Mortimus had taken special care to hide his camp away from prying eyes. Out here, in the plains of Remonia, the likelihood of being found was miniscule. Elmis was but a white speck dotting the horizon from where he sat; if any soldiers should happen to be dispatched from Malfalcone's stronghold, he would know them before they hit upon the camp. Anyways, it wasn't them he was worried about. It was that one, deadly mage who had killed those hunters back in Yalin without so much as blinking an eye. He shuddered at their fate. Not for the first time.
The camp was modest just his tent and a small fire pit he had dug. Nearby, his bow lay propped up against a lone tree, one a sparse few that dotted the landscape. The mage-girl was in his tent, bound and drugged so she would be unable to cast a spell on him but not so much that she wouldn't be able to talk. That was what he really needed.
In the meantime, he sat back, his mask pulled away for the time being revealing his sturdy features. The air was pleasant around him, so he reclined a bit, feeling fairly confident in the natural defenses of his camp. He was ready to break at any moment, ready to flee at the slightest hint of danger. And he was alert. What more could he do? Everything was as prepared as it could be, given the circumstances. So why did he feel uneasy?
He looked to the girl in his tent, still unconscious from the flight the night before. It was still dark in the morning air, but the sun's approach was not far off, he knew. Then they would flee. For now, he studied her, wondering what secrets she kept, what she knew about this mess. Indeed, he was prepared to call it a mess now, for things had gone drastically out of control. Wherever these people went, he mused, they seemed to leave a trail of mayhem. What did that old man know that had gotten him killed? Or, perhaps more importantly, what hadn't he known that might get Mortimus killed? He sighed, finding his own thoughts confusing. He hoped the girl would have some answers.
She sputtered slightly, coughing. Rising, Mortimus moved toward her, stopping a few meters from the tent, just to make sure. She moaned, twitched a little, but gave no sign that she was preparing a spell to smite him where he stood. Still cautious, but less so, he continued his approach.
Her eyes fluttered open, staring at him. He nodded. "Good," he said simply. "You're awake. I was afraid I wasa going to have to carry you further, for we can't stay here long." He moved to the fire, poking the embers slightly to invigorate them. Over them, suspended on a crude contraption of wood and rope hung a brace of birds he had snared earlier. "I suppose you're hungry," he said dispassionately. "The gods know I am. But there will be time for food later."
He returned to her, kneeling in the dirt outside the tent. "There are certain things I must know. What is your name? Why are you and your companions here? What did you do to anger the king of Yalin enough for him to put a bounty on all your heads? What about that old man back in Aelyn?"