let you stay low to the ground safely. You contemplate hiding under the wagon, but then you figure they're more likely to pay attention to it. Instead, you slip under a desert-horse around the far edges of the enclosure. Hopefully, between the darkness and the crowd, you'll go unnoticed.

They arrive unusually fast. You could swear it's only been about five minutes since you spotted their lanterns in the distance.

There's two of them, and they speak a language you don't understand at all. But you can tell that the wagon is what interests them. One of them steps inside, while the other stays out and looks around. What they're looking for, you've got no idea. Just preparing for a possible ambush?

After a few minutes, the first of them steps out. Judging by her body language, she's frustrated, though you don't have a clue why. The two of them start to leave.

Then the wagon starts following them. You don't see them attaching one of the desert horses to it, though. Did they summon another drawing to move it? You can't see from this angle.

What should you do now?
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RE: Swamped
Wait for them to leave, then follow their tracks.
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RE: Swamped
You decide to just wait, and see where they go. If they don't head back to the settlement, the wagon should leave a distinctive trail for you to follow.

That's when it strikes you - how are they going to get the wagon over the fence? You didn't see any gates. Are they going to lift the whole thing? That seems unlikely, with just two people...

And yet, sure enough, the wagon is raised a foot off the ground as they approach the fence. You can't tell from here if they're holding onto it - you can only see one of the pair. So the other must be lifting, either with magic or with brute strength.

Whichever it is, you don't feel your slicer is going to be enough if it comes down to a fight.

They head away from the settlement, the wagon landing on the ground. You wait a few minutes, so you'll hopefully be a good distance behind them. You doubt you can count on finding cover.

It's a long route. You couldn't say how long, but you're definitely feeling exhausted when you follow the wagon tracks to a cave entrance. Seems they've taken it inside.

You have no idea how far in they are, though. If you just head in right now, they might spot you. Not to mention how tired you are; you definitely can't handle a confrontation in this state.

So what should you do?
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RE: Swamped
Gotta get out of this heat.
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RE: Swamped
Poke around to see if there are any other little caves or crannies you can hole up in nearby to take a breather. Where the geology is conducive to one cave, there may be others.
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RE: Swamped
You decide to see if there are any other cave entrances around. If you can find a secure enough place, you might be able to get some rest. At the least, though, it's a hiding spot that shouldn't draw the attention of the wagon thieves.

You find one soon enough. It doesn't seem to extend very far, but that's all the better for you; you don't have to worry about people crawling in from the cave depths.

You lie down on the cavern floor and just let your strength slowly return. You don't dare go to sleep, but at least you're not exerting yourself too much now.

Suddenly, you hear a loud noise outside. About a minute later, you hear something unmistakable.

It's the sounds of battle.

What are you going to do?
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RE: Swamped
Why would there be a battle? The village was so secluded, and there's no way your comrades knew where to find you. This fight doesn't involve you so keep it that way.

Doesn't mean you can't evesdrop and try to pick out how many are fighting and what language they speak.
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RE: Swamped
You've got no idea what's going on here, so you decide to stay out of the fray. You do crawl closer to the cave entrance, to try and get some sense of what's happening.

You can't understand a word anyone in the fight is saying, and you have to strain yourself to hear anything between the clanging of metal and an odd noise you can't identify. But after some careful listening, you think there's shouting in three different languages. There's just too much variation for it to be only two.

Which raises more questions. If there were only two, that would imply two sides fighting. Are there three here, or is there multilingual shouting on one side?

You listen again, and try to pick out individual voices. There seem to be five. One of them seems to be shouting in two different languages, now that you're listening for it. Then it would make the most sense if he were leading a group of three, and shouting at his allies in their own languages. Doesn't strike you as the most efficient way to do things, but that's the best guess you have.

In fact, from the slight hesitation in his voice, you don't think either language is his native tongue.

You don't know what to make of any of this. You decide to risk peeking out, just for a moment.

You poke your head out of the cavern very briefly. Sure enough, it seems to be a two-on-three fight, though you can't tell which side has the advantage. But that's not what catches your eye before you slip back into the safety of the cavern.

There's something in the sky.

What do you do now?
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RE: Swamped
Chuck your skyslicer at it instinctively.
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RE: Swamped
SpoilerShow

Somehow, the slicer manages to hit Corvus.
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RE: Swamped
You're just about to pull out your slicer in case you need it, but it's gone. Then you hear a loud clash of wood against metal up above.

You can't believe you already threw the damn thing without even noticing. You feel like an idiot - first, for squandering your one weapon, and second, because if it falls down you might alert someone to the fact that you're here.

You have just enough space in your mind between all the worrying and frustration to wonder what kind of metal object could be that high in the sky.

Suddenly, you hear frenzied shouting, and then there's some loud noises.

Finally, there's more shouting, then silence.

Your first thought is that the battle's over - but that shout sounded frustrated. Could it be that one side retreated?

What if... what if one side traveled here in that apparently-metal thing in the sky, whatever it was? And your impulsive throw did enough damage that they had to run off to repair it?

If that's the case, you've taken sides whether you meant to or not. On the other hand, you can't exactly be sure how grateful these people would be for your help even if that's what happened.

Then you hear footsteps. It sounds like they're coming closer.

What should you do?
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RE: Swamped
Oh, dang... uh... You need to let them know you're in here and you're not a threat, so they won't be surprised and attack you outright. Try singing loudly?
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RE: Swamped
Oh hey! One of them is missing an arm too!
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RE: Swamped
Well. Whoever these people are, you're not in any state to fight them. But if they just stumble onto you, they might assume you've got other ideas, and that wouldn't go well at all.

You're probably better off letting them find you, while making it as clear as you can that you're not threatening them.

And all you can think of is singing. If you popped out of hiding, they might mistake that as an ambush. If they follow your voice, though, well, at least they'll understand that you're trying to be found.

So you sing. Not very well - you're out of practice, and even when you were practicing you were mediocre on your best days. But you're not aiming to impress your audience here.

It's an old classic, about a weary soldier who dreams of peaceful days. More importantly, it's a simple tune, and you can keep it going for five minutes easily.

"Haska tonno."

You realize that you got a bit lost in thought there. Someone's found you. You hear another voice some way off.

"Sisket. Gado eska?"

The figure in front of you gives you a questioning glance.

You hold up your one hand, in hopes that this shows you're no threat. The figure calls out.

"Militara. Rem'let."

Well, you can guess what one of those words means. Your interrogator might have seen your uniform... although, they must have good eyes to have noticed it in this darkness. Then again, it could be a coincidence.

"Vak. Indredor."

A minute or so passes, and you can faintly see a second figure next to the first. The second figure raises a hand...

And suddenly, a small torch lights in her raised hand. Is that magic? Whatever the case, you can see your interrogators now - though as they're both wearing cloaks, you can't see that much.

You opt to start with the most direct question.

"Um. I'm Marshall. I don't really know what's going on. Can either of you understand me?"

You suddenly notice that the woman with the torch only has one arm. Though it looks to have enough muscle on it for at least two. The other one, who's considerably scrawnier, is pointing... something at you. It may or may not be a weapon, for all you know.

They mutter at each other, not directly answering. Finally, the scrawnier of them tugs at your uniform.

"Militara?"

"Military?" you ask, a little nervously. "Sort of. I'm a trainee with the Bogknights. But, I'm not here on any sort of mission."

They mutter some more. You have no idea if this is a good sign or a bad one. Though you feel reasonably confident they can understand you, even if you can't understand them.

Maybe there's something you can say that will help this go more smoothly, then.
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RE: Swamped
Well you don't have any weapons on you.

Ask about the cart!
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RE: Swamped
"Um, if it helps, I don't have any weapons on me," you say. "I lost the only one I had."

For the moment, you don't care to explain how you lost it. Or that you only really need something to throw. And bringing up the magic seems especially ill-advised.

They continue talking to each other. There must be some kind of argument. After a few minutes, the smaller one produces a length of rope.

"Surrender."

They seem to struggle with the word, but the meaning is clear enough.

"Okay," you say. You haven't exactly got a lot of choice.

About a minute later, you're tied up and being dragged along. You don't know where to, but you do notice them leaving the area.

"Um, we're walking? What about the wagon?" you ask.

The one-armed woman glares at you. You're pretty sure she's wondering how you know about that.

"I was in it when I arrived. I, um, followed you for a bit. I don't mean any harm, I just want to know what's going on."

This seems to start the discussion between the two again. You get the distinct feeling they're arguing with each other, but you already gave yourself up. What's even left to argue about? You don't have any idea.

As you're waiting for the incomprehensible argument to resolve, your eye catches a glint of something metal. On a second glance, you think you see your slicer lying on top of whatever it is.

You wonder if you should call their attention to that. You're certainly curious about it yourself.
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RE: Swamped
Yeah, try using your legs to point it out or nudge the metal thing if you can.

Metal thing: Scamper away
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RE: Swamped
You start singing again to get the attention of your captors. When they turn towards you, you awkwardly gesture with your left leg towards the object.

"There's something over there. Um, I think it might be under the weapon I lost."

The two-armed one heads over as their partner keeps an eye on you.

"Haska donro."

Haska, they used that word earlier too. Maybe it means "found"? Then the other words could mean "someone" and "something", or similar terms.

They come back with your slicer, and a very strange metal object. It's got a round center on some kind of axle, but rather than a wheel around the edge, it just seems to have... well, they look more like thick blades than anything else. But they look too small to be very useful as a weapon. You can't imagine wielding something like that without hurting yourself.

"Arraship?" the one-armed woman suggests. It sounds like she's trying to repeat something she heard, but doesn't quite have it.

"Grof," replies the other one with a shrug. So that term probably means uncertainty. Could be "I don't know", or just "maybe". Maybe if you listen long enough, you can get some idea of the language. They use a lot more words when they're arguing, but it's harder to pick anything out.

"The, uh, the wood thing is mine," you say. "It's a training weapon. No idea about the other thing."

"Egrin," says the woman. You suspect that means you're not getting your slicer back any time soon, not that you were really expecting to.

The other one just puts the objects in a large bag, then resumes prodding you to march.

"I'm too tired to walk," you protest. "I already walked all the way here."

The woman makes an annoyed sound - you can't tell if it's a word or just a grunt - and then picks you up with her one arm.

Well. That's kind of solved your problem.

What's odd, though, is that after they walk down the road for a bit, they turn away from the settlement. Where could they be taking you?
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RE: Swamped
A deep, hidden crevasse, wherein there's a surprising quantity of lush, verdant vegetation
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