Twenty-eight – 05

[This post is from Marin’s point of view.]

The second line of trees wasn’t all that thick, but the underbrush was. Sif and I had to pick our path carefully as we made our way through it, sticking close to each other. I tried not to jump at every unexpected sound as we forged on. If Sif picked up on my nerves, she at least had the grace not to say anything about it. We came to the other end faster than I expected, breaking through the edge of the treeline to face a ridge of rock and brush lining the edge of the rise.

I took a slow, deep breath and glanced sidelong at Sif. She shot me a tight smile.

“Ready for the first glimpse?” she asked in a whisper.

I nodded, exhaling as I moved quietly toward the ridge and the brush, creeping through the branches to the top edge.

Orcus’s army was at the same time larger and smaller than I thought it might be. His camp sprawled across the field below the rise, dozens of tents arrayed around a series of bonfires. I could see a few camazotzi milling around alongside humans and things I couldn’t identify—things I wasn’t sure I wanted to identify.

Sif eased up alongside me, following my gaze down to the camp below. A soft curse escaped her lips. “Where the hell did he manage to get an army this size?”

“I don’t know,” I murmured. “But it doesn’t look as bad as I was afraid it might—but it’s more than I hoped it would be.”

“Does this change the plan?”

“No. Not at all.”

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