Kroll sat on a rock in a small clearing. Sunlight pierced the canopy above as he waited for an outlaw leader. His men were spread out, hiding in the undergrowth. Movement came from Kroll’s left. No noise, but some unnatural stirring from a large fern. A Malaxian warrior sprung through some foliage whilst another dropped from a tree. They were there in an instant with swords drawn. The brigand leader was brought to Kroll.
“Nice try,” Kroll said. “But you were ordered to approach from the South. You risked your life by disobeying. Next time, you WILL die.”
The bandit leader was not taken aback. The surly man knew only too well the pact with Malaxia, but was not good at taking orders. He gave commands, killed the weak and took riches. This added political dimension was against his wishes. The prowess of Malaxian warriors was undeniable, but the respect was not reciprocated. His cut-throats were more than the rabble Kroll thought they were. This bandit leader was going to put up with the Malaxians for only a while longer before he moved onto richer pickings beyond Malaxia’s influence.
Kroll has seen this bandit in action. He was a reasonably successful outlaw. But the man had to recruit outcasts, murderers and criminals too often because the bandit slayer was a better fighter. If a man was confident enough to attack when he was outnumbered five to one, there was a problem with the quality of the bandits. The unknown swordsman had never attacked a Malaxian unit because the Malaxians were better trained soldiers. As good as he may be, the target would be out of his depth if confronted by Kroll’s men.