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Chapter 2

The guards often lounge in the shade of the stables and this morning talked freely near me, little suspecting I understood. I gathered that some human of importance was due to arrive at the estate on this day or the next and security had been upped for the visit. I realised that if I bided my time, things would quieten down later and perhaps I could get away.

One of the guards left the remnants of his lunch nearby and as soon as they left, I took a major risk and left the stable to retrieve it. The hay had filled my stomach but I need other food to live and pride was not an issue where survival was concerned. The meat was cold and heavily salted but my body needed its iron content and fat. Straw alone wears down your teeth very quick whilst filling your belly very slow.

I believe the ones they had been expecting have now arrived and humans are moving everywhere, something called an inspection is to occur and the activity only has only ceased in the last minutes.

As the sound of their approach draws my attention, an escort of soldiers enters, followed by a large man in polished armour with a tiny woman on his arm. A huge man, sure of his place in the world and the strength of his arms to take it, enters and moves before me, his face is full of interest yet I still stand bodily above him and look down on him. Even among my kind I am large in both aspects, human and equine, compared to others.

“Indeed a strange creature, can it talk?”

“It is more beast than man Sire, and knows no better than to foul its own stall, it has hurt two men already since its capture”

“what has it eaten since you found it”, “where there any signs of others of its kind”

His questions were addressed to no one in particular yet no one speaks betraying their lack of knowledge

His eyes move over my body, satisfying his curiosity but I noticed the female paying a lot more attention. Much of her is hidden beneath the cumbersome garments and I see only her face and eyes, and I judge both far more beautiful than any I had ever encountered. Her gaze locked with mine and she shyly looked away but not before she smiled.

“He seems to have taken an interest in you my dear”

I had not realised he was paying any attention to her at all yet he was aware of what she was doing at all times in his presence. She didn't answer and I felt that none had been expected, there seemed an aloofness between them and I judged him twice her age, though its hard to tell in humans.

The male looked at me a little longer before his interest waned and her held his arm out to the female, and as they left she looked over her shoulder at me with the briefest of glances as the doors obscured her.

The night is settling warm now and the world around me has gone quiet except for the sound of gentle breathing from my stablemates, yet I do not rest easy and my mind is filled with thoughts of how to escape lest my dreams are full of her eyes over the veil.

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