To Outrun A Tainted Arrow - Pt. 3: Those Who Hunt The Hunters

Updated: Mar 6, 2021

Five Maab’tzen could barely believe his luck. It was as if the Source would have it so that his life—and his panic would extend for a while longer. First, he escaped the initial attack of the northern raiders, then he found the Bendavee forester… or the forester had found him, if he had to be specific about it, and prevented him from flying right into another clutch of Ysvalidd who would have very likely skewered him on sight.

Then, there was the terrible part his savior brought with him: they found themselves in a place between what seemed to be the extended beachhead of a raiding fleet, which put the two Náhuinn right behind the rapidly forming enemy lines, against ever increasing odds and with precious little options left as the day advanced.

Still, they pressed on trying to evade the enemy patrols and their knights mounted on strange warbeasts that growled and barked, sniffing the air and soils as they slowly covered the ground before them. The riders all wore crude leather armor and carried harpoons and long swords, and a few had some sort of shields on their backs or tied to the haunches of the snarling mount.

Five Maab’tzen had never seen a foghound before, but he had read plenty about their brutality and bloodthirst and with every passing heartbeat, the buunkun felt his head go lighter and his extremities growing heavier.

“Don’t lose your nerve, bright colors,” the Bendavee ranger’s voice came out in short, rhythmic utterances , masking itself with the coming and going of the seabreeze and the faraway sound of waves crashing on the beach. “We need to get out of here and warn the Mig tainn of the invaders.”

“These aren’t plunderers,” the buunkun whispered, furtively looking from side to side and over his shoulders. “This is no casual raid. Those are knights, scaly brother. This is war.”

The Bendavee nodded once and moved forwards, turning a shade darker to better blend with the darkening shrubs. Five Maab’tzen remained impressed with the swiftness and silence of the bulky saurian’s every movement and tried to imitate them, admittedly in a most disparaging manner, but still achieved a level of silence he was absolutely sure he wouldn’t have accomplished on his own.

“What will we do?” the buunkun hoped for the answer would be they were to find any place where they could remain hidden until the Ysvalidd and their furry, brutish beasts had moved father from the coast, then circling wide and sprint towards the nearest…

“Yumawta tzikob!” The buunkun whispered, yet his tone was that of evident fear. “They are moving in the direction of the tizkob!”

Kan’tzotz turned to give him an intimidating glare and the buunkun immediately shut his beak and stopped on his tracks.

“I know,” came the answer as wind through dry branches. “We must get to the fort before them or they will surprise and slaughter the whole garrison. We’ll use the ravine and dart our way out of their sight, swift as your suncolored brothers, and we both will reach our people tzikob.”

The buunkun looked at the relentless Bendavee and began to frantically move his head in from side to side, slightly tilting it and trembling as he did. Suddenly the Bendavee large head was but inches away from the point of his beak.

“Stop it, now! The wind will carry your fear musk and those things will then catch the scent.” Kan’tzotz put his hand on the buunkun’s slender shoulder. “I need you to calm down. We can make it, but only if you trust not me, but yourself. Can you do that for us, feathered bother?” Will you do that?”

Five Maab’tzen nodded and immediately the Bendavee turned and slinked away. He took a deep breath, swallowed hard and then exhaled, thinking about all the Mig tauinn who were stationed in the Yumawta tzikob, the last high jungle fort before the hills rolled down into the coastline. Several hundred lives, all unaware of the forces converging on their camp.

The buunkun scholar apprentice, shook his head and pressed on, following the darker bulk of the seemingly unfazed ranger in front of him.

He no longer harbored any doubts. They had to reach their people before the enemy could, for, now… the Mig tainn were at war.

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