Lugh paused in the shadows of the building nearest the stables. His heart sank as he scanned the long low stable building, luck was not with him, at least not as he’d hoped. His chariot stood empty, parked along the front of the stables and his horses were nowhere to be seen. Half my golden torque paid to have my horses well cared for. It seems Gol was at least that honest. Lugh crossed to his chariot and retrieved a small bag of the incidentals and necessities of any young Gael of standing, toiletries for the most part, and then slipped along the front of the darkened stables, whistling low for his team.
The stables were placed near the front gate he’d entered. Not much trouble for Gol for what I paid him. Though he whispered and whistled at every stall the occasional snort or whiney wasn’t from his fine pair of horses and none of them came to his call. At the end of the stalls Lugh looked around for his horses, frustrated, and scanned behind him for pursuit. Near at hand, just beyond the corner of the stable, where he stood in the shadows, was a pen of sorts to hold extra beasts not stabled or to give them some exercise if they’d been too long in their stalls. Suddenly Lugh saw the forms of horses moving in the pen. Perhaps not all was lost, he thought, but then what are the chances that I can find, harness, and ride out the gate before someone or someones come against me? Lugh slipped through the rails whispering for his horses.
Among the nervously shifting horseflesh he saw a flash of white. That’s the stallion I gave Gormflaith, he thought, “Here Lightning,” Lugh called, cringing a bit at the name she’d given the animal. The horse remembered him, at least it did not skitter away like all the others at his approach. He continued to croon softly to the horse while his hands were busy fastening his sword belt, affixing his toiletry bag at his waist and then rolling his brat into a long loose rope of fabric. The stallion eyed him and set back on his haunches a bit, likely he’ll kick me if I press him, Lugh thought. Lugh continued his soft crooning and Lightning continued to snort and paw and eye Lugh suspiciously. Out of the dark walked his team and they gave him more confidence as he approached the white horse, Lightning.
Lugh glanced around him, what if I do capture the white, how will that get me through the gate and free? One thing at a time. Lugh thought, But it was worrisome, old Gol won’t let me pass now that he has what gold I had to trade? Lugh’s mind raced, Never mind that. First things first, no use to get out the gate if I can’t flee faster than pursuit, and for that the white, Lightning, seems my best and perhaps only chance. Lugh reached out and touched the stallions shoulder, crooning and humming to it. The horse stood its ground, eyeing him and it was only a matter of a moment to cast his roped brat around the beast’s neck and grasp the loop firmly. “That’s a good boy,” he said, moving forward to caress the horses cheeks, nose and mussle and give him a good sniff of him.
He felt for the positioning of his sword in its sheath, and at his back was the small pouch that let a man seem a god when that sort of thing was necessary. Certain poisons to drop in a drink to incapacitate or weaken a beligerant, flash powders and smoking mixtures for impressive exits or arrivals, grease paints to alter one’s look at need, such were the little bag of tricks that had saved him before. Maybe they will serve me tonight.
Lugh felt for the talisman he always wore around his neck, augury bones for telling the future, for luck, for a rememberance. “Oh, bones of Von, give me luck,” he whispered to himself. With a gentle pull on the brat looped around the white horse’s neck, Lugh, and Lightning, and the two horses of his team all moved slowly toward the fence of the horse pen. I hate to give up my chariot, but perhaps I can distract the pursuit with my chariot and team and escape on the white.
With a little pushing and pulling on the top rung of the fence it slipped out and fell down to thud dully on the ground. Lightning tossed his head and eyed what Lugh was doing intently. Lugh was working at another rung when Lightning pressed forward, threatening to crush him against the fence post. Lugh slipped to the side, narrowly avoiding the white horse’s flashing hoves that banged against the rails knocking it loose and down.
“Who’s that?” Came a voice from the dark. Lugh lost his grip on the roped brat and Lightning pushed through the fence with his team in tow. “Lugh? You’re going to make me a lot more gold than you’ve already given me, come out and face an honest man,” crowed Gol. Lugh’s mind raced, Worse and worse, he’d not bought any loyalty from Gol with all his gold, and now the damn ingreate would sell me for a bounty. That I won’t have!
Note from the Author:
I don’t know what happened but my editing tool no longer has spell check. My poor grammar may suffer further from poor spelling. I apologize.