Abbott and the Djinn chp. 6.4

At the fore were Ui Birlinn and his men.  They looked weary, and their horses looked worse.  Ui Birlinn pulled his horse out of line as he drew near Iamerge and Gospels, but he motioned the rest of the column on without him.

Rhaury Ui Birlinn smiled and nodded, “I’d not thought to see you again Gospels, but I am glad that there is some good that’s come of the day.”

“Some good and some bad.” said Gospels, “What did you find?”

Rhaury winced and looked down into the valley where the devastated caravan lay, “As to that, death, and some ruin.” He looked back at the two, “and yon caravan beset.”

“You saw who did this?”

“Yes, when I gave chase.  Gospels, you have never seen a more brutal lot.  Our caravan coming up behind these poor folk drove the monsters off, and when I came with the relief we pursued.  I think they are not used to being chased.  We caught them at camp farther down the valley.  I’d heard the reports of the guards who fought them, but I couldn’t imagine, can’t tell you.  These were not men, not in any sense that we know them, they were more like beasts.”

“So you think they were not of the family of man?  Did they bear some sigil, some banner?”

“Not that, they were a war band because they went armed.  Savage, fanged, long armed brutes, they were powerfully built, more than even the doughtiest warrior you’ve known.” Rhaury shook his head, “Nothing in my experience compares.  The largest might have been the height of a man if he stood straight, but they crouched, came at us with their weapons.  Most of them were much shorter than a man, but then they all may have weighed more, even the smallest.”  Rhaury eyes glazed as he remembered, “It was strange.  There were some that were short, as if they were of a size, by comparison, of a child, but they were all as murderous as the largest.  I think our horses were all that saved us.  A man and a horse over matched what they would otherwise tear to pieces.”

Gospels shuddered, “Do you think they are well gone then?”

“Who can say?  I have wounded that can ride and I’m taking them and my caravan to Beallton.  I’m sorry that I forgot to give the brothers word.  What errand brought you and your brother this far?  I advise you show proper caution, this all started last night.”

“We have more brothers coming  . . .”

“Gospels, I do not mean to say that I’ve abandoned those I’m leaving.  We need new horses and then we will return.  It is wretched what has happened to the other caravan.  There are a few survivors, we were coming to get your assistance for them . . .”

“No worries, I think that Hebrews should be here soon with carts and stretchers . . .”

“I fear there will not be need for very many,” said Rhaury