The horse breeder swallowed uneasily and tried to look as disarming as possible as he faced the hulking ogre.
- "Look, s...sir, I am afraid that I do not have a mount your... size."
- "Dis is a horse shop, right?" Tazok asked, wearing a displeased frown.
- "Well... in a manner of speaking, yes. But... you see, there simply are no horses big enough to carry one of your honorable kind."
- "Dat a bad problem." Tazok looked really unhappy. The breeder hoped that it didn't mean it would be a bad problem for him.
- "Am the first ogre paladin, and must have a white horse. Knight always have a white horse. I must be a proper knight," the worried Tazok went on.
- "Errr... I think you may be a tad literal about it, Tazok," Emilia said. "See, the knights in the books are human knights, and a horse is a mount suitable size for a human. But when we have a knight who is also an ogre, he has to have an ogre-size mount. Just like with the shiny armor. Remember, we had to go to Cromwell's and have him forge a special armor for you, because the human-sized are simply too small. And yet it will be a proper shiny armor, made by a very skilled blacksmith too!"
Tazok went over the argument and his frown seemed to ease a bit by bit.
- "I do have oxes too... " the relieved breeder said brightly.
Tazok nodded reluctantly.
- "But must be white," he stubbornly added.
- "Well there you are in the luck, sir! I have a very large one like made to be your mount. He has a really strong character too!"
- "In other words, you are very happy if we buy the stubborn and dangerous beast off," Sarevok said dryly, and the breeder blushed.
- "Hey, let's give it a look then!" Emilia said. "Awww, and we must definitely go and see Thunder's puppies. They are what, seven weeks or something now?"
- "Oh yes, lady Emilia."
- "Awwww! Puppies!" Emilia smiled.
The breeder took the group through his pasturelands where the graceful horses grazed. Nearer his own mansion there was a pen full of oxes and cows. They seemed rather indifferent, just went on with their business that didn't look very intellectually demanding. However, one of them was an exception. He was an abnormally large white ox, with a pen of his own. His mean, alert eyes noticed the visitors, and immediately he started to breath in short snorts and paw the soil.
- "He have a name?" Tazok asked. The ox's size seemed to impress him.
- "No... my mind boggles whenever I try to think of one," the breeder whispered.
- "Hmmm. He's kind of cute. In a violent berserk sort of way," Emilia said.
The bull charged, slamming against the sturdy fence of the pen.
- "I should know better than to be amazed about anything any more," Sarevok said wearily, "but you just called that animal 'cute', Emilia. Cute."
- "Well he is! He is just a bit... suspicious, is all!" Emilia retorted indignantly.
Tazok said nothing but walked towards the raging animal who battered the fence again and again, viciousness glowing off its eyes. He stopped in front of the bull and watched it intently.
- "Tyr the Even-handed. God of Justice. Please give your peace to dat bull as you gave the peace for me. Only don't need to make it a paladin but not try to kill me. As I need a paladin hor... mount."
The ogre raised his hands to hover above the animal's square head, and a faint blue light emanated from them for about a second. After that the bull stopped it's raging and stood still, looking the ogre in the eye. The ogre reached his hand into the pen and scratched the animal from behind its ears.
Tazok beamed at the others.
- "He will be a fine paladin mount. Figured a name for him too."
- "I am almost afraid to ask," Sarevok sighed.
- "Will call him Silvermane," Tazok said, smiling.
- "I hate to be a pedant but... he has no mane," Emilia said.
- "Verily... 'tis a... a... symbolic name!" the ogre replied, looking a bit unsure and hurt.
- "Oh, I SEE!" Emilia hurried to repair the damage. "Now it was my turn to be literal, eh? We can call him Silly for short, can't we?"
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