5. You Lion of Valour

Ahead the shrivelled sorcerer fled in desperate leaps, his shredded finery and flapping limbs made his terror almost comical. Hormud considered shouting to let him know it was him and not the Onjen chasing after him, but the irony of his lineage stopped him. Just as the lush, rank greenness of the grass proper absorbed them he lifted the little Ostromo by his battered hood, boosting the wizard along in great soaring bounds with his voice wailing high, chattering a litany of gods and spirits, beseeching Hormud, cursing his family upon the cruel alters of the Palace Gigantic. Hormud laughed and heard the wet thud of arrow into flesh, felt the start of muscles giving between his knees as iron struck the pony. Hormud leaped clear, landed running and still he boosted the sorcerer along so that his flailing feet scarcely touched the ground.
“Up, mighty warrior,” he bellowed over the rushing of reeds, “cover the earth with your magics, ten mile strides, a death to horses and the bastards that ride them. Spit your prayers to the demon grass.”
The grass now passed above his head but the whining arrows were all about him, plucking past to flick out of sight in the green wall ahead. A red flower leaped high under the slash of his sword and dropped limply. The grass thrashed and wavered like a living, suffering thing as he cut a path— and pain slashed through him. An arrow. His feet plunged deep into the slimy cold of the earth and he fell forward, the pain and exhaustion of days of chasing and hiding fully caught up. His mind darkened as he looked out on Ostromo, huddled on his knees, muddy hands clasping a bald head staring wildly at the fallen barbarian.
“Come, you lion of valour…”

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