I split the scouting party into two groups. We would cover more ground that way. The aim was to get something to eat, first and foremost. So, we started looking for berries but keeping a watchful eye out for deer or similar animal as well.
I kept Dregor with me. I didn’t trust him with anyone else. There was no telling what he might do. Though I didn’t like the guy much, I didn’t need him getting killed. If nothing else, his voice was an effective megaphone.
“Captain,” Dregor said, stepping cautiously, “these woods make me nervous.”
Must be the withdrawal, I thought. “There’s nothing here, Dregor.” I tried to make light of the situation, though deep down I felt similar. The air in the woods was different. I couldn’t put my finger on it. I had gone hunting in my home country, so it wasn’t the inexperience.
“I wouldn’t be so sure, Captain,” he said, raising his bow and aiming it toward the south. “There’s something out there.”
“Great,” I replied. “Maybe it’s a deer.” We stopped moving to listen. Whatever it was, it wasn’t a deer. They don’t move nearly that fast. And, it was heading in the direction of the other members of the scouting party.
“It is moving too fast for us to follow,” Dregor mumbled, lowering his bow.
“I don’t think it was reacting to us,” I said as I began to head in the direction the swift moving animal was going. “Let’s see what it is running to.”
Dregor nodded silently, and we started creeping in the right direction. The height of the land increased. It was difficult to tell in the dense woods, but I was pretty sure we were heading to the top of a hill.
As we got closer, we began to hear something, and soon we could tell that it was voices. Dregor and I both stopped at the same instant, looking at each other wordlessly. I motioned for us to continue and then put my finger over my lips. We stopped and hid behind a bush.
The conversation from the voices changed. The rhythm altered, and the volume lowered. Dregor jumped out of the bush in an effort to startle the ones on the other side. I followed him – more in an effort to keep him safe than anything else.
What I saw was brief, but I was sure of what I saw. There were two figures. They looked human. Smooth skin. But, what caught my eye were the ears. They were pointed. And, as soon as I got the quick glimpse, the two figures sprinted off faster than we could pursue.