With the morning sun cracking the sky, the rooster begins to croak. It is time to get up. You raise from the bed and begin donning your equipment, as do the rest of the guards. No one is chatting, yet there is anticipation brewing across the barracks. Once everyone is ready, you all march into the courtyard, where the captain and the baron are waiting for you.
Everyone arrays themselves in disciplined rows and columns: four and seven in total.
The captain then speaks up. “Listen here, everyone! Today’s the day! The baron will be taking the majority of you on a brigand hunt. The 6th and 7th columns will stay here and guard the city. Everyone else, with the baron!”
Then the baron speaks. “It is time to end this plague that has been tormenting us. These peasants have chosen to disrespect the laws and their obligations! As such, they have chosen the life of a brigand — and we all know what happens to brigands, eh? On me, men!” As the ranks break into movement, he locks eyes with you. “Come. March by my side.”
With that order, you hurry to his side. After the new column has been formed, you begin your march. As you exit the barracks and enter the town, crowds of people start to gather ’round. The guards swoop into action and form a circle between you, the baron, and this gathering crowd; this lasts until you reach the gatehouse. Once you pass the gatehouse, they return to marching in column formation.
After you’re on the road, for the most part, all of the guards keep quiet. The, however, baron clears his throat to gain your attention, and you gaze up at him. “Do not fail me today,” he says.
The same uneasy feeling grips you again. Unable to respond past the lump in your throat, you simply nod your head. The baron looks forward and says no more.
Eventually, you reach the foot of the mountain and begin your ascent up onto it. The peak is imposing, its sides covered in jungle. It is an arduous journey to undertake, but something you must do nonetheless.
As you walk the path into the mountain, everything past the marching footsteps of the guards is quiet. Nothing seems out of the ordinary. Then you reach a fallen tree on the road. This isn’t good, you think. What do you do?