Four Horsemen (Day 3, Evening/Night)

They had been walking for hours, and Gill was sure they were going in circles. All the trees looked the same. Tall dark sentinels that barred the way and obscured their vision. Haddie was still walking well but she was looking pale and a soft sheen of sweat had appeared on her wrinkled brow.

The footing was treacherous with gnarled roots and sharp rocks hidden beneath the drifts. More than once the pair stumbled and snagged knees and elbows on the rough bark and gritty soil.

Gill could not remember when the sun light finally gave way to the darkness of night and then he was glad of the rising moon and white snow without which they would have been utterly ruined. A distant sound caused them to pause and Gill turned to peer back into the shadows. Horses?

"Can you hear that?" he asked Haddie and she followed his eyes for a moment before nodding. Her hand tightened on his. The hoof beats
were growing closer and louder now and they could make out the sound of voices. They were low and unfamiliar.

"They can help us get out of here." Gill said with a grin as he caught the first flash of white horse fur through the distant trees. A tug on his arm caused him to look down at a terrified Haddie who was shaking her head and motioning for them to hide.

"We need help, we are lost." Gill argued, but his sister would not be dissuaded. Reluctantly then he followed thinking that perhaps they could call the strangers back once they had ensured they were friendly.

They were not.

The first horse came into view ridden by a tall fair man, closely followed by a shorter woman on a dark mare. The horses wickered quietly as they were drawn to a halt allowing two more horse to emerge behind them carrying two short squat men with their hood drawn close. They were both armed.

"I was sure I saw something." the blonde man murmured.

"Get down and check for tracks." one of the shorter men growled.

"Fuck that." he replied, "Too dark anyway."

"And let's face it you cant track for shit." the woman laughed lightly.

"She'll be pissed if we don't find em." said another of the men and the woman laughed again.

"They'll turn up." she said lazily, "Did you see what they did to the Teller brothers, not sure I want to find em."

"They're just kids." spat the man as he urged his horse on once more.

"Kids with a talent for stabbing and dismembering fully grown men."

"Lucky."

"...and were they lucky on Santo when they took that merchant hand off and fed it to his dog?"

"...and that Alliance goon that the girl stabbed on her ship." piped up one of the men.

"That's just a rumor." replied the other, "Isn't it?"

"They conned a pub load of Feds into giving up their pocket change and medals..."

"There's dark whispers about em bringing the Reavers to the Skyplex and wiping out the Roost."

"I heard they were brought up be Reavers."

"Half the street kids are wearing red eye patches like that little red sparrow like she's a super hero or something."

"Will all of you shut up and keep you eyes open." snarled the tall man.

"Word is their last engineer jumped ship coz she was terrified little one eye might kill her in her sleep."

"Shut up!"

"They put a dildo in the snowman for a nose, Burt almost fainted."

"They aint normal."

"Good god are you all insane!"

"They could be watching us right now." hissed the woman who was seemingly delighted with the topic of conversation, "Hiding up in the trees ready to pounce."

"Of fuck this!" the blonde kicked his horse and was gone galloping into the darkness.

Gill listened in disbelief as they group moved away into the night. Looking down at Haddie she had a thoughtful look on her face. She looked up at him and that twinkle in her good eye gave him a shiver that had nothing to do with the cold.

"Come on." he helped her up and they followed the general direction of the riders. Perhaps, Gill thought, they would lead them out of this damned place.

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