Nicole stuffed her pack full of things she would need. Her handmaid, Sariah, had added a few more trivial things.
“Just in case,” she assured her. Great, going into battle with soap, perfume and a brush.
Nicole plastered a smile on her face for the old woman, after all, this could be the last she sees her.
“Thank you, Sariah.”
The homely woman patted her on the arm, “Just don’t die, and you’ll get along just fine.”
A nervous laugh escaped Nicole as she hoisted the pack onto her shoulder.
Adam pulled himself up on his spotted mare.
“Do you think we’ll survive this?” Nicole asked as she settled into her saddle.
Adam gave her a reassuring smile, “If we don’t, then at least we’ll find out what’s on the other side.” She shrugged. “Besides,” he continued, “Death is just another adventure that everyone has to have someday.” Adam could see that had little comfort in her eyes.
“I’ve always wanted to go on an adventure, and now that I’m going on one, I’m not so sure,” Nicole sighed, “At least we have a simple agenda.” Adam strapped on his helmet and did a final maintenance check on all his equipment.
They rode along in silence, lest they be discovered by the barbarians hiding in the woods. The war with them had been going on for over 10 years. Adam couldn’t even remember how it all began. More than likely a land dispute.
A rustle in the bushes halted their way. Someone, not something, was with them and they both felt it.
“Come out and we won’t hurt you,” Nicole said tensely, notching an arrow and pulling it taut.
“If I had wanted to kill you, I would have a while ago,” the deep raspy voice came from the trees above. Nicole opened her mouth to speak, but Adam held his hand out to her in a notion of silence. A dark figure dropped from a limb in front of the two riders. He slowly pulled back his hood. Before them stood a young man, not past 20, dark skinned with long hair that was tied back and black eyes. He showed a crooked smile revealing painfully white teeth. Adam gripped his sword tightly as the stranger proceeded to walk slowly towards them.
“Who are you, friend?” Adam said, his voice edged with caution.
“Enyeto, at your services,” He gave Adam a smile, but his gaze remained on Nicole.
She stared him down, and said, “You’re English is surprisingly good.”
Enyeto bowed his head slightly, “My parents believed in an education, so I was taught. I don’t agree with my brethren on most accounts of the many battles we’ve had, and this current battle was the, ah how do you say,” his voice trailed for a moment before it came to him, “The last straw?” Adam leaned more forward in his saddle.
“Enyeto, what could you tell us about what you saw at the battle?” This is too convenient.
He spread his hands in front of himself in a shrug, “How much are you willing to pay? I am a lone traveler with little to no provisions.”
Nicole pulled her horse up next to Adam’s and whispered, “Are we really going to barter with this guy? I don’t like the way he keeps looking at me,” Adam nodded his head in agreement and replied, “But we need this information on the princesses, because if we don’t we’ll get nowhere.”
“Do we have an understanding?” Enyeto folded his arms in a wide stance. Adam sighed, and responded, “What’s your offer?” The dark man flew his arms open in a dramatic and said, “Just your company and a split of the spoils.”
Adam and Nicole shared a look as they said, “Deal.”