Gonath stumbled back a bit by the rumbling voice of the broad man before him. “I’ve come to find Starik . I could not find him myself and apparently no one has time to spare to point me in the direction of his whereabouts. Why is the camp stirred so? It looks as though camp is about to break, yet I thought the army would be staying for some time, or at least until the end of the tournament.”
“We are an army lad. We must remain mobile, we can’t be caught napping. I’m sure your friend is nearby. You best be on your way. We will be leaving soon.”
“Leaving tonight? But why? Starik never said a word about leaving tonight”
The soldier leaned closer to Gonath and with a voice full of authority and strength, a voice that reminded him of his father replied, “I don’t make the orders lad, I only follow them, as does every other soldier here. It is not my place, nor yours to question what we do or do not. Your friend may be on patrol, he may be on his way to join the king’s party. As you know, Mylor will arrive tomorrow morning. I am sure you will find Starik then.”
The man brushed by Gonath and disappeared in the crowd of men within the camp. He stood alone, tired of trying to take in all of what has happened and anxious to tell someone what he know. He thought it best to continue home, recover with some sleep and start with a fresh mind in the morning. He left the outskirts of camp bound for home.
"I should be worrying about the tournament, not this old woman and this damned coin."
On the trek home several stones and holes in the road in union with the dark of night caused Gonath to trip and lose his footing several times. He lost count the number of times he was whipped in the face by small branches and wildly growing brush. “Traveling the road seemed much easier on horseback than by foot”, he thought. Breaking the silence, Gonath said to himself, “I must remember to thank Gillion when I see him again, that is if I ever see him again. Cursed old woman, if she has hurt that horse one bit she will have to answer.......”.
Voices up ahead on the road caused Gonath to cut short his promise of revenge on the old woman that stole his horse. He could hear two men quarreling. The conversation grew louder as the men approached. Fearing the men were the three strangers he encountered in the village earlier, he jumped from the road into the growth along side the road, snapping branches from the bush he plunged through. Gonath sat quietly in the dark as the men passed, hoping they did not hear him crashing to the ground. From behind the leaves and bushes he noticed two men. Both were dressed in uniforms of the King’s Army. Gonath thought it strange they were this far outside of camp not packing and preparing to leave camp as the others were doing.
“You should have let me wear the bigger of the two. That one would have fit me more suitable.” said one of the figures as they walked by.
“It makes no difference. We won’t be wearing them much longer. See we are almost back to the camp. I can smell it’s smoke from here.”
“Aye, but still, the larger one would have fit me more suitable.”
“Would you say more suitable than my dagger across your throat?”
“I think these clothes seem to fit better than my own, wouldn’t you say?”
“I thought as much, forget the uniforms and just remember your part in this.”
The two men continued down the road, thankfully not noticing the figure hiding just to their side. Gonath decided to wait just a bit longer until he was sure the men were gone and more importantly alone. He was not anxious to add any more excitement to the evening and being in the forest at night, excitement was the least of his worries. When he thought it safe, Gonath climbed out of the bushes and started for home. As he followed the road he felt a stingy in his arms and face. He stopped a few times to determine what it was that cause the irritation but could not see well in dimly lit night. Slowly the stingy turned to an awful burn that was accompanied by a terrible itch. His body began to feel as though a thousand hot needles were piercing his skin. He scratched at the pain and the burning flared even more. “What more?!!”, he cried into the dark, “Fire Weed!!”