The trail was still warm, Merhapn rose from his crouched position on the overgrown forest-path, he could see the traces of the preys passage only days ago, he could smell them. Beckoning the grunts and the two priests he had brought with him he straightened to his full length, standing more than twice their height, his tail flicking dangerously close to knocking them aside. "We leave immediately, I want them before the weeks end. I assume you will be able to follow the track?" He gave them a telling smile, his fangs showing. There was no questioning his response if they proved incapable of fulfilling the task. The Beliefs executioner had a dreaded reputation in the whole order, for those that knew of his existence. "One of you go get the newcomers. We are wasting time." Merhapn said. The prey was getting ahead, and he had already pursued them for days, the rest of the squad was slow, and noisy. Luckily the newcomers seemed to be of the right minds, that particular aspect would be tested in the days to come. Hearing a faint brushing of leaves against one another the enormous man flicked a knife from within his cloak. The weapon gaining a squeak from the undergrowth. One of the grunts went to check it, nothing more than a meal sized rat. Merhapns grin split as he let out a disturbingly feline mewling. The grunt made the split decision to drop the little animal and get out of his superiors way. Some of the newer grunts wore sick expressions as the beast-man swallowed the rat whole. The older grunts muttering his called name under their breath, "DevilsCat", the fact that he was of the Belief gave them no assurance he wouldnt see fit to eat them as well. ------------------------------------------- A few days further down the forest-path one of its branches turned up just outside one end of a town, located somewhere in the east of the Tulahvor empire, part of a small fiefdom, not holding any importance or strategic value. But contrary to its silent nature, the town would soon see the start of a journey that would shape the lands... Nehlas wasnt entirely sure that was true, but he could always hope. One day the chanters he managed to gather through the Beliefs rule might actually manage a change, what with the 'Gods chosen ones' he kept hearing, though it didnt seem like it was only chanters, or even priests of the Belief, even mundane folks woke up with visions and callings. In his own case it had simply been a voice speaking to him in a lucid dream. and not a voice he felt like following either. He had enough problems. Like finding the chanters that should have been here to meet him days ago. Walking past a few children playing in the street he couldnt fail to hear the lyrics they sang as part of their game. It was enough to make his skin crawl, he could feel that there was power in the words, calling for someone with the voice to utter them. He knew from a life lead with chanters and chance survivals against the Belief that he would do best in never taking them on his tongue. The old chanter hurried along the cobble walks of the town. Moving past the outer houses and shops, taking a ways around the biggest of the three churches, stopping to buy bread from a middle aged Tail woman at a bakery before arriving again at the tavern he had spent the last week at. The situation in the town had proved to be calm, he had seen no frenzied preaching or sermons by the Belief out on the streets, and innocent small talk had given him the impression that people here didnt see chanters in every misfortune or unlucky situation, nor had the Belief had any burnings or trials for as long as most could remember. But there were occasionally the hanging of thiefs and bandits, and the priests made sure that everyone knew the danger of housing the heretic chanters. Nehlas had made sure not to use the voice, or any of his own verses for that matter. One could never be too careful in a town where the Belief had ground. Where were those chanters? ----------------------------------------- The chattering of small animals and the occasional birdsong made the walk through the forest a peaceful one. There were six of them, Felwonaed had met up with the other five in small villages and towns along the way, all of them on their way to a man named Nehlas that would be in a town to the east. And it had so far been a quiet journey, but he couldnt get the nagging feeling that they were being followed out of his head. None of the others seemed to have noticed. The greenery cleared in front of them and they came to an old rope-bridge, hanging suspended above a wide gorge. They began crossing it, carefully one at a time not to make the tattered thing crumble under their weight. Felwonaed went last, telling the others to move ahead of him as he fixed his belongings. When they were gone he looked back at the bridge and the forest-path they were following. Someone was after them, and whoever it was gained on them. Taking out a knife from his things he severed the supporting ropes of the bridge. It fell down to rest at the other cliff side of the gorge. He catched up to the others a few minutes later, they were only a day or two from the town. ------------------------------------------ While it was a peaceful town, there were was no lack of work for the towns-guard. At the moment a few of them were pursuing a woman who had for one part left without paying at one of the inns, and for the other having injured a few of the customers. She hadnt seemed to be from the town, and the guards thought it a perfect chance to loose a little stress. The inn owner had described her as quite beautiful. Seeing someone that fit her description, and who ran off when she caught sight of them, the four guards renewed their efforts, passerbys getting out of their way.