A bright light shined over him and he thought for a moment he’d been discovered. Through his disguise he saw a Mandrean Goblin Soldier walk so close he nearly stepped on Linvin’s head. The soldier, however, had his eyes to the front where the others were gathering and paid no attention to the pile on leaves at his feet.
Several rows over all the soldiers were coming together and trampling down a grand area of corn to make room for their numbers. More and more goblins arrived until Linvin could no longer keep count.
When their number had all gathered in a circle, one called out. “Has anyone found anything?” A chorus of voices began to clamor in response. Though it was difficult for Linvin to pick out any particular voice he could hear all the answers were in the negative. After a few moments the first voice yelled, “Silence. We have been following some fresh tacks headed south. They could be the escaped prisoners we seek or they could be some farmers out trying to protect their corn from animals feeding overnight. Regardless, that is our best lead right now. So that is the path we will follow.”
“This is madness,” one of the goblins called to him. “Even if the tracks are from them, they could be right next to us and we would never see them. We should go back to the barracks and try fresh in the morning.”
“Perhaps that is how you do things in your Company,” the first voice said. “In mine, we follow the trail until it goes cold.” An argument ensued and the bickering spread to all the goblins.
Linvin’s opportunity had arrived. He waited for the goblins to begin shoving one another and then made his move. Emerging from his pile of leaves, Linvin crouched and watched the action not more than five rows away. He spied a window through the rows where he had a clear view of the action. Then he looked to the right and found another. Removing a stone from his pocket, he took great care in aiming. He flicked the rock through the air with a snap from his wrist. It passed through the corn and hit a goblin on his fingers holding a torch. The goblin shouted in pain and dropped the flaming stick. His cry went unnoticed among those fighting around his position.
When the flame contacted the dry stalks, however, the fuel combusted quickly and began to spread. Linvin wasted no time picking a target on the other side and again struck the hand holding the torch. As before, the flame hit the ground and ignited the overlapping kindling. With his work done, Linvin stayed low and ran for the hedgerow. He did not look back until he reached cover. When he finally turned to view his handiwork, he smiled with satisfaction. The fire had become substantial before the mass of soldiers realized they had fires on both sides that were spreading. With the flames leaping from one row to the next it was impossible for the goblins to try to contain. They broke ranks in terror and ran in every direction. Some had unknowingly caught fire and were spreading it across the field as they ran.
“Glorious.” Anvar commented.
“They do not even know what happened,” Linvin said as he took to his saddle. “Now is our moment. Burst onto the road and ride east with all the speed these horses have left.”
“Won’t the goblins see us?” Bander asked.
Linvin took his place in the lead and answered. “No. When it is dark and you stare at a bright flame your vision becomes restricted for a short time. You lose the ability to see in the darkness. Make sure not to look at the blaze. While they run from the flames, we will ride invisibly out of danger. Now, go as fast as you can.”
The party burst onto the road and galloped to the east. Though they were riding away from the fire, the light behind them continued to grow. Bander looked back and saw the entire field engulfed in flame. A great fireball leapt into the sky.”
Linvin scolded him. “Do not look at it. We do not care about what is behind us. What matters is in front of us.”
Bander looked ahead, but could see only blackness. “I can’t see anything.” he shouted.
“I told you not to look at the flames.” Linvin yelled in frustration. “Rander, ride beside your brother and hold his reins. Anvar, do the same for Miri.”