The day had progressed marginally well. By mid-afternoon there were enough vittles to go around. The mingling of rats, stoats, weasels and ferrets were a motley bunch as they plucked the feathers from wood doves and pigeons they'd caught over the course of the last hour or so.
Kaerune and Leera had decided they needed time to relax. The small army had been on a mission of recon for the past three weeks, scoping out the lay of the land and deciding on their course of action.
They'd picked a nice desolate place to camp alongside the River Moss nearby what had looked to be a quarry. Neither of the foxes had been particularly interested in the place, who knew what sort of creatures resided there now. And neither brother nor sister wanted to chance encountering a serpent of some sort, something likely to happen should they tread too near.
So they decided to camp on the opposite side of the great river. There was plenty of fish to catch and the woodlands were full of fowl to partake of. Some of their gang even managed to forage some berries and select fruits, all in all, it was a pleasant place to be.
A gentle breeze rustled the branches overhead as somewhere a robin trilled his song to the heavens. Kaerun's ear flicked at a fly that tried to land there while Zeera picked at a dove carcass which was almost devoid of all its meat. She sat twirling one of its rib bones idly in careful claws as her pale eyes scanned over she and her brother's troops.
There were three score of them all accounted for, not much really, but every one of their warriors were tried and true. Kaerune and Zeera didn't not tolerate laziness, treachery, greed or failure. If a beast could not carry his weight, they were soon gotten rid of, one way or another.
Their efficient way of living often frightened some of their charges, their peculiar behavior and quietness unsettling to a few of their soldiers.
One such soldier approached the pair, their cloaks tucked about them, leaving only their feral heads to be properly seen.
The gray rat approached and offered a swift salute, his discomfort visible on his plain features.
"Er…er, Master Kaerune, Master Zeera..." The vixen never did enjoy being differentiated by her gender, all of her soldiers knew full well she was "Master" and not "Mistress". A few beasts had paid with their lives for such a mistake.
"Speak your piece." Kaerune's calm voice stated gently. Both siblings had sing-song voices which were both soothing and unnerving at the same time.
The very words themselves seemed to cause the rat to tremble, "Er...Masters, there's question as t'what we'll be addressin' on the morrow. Do ye want scouts sent afore or nightfall?"
It was a legitimate question. The twins had been sending scouts out regularly to scan the area for possible recruits, enemies, supplies or information. But the two foxes' plans were changing slowly.
It was Zeera who replied, "Tell our beasts that they may rest tonight, regular guard duty remaining the only constant."
"Sleep, eat and rest yourselves well." Kaerune continued.
"Tomorrow we will decide a course of action-"
The twins seemed to speak intermittently, as though finishing the other's sentences. It was eerie, cryptic, and made the rat more than just uncomfortable. He nodded halfheartedly and offered another salute, his legs visibly shaking as he attempted to remain calm under the spectral gaze of the two odd foxes.
"Er...aye Masters... I will inform th'crew." He saluted again haphazardly and quickly scurried away to spread the word.
The brother and sister turned to one another and shared a knowing blink between themselves before eventually turning away. They seemed to share a lifetime of information betwixt themselves in such a short amount of time as they turned back to watch their small army settle in as evening approached.
They sat there, just watching, their ethereal eyes watching the motions of their soldiers.
Not far away that same rat settled down among a few of his mates, a ferret and a stoat. The stoat nudged him gently as he chewed a pigeon bone.
"So, wot're they like, mucker? The seemed t'be calm and decent to ya'." The stoat said quietly in a hushed voice.
The rat trembled as he sat down next to the fire the three were sharing, a wood dove roasting in a crude spit. "I tell yer mates...they ain't right."
"Woddya' mean?" The ferret asked as he turned to roasting dove slowly.
The rat shook his grizzled head, "I can't say really, jus'...the way they talk and hardly move, and those eyes..."
"Yeah?" The stoat inquired curiously.
A chill seemed to have assault the rat as he gazed into the fire and replied with two simple words.