e quiet” said Amadeo to his wife, “and keep still.”
“Why? What’s going on?” asked Maya, concern in her voice.
Amadeo leaned close to his wife’s ear and whispered “because they might be nearby and they might hear us. If we can figure out where they are before they find us then we might get away. Now listen, if the horses act up then we’ll bolt, we’ll just run for it. Be ready.” With that, he gathered up the reins in his hands and started scanning the ground around them.
Maya looked where her husband was looking for a moment, then asked “do you think we should get some weapons ready? Some sort of magic?”
Amadeo didn’t take his eyes off the ground. “Yes; stow a couple of swords and axes nearby. Get a couple of shields as well.”
Maya pulled back the door curtain and entered the wagon. Amadeo heard her boots scuffing amidst the thump of wood and the clang of metal behind him. Eventually he felt her sit back down on the bench next to him; he glanced at her for a moment, saw her forehead and cheeks glistening slightly.
“We’re ready.” She said quietly, straightening her clothes.
“Right. See that triangular rock there?”
Maya looked at where a rock shaped like a canine tooth was sticking out of the hard desert ground. “Yes.”
“That’s covered in their scent, it’s how they mark their territory; we can’t smell it but they can. Anybody or anything spotted within a mile of their territory gets swarmed by those things. They’re not hard to kill by themselves but when there’s lots of them then…” he turned to Maya, “…it’s a lot more difficult.”
“So what are we going to do?”
“We have to move forward. If we move at a steady pace and don’t bump around too much then we might not attract their attention. If any of them are above ground and they spot us then I’ll just juice up the horses and we’ll charge right through them. Assuming we have enough level ground of course.”
“Are you sure the horses can take it? We’ve been riding for weeks…”
“They can take it, it’ll only be a small dose; just enough to see us through. Believe me, we’ll need it. Ready?”
Maya nodded. Setting his jaw, Amadeo cracked the reins and the wagon rolled slowly forward over the parched earth.