Garovel led the way. Hector’s motorcycle wasn’t suited to the dirt road, nor was he accustomed to riding on such terrain, but he managed well enough. The path diverged, and Garovel chose the narrower one. The branches grew uncomfortably close, even brushing Hector’s helmet as he passed, and in his rearview mirror, he could see Roman’s black BMW scraping its way through.
The forest abruptly gave way, replaced by a wide area with enormous pillars of natural stone. It was a kind of rocky hill, accented in green by swathes of moss, and the pillars themselves were an odd sight. Only two, there were, rising out of the uneven ground like a misshapen tuning fork. The northern pillar was almost twice the height of the southern one, but they were both still larger than an average building. Each one cast a long shadow in the amber dawnlight.
Hector parked his bike and dismounted as Roman pulled up next to him. He took off his helmet, feeling the dewy air against his face again. “Can you still sense them?” he asked.
‘Yeah,’ said Garovel. ‘But I can sense our friends now, too. Shouldn’t be much longer.’
And indeed, it was not. After a couple minutes, the other three reapers arrived from the opposite path, along with the Queen and Harper. Everyone gathered around.
‘I sense Karkash at the head of the group,’ said Garovel. ‘They’ll be here in under a minute.’
Then came the sound of a distant airplane, and everyone’s attention was drawn to the sky. From where they all stood, they had a clear view of the small aircraft.
‘Shit,’ said Garovel.
‘It’s too far away,’ said Mehlsanz. ‘We can’t sense who’s on board or even how many there are, but I highly doubt it’s a bunch of civilians who just happen to be flying by.’
Voreese swirled over to Roman and grabbed his shoulder. ‘Leave it to us,’ she said.
‘You can’t just shoot it down,’ said Garovel. ‘There might be innocent soldiers inside.’
‘We can’t let it cross the border and attack a town, either,’ said Voreese. ‘Don’t worry. We’ll use a delicate touch.’