It was getting closer to late afternoon. We'd spent the day walking through the forest, looking for signs of the bandits or their hideout. Near noon, Phantom had noticed a slight cut in a tree, just above his eye level. "What do you think?"
I took a step back, scrutinizing the area around the tree. Whoever had made the cut had been careful, but not careful enough. To one side of the tree was a shrub with a branch hanging loosely from it, as though it had snagged on someone's clothing without their knowledge and broken when they moved past.
"This way. If it's not the bandits, it's still someone who feels like covering their tracks. They might know something." I took the lead as we moved single file down the barely-existing trail.
I looked carefully at the ground and plants, moving through the area as the person we were following might. The trail opened up into a clearing where a rough looking hut sat. I stopped just before we walked into the open and motioned for quiet, nodding towards the building.
All was quiet, the bandits most likely asleep in preparation for a night of thievery. A few sacks and barrels stood against one side. There was a solid closed door facing us, but no windows that I could see. I waved the group back down the trail again, where we could talk in relative safety.
"How should we handle this?" Phantom asked, leaning back against the tree with the cut. "We can't all fit through that door."
"There may be windows or a back door." Albion nodded first at Phan, then me. "You loop around left, you go around the right side. I'll handle the front and go through to the back." He swung to look at Colisair, still with his shield bubble up. "If any of them make a break for it, blast 'em." Nodding our agreement to the plan, we each moved to our positions.