Heir of Dishonor, Chapter Six: For Want of a Girth...

Fiction By LoriAnn // 6/21/2010

 

Richard Barlow sat slouched over the saddle horn of his mare and surveyed the road ahead of him with a practiced intensity. Not that he expected any trouble—not in this neck of the woods. The local baron or duke or whatever the pompous windbag called himself was at least competent enough to keep brigands out of the area.
 
But the vigilance was a habit, and one Barlow didn’t intend to break.
 
Behind him, he could hear the Montague boy muttering to himself—or perhaps to his horse. Over the last three days, he had taken to talking to the little rust-colored creature as though it were a human being. Barlow grinned dourly. Better the horse than him—he had no desire to make casual conversation with Montague’s son.
 
“How much further to the next village?” the boy called forward. Barlow rolled his eyes.
 
“Fifteen miles,” he called back. “Same as when you asked ten minutes ago.”
 
“Are we moving at all?” the kid demanded, bringing his pony alongside Barlow’s horse with a kick. Canary snorted and glared at the shorter animal.
 
“Yes,” Barlow assured him, amused at the irony of the boy’s eagerness. Daniel would be a bit less excited if he realized that the bounty hunter was…well, was a bounty hunter. “Though, I could go faster alone. Your pony’s legs are too short to make good time.”
 
“Oh.” Daniel’s face scrunched into a grimace. “Will we get there before tonight?”
 
“Probably.” Barlow allowed a hint of amusement to color his voice. “What—was the ground uncomfortable?”
 
Daniel snorted and dropped back again. “It wasn’t the ground,” Barlow heard him muttering. “It was the noise.”
 
Grinning, the bounty hunter nudged Canary into a faster walk. City boy—probably scared to death last night by a few rustling branches or a fox barking. These woods would be nearly silent at night, but who knew what little sounds might frighten a spoiled brat like Montague’s kid?
 
Montague had been spoiled enough himself. Back when they were kids, Barlow could remember the sullen rages his friend would go into when he couldn’t have his way. Once, when they had been fishing in one of the rivers that flowed down the mountain from Anasil, Montague’s line had snapped, leaving Barlow with the only working pole. Montague had sworn that he would never speak to Barlow again if he didn’t hand over his fishing pole…And Barlow, caring more about his friend’s company than he did about the pole, handed it over without a word.
 
Looking back now, Barlow wondered if it hadn’t been somewhat his fault that Montague had turned out the way he had…But no. Barlow shook his head and nudged Canary into a faster walk in an attempt to shake off that sort of pointless thinking. Montague had done what he did because of the choices he alone had made—Barlow had nothing to do with it.
 
Mounts! It wasn’t as if they had even been on speaking turns by the time Montague…
 
“Mr. Barlow?” Daniel’s voice floated forward and reached Barlow’s ear. He turned to see the boy standing beside his pony with a rueful look on his face. The bounty hunter grunted in exasperation. Somehow, the saddle that Barlow himself had cinched and checked that morning had come sliding off and now hung beneath the pony’s belly.
 
“Did you fall, boy?” Barlow turned Canary around and walked back to where Daniel and Molly stood.
 
“No—I jumped off. But I don’t know how to fix the seat.”
 
“It’s called a saddle.” Barlow dismounted and handed Canary’s reins to Daniel, who took them gingerly. He examined the saddle and grunted. “Should have known.”
 
“What?”
 
“Cheap-purse stable back in Morris gave me an old girth.” He pointed to the leather strap. “It’s torn halfway through.”
 
“Oh.” Daniel stood awkwardly by. Barlow fingered the rough end of the strap and thought. What now? Should he simply throw the boy over the horn of Canary’s saddle and gallop to Anasil, regardless of any fuss the brat might make? But Barlow was tired—he didn’t feel up to a struggle if he could avoid it. Besides…There were other things to consider.
 
“You’ll have to walk for a ways,” he finally said, refastening the girth and striding back to Canary.
 
“Walk?”
 
“Yes, walk.” Barlow rolled his eyes. “You have feet—use them.”
 
“Walk where?”
 
“To Rulo.” Mounting his own horse, Barlow reached down and took the pony’s reins from Daniel’s hands.
 
“And how far is that?” The boy looked shocked.
 
“Fifteen miles. Same as the last time you asked.” Barlow secured the pony’s reins to his saddlebow and clicked to Canary. Obediently, she started into a walk.
 
“What--and you’re just going to leave me here?” Coming from any other boy, the words would have sounded plaintive. But from Montague’s son, all Barlow heard was a whine.
 
“Not if you walk fast,” he called, not even looking back. “Real fast.”

Comments

Poor guy

He has to walk...that stinks. 15 miles...I'd die after three. Depends on how hilly it is, though...

Julie | Mon, 06/21/2010

Formerly Kestrel

Oooh--Barlow knew Daniel's

Oooh--Barlow knew Daniel's father? Hmmmm.... :0)

And walking 15 miles wouldn't be too bad. Better than hiking mountains, that's for sure!

Heather | Wed, 06/23/2010

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
And now our hearts will beat in time/You say I am yours and you are mine...
Michelle Tumes, "There Goes My Love"

So...

You asked me to give you my honest opinion on whether this story was worth continuing or not.  Here is my opinion:

LoriAnn Nikole, you had BETTER continue this story mui pronto or I am quite liable to do something very drastic to you! I mean it!  I would never have imagined being able to love a  character named Richard, much less see him as cool, and I love Daniel, and I love the dynamic between him and Richard and can't wait to see how it develops in later chapters... because there WILL be later chapters, young lady.  Just remember that I know where you sleep--at home AND at college!

Mary | Tue, 11/16/2010

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
Brother: Your character should drive a motorcycle.
Me: He can't. He's in the wilderness.
Brother: Then make it a four-wheel-drive motorcycle!

15 MILES!!!!

Wow! That's cold! Thats terrible! I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be able to run fifteen miles! How could you do that to your chracter!

PLEASE WRITE MORE!!!! PLEASE! PLEASE! PLEASE! PLEASE!PLEASE! *gasp for breath* PELASE! PLEASE! PLEASE!!!!!!!!

 

Want more! Please!

Write on!

Kassady | Sun, 02/06/2011

"Here's looking at you, Kid"
---
Write On!

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