Tuesday 16 December 2014

Scent: Part 27

The march to the coast took several weeks. It was hard going moving so many men and their equipment over so great a distance especially at the pace that Mistress Sanya expected. The going was a little easier once they were free of the forest but the weather had been abysmal and many of the fields and wooded areas they passed through were sodden and made it tough for the carts to travel unaided. The troopers didn't seem too perturbed by the weather and sang songs that were mostly about fighting or drinking to keep their spirits up.

Reven had put his new sword to good use during the trip. When they stopped to make camp Sanya would have several of her troopers instruct him in the use of the sword. Captain Ingerham seemed to have taken an interest and often gave advice on technique and fighting styles. Sanya stayed away where Reven's sword training came in but she did spend time schooling him on the use of his bow and how he and Fang should work in concert when fighting. Reven enjoyed the sword, the close brutality of combat thrilled him but there was something about bow-work that interested him even more. He was a horrible shot when he first starting practicing but he had picked up the basics quickly and appreciated the skill required to hit a target. Anybody could strike a person in front of them with a sword and have a fair chance of doing some damage but with a bow it required a skill that was beyond many. Reven practiced at his bow skills with Fang. When he was good enough to start shooting at live targets he would bring down birds or deer and Fang would rush into to ensure the prey was dead. Sanya was keen that they learnt to work in concert when they fought and the understanding between them was growing daily. It wasn't all smooth sailing though, Fang had a tendency to lay down with the captured prey and eat them. In the short time they had been practicing Fang had eaten three deer and countless birds which was testament to his ever increasing size. Strangely Reven seemed to be growing with him. Despite only being a boy of 12 years old he had grown in stature and strength and was already as tall as Captain Ingerham, but doubted he would ever be as wide. Mistress Sanya put it down to one of the benefits of the bond he shared with Fang but admitted to never having seen its like before. Reven didn't mind though, he was faster and more powerful than he had ever been before. He was a long way off from being as skilled as any of the troopers he travelled with but he was sure he could take the cook in a fight.

They had been travelling fro a little over three weeks when they had their first sight of the sea. Reven had never seen it before and with some of the troops waded in and splashed around. The beach was a sandy expanse meeting the sea at a gentle slope from the grasslands that Sanya's troops had just travelled through. As they made camp Reven and Fang were summoned to a meeting of the captains that was held in Sanya's tent. Ingerham was there along with some other men that Reven didn't know. Reven and Fang sat behind Captain Ingerham and waited fro a few others to file into the tent before Sanya started to speak. She outlined the information that the scouts had brought back and their Captain, a roguish looking man by the name of Goran, filled in any blanks in her information. It appeared that a tribe of raiders had been attacking villages along the coast. Of late they were getting bolder and moving inland laying waste to farms and settlement as they went. There was a detachment of soldiers coming south from the northern city of Bergen but it would be another week or so before they can engage with the enemy. The plan was to attack the raiders head on with the main force and small force would be sent to the boats they had used to get to the shores of Orland cutting off any escape and setting traps for those who attempted to make it back. The confidence in their own force surprised Reven as from the reports the raiders numbered over a thousand warriors, ten times the number of Sanya's troops. Once the plan had been explained the captains were given their roles in the coming attack and Reven was disappointed to find that he was to accompany Goren and his scouts to sabotage the boats.

They had a few hours before they set off in advance of the main force and Reven followed suit with the scouts and had his blade sharpened and his quiver filled with arrows. He and Fang were as ready as they would ever be. Whilst Reven was anxious and scared of what was to come he was excited that he might see some action and after weeks of hearing the troopers stories about their fighting prowess he was keen to see if his story would start being written after this adventure.

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