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The Council House was the largest building in Dolmrung. It was a large concrete building that had been repaired multiple times over the years; but since the knowledge of concrete construction had fallen into the distant past, the building appeared a mottled hulk and was crumbling in places. The front of the building had many windows but the other three sides were devoid of such niceties. Morgan made his way to a side door and navigated his way to the room where he would retrieve the child.

When he walked into the room two men were in the process of pouring buckets of water on the naked child in the corner. The small boy was only 9 or 10 and he cowered in the corner spluttering as soap and water were liberally dumped upon him. The men then began to scrub him with two large scrub brushes.

Morgan took a seat in a chair and waited. Shortly thereafter, a woman entered the room. She was an older woman but still possessed an energy and attraction that marked her as a natural leader. “Good morning, Morgan”, she announced as she took a seat beside Morgan.

“Good morning, Maggie,” Morgan said.

“The boy’s name is Pegan. How are you on weapons?”

Morgan took a quick inventory of his arrows and grenades. “I’m good,” he said.

“How were things out there yesterday?” Maggie said turning from the cleansing to look at Morgan. “Did you see any Peepskins or Derrydrugs?”

“No. And, frankly, it concerns me. It’s been a little too quiet out there of late.”

“Quiet is good, though. Maybe they have migrated to new territories. Or maybe a sickness has hit them. Who knows? But it’s better than their numbers growing,” Maggie offered.

“Yeah, maybe. Still, I like to know what they’re up to. When I know what they’re doing, I can avoid them. It’s the not knowing that puts me on edge. It’s like the calm before a sandstorm.”

“Morgan, this is why you are the best escort in the Wasteland. You are like a taut string ready to release. A complacent escort is as good as a dead escort, no?”

Morgan turned to look at Maggie and let a small smirk touch the corner of his mouth. “And this is why you make such a good politician. The words pour from you like sweet milk.”

Maggie feigned insult and said, “I am not a politician, Morgan. I am just a servant of The Council just like you.”

By this time the child had been cleaned and dried and the men were assisting him in dressing for the desert. Maggie rose and spoke to the child. “Pegan, this man is Morgan and he will be taking you to Kishmurg. You are to stick to him like a shadow and heed his every instruction if you want to survive the Wasteland; do you understand, child?”

The boy Pegan was in a state of shock. He had been plucked from the Skutter where he had likely never had a bath or descent clothes before. He was still marveling at the clothes. Maggie grabbed his jaw in her hand and wrenched his face to look at her. “Did you hear me, boy? If you don’t listen to this man today you may die!”

The boy’s eyes widened in fear and he shook his head in comprehension. Morgan stepped up and took the boy by the shoulder. “Come on, boy, we have a Wasteland to cross.”

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