“The Story of Jasmine” notes continue:
The place of ambush happened at a juncture where a road diverged from the main one to the south, as if to avoid the inevitable hilly outcropping of stone. The main road continued eastward. However, by a small spring gurgling further away from the road, it looked like a lone rider traveled swiftly. Judging from the depth of the depression of the hoof marks, he did not travel light. But he was traveling fast in a new, southeasterly direction.
Ahearn followed these tracks into rocky terrain, where they were harder to discern, but distinct nonetheless. The tracks led Ahearn to a large, now abandoned, enemy encampment.
Not too long ago, there had been a lot of activity here, and a lot of men. The signs told him this was a large encampment. And as large as it was, he did not see any trace of bloodshed. He could easily tell the amount of activity entering and exiting the camp. At first, the task seemed daunting, to guess which of the three roads leading out of the camp were taken.
There was a road that continued eastward. Another tracked northward, while another still took a southernly route. Of the three routes, the northern trek, a steep rocky climb that promised to get steeper, seemed to be the least likely. But going south appeared equally unlikely. The logical direction they would have taken would have been east.
Yet, she did not arrive in Swartzborg. Therefore, she did not take the eastern road. So, north or south? To go south would be to eventually hit the coast. If they were planning that, they would have turned south immediately at the ambush site. That route was fast and easy. A good plan would be to have a ready ship in the harbor to sail them to Swartzborg. But as he already knew, she didn’t end up within the walls of Bardulf’s prison castle.
It’s north then, to the mountains, and on to more difficult terrain. As expected, the twisting and turning route headed towards higher ground. Traveling in between obstacles of boulders and gnarly trees, the way was cumbersome and slow. The path was also forested. Single file was the only way a group of men on horses could manage. This left their defenses vulnerable.
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