The commander walked the trenches of the rebel line. The cool of such deeply dug earthworks provided heavily armed, loyalist soldiers some respite from the afternoon sun. For some reason, royalist forces withdrew the evening before. While the loyalist side celebrated this apparent retreat, Cauthrien and the unit specifically under her command - the elite soldiers known as Maric's Shield - did not join in the festivities. She and her men remained in the trenches, ever vigilant - if not more so - than before.
"Commander," one of her men eventually approached, however. Cauthrien turned and waited for his report. The loyalist went on to tell her, "Our scouts have swept the perimeter."
The soldier frowned and shook his head, "Nothing."
Cauthrien clenched her fists. "That's not possible," she said, bitterly, "How can an entire army disappear overnight?" The loyalist soldier certainly did not have an answer to that. He shrugged. Cauthrien resisted the urge to curse. "Have them do another sweep," she ordered.
"But they've already done three," the soldier protested on the scouting unit's behalf.
"Another sweep," Cauthrien ordered, far more firmly this time.
"Yes, Commander," the soldier responded without further objection, intimidated by his superior's tone, "Of course. Straight away."
When he left, Cauthrien resumed her own patrol. Nothing about the royalists withdrawal sat right with her. Her head tilted up, listening to the sounds of revelry coming from the town behind her. She shook her head. "Fools," she thought.