The guardsman’s mouth drops open slightly as you speak, his gaze quickly reassessing you. Your clothes are commonplace and serviceable though, not unlike his under the chainmail shirt that is the city’s standard issue for its guards. But the head Magister’s name on your lips clearly gives him pause. You raise a single quizzical brow at him, casting your gaze over his shoulder to his companions, who have noticed finally that they are being watched.
He hesitates, but as you kick yourself into gear, beginning to turn the horse back towards the town, his arm shoots out in a pleading gesture. “It won’t nothing but some fun,” he tries to explain. “The man tests us so, crying foul over his flock when there’s nothing there harmin’ none of those sheep. But you’re right, there’s no call to be rough with him.”
He tosses a halting signal back to the others, and somewhat reluctantly they disengage, leaving their victim on the ground. Casting one last displeased glare at the man, you step around him and head for the gate.
As you approach, the other guardsmen fall away. Keeping Azure’s reins in hand, you reach down and bodily haul the wounded and wheezing man to his feet.
“Get back in your seat,” you whisper to him. “Do it now.”
Blood drips from his open mouth as he raises his eyes to you, assessing in that way wounded creatures have – cautious and fearful. His grizzled skin is pale and thin under the forming bruises. But then he takes stock of the men who had just been beating him standing at your back, waiting for the slightest opening to leap back in. He seems to decide that you are the lesser of two evils, and climbs with a suppressed groan back into his wagon seat, reaching for the reigns on his one grey packhorse.
You turn and hoist yourself up on Azure, settling easily into the saddle. Turning her, you find the guard who originally stopped you.