Shallya’s yellow eyes gleamed in the full moonlight. She perched high in the boughs of a (tropical tree). A faint scent of wood smoke drifted through the warm jungle air, slowly curling on the soft tropical breeze. Muted voices resonated off trees, echoing sound in different directions. Shallya’s trained hearing easily deduced the origin of the vocals.
Below her position, Shallya heard an unnatural rustling of leaves…unnatural, for she had scouted the surrounding area in advance, not finding any local wildlife. She cocked her head, listening for further noise. She again tested the scents lingering on the air since she was downwind of the prowler. Sweat mixed with metal and slight traces of alcohol wafted up to her keen nose. Someone had finally left the group. Shallya sprang to her feet on the branch. She narrowed her eyes as a dark form crept below, under shade of the canopy. Shallya inched out on the limb.
Gohram was scared of the dark, but he would never tell the others. Even on nights like this, with the moon shining full, the sky free of clouds and, even though they were deep in the jungle, the trees were spaced out far enough to let light through to the ground. Gohram, though, like many people, feared the unknown.
Since they’d come to the encampment, the rag-tag group of mercenaries hadn’t heard a single animal nearby. Occasionally a hoot would sound, birds would squawk as they took off in flight but all from miles away. It was unnaturally silent. There may have been less to fear if the everyday noises of the jungle had continued around them. No matter how eerie the silence was, nighttime was definitely the worst. Gohram ventured out of the camp with his sword drawn and at the ready.
Gohram grumbled to himself when he was some distance from the camp, “Stupid captain, not setting up camp until dusk…not sending us out for wood until after we eat…and ugly as a capybara, too, while I’m at it….” The sound of his own voice calmed him a little in the still of the tropical forest.