To know the road ahead, ask those coming back
Tilby shook his head as he tried to shake the mud from his expensive leather boots. Lifting his eyes to survey the military outpost he couldn’t help wonder if he and Thorlak would finally find Carlisle here. Judging from the recent ten foot timber wall and fortifications this placed needed men, desperate fighting men to be precise, just the place to lie low for a while. The Riverlands never changed thought the halfling, a place of great opportunity for those who would take it, and equally, a place for the desperate or wanted not to be found.
In slow deliberate movements Jin’How repositioned himself into the praying mantis pose. Taught muscles moving slowly into the precise forms of Khung Foo always helped Jin centre himself and reflect upon the way forward. Ever since being escorted into the make shift military outpost Jin had never felt so alone. Only the efforts of the lordling Nevyn Rednut had stopped Commander Elyjah from having him locked up and tortured as a spy, for now.
Still smarting in embarrassment Nevyn stormed from the Commanders quarters. He fumed as again he had been shown up to look the fool by the wily old man. The outlying reconnaissance scouting groups had not sent birds in over a week, and now the crazy old fool had ordered Nevyn into the wilds to investigate. Deep down, the cleric knew he did not have the skills, training and knowledge to hold such a high military position as was charged with in the keep. It was only through the church positioning for power, his modest family ties, and a brief stint as a squire did he end up in this position. It was no wonder that the old fashioned commander hated him so much.
Of course they would not have found Carlisle in the outpost, that would have been too easy. Naturally they missed him by less than two weeks. AND, it went without saying that Carlisle’s patrol was now missing somewhere in Gods only knew where. Thorlak had plenty of time to rile against the injustices of his position as he stalked quietly through the lush forests two days out from the garrison. He could barely see Tilby flitting in and out of the woods in front, and he need not bother to check for the location of the Captain, the constant metallic sounds of his ornate armor constantly gave him away. No guide, a rough map ending only in certain danger was all they had. Somehow, he, a battle proven warrior had ended up on commission, as part of a scouting party looking for a missing patrol, under the command of a cleric of questionable experience, a Halfling, and accompanied by a foreigner who did not wear armor or even carry a weapon. With a wry smile the towering barbarian thought that this sounded like the start to a joke
Derek’s slow drawl was beginning to get on Tilby’s nerve. Ever since the scout had surprised their group the previous night Tilby could not help feel something was not right. Either way, the promise of woodsman spiced rations was appealing, and Tilby would forgive much for flavor so he was more than happy to share an evening meal. Tilby was just relieved that they had found the scout who had led the party they were now looking for. Finally Tilby’s luck had turned.
Needless to say Tilby was mildly surprised when the big barbarian casually sidled up next to Derek, then grabbed the scout in a rough bear hug. Even more surprising was when Derek disappeared, yet Thorlak could clearly be seen wrestling something. With a battle cry to Sarenrae Nevyn hurled himself bodily into the fray and Jin began throwing punches that sensai would have been proud of. Assessing the situation, Tilby quickly grabbed a rope from his pack and after several loops around the tussling group had successfully entangled all bodies.
Once the tussle subsided Thorlak almost began gagging when he could see what he had hold of. Black greasy hair, large hooked nose, eyes not on the same level, slightly sharp teeth, and boils all over her wrinkled smelly greenish skin. All she needed was a pointy hat. Before anyone could question the old woman any further Jin How squatted only inches from her face, looked into her eyes and quietly said something in his native tongue. He then slowly raised his balled hand and smashed it into the temple of old hag. “What did you say” Nevyn demanded. In his exotic accent Jin quietly replied, , "my old sensai would say “those skilled in war bring the enemy to the field of battle and are not brought there by him”