Her lip was split, right arm almost definitely broken, and her body generally battered and bruised. Mud, leaves, grass and twigs cackled one side if her head where she had slid along the ground a few paces before finally stopping, face down in the dirt of the meadow.
The stallion snorted, tossing his head and poring the ground with his hoof, looking rather pleased with himself.
The morning had started off beautifully. The new horses had arrived the previous evening, and everyone was excited to see them. Not even the threatening grey clouds heading across the hills could dissuade the whole family from coming out to the stables to ogle.
The stallion had looked so magnificent towering over everything. With his sleek midnight coat and long mane flowing down that silky neck. She ached to slid her hand across those thick muscles. He was by far the most beautiful horse she had ever seen.
“I’ll have him.” She’d told her father, green eyes shining with desire. He laughed, as though she’d told him a good joke.
“He’s too much beast for even you my girl. No, that ones not for riding, all fire and no brains he is. But, he’ll make a fine enough sire.”
He really should have known better, nobody told her, she couldn’t handle something, wasn’t big enough, strong enough or even smart enough. Not unless they wanted to see her try.
Brushing herself off as best she could one handed, she regained a small measure of composure. Gritting her teeth against the throbbing pain in her right arm, she walked calmly over to the beast that had taken it upon himself to teach her to fly. Forcing herself to remain calm and in control, careful not to show the damned animal any measure of fear, she took hold of the dangling reins with her left hand. The manor house was about an hours walk away. Resolutely she focused on placing one foot in front of the other, wincing as the movement caused her body to point out all its badges of ill treatment experienced upon it today. One foot, no fear, one foot, no fear. She repeated the mantra over and over again as she walked. Flatly refusing to think about how her parents would react when they saw her.
No, what would be worse, far worse then her injuries or the riotous anger from her father, would be that look of worry and fear in the princes eyes when he saw her. The one that would stare at her unspoken. She had the right to test herself however she saw fit, that didn’t mean he had to like it, but he would never say so. Never let anyone think he disapproved of her in any way, never go out of his way to bring her to task for her stupidity. But it would all be there, in his eyes, in the stollen embrace that evening, in the way he would kiss her ever so gently like a piece of fine porcelain he expected to crumble at his touch.
Damn him, damn the horse and damn her own stubborn stupidity, she kicked at the ground with the toe of a riding boot, hitting a buried rock and regretted the abuse as a new pain surged through her foot. The rain began to fall in earnest.