Hope all are enjoying their week, here is part 2 of the scouts.
Scouting the Enemy
The ranger hunched down in his thin saddle and allowed himself to move in rhythm with his horse. Soon the tall grass lapped at Nevel's feet as he outpaced his companions. A final wave towards his friends and he diverted his course off into the thicker brush on the hillside.
The Haverdack army had settled itself in the flat valley of two spruce and deciduous covered hills. To maintain cover Nevel would need to stick to the rocky untamed hillsides. His horse was use to its rider and knew what was demanded of it, its muscles honed to handle the rougher terrain than those of its counterparts. The duo made incredible time given the obstacles in their path.
From time to time Nevel could glimpse out through small breaks in the foliage and see the massive military force gathered below. It was an incredible sight; he had never seen such a display of power. He shook his head in disbelief, "My lord, help us find the strength to defend ourselves."
He continued to move swiftly through the trees and scrub brush, his horse doing most of the decision making on the best course to take. Ahead he heard the distinctive sound of wood chopping. Not a single sound but a clamorous beating of hundreds of ax-heads colliding against the trees. It was a fortunate supply of noise that further dampened his stealthy approach. He slowed, hopped off his horse and placed the reigns over a low hung branch.
Nevel darted off now in his true comfort zone: alone. He had been a woodsmen tracker since childhood, a decision not entirely his own. His father had also been a tracker using his skills to provide food and income. Before Nevel learned to walk his father had placed him in a sling and carried him out into the woods for the daily hunt. Nevel had never known a life outside that of the woods; it was therefore where the boy, and now a man felt most at ease.
As the years past, Nevel soon surpassed his father's abilities. He could look at a single track and tell what breed and size an animal it was. More fascinating was the fact that the young boy could tell what time of day it passed the area, and even what reason. It was the angle of the print's impression along with its depth that helped him in this endeavor. In later years his skills were honed to include the more devious creatures of the woods; those that had mental faculties to hide their tracks from the average woodsman. Nevel had ascended to the ranks of a ranger by this time where neither man nor creature was able to elude him.
Ahead he could hear the mumbles of voices that made no effort to hide their idle chatter. The wood cutters were enthralled by their work and unaware of any persons who would challenge their large numbers. Nevel was such a man however, and tip toed closer trying to discern the nature of the men ahead.
"Nimba gucho esfe welti," came the voice of the nearest to Nevel.
"Awna gucho, Nimba ni qetswa. Dute betres a Ostin," was the reply.
What Nevel had first assumed to be mumbled speech turned out to be a foreign tongue. All he seemed to make out was the proper names of someone named Nimba and posibly Ostin. Neither name was familiar to him nor did it offer any information on the men's origins. Chancing a quick look, the veteran woodsman peered around the trunk of a large spruce. His eyes blinked as he tried to understand the lanky forms he saw.