Girls Horse Club Blog

The Sea Horses’ Gift – Part 2

Published by • Dec 2nd, 2010 • Category: Fiction, Loft Book Club Favorites

by Findabhair Blacksgote, age 14

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CHAPTER 6

They dove in. Kale was prepared to have to hold her breath, and did so until the rider behind her told her not to. Wondering what on earth he meant she let her breath out. A convey of bubbles sped off and popped. The water was clear now, and her eyes didn’t sting. Desperately needing air, she took an instinctive gulp and spat. It was almost like air…. but cooler and, well, liquid.
That’s because it is, you idiot, she told herself. Could she talk too? Maybe she had better wait and see for that.

This was so weird. In all the stories Kale had heard no one had been captured by someone who rode demon-like horses and could breathe underwater. She tried to control her fear as she relized she wouldn’t be able to rely on the wisdom of the story characters anymore, seeing as there were none that would be of any use.

The horse touched down on a flat surface of sand after what seemed like forever. To Kale’s left was a wall of rock covered in coral, sea sponges and all kinds of other sea life. Kelp waved. Fish darted. Anemones retracted and shyly emerged from their houses. A pod of dolphins swam overhead, clicking and clacking to each other. She thought she saw a turtle, but it was too far away to be sure.

The horse-thing snorted and pawed, sending up murky clouds of sand. Kale rubbed it out of her eyes. The rider dismounted. To Kale’s shock he held out his hands and helped her down. She almost lost her balance, not used to the lack of weight. She stumbled against the horse’s flank and righted herself. Now her hair was getting in the way; floating around her face in whisps that looked more silver than gold. She impatiently tied it back, blinking the last of the sand out of her eyes.

A current almost sent her flying, no, floating. She wasn’t going to get used to this. Kale smiled as she pictured herself going around always having to hold onto something. Oh no. The horse was moving off now. I didn’t think I would be upset about it leaving, she thought. Was it a horse?

Her kidnapper had been watching her. She could tell. She made herself be calm. It wouldn’t do to get angry at him until she knew where she was and how she could get away. Maybe she didn’t want to escape just yet. After all, it was beautiful with the sun shining through the layers of green and blue water.

“You owe me an explanation,” she announced, keeping her feet apart to keep her balance.

The rider smiled at her. “Do I?”

Kale stared at him. First he drags her off and now he smiles. She took a breath (she doubted she would get used to breathing water either).

“You just carried me off to… another world in a very abrupt manner, and you scare me half to death. Of course you do!” she wasn’t going to bother being courteous. If she acted scared her fear would overwhelm her. She knew from experience.

“I didn’t give you reason to be scared.”

“You mean kidnapping someone and plunging into the sea with them on a…”

The rider interrupted, “Sea Horse.”

“Sea horse then. You expect anyone with brains not to be scared?”

“I just said to come with me. You didn’t listen,” he replied, clearly amused.

“You didn’t have to-” Kale began.

“Would you have come if I had given you a choice?” the rider interrupted again.

Kale stared at him suspiciously. She had never met anyone with such an odd way of… of what? Whatever it was, it unsettled her.

CHAPTER 7

“No,” she answered finally, “Why should I have?” She flailed her arms as another current swept by.

The rider looked at her again. He seemed to be trying to decide something. What? Kale held very still, determined to pass his inspection. After a while she started to get fidgety. Maybe he always looked like that? She didn’t lower her eyes either. Maybe it was a staring contest. Well she was good at that. All she had to do was let her eyes become unfocused so that she didn’t have to actually look at her adversary. Simple.

“Your name is Kale,” he said slowly.

“Yes I know that — how do you know that?”

A smile touched the rider’s face again. “Long story. Do you know who your parents are?”

What an odd question. Kale had never even thought about her parents before. For as long as she could remember, Kale had lived with Ekatrina, the elf who had taken care of her until very recently…

Kale was glad they were underwater and the rider couldn’t see her tears.

“No,” she answered.

“Do you know where you come from?” he asked.

“Ralayiana, of course. Where else?” She didn’t even know if there were any other elves anywhere else. She had never seen any signs of them on her rides with the faerie horses.

“Do you know how you came to live where you do now?”

“What kind of conversation if this, anyway? It’s none of your business!” Kale exclaimed. She disliked nosy people.

“Oh, but it is, seeing as what I choose to tell you means life or death in your case.”

“So… enlighten me,” Kale demanded.

“Do you know how you came to live in Ralayiana?” the rider repeated.

“No. I was born there, I guess.” She removed a piece of seaweed that had taken up residence in her hair and flicked it away.

“Well you weren’t born there, and only one of your parents come from Ralayiana,” the rider informed her.

“So there are other elves around?” Kale questioned, trying to figure out what he was on about.

“I didn’t say he was an elf.”

“Stop talking in riddles!!” she exploded. “It’s worse than not telling me at all!”

For the first time, the rider showed signs of impatience. “I’m telling you as much as I can!” he said exasperatedly. “Pay attention. I’m bending the rules enough as it is.”

Kale narrowed her eyes. “What rules?”

The rider passed a hand over his face. “See if you can find Ahearne. He can tell you more than I can. He lives in the palace.” He whistled and began talking in a strange twisting language.

What rules?! Since when was a palace and politics involved in this?!

Kale started as hoof beats vibrated through the waters. An entire herd of the strange blue horses came tearing down through the water, tossing their heads.

CHAPTER 8

For the first time she noticed they were all mares. They were very beautiful, in a wild, uncontrollable sort of way. Their large, wide-spaced eyes were full of an almost predatory look, and of all one color; a deep, deep, turquoise-blue.

The herd stopped amidst spirals of upturned sand, watching them carefully. The rider stepped up to one of the mares.

“Do you need help getting up?” he queried.

Kale evaluated the mare. The Sea Horses were taller than the faerie horses, but Kale had the advantage of less weight. Then again, that lack of weight might make her uncoordinated. Better be safe rather than sorry.

“Yes,” she admitted. The rider gave her a boost and steadied her so that she didn’t simply fall off the other side. To her annoyance he jumped up behind her again. “There’s such a thing as trust,” she snapped.

“And trust works both ways.”

Kale grumbled silently to herself. She couldn’t even argue with him.

“You should let your hair go loose again. It looks better,” he suggested.

“And since when did looks rule over practicality?” she retorted.

“Since you entered Finvarra’s kingdom,” the rider answered. “Let it down.”

Now it was an order. Knowing that whether or not she listened, her hair would end up loose. Kale sulkily untied her hair. She hoped it got in his way.

The herd took to grazing the long tufts of kelp and seaweed scattered here and there. The mare they were riding good-naturedly trotted through the sea towards the wall of rock, leaving her friends behind.

“So you know my name,” said Kale. “It’s only fair that I know yours.”

The rider chuckled. “Alright then. Eoghan.”

“So then, Eoghan, what’s going on that I need to be kidnapped and then you can’t even tell me why?” Kale asked sweetly.

She pestered him the entire way there (where ever “there” was), but the only answer she would get was, “Ask Ahearne.”

Eventually Kale gave up trying to interrogate her captor and watched the rock wall they were swimming up. The colors dazzled her; sponges and fish and coral and more fish and kelp and another pod of dolphins and star fish and yet more fish and…

The entrance to a grotto opened before them. Kale balked, but the Sea Horse marched straight in.

“Now remember your manners and find Ahearne,” whispered the rider urgently.

Remember her manners and find this mysterious Ahearne. Kale hoped it wouldn’t be too hard to remember these instructions, useless as they seemed. Anxiously, she wove her fingers into the Sea Horse’s mane.

CHAPTER 9

Kale tilted her chin up, acting brave to cover her nervousness. She resisted the temptation to brush her hair out of her eyes.

The inside of the grotto was brightly lit by the phosphorescent algae on the cave walls and orbs of gold and silver light floating around. The walls were decorated with more colorful sea life and glass. A party seemed to be underway. Strange music flitted through the cave, bouncing off the walls, and dancers twirled on the floor in bright dress. A large table covered with food rested on the left side of the hall. Kale turned her head, taking in the scene. At the wall opposite the grotto entrance was a double seated throne of black rock. Phosphorescence danced around the base of the rock, casting fleeting shadows.

If the throne was strange and enchanting, then the people sitting upon it were even more so. On the right sat a man with black hair and eyes the same color as the Sea Horses. He was dressed in red and black and carrying a scepter. Jewels and coral encrusted the scepter’s length, side by side with the design of horses.

On the left side of the throne was a young woman. At least she looked elfin; her hair was green and her skin blue. All black eyes dominated her face. Her fingers were webbed. Her turquoise robe was embroidered in green, black, and silver, with horses and waves.

Though the music kept playing and the dancers paid them no attention, the people on the throne immediately looked over when Kale and Eoghan rode in. The man waved and everything went still. Dancers parted to make way for the Sea Horse, who minced delicately over the floor. Kale tried not to recoil when the man caught her eyes. They were very old and piercing.

“I have brought the daughter of Tara and Finvarra to the Hall,” Eoghan announced.

CHAPTER 10

He slid off the mare’s back and again assisted Kale down. This time she didn’t stumble when her feet touched the ground, maybe because it was solid. Now what was she supposed to do?

The man waved and the lady beside him stepped forward.

“Go with them,” Eoghan instructed.

Kale lurched forward. The lady turned and floated out a side door. Kale followed warily. She shut the door behind her as the music started up again. Clearly people riding in on Sea Horses wasn’t uncommon, or else they were very well behaved people. She was glad of the respite from all those eyes.

After endless winding hallways and passing endless doors, they came to the end of the corridor. A double doorway took up the entire end of the hallway. Waves and more horses were engraved on them. These were clearly horse-oriented people.

The lady opened the door on the left and ushered Kale through. She was in a large bedroom. A wardrobe dominated one wall, the bed another, and a garden of sea flowers the other. It was a very beautiful room, but a little too big to be cozy.

“My name is Catarin,” announced the lady suddenly. “Finvarra’s Queen.”

“And I suppose you already know my name?” Kale asked, rather snappishly. All the excitement was getting to her.

Catarin ignored her and plucked a small gown from the wardrobe. It was black and silver, with embroidery of dark blue. More horses.

Kale was bundled into the dress, which seemed too thin for her liking, but Catarin assured her it was perfect. Kale’s elbow-length hair was brushed until it floated like a cloud, instead of in strings. Catarin chatted away about things like the music for the party and all kinds of useless things which Kale hardly listened to.

“There,” Catarin said at last. “Now you look presentable.”

Kale tried not to panic. “But what am I supposed to do?” she asked frantically.

“Just sit quietly and don’t cause trouble. You can eat if you want, but I wouldn’t suggest dancing, because then Finvarra will notice you and then you’ll be in trouble,” Catarin assured her.

What kind of place was this??

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The Sea Horses’ Gift was first published at GHC in the former Loft Book Club, and was a finalist in our monthly Judge for Yourself competition in December 2006.

2 Nickers »

  1. i love your story and its really intenced

  2. I love your story alot :]