The riders came from the north, black shapes in the darkness, and the few people who saw them kept out of their way and did not dare to call out a challenge. A band of men abroad at this hour were more than likely warriors or thieves or both. These ones moved with purpose, and that could mean many things. They came suddenly into a dell, scattering the dozen sheep that were grazing there, and the shepherd yelled out in anger before fear made him fall silent. The horsemen rode past, ignoring him and his animals. Half an hour later they came to a shallow valley, and the men urged their tired mounts into a canter. It was nearly dawn.
From Vinolanda by Adrian Goldsworthy