Frioc and Medrod rode their mules with as much panache as sacks of turnips, but with a bit less dexterity, which allowed me to keep well ahead of the gormless twats and I soon managed to filter out their cries. I liked to keep well ahead of the others, but the new secretary seemed keen to keep up with me.

"Well Ant you make a fine figure on that stallion of yours."

"It's a mule." I replied, Badgers warnings about foreign secretaries started to swirl around my head.

"A'h I'm sure you would look magnificent mounted on a ....."

"Look at that girl over there, she looks pretty."

"That ... she must be at least sixty. Do you like old women Ant?."

"Well no ...."

"No I thought not a fine looking young man. So surprising that the family left you to look after the young mistress."

"She was perfectly safe with me."

"So I've heard."

Medrod had by now managed to stay long enough on his mule to catch up with us and he grinned at me nastily.

"Looks like our new sec has taken quite a liking to you. I think you may have scored there." he whispered.

"Shut up."

"No could be a good way up the slippery pole. Could make second ditch maker"

"Ha ha, oh sh**" said Frioc as he fell off his mule into a ditch.

I halted my mule and waited for them to sort themselves out..

"See you're not so bothered about our company now!" said Frioc emerging from the ditch.

"Shut up, just wanted to stop you breaking your fat neck."  

"So, we're o'k you can get back to your new friend. Give you two a bit of time on your own."

"Shut it."

"Oooo'h look who's got the hump."

I rode on trying to stay some where between the secretary and my other two companions. We covered a few miles that day, because whatever else you could say about him he had a lot more stamina than Corinthus and we were also unencumbered by the carts, so that we covered in one day what had taken three before. I think even our old centurion would have been impressed by his progress. It was late when we finally stopped and just camped up in a glade not far from the road.

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