Saturday, November 12, 2011

Uneasy Alliances

The Old Man lumbered through the forest, moving his bulk with difficulty amidst the undergrowth. A scowl furrowing his brow, he stopped to gain his breath, seeing his destination ahead. A huge, weathered stone head, all that remained of a towering statue of some long forgotten king, lay on its side. The moss that once covered it had all died and begun to fall off after the recent frost. The old man adjusted the white bear cloak that showed to all who knew that he was a shaman of the mighty snow bear that roamed the frozen northern wastes, above the mountain range known as the Spine of the World. Berthgar was to meet his strange ally here, to turn over a scroll that the satyr would use to help spy on the Sky Pony tribe.

The shaman leaned wearily against the massive head, eyes roving the unfamiliar terrain, his breath steaming in the cold air. These soft southerners, he thought sourily, they have no idea what to expect from a truly harsh winter. And these Sky Ponies. His people would need to remove them from this area when they made their push south. More slaves to tend to the holdings.

"Why, if my eyes don't deceive me! It's my friend from the northern tundra, Berthgar!!" A voice came from behind him, atop the statue's head. The shaman spun in place, moving faster than would be expected for a man his size and age. With lips peeled back in a snarl, Berthgar growled, "Never try to sneak up on a man of the Snow Bear tribe, faun, or you may never get to make another mistake."

Standing on top of the weathered stone mound, Farrelle raised his hands in apology, a ruefull smile on his face as he shook his head. "Berthgar, forgive me, I meant no offense. I saw you there and just couldn't resist. I am sorry, I thought I could lighten your sour mood."

Berthgar pulled out a scroll from his belt, and threw it up at the satyr. "Here's your payment, faun. A spell that will protect you from any plants. Use it with great caution, it will not last long. I need to know the numbers and position of the Sky Ponies. How many camps do they have, where they are-."

Farrelle stalled the bear shaman with an upraised hand, "I know how to spy and what you'd be looking for, mighty shaman. I have done this before." With a chuckle, the satyr tucked the scroll in a woven leather belt that encircled his lean waist. "We'll meet here, what, four days hence?"

"Aye, at dawn's break. Make sure you come through for me, if you're caught and the Ponies keep you alive, well don't expect us to come to your rescue." Berthgar growled and raised the snow bear's hood, made from the animal's head. He lumbered off into the frosty gloom of the forest.

Crouched atop the stone head still, Farrelle warily watched the human leave. Once he was out of earshot, the satyr glanced a bluejay that was perched on a branch above him. "We must watch that one. At the first scent of weakness, he'll turn on us."

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