Tynan’s reflection smiled back at him. Resolved to overcome this setback, he slid Aric back into its sheath. When he looked around again, though, his smile faded. So deep had he been in his thoughts, he did not notice that Duraden had reached the top of the ridge and stopped behind a large boulder that blocked Tynan’s view into the valley.
Tynan untied Duraden’s reins from his saddle pommel and took them in hand. He nudged the horse with his boots and clucked at him, but Duraden did nothing. A gust of wind blew some of Tynan’s blond locks into his eyes. He swept them out of the way with his hand and gently nudged the horse again. Still nothing. Tynan nudged harder, but still the golden stallion did not budge. Frowning now, Tynan asked, “Do you sense something?” The horse only snorted.
He looked around but saw nothing unusual ahead or behind them in the mountain pass. Tynan dismounted. Duraden whickered and tossed his head. Something was wrong, Tynan felt it now. The hairs on the back of his neck stood up. Frowning more deeply, he took a small spyglass from his saddle bag and climbed the rock wall. Once atop the wall, he crawled on his belly until he could see into the valley below.
There were men in the valley, at least half on horseback, and all of them wearing armor. Tynan brought the spyglass up to his eye, careful that the sun would not reflect off the brass tube or the lens. He counted thirty men, all dressed in black from head to toe. Even the horses were armored. The men stood about, as if waiting for something to happen, and as Tynan identified several in their ranks, he knew they were waiting for him.
- Into the Darkness, “Prologue”, page 9