The new sunlight seemed just that little duller once Madame had resumed her falcon shape and disappeared above the treetops.
Borysko sat heavily back down and ran a hand through his hair. Alastor shifted, then got to his feet and stood over the warrior, eyes narrowed.
"Borysko, may we talk?"
Just a little to his surprise the warrior who had kissed his Nyssa readily agreed, and drew him aside, as far away as the pair could get from the silver-haired spy in their midst, who sat with chin on hands and shrewd eyes abstracted, while still keeping him in view.
Alastor cleared his throat and drew around him the vestiges of his regal kingliness, finding that nevertheless he reached only to the big warrior's chin. He had not noticed his lack of height respective to this man before, and it did not improve his mood.
"I must talk to you about Nyssa."
"Yes-she told me where Drakon is. That was...the reason for her kiss. She wished for Donovan to remain ignorant of his whereabouts She gave me the information...that way."
While hardly as clever as some, Borysko was not an unobservant man, and it was not lost on him that his words soothed his companion's offended ego and distracted him from it; he could not help smiling to himself just the slightest bit. It did not do to offend kings, even kings who currently did not have the power of their thrones behind them.
"Tell me where my son is," Alastor said eagerly, voice rising in his excitement. "Tell me!"
"Hush, quietly, so our spy does not suspect. He is not far from here at all, I can take you to him shortly. But we must find a way to dispose of the Vagari."
"I can dispose of him," Alastor said grimly, drawing a sharp dagger from his boot; but Borysko gripped his wrist.
"He is not stupid; you would not be able to kill him, not this one, it has been tried before. You would have to take him by surprise, and trust me that is not easy; he's watching us already."
Frustrated, Alastor drove the dagger back into its boot-sheath and folded his arms.
"What do you suggest, my friend? Tie him up and leave him for the wolves?"
"That may be the only way, even though it won't hold him for long. And there are no wolves in a marsh, but there are...other things, that will make his life uncomfortable if nothing else."
Alastor laughed; he knew what the warrior meant. Even now innumerable tiny biting insects were making their presence known.
"May I do it?" he begged. "May I?"
"It your honour, my friend," Borysko grinned. "Go to it with a will."
And so it was that the two men walked away shortly afterwards, in a misleading direction just in case, leaving behind a silver-haired Vagari spy tied as securely as was possible to a sturdy tree, entirely naked and cursing volubly and so vulgarly as to turn the air blue.
Not all that far away, Urska was pacing back and forth and huffing unhappily.
"When is Borys' coming?" she demanded, swinging round to stare at Drakon, who was sitting between Marron's paws, distractedly playing with the cub, who did not understand this grown-up business and wished only for entertainment. He looked up and shrugged.
"I don't know, Urska; I don't know how far away he is."
"I will not wait for'ver," the beargirl said with certainty. "Not for Borys'."
"Just a little bit longer," Drakon wheedled, pulling his hand out of reach of the cub, who wished to savage it as prey. "I am sure it will not be long before he comes. Then we can go to the Mountain."
Big Marron flared his nostrils and rumbled slightly uneasily. Urska huffed again.
"He does not like the Mountain. There are...strange things around there."
"He has grown up in a circus, how does he know?" Drakon asked, with some curiousity. Urska narrowed her eyes at him.
"Is instinct, human boy," she told him. "I feel it also. There is something on th' Mountain that eats bears."
"There is nothing that eats bears."
"There is on th' Mountain," said Urska, and refused to say any more. The cub pawed at Drakon's arm and demanded entertainment, and there was little conversation after that.
The sun was at its highest point when there was a rustle in the undergrowth, and there was no time to do anything before what was causing it crashed out of the undergrowth and caught Drakon up in its arms.
So it was fortunate that it turned out to be Alastor, overjoyed to have his son in his arms once again, and Borysko behind him, staring at Urska warily until the beargirl huffed her agreement not to rip his head from his body and eat it.
"Father...father, I am so glad to see you...Madame told me-"
"I know what she told you. And I am sorry that we did not tell you before, but-"
"We mus' go to Mountain," Urska interrupted them bad-temperedly. "If we has t'go t'th' place where there is things that eat bears, to make me me again, then we go quickly. Now!"
Gently pushing his father away, Drakon grinned suddenly.
"Now it is, Urska, then. We will go to the Mountain of the Mother. Where there are things that eat bears."