XXV – Watch Out For Those Trees!

“Off yer asses! Let’s move out!”

That was the order of the day. The last place I wanted to be was near that damned Eye.

The Titans were in formation before I could yell again. Good old Roman discipline. With the Furrys it was another matter. Tummi ran around and through his troops, jabbering away in that language of theirs. Quick as you could say ‘move it’, over three hundred Valparta were in their own formations and ready to go.

I was impressed, to say the least. Wherever those guys had learned their trade, they’d learned it well. Whitey was bringing up the rear for reasons he had explained to me.

*I will bring up the rear as I have certain . . . abilities that should serve us well if we are ambushed from behind.*

After what Whitey had told me and what I’d seen of his traveling skills, I was not about to argue with his reasoning. So, off we went.

As we began our ascent down the trail, another surprise reared it’s ugly self. The landscape had deceived our eyes in that the trail didn’t descend in a gradual, straight line. Rather, it wound down the side of an immense cliff face. Looking down we could see the valley floor off in the hazy distance.

This was going to take awhile. It took two days in fact.

Down we went on a trail that could’ve given a snake severe back pain. The two times we stopped to pitch camp, we rested on the trail itself and as close to the cliff wall as possible.

Finally, we descended to the valley floor that opened up onto a vast plain which stretched as far as we could see. The forest I had spotted up above was far larger than I had at first thought. In fact, my normally excellent vision had been totally deceived as to the actual scale of the land about us.

The trail we were on headed off in a straight line, which traveled off in the distance until it disappeared into the forest ahead. I had always hated forests for one main reason.

Ambush.

It had been my professional experience that enemy armies loved to hide in large forests. Forests offered a defending force several handy advantages. For example, it was exceedingly difficult, if not just plain impossible, to effectively use spears and longswords in said forest, while your enemy could stab the #$#@% out of you with a nice, effective short sword or Gladius.

Also, if the defending force really knew their hiding place, they could get you to run hither and yon until your normally clean battle formations were a mucked up mess. And speaking of formations, forget using a battle line in a forest. Trees tended to get in the way.

So much for my personal thoughts about miles of overgrown shrubbery. In any case, the road led into that glowing vegetable garden so there we must follow.

The pace of our march was rapid and by the second morning after we had reached the valley floor, we entered the outskirts of that titanic lumber stand. The initial day’s journey along the forest path was uneventful and I was beginning to relax a little, hoping for a quiet trip through to the other side.

Y’know, I should have listened to my paranoia a little closer that day. You guessed it. Our little curse was still with us.

Everyone had relaxed to the extent that some of my lads had quietly started singing an old marching tune. Something about a village and the farmer’s daughters. Tummi’s group, after listening intensely for a few minutes, took up the tune and, before long, the whole army was singing along happily.

Whitey, who was still taking up the rear, seemed oblivious to what was going on. I knew better. That guy never rested and it was unlikely he could get distracted. It was at that moment, when my guard was really down, that it happened.

Ambush.

Swinging down from those damned trees and pouring out of the underbrush stormed an army of Furrys, armed to the teeth with spears and loads of other nasty things. In seconds we were surrounded. Any thought of resistance quickly faded from my startled mind when I saw the numbers our ambushers were bringing to the field.

There had to have been thousands of the little guys compared to the few hundred we could muster. One thought did enter my mind however. Why hadn’t our Valparta known about those other Valparta?

I was about to put the question to Tummi when a small ruccus erupted in our own lines.

Two Furrys were frantically jumping up and down, waving their hands and shouting something in their own language. Then, one of the Furrys in the ambushing horde saw our Furrys and started doing the same thing. Tummi quickly explained.

“The two jumping up and down are brothers. Short names are Snooky and Pooky. They recognise Valparta surrounding us, while someone in that group recognise them. Appears to be cousin with short name of Renni.”

I pushed Tummi further.

“Okay. Who are these other guys then?”

“Others are from town of Avanwy. Three days journey from here. Snooky and Pooky’s home town too. Seems about a hundred of our group also come from there. Everybody from Avanwy excited and happy. They not kill us after all. Tummi hope.”

I wasn’t feeling as confident about things as my little friend and said so.

“Look! I need to talk to the boss Valparta of that mob and get some things straightened out. Last thing we need is for those guys to change their minds and slaughter me and my Titans. No siree! Ain’t gonna happen!”

What would happen next gave me renewed belief in miracles. Suffice it to say, those diminishing chances of survival turned around and went the other way.

Chapter XXVI

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Published in: on September 19, 2010 at 4:03 PM  Comments (1)  

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  1. […] Chapter XXV […]


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