The black-armoured commander enjoyed the forest in the early morning. The sun was filtering through the leaves, making drops of dew sparkle like diamonds. He liked the serene quiet and the smell of the place; he could live here when the war was over.
Sighing happily, he led his horse off the track to look at his troops when his happy thoughts were shattered. Before he could give any warning, two long and heavy tree trunks swung into the troops from the sides of the track, crushing troops between them.
The commander was too stunned with surprise and shock that it took him some time to react. The same happened to the troops. Once they had recovered they were all flat on their bellies, looking around in bewilderment.
‘Goshuk,’ the commander called from the forest floor.
‘Go see if anyone survived those tree trunks.’
It was a haunting and gruesome task the officer went on. He found blood, guts, and bones all over the place. ‘No survivors, sir. Eight dead.’
Slowly the commander climbed back to his feet and scanned the forest around him. The very place that had looked so beautiful to him a few moments ago, now looked threatening, dangerous and menacing.
‘You two,’ he pointed to the men in the front. ‘Go scout ahead. We don’t need more surprises like this. You two scout the flanks. The rest get back to your feet and start moving again.’
Slowly, the soldiers got to their feet and started to move again, looking all around with their weapons at the ready.
From high up in the trees, Lagona and a few of his companions smiled at each other. A series of whistles went up the track from treetop to treetop.
In the afternoon the black-armour were all at ease again, sure that it had been a hunter’s trap they had stumbled upon.
Clouds started to gathering in the sky, blotting out the sun. Looking up, the commander feared rain was coming. that meant stopping sooner than planned to build shelters, for they had no tents.
A big cry rose up half way through the column and all soldiers were on the ground again in a second. The commander cursed and rode back to finally see two blocks of wood with long spikes in them swinging over the track at almost ground level with four bodies stuck to them, blood dripping to the forest floor.
The commander cursed softly inside his helmet. What was happening here? Who were they fighting?
To be released in november 2015