We waited until the sun had gone down and the forest bathed in the light of a weak moon. The patrols had thinned out, replaced instead by guards positioned around the ruined fort, and the warg had returned to its den when we made our move. We crept down the hill towards a point were two guards had come together by a tree, talking & laughing instead of guarding their perimeter. Their dereliction of duty left large gaps of inky darkness between them and the next guard on duty and this was to prove a very costly mistake for them.
Everwyn looked at me and flicked her eyes to the man on the left. I nodded. She deftly notched an arrow whilst I unslung my javelin. Both of us silently prepared for the strike, she pulling back hard and I crouching low, heaving my weapon back as far as I could. Our eyes were on our targets and nothing else in the world but those two men mattered, Whether we got through the next hour alive came down to the next few seconds and both of us knew it.
She loosed her arrow first, it sliced through the air with all the speed of a hawk diving upon its prey. It flew true and the man jolted backwards at the impact, dead before he hit the floor without having uttered even the smallest of cries. His companion was stunned and wasted the last second of his life looking down at his friend and then into the darkness of the forest, unable to comprehended what had just happened as my javelin streaked towards him. It was a solid throw and a perfect hit, punching through his armour and pinning him to the tree. Old Roper would have been proud.
We ran silently through the darkness and towards the downed guards, Everwyn retrieving her arrow and I my javelin. It would be wrong to say I felt nothing as the man (surprisingly still alive, although barely) slid down the tree and folded at my feet. I felt the sweet thrill of vengeance. He and his kind had showed no mercy nor pity to the unarmed folk of Archet and I intended to repay them all in kind.
The death of the guards would be discovered soon enough so there was little use in hiding their bodies, even assuming we could have done so undetected, so we stepped over them and pressed on. We ran to the main gate where another two guards stood. Each received the same treatment as their friends but Everwyn & I knew these would be the last of our quiet kills. From here we would have to move fast.
We raced inside the fort and saw various collections of brigands scattered throughout, gathered around campfires and tents. Most of the force seemed to be asleep, trusting their guards to keep them safe. Given their numbers, this was a delusion I was happy to leave them with, at least until we could mobilise more fighters to aid us in clearing this nest out once and for all. For now I was content with locating Amdir and returning to Combe, but of the missing Ranger we could see no sign. Still, we had to investigate thoroughly and so we pressed on and headed deeper in to the ruins, across a bridge and towards a well lit section that might just hold our answers…