Longspear and Kata were already well out of van Joss' mind by the time he had gone five steps in the other direction. For good reason; while he had accomplished the greater part of his mission in bringing the Fisted into an alliance for their mutual defense, there was still the matter of the battle itself. In van Joss' experience, no battle was successfully won without intel. And no-one existed in Noranda that gathered intel better than him.
Without hesitation he headed towards the outer ring of fortresses that protected the alliance's position. According to the last reports brought in by Ryon scouts and the Lupus, last to join the alliance, the Primiad horde was only days from their position. That meant the horde's own scouts should be within visual range of the forts.
Reaching the wall and the ladder leading to the walkway that ran along the wall's crest, van Joss quickly made his way to the top, passing a number of powerful Tigris warriors and a squad of Pumor to do so. Each gave him no more than a glance as he went past, the lean operative spending considerable time on the walls as they completed their defenses.
Upon reaching the wall's crest, van Joss fished out the distance viewer he had borrowed from Kelly, something the elves called 'binoculars' and fitted them to his eyes even as he leaned against the walkway's outer edge. Instantly the rolling hills several kilometres to the south leapt into clarity in the binocular's eye pieces. Holding the binoculars in place, van Joss carefully began to scan the hill tops from left to right.
Using both the most recent reports and his own experience, the lean operative felt the horde would breach the plain there, through those hills. They were the most defensible feature on the plain that was the Plains of Neroth, mostly blasted flat by the conflagration that was the Great Burn. If they hadn't of built the fortress behind him, he would've picked those hills as a place to make their stand in.
Because of that, and the knowledge that the Primiad seemed to key in on defensive positions, using them to focus their waves of assault upon, van Joss had determined a couple days ago that the horde would come through the hills first. Seeing nothing by the time he reached the small ridge's right hand edge, he let the binoculars drop from his eyes, a thoughtful expression on his lean, weather-beaten features.
It was also the perfect place to ambush the horde's leading edge as they attempted to enter the plain.
A thin smile touched his lips. Thanks to Lord Astinar Blacklock, he now had the perfect troops with the perfect reason to make that ambush work. Time to get some wolves and go make a final recon of those hills!
The powerful Lupus leader looked annoyed when van Joss was ushered into his tent, raised in the center of their encampment west of the main fires of the alliance.
"I thought I was done with you until we met with the alliance leaders, van Joss," he growled, the momentary humility he had shown just an hour before already gone. He turned back to the maps he had been looking at, the sheets appearing to be freshly inked by recently returned scouts.
"Have you not already wrested my allegiance to your federation from me?" he asked without looking away from the sheets now in his massive hands.
"That, I have, Lord Blacklock," van Joss said with a nod. "Now I come to test that allegiance."
That brought the big Lupus' head back around, eyes narrowed.
"Test?" A long fang appeared as Blacklock's lip curled back. "Already you test my patience with your presence and your vague statements, van Joss. Spit out your reason for sullying my tent with your foul human presence. Or I'll rip out your throat."
YOU ARE READING
Hand Over FistScience Fiction
Like a phoenix, they arose. From the ashes of a world burnt by massive nuclear holocaust and frozen by a millennia of nuclear winter. They are the Fisted Races and they struggle against the tattered remnant of Humanity for what little resources ar...