They continued along their intended path back the way Halatir came from. At a crossroads, they took a different turn, and took the declining path leading back downwards. After a couple of hours of walking in formation, with only bits of idle chatter far in between, they made it off the mountain trail and on to what appeared to be a main road.
The road was cobbled, but not lit. Only just as they were beginning to approach the military outpost did torches began to appear on either side of the road every few meters. The outpost was nothing big. It was a watch tower with a minor hall, a smith and armoury, and another sentry post on the opposite side of the road along with the barracks. The watch tower was situated right up against the steep downwards rocky slope of the mountain side, and must have a wonderful view of the surrounding area. On the opposite side of the road, the barracks had its back up against the cliff side of the same mountain.
Apparently, an attempt was once made to connect the two sides with a gate, but the project was abandoned, so there are two small square stone pillars that would have been part of the wall on the left and right side of the road, connected with a wooden bridge leading to the tower on one side, which can be entered through a door from the bridge, and to the barracks on the other. This little bridge had one stairway leading up to it from the outside, which was along the outer walls of the barracks.
This place had a few trees scattered about. Snow did not reach this low just yet, but it would in time. The winds were very persistent and chilly, so there were few guardsmen outside, with most of them warming themselves within. Those outside wore warm furred clothing with hoods and masks in colours of Xia green.
The Lieutenant stopped at the outpost to dismiss his troops, and then beckoned Halatir to follow him in to the main hall. Pushing one side of the double doors open, he waited for Halatir to enter before shoving it shut again, to keep the cold winds out. As per usual, Halatir recieved some odd looks from the militia inside, and when the Lieutenant walked past him, with ‘‘Come.’’, the rest relaxed their guard.
The big central room of the main hall they have just entered was the dining hall, complete with a fireplace. On the right side of the hall, the Lieutenant lead Halatir to the second floor, to the commander’s quarters. He knocked on the door, and was granted access with a stern, ‘‘Enter.’’
The commander, some sort of war veteran by the looks of it, his face scarred and missing an eye, with long white hair like Halatir’s but unknown if it were of old age or genes due to his battered face, stood upright when he noticed the stranger among them. Even now in the comfort of his own quarters, he was wearing armour, as if paranoid of an imminent attack.
‘‘Sir. This one wishes to join our ranks.’’ the Lieutenant began to explain, getting straight to the point.
The commander walked around the low table he was sat behind just before they came in, and approached Halatir. He wagered him from head to toe as he did so, and then looked him dead in the eye.