The next little story line I will put out there references characters that will get introduced in book two of the series.
Scouting the Enemy
Marith pulled the cinch tight, allowed Corceneble to exhale and then yanked on the leather strap one last time before tying it to his saddle. His majestic roan bobbed her head low knowing the next step of this daily ritual. Every morning Lord Marith Foxe prepared his horse for the day's journey; the addition of the steed's reigns was now the final step.
"What a glorious morn my lord," the energetic soul named Nevel mentioned.
"Aye, a fine day indeed Nevel," his lord responded.
A third voice chimed in, "Not a fine day my lord, but a grand day. For this is the last day of the journey. I for one cannot wait to be back among my family. I miss my girls so much."
"Alas you forget the couple weeks for the trek home Sir Macimar," Lord Foxe reminded his friend and loyal knight.
"If I had a wife like yours Macimar I could not wait either," Nevel added.
Macimar leered at Nevel, but directed his response to Lord Foxe. "Well yes there is that, but I will be glad to finally have a look at this army Lord Haverdack has supposedly assembled out here."
"Nothing our fellow Brethens cannot defeat, Haverdack has tried to attack us before. I venture to guess this whole matter has been overrated," Nevel said haughtily.
"Our king cannot leave such matters to guessing Nevel. This is why he tasks us with this important duty," the noble voice of Lord Foxe stated. He then added, "Enough of this, let us ride and get our answers. Then we can discuss the voyage home."
"And eat some of that apple pork stew your wife loves to make Macimar. I would kill for a warm meal again."
Sir Macimar shook his head, "Always thinking with your belly Nevel."
"Hmph, when it comes to your wife I generally think with parts below my belly too," Nevel joshed.
Lord Foxe threw himself up into his saddle with ease and gripped the reigns. He then squeezed gently on Corceneble's flanks putting the mighty horse into a slow gait. With a tip of his head and a squint of his eyes Marith let known his next statement was on a more serious note, "Nevel, my friend, take care. Sir Macimar and I will see you in a couple of days. Be careful."
Nevel nodded knowing his role in this part of the mission. He was a ranger; many would say the best in the realm. He would travel into a wide arc around the approaching army; scouting out their trailing lines. Lord Foxe and Sir Macimar would approach Lord Drehas Haverdack's army from the front, investigating the main force. Where they would determine the size and strength of the force, Nevel's job was to determine supply lines that no doubt would exist for an army of any measurable size.
Nevel had known Lord Foxe for many years and knew his lord was a calculating man with a good handle on strategic warfare. His leader would know that it would take a considerable force to breach the Brethen Keep's walls, but to underestimate anyone who attempted a campaign of this magnitude would be foolish. A warrior of his veteran years, Lord Foxe knew war all too well, he would not take this matter lightly. More important to the lord, as a honorable subject of the Brethen realm, he could let himself fail the king.
Nevel recalled one of Lord Foxe's famous quotes, "One of the easiest ways to defeat a military power is to sever their ability to obtain food." This is why Nevel's ranger skills were needed. He would sneak around and get the details associated with the support structure of the army.