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A Horse's Tale

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posted on Nov, 8 2013 @ 11:11 PM
A Horse’s Tale

Sound. That was the first thing I was conscious of. Wind blowing through poplar leaves of the forest, whisking up fallen leaves. Crickets chirping their constant love ballad. A horse neighing in delight. The voice of a man, strong and proud.

Light. It flooded in blinding me as my eyes opened for the first time. Staring down at me with affection stood a tall mare nudging me with her nose.

Up! Slowly my legs under me pushed me as my mother urged me on. I fell, once, twice. The man laughed and slapped a hand on his legs, said something. Then I was up! Running free in a world of wonder. I was alive.

I looked in awe at everything around me. To the man that stood stalwart next to my mother. He gently stroked her mane and said something into her ear.

I instinctively rubbed up against her. She kissed me on the nose, and I found her tit and drank till I was full.

Then I saw a butterfly sitting lazily on a white lily and chased after it, looking back at my mother. She nodded approvingly and off I was in a chase after the butterfly.

My mother neighed a warning that I was going too far. I stopped, looked back at her staring at me disapprovingly, and then toward the butterfly that was now flying high in the baby blue sky. But then I forgot about the butterfly as I saw a beautiful eagle flying above, regal and free beneath a warm sun.

I closed my eyes and smiled. I was alive, and life was good.

Then the man was beside me. He stroked me gently on my mane. I looked into his eyes, blue and fierce. He frightened me, but my mom trusted him so I allowed him to touch me. He said some words and then said, “Blaze.” The next two weeks whenever he was around me I recognized the word “Blaze” and soon realized it was my name.

What a bold proud name I thought, not knowing what it meant, but I was sure it was a strong name.

We were out walking in the forest, three weeks had past. It started with a sound in the far distance. I immediately noticed the ears of my mother perk up. I put my ear low to the ground and heard a low rumble. As it drew closer the ground started to tremble a hair.

My mother neighed a stern and cold warning to our master. His ax stopped chopping the wood. He wiped beads of sweat from his forehead and stared in the distance. Then he too must have noticed the noise.

He shouted out commands to my mother who obeyed loyally. He was on her in an instant and they were off and running toward our home.

It was too late. As we came out of the forest a sight greeted me that would haunt my waking eyes, and my dreams at night for the rest of my life. The master’s family lay dead in front of the manor. Flames and thick smoke licked heavenward from the home and the barn. I could hear the neighing of two other horses that were trapped inside.

And there in front of us stood an army of at least fifty men, some on foot, some on horseback, holding large instruments of destruction in their hands. They had long blonde hair. Their faces covered with long beards and thick mustaches. “Vikings!” master shouted. Mother neighed and stared onward. She did not flinch. She did not waver. It was fifty-to-one. There was no running. There was no hiding.

And then they were gone. I tried to follow, but the last thing my mother did for me was to turn and sternly stare me down and neigh at me a fierce warning not to follow. Then master pulled on her reigns, dug his feet into her sides and they were off like lightning. He brandished a sword from a scabbard on my mother’s side and shouted a fierce cry as they heralded headlong into the army. One man fell from his saddle as master slashed at him with a ferocity that stopped my heart. Two. Three. A weapon flung through the air towards master but he dodged it. Another came at him from his left. My mother reared her hind legs and kicked at a man approaching them from behind, kicking him hard in the stomach. He fell to the earth to stir no more. An arrow came from the trees and missed master but cut deep into mother’s neck. She fought on until she could stand no more, at last falling to the earth. He dismounted her and fought on. Killing at least five men. But there were too many men. At last I saw him cut down by a large weapon. He fell dead on the ground near his family.

I neighed toward my mother and master. But it was a weak call. They could not hear me.

And then I was alone. The heaven was shrouded by dark clouds that cracked with thunder. And large raindrops started to fall to the ground. The men finished looting what was once home as the rain fell around us in torrents.

I remained still at the edge of the forest. I was lost. The world was beautiful no more.

A man turned to stare at me. He was tall, like master, and walked with a limp. He approached me holding his hand out. I turned to run when he got close but I was too late. He lassoed me with a rope and pulled me, dragging and kicking to his horse and tied me to it.

He pointed at me and said something to his companions, they laughed, and then we were off.

It rained the remaining of the journey. It last the better part of two days, until finally we came to their village.

Rain turned to sleet. Sleet turned to snow. Wind blew. My mane was thick, and my pride was thicker. I did not feel the hands of the cold wind colliding against my body. I ignored the snow. By the time we reached the village snow was up to my knees.

The man who captured me had a person come of out his house and tend to his horse and then to me. I was lead to a stall and given hay to eat and water.

The men around me in the village were shouting aloud and showing off their plunder. Women and children came out to welcome them back. Bonfires were set and dance and song filled the air as night approached.

I looked off into the distance longingly toward where my home once was and neighed. Then looked down to the cold hard earth beneath me. Exhausted I lay down and closed my eyes.

Winter came and I grew taller and stronger. With the approach of spring my new master’s child, tried to tame me. But I would not allow it to touch me. I was obstinate and uncontrollable. He would curse me and spit at me. I would kick him in return. His father would sometimes watch and laugh, finding amusement in the mischief I caused.

Two more winters came and past I was growing into a full-grown horse. Finally the master spent a summer taming me. It was not easy, but eventually he mastered me and I became a powerful steed beneath his feet.

Then came the day. It was a fall day, I was five-years-old. Master, Ragnar, had groomed me into an apt horse, worthy of the bravest of warriors. He finally took me with him as the Vikings gathered together to go raiding in south Northumbria, the place I was born. I walked the way my mother did, that day I saw her fall in battle, what seemed to me a life-time ago. My new name was Alvar. I was big and bold and fierce. My master held to the reigns and kicked into my ribs and let me run with the wind.

And that is what I loved. To run with the wind. Its bite was cold at my face. I looked upward to a grey sky and to my sides to see horses and riders on either of them. And we ran. The men shouted their battle cries, and we carried them like the wind carries the clouds in the sky, swift over the land. Our hoofs pounding the hard earth, as it trembled before us.

edit on 8-11-2013 by Broom because: (no reason given)

edit on 11/14/2013 by tothetenthpower because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 8 2013 @ 11:12 PM
The sound of trumpets blaring in the distance perked my ears up. I strained my eyes to see what my ears heard. Then suddenly ahead of us appeared a long row of horses with riders, dressed the way my old master used to dress. They were called Saxons.

The leader of the Vikings shouted a command and our troop came to a halt. At the head of the Saxon army rode a man covered in armor as were the other Saxon's and the Vikings, chainmail and leather, according to the means of the man, or the spoils recovered in war. I was impatient and stamped a foot against the ground and neighed to my master.

He patted my head and lowered himself to my ear and whispered into it calming me.

Then swords were unsheathed, axes wielded. The Vikings shouted words to the Saxons, the Saxons shouted back. Then it happened.

I could no longer wait, and without my master’s consentI neighed and in a flash I was rushing forward into battle. He was caught off guard. I could feel him tilt backward almost falling off me as his hands tightened their grip on my reigns and his legs closed around me, holding onto me for dear life. Then he laughed. Then he shouted. Then the others around me started to charge.

Grass flipped up beneath my hoofs as they hit the earth. One foot was placed in front of the other as I lead our charge. The Saxons barely had time to respond. I never faltered. I felt no fear. My master dug his boots into my sides urging me on as he loosed the reigns.

I looked to a horse in front of me. A pony to my eyes. I was almost upon it and its rider. The rider frightened at the ferocity of my master and his horse turned to flee. But it was too late. I did not slow down as I ran into the horse at full speed knocking it to the ground. Its rider clumsily fell off and broke his neck.

Then we were in the thick of it. My master had a sword in hand and was slashing out this way and that as I moved through the ranks of the enemy lines. Penetrating further and further. Everything faded before me. All I could perceive were the war cries of my master as he pulled on the reigns and guided me here or there, and the pounding of my racing heart. A blare of trumpets sliced through the air again, and its noise spurred me on even quicker and more ferocious.

And then I was running toward a man dressed in beautiful armor worthy of a king. I heard my master call him “Alfred” and spurred me on. I chased after him but his guard shield him from us and my master fought them while I neighed at their horses and bit at them and stomped my feet. I did not notice but the Saxons were turning and running now. Alfred in front of them all.

“Whoa, Whoa,” my master finally said and reigned me in. I stopped. Panting with exhaustion. That is when I felt a pain in my hind leg. I turned to look and saw a spear had cut a deep gash into me.

Master dismounted and checked my wound. He said something in a reassuring voice and patted me. Then went to plundering the dead and dying Saxon.

We returned home that day. I was tended to and my wound soon healed. My master grew to love me, and I grew to love him. We were one in battle when they fought by horseback.

And I fought in many battles. Gaining the respect of the Vikings, and the fear of the Saxons.

Three years of fighting past. Then one day a sight came to me I had never seen before. Master lead with a small band of raiders until at last as we came over a hill and before us lay the deep blue ocean. Its wind-swept shores glistening before us from the glare of an autumn sun.

It was beautiful. My master let me lead the way and I without hesitation neighed in delight and galloped forward to dig my feet into the sand of the beach and I raced with the waves while my rider laughed and held his arms wide as the wind gushed over us.

Finally we came to a row of ships that had been waiting for us. When I realized he was going to board me I was hesitant and pulled back. But he stroked my nose and spoke softly into my ears and smiled at me and gave me an apple. That I took without hesitation and ate it. Then looked to the earth beneath me and the ship, and with great hesitation followed his coaxing and boarded the boat.

It was to be a night raid up the coast. My first by sea. The sun was setting and we set out, an armada of six Viking ships, each one displaying the head of a different animal at its head. Sails were raised with a strong headwind we made good progress.

A thick fog moved in and the sound of thunder in the distance forebode sinister tidings. Soon sheets of rain were drenching the ships and a fierce wind was pushing us out to sea. Lighting struck from the sky and sliced a mast in half as it crumpled onto the deck of the ship crushing two men beneath it.

I was frightened and neighed and kicked in panic. Master was bailing water out of the ship that had sprung a huge leak. But it was a losing battle. It became pitch black, and the only time I was able to see was when the lightning struck the ocean around us in its fury. I saw master and the others fighting helplessly against the wind and the rage of the storm until at last all hope was gone.

Then I did something I had never done before. I panicked. And in my panic I jumped from the doomed ship into the raging waves of the sea. I knew I was going to drown. But I kicked with my hoofs, I kicked and I kicked as I felt huge waves crash over me, again and again. Until I could move no further, and then I felt rocks beneath me. That gave me the impetus to kick onward and soon I felt land beneath my feet. And then I fell exhausted and lost consciousness.

The sound of the ocean’s waves lapping against the seashore registered first. Then the voice of a Saxon. I opened my eyes to see them. I struggled to my feet startling a man not too far from me. And he hesitantly came to check me out.

I looked around. All across the shore were spread the splintered parts of our Viking armada. And dead Vikings. No one was alive. The Saxons pillaged what they could of the shipwreck and then they turned their attention to me. A man dressed in regal chain-mail approached me. I recognized him. It was Alfred, the one we had retreating on the battlefield.

He pointed to a couple of men and shouted out some commands, and they came and gathered me and took me with them.

And thus it was that I came to be in the house of the king of the Saxons. He recognized my ability immediately and as I recovered from my brush with death at sea I soon became the warhorse of the leader of the Saxons.

He rode me out into battle against the Vikings in one victory after the other. I was wounded several times. But I was always valiant and always fearless.

edit on 9-11-2013 by Broom because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 8 2013 @ 11:13 PM
reply to post by Broom

Years passed until at last my time for waging war was past. Alfred was good to me. I was stabled in a castle and had wonderful attendants that cared for me. But I grew old and I grew tired.

One night in winter, when I was perhaps twelve, I looked skyward. Snow covered the earth in a blanket of white, and the stars tinkled in the frigid night air. I couldn't move the way I used to when I was younger. The war wounds were catching up with me.

My eyes felt heavy and I closed them. In my mind’s eye I saw my mother all those years ago, heard her neigh at me. Felt her gentle nose touch mine. Then I saw our master laughing. We were in a forest of poplars and he was cutting wood. The sun was shining through the branches of the forest and the birds were chirping in the trees. And a butterfly flew from a lily into the air. I smiled and told myself, I am alive. And life is good.

Then I fell asleep one last time.

The End

edit on 8-11-2013 by Broom because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 8 2013 @ 11:48 PM
Very nice

Good conveyance of emotion imo.


posted on Nov, 9 2013 @ 08:27 AM
I was just making my rounds and reading all the new stories, and I have to say this about yours:

Rare is it that I find a story so interesting, so completely captivating from the first sentence, that I simply had to keep reading to the final word.

Very fine writing skills. Thanks for sharing that gem with us. SnF!

posted on Nov, 9 2013 @ 09:00 AM
Very descriptive and obviously you have studied viking/saxon battles. You also understand horses as well. I use to raise and breed registered quarter horses and I believe you have spent some time around our four legged friends.

posted on Nov, 9 2013 @ 09:13 AM
reply to post by Broom

Viking horses were similar to islandics/Fjord.
Hardly tall or imposing breeds.
edit on 9-11-2013 by VforVendettea because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 9 2013 @ 12:09 PM
reply to post by VforVendettea

Ah yes, Icelandic ponies. This story wasn't about an Icelandic pony. Actually it was inspired by an old painting of Alfred the Great on his horse. He lived in what is known as England today.

Thank you all for your comments.

edit on 9-11-2013 by Broom because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 10 2013 @ 12:22 AM
reply to post by Broom

Thanks, I enjoyed your story.

I found the horse being born interesting as I have a similar situation in my story, great work.

The Rat.

posted on Nov, 10 2013 @ 03:32 PM
You have a good knack for storytelling. From the birth to the death of the horse. The ending seemed a bit rushed. Like you skipped over the most important part of his life with King Alfred.

posted on Nov, 10 2013 @ 03:41 PM
reply to post by iSomeone

Thanks. You are correct. Actually ran out of time that night I was writing this, and wrapped it up in a rush.

posted on Nov, 10 2013 @ 03:43 PM
reply to post by TucoTheRat

You have a good story too. Also a cool avatar. From The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, yes?

posted on Nov, 11 2013 @ 01:10 PM
This is amazing, I'm going to read it again haha.

posted on Nov, 11 2013 @ 07:17 PM
reply to post by Tsu322

That is more than I was expecting. Thank you. Read through it again, and realized there are a few punctuation, grammatical errors that should have been corrected, but it's too late now. :|

posted on Nov, 12 2013 @ 08:27 AM
reply to post by Broom

Same here. Spellcheck can only get you so far. A few times I have misspelled a word only to find it is the correct spelling of another word but you don't notice at the time.

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