Chapter II


August’s men and the cavalry detachment, brought up by the General, rose with the sun. Trumpets sounded out as the men were called to assemble and prepare themselves to move out.

In a low voice, August noted to Quintus, “Thought the original plan was for us to wait for the rest of the Legion here. The General has decided to move on?”

Quintus replied in a quiet voice, “Not far. Just a few miles north to the town of Rutland that lies beyond the empty village.”

“It’s the closest town,” Malitus explained, mindful of their talk even if he, Quintus, and August rode at the front of the column of advancing troops. “That druid had to come from somewhere close. The populace there may know something about what happened to your scouts and this empty village. Send a runner back to the Legion and inform them to start their advance.”

“Their deaths should not go unavenged,” Quintus added, eying the forest about their road. “Besides, we still need to know what happened to them. If there
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