Ilfayne slid off the horse sideways and his arse sank into the mud. ‘Bugger this horse!’ ‘I don’t think,’ Regin said from high above on his own horse, ‘that the horse was the problem.’ Ilfayne propped himself up on his elbows and made a show of dignity. ‘Are you insinull—insuna – trying to say something? Because if you are, I may just have to turn you into a turnip.’ He waved his one hand around, trying to menace Regin and failing. Of course Regin took quite a lot of intimidating. There was so much of him to do it to.
‘You’re drunk,’ Regin said.
‘Bloody well am not!’
Regin slid from his own horse, reeled to the left, straightened up and bent down to give Ilfayne his hand. He had to hold on to the stirrup to keep from falling. ‘Come on you silly sod, up you get. If you don’t hurry up, the inn’ll be shut by the time we get there. It’s a three hour ride from here, and we’re out of beer and wine.’ ‘No wine!’ An emergency then.
Ilfayne grabbed at the hand and dragged himself to his knees, all his little trinkets and bangles jangling. Stop here a minute. On my feet is a long way away. Horse is further. Stupid bloody horse, keeping me from my wine. ‘Think you’ll to get into the saddle on your own this time?’
Smirking at me! And him only a stupid bloody soldier. Hmmph. Show him. Bloody wizard me. Can do all sorts, me. Using Regin’s knee as leverage, Ilfayne managed to get himself sort of upright, though everything kept sliding to the left. He grabbed hold of the saddle with his one hand, shoved a foot into the stirrup on the second try, and heaved himself straight over the other side, to fall with a squelch into yet more mud.
He’s sniggering at me now. That’s no way to treat a man of my calibre. I’m Ilfayne the wizard, feared for hundreds of bloody miles me. Cheeky sod. I’ll show you! Hah!
It took him a moment to get his glare the way he wanted it, then he attempted to stalk round the horse and use it on Regin. Only stumbling into the horse’s head spoilt the effect.
‘Are you going to get on that horse, or are you going to risk sobering up?’ Regin asked.
‘I am perfectly sober, thank you. But horses, so slow don’t you think?’
Regin’s eyes narrowed in suspicion. ‘The horses are fine. They’ll move quick enough if you ever manage to get on one this week.’ Ilfayne wafted his hand airily. ‘You don’t fancy one with wings then? Much quicker, and so impressive for the ladies. More drinking time at the inn, all those pretty little barmaids who like you so much.’ If you can manage anything by the time the beer stops, that is.
‘If you could get on it. I don’t think now’s the right time for magic –.’
‘Nonsense! Every time’s the ringle…’ What? ‘Er, right time.’
Ilfayne shut his eyes and tried to concentrate. What were those words again? Right on the tip of my, you know, thingy, tongue. Oh yes, that’s how it went.
Regin cursed as Ilfayne started the spell. ‘As long as I get beer before closing time.’
Ah yes, funny how it all comes back. Wait, was it camahlal, or camehlal? Don’t suppose it matters.
He finished his words and a deafening sound seemed to push his ears right into his head. Where in the world did the trumpets come from, and why are they in my ear? Gods, I think that ear is actually bleeding.
He blinked his eyes open cautiously. There was a lot of grey. Huge, stamping, tusking, trumpeting grey, running away as fast as it could.
‘Oops,’ he said, and tried his most charming smile on Regin.
It didn’t work.