The Wilderness Nimlebrie found the silence of the woods unsettling. Perhaps it was that, having grown so accustomed to bustling city life, she found the notion of a place so removed from civilization disturbing. Or, as Barnabas had put sarcastically, the woods were only paying homage to a noblewoman. She had scoffed, stating that no magi was above nobility, but the warrior had only shrugged and rode on. The sound of hooves clapping against hard-packed dirt had already begun to ring dead to Nimlebrie's ears after the first day, and by the third, every sound had been swallowed by the expanse of the woods surrounding the two. "'Ya know," Barnabas began, momentarily tugging at his horse's reigns so that he rode parallel to Nimlebrie. "If the silence it killin' you, 'ya might-" The woman rose a still hand to cut him off. "I prefer the silence to your own trumpeting," she replied coolly, allowing her lips to stretch into a smile. "Trumpetin' 'eh?" The man scratched at his beard, usually well-kept, though now showing the weeks they had spent on the road. "If that's what you want to call it, Magi Lowell." "It would explain your ineptitude at hunting." "Are all highborn ladies as blunt as you?" He questioned, chuckling. "Only the ones you've never heard of," Nimlebrie remarked dryly. "Mothers have a tendency to keep the blunt ones stuck in some old woman's cupboard of a classroom, attempting to teach them to be proper girls." Barnabas' horse snorted and halted abruptly, tearing both their attentions from the conversation. The large man patted the animal gently across its neck and muttered something Nimlebrie couldn't quite make out. Her own horse had stopped as well, picking up a slow trot to keep pace with Barnabas' now-moving mount. Barnabas' sword scraped clean of its scabbard, the scuff of metal upon leather lost to the horse' steady clop clop clop. Almost instinctively, Nimlebrie began to reach into the air around her, ready to hurl it forward at a moment's notice. Twang. Nimlebrie reached into the edge of the Else, drawing energy from it, and shoved the air around herself and Barnabas forward, catching an arrow mid-flight and sending it sprawling harmlessly away from her mount. An audible woosh bellowed, followed by the sound of the arrow sinking deep into the earth of the trail. The sudden forward motion kicked Nimlebrie back into her saddle, throwing her off balance momentarily. Barnabas deftly slid off his mount, just in time to dodge an arrow that shot straight past where he had been a moment before. "Where are they?!" Nimlebrie called, throwing off another arrow. Barnabas jabbed an index finger forward, to the fork in the road ahead. "Let us carry on then, shall we?" She grimaced, urging her mount into a forward gallop. --- Once Barnabas had cornered the man, he had surrendered, turning over his bow, his knife, and his sword. From the looks of his nest in the path of trees between the road paths of the road, he had been there a while, a week at least. "And what gave you say to fire upon a Magi of the Towers?" Nimlebrie demanded, voice flat with stirring anger, overriding yet another attempt at apology by the man. "For what cause? Do the men of Broybrook often shoot at travelers?" "No," the man grunted in response. "We've had some unsavory folk in these parts of late - wagered you must've been outriders." "Outriders? Of what?" She asked, anger replaced by curiosity. "One house's army or another," the man shrugged, offering a glance down at Barnabas' blade, now firmly rooted at his throat. He swallowed hard and continued. "One've our woodsmen 'bout three days or so ago said he spotted 'n army headin' down the valley, so we went to postin' guards at the paths." "And what banner did they fly?" "The lad said he didn't see a banner's sig-" "Fine, fine." Nimlebrie snapped. "Perhaps your halfwit noticed this: what color was the banner?" "Said it was a blue banner, blue..." Nimlebrie and Barnabas exchanged dimly amused looks: the men who had been hunting them had outpaced them, and now, they'd walked straight into a valley infested with them. "What is your name?" "Gilliam, Gilliam Harper," the man replied. Nimlebrie nodded and Barnabas released the man, blade dragging away from his throat. "You'll take us back to your village, Gilliam, understand?" "I'm to-" "I'm not one to care what you were supposed to be doing. Only what you are to do now, and that is take my companion and I to your village." Better to hide among the other lambs. The village has been a stir of motion for the past few days, with preparations being made to secure the village's entrances. Scouts have been posted on the outskirts of Broybrook, and everyone knows of the potential armed force wandering around the valley. With Gilliam returning, with a Magi and guard in turn, people are beginning to question if the two are in any way related.