Prince Arlin paced before his brother. “At best, we are sent out here for our own protection. A maneuver that would keep us out of the castle’s hair while the real spies gather information or flush out another war cabinet spy.”
“You do not think our mission has merit for the war effort?” Quinn said.
“I fear our mission does have merit, we’re sacrificial lambs to start a war. If we return with concrete evidence of Ildonia preparing for an assault, our army will preemptively strike. If we don’t return, father will attack with revenge as the motivation.”
“How did you come about this information?”
“It is what I would have done in father’s place.”
“I see,” Quinn shook his head. “I think you are incorrect about your hunch. Father would not send us on such a fool’s errand. There is no reason to risk our lives for war.”
“In a few days’ time we will see if my hunch has play. I too hope I am wrong and cause worry where there should be none.”
Once the mounts were rested enough the two groups rode their separate ways. Prince Quinn’s final words to Arlin were reminders to return or he’ll be left behind to fend for himself. Arlin nodded then led his party through the wilderness.
After a while Firae spoke up, “Are you sure we’ve been sent as bait?”
Arlin laughed. “Your large ears do not let you down, elf. There is not a chance of us being sent to our deaths. I have faith that elf and dwarf lives would not be forfeit on a foolish human gambit.”
“What about your own life?”
“We should keep moving through the countryside. It will be dark soon enough.”
The six young men traveled through the wilderness. It was a quiet afternoon, no travelers found them. By nightfall they had set up camp and were less than a day’s travel to the first village they were to investigate.