They made camp in a town south of the Citadel city at dusk.  They were travelling down the coast towards a wider pass in the mountains, as the path once taken by Eve and Gwen could not efficiently transport an army.  In a day or two they would be following one of the old highways built by the civilization that came before them, though its asphalt and concrete had given way to dirt and rock.

            In the centre of the small city of army tents, Neal’s pavilion was a dark red with golden designs on its face, lions and eagles in majestic splendour.  He sat at an ornate wooden table with a map of the area, planning their journey.  Lamb and Reza sat with him, eating dinner.

            “We do not have all our troops.”  Neal said, perturbed.  “Not everyone answered the call.”

            “It’s Todey and his men.  We had them out scouting and building outposts.  He probably forgot to head back.”  Simon suggested.

            “Ethan, I need you to ride out to their encampment and get them moving towards our target.  We will rendezvous here,” Neal pointed at the map, showing a position not far from the city in the Outlands their scouts said was preparing for war, “And then make further plans.  You’re our fastest rider, and Todey will listen to you.”

            “Certainly, Neal.”  Reza smiled.  He turned to leave.

            “Hold on a moment, Ethan.”  Simon said, hurrying after him.  They both exited the tent together, standing in the evening gloom to talk.  All around them were the sounds of the army, as troops cooked dinner, ate together, talking and joking the way soldiers do. 

            “What can I do for you, Simon Drake Lamb?”  Reza asked.

            “I suspect that Todey didn’t just forget to attend today’s ceremonies.  I think he’s getting fat and lazy on our money, and I think he’s been growing lax in his duties.  Show the entire army that we don’t stand for such insubordination.  Fall on him with the fury of a whirlwind, show him the price of disobedience and sloth.  Send him a message from the Drake.”  Simon said, his voice lethal as he bared his teeth like a dragon smiling.

            Reza bowed with a sly smile of his own.  He did enjoy working with this beast.

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