“Silvering” (Chapter Three)
“Silvering?” Robert asked with a puzzled frown as they reached the main hall. “Oh, he must be your horse! What an odd name. However did you come by it?”
“You wouldn’t have to ask that if you’ve seen him.” Leigha laughed. “He’s such a fine shade of gray that he appears silver at times. When a person’s hair turns gray, you say that he is graying. Well, when my horse’s coat appears silver, I say he is silvering, thus his name!”
“That’s very clever of you! But of course it makes sense. I shall have to come with you to see this horse you speak of. In the meantime though, I promise you that our groom has taken excellent care of Silvering and that he has wanted for nothing in your absence,” he reassured her then went on with a gentle laugh, “Silvering! That’s a good name indeed!”
Clairemont’s Keep Attacked (Chapter One)
Leigha timed their approach before digging her heels into Silvering’s flanks and screaming at the top of her lungs. Surprised and frightened by this sudden change, Silvering bolted, swallowing the ground between them and their attackers. Leigha clung low to him with all of her strength and let out another scream, this time one like a warrior as they flashed right through the middle of the group of soldiers. The men were all stunned for a moment by the apparition that had just passed between them, causing them to draw up the charge of their horses and to shake their heads in wonderment at the small woman that rode so well on the lightning-fast stallion. They soon collected their wits as the sergeant pushed his mount through them and started after the girl. Kicking their own horses sharply as they reined about, they cursed outrageously as they caught up with their man, for Leigha and Silvering were far out of their reach by this time and headed towards her father’s mansion.
Leigha made no efforts to calm Silvering, for as she escaped the men who were after her and rounded the curve of the meadow to come into sight of her home, the scene that played before her eyes was far worse than what she had imagined would have happened to her had she been caught by her pursuers. A battle was being waged on the front lawns of the manse, and as Leigha’s tear-filled eyes looked about at the carnage before her, she saw her father fighting valiantly against the invading soldiers, his sword drawn high as he stood beside a great oak. All of the able men of the Keep were deep into battles of their own, many already downed by the swords and guns that the soldiers wielded so expertly. Silvering flared his nostrils and tried to shy away from the scene in front of him that his mistress was driving him towards, the stench of death making him rear his head in fright. Pulling hard against his reins, he attempted to change Leigha’s lead but to no avail as she held tightly on course, keeping her eyes on her father’s personal battle. Suddenly, a horseman came up behind her father and swung his mighty sword in a high arch. She saw her father fall to the ground in a bloody heap, the wound in his head gaping open where the blade had cleft it. Enraged and in shock, Leigha spurred her horse on harder and charged through the depths of the melee to the spot where her father had stood so bravely the moment before. As she confronted the horseman, she made Silvering rear up and turn so that his razor sharp hoofs fell down hard upon the man that had just killed her father so brutally. Without glancing at him to see if he were dead, she jumped down off of her mount and rushed to her father’s body. Grabbing his dagger from the sheath of his belt, she started slashing at the soldiers who were near her, all the while screaming her rage at the horrors around her and the grief that burned within her as a fire.
Captured by Bandits (Chapter Two)
A large, burly man stepped forward to get a closer look at Silvering. Ignoring the others, he ran his heavy hand along the horse’s flanks, inspecting the disquieted stallion. Without a word, he wrenched the reins away from the man who had caught Leigha. The smaller man started to protest, but his words were silenced as the larger man backhanded him, sending him sprawling towards the fire.
“The horse be a good one und I’ll take him fer me own!” the big man bellowed a challenge to them all as some of the men began to protest. Everyone stepped back when he raised a huge fist and shook it threateningly at them all and growled, “I said tha’ the horse be mine! As ta the girl, ya noo tha’ I ha’ noo need fer a woman. Ya kin kill her fer all I kir!”
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 her horse’s hoof beats 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!