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Old 11-06-2003, 10:32 PM   #197
Bęthberry
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Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 6,069
Bęthberry is wading through snowdrifts on Redhorn.Bęthberry is wading through snowdrifts on Redhorn.Bęthberry is wading through snowdrifts on Redhorn.
Boots

The heat of the flames was almost enough to blister her skin and singe her hair. Try as she might to enter the small lean-to at the rear of the stable, Ruthven could not, driven back as she was by the flames, the heat, the smoke and betrayed by her own aged body which refused to move as fast as she had wanted it to.

She looked with fearful apprehension as the flames spread through the stable, the screams of terrified animals mixing with the calls and cries of the humans as they attempted to contain the fire.

She watched the water brigade with some relief as they dowsed the Horse's roof with water to cool it down, but every timber from the stable that fell shook her frame. Fear mixed with hopeless despair shadowed her face.

A small hand placed itself in hers.

"What's wrong, lady? Why are you worried?" asked a young girl in a billowing nightgown.

Ruthven looked down at the earnest face, so smooth and soft and then at the small hand, so plump and tender in hers.

"Why, you must be new here. I don't know you," the old junk dealer replied.

"I'm Linnea. I'm visiting here with my dad. We're going to my uncle's so I can ride the horses again."

Ruthven nodded, wondering how many of the horses were freed from the fire.

"Don't be worried about the horses. I saw the people helping them."

Ruthven half smiled but there was no joy in her face. "It's not the horses I am worried about. It's my little friend. I couldn't find him in his room. I'm worried he chose to climb around the stable. I'm worried he is trapped inside."

Linnea squeezed the old woman's hand. "What's his name?" she asked.

"Madi," whispered Ruthven. "Madi Codex."
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