I came here to warn you!
May 18, 2015
It took three long, danger filled days, but the warriors of Yig traveled off their thick jungle topped plateau and entered the hard wood forest that stretched between the mighty green topped peaks. Upon reaching a rocky ridge that overlooked a long valley, Mythcul called for a halt.
As Jack gazed down into the lush canyon that stretched roughly northeast by southwest, he half expected to see the Darken army ploughing through the trees below them. Since the sun had just passed mid-day, it confused Jack to see the warriors removing their packs and making camp. These men had pushed themselves beyond all normal limits for the last four days, but they disregarded the sunlight in favor of an early camp. It didn’t make any sense.
Unable to find Mythcul or any of the other Shamans, Jack located Shadowknife and had him accompany him to where Huth-allan-nith was hard at work cutting down a small groove of saplings. Jack guessed they would be about the right size for spears.
“Okay,” he said to the Splinter Darcarre., “Ask him why we stopped and what we are doing?”
Huth-allan-nith, who remained foul tempered on the best of days, looked quite put off by being forced to communicate with a Xemmoni, no matter which side he was on. He answered in a few terse sentences and then returned to the seven men he worked with.
Shadowknife regarded Jack with a wry smile. “I was informed that the Shamans are communing with your Yig. It appears that our various groups have slowed down the Darken army enough for us to be able to reach this valley before them. However, they remain uncertain as to how much time we might possess before the army reaches us. They should know the answer shortly.”
Jack spoke without taking his eyes of the men cutting through the trees. “I suppose worse things could happen. We would have a strong defensive position, if the army were to pass below us. Although I’m not sure how much damage we could do to them from this far up. We could create rockslides I suppose. But there would still be the issue of-”
A cloud of inky smoke blossomed into existence so abruptly that it left even Shadowknife startled and two figures appeared before him.
One he recognized only too well. Tynilia’s nimble body was the first to exit the lingering smoke, but she’d looked better. Her clothes were damaged and singed as was much of the rest of her. She took two steps forward and would have fallen, if Jack hadn’t rushed forward and caught her before she hit the forest floor.
The second figure proved less welcome. The large Splinter Darcarre, Met-A-Lock, who he’d seen latching himself onto Tynilia before he had left, hurried out of the cloud and moved in to help support the young female Stalwart. He eyed Jack as though he was upset that Jack dared lay hands on her.
Tynilia brushed both of their hands away, but Jack placed a light hand on her shoulder and let the power of his healing ability flow into her.
She drew a sharp breath, but then relaxed, if only a hair. “Thanks for that.” She appeared to be having a problem meeting his gaze and preferred to take in her burnt clothes. She caressed what was once a lacy black decoration on her top, but it crumbled into ash and drifted away.
After another glare at Jack, Met-A-Lock stepped away and conversed with Shadowknife in a different language.
Finally meeting his gaze, she looked up at him and her little body trembled. He wanted more than anything to just take her into his arms, but with so many warriors watching them, he held back.
“Jack, we were doing everything as planned. Both the Splinters and… our southern force struck at the Darken Army. We weakened and delayed it in every manner possible. While the southern Stalwart force cut off their supply lines and picked off stragglers, we stayed ahead of the army, laying traps and creating obstacles.”
“But then disaster struck, or maybe I should say Vile struck. He attacked just after dawn and brought four Ripperkah with him. He raged through our camp killing men by the Dozen. The Splinter Darcarre was all but destroyed and were spreading to the winds as we escaped. I saw their Shinto, Pit-Tal-icalli, trying to rally his men and make a stand, but I don’t see how he could have survived. Perhaps I should have stayed, but…” he eyes had lowered, but then found his again, “But I thought that maybe I could do more good coming here to you.”
He touched her shoulder with gentle fingers. “You did the right thing. We can fight together here. There would have been no sense risking your life for a battle you would have been hard pressed to win.”
Tears had appeared in the corner of her eyes. “No Jack, you don’t understand. I didn’t come here to fight by your side. I’m not like you followers of the forest. I can’t detect where your forces are. I’ve been searching for you for over a day. Vile attacked us a day and a half ago.”
She grabbed both his arms. “I came here to warn you! He’ll be coming for your group next, probably today.”
To be continued next Monday