Chapter Thirteen: Preparation and Procedure (3)Mature

They reunited with Alasdair and Mialina by the fountain.  The sunlight there was painfully bright, searing its way into Seymour’s aching head, but he knew better than to complain.  Seymour de Winter was no idiot.

            Which was why, when Alasdair asked him where he had been all morning, he lied.  “Had a few last-minute preparations to carry out.”

            “Oh?” Mialina inquired, and Seymour saw with a jolt of dread that there was suspicion in her mismatched blue eyes.  “Vhat sort of preparations?”

            Seymour laughed, hoping it didn’t sound forced.  He could invent a few plausible excuses on the spur of the moment, but not enough to account for all morning.  “What, do you want a complete list?  Would you prefer it chronological or alphabetized?”

            Luckily, it was at this point that Henry recognized the peril of the situation and casually changed the subject.  “I placed the horses in their positions this morning.  They’ll be ready when you reach them.”

            “Thank you, your lordship.  You are certain that two will be enough?”

            “Yes.  Their strength cannot be matched by any steed that I know of.  Anyway, both Simon and Seoc are small-statured and rather underweight.  It shouldn’t be any trouble at all.”

            Seymour nodded contemplatively.  “Any other final details that I should know before I set off?  About the penitentiary, my charges, the route?”

            Alasdair shrugged.  “No.”

            “Really, I’d prefer to know too much about where I’m putting my feet than too little.  Could you perhaps tell me more about Seoc?”

            The Alt-Mage shook his head.  “His story is a miserable one, and it isn’t mine to tell.”

            Seymour ground his teeth in frustration.  “I don’t need a fucking point-by-point analysis of his life history, sir!  I’d just like to know about his temperament, his stamina, and any physical, mental or emotional conditions he might have, so that I don’t accidentally hurt him!  For Rezyn’s sake!”

            Alt-Mage MacQuarrie seemed to shrink a bit in response to the outburst.  “Right.  Of course.  Let me see…he’s shy, he’s allergic to shellfish, although I doubt there would be any opportunity for that to crop up between here and the Carvil Valley…he’s a bit insecure I suppose, tends to overreact to things…and…” He trailed off, thinking.  “And…and he has epilepsy.”

            Seymour smacked himself in the forehead.  “He has epilepsy.  He has fucking epilepsy, and you were going to let me traipse off on this little adventure bloody well fucking ignorant of the fact that one of my charges is liable to have a fucking seizure at any fucking moment.  That’s just…grand!”  He noticed that Henry was counting his obscenities again, and he slapped the mage distractedly on the hand to make him stop.  “Where is your brain, man?  Where do you keep your fucking mind?”

            “D’thon’t speak to my husband’th dzhat vay!” Mialina spat at him, eyes blazing.  “You crude’th, coarse brute!”

            Seymour leaned over so that his face was mere inches from hers.  “I speak to anyone any fucking way I want, miledi, and nothing that you say is going to change that.  Clear?”

            “Please,” Alasdair groaned.  “Just let it go, both of you.  People are staring.”

            Seymour straightened his posture abruptly, prompting the raven to dig its talons into his shoulder, and stalked away.

The End

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