Ready For Anything

Post 61

His new forest wolf skin enabled him to blend into the undergrowth. And it gave Ned a newfound confidence he could make it back to the Foijen. The boy may be on the run from a band of killers, but he felt like a lone wolf now. He knew how to move and navigate in forests and he was fit. But he only had a wooden-handled knife, which was more of a survival tool than a weapon. There was no way he would be able to defend himself against a large detachment of soldiers with a short knife. He needed weapons. The thought spurred him on. Men toughened by war were on his tail and he had to get some distance. Ned broke into a run. Continue reading

First Light

Post 60

The day was not yet dawning as Ned packed his gear away and waited for the sun. When it came, he checked nothing was left behind and brushed leaves over the charred remains of his fire. With all sign of his stay disguised, he moved in an Easterly direction. The woodland was becoming less dense in this part of the forest. Old brown leaves crunched underfoot and an occasional twig snapped. Leaving some trail was the price he had to pay to move at speed. And he knew the Malaxian warriors would travel fast. So he did the same. Continue reading

Encampment

Post 59

Ned walked for the rest of the day, deep into the forest. The oak trees provided good cover. By early evening, the light faded. And the branches above were too dense to allow him to see enough to keep moving. If he continued, an obvious trail would be made which would be easy to follow. Scouting about, he found a dip in the landscape. Darkness took the land and cold crept in. Continue reading

Storm

Post 58

Somehow he had to outrun the warriors. Ned moved at speed and continued along the track. The boy stopped after a couple of hours for a rest, a biscuit and a sip of water from the flask. He was soaked with sweat, but he would have to ration the water. Looking at his map, the track headed South. He ran and walked all day with little further rest. As nightfall approached, dark clouds loomed overhead. With the moon blotted out, heavy rain began to fall. It would help wipe out any tracks he had left behind. Thunder crashed over the night and lightning flashed. He stopped and thought for a moment. It was almost time to head East. He looked into the forest. It was pitch black and visibility was down to zero. A distant wolf howled. The driving rain was blown at an angle by the harsh wind. It forced him into the sanctuary of the dark trees. Looking behind, the final shafts of moonlight made big drops shine on the leaves. Rain began to penetrate the trees. Branches swayed with the force of the wind. In a thicket, he made a bed of leaves and twigs to keep him off the cold ground. Wrapped in the blanket, he settled down to sleep. Continue reading

Hidden

Post 57

As the sun rose over the tree tops, Ned awoke to birdsong. He peered out of a gap he made in the leaves. Hearing rustling, he remained still. The crumpling on the forest floor was light, but just audible. A hedgehog came into view. It was close and looked at Ned with a twitch of its nose. But something startled the creature and it scurried away. Ned closed the leaves back over his face. He heard gruff voices. Soldiers entered the clearing. Continue reading

Tired

Post 56

Moonlight at the tree line behind was beginning to fade and the blackness of the forest made movement difficult. When lapping water could no longer be heard from the swamp edge, Ned stood and made tentative steps toward a clearing ahead. As the trees petered out, he noticed a rocky outcrop and carefully stepped onto it. Ned was concerned he had left a trail the soldiers would easily find in the morning. But now, standing on rock, his trail would go cold for the pursuing soldiers. Continue reading

Stealth

Post 55

Traders moved carts aside and the elite warriors strolled through, staring with hate-filled eyes. More soldiers patrolled the edge of the swamp, stabbing swords into clumps of grass. They neared the boy’s position and a warrior thrust steel ever forwards. Ned remained still as a sword hit the water near his face. The blade was close and splashed his eyes. The black waters frothed and bubbled. With a grunt, the soldier withdrew the sword and moved on. It was going to be difficult and dangerous to get away. There were so many people congregated in the openness. And Ned was getting cold. He shivered in the foul decay of the waters. Continue reading

Hatred

Post 54

Ned moved through the waters at the edge of dry land, away from the pathway. He hid in the swamp and silently looked at the hordes of men in the open land ahead. Merchants had amassed carts near the pathway over the marsh. They were herded into a line and those in the lead had already begun to make the final stage of their journey to Malaxia. Ned could see into the back of the nearest cart. The moonlight shone on barrels and boxes of wares ready to be transported in. Continue reading

Swampland

Post 53

Ned moved while carefully navigating across the path over the wetlands. He kept a steady pace while looking through the lens. A green-blue haze led the way. The moon was bright, so anyone ahead could be seen well in advance. His feet squelched in the sodden grass and he slipped. Moving slower in order to stay upright, he heard a noise and froze. Continue reading

Move out!

Post 52

Ned crouched on the swamp path. He looked into the instrument and squelched forward. With the full moon overhead, he stepped into the mud and found solid ground. Another step. Then again. He walked along the pathway. Wind rushed through the reeds. If the moon became obscured again, he was doomed. The water rose over his feet, and he slowed when it was knee deep. He waded through tufts of grass and continued to peer through the instrument. Splashing his way through, the ground underneath remained firm. Freezing fog hung over the swampland. The air was icy on his hands and face. About halfway across, the path was almost dry. He broke into a run as moonlight glistened on the water-logged lands. Ned sprinted into the night. Continue reading