He hated loosing. It was more trouble than he cared to tolerate. More than that, he hated that he hadn’t listened to his instinct and waited till it was Monday to attack. Someone had gone before he had given the order, and now only the Hunter knew how many of his men had fallen in the chaos.
Of all the incompetent…
“Tom! Hill! Get dow –” Ildric’s shout was cut short when a volley of arrows passed close over head. Too close.
The young man let out a cry, and when Ildric looked up Hill was slowly lowering the boy’s body to the ground.
“I know! I know! Call the others back,” he barked from his hiding place.
Hill wiped blood from his eyes. “I won’ leave ‘im!”
Ildric reloaded his crossbow and sprung up in a run, shooting past a burning tent as he made for the man. “You — you go call back the others. We’ll loose if we chase ’em. I’ll take Tom,” he huffed as he skidded on his knees.
“Go!” growled Ildric, scooping the fallen lad up in his arms.
Nodding, Hill snatched up his fallen sword and sprinted off around the far side of the ruined encampment.
Ildric grunted as he slid down the near embankment to where a handful of his men were rounding up the frightened horses. The front of his dirty grey tunic slowly turned crimson, and Tom’s wheezing breaths grew shorter and shorter.
“Hang in there, boy. We’ll get you home, then run the bastards down.”
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
On our way north. Keep an eye on Harrier’s Rest for a week or so. If we or a band of twenty brigands don’t show by then, assume we’ve caught them. Warn Frank.
Folding up the hastily written note, Eruviel tucked it back into her pocket, counting the days from when it had been sent. She did not need to spur Eolir to encourage him to pick up the pace as they left the road to follow a muddy stream around the nearby hill. The sooner she got there to find nothing, the sooner she could return home.