Aráto strode onto the beach from the longboat with a grace and confidence that would shatter the will of any lesser being. He gave commands in a short sharp voice that carried far, and yet did not sound angry or strained. His soldier-scouts were quick to obey.
He was proud of his elves. As well he should be, after seven decades of training, his elves were the best soldiers in all of Sylvian. He was the best commander of all the elves, save maybe The Oberon himself. And yet he was only a captain, not yet a Lord Protector. Not ever a Lord Protector he sometimes felt. He was of noble blood, but not quite noble enough it seemed, for there could be no other reason for him to be passed over for the post. For no one could ever doubt his talents. It was those talents that had brought him so far from home to this lonely beach in the Katarian bay.
He breathed deeply to center himself. Setting aside these old wounds from his mind to focus on the task at hand. His allies were already aground and had started their missions, he was sure. His was the furthest point of deployment. Even with the fastest ship in port carrying his squads, he knew he would be the last to make landfall, but still the closest to the goal!
As he listened to the scouts report upon their immediate surroundings, he thought about the storm that had chased them from Sylvian, and the irony that Aeddyron’s pawns had only one ship to take them to Katar, and it’s captain was notoriously ill fitted for his chosen career. He hoped the storm drowned them. It would keep his own hands clean. Killing his own kind was not his desire, but he would do what must be done.
“So,” he said to his lead scout, “you say there is a walled settlement four miles inland? and they maintain armed patrols? Good. That means they fear or despise one or more of their neighbors. Send out the scouts to listen and observe and learn who hates whom and why. Then we’ll see what a few well placed words can do to their little ape brains.”
He laughed a quiet laugh, and began to run scenarios through his mind as he settled in to wait.