There was movement in the dark. Layers of sound drifted towards the old man as he pulled the furs closer around him, hunkering down further into the ditch which concealed his presence from those traversing the track, he settled down to wait until those approaching had passed. He had no intention of being discovered until he had found the boy, the seer had guided him this far but now he was on his own.
Sparks lit up the road as heavily shod hooves struck stone. Warhorses on the move, he knew the sight should not surprise him yet he had thought time was on his side, for a little longer at least. Frozen least the slightest twitch betray him he waited for what seemed like an eternity though he knew it was in truth only a moments. Closing his eyes he tried to calculate the numbers at most there could be a hundred, an advance party most likely, sent ahead to ensure that any rebellion was crushed before the Liege Lord rode into town with his retinue of courtiers.
The town would be left decimated by the plundering royal procession, it was a high cost for the ordinary man that his Lord should entertain this swarm of human locusts, only once they decided a place could no longer sustain them in the fashion they desired did they move on leaving behind them a trail of famine, devastation, and nine months later a generation of children who would never know their fathers.
The Liege Lord himself was no better than his men using the privilege of rank to avail himself of any young girl who took his fancy. Fate or destiny however had stepped in to ensure that no offspring came from those unions save one. The old man smiled to himself, fate really did have a sense of humour when you considered what the seer had predicted, the one seed that was sown would be the one that changed the future.
The last of the horses passed now yet the man remained stationary. It was to soon to risk movement they could easily stop a little further along the track and he had no wish to wander into their midst. They could not harm him, indeed they would have no reason to other than for sport, but he did not wish to explain his presence nor did he wish any to see him who may recognise him. He knew he was at risk of recognition from those in the main party far more than those who had just passed but only a fool took unnecessary risks.
A little while later as the moon reached full ascendancy he stood and considered his options he had eaten while he waited but his supplies were running low, he would need to either pass through a town or village soon or take the other track deeper into the woods and hope he could find enough berries and game to keep him going for the journey ahead.
your choice you get a couple of days to decide before I start the next part