The night cooled Drakon's brow. Less indignant now, yet not quite ready to admit embarrassment, he spun around the words that would have to accompany his return just the same as he might practice sounding elements in a spell of warding.
The mages might have animated a man's measure of mud to better mimicry than waste the river's gold in hiring that common brute to hound my steps and call it safeguarding!
True to form, Drakon was not about to shout this. That first morning in the Mages' Circle he'd been called Hotheaded by Nyssa de Silva, the Assessor, whose opinion of him would matter, and it annoyed him that she was close to right, sometimes. Just the same as doing an exercise, with some effort he unclenched his teeth. He sighed out a cloud of his breath on the still sweet air of the glade.
No -- Really, unaffected, I simply left, tired of the loud lout!
Villagers liked wordplay, especially the smacking insult, which entertained as goodly as any hitting, and because the town guard was not likely to break apart combatants spitting only words in each other's face. The witty return would gain him useful snickerings, even a little renown, such as the kind the mob lends to any fight favourite.
"Tiring of the loud lout" -- Drakon's puffed out words hung before his nose, and he smiled -- "Retired to the forest heart and refreshed me in the night air before going to my bed."
The forest heart that was more companion to Drakon than any hired protector ever could be!
Drakon sat on his mossy log, beaneath the night sky hard with stars, almost at ease again -- when suddenly that lout and a great bear charging up his backside crashed through the slumbering trees. Naturally startled-- catching all of that grimace on Borysko's straining face -- Drakon tipped off his comfortable log -- registering the situation, and reflexively cast the first spell he knew, like someone who knew no magic might throw up his hands before his face.