Moggananji wheeled widely to the right of Mick, completely silent, a task made simpler by the pouring rain. Seconds later, he merged with the trees, almost instantly vanishing. Mick crawled through the saturated grass then gradually poked his muzzle through the long stalks in the direction of the Viking helmet. The helmet jolted out of his view accompanied with a grunt. Moments elapsed as Mick watched through his sights.
“You may come out now,” Moggananji called out from the same spot.
Mick got to his feet and trudged forward as Moggananji busied himself with untying two horses tethered to a tree. By Mick’s feet, laid another Viking, no weapon drawn, but laying in a spreading dark pool about his neck. He wondered if he’d killed the man he shot, but this one was definitely dead.
“We’re going to have to tell the police,” Mick said.
Moggananji ignored him, handing him one of the reins. “You can have this horse. There will be no more Vindavians here. These two were scouts. Vindavians work in pairs.”
“Look, I understand you might be from some medieval fighting society, and this is your war game, but I think I might have killed that other man.”
“You did, and Nusalle is grateful,” Moggananji said, climbing into the saddle.
He studied Mick with a scrutising eye in the next flash of lightning.
“You look Nusallean, but your eyes are green. You have a Nusallean accent, yet you speak differently. From whence are you?”
“I was brought up in Sydney.”
Moggananji gave a puzzling look.
“The capital of N.S.W.,” Mick explained exasperatedly.
“I know not of your land, but it is dangerous for you to stay this side of the river. The Vindavians will surely mistake you for a Nusallean. Ride with me and I will explain all.”
“I don’t know how to ride.”
Moggananji snorted. “You were brought up in the city, were you?”
“Mount your horse, then, and I will take your reins. We will have to go slow in any case.”
Mick slung his rifle and set his foot to the stirrup, easing himself into the saddle. The horse jolted into a canter, rocking him like the deck of a boat in a choppy sea.
“A few leagues distant is the ferryman’s house,” Moggananji said. “He is Nusallean and lives remotely, so he may not know of the war. I will have to tell him to stay on the Nusallean side of the water once he takes us across. As I am already going to the city, you may accompany me. I will even teach you how to ride along the way.”
“Why can’t I tell the police this side of the river?”
“For murder! Manslaughter – I don’t know.”
“If the Vindavians learn of your presence they will slay you with a sword – if you are fortunate.”
“The Police here will do that? And what if I’m not so fortunate?”
“They will sear your flesh with heated irons for days.”
Mick doubted the authorities would do such a thing, but what if he ran into more of these psychotic sword weilders? He decided it more prudent to just ride with Moggananji to an area where people considered him of the same ilk.
“So you are Nusallean, then?”