The Surprise

Last week, Lord Teirnyon vowed to catch who, or what, was stealing his horses…

The next night, Teirnyon crouched in a stall, clutching his sword and shield tightly.  He had taken every precaution, buckling on each piece of armour securely.  The other horses were for once uncharacteristically silent as the pregnant mare groaned and strained in the dark.

The straw uncomfortably pricked his skin.  He could see nothing, all he had was hearing, and all he could hear was the birthing cries of an animal.  They sounded eerie in the deathly silence.

Finally the cries ceased, and heavy breathing took its place.  Well done, Teirnyon murmured in his heart.   Now for it!

The hinges on the stable door creaked, and it began to slowly slide inwards.  Teirnyon hand tightened around the warm hilt of his sword.  A beam of moonlight suddenly illuminated the stable, and silhouetted a monstrous arm, inserting its way into the stable and growing bigger every second.

Then everything happened at once.  The arm made a pounce at the foal, collapsed by the side of its mother.  The mare gave a terrified scream, and Teirnyon rushed from his stall.  He attacked, hacking at the arm, and it fell on the floor at his feet, still clutching the foal.  A loud wailing sounded as the limb fell on the floor, and heavy footfalls pounded away outside.

Teirnyon snatched up the foal and dropped it back with its mother, then fled outside, after the noise.  He would get this monster!

But in vain.  He chased it down the track, but the screaming faded further and further into the distance.

Teirnyon dropped his sword and sighed.  Well, he had succeeded in what he set out to do.  He made his way back to the stable.

As he approached the door he frowned.  What was that other noise?  A feeble whimper, getting louder and shriller with every second.

The moon came out from behind a cloud and illuminated a tiny object that shone faintly gold.

Teirnyon stood stock still in shock.  A baby?

Fierce yells pierced his stupor and hastily he scooped it up.  Had the monster dropped this baby?

“Well, where did you come from?” he said softly, gently cradling it.  What do I do with a baby?

My wife will know!

He hurried back to the house, the precious bundle in his arms, and slipped into the bedroom.