Thursday, July 30, 2009

Berserker Part 43

The group tromped along a few yards ahead of the wagons. The focal point of a V shape movement that was formed by twenty to thirty other men, mixed militia and mercenaries assigned to accompany the caravan for the first day. Just until they were safely out of the city’s site.

Aniston had regained his ice-like composure and marched along, back straight and head up. Lars often wondered how he could see where he was going like that. But Millienya had been especially quiet upon receiving the unfortunate news concerning Seryan. Knowing her and her motherly attention to the rest, Lars thought she was probably blaming herself.

Aside from Kyle, who was at the head of the wagon train again, he was the only one in a relatively observant mood. Which was why he noticed the persistant whining coming from the gnoll hitched to the lead wagon. Ever since it had realized that it would come to no harm and was cared for relatively well, it had behaved itself. Not snapping at people, howling, or attempting to chew its own leg off to escape. Becoming a sort of mascot for the group, it was tolerated as long as it continued to work pulling the wagons. Kyle had even made a shoulder harness to fit, allowing the thing better traction.

Stopping, Lars got the others’ attention. “What’s wrong with the gnoll?” , he asked.

It now had stopped trying to pull the wagon and had its nose in the air, sniffing wildly and clawing at its harness.

“Maybe it has fleas”, Aniston dismissed.

“Then what about the tall grass?”, Lars persisted.

“What about it?”, Millienya asked, scanning the grass for anything unusual.

“Its waving”, he said.

“Grass does that all the time”, Aniston explained. “The air pushes it around like surf on a beach”.

Lars dropped the bomb. “Do you feel any wind?”

“Oh”, Aniston realized.

“Everyone pass the word”, Millienya hissed urgently, feeling unseen eyes on her. “No fast movements, act like nothing’s wrong.”

“Where are my weapons?”, Jarn asked quietly

“The gnoll’s wagon”

“Right”, he said, doing his best to stroll nonchalantly to the cart.

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