The Eastern Outpost

            With disdain for her like, those that dared to use magic, the unit had sent her off alone to track down the group that was expecting her. Yorh was to head east, through farmland, until she reached a modestly garrisoned outpost. There, she was told, would be the warriors for whom she was responsible.

            The morning sunlight was generous, and warmed Yorh in a way that her breakfast gruel had not. Upon the back of her horse, she passed farmland that was outside the capital's walls. Her pack bounced gently against her back, and her hair ran wild in the wind.

            Behind his master, Hsingard ran. Paws lunged from one step into the next. He was struggling, though managing, to keep up with the ambitious horse. A pink tongue trailed out of his mouth as he panted with glee and barked at any animal they passed.

            It was many long moments of gazing with wonder into the distance before the roan horse brought its rider to the outpost at the edge of the fields.

            The stone tower stood above and before her, like an ancient ward of protection. A watchman called down to her, "You're late!"

            Indignation rose in her, "I came when ordered and spared no moment."

            "Aye, but you spared speed for that mutt."

            "He's of value!" she yelled up at the shadowed man in the tower's open window. The contrast between the sun and his station almost blinded her.

            "Come up here and get a map," he ordered. "I'll point you in the right direction. But I can't promise that you'll have made a good impression on Sir Bronhaye. He's a rough taskmaster, so my little brother tells me."

            Dismounting, Yorh tied Andakilsa's reins to a ring on the wall, and pulled open the tower door. And as she did, the old wood seemed to glisten with new life under her touch.

The End

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