Nightfall comes and Querrick heads out, following the trail Lucius’ militia left behind. The trail goes cold about two miles from his cabin and gets warm again about four miles out. Querrick encounters some animals along the way and lets them live, also coming upon dead Ligers and deer with X shaped cuts along their bodies, the signature cut of Lucius. He wades through the forest at a steady pace, careful to be conservative with his energy. He’s been greasing the groove for a while; however, his present stamina and strength are nothing compared to when he was in war. He was much faster, stronger, and relentless. Seems his time in the woods has softened him up, the Dark Commander would be disappointed. Furious even, being Querrick is his son and all.
Half the night goes by and Querrick sees some figures in the distance, two particular figures look like children and upon closer inspection he finds Lykas and Isabel being complaint as he instructed them for they have no cuts of bruises on their faces yet. Lucius leads his militia like he’s the damn king of Carnage, the arrogant prick! Querrick decides to keep a safe distance, letting them get about another mile ahead while he keeps to the high ground.
Querrick encounters many strange things while traveling the forest, many creatures that glow in the dark and humanoids that have unique and unknown abilities. They all let him be as they sense his Darkness, but one steps in front of him. A tall, purplish blue humanoid with a glossy glow that reflects the moonlight.
“Your energy wreaks of darkness,” the humanoid says in a deep, baritone voice, “state your business.”
“rescue mission,” Querrick says, “state your position relative to this forest.”
“I am the caretaker for this part of the forest, you are on my territory.”
“Don’t worry,” Querrick says, “I’m just passing through. No harm intended.”
“Be sure to keep it that way, Dark One,” the humanoid says, “the last group that passed through here killed some of the wildlife and I had to take matters into my own hands.”
“You mean the militia?”
“Funny enough,” Querrick says, “that’s who I’m following. They have two packages that mean something to me and I’m trying to get them back.”
“The children?” the humanoid asks, “I can help you with that.”
“No need,” Querrick says, “second thought, perhaps you can make one thing happen. Particularly while the kids and I are returning from wherever the militia takes them.”
The humanoid nods, “They are headed toward Skull Mountain, there lies the quarters of The Dark Commander, High Priestess, and Syndicates that control Carnage as well as half the world. Now, what is it that you need?”
Querrick tells the humanoid and it nods with a smirk on its face and the two part without another word. Querrick picks up the pace as the militia have gained ground during his conversation. He finds the militia about three miles out from Skull Mountain by a large campfire, no doubt made haphazardly without regard for the wildlife, with Lucius sitting at the head by the flames with Isabel and Lykas close. The two are being quiet and compliant while Lucius talks amongst his men and get along merrily. Querrick decides to rest himself and wait for daybreak.
The next morning Querrick wakes up to the sound of Lucius’ voice barking orders at his men. He gets up and watches the militia get ready to head out. When they do, he gives them a customary head start of a mile before pursuing, being sure to maintain the high ground. When the militia gets within one mile of Skull Mountain, Querrick stops his pursuit and waits until they get all the way inside. He then goes around the perimeter of the mountain, which takes him a couple hours, and finds a slew of boobytraps and back doors as well as elemental and magical traps designed to ensnare, drain, kill, maim, even castrate intruders. Querrick then goes back to the front and uses The Eye of Darkness to detect energy fields around the mountain and finds a large and powerful field with a five-mile radius, no doubt being held up by the powerful entities congregating inside.
Querrick determines the power of this field by crafting a bow and arrow, using sticks from various trees with permission from nature. He spends about forty minutes crafting a quality bow and another forty crafting quality arrows, he gets the string from a Silk Spider whose webbing is the strongest in the world. The Silk spider creates the string for the bow in less than ten minutes then goes about its business and Querrick shoots off a couple embedded with Darkness. He shoots off five, then runs to another spot, five more and then runs to another spot and does this around the perimeter. The energy field doesn’t budge but some members of the militia step out to address the nuisance. Querrick shoots a couple arrows and hits them all dead center for the instant kill. A few more members step outside and share the same fate, each round of arrows coming from a different angle. Finally, some skilled mercenaries step out and disperse immediately. Querrick shoots off a couple and the mercs deflect them like nothing, as expected from Querrick’s old battalion.
Querrick shoot off more rounds except without his trademark Darkness to remain unrecognized and the battalion deflects them as if they were swatting flies. Querrick decides to put a bit more force behind his attacks and this time the battalion strikes back, firing snipers in all directions. Querrick uses the environment to conceal himself but that means little when going against The Dark Army’s best, he encounters a plethora of near hits, particularly from Benetta who’s a damn good shot. He listens from behind a rock and roots his dark energy into the ground and hears Benetta say he has sight. Shit! Querrick thinks, he’ always had a good eye. The battalion turns to Querrick position and lets the sniper’s go. It’s an outright battle that no ordinary marksman would have no chance at, good thing Querrick isn’t an ordinary marksman.
The battle lasts for about five to six minutes, Querrick constantly changes positions but Benetta and the boys are sticking with him, some are going to seek the high ground to flank him and Querrick can’t have that. So, he peddles back deeper into the woods and hears Benetta say they got a runner and with that the battalion pursues. Typically, when the battalion pursues the runner can just say goodbye, there’s no way they’re getting away. However, this is Querrick they’re chasing, and he knows all their tendencies and flaws which he can use to his advantage.
Querrick veils his face in Darkness and takes to the trees, it takes the battalion thirty minutes to catch up to him. When they get there Querrick lets off a couple arrows along with some Dark Grenades. The battalion is stunned for a split second but that’s all Querrick needs to go in, take them down and head back to Skull Mountain. When Querrick takes the last one down and does a head count he discovers Benetta missing. Querrick tries to take to the trees but is clipped midair by a bola, and just barely makes it to a branch. He uses the momentum to swing up while undoing the bola then hops off the branch and makes it into the trees. Benetta comes out as the battalion make to their feet.
“Who was that guy?” Lucas says, “it’s like he knew all our moves.”
“Who else can it be?” Benetta asks, “but the one and only Headhunter.”
“That was Querrick?” Lucas says, “seems the chief hasn’t lost a step since retiring.”
“But why would he be here?” Lucas asks.
“Probably for the kids,” Benetta says, “you know how he is.”
“Yeah,” Lucas says as he clears the black smoke and the others are on their feet, “that’s probably why he didn’t kill us either.”
“He didn’t come as the Headhunter,” Benetta says, “otherwise we would be dead.”
“Then what about those other guys?” Lucas asks, “didn’t hesitate to take them out.”
“Lucius’ men.” Benetta responds.
Lucas laughs, “figures ole chief wouldn’t miss out on some sweet revenge.”
“Should we let them know?’ Benetta asks.
“I think they already do,” Lucas says.
“And what give you that ideas?” Benetta asks.
Lucas points to Skull Mountain.
Benetta looks and sees the energy field being deactivated.
“They’re letting him in. . .” Benetta says.
“Seems like mommy and daddy want to see their son again,” Lucas says, “let’s go and join the family reunion, see how it plays out.”
Benetta nods and the battalion return to Skull Mountain without another word.
Querrick heads back to Skull Mountain and finds the energy field deactivated. He understands they’re letting him in, and he tries to go through the back door which is trapped to the nines. He slumps his shoulder and reluctantly goes to the front where The Dark Commander himself meets him.
“It’s about time you showed up, boy!” The Dark Commander says, “your services are needed.”