The men around him cheered and started to draw lots for Leigha, making her heart jump to her throat at their actions and words. Her pride awakened, turning her fear to anger that this group of men should think her little more than a sack of goods to be divided among each other in such a way.
“I have fought and killed better men than these at Clairemont’s Keep,” she thought to herself. “I’ll not let them take me as easily as they would a frightened rabbit!”
Taking advantage of the fact that everyone’s attentions were elsewhere for the moment, even the big man’s, who watched his comrades in amusement, Leigha let loose a scream and dug her heels into Silvering’s flanks, causing him to rear up in fright and pain. His sudden movement jerked the reins from the burly thief’s hand, and before the man could recover his hold on them, Silvering lunged forwards, knocking the man to the ground.
Reins flying freely now, Silvering raced through the forest with Leigha clinging to his neck for dear life as the branches of the trees and bushes whipped at her, tearing her clothing and lashing her delicate flesh. Her heart raced with the sound of the horse’s hoofbeats as she tried to capture the tossing reins. Silvering charged on, heedless of her attempts, and they soon left the angry, running men far behind. Hearing no further sounds of pursuit, Leigha’s spirits soared high, and her tears flowed freely in relief. She began laughing out loud over their escape and had no more fear of their wild ride through the woods. She knew then at that moment that even if she were to die in their flight, she was free!