It took all Gruffydd had not to say "I told you so" to Lars.
Instead, he offered some advice.
"We've traveled this way many times", the dwarf said. "We have some alternate routes."
Stunned, the rest of the caravan tried their best to go about their preparations to move again. Meanwhile Gruffyd and the rest of his party gathered around a map with Lars and the ever present Lud.
Gruffydd put a stubby finger to the map they had created over their months of travel Beyond the Wall.
"Here. Right here is a path that takes you to another crossing upriver. This time of year, it shouldn't be too bad. There's some sort of hornet men that inhabit the ruins across the other side, but they haven't bothered us yet."
"I'll put it to the Old Man," Lars said,"but it seems like a plan". He rolled up their map and headed for Von Aldensburg's wagon. The old man had taken one look at the bloody horse and quickly retreated to the safety of his wagon.
A few hours later, they pulled off the road and followed Nemon and Gildrid down a small track to the northeast. The going was rough. This was more of game trail and less of a road. Some of the wagon struggled.
At last they reached a rise. The tree lined banks of river were below. It was mid day and the river rolled along at a leisurely pace. But something drew their attention immediately.
Smoke rose from the far bank. Dozens, possibly more, campfires burned.
Gildrid, Nemon and Gruffydd, along with Lars dismounted and creeped along through the trees to the rise overlooking the near bank.
Across the river, stood an army. Hundreds of flags fluttered in the gentle breeze. Flags bearing the blue crescent moon.
Kicking Jimmy Awake
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