The Retriever--Chapter 6 by Mark Dawson

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If Drak could get his blindfold off and his wrists free, he would smash one of those guard's head in. He should have done it four days ago when one of them tried to tie his hands together. All he had to do was turn over and muscle him. Most of those Ferrus soldiers were bony "syco-rats" anyway, strutting around only because they were given a sword. But he had looked over at Armand who shook his head no, don't do it, so he didn't make a move. However, it had been days now of them walking, stopping, walking, stopping, and Drak kept asking himself—when?
What was Armand waiting for? The more days passed, the more it would be impossible for them to know their whereabouts and make an escape. If they didn't act soon, whatever Ferrus had planned for them would change and the guards might get blood thirsty just for the sake of it, slash their throats and leave them bleeding in a wood somewhere or even lead them purposely off a cliff to their death. The uncertainty of it all made him anxious than the others it seemed to start the workings of a plan in the line without Armand's command. If Armand didn't approve, well, he would just suffer the consequences.
So, when the line took a break somewhere where the grass was short and he heard guard boots walk away, he whispered to the man ahead of him.
"The cloth tying your hands. Start scraping it with your nails. Inform the man ahead of you."
He hoped he and the others would scrape in sequence whenever they could—while walking, while sitting, while the guards slept after they stopped for the day. Always in the same place, scraping and pulling pieces of thread from the interlacing fabric until they could wrench themselves free by a sharp tug of their wrists.
But Drak was disgusted when the man in front of him refused by not even trying. The fool decided to stay silent and do whatever the guards ordered him to do.
The man was indicative of what Drak felt was wrong with the Ryklas in the past few years. These new breed of Rykla soldiers, raw pitters really, seemed to him more and more like cowards at taking risks other than what was required on the battlefield. They were part of that new school of "military etiquette" that the previous and current kings of Rykla and other territories promoted and taught as a result of that piece of filth treaty they had signed, The Charter of Valquid. The newer breeds were taught in the training academies to not make any sudden moves if captured, to acquiesce whenever they were put in a situation of having been bested because risking their lives was not as important as trying to be a hero. But that new thought assumed the enemy would comply with the treaty. And what if they didn't? Then what? Ferrus was on the march, and wiping out the dwarves on the Upland borders and moving further and further into the continent. It won't be long before they reach Rykla itself, and Drak knew that mercy would be dubious.
Also, Drak noticed most of the newer ones were less likely to jump in front of their fellow soldier and be willing to take the sword if they saw him in danger on the battlefield.

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