After several hours Uran and Arun left the protection of the willow boughs.
“Do you have any idea where we are?” Uran asked.
“We traveled downstream so we need to go back up against the flow,” her brother said.
“I’m not stupid. I was asking if you knew where we were, not how to get back.”
“Then, no,” he admitted.
“It is lush here, I would love to stay,” she said looking around, “but we need to get to the city.”
“Come on then,” he said.
The pair followed the bank upstream for about a quarter of an hour and then saw what seemed to be the tributary they had joined the main river course from on the opposite bank.
“Okay, ready to swim over to the other side, and follow the stream back to the road?” Arun asked.
“You aren’t doing you best today, are you?” his sister taunted.
“What do you mean?” he asked.
“First of all, if we follow the stream back to the road, we will come out at exactly the place the robbers tried to ambush us in the first place. Secondly, if you opened your eyes you can see that the river gets narrower up ahead and – oh shock of shocks – there is a bridge crossing over to the other side. So why swim?”
“Fair enough,” he conceded. “But if you are right about the robbers still being around somewhere, we need to be careful near that bridge.”
The Elves pulled the hoods of their fish-scale cloaks over their heads and continued up the bank towards the bridge, letting the glittering of the rushing waters reflect off of them, breaking up their outlines as they advanced.
When they were nearly to the structure Arun nocked an arrow in order to cover Uran as she darted under the bridge. She cautiously glanced up at the span to see if anyone was on it. No one was there.
It was then that she noticed a corroded copper talisman nailed to the stones of the bridges arch. It was difficult to make out what was moulded into the metal, and the long greenish-blue streaks running down the stonework from it indicated that it had been there for some time. She drew her curved knife and pried the disk from the stone. She then signaled Arun to join her.
When he arrived, he showed the piece to him. He reached into his travel sack and took out a small vial of vinegar and dipped a piece of bandage in it. He then rubbed the medallion and the green corrosion began to melt away. After a short while, a set of runes became clear on its face.
“It’s an Ogre charm,” Arun said. “I think it was put here to keep the beasts from settling under the span and waylaying travelers.”
“Should we put it back then?” his sister asked.
“I don’t think there has been an Ogre around this district for a century or more,” he said.
“It must work then,” Uran said teasingly. Then is a more serious tone she asked, “Should be take it with us? It could be useful when we get into the mountains.”
“We better put it back though – just in case,” Arun said after some consideration.
The twins found the bent nail that Uran had removed and hammered the disk back into place with a rock and then climbed up and crossed the bridge.
Later that autumn, a large Ogre came lumbering through the nearby wood. Seeing the bridge, it made a beeline for its shadowy arch. The beast stopped suddenly and sniffed the air. Sniffing again, it let out a roar, and then reversed direction, and returned to the forest.