Girls Horse Club Blog

The Sea Horses’ Gift – Part 6

Published by • Dec 9th, 2010 • Category: Fiction, Loft Book Club Favorites

by Findabhair Blacksgote, age 14

« PART 5 EPILOGUE »

CHAPTER 26

After dinner Kale crept past Finvarra, who was dancing with Catarin again, and up to her room to wait for Eoghan’s whistle. She almost screamed when someone knocked on the door.

“Ahearne!” she exclaimed, seething, “What are you doing here?”

“What’s going on?” Ahearne asked. At least he has the decency to skip the pleasantries, Kale thought. She despised pleasantries with a passion.

She pulled him into the room and shut and barricaded the door. “Finvarra wants to take me for a walk tomorrow, and one of the mares is pregnant so we’re going to see if we can get them to eat him instead,” she replied. “You don’t have to do anything except abdicate, and you don’t even have to do that if you don’t want to.”

“I just wanted to make sure nothing had changed,” Ahearne attested.

Kale shook her head. “Nothing about the plan has changed. We just have a better chance now.”

Ahearne shifted uncomfortably.

“You should go now so that Finvarra doesn’t suspect you,” Kale added.

Ahearne nodded and left aburptly. Once he was gone, Kale cackled. He was very easy to control. It’s a good thing Eoghan would be second in command and not one of Finvarra’s supporters, she mused. She floated out onto the balcony. She had the calling charm perfected, so she called the Sea Horses. She petted and talked to all of them, and eventually found the mare Eoghan said was carrying a foal. They all looked pretty much the same to her, like the faerie horses. Kale felt homesick for the first time.

She absently combed her fingers through the Sea Horse’s mane, thinking. She had nothing in Ralayiana, and no future. Here she had a possible home and a place in society. She broke off her thoughts, troubled, and was greatly relieved when Eoghan whistled.

They worked until Kale was almost falling asleep on her feet. She groggily staggered to her feet as the first rays of light penetrated the sea. Somehow she made it up to her room for a few hours of sleep before Catarin came to wake her again. She fended off Catarin’s questions by stating that she was going for a walk with Finvarra that day.

Catarin squeezed her shoulders.

“It’s okay I have a plan,” Kale assured her.

At the table, she sat demurely where she could be easily seen from the throne, mentally preparing herself. She began to shiver as she sensed Finvarra cross the floor to the table.

CHAPTER 27

Kale kept her head down as they walked out through the garden, trying to keep herself in control.

“Have you seen the Sea Horse’s cave?” asked Finvarra at last.

“No sir,” Kale answered shakily. “I’d like to see it.”

They walked in silence until they came to a large cave. Kale could hear the Sea Horses snorting inside, though it was too dark in the cave for her to see them. She marched in before Finvarra could stop her and very quietly muttered the protective charms she had laboured to memorize the night before.

The air was cooler in the cave. Kale shivered as the cold water brushed over her arms. The herd was resting at the back of the cave. She could see their sides rising and falling gently. She fought to keep her apprehension under control as Finvarra entered the cave and stood in the entranceway, blocking her escape. She began muttering spells again before Finvarra could start. She was relying on the element of surprise rather than skill now.

The horses ears twitched as her spell twisted through the air. Finvarra didn’t seem aware of what she was doing yet; good. Kale was awake now; her eyes stopped being so heavy, or she forgot how tired she was. She stood up taller and recited more spells, as quietly as possible.

Finvarra cursed and began speaking counter-spells. Kale talked faster, still quiet. Her spells were beginning to take hold; she desperately hoped Finvarra was too late to stop them. Layers of spells and charms fell through the cave. The Sea Horses rose to their feet agitatedly. Kale backed up a bit to give them room, but stayed as far away as she could from Finvarra. She bent to the ground and picked up a rock, then threw it at Finvarra’s head. It collided with his jaw and distracted him enough for Kale to complete her spell.

A Sea Horse lunged at the water elf in the entrance way. Too fast to register, Finvarra’s sword flew out of it’s scabbard. Kale hadn’t noticed it before. She screamed with the Sea Horse as the blade cut into the mare’s side. The mare fell to the ground, squealing in pain. Kale remembered what Eoghan had said. The only thing that kills them is if they are poisoned or stabbed. She knelt by the mare’s side and tried to stop the green blood spiraling through the water. She pulled off her tunic and stuffed it into the wound, tucking the bottom of her shirt into her belt.

Kale began to scream. Maybe someone would be nearby. Finvarra was simply standing, sword in hand. When she started yelling he flicked the point of the blade to Kale’s neck. Kale screamed louder as she heard people coming. Half to save herself and half to save the plan, Kale told whoever it was the mare had attacked them and Finvarra had had to defend them and now the mare was hurt. As the people entered the cave Finvarra removed the sword from Kale’s neck. She immediately began weaving charms again as the mare was half-carried out of the cave. Finvarra dashed out of the cave, the herd in pursuit. Kale sank to the floor of the cave, shaking uncontrollably.

CHAPTER 28

Eoghan careened into the cave. Kale clumsily pulled herself to her feet, leaning against the cave wall. She explained what happened as Eoghan helped her up to her room, where she sank onto the bed.

“I’m going to make sure Ahearne’s alright,” Eoghan explained, dashing back out the door.

Kale closed her eyes. Finvarra was gone. She could go home. Or should she stay? She rolled over and decided to put off thinking about it.

Kale woke up with Eoghan standing over her.

“You sleep like a rock,” he commented wryly.

“How’s Ahearne?” Kale asked, sitting up. “And how long has it been?”

“You slept an hour. Ahearne’s fine. A little shaken up, but fine.”

“I bet he looks ridiculous in the King’s clothes,” Kale remarked, smirking. “And Catarin?”

Eoghan shrugged. “I haven’t seen her yet. She’s tough. She’ll be okay.”

Kale nodded. She wanted to go back to sleep, but she really wanted to see Ahearne dressed up. Forsaking the prospect of sleeping, she jumped up with as much enthusiasm as she could muster.

“I’m going to see Ahearne,” she announced.

A hissing laugh sounded behind her. It really didn’t sound like Eoghan. Oh no.

CHAPTER 29

She turned around. Eoghan was standing with his sword drawn, very tense. Finvarra was standing just inside from the balcony. Battered and bruised, but still standing, Kale waited. If Eoghan was going to take care of things then she certainly wasn’t going anywhere near that end of the room.

They stayed still for what seemed to Kale like an hour. What were they doing? Were they just going to stand there forever? She didn’t move for fear of attracting attention to herself. Eoghan lowered his sword and backed up.

“It’s your battle, Kale,” he apologized. She was going to kill him after this.

“Thanks, Eoghan,” she muttered. So what was she going to do? She studied Finvarra. Well, she was going to get that sword out of his hands, that was for sure. How? She looked around. What could help her in this case?

“You’re bleeding all over my room,” she said impudently, noticing dark red blood twisting away from Finvarra and snaking around her room. “What happened to you, anyway?”

Finvarra laughed again. “There is a reason you are born with brains in your head,” he answered. Kale heard muttering on the edge of her hearing. So Eoghan wasn’t so useless after all. Amazing.

“Well, seeing as I’m going to have to clean up this mess you could at least tell me why you’re here and why you’re dripping blood on my floor.” With a little luck, Finvarra wouldn’t be able to hear Eoghan’s spells.

“I want you dead,” said Finvarra bluntly. “But you already know that, I see. You’re worse than your mother was. I killed her too.”

Kale refused to let his words affect her. “So if you’re here because you want me dead, then do something about it,” she challenged. Stupid idea, but why not? She could hear the Sea Horses coming, anyway. She didn’t have to keep him off for long.

CHAPTER 30

She dodged and flitted around the room while Eoghan silently recited the charms and spells. She stayed away from the study to keep herself from being trapped as long as she could. Eventually Finvarra herded her onto the balcony. Where were those Sea Horses, anyway? She tutted as Finvarra’s sword crunched into the balcony railing, but was too preoccupied keeping her head on her shoulders to do any taunting. The sound of the Sea Horses’ approach was audible now. She darted around so that Finvarra’s back was to the balcony. Hurry up, Eoghan, she grumbled to herself. Even under water she was sweating from the stress of being chased around by a maniac with a sword.

The Sea Horses galloped down to the balcony. Eoghan grabbed Kale’s arm and dragged her out of their path. How he got across the room so fast she didn’t know. By luck the first horse knocked Finvarra to the ground. His sword spun across the floor, striking the mares’ hooves. They skittered out of the way and converged in the center of the balcony. The herd turned into a green and blue whirl of spinning colors. Kale watched as the whirlwind lifted off from the balcony and over the rock wall. The whirling mass of color dispersed and the Sea Horses trotted off, looking content and full.

“It’s been a while since they’ve had meat,” Eoghan noted.

Kale let the breath hiss out between her teeth. Now she was going to go see Ahearne and Catarin.

« PART 5 EPILOGUE »

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.