Laural Falco, known to her subordinates simply as ‘Red’, listened to the conversation flowing around her as her eyes continuously scanned the surrounding countryside. Her surely chestnut named Hueron plodded along and although she was relaxed was very aware of the tension in her rider. Laural didn’t like the path they had chosen and if circumstances allowed would have chosen a different one. She and her men had taken the King’s Highway down. That way was much faster, partially paved, and had various towns and taverns along the way. But that road was not suitable for her precious cargo. No, they had to take the long, arduous, road that offered little in the way of hospitality or even shelter whatsoever back to the capital.
Her eyes narrowed at Isa’s question to Alphonse. ”Tired already?” she called back to them, ”We haven’t even been traveling for an entire day. Yuno, do you still have some of the ale we had last night? Perhaps that will raise our delegate’s spirits, that is if he can bear to swallow it.”Laural had made it clear from the beginning that she thought of Alphonse as a child although she was only four years his senior. Still, four years held an awful amount of experience because at the age of nineteen little Red had barely been recruited before she’d been shipped to the battle front. Ironically, in facing death almost every day, she had grown years older than she should have. In her mind she wondered if war too could taint Alphonse’s boyish ways, although it certainly hadn’t for Isa, a fact she was ever in awe and envy over.
It was true however, that the road thus far had been a little difficult. Some of her soldier, who were less practiced at riding than she would ache tomorrow. The path they were following could only be called that in the loosest sense - rocks and pebbles springing out of the undergrowth causing horses to misstep and riders to be ever wary, pot holes were ever trying to trip the unobservant, shrubs reached out to scratch any exposed ankle. Still, Laural couldn’t completely curse the undergrowth which meant that their travel left no rising cloud of dust for trackers to follow.
Suddenly, a squeal went up as one of the horses, stepping into a larger hole lost its balance and broke formation, causing the ones behind it to side step out of the way. Laural turned Hueron around and went over to survey the damage. Just as she was heading over another hose reared up, eyes white with panic as she saw blood trickling down its flank. Chaos began to ensure as fear trickled to the other members of the herd as riders tried to calm their mounts. Not letting her or her horse get distracted for even a moment, Laural searched the crowd trying to discern who had injured the animal and why.