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Whispers - Chapter IRECONNOITREAn early spring wind whipped around the natural rock parapet settled atop a snow-speckled peak. A lone figure leaned against the cold stone, observing the bustling army in the valley below. The commanders pavilion had been erected just a few hours before and now dozens of small tents were sprouting up amongst the milling soldiers and pack animals. Thin wisps of smoke curled into the air from freshly laid fires, and the inviting smell of cooking venison and pork drifted on the breeze.Kael reached into his dirty white bear skin cloak and withdrew a leathery strip of dried beef as he listened to the noises of the assembling camp. The sound carried clearly to his concealed vantage-point, and he could almost make out conversations amid the thunk, thunk, thunk of wooden pegs being driven into the ground.Biting off a piece of beef, he scanned the trees on the upper valley slopes, searching for the sentry patrols that would be pushing out to form a safety
Whispers - Chapter IIPURSUITSilver moonlight played across the glade, casting shadows of blue and black on the frosty forest floor. A leather backpack dropped out of a tree with a thud closely followed by Kael. He had left his heavy travelling gear out of sight in the branches of a large oak before setting off to the mountain pass earlier in the day. He checked the packs contents before heaving it on to his back, then standing for a few seconds he listened intently for any unusual sounds before setting off into the trees.Kael had not expected to encounter anyone on his usual scouting trip through Tienther Pass, but now the absurd rumours he had heard the week before had become a stark reality. Enemy soldiers were on Trenmark soil. The Kingdom of Trenmark had not seen an enemy inside its borders since the Monarch Wars of more than two-hundred years before, when the four kingdoms had battled for control over the lands of the eastern coast. That war had been a very political one, an
Whispers - Chapter IIIOLD FRIENDSA lone hawk circled above the dirt road above two wagons that wound their way along the lakeside highway toward a distant city. A contented looking woman drove the lead wagon, her dark hair hung down her back, plaited in a ponytail. She was unusually striking in appearance, not what some would consider beautiful, but attractive nonetheless. She glanced up, and shaded her sea green eyes against the midday sun. The hawk spread its wings wide, catching a sudden updraft. It swiftly wheeled away and struck out across the lake toward a distant island.Almost home, Jacob, she called back over her shoulder to the dark skinned man driving the second wagon. Im looking forward to a good nights rest in my own bed after these last few weeks.If you had horses instead of these oxen, many days less would our journey have been, he said in his Caravellian accent as he pulled alongside.Horses! she exclaimed. Horses wouldn
Whispers - Chapter IVAMONGST THIEVESWhen Malayna awoke the following morning, the sun was already streaming through her window. Busy city noises filtered up from the street below. She let out an audible groan and rubbed her face. I must get up, I have so much to do, she told herself while attempting to slide her feet off the bed and onto the floor. Garvin would be at the warehouse and would want a full account of the journey . . . and then there were the deliveries to do.Malayna stumbled to her clothes chest, sorted through the jumble of loose garments within and threw a black leather jerkin over the end of the bed next to her pants. Splashing water on her face from a bucket on a nearby table, she glimpsed herself in the small sheet of dented silver she used as a mirror.Oh, by the gods, I look terrible! My hair looks like it belongs to a mangled rat!She quickly tied it back from her face, leaving it to hang loose down her back and dressed in the clothes she had put aside. From under