brother in the front of their wagon at the tail end of the procession.
“Quiet,” he responded in a low voice. “Men have stopped us.
“They look similar to the men who Argentoe killed last week.”
Argentoe moved like a cat to the flap just behind Tibare. “How
many of them are there, and where are they located?” he asked as
he looked over the weapons at hand.
“There appear to be six men on horseback,” Tibare answered.
“Three are to the left and front of the column talking to Father.
One just passed by and is somewhere behind us, and one is
halfway down the line on each side. They all have swords.”
Argentoe somehow knew how to use all the weapons in the wagon,
but there was one that caught his eye above the others.
“I am Bloxor,” one of the men in the front announced for all to
hear. “I am what you might call the magistrate of the Knife’s
Hand. A dozen of my best men disappeared on this road about a
week ago. Now, I come to find some simple farmers towing my
men’s horses behind their wagons. It would serve you well to tell
me how you came into possession of the beasts.”
Stynard was frightened but managed to speak. “We found the
horses wandering and saw no point in letting them go unattended.”
Bloxor looked unconvinced. “So you mean to tell me that some
group butchered my men and then buried them in such a way that
the grave was hard to discover but left their horses just wandering
the plain? This soil is hard as rock. Swords would be of little use
digging a grave in it. Farmers, however, could use their tools to
make short work of the ground.”
“We did bury the bodies,” Stynard confessed. “It seemed like
the decent thing to do when we came upon them. We only covered
the sight in order to prevent scavengers from digging them up.”
Bloxor smiled knowingly. “I thought you said you found the
horses wandering. Now you say there were bodies and buried
them. What else aren’t you telling me?”
“Forgive me, Mr. Bloxor. I am frightened and left out part of
“I examined two of the bodies,” Bloxor noted. “They died from
sword blows. You carry no swords, but I know you killed them. So
how did you manage such a feat?”
“We didn’t kill them,” the mother said as she entered the
“Indeed?” Bloxor asked as he reached past Stynard and held his
blade to the wife’s neck. “Then tell me who did do this, and I
might let you live.”
Meanwhile in the rear of the column, the back flap of the last
wagon was disturbed from the inside. The rider covering the zone
noticed the movement and came closer. The animals tied to the
back prevented his horse from reaching the gate of the cart.
Suddenly the flap flew open, and Argentoe fired an arrow into the
throat of the man at close range, killing him silently.
Argentoe scrambled to the front of the wagon and told Tibare
not to move. After gaging the positions of the bandits on the right
and left side, it was time to act. He poked an arrow through the
front cover of the wagon, and with precision dropped the man to
the right with a shot through the neck. It was a masterful shot.
While the man could not cry out, his partner across from him saw
his companion fall and raised the alarm. “We are under attack,” he
Not having time to line up another neck blow, Argentoe took a
full draw on the bow and felled him with a shot through his
breastplate to the chest.