3. A Magic of Sorts

“My brothers make a magic of sorts, and being sorcerers will not tread the devil grass.”
The wizard scurried from the barbarians side as far as their cover would allow.
“No, I left the Palace Gigantic with you but I will not enter that devil grass.”
“Then die here.” Hormud laughed, “As for me it doesn’t matter whether it be my kins’ arrows or demon magic. Though I’ve bested a few devils in my time I’ve never stood well against a cavalry charge.”
As though answering a challenge the horsemen crashed their cymbals along to a throaty song like rocks falling down a deep gorge.
“Here, my dagger.”
The wizard took it with trembling hands, “Better to die here under the merciful lances than fight and run. Even animal tracks turn from the edge of the devil grass.”
Hormud plucked a handful of grass, chewed, and jabbed it into into his ragged wound.
“Well then, little animal, find yourself a burrow and dig in. I’ll sharpening my steel on some ungrateful bellies and then see how far it takes me against the High Air. Off with you to make peace with the spirits, maybe they’ll welcome you as their own.”
He leapt to his feet, bow in hand, strung with the gut of a tiger and bound in its skin, shouting the Demarcation of Heritage and singing his challenge as the first arrow flew. The riders flattened against their ponies necks only to be pinned together, screaming in their dying. He was wise to their tricks.
“Howl for us, though I think your horse has a sweeter voice.”
The arrows flew two heart beats apart, made faster by the rumble of charging hooves.

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