The mage let his head fall into his hands, seriously considering forcing the warrior to take a nap.
However, the bard popped up and squinted against the sun. “You know, I’ve never seen this viking dude, because I was busy buying food while you guys were kicking his butt. So I’m not gonna miss out on the off chance that he actually is – ” The bard’s jaw dropped mid-sentence. “Oh, wow. That guy is more bear than man.”
“Ah, good, so he’s not a hallucination.” The warrior grinned broadly, pleased with himself, as the mage helped him to his feet. As he caught sight of the large man again, he frowned slightly. “Or . . . not good. Not good, because that means he’s here. And wants to attack us.”
“I would want to attack us if I were him. You went a bit over the top with the creative insults,” the mage remarked, giving the warrior a dry look.
The bard snickered. “Now those I heard. But are we going to battle him this time? I have a feeling our main fighter – ” (a pointed look at the warrior) ” – isn’t really up for fighting.”
“I beg to differ!” The warrior bent over, picked up what he must have thought was his sword (it was, in fact, a stick, and not even a very pointy one), and brandished it in front of him. His face went pale from standing up too fast and he swayed on his feet.
The mage grabbed him before he could fall. With a Charismatic Grin™, the warrior slung an arm over his friend’s shoulders for support. “See? I’m perfectly fine. Able bodied warrior, right here.”
“I see what you mean,” the mage replied to the bard, ignoring the protests of the boy he was half carrying by that point. “You and I are distance fighters more than anything, which works best when we have someone else engaging the enemy up close. Unfortunately, our warrior here is the one who performs best in close combat. So I suppose we need a different plan.”
Frowning, the bard watched as Oswalt the Unfriendly Viking Man approached. The overly muscular man seemed to be in no hurry, which only made him all the more intimidating. “Hey – did the insults rile him up enough to make his fighting sloppy?”
“I think so . . .” The mage’s lips pursed as he tried to remember.
“They made him very angry,” the warrior put in smugly. He leaned toward the bard and whispered, “Especially when I made fun of his tiny, adorable battle axe.”
A grin started to form on the bard’s face. “Good, then I have an idea – no, not about the axe, you sleep-deprived weirdo – but you guys are just going to have to trust me and go with it.”
“Done and done.” The mage shifted his weight slightly (the warrior was not exactly light). “Just going with it is our main way of doing things. So what do you need us to do?”
Stooping over, the bard picked up the mage’s bag from the ground. “Well, I’ll be needing this. You should probably put our sleepy friend somewhere – ” (the bard gestured vaguely away from the path) ” – where he’ll be safe, because I’m going to need you, dear mage, to sneak up close to that behemoth. I’ll try to distract him. When he seems angry enough, strike as hard and fast as you can, and then get the heck out of there. Not that I doubt your strength or anything, but I haven’t fought this guy. I don’t know if one hit will bring him down.”
“It may and it may not,” the mage said grimly. “It all depends on whether he’s fully healed from our last encounter. But we’ll figure it out, one way or another.” He moved to duck into the surrounding tall grass, dragging the warrior with him; but before he did, he paused and turned back to the bard. “May I ask how you plan to distract Oswalt?”
The bard only gave him a smirk. “Oh, you’ll hear. I do hope you’ll enjoy the show.”