Klane Kalonia and the Great Burning (27) by DMFW ()
Members remain the original copyright holder in all their materials here at Renderosity. Use of any of their material inconsistent with the terms and conditions set forth is prohibited and is considered an infringement of the copyrights of the respective holders unless specially stated otherwise.
Klane reached the first checkpoint about twenty minutes after leaving Ironhope. It was on a bend in a shallow river, where a ford allowed carts to cross via a wide track through the forest. There was a beehive shaped rocky cairn where a fat official from the games team nodded at Klane, then passed over a purple ring for him to use as proof of his passage. By now Klane had fallen to the back of the leading group but was still some way clear of the Rider behind. He was quite alone when, a few hundred metres further on, he spotted the great dead oak tree Gillan had told him about.
“On the right, just beyond that tree, a narrow track begins which leads high over the shoulder of the hill. A brave Rider with a skilled horse might use it if he dares”, the blacksmith had said. “It ascends rapidly and is a more direct passage between the first and second checkpoints than the safer route which follows the course of the water. Verindu did not mark it on his map and I doubt many Riders know of it.”
Ten minutes later Klane was leading Lyr on foot across a shallow scree slope where they both had to pick each footstep carefully and wondering if this had been such a good idea. He suspected they had already lost the route Gillan had meant for them to follow. Nevertheless, he pressed on until they reached a windy ridge with great views of the folding land to the North. Here Klane was able to mount again and urge Lyr forwards but before they could find any downward track a sharp cut crossed their path. The horse hesitated and so did Klane. Then Lyr took the decision from his hands with a sudden burst of speed and a heart stopping leap over the rocks. They were clear! And soon they were picking up speed in a downhill canter through the trees.