7. Dust

Skeletal knuckles whitened griping the dagger, shaking with anger.
“Do it or don’t. We haven’t the time for your indecision.”
“Ong values our choices, and I wouldn’t choose you if you were the last chattel in Turgohl. Your filthy barbarian blood flows thin and cheaply.”
The knife had disappeared among the folds of his robes and he moved to return to his chanting.
“Gods. I need more than one, and they make offerings to me.”
Hormud had brought out his pouch and, sprinkling its contents into his mouth, set his head back against the soft earth breathing deep and contentedly.
“Other wizards fight my spells. I can smell it in the air.”
“It’s you own goat-stink,” Hormud mumbled, staring vacantly at the sky.
As he spoke, darkness gathered above the tops of the grass, pressing down on their heads like a dry, black fog
“Flee Onjen! Flee from the spirits of the devil grass, flee before the Great Bear of Heavan devours you.” Still staring where the sky once was, Hormud could hear the little splashes as the wizard jumped about in delight at his success. He swore and felt around for his sword, finding it he used it to force himself to his feet. The dust had reduced the pain, leaving only a faint tearing sensation in his side. A high wail came from the distant shore where the Onjen waited, soon followed by the hard, fast pounding of hooves dwindling into the distance and back to the Black Sands. Ostromo giggled in the new darkness.
“I could slit your belly now, you hulk.” He whispered. “Mock my spells will you?”
“Lift this damned fog before the grass devils come up on us unaware.”
“No, my magic is too strong to be dismissed so quickly. Let us just leave and return to the friendly hills. The Onjen won’t return, the Heaven Bear chases them to your Queen’s door. I don’t like this grass, I can smell demons.”
“I have smelt better smells but there are no friendly hills for us. The Onjen will return, the Bitch of Turghol will send her sword-bladed lances to find us and give us to the Priests Gigantic. So it is forward, little Ostromo, before my wounds stiffen and rot my bones.”
The sorcerer made a sound like a sick dog.

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