‘Tiel! Here.’ Buran was leaning down from his big roan, holding out a hand. On either side of them two of his captains pounded at the Gaultmen. Tiel stretched an arm up, felt his wrist grasped and then he was flying upwards, to sprawl across the stallion’s neck.
‘Hold on,’ Buran shouted, yanking on the reins and heading for the safety of the Northland lines.
‘To what?’ Tiel muttered, spitting out a mouthful of mane. He flailed about until Buran grabbed his wrist again.
‘You can get down now.’ They had slowed to a walk, the noise of battle now behind them. He let himself slide off, misjudged the distance to the ground, overbalanced and sat down hard. ‘Tiel,’ Buran said wearily, ‘it would really help morale if you could stop falling over.’
‘I’m trying. Really I am.’ He got up, started to dust himself off and then realised it probably wasn’t worth the effort.
Buran grabbed the bridle of a nearby horse. ‘You’ve just become a foot soldier,’ he told the surprised rider. ‘The First Mage needs your horse. Of course, if you find his horse and bring it back to him, you can probably swap.’
The man was already dismounting. Tiel grabbed the saddle and hauled himself up.
‘Please tell me you’ve still got the sword,’ Buran said.
Tiel grinned at him and lifted Whitestar’s blade. Despite the bloodstains, it still gleamed where the sun caught it.
‘So what are we waiting for?’ Buran pulled the roan around and headed back into the melee, Tiel hard on his heels.