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The cart rumbled slowly along the track, its heavy wheels digging deep ruts into the road. Herrin and Mirra spotted it from a distance, and with a nod they turned their horses off the road, to intercept it from one side.

It was like old times, Herrin thought with a grin as he saw Mirra tug the crossbow from its holster on her back. She loaded it expertly, guiding the horse with her knees, and looked over with a grin.

“Ready to spring the trap?”

He grinned back. “Ready as ever!”

His sword slipped silently out of its scabbard and glinted in the sunlight. They would probably be seen coming, if the driver had his wits about him, but they had the advantage of speed.

“I’ll take the driver,” Mirra shouted. “You take the cart.”

They turned their horses towards their target, Mirra turning wide so as to get a good angle of fire upon the driver. He saw her, and stood up with a cry which was quickly halted by a bolt through his neck.

Meanwhile, Herrin freed his feet from the stirrups, and as his horse passed the back of the cart he leaped up onto it, grabbing a leather loop which took his weight for only a brief moment before bringing down the rear gate. With his other hand, he grabbed the roof of the cart and hung there.

He saw movement inside the cart; a strange metallic rattling noise issued from within and then, as the cart swerved and sunlight fell inside, he swore.

Two Nittalfar stood within, bending over a strange and glistening machine which rattled like a snake.

“Mirra,” he shouted, pulling himself quickly onto the roof of the cart, “They’ve got dwarf friends too…”

He leaped for his horse just as the roof of the cart was torn to pieces.

© Kari Fay