“Get a grip MacKinnon,” he muttered to himself. “Freaking out isn’t going to solve anything.” He took a deep breath to get his temper under control and looked up at Vashti, “What the hell is going on? How did we get out here?”
Vashti knelt down and put a hand on his arm. “Listen to me, my Lord. There are some answers that I cannot give you now, but I will try to explain some of this.” She patted his arm gently and then gave it a little squeeze, “Let me get you some water. I think you could use it.”
Drace nodded mutely thinking he could use something a lot stronger
Vashti rose and hurried to another horse he had not noticed before. A white Arabian-looking gelding stood tied next to Pride, wearing a saddle and saddlebags. A water pouch was tied to the front of her saddle, which Vashti
removed and brought back to Drace along with a wooden cup she brought from her saddlebags. She poured as she walked. Drace looked at the bow and quiver strapped to the side of the saddle and then noticed her strange attire. Minutes ago, before all this craziness, she had been wearing the black and crimson outfit of the Black Knight’s squire.
“What the…?” he pondered, feeling that slow burn of anger fade to confusion.
She now wore fitted breeches of soft tanned leather, which appeared butter soft, a white long sleeve blouse, a vest of matching leather, and knee-high brown boots. On the left side of her wide belt was a wicked looking dagger and on the right, a leather pouch. Suddenly an absurd thought popped into his confused mind. “You! You’re Russian!” he blurted. He pointed a shaking finger at her.
Vashti started in surprise, spilling water from the cup, “What?”
“That’s the accent. I’ve figured you out.”
He tried to get his legs under him to stand, but waves of nausea had him tucking his head between upraised knees, a clammy sweat dewing his forehead.
“Well,” she breathed. “This is the time for that explanation, I suppose. No, my Lord, I am not Russian.” She handed him the cup. “Now drink.”
She sighed, and settled herself cross-legged beside him. Drace raised his head to look at her.
With a slight bow of her head in introduction, she informed him, patiently and slowly for she knew he was still groggy. “I am Vashti of Ferndale. I am of the elfish race and I am a sorceress. My master and I have need of your help and we have brought you here. I will let him explain the why.” Vashti saw the beginnings of disbelief on Drace’s expression but she continued. “The fatigue you are feeling is from the crossing over. I am sorry about that, but it is a side effect of that spell. Unfortunately, your nose does appear broken. I was not able to control the whole of your exit.”
Disbelief soon grew to astonishment. Drace opened his mouth open, but words failed him until Vashti grabbed his nose and with a little twist and jerk, set it. That quickly switched his attention; his bellow of pain made both horses pull back on their ties.
He found he had his legs back when he scrambled up and hurried to Pride and spoke soothingly while his brain screamed expletives. “Easy, easy, there’s a good boy. Sorry I scared you.” Pride snorted and placed his muzzle in Drace’s hand to be petted.
Drace bent at the waist once Pride was calm as a wave of dizziness hit him He held a hand out to keep Vashti seated. “I’m fine. I stood up too fast and got a head-rush.”