Caedmon nods curtly and urges his mount along the winding trail leading back toward the main road. "The forest goes on for miles--the nearest break is back toward Oakhollow. If the road is clear, that's probably the best way."
The group rides hard, but the gnolls have the scent. At every hilltop, Alelip looks back to see a pack of hyenas prowling in pursuit, hooting the presence of their quarry back to their humanoid masters. Ken and Marin cling to their saddles as their horses gallop at full tilt, while Rives rides low and steady, practically at one with Strider.
The main road comes into sight, and with it a disheartening recognition: a pack of six gnolls is waiting at the juncture, axes at the ready. While there's two hundred yards of intervening space, the hyenas continue to come from behind, and the riders recognize they've been driven into the waiting arms of the hunters.