Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Scent: Part 25

As Reven and Fang broke camp the next morning the sun that had been there to greet them the past few days was replaced by grey clouds. The forest took on a more gloomy aspect and Reven felt more alone somehow. The travellers he passed were few and far between and as the road continued into the forest it lost some of its width with every turnoff he came to until it was little more than a footpath. The morning wore on the heavens opened sending fat blobs of rain hurtling toward the ground. Fang didn't seem to be bothered by the weather at all, continuing to race through the trees with complete abandon. The wounds on his head that had been inflicted by the hunters had almost completely healed and he seemed in high spirits. Reven on the other hand was not so keen on the rain. He slipped and slid up and down slopes as the water quickly pooled in ruts in the ground and turned the path into a muddy quagmire. His cloak was soaked and seemed to have at least trebled in weight as the rain soaked it through. Reven didn't need much of an excuse to find some shelter and when a twinge in his stomach told him it was time for lunch he gladly climbed in to the low branches of a nearby tree and shrugged off his pack. The leaves kept the worst of the rain off and he settled in the boughs of the tree chewing on dried meat and the last of his cheese as he watch the deluge continue all around him.

It was several minutes before Reven realised that Fang hadn't returned from his latest foray into the forest. The hound had been overly attentive on this trip ensuring that Reven was always within sight and his absence left Reven feeling uneasy. Reven called out hoping to see Fang burst through some bushes but the only sound he could hear was the steady drumming of the rain. He dropped from the tree into a crouch so that he could see beneath the low branches, there was nothing. He called out again, louder this time but there was no movement in response to his call. 'What trouble are you in now?' Reven said as if Fang were standing next to him, wondering where he had last seen the hound. The crack of a branch behind Reven brought his head round and he could see two pairs of armoured feet stomping towards him. A rustle from the opposite direction demanded his attention and two more sets of boots marched through the sodden leaves on the floor of the forest. Reven drew his wooden blade and scrambled up the tree. It was obvious whoever these feet belonged to knew where he was as they had all converged around the tree he was now in. Reven crawled along a branch that was well out of reach of any would-be attacker and watched as four heavily armoured men ducked under the outer branches of the tree and then stood below him. They all looked at him and each one had a smirk on his face. Reven appraised them quickly, they were all armed with swords with shields clung across their backs. They wore plate armour on their upper torsos and chain linked mail on their legs. They all had the look of seasoned warriors and Reven knew that no child with a puny wooden sword would prevail against them. Three had their helmets tucked under their arms. The one who spoke first, who even though he was short seemed as broad as he was tall, had no helmet but carried a broad double bladed axe in the crook of his arm. 'Come down boy. We're soaked through and in no mood for games', Reven stayed where he was. The warrior spoke again, 'I am not used to repeating myself. We have your hound, now you...', with the mention of Fang, Reven struck, his rage boiling over. He leapt from the tree whilst the man was still in mid-sentence and landed next to him smashing him on his bald head with the pommel of his sword as he did so. The man reeled back but did not fall, Reven spun lashing out with his practice blade at another of the men. The element of surprise had been lost though and the man parried smartly, using his helmet to deflect the blow. Reven made to strike again but was spun roughly around to be met by the metal clad fist of the axe wielding warrior. Reven flew backward through the air losing his grip on his sword and his consciousness as he landed roughly on the ground. 'You alright Ingerham', said the man who had parried Reven's blow with his helm to the shorter warrior. 'Aye, I'll be fine' he said as he dabbed at the blood that was trickling from the wound in his head. 'Pick him up. Quicker we get him to the mistress the better.' , the taller man obeyed the order, 'Yes Captain.' Captain Ingerham continued to dab at his head as he and his troopers made their way through the woods to where they had camped and where Mistress Sanya waited for her new student.

When Reven came round he was lying in a tent and Fang was fast asleep beside him. His face throbbed and he reached up and felt where Ingerham's punch had split the skin of his jaw. He shook Fang awake and the hound immediately started licking the wounds on his face. Reven batted him away, 'Stop. We need to get out of here.' he whispered to Fang. 'Why would you want to do that Reven?' a woman's voice said. Reven spun around to find the owner of the voice lounging on a chair at the back of the tent. She wore ornate armour plates but not enough to cover her ample bosom or her shapely legs that were crossed, revealed through a slit in her heavy mail skirt. She idly played with a dagger as she smiled down at Reven who was dumfounded by the woman's beauty. 'Enough games, I am Mistress Sanya. I will be your tutor for as long as much time as I can spare. The men under my command are Warriors of Iron and active. This means we will be seeing our fair share of action....it also means you will have to accompany us until I release you back to The Deep.' Reven just sat his mouth gaping. He was on his way to meet this woman but had never thought it would happen under these circumstances. Reven continued to stare and only managed a mumbled, 'Very good Mistress Sanya'. She smiled again and stood, 'Come. There is somebody I want you both to meet, Kaleth has been getting more excited with each passing day.' With that Sanya walked from the tent, pushing the flaps that acted as the door wide as she exited. Reven hurried after her and stepped out of the tent into his first camp of Iron.



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