Chill and humid, the wind whipped over her shoulders. Armor jostled painfully across a number of developing bruises, but she didn’t bother to stop and tighten them. The crude bird calls and counter signals echoed through the trees almost as loudly as the brush grazing her stride.
One bandit could get too close for comfort. Two would devolve into a fruitless brawl, and they had an archer who was eyeing her last nerve. One wrong move, and their blades would run her through.
Rather than take a defensive position, the knight took off toward the river, where the trees gave way to flood plains. The season was dry now, and once she had the space to work with it would make little difference whether there were ten or fifty of them.
The bandits weren’t as sloppy as they could have been, so they probably had an idea of what she was after. A swordsman in the middle of a dense forest was easy prey, and her armor was not doing her any favors.
There was too much forest between here and there though to gamble on, so she was counting on a few embellished traits to hold water. There were ruins in this forest, that much was common knowledge, and she just so happened to pass one on her way in.
She began counting the distance across deer trails when something blurred past. The movement skill was fiendishly smooth in the underbrush, however the bandit’s choice of weapon and cover was poor.
The sheer amount of vines in the forest had been brutal. Probably for the same reason, the bandit chose a patch of ferns to appear silent. Instinct and muscle memory brought her shield up. The split second the assassin made his move, the last vines tore free from her person.
Her speed and reaction time doubled, and the shield caught him across the jaw and bulldozed the rogue. The act cost her precious momentum, however the rogue was down for the count.
On top of that, the patch of ferns extended off to the side. It was a roundabout approach, but the knight nearly lost her pursuers in time it took to reach the ruin. The bandits were twice reluctant to follow an iron maiden into a stone maze, but knowing their backup wasn’t far behind, she knew she couldn’t afford the choke point.
The bandits converged the moment they caught a glimpse of armor fleeing the ruins. Those that were smart enough to avoid the ruins were forced into single file. Those that didn’t, well...
She knew a devious tinkerer.