Maruc nodded to the others. “We shall see what they have to offer for explanation.”
Ludo shrugged his shoulders, “Thats if they are allowed the chance to talk.” Indicating the warriors with his thumb. “At least the tracks should be easy to follow.”
Hasan nodded his brief assent and grinned. Strange though it was, they were on a hunt for wild game. No circumstances were strange enough to emperil the elf prince’s confidence and pleasure at such a task. The elf strung his bow with shocking speed and moved forward into the party’s first rank.
The mage considered the options. Yes, they were putting themselves into the hands of degenerate warriors but they didn’t look much tougher than the bandits that they dealt with on the river all that time ago and they were now in a much better position to handle them. Miklos was still convinced that they wouldn’t be able to help in the search from an acedemic point of view but they might have an oral tradition which may hold some clues. Perhaps their village elders may be able to help? “Maruc is right, we must learn more before we can make any decision. But I for one promise no support without clear evidence.”
“Good, if we are all in agreement? Lead on, Warrior.” Maruc fell into step behind the guard.
“Ve ar Traldar! Ve fight vor freedahm!” shouted the lead rider. They set after the trail.
Feldard once more took up rear guard position, keeping alert, with his crossbow loaded. From this position he could also keep an eye on all of the riders.
Stephan fell in line but could not banish a strong feeling of wariness. Like Feldard, he readied his distance weapon for the march. Scanning the surroundings, he did not immediately see the evidence for ambush that the visceral part of his brain warned of. It was early in a day for such stress but such was the lot of the intrepid souls who by dint of circumstance, divine will or innate character were thrust upon a life of uncertain extremes.
The Traladaran reflected on the warrior’s rallying cry. Had he said ‘Traldar’? Their thick accents were a bit familiar, like something reminiscent of the old Traladaran gypsy dialect. Could it be these folk shared some distant heritage with his own people?
The tracks led into a shallow gulley. Stephan felt uneasy about this route, but the mounted warriors moved faster than the party could on foot, and thus were some distance ahead. Too late to caution them.
Thirsty for revenge, the Traldar warriors took little care to be covert in their movements. They had not travelled far when spears rained down on the warriors from behind some rocks above the gulley. A group of a dozen tall slender humanoid creatures with jackal-like heads emerged from their hiding spot. They looked exactly like the many ancient statues and relics that the adventurer’s had encountered along their journeys.
Two of the warriors were killed, impaled by enemy spears, and three others were wounded. “RAAAA!” shouted the leader. They quickly recovered and led their mounts up toward their attackers.