Ilfayne slung the empty wine skin over the edge of the platform and watched it spiral down. Hopefully it would hit someone, at least that might liven things up a bit. It was Thrimilci, and unfortunately he was stuck with the kyrbodans, a strange race of people with absolutely no sense of fun. People are supposed to get drunk at fertility festivals, sing rude songs around the fire and creep off into the bushes for some slap and tickle. Chance would be a fine thing; finding a young lady prepared to stay within ten feet was difficult enough. The festivities should not include sitting round stone cold sober singing dreary songs about trees. Trees are pretty useless anyway, unless you’re sitting on a platform at the top of one, keeping out of the kyrbodans way.
Ilfayne fished out another skin of wine. Four down, only two left. This was not good. Throwing the empty ones and hoping they would splat on a passing kyrbodan was all the entertainment he had. What was he saying? He was a wizard, if he couldn’t make his own entertainment, who could? A fine plan.
He sat up straight, and all his bangles and trinkets rattled. What could we have, let’s think. Fireworks? No, no, too humdrum. This deserved something better than that. What we need is something that will make the kyrbodan’s tails stand on end. He could turn them all into turnips. That would be fun, but turnips don’t really do much, so the fun wouldn’t last long. Donkeys? Gods no, imagine clearing up after two thousand donkeys. How about…oh yes. Oh yes!
Ilfayne chuckled drunkly. This was going to be the best festival ever. He pulled himself up into a more dignified position. With a flourish of his one hand, and a waggle of the stump of the other, just for the look of the thing, he muttered the words.
The blast of air from wings the size of houses almost blew him from his perch, and the bellow from cavernous lungs left his ears shuddering in fright. The dragon glided past and lazily snorted a bloom of flame into the branches above him.
‘Ilfayne!’ The words appeared inside his head. ‘You’ve gone too far this time. This time, I’m roasting you.’
Ilfayne flapped his hand at the burning leaves that fell around him. ‘That’s no way to greet me. And I didn’t bring you here to set things on fire.’
The dragon swooped down over the clearing, wingtips brushing the trees as he turned back to face the wizard. He really did have quite a big mouth when he opened it like that. Funny how the flames bunched up on his tongue made it look even bigger.
‘Now, I don’t think that’s necessary, do you?’
‘Yes I do!’
Flames leapt at him and he threw himself down on the platform as the trees above and around him exploded. Branches fell past, trailing flames. His ears seemed to be better anyway; he could hear the kyrbodans screaming. Lucky he had that trinket that kept the flames from touching him. Wait, he did still have it didn’t he? He scrabbled around, peering at all the trinkets that hung from bright threads on his waistcoat. Herjan’s bloody arse! Not there.
‘Do you know how long it took me to get her to agree?’
‘What? Who?’ Why was he so angry? He’s a bad tempered sod at the best of times, but he doesn’t normally turn up belching flames. He’s coming round for another pass. Here trinket trinket, before I get my arse fried.
‘You aren’t the only ones who have fertility festivals you know.’
‘I don’t quite –.’ There it is! Now maybe I can get the bugger out of here. What’s the spell?
‘Took me weeks of persuading, I finally get her in the mood, she’s shimmying her scales and everything, and bang! I’m here.’
The crown of another tree blew apart, swirling flames further into the forest. Most of the trees below were just black sticks cloaked in orange and red.
‘Ah. Yes, well, I could see that could be annoying. Would a sorry suffice?’
‘Your burnt head will suffice!’
The dragon dove again, straight for him. Ilfayne muttered as fast as he could, trying not to stumble over the words that would send the dragon back where he came from. Getting it wrong now would not be a good idea.
With a soft pop, the dragon was gone. Probably best not call him again for a while, let him calm down. Like a century or six. Make it ten, just to be safe.
Ilfayne peered down over the edge the charred platform. Kyrbodans were running everywhere. Flames licked at every tree, every patch of grass. There was a lot of screaming. Well, he’d certainly livened things up. An arrow whizzed past his head and thunked into the burning tree behind him. How ungrateful. See, now that was the trouble with kyrbodans. No bloody sense of humour.