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Scouting the Situation...
Fri Jun 9, 2006 13:40 (XFF:

Night had fallen, and with it had come the various accusations that came with the ever-encroaching darkness. Taunting shadows jeered at him from their perches in the tree, akin to malevolent spirits, oppressing Zander until he was sure that something was indeed there and getting ready to attack. Zander’s hands never strayed far away from his daggers as he carefully placed his foot down on the ground, peering at the surface, trying to distinguish if there was something soft where he was going to tread next, or a brittle twig which would force him to put his foot down slowly so as not to snap it and make a sound. The woman that had failed to kill him earlier in the day, Jessica she had introduced herself as, had long since entered the encampment and began to mingle among the Seanchan and trying to gather information as to the identities and locations of the ‘marks’ of the mission that they had been sent on. It had left him feeling lost and alone, which was a ridiculous feeling for Zander. He had always been alone, and he hadn’t even talked to Jessica that much in their short meeting. Zander cautiously put his foot down slowly once more. A harsh snap broke the blanket-like silence, and he glanced behind him and to the left, where he had left the last watchmen that the Seanchan encampment had placed for the night. They didn’t stir, and Zander’s heartbeat resumed its steady, if fast, rhythm. He let out the breath he had held, taking in another deep and silent breath. He continued on his slow but silent walk until he came back to the spot he had begun his circling motion from, and also where he had left his possessions, as far as possessions can be possessions in terms of what was in the leather bag that flopped next to a great maple tree’s twisted roots.

He sat with his back against the maple. It was strangely comfortable, as if it had altered its shape for him, and it spread an enormous feeling of happiness through him as if he was greeting an old friend of good standing. With a slight smile, he wrapped his mind in the mundane acts of setting up camp for the rest of his visit. He had no fear of being discovered at all. From what he had observed in the time it had taken the Sun to set and his arrival upon the Seanchan encampment, he had observed that not one single Seanchan soldier left the confines of the hastily dug defence ditches around the edge of the tents that had been erected as living quarters for the soldiers. So Zander took out the sheet that should keep the rain off of his head, if it rained that was, and fastened it between four trees, one of them being the giant Maple. He also took out the marching rations and considered the quantity which he had left. He had 6 apples, 4 slices of bread and a few thinly-cut slices of salted beef. He knew that he only had two-thirds of the canister of water left, but he had found and traversed a stream about a ten minute walk from his camping position that could supply him with fresh water if he ran out, which was very probable.

I can hold out here for about three more days, if I ration properly, with the food I have and no meal for the rest of the night. Maybe if I stole some food from the encampment…… but Zander left the thought to fragment and fall to pieces as it came into being. He was not going to enter the Seanchan encampment until he knew where his marks were.

But despite himself, Zander growled to himself deep in his throat, and mostly in deep frustration. During his daylight observation, he had not been able to see any of the officers, who would most certainly be set apart from the other Seanchan soldiers by salutes and exotically gilded armour. But try as he might, there was not the slightest breath of his ‘marks’, and he had come to realise that they were probably all in an extended planning session or meeting of some kind. Or perhaps that they were lounging in their tents, or sleeping. Zander hadn’t cared what they were doing; just that he hadn’t been able to discern their locations or appearances, not a single one of the ten had shown themselves. But there were two saving graces to the day that made Zander slightly more optimistic, and pushed back the depression that surrounded his view of this mission as suicide on mass proportions. Firstly, during the day he had managed to plot the camp firmly into his memory. Sighing to himself, he pictured it in his head just as he had seen it from his daylight vantage point.

The camp was not very large, perhaps 500 metres across on one side and 750 meters across on the other, which was not that large. There were ditches around the entire perimeter, aside from four sections which were there to allow supplies to be carted in and waste to be carted out, and these ditches were about 3 meters deep. This wasn’t deep but would significantly delay a frontal assault enough to get at least some defence up until the rest of the defence could materialise. There were four main ‘roads’ to the encampment, cutting it into four equal sections. At the points of convergence of the roads there was a huge tent, probably at least ten times the size of the other tents in the camp. Zander guessed that the officers would be in there planning and sleeping. Around the outside of the central tent and the inside of the ditch there appeared to be a space of about 5 meters which was devoid of structure, possibly used as walkways. In each of the four sections created by the roads there were line upon line of tents, where the soldiers seemed to sleep and spend most of the day when they weren’t on duty, be it guard duty or construction duty. The only break in the rows of tents was where two massive tents, raised from the actual ground soil by wooden props and kept stable by a complex wooden structure. These were located directly below the two roads on the left and right of the middle tent when the entrance to it faces you. From what Zander could see, they appeared to be putting in and taking out food, be it grain cheese or meat. Zander guessed that this was the food store for the men. Although the camp was quite sizable, Zander had still had great difficulty in seeing how 7,500 Seanchan men could fit into the number of tents, which were easily under 2,000. That was until he realised that more than one man had entered each tent by the time of nightfall, which meant that they were sharing tents. That would make it difficult for the assassins the Black Tower had sent, unless they could bunk up without notice or resistance and explanation.

Zander coughed and his thoughts were disturbed by his frantic attempts to stifle his coughs until they passed. He held his breath when they had, sure that a guard had heard and he would be hunted down in a matter of minutes. But when his hearing and eyesight picked up nothing, he relaxed. One thought resurfaced from before he had been interrupted with his coughing.

They had been erecting a damn wooden rampart! They were intending to hold this place for good, cutting of a major route between the kingdoms of the Dragon Reborn!

Zander didn’t like that. It meant they intended to stay for good and become a permanent threat. A permanent outpost from which they could defend and attack effectively. If he could, he would have to find a way of destroying this encampment alongside his mission parameters. Another saving grace of the day had been his slow but silent prowl around the outskirts of the encampment. It had taken him since sundown, and it was almost sun up. But it had been worth it. He knew were each guard was placed, and knew that they were far too far apart to hear if he neutralized one of them to allow him access in and out of the encampment. He also knew that they just stood on the same spot, turning their heads this way and that. They never moved. Zander was sure that if he had the time, and inclination, he could wipe all of the guards out in one night as well as his marks- if he ever found them that was.

As the thought settled itself into the confines of his mind, the sun crested the mountains in a blaze of colours. It shined down on the sheer slopes, which reflected the golden rays across each other until the whole valley was ablaze with the transcendental light. The peaks of the mountains were encased in halos of pink, orange and purple. Zander drew in a deep breath in wonder. He knew that even if he left this place alive, his mission completed, he would never forget the image. It would be a constant reminder of the beauty in the world. After a few moments of silent gazing, he took down his shelter and packed it away. Leaving his bag at the foot of the maple once more, hidden amongst the gnarled tendrils of roots, he made his way to the vantage point of the previous afternoon, hoping that this time he would see evidence of the officers. Hoping…

  • A Definitely Eventful Journey...Soldier Zander Kilgas, Fri Jun 9 13:35
    As it turned out, although Zander had indeed been extremely annoyed by the various weeds and vines that threatened to trip him, and had tripped him, along the hike towards the Seanchan camp, he was... more
    • Scouting the Situation... — Soldier Zander Kilgas.., Fri Jun 9 13:40
      • Successful start to the day...Soldier Zander Kilgas, Fri Jun 9 15:25
        As Zander passed across the small, bubbling stream, he stopped drain the remaining water in his canister in three huge gulps. He refilled the canister with water from the stream. As he refastened the ... more
        • A Startling Discovery...Soldier Zander Kilgas, Fri Jun 9 16:27
          Zander was torn between what he should do. He did not want to leave his camp site and enter the ant’s nest that was the Seanchan encampment as it would mean that he would not be able to get out until ... more
          • Infiltration...Soldier Zander Kilgas, Thu Jun 15 14:39
            Zander's still form held back in the shadows cast by the gently rustling leaves of an aged and gnarled sycamore. He gave no hint of his position away, his body rigid as a fortress wall. He had chosen ... more
            • Pin-pointing the Marks. A Reunion...Soldier Zander Kilgas, Fri Jun 16 09:06
              Zander made his way slowly but methodically down the beaten dirt road towards the central tent. He had regained much of his equilibrium since his less than convincing act to the Seanchan guard that... more
              • Like a Pack of Wolves...Soldier Zander Kilgas, Fri Jun 16 11:36
                Zander smiled at Jessica, but didn't deign to answer her immediately. If he tried to speak to her whilst he was sopping wet and freezing cold from his idiotic information gathering, then he would... more
                • Planning the Day Away...Soldier Zander Kilgas, Fri Jun 16 13:03
                  Zander extricated his limbs from their inter-twined positions. Her carefully lifted his left arm and slid it slowly from under Jessica's neck, making sure not to wake her. Next he untangled their... more
                  • Preperation...Soldier Zander Kilgas, Sat Jun 17 01:34
                    Zander walked the group through the Seanchan encampment inn a slow but methodical manner. He was determined to get the job done right and make it so that every single one of them got out of the... more
                    • The Calm Before the Storm...Soldier Zander Kilgas, Sun Jun 18 07:56
                      Zander was filled with a strange feeling of loneliness as soon as the entire little group had dispersed to prepare for the activities of the night. It started within the pit of his stomach and... more
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