Mantis had been sleeping atop one of the many supply wagons in the long train of warriors that were heading toward the city of Dun Craig. Well, trying to sleep would have been a better description. What a noisy bunch of louts, he thought to himself. Rolling on to his side he regarded the noisiest group of people just to the side of him.
"Lets not sing a song," he stated dully. Then an interesting thought occured to him. Laughing quietly he turned to the man who had called himself Carloseus. "I'd be the one in charge here friend," he lied smoothly. "What can the grand Lord Mantis do for one such as yourself?" Mantis's teeth flashed as he gave his most wining smile.
"Hmph. You'd actually take this guy?" as he spun his knife high into the air, catching it with ease. "Well, if you'd take me..." Wih a flick of the wris, the blade flew into a tree a mere half an inch from Winston's face.
"You'd be surprised" said the figure, pulling another knife from his boot, "I was once the Master of Assassins for the ruling king of Arrakis. You couldn't go half a day without an attempt on your life, and altough I prefer the painless vistory, it doesn't mean I can't stand up well. And who're you calling young, I'm old enough to be your father!"
Yawning Mantis rolled onto his back. "I'd really rather you all did your bickering AWAY from my office." He really had had very little sleep the night before and was feeling rather irritated about it. "And please, please don't make me come down there and stop you two," he stated listlessly, "If you're going to fight do it out in the bushes somewhere...far away from me."
Closing his eyes once again "Lord" Mantis tried to fall asleep once more.
Tairne's laugh roars through the distance. "Your blissfulness amuses me, dear Winston. Maybe you should pay closer attention to what you are doing. You will learn that naivety has no place on the battlefield." He sips from his cantene of bring water and sharpens his blade. "So, Carloseus, you aren't the modest type, I see. Fancy the blade?"
"My name, good sir, is Thufir Hawat. I bid you good night. Until the 'morrow"
He walked away, setting up his bedroll under a tree off to the side of camp.
"And no one get in a fight without me, I'm a bit rusty layely." he said, with a wink.
It was becoming obvious that the bantering would not desist any time soon. Instead Mantis decided to play a little game. Pulling out a small knife he began chipping away at the wagon he was on. It wasn't long before he had a nice little pile of woodchips gathered in front of him. There's not much more annoying than being ignored, even if it is for a fine young woman... he thought with a grim smile. A part of him wondered about how sane his plan was, but he was used to those kinds of thoughts now, and chose to ignore them.
One by one Mantis began throwing the small woodchips at Carloseus, all the while wondering how many he could get caught in his hair. Hopefully the man wouldn't notice, and if he did Mantis had the perfect plan. He would turn around as quickly as possible and act like nothing had happened. It would be deliteful!
Winston stumbled along rubbing his sore behind. It seemed to him that battle loomed ever nearer, and though he had been in many skirmishes for one of his age, he had never been in a battle that seems this momentous. He tried to talk himself through it, but he couldn't help sweating from the thought of dying.
Bids Thufir good night, and turns to Cinara once again.
"I bid you good night my lady, until tomorrow." he says, kissing her hand. Then walks away into the forest, stabs a sword into a trunk of a huge tree and the other blade into another tree, and lies on the two.
Mantis watched as Carloseus walked away with several woodchips falling out of his hair. "I suppose that's as good a reason as any to not talk to the man Cinara," he said with a smile, "still a little cruel, don't you think?"
Then turning to Winston Mantis gave his winning smile once again. "Tell me boy, is he just a little slow, or was I talking into my chest?" Letting out a small laugh the man hopped down off the cart. Wobbling on sleeply legs, he starts walking next to the teenaged boy.
Unfazed Mantis followed the boy as he quickened his pace. Perhaps he was just getting more excited with the prospect of open battle. Thinking about it Mantis was getting rather excited himself. Still, who would simply ignore someone who had claimed they were the leader of this band of ruffians. Certainly not Mantis, even if it were an obvious lie. So he continued.
"I mean, who ignores someone claiming to be the leader, the man must be simply mad," he said looking into the young lad's eyes. "We'll have to keep an eye on that one, don't you agree?" Did the boy look embarassed? It must have been his imagination, or perhaps he was hungry.
"Toadstool?" he asked holding out a small suspicious looking mushroom. These are from my...well, just don't tell anyone. Here, take it!" With that Mantis thrust several of the suspect fungi into Winston's hands.
"Oh yea, he must be completely mad, uh huh." Winston shook his head at a surprisingly fast tempo, then he looked down at the prospective fungi. "Are these a type of weapon I'm supposed to use in battle or something?" "They look a lot like rocks to me" Winston then begins to chuck the fungi at fortunate victims because luckily, his aim is a bit off.