"Whose horse is that?" Finn asked as it got closer.
Cayle ran up to it, trying to catch the reins.
He almost got trampled before he was shoved out of the way and Cadman grabbed the reins
"Cayle!" Cadman said angrily. "Do you have a death wish?!"
"Not to my knowledge." Cayle answered as he got to his feet. "Whoa! It's alright there, buddy, it's ok." He said, trying to calm the panicking horse.
Finn and Alroy came running up to help, startling the horse.
"Do you mind?!" Cayle demanded as his efforts were thwarted by his friends.
"Here, let me try." Finn said as he approached the horse, not waiting for a response.
He held his hands out and spoke in a calming manner which seemed to work; he took the reins from Cadman and patted the horses snout as it finally calmed down.
Finn turned to his companions. "Piece of cake." He said.
"Cayle, do you know this horse or something?" Alroy asked, remembering Cayle's reaction.
Cayle nodded. "It's her horse; I'm sure of it."
"Really?" Finn asked, looking at the horse more closely. Not what he had imagined her riding. "I thought she'd have a white mare or maybe a palomino."
"Something's wrong." Cayle said.
"How do you figure?" Cadman asked.
"She wouldn't let her horse roam like this, I know she wouldn't." Cayle answered. "You don't get the kind of loyalty I saw by abusing your horse."
The horse snorted and stomped his feet, trying to go off to west. It took all of Finn's strength to hold him steady.
"Uh, I think he wants to find her." Finn commented as he struggled to hold the massive horse.
"Well, let's go find her then." Cadman said, grabbing the reins and leading the horse back to the wagons.
"I'll ride him." He said.
"Why do you get to ride him?" Finn complained.
"Because I can control him and you can't." Cadman said, a bit smugly.
The horse then promptly stood up on its hind legs and ripped the reins out of Cadman's hands, and when he landed he turned his back on him, trotting off to the west.
Cayle ran up and grabbed the reins again.
"Whoa there, boy." He said. "We'll help you find her."
The horse calmed down again, but still seemed restless as he allowed himself to be led back to the wagons.
"Could she have been ambushed?" Alroy asked suddenly.
They all looked at him in surprise.
"What?" He said. "It would explain a few things. Like how she, apparently, based on Cayle's 'gut' anyway, she wouldn't leave her horse alone, and that bare piece of the road there." He pointed at the piece of road Cayle had been looking at before being startled by Deanna's horse.
"What do we do with the horse?" Finn asked. "Since he keeps dancing around like that, I don't think he'd let us hook him up to the wagons."
"Someone can ride him." Alroy said.
"It's not that important, Finn." Alroy said, slightly annoyed.
"But it is kind of important." Finn said defensively.
"Not it's not." Alroy argued. "Fine. You want someone to ride him? Let Cayle ride him, since they're acquainted with each other. Happy now? Good."
Finn was too surprised to say anything, as that was the most words Alroy had used at one time since they had met him, it was also the sharpest tone he had used.
Cayle mounted the horse after a few minutes, as the horse was apparently not accustomed to anyone but his mistress riding him.
"What should we call him in the mean time?" Cadman asked. "It's not like we can keep calling him 'boy' or 'horse'."
Alroy raised his hands in an act of exasperation. "It's. Not. Important." He said slowly, taking his time saying each word, in hopes of his meaning getting across, since they were ignoring him when he spoke normally.
* * *
"Well?" He asked as his messenger entered the room.
"The message has been delivered, and the terms have been accepted, my lord." The man reported, bowing. "The King of the Eastern Shore shall be here as soon as the Pass opens up, it's been horribly flooded the past week."
"Good." He said, smiling.
* * *
"Well?" Herndon asked as his informant entered.
"She hasn't arrived at the next location, sir." He said. "She was kidnapped at the four-way road before she picked up the false trail."
"Who kidnapped her?" Herndon asked.
"The Duke of Hammershon, sir." The informant said. "He believes himself to be a king and acts like one, as well. He is quite insane."
Herndon thought a moment. "She'll be fine; at least she's out of the way now. Go tell the southern scouts to begin preparations, we shall be starting shortly."
The informant nodded and left the room.