Chapter One [Continued]
One of the most wondrous things about the human mind is it always seems to find time for everything. Even time that exist outside the realms of our own thoughts. While Brief is sleeping his own mind begins to play games on him. Images of himself in strange surroundings begin to appear before his eyes, and with the visions there are sounds, aromas, even taste is among them, however, in Briefs dreams there are no feelings. There are no feelings like pain or happiness, not even the smallest of emotions can be felt. Even now as he sleeps motionless beside the fire he will soon be awaken by this very same mind and not remember a single thought that occurred throughout the night, at least not right away, because everyone has Deja vu.
The amber glow of the fire soon begins to pale in comparison with the coming dawn. Brief is awakened by the soothing and comforting sounds of birds singing. After a long yawn and good stretch he makes his way over to Barnicle and takes him by the reins down to a small stream of water created by the spring thaw. The cold crisp life giving water soon invigorates both man and beast. Confident that Barnicle would not run off he releases his reins and gives him a firm slap on the rump, the horse trots off to a nearby clump of bushes and begins eating the wild berries that are growing on them. Meanwhile Brief decides to get in a quick bath and shave in the cold mountain stream, once he was done with that he went back to camp and grab three animal skin bladders, an old steel Roman helmet and a hollow brass tube from the large cloth bag that he kept his tools and belongings in.
On the way back to the stream he stops and notches out a hole in a large pine tree and the sap begins to flow, he pounds the brass tube into the notched hole with the butt of his knife and places the steel helmet below so that the sap can flow into it, he then rips off a few handfuls of pine needles and tosses them into the helmet also. While the helmet is slowly filling with sap he fills the bladders with water and gathers more wood for his fire. Once he has done all this and the helmet now filled with sap he returns to camp. Brief places some more wood on the still burning embers, and in no time there is a roaring fire again. In the center of the fire he places the helmet full of sap that he has already deluded with water and waits for it to boil. Confident that his mixture will soon become a fine kerosene, Brief grabs his blanket and saddle made of wood, leather, and bone and straps it onto Barnicles’ back while he is still grazing on the wild berries.
Gently stroking the side of the horse’s neck Brief speaks softly to him. “We will not be leaving here just yet my friend, instead I have other plans, come you and I will start preparing a little welcome for our guest who are down below.” Brief then climbs into his saddle and makes a clicking sound then gently kicks his heels against the horses’ ribs and the horse takes off in a full gallop across the open expanse towards the mouth of the pass. Half way across the clearing Brief pulls up on the reins bringing the animal to a stop. He reaches into his pocket and pulls out his trusty telescope, although he can no longer see the glow from their camp fire he spots a small pillar of smoke rising from the dense forest below. The smoke being there lets him know that they have not broken camp. This is good because judging by the distance that the smoke is he would only have about three hours before they would arrive. This will be more than enough time to prepare for their arrival. Even Brief himself knows he will be outnumbered and it is necessary for him to rely on the element of surprise to eliminate these foes.
Down below Ivan and Tolcan have awakened and the two are silently going about their personal morning ritual before they break camp. This takes the men about an hour to complete and with ease the two men pick up the trail that Brief and Barnicle had left on the previous day. Ivan who is a good ten or twelve lengths ahead of Tolcan roars back to him, “Hurry along you dolt, that bastard has at least an hour of daylight ahead of us. He may have seen the smoke from our camp fire and knows by now that we are coming for him. He is most likely headed for the pass hoping to lose us on the other side.” Tolcan listens to what Ivan has to say and then asks? “What if he isn’t running?” Ivan slightly confused by Tolcans’ comment yells back again. “What is that you said?”
Tolcan shouting now, “I said what if he is not running? What if he is just sitting up there just waiting for us? Even you said earlier that daylight reached him over and hour ago so why then do we still see smoke from his fire? Do you think he is just setting traps for us right now? You know if this guy really is the man they call BushGod it is rumored that his sword has drawn the blood of so many men that it now shines red.” Ivan begins laughing out loud then replies, “You surprise me Tolcan, you mustn’t fear these stories you have heard of that man BushGod, besides you have seen this man that we are after he is old and weakened and his reflexes are bound to be slow, he is certainly no match for the likes of us.” Tolcan still wanting to be taken seriously shouts again, “Even a sickly old bear when cornered will turn and fight. Hell even a child knows that to kill without being killed not to rush in, but to approach with caution.” Ivan thinks carefully about what Tolcan said and then answers, “Well if he wishes to stand and fight against us then my friend we will grant him his wish. But we face him on our terms. Seeing how you may be right we should not underestimate this man he could possibly be laying out a trap or two for us. I will ride ahead and see if our foe has anything is store for us.” With no more being said Ivan kicks his heels into his horse and charges out of Tolcans’ sight.
This story will continue tomorrow.