* * * * *
On the eastern slope of the Midra Kran, a cloud of dust paced a caravan, which wound up the trail, through a pass. The treachery of the narrow path was testified to by an occasional slither, followed by a startled curse.
Musa stood in his stirrups, looking ahead at the long trail which twisted a little farther up, then dropped to the wide Jogurthan plateau. Far ahead, over the poorly marked way, he knew, was another range, the Soruna Kran, which blocked his way to the Eastern Sea.
He looked back at the straggling caravan.
"Better get them to close up, Baro," he remarked. "We'd be in a lot of trouble if a robber band caught us scattered like this."
The other trader nodded and turned his mount. Then, he paused as shouts came from the rear of the line. Mixed with the shouting was the clatter of weapons.
"Come on," cried Musa. "It's happened."
He kicked his mount in the ribs, and swung about, starting up