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Old 10-25-2003, 06:23 PM   #188
Vice of Twilight
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Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: on a mountain
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Leofan had been outside, walking one of the horses to give it some exercise. He had decided it would be safe to leave Anwir in 'charge' of the stable for a few minutes. When he heard the cry of 'Fire!' from the young boy, his mind flew immediately to Mihtig, but concern was building up inside them for all the other horses, as well. He had experienced two stable fires already, and in those two fires hardly any of the horses had escaped.

Turning, he saw Anwir run out of the stable and right into Aleia. Leofan took a sharp step towards them, but the lead rope in his hand grew taut as the horse he was leading stiffened in fear. "Anwir!" he cried. "Come hold this horse for me!" His voice was drowned in the shouts that came from the guests as they came pouring out of the Inn. Anwir disappeared into the stable.

With a little cry of rage, Leofan caught a man who was running past him by the shirt and shoved the lead rope into his hand. "Hold that, and don't let it get away." Glancing down, he saw that the man he had stopped was holding a bucket of water. Taking it from his hands, he went forward to Aleiea. "Where's the boy?" he demanded. His eyes were flickering dangerously and his body was tense.

"He went into the stable," Aleia said. She hesitated for a moment, and then added, "Please don't be angry with him, Leofan. He's still just a boy and I don't think he realizes..."

"I'm not angry with him," Leofan replied. "I once did the same thing. I'm frightened for him, that's all. I think I should go after-" He was never able to finish, for Anwir came running out of the stables, leading Mihtig. Leofan felt gratitude for the rescue of his stallion springing up inside him, but there was no time to thank the boy. There were still horses in the stable. He stepped forward to go into the stable, and his eyes sprang to the Inn. Frodides was standing there, watching him, and Leofan remembered that the last stable fire he had been involved in he had narrowly escaped with his life, while he and Frodides had just recently been married. Hopefully she would forgive him for what he was about to do. He went into the burning stable.

Inside, he could hear the shrill whinnies and panicked eyes of horses, some frozen with fear and others plunging back and forth in their stalls. It was no easy task to bring them out, but he had to try. He fought the painful memories that arose in his mind... all those horses that had been killed by the merciless fire. He would do what he could to save them.

Opening one stall, he quickly put a halter onto a bay mare's head and whispered some soothing words in her ear, running his hand up and down her neck. Then he began to walk forward. She refused to move. "Come on, lass," he murmured. "It's all right." Still she would not move.

Leofan always kept a dagger with him, for while stablekeeping was generally safe, there was always a chance that someone might try to steal the horses. Withdrawing it now, he cut off his right sleeve and, still speaking softly to the mare, covered her eyes with it. Perhaps that was the reason for that look of intense concern on Frodides' face, he thought with a grim smile. She must have known I had no handkerchief on me, or anything of the sort. Never ceasing in his kind words to the mare, he slowly led her out of the stable. He shoved the lead in a boy's hand and went back into the stable and soon returned with a jittery dapple-grey mare. Picking up a bucket of water that had been set down, he began working to put out the fire, trying to divert his mind from the horses still inside. In a few moments he would go back in. He would save neither horses nor himself if he went in again now. The smoke was overpowering him.

Sinking to his knees, he bent his head low, shutting out the whinnies of the horses. A gentle hand touched his shoulder, and he knew without looking up that it was Frodides.

[ October 25, 2003: Message edited by: Nurumaiel ]
In the fury of the moment I can see the Master's hand
in every leaf that trembles, in every grain of sand.
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