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Old 10-25-2003, 05:45 AM   #186
Ghost Prince of Cardolan
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Join Date: Oct 2002
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Findur woke up to find his head hurt and his neck ached from sleeping with his head on the table in an awkward position. For a moment sleep kept him in its clutches, but he sat bolt upright when he heard shouting and smelt the repulsive smell of smoke. He elbowed Aldor sharply in the rips.

“Wake up!” said Findur urgently. Something’s on fire. I think it’s the stables!”

“What?” shouted Aldor.

Both men ran to the door and on to the stables, where a thick wall of smoke instantly blinded them. Findur ran to the nearest person and grabbed them by the shoulders.

“Are all the horses safe?” he shouted above the roar of the flames and shouts of the surrounding people.

“All the horses are safe, but I don’t remember you bringing one in.”

“I took him into the stables myself. He’s a dun stallion. Is he safe?”

“I’m sorry, but we haven’t seen a dun. He could have-”

Findur ran to the stables before the boy could finish his sentence. The heat from the flames was intense, and smoke was so thick he could barely breath, so he took a kerchief from his pocket and covered his mouth with it, tying it at the back of his head to keep his hair out of the way. He took a few deep breaths before he ran through the flame-engulfed doorway.

“Braelin!” Findur shouted his horse’s name over and over. “Braelin, where are you boy?” He heard a frightened neigh close to the stall Findur had left the stallion in. He knew the neigh to be Braelin’s and ran to his horse. Suddenly, a support beam from the roof crashed to the ground only metres in front of Findur. The impact caused flaming part of the beam to go flying, setting even more wood and straw alight. The beam now blocked Findur’s path to his stallion.

Braelin reared in fright, as a clump of burning hay fell from the smouldering hayloft above, burning his back and singeing some of his mane. The terrified stallion bolted, leaping over the beam that blocked the path, and nearly knocked Findur flying. Findur caught hold of Braelin’s mane as the horse ran past, and was dragged along, though he managed to stay on his feet. With great effort Findur swung himself onto Braelin’s back.

“Whoa boy,” he said, leaning close to the stallion’s ears. “Calm own boy. Whoa Braelin.”

Braelin slowed and came to a halt right in front of a wall. He tossed his head wildly, but did not bolt again. The whites of his eyes were showing and froth ha formed at his mouth. Findur hated to see his faithful steed in such a state. Dismounting, Findur untied his kerchief and tied it round Braelin’s head, covering the horse’s eyes. Braelin’s ears twitched nervously, but Findur stroked him on the nose until he calmed down completely. Putting his arm around Braelin’s neck, Findur led his horse to the nearest exit then away from the flames and smoke. He shouted for Byrn, Aldor’s horse, but heard no neigh, saw no frightened cob horse.

A cheer went up from a crowd of people as Findur led Braelin out of the building, but it soon subsided as part of the building collapsed.

“Findur!” Aldor ran up to his friend. “Findur, did you see Byrn? Is he safe?”

Findur looked away from his friend’s hopeful face. “I did not see or hear him.”

“He must have got out then,” said Aldor hopefully.

Findur looked at the ground. He too hoped Byrn, so ironically named, had escaped, but none of the stable workers had known of their horses being in the stables.

Aldor watched his friend’s expression. “No. He got out! I know he did. You… you didn’t look hard enough!”

“Aldor, I-” but Aldor was gone before Findur could finish speaking.
There is a fine line between fishing and just standing on the shore like an idiot.
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