In search of something to do after our profound discussion of relative principles, Katy and I inevitably wound up at the one place one of us had hoped not to see again. Thatís right, the stables. The Rohirrim had already vacated, leaving only the ponies or injured horses behind, so the stables and accompanying pastures were mostly deserted. Even the stable hands were no where to be seen.
"Oh, great." I sighed as I absent-mindedly followed Katy into the stables, "More horses."
Katy grinned, "Yeah, horses are really great, arenít they?" The sarcasm in my comment apparently lost to her ears.
Before I could even begin to respond an anxious neighing drew both of our attention to the back of the dimly lit stables. Curiously we walked over, coming to a stop before the stall which housed the obviously irked horse.
I glanced it over, as much as I could see with the gate blocking half my view, "Why didnít anyone take this one?"
Katy shrugged, her own confused expression echoing my question, "They forgot it?" She offered.
The horse neighed again, anxiously shifting around in itís stall and swinging itís head slightly as if in a gesture.
"IÖ Think it wants out." I stated after studying it in silence for a few long moments.
Katy nodded agreement, "Should we let it out?"
I looked around uncertainly, "Maybe we should ask someone first."
Katy followed my example, glancing around the stables as well, only to find no one as I had. She shrugged, "If we can get a halter on it, why not?"
"A halter." I stated neutrally, "Right." I glanced around the stable and then shrugged, "Ah, well, I donít see any halter here, guess weíll have to go do something else." However, despite my efforts I was unable to maintain much of a disappointed tone in my voice.
Katy rolled her eyes, wandering away from me and to the opposing wall, snatching a rope from one of the hooks. She shot me a look that was something between a glare and a triumphant glance that only a hobbit could ever really make work.
"A halter?" I asked. My friend nodded, "Crappers."
The horse seemed tolerant enough, allowing Katy to fix the halter in place with a mild manner. It waited with abating patience for Katy to open the gate while I stood back at a wary distance, not entirely eager to be within the direct vicinity of a horse again. Ever. The horse trotted nicely behind Katy as she led it out of the stable by a rope, me following a short distance behind.
Once in the great outdoors, it stomped around happily and Katy watched in mild amusement. At length, she came back to the barn and picked up a saddleóone of only two left around.
I eyed her warily, "What are you doing? You canít possibly want to ride a horse again already, can you?"
The horse, having caught sight of Katy with the saddle was prancing over to the two of us happily. "Heís so cute!" Katy exclaimed defensively, "And look, he wants us to ride him!"
I watched her dubiously but didnít try to stop her again as she slid the saddle onto the beasts back, strapping it on securely. When she stepped back, both her and the horse seemed pleased with her work, and giving me a smile, she mounted.
The gray horse stomped around a bit more before galloping forward, surprising both Katy and I immensely. Katy gripped the rope tightly and I watched wide eyed as the large beast ran towards me, veering past in itís mad rush.
I blanched, then shook my head to regain my senses, "Katy!" I called and started off running after the wayward horse.
To my surprise I actually caught up to it as it turned around, apparently realizing it was going the wrong way. In a moment of desperation, I did what was probably the stupidest thing I could have done at the time. I jumped at the horse.
As if all the forces in Middle-earth were set to teach me a lesson the hard way, I managed to get partway onto the horse, a very awkward position to be in. One leg was helplessly hopping along the ground while the other had found some foothold on the saddle and my arms clung desperately to the mad creature. However, with Katyís help, I managed to get the rest of the way on top of the horseís back, which really didnít help our situation at all.
Now, instead of Katy clinging to the horse while I watched safely from the ground; I clung to Katy while she clung to the horse, both of us trapped on the out of control animal.
"I think Iíve figured out why no one took this horse," I stated as our ride wrenched under us with the sporadic movements of the possessed creature, "Itís crazy!"
Katy gave out a small shout, confusing me only a moment before the gray beastís powerful legs pushed off the ground, launching us into the air and over the wooden fence which had been keeping us inside the walls of Edoras. With itís new freedom, the horseís wild sprint slowed down into a slightly more rhythmic gallop. Katy and I relaxed our grips somewhat, sparing a glance back toward Meduseld, where several quickly shrinking figures could be heard shouting surprised exclamations.
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