Tolcan walks his horse for about thirty meters before he decides to climb upon him again, he looks off to his right and sees that Ivan is a good fifty meters ahead of him and is almost half way to the end of the pasture. From here the mouth of the pass looks only wide enough for one man to pass through at a time. He thinks to himself if this guy Brief were to ambush them it will be in the Pass itself and not out here in the expanse of the pasture. However, he still studies the woods to his left to make sure that no surprises are waiting for him. The further he gets he notices that the woods start to become darker and is filled with rotting fallen timber and large stones and is also becoming cloudy with mist brought on by the warmth of the Sun that is now high in the sky. This high in the mountains the air is thin and crisp and is places the snow still gathers around the trees. Now almost two thirds down the pasture and nearing the small gateway between the top of two large mountain peaks, he spots a small break in the dense timbers where the Sun shines strong.
He inspects the area very carefully for signs of a trap or ambush, confident that none exist he decides that this would be a good place to rest for a short while and warm himself before continuing. Tolcan dismounts his horse and makes his way to a large boulder in the center of all the rubble. He thinks to himself that this little circle of heaven was created by a massive rock slide long ago causing the trees to be turn on their sides and partly uprooted. Now the branches that once reached out side to side are standing tall towards the sky. Younger trees are now growing in and around them. With his horse in tow he heads towards the pile of boulders and stones and finds himself a comfortable spot to sit and absorb the warming rays of the Sun. Letting out a groan of fatigue he settles himself back against the large boulders and makes himself comfortable. Now that the two of them are nearer the pass Ivan is on fifteen to twenty meters parallel of where he is at.
As Ivan approaches the mouth of the pass he sees Tolcan sitting on a pile of stone across the way and wonders how he managed to get here before him. He tries to look ahead into the pass which is surround on both sides by sheer mountain side that seem to go straight up. It is so silent here that Ivan can hear the breathing of his horse. Feeling for the animals hard work getting him here, he begins stroking its neck and whispers into its’ ear. “Well boy it looks as if we went a long way only to be brought back to the mouth of the Dragon. I will let you rest here for a while my friend while I go on foot and see what’s in store for us up ahead.” Ivan dismounts the animal and loops the free end of the reins over a nearby tree branch before heading off. Cautiously he makes his way ahead into the gully that makes up the pass until he is within a few meters of the sheer cliff walls. He is now in position to see through the pass which he judges to be only thirty to forty meters and notices that it opens to another clearing on the other side.
Suddenly the echo of falling rocks and the whinny of a horse breaks the silence and quickly Ivan tries to conceal himself. He looks back and sees Tolcan stumbling around the rock pile he was resting in and is furious that he may have giving away that they are present. It only stands to reason that this pass would be an ideal place for an ambush or to ward off an attack. He looks again for any signs of movement in the pass and feels confident that no one is present except for Tolcans clumsy ass. Looking back again to where Tolcan is he sees the man standing there relieving himself and the only thing in his mind is that he might have to kill that man sooner than he thought. Ivan makes his way back to his horse and once there he picks up a few small stones and tosses them in Tolcans direction to get his attention. Tolcan notices the falling stores landing all around him so leaps to his feet and moves swiftly to his horse, grabbing his reins he pulls the animal back out of sight and into the shelter of the woods.
Tolcan quickly draws his axe and crouches behind the cover of a large stout tree. Peering around the tree he tries to pinpoint where the stones were coming from. Not seeing any movement or detecting any more stones coming his way he decides it is time he got out of there and get to the mouth of the pass. He rises and mounts his horse and cautiously heads off. While heading for the pass he keeps a constant guard, holding the huge axe in one hand ready to strike anything that moves. Ivan from across the way is astounded by the actions of Tolcan and thinks to himself what an idiot of a man, does he not know that I would be the one trying to get his attention. I sees that Tolcan is headed for the pass so he decides he will just meet up with him there.
The moment that Tolcan arrives at the mouth of the pass he sees Ivan emerge from behind a tree. Ivan in the most snide and sarcastic voice he come out with says to the approaching Tolcan. “Glad to see that you are willing to join me. The way you took off into the woods I thought for sure you were on you way back to your mother. Now get off that damn animal we need to make plans before we proceed any further.” Tolcan with his axe still in his hand leaps off his horse and points the axe at Ivan and replies. “I see now it was you that was tossing the rocks at me. I swear I will take great pleasure in dismembering you once we are through with killing this man Brief.” Ivan lowers his head in disgust and groans. “You truly are an ignorant ass of a man. Sit down now. We must be very cautious now one wrong move and we may both die, do you remember the signals we used when we attacked the castle gate at Anwari.” “Sure I do, but why?” Tolcan asks. “Great” says Ivan. Then the two men begin conversing softly to each other for several minutes before they head out to the pass.
Slowly the two men approach the pass in silence and once there Ivan takes up a position on the right side while Tolcan remains on the left. Although the pass is only about five meters wide, it may as well have been a mile wide. The entire length of the pass was completely covered with loose gravel. By horse or by foot the sound the loose gravel would make would surly attract attention and let someone know they were on the way. Ivan instructs Tolcan to stay put with several hand jesters in a language only the two of them could possibly understand. He then proceeds into the pass on horseback, while Tolcan tries to conceal himself and his horse behind some large boulders at the mouth of the pass. Half way down the length of the pass Ivan dismounts his horse and crouches down low and signals back to Tolcan. Tolcan then rides slowly up to Ivan and dismounts his animal too. He begins crawling up a large loose gravel mound at the other side of the pass as he reaches the top he peers over only to see that the huge loose gravel mound extends several more meters down the other side before it comes to rest in the clearing on the other side.
This Saga will Continue