Saturday, September 26, 2015

Red As Any Blood--Part 27

Kessler glanced around the forest, and swore to himself.  This was not going well.  He'd hoped that this tip would pan out, but he was increasingly filled with the idea that it was not.  And that was horrible, for he feared what another failure would cause.

"So, you are certain they are here," stated Bres, appearing quietly at his side, his ratlike face frowning in deep displeasure, as if he were the living embodiment of the captain's fears summoned there by his thoughts.

"That is what I was told," said Kessler. 

"Told by whom?" asked Bres, eyes rolling.

"My sources are confidential," muttered the captain.

"Captain," said the Prince's Men quietly, "these woods are deserted."

"You don't know that," replied Kessler with as much confidence as he could muster.

"Yes, I do," replied Bres. "I know woods, Captain, and I know when woods are not merely presently low on people, but instead actually deserted.  These woods are deserted.  There are no people here, save ourselves.  Especially not the men who are missing."  He glanced around.  "A poacher learns these things.  Just as he learns to recognize marshland."  He paced away.  "I recommend we get your men back to the boats, or to high ground, soon.  Otherwise half of them will fall into bogs, and drown."  Bres gave a savage shake of his head.  "If we are fortunate."

Kessler walked swiftly behind the man.  "Don't be so sure!  Something might turn up!"

Bres gave a sigh.  "No, it won't, you silly drunk.  You've taken half your men across the island on what was at best a local prank, and at worst, an intentional effort by our foes to get us out of the way..."

"I left Cormyr in command," replied Kessler forcefully.  "And... don't forget Piers and Gibbel! Prince's Men, just like you!"

"Cormyr couldn't command a brothel," said Bres.  "As for Piers and Gibbel, well, sir, I am insulted to be considered the same species as that pair on occasion, much less considered a member of the same organization..."

Kessler gulped.  "Things are probably fine."

Bres winced.  "Given my luck of late, Captain, I am now CERTAIN that we are now completely buggered."  He gave a bow.  "Thank you for clarifying that for me."

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