Fouracre's Moving Shadow

Ichorlin walked at a steady pace as she moved across the Felix. She passed paddocks of golden wheat, forests overrun by threwd, and nigh on every environment in between. As the days went by, Ichorlin continued with no sign of the brigands, but she was always moving, always following Fouracre's scent. His speed surprised her though, and she often found herself running to catch up to him. A few times she almost stumbled upon his camp in her desperate attempt not to be left behind - saved only by the appearance of his flickering fire.

By the fifth night, after confirming that Fouracres had stopped for the night, she too built her own camp at least ten minutes walk away. After bringing a small fire to light she carefully pulled her knife from her satchel and moved into the forest. Her supplies had run out days ago, and she needed to eat. Afterall, she'd grown up hunting beasts.

Several minutes later she returned with a plump rabbit, which she placed over the fire. As the meat cooked she prepared a makeshift shelter of sticks and ferns, and a mattress of dry leaves. Returning to the fire Ichorlin ate, filling her empty stomach, and giving her renewed strength. Finally, with a yawn, she lay beneath her shelter and slept.

This routine continued for many more days as they moved further and further into the wilds. Roughly two weeks after they'd left Andover they passed the village of Tusculum. It was a lively village full of hard worked, yet friendly farmers and their families. That very night they would be holding the annual harvest festival fireworks, - in conclusion to the weeklong festivities that had been running, well, according to the numerous flyers strewn throughout the town at least.

Ichorlin would have loved to have attended but it seemed Fouracres took his job rather seriously, and after a regretfully hurried lunch, and many a 'I'll be sure to stay longer next time' he'd continued on his way. Letting him get a head start Ichorlin headed into the village sampling the numerous fruits and produces on display. It wasn't long before she became lost in it all, entranced by the thrill that hung in the air.

When finally shadows fell across her eyes Ichorlin realised just how long she'd spent in the village. Looking up at the sky she realised she'd given Fouracres more than just a head start.

"I'm such a fool." She mumbled suddenly before pulling her coat close and running as fast as she could out of Tusculum.

As Ichorlin ran a foreboding chill continuously ran down her spine. Something definitely wasn't right! In the distance she heard cackling laughter, the crack of whips, and the roars of distressed monsters. At last she'd found them, but it seemed they'd also found Fouracres!

Ichorlin pushed herself harder but the distance was too great, she wouldn't make it in time! Soon the noises trailed away, and Ichorlin's hope went with it. Brigands didn't give anyone second chances, if they'd come across Fouracres, they'd strike without mercy.

At last, what seemed an eternity later, Ichorlin found where the scuffle had occurred. All around her the grass was trampled with footprints, dirt flung here and there where someone had resisted the attack, but most worrying was the distinct smell of Fouracres that hung in the air. He'd definitely been trapped, but thankfully, due to the distinct lack of blood, he mustn't have been killed yet.

Turning here and there Ichorlin followed the scent trail back into the woods, taking care to remain as silent as the wind. I'll catch you bog-trotters if it's the last thing I do! Ichorlin thought. And when I do you'll be mighty sorry you ever placed a hand upon my friend.