“The devils ride a tainted bayard!”

Panic began pooling in Meagan’s chest. If these people were not going to surrender, she had to escape. A thought came to her … if she could only get close enough to Targa. “I don’t know about the Tatar men,” she answered innocently. “But their horses have a weak spot. I could show you. Take me to any horse with a bridle on it, say … oh, the pony I was riding would be perfect. For a demonstration, I mean.” —excerpted from Eclipsed by Shadow (Book #1 of ‘The Legend of the Great Horse’ trilogy (p. 201)

The following is an excerpt from “Eclipsed by Shadow”: Meagan and her Mongolian warpony Targa are captive in a medieval town (1240 AD in modern-day Russia) she was trying to warn of impending attack by the army of Genghis Khan (called ‘Tatars’ by Europeans).
Moko Shurai (Mongol Attack)
*The odd language is Old English: ‘ferly’ means ‘strange’ and ‘Bayard’ is medieval slang for horse … Bayard was a bay horse in medieval French poetry who could magically adjust its size to carry multiple riders.

Panic began pooling in Meagan’s chest. If these people were not going to surrender, she had to escape. A thought came to her … if she could only get close enough to Targa. “I don’t know about the Tatar men,” she answered innocently. “But their horses have a weak spot. I could show you. Take me to any horse with a bridle on it, say … oh, the pony I was riding would be perfect. For a demonstration, I mean.”

“So, the devils ride a tainted bayard! Oh, ho! ‘Tis ferly never to have heard so.” The man reached for his goblet. “Tell on.”

Meagan breathed easier, pleased with herself. She would only need a head start. “It is a place on their horses’ neck. If an arrow hits it, the horse—I mean bayard—dies instantly. I can show you. It would be better to do it outside the city, really. We will need some room.”

“Nay, the courtyard below will serve. And we shall use your own Tatar bayard.” Juices ran into the man’s beard as he chewed his food. “My archers will aim where you show us and we shall see how it dies.”

Meagan choked on her drink.

“How is this? I think you be glad to see the foul animal die!” The man leaned closer. “If you be a Tatar prisoner, as so you say.”

“Well, of course I am,” she sputtered, red-faced. “I … I was just disappointed the animal is still alive. The sooner she is eaten by crows, the sooner I can forget everything.” She smiled weakly.

“Better this,” the man grunted, and motioned to a guard. “Find the alien’s bayard. To-luggid hither to the courtyard.”

A horn sounded from below. It was taken up in quadrants all around the city, until the rooftop platform was surrounded by a chorus of trumpeting. The Englishman rushed to the railing and began shouting orders.

Meagan followed the confusion to the platform’s edge. Knights were pouring out of the city gates below; already the fields were filled with their color. In the distance, on the edge of the horizon, a black flood could be seen flowing through the trees.

“They take not our answer.” The Englishman gazed in satisfaction. “They shall see our manner of surrender.”

Eclipsed by Shadow (Book #1 of the trilogy) won national awards including the Eric Hoffer Award for best Young Adult Fiction, and the Mom’s Choice Award for best family-friendly Young Adult Fantasy.

« “The War Horses” || “Knights need horse!” »
The Legend of the Great Horse trilogy is an adventure through history … each section is about a different time period. The above excerpt is from “Home,” the 1st section of Eclipsed by Shadow, set in modern-day California.

Eclipsed by Shadow (Book #1 of the trilogy) won national awards including the Eric Hoffer Award for best Young Adult Fiction, and the Mom’s Choice Award for best family-friendly Young Adult Fantasy.

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