Flight or FIGHT!
Branches whipped at his face, undergrowth tugged at his trouser legs as he bounded a fallen log in his path. In his eight or so years in the service to the scout corps he'd never run from a threat, evaded, outmaneuvered and hidden but on this day Sergeant Gunter Ryley wasn't ashamed to admit to himself he was fleeing for his life. Hidden behind him amongst the forest something pursued his headlong flight. Gunter’s one clear thought was,
*Must. Run. Faster.* just in front of him he could make out the back of the Lieutenant to whom he'd been assigned to undertake the supposedly 'safe' mission. When he'd initially heard the Lieutenant’s name his reaction had been to collapse onto his bunk and hang his head between his knees. At the moment he was just immensely glad that said Lieutenant’s War caster armor, from the funnel of which a thin streamer of smoke trailed in the figures wake, wasn't slowing them down.
Lieutenant Allison McCain raced through the 'light woods', as her Sergeant had called them not a day ago. As her breath burnt in her throat and lungs, she concentrated both on keeping her armor coated legs from tangling in the scrub and the bobbing blond pony tail of Scout Katerine 'Kat' Denby in sight, though she was managing to swear on every second exultation now. She took a brief moment to mentally thank the gods, currently a grab bag with their names all inside, for her war-caster armor being of the 'light' variety since it meant she only needed it 'idling' to generate enough power to run in the [email protected]dy stuff. Of course that didn't stop the thing being confining and awkward and Allison was glad she'd borrowed one of the Scouts 'bandannas' to hold down her hair since, at the moment, it was doing a great job of keeping back the sweat that plastered her black mane to her head.
The ground had begun to level out and the trees to thin allowing more of her mind to think about what was happening, about what had happened. A simple first independent mission, the task of sneaking over the river, getting more 'behind' enemy lines, find any Khard forces, count the legs and divide by two (Or four as the case may be) and then sneak back with the gist of what they'd seen.
Allison had been assigned a bunch of Cygnars finest tree skippers to brighten the mood and highlight the more scenic aspects of the countryside. It had been a credit to the bunch of them that they’d only been in country a day or so before finding some, said same, Khardorans. Sergeant Ryley had been startled to come across so many bad guys moving about but Allison hadn't been so surprised at all, well not as 'expletivly' as the Sergeant.
Anyway, it was an enemy's job to annoy and harass and she'd been glad the Khards were going about and doing their job so thoroughly. The trouble had been the Khardoran Bush Buggerers who'd found them as well. Again Allison made a mental note to work harder at surprising the enemy in future.
Nash Langswroth loped along, as the tallest amongst the Scouts his long legs ate up the distance while his gait made it seem as if he were just stepping over some of the smaller lying obstructions. As the trees gave way to the rough, rubble strewn riverbank. He gave a huff of relief as he slowed his pace slightly to pick his way across the rocky ground; they should have enough distance between themselves and their pursuit to get the boats away and be safely out in deep water before they were caught up to.
Glancing about he checked his bearings, noting landmarks both near and distant, as he zeroed in on the spot of riverbank where the groups transport had been drawn up and concealed. Racing up to the water edge he began to regain his breath as he looked about amongst the long tussocky grass and low shrubs scattered about. Langsworth's eyes picked out the anchor rope to the barge and followed it back towards…the...water... .As around and beside him the rest of the group stumbled to a huffing, winded halt. In the distance behind them came the echo of crashing trees from the denser wood.
"Yes, yes. I remember your lessons on the medicinal use of mosses, thank you Scout master Langsworth for all those lessons," Lieutenant McCain raced up to the river bank, huffing but obviously wanting to hustle her troops along, "But I think you'll agree with the good Sergeant Ryley that we're all in a bit of a hurry and every body agrees it's time to...go...?" Her voice trailed off in a surprised squeak. She knew they were in the right spot, even her nascent bush craft could tell that much. She could even see the prow of their 'skiff' under its covering of bushes just to her right.
What caused her consternation was that the rest of the long boat had been sheared away, its ruined hull lying jumbled and submerged off in the river current. To her left where before a large barge had been drawn up under the concealing shade of an over hanging willow, now only the anchor line trailed away into the rivers dark, turgid depths.