The sun was dancing on the river when he returned to the clearing, sending sharp spears of light into his aching head. He tried to swallow the acrid taste on his tongue, but his mouth was too dry, so he trudged down to the river to quench his thirst.
Simon and Seoc were sitting in the sun on the Waelyngar’s sandy banks. At first glance, they both appeared to be staring into space. When he looked again, however, after he had drunk his fill, he realized his mistake.
Seoc was glaring bad-temperedly across the river, apparently provoked to such a state by Simon, who was in the process of eating a large bug. Several spindly legs poked out between his lips, and there was a lacey wing stuck to the corner of his mouth. When he saw that Seymour was staring at him, he grinned, exposing the various bits of insect plastered on his teeth.
“I can see that.”
Simon snagged a passing beetle and crammed it into his mouth. “Really, truly hungry,” he emphasized, crunching on its exoskeleton. “Extremely hungry.”
“Alright, alright, I get it,” Seymour groaned, massaging his pounding head. “I’ll…I’ll…catch, er, something…I don’t know. Something.”
“I don’t know. A fish,” he decided. “I’ll catch us a fish.”
Seymour threw his hands in the air. “Instinct? I’m a bloody Aechyed, for Rezyn’s sake. I ought to be able to fish a catch…catch a fish…with my bare hands…right?”
“Have you ever tried?”
“To catch a fish? Well…” In his experience, seafood came, cleaned and gutted, from the fishmonger at the Thursday morning market. “Well, no, but there’s a first time for everything, is there not?”
“Simon, shut up,” Seoc grumbled, still glowering at the opposite bank of the Waelyngar, his blanket wrapped around him like a cocoon.
“But I’m hungry!” Simon whined.
“Shut up,” Seoc repeated, extricating himself from the blanket and clenching his fists threateningly.
Simon took no heed of the warning. “Hungr—owowoww! Unhand me, you damned, skeething swalliby! Ow!”
“STOP!” Seymour roared, immediately feeling as though several of the blood vessels in his head had burst.
Still scowling, Seoc ceased his efforts to pull a handful of blond hair from Simon’s scalp.
“Thank you,” Seymour muttered. “Now, if I can trust you two not to kill each other for five minutes, I’m going to catch us some breakfast.”