Title: Riding Along
Your Recipient: Jedi Buttercup
Your Matching Fandom(s): David Weber - The War Gods Own series
Characters: Bahzell, Walsharno, Brandark
Disclaimer: The universe and characters belong to David Weber, I do this solely for the enjoyment and not for any profit.
Request Details: I would love something set after "Wind Rider's Oath" with Bahzell. I'm just a fan of the big lug in general, so anything starring him would be appreciated, but I'd love to see something with him in a romantic context.
Bahzell watched the scenery as he passed it by, one part of his brain on constant lookout for ambush, or worse, a Sothōii offended by the sight of one of his ancient enemies deep in their territory and mounted on one of their greatest treasures. The rest of his brain contemplated the likelihood of it all, and he could not repress a chuckle.
*Something about my speed amuses you?* Walsharno asked, flicking an ear back at the hradani on his back as his hooves continued to eat up the ground as only one of the legendary coursers of the Wind Plain could.
"Hardly at all," he said, flicking his own fox-like ears. "I'm just after taking a pleasurable afternoon ride across the Wind Plain on my horse, is all."
The courser snorted. *You could get off and walk.*
Bahzell nodded. "Well, if you're after getting tired, I am certain sure I could."
*Tired! There you go again, Horse Stealer, judging others by your own standards.* the big roan bucked a little, not missing a stride or bothering to slow.
The hradani held onto the saddle horn and laughed out loud this time. "For certain and aren't you one of the few to exceed that? But I'm thinking my people may refuse to acknowledge me for this shame I've brought to them."
He could feel Walsharno's puzzlement through their bond, though he also sensed that the courser understood Bahzell was jesting. *Shame?*
"And didn't you walk up to me of your own free will? Some Horse Stealer that makes me!" He released his death grip on the saddle and rubbed his chin. "Horse-offered-and-I-accepted Hradani, perhaps?"
Walsharno snorted again, tossing his head to lightly smack Bahzell's face with his mane. *I am a courser not just any horse! Which makes you a Wind Brother Hradani.*
"Wind Brother Hradani, aye," Bahzell said, turning serious. "I'm thinking it is a small clan, but an excellent name, my brother."
*Small for now,* Walsharno agreed. *There are such things afoot these days that we will likely be the last of a very small clan...or the first of a mighty one.*
Bahzell flicked his ears in surprise. "A feeling you have now?"
*Instinct is important to my kind. And though my mate be dead, my sister and my daughter live. Perhaps my nephews and grandsons will someday bear your offspring into battle against the Dark. ...Provided you live long enough to have any, of course.*
"Naturally," Bahzell agreed. "I'm unclear on that part however...if himself's champions can settle down and marry, beings how busy he keeps us and all."
It is true that few of my champions live to die in their sleep of old age, Tomanāk's deep voice sounded in the two champions' heads, but many have had families. It does take a special person to be the mate of a Champion of Tomanāk, however.
Bahzell shook his head. "No hope for me then, then. Father always said it would take a special woman to deal with me, and that was before I joined the likes of you."
He could feel the god's laughter. Of that I have no doubt. Have no fear, my champion, you may meet her yet someday.
"So she'd not after being one that I have met so far, then? That's...actually a relief!" Bahzell said.
*How so,* Walsharno asked as the feel of their god faded once again into the background of their minds.
"I've not felt any stirrings at all, at all, with any I have met so far, either of the Horse Stealers or the Bloody Swords," Bahzell said.
Walsharno considered that a moment. *What of the humans?*
"Would you mate with a horse not a courser?" Bahzell asked. "If you had not mated already, that is?"
The courser shook his head. *Definitely not. Aside from being different on so many levels, intelligence, culture, longevity, for example, just the size difference alone would...ah.*
Bahzell nodded. "Exactly. Even a Sothōii woman is too small and delicate compared to a hradani male, let alone me. Even though we are conditioned not to hurt our womenfolk through over a thousand years of dealing with the Rage, the physical limitations...I'd not want to cause that much hurt to someone I loved, for certain sure."
*I would not consider Kaeritha delicate, for all that she is a tiny thing,* Walsharno offered.
"Tiny only compared to the likes of us!" Bahzell said with a laugh. "But she is our sister and that doesn't bear thinking about at all, at all. Though she could deal with Brandark easy enough, were she so inclined I'm thinking. But something tells me she isn't ready yet for that kind of a relationship. And Brandark definitely requires a special woman, more so than I!"
Walsharno found this discussion of another species mating rituals and requirements a cure for the monotony that crossing the Wind Plain caused, even for a courser. *What special qualities would she require then?*
Bahzell nodded sagely. "First she'd be needing patience..."
*As I suspect would your own mate,* Walsharno said, his voice in the hradani's head dry.
"Hush you. As I was saying, she'd need patience. Ideally she could sing, as well, Brandark and all of us who have had to listen to the little man would like that. He plays well enough, but..." Bahzell shook his head. "I've fought demons that warbled sweeter!"
*I've not had the pleasure yet,* the courser said, starting to slow as their destination came into sight. *I will try never to do so.*
Bahzell wiggled his eartips as he laughed. "I wish you Norfram's best chance with that! ...Then there is the matter of his wardrobe."
*It was a bit flashy,* Walsharno agreed as he stopped at the waterhole next to the warhorse standing there. *At least, compared to yours*
"What woman would want a man who spends so much on clothes?" Bahzell asked the sky.
"One who appreciates the finer things in life!" Brandark retorted from the shade of one of the few trees around the spring. "And there you go talking to yourself again." He tsked as he stood up and stretched, wincing at the pull of his newest scar on his left arm.
Bahzell watched as the Blood Sword put away his balalaika, the strains of which had drawn the two champions of Tomanāk to him. "Talking to myself now is it? Perhaps I was after talking to Walsharno, after all?
The smaller hradani mounted his warhorse and looked up at him. "I'm going to get a crook in my neck, aren't I? And whether talking to your horse or talking to your god, it is still voices in your head." He grinned. "Must echo something fierce!"
"Just you be keeping it up, little man," Bahzell said with a twitch of his ears.
Walsharno turned and headed back toward Lorham. They'd left the others there to help Kaeritha deal with the aftermath of the false Voice at Quaysar's meddling when they had gotten the word that Brandark was well enough to be heading their way. He flicked an ear back at the two happily bickering hradani and set a speed the warhorse could keep up with. Bahzell had complained when the message had come in, but the courser knew his wind brother's heart and could feel how happy he was that the smaller hradani was back by his side, where he belonged.