A River Runs Through It
Gray took the lead, with T’Dore riding pillion and Robin following behind on the other horse. They trotted quietly out of the village but as soon as it was far enough behind, and despite the danger of doing so in the darkness, Gray took them up to a gallop for a mile or so. He said it was to put some distance between them and anyone that might try to follow them, and he might even have believed it too.
The air was still and the night was clear and moonlit and there was nothing but emptiness all around to take the frustration out on. It crowded around him, the more he tried to impose himself on it the more it took him away. No matter how far he rode, he was always still himself. For all that he wanted to scream, it was the night that brought screams to his ears instead.
All three of them turned their heads as the cries came wafting to their ears. They watched as the sky behind them took on a flickering reddish glow that had nothing to do with the dawn that they should have been riding into. ‘I think that we had better keep going,’ Robin warned.
‘Is there something we should be worried about?’ Gray asked innocently.
‘It smells like a raiding party,’ T’Dore intoned, although the other two could smell only the damp of the dewy grass around them. ‘We do not need to worry,’ he said, his voice a mixture of sadness and indifference. ‘If it is the Fightstar tribe, as I should think that it is, then they will spend the next day in the village. They will take what they can and do what they will with those that they have not killed.’
‘Then it is not our problem,’ Gray maintained. ‘You should be grateful that you are not among them any more,’ he said spitefully, aiming it at Robin behind him.
‘And you should be grateful too,’ she shot back, ‘that I got you away from there in time. You would not have made it so easily without me. Either way, it is our problem. How do you think that the Fightstar made it so far east? Can you not hear the horns?’
‘No,’ both boys replied together.
‘Exactly. If it were Fightstar warriors who had somehow made it past the Paladins who patrol our borders then we would surely have heard their war horns far before we heard the cries of the dying. It is not the Fightstar who follow us, and I have done a terrible thing. We must hurry now before we have no more time to do so.’
‘What do you mean?’ Gray asked. ‘What terrible thing?’
‘It matters not,’ Robin said gravely. ‘Just know that those who have done this will not be held long, and when they find that they do not have that which they seek in their grasp, they will come after us with a swiftness that will be hard for us to match. And then we will have a fight that we may not be able to win on our hands.’ And with that she spurred her horse onwards once more and began to gallop ahead so that Gray and T’Dore had little choice but to follow her.