Zuzana scanned the paths up the mountain, seeing how the patrols had split up. “If they discover us, we will be outnumbered and potentially on lower ground, and they are all armed with bows.”
“In short, we would be massively disadvantaged.” Varun was securing his weapons; a matched pair of bladed knuckles.
Anuska too was tying her weapon sash to secure it. “Assuming the Cultists are hostile.”
Velabahleke simply waited, his relaxed smile still in place despite the circumstance. “In all my travels, I have never heard of Cultists with an amiable attitude. They are unpredictable ones, and even more so when the Endless are involved. We would best be served to consider them enemies to our task.”
Zuzana nodded in agreement. “We’ll follow one of the patrols, see what they find while we do our own exploration as best we can.”
Blagoje carried his unloaded crossbow across his chest, his bolts in a closed pouch on his left thigh. “If we’re seen?”
“Finish it quickly or run. We can handle one patrol, but even two would be pushing it.”
The time was near midday when they proceeded into the mountains, following a patrol that would be furthest away from their fellows. Varun led Blagoje and Velabahleke in following the patrol up the mountain path, while Zuzana and Anushka split off on each side, trying to spot anything the Cultists might have missed. The shorter they were up in the mountains, the better.
Hours passed as they cautiously followed the Cultist patrol. Zuzana and Anusahka wove in and out of the main group, reporting what they saw of hints to the entrance and other patrols. They made no progress of their own, and the Cultists seemed equally unfortunate. Up close, the mountainside seemed just as bleak and featureless as it had looked from afar. Until half of the patrol they had been following vanished from view.
Velabahleke was in front when it happened, crouched behind a rock. “Varun, Blagoje, come and see,” They both scurried up behind him, trying to peer past the cover without exposing themselves, “Something has happened to the patrol.”
Up ahead, the patrol seemed just as confused as they were, as 3 of their number had vanished without a trace or cry of alarm. The mutual confusion was only heightened when dark-brown doorway appeared, revealing an open tunnel into the mountain. The 3 missing Cultists were stood inside, looking around at the sudden change in scenery.
“The entrance.” Blagoje had his crossbow out, bolt locked and ready in the mechanism.
Varun was pulling his weapons on and scanning the rocks around them, hoping to see signs of their ranging members. “Seems to be the case. We need to move before they alert their fellows.”