“Rander, find a branch in the woods that has already fallen. I do not want evidence of a freshly broken tree limb to raise suspicion. As we advance, use the branch to grate the soil on the road and hide our tracks. When those guards awake and return to the depot I want them to believe no one has been down this road.
“It will be tempting to take our time at the base. We cannot afford to do that. It is part of their messenger network with a crossroad in the middle of the compound. We must go in, get what we need and leave quickly without leaving evidence of our presence. Only then will my plan work.
“When we first enter the camp, we will bring the horses over to the corral by the stable. There is a trough filled with hay and grain just under the rail. Next to it is another filled with water. Tie your horses to the rail and let them eat and drink.”
“What about us?” Bander asked. “My stomach is not happy with me.”
Linvin nodded and patted his cousin on the shoulder. “Worry not, Good Bander. You shall have your feast. We can eat as we ride. The horses cannot.”
He turned his attention to his other cousin. “After we have entered the camp there will be no need to spread the dirt around on the ground” he told Rander. “Hoof prints abound and ours will go unnoticed. Once the horses are tied, you and Bander go into the stable and find any extra saddlebags. We will need all the bags and sacks our horses can hold. Remember, do not leave the area looking violated. If there are several from which to choose then take them from different areas so as not to make their absence easily noticed. Anvar and I will head for the first storage building on the right. You will bring Miri when you are done and meet us there.”
Miri stepped forward and entered the conversation. “My side may hurt but I am not so infirm I cannot be of help. I am part of this party too now. What would you have me do?”
Linvin shrugged his shoulders and saw no flaw in her logic. “Very well then,” he told her. “You go with Rander and find the items in the stable. Bander will go with me and Anvar will stand guard in the center of the crossroad. There is the chance of a rider coming through and I wanted someone to watch for that anyway.”
Linvin held out three fingers. “The first building on the right stores uniforms and medical supplies. When we have liberated what we require, we will move on to the second warehouse. It is an armory the size of which I have not seen since my days in Valia. When we are properly outfitted there, we will move to the third and largest building. It contains all the preserved foodstuffs Bander could ever want. We will take everything our horses will hold and leave. Once we are under way, we can eat as we ride.
“Are there any questions before we go?” He looked from side to side and saw anxious and excited faces. No one, however, made a sound. “Good,” he said. “I know I have said this repeatedly, but the guards must never suspect anyone has been there when they return to the base. Now, follow me.”
Linvin mounted his horse and took Rander’s by the reins. His cousin wasted no time finding a branch while the others mounted their steeds. Linvin dug in his heels and spurred the horse forward, leading the party at a brisk pace. Rander began his work of covering their tracks.