Maba knew that crossing the Sill was dangerous, but he had no choice– he needed to reach the Five Tribes Desert before the mercenaries; he had to warn his tribe. Maba knew that crossing the Sill was dangerous, but finding dangerous paths to cross the desert quickly was what he did.
Maba was the chief scout of the Peshga tribe, newly promoted, and he had vital information that could mean the difference between the tribe’s survival and destruction. For any ordinary information he would go around– for even children of the Peshga tribe knew that the Sill was Ghul territory.
Maba could hear Jackals baying in the distance. He paused for a moment, scanning the horizon. He could make out their outline behind him, a corral of fierce furred foes. He knew they would try to guide him to a trap. and that he had little choice but to let them– for it meant conflict on way or another. Better, he thought, to outpace them, spring the trap while he could face their master alone.
Maba saw where the jackals would spring the trap– a grouping of ruins, three buildings left mostly intact. He aimed himself toward the goal and took of into a spring, hoping the jackals would not realize this and adjust their methodical stalking speed as well. Maba sprang and bounced, the characteristic gait of a Parua at full tilt.
Within a few minutes he was approaching the buildings, he slowed to a walk, drawing his scimitar, catching his breath for the battle ahead. Cautiously Maba stepped into the ruins, scimitar held high to deflect any blows. The snarl and the strike came simultaneously. Maba dodged but a moment too slow. He felt the weight of the jackal upon him, twice the size or more of an ordinary jackal.
He felt the teeth sink into his shoulder. Maba dropped to one knee, jabbing the jackal with his scimitar. The creature let out a yelp as it careened to the floor. Its shape shimmered for a moment, then the shape crouching before him transformed to that of a Ghil, human shaped with pointed ears like those of other Jinn but with a stark pale gray skin caving in onto its bones, its eyes white, almost lifeless, bus sinister and very much alive.
Maba held forth his scimitar to guard himself, sweat beading at his brow, a steel expression on his face.