“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.

__________

» See the Media Kit for more information about the trilogy.

Check out the trilogy’s page on Facebook!

The War Horses

The War HorsesHorn answered horn throughout the camps. A rippling change went through the horse nation. The few not yet mounted swung aboard. Meagan’s group moved out. The camp leaders rode ahead, each holding a blazing torch. – Eclipsed by Shadow (excerpt)

Hast thou given the horse strength?
Hast thou clothed his neck with thunder?
Canst thou make him afraid as a grasshopper?
The glory of his nostrils is terrible.
He paweth in the valley, and rejoiceth in his strength.
He goeth on to meet the armed men.
He mocketh at fear, and is not affrighted;
neither turneth he back from the sword.
The quiver rattleth against him,
the glittering spear and the shield.
He swalloweth the ground with fierceness and rage…

– Holy Bible, Job 39:19-24
MEAGAN SENSED The War HorsesEXCITEMENT in the camp. An undercurrent ran through the people and the horses pranced nervously. Throwing her saddle pad over Targa, she saw something had been added: an odd-looking pole now hung from a loop of leather on her saddle. Then she saw the sharp point and realized she had been given a spear.

Leaders rode through the lines of horses, each with a string of knives hanging from one arm. Meagan took one and examined it, confused. The others were sliding theirs into belt pouches. It seemed a dangerous place to carry a knife, but she did the same.

Horn answered horn throughout the camps. A rippling change went through the horse nation. The few not yet mounted swung aboard. Meagan’s group moved out. The camp leaders rode ahead, each holding a blazing torch.

The pitch of the horns was changing, signaling back and forth down the black mass of horsemen covering the plain. The tight lines of the nomads were dissolving into chaos, melting and running in streaks. Horses were breaking from easy canters into full gallops. When the call reached Meagan’s group, Targa sprang forward, her legs stretching in exhilaration of the run…

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 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.

__________

» See the Media Kit for more information about the trilogy.

Check out the trilogy’s page on Facebook!

#82- The Reason for Castles

“The ground was black with horsemen. Galloping shadows swirled through the flaming village below. Black lines streaked across the green rampart. Mist rose in places to give glimpses of the nomads pausing to devour the village.”—excerpted from Eclipsed by Shadow (Book #1 of The Legend of the Great Horse trilogy

Under attack by the hordes of Genghis Khan…

Castle Sobrezy under attackMeagan heard the bells in her dreams long before she opened her eyes. The white glow of the room’s opaque window showed dawn was approaching. Meagan heard shouts from the Great Hall below.

Her first thought was that breakfast was even louder than dinner. Then she heard something else, or rather felt it. A tremor was coming through the stone floor, the rumbling of a hundred thousand hooves.

Shouting was in the hallways now. Meagan pulled her gown from a clothes pole and dressed in the half-light. She followed a stream of people into the hallway and through winding corridors. Bells rang from the towers as she crowded with others onto the battlements. Meagan strained to see, but all that was visible was a placid dawn sky. She pushed her way to the edge and looked across the fields.

The ground was black with horsemen. Galloping shadows swirled through the flaming village below. Black lines streaked across the green rampart. Mist rose in places to give glimpses of the nomads pausing to devour the village.

Men ran through the courtyards and lined the battlements, but they were pitifully few against the onslaught. A shrill scream drifted on the wind, a sound Meagan remembered with a knot of terror. The massed horde surged up, spreading as it came and circling the castle like a rising tide.

Thin flames streaked through the air as galloping riders shot burning darts over the stone walls. Castle archers returned waves of arrows. On the balcony, tonsured men began sacraments against the attackers as others backed away, ashen.

Copyright © 2008 John Royce

« Previous excerpt: “Mealtime at the Castle Sobrezy
The above excerpt is from “See all Excerpts,” the medieval-era section of Eclipsed by Shadow, and is set in 1240AD. (p. 245 Hbk)

The Legend of the Great Horse trilogy is an adventure through history … each section is about a different time period.

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.

__________

Quick Links:

Icon for The Great Horse on Facebook

Icon for The Great Horse on Facebook

Icon for The Great Horse on Facebook

#74- The Mongol Attack

‘A ROAR WENT up as a new division of knights took the field, row upon row gaining speed with each stride … “No!” Meagan cried. “Call them back! Do not follow, that is what they want you to do!”’ —excerpted from Eclipsed by Shadow (Book #1 of ‘The Legend of the Great Horse’ trilogy (p. 201)

A ROAR WENT up as a new division of knights took the field, row upon row gaining speed with each stride. Shouts of victory rose from the battlefield as the knights chased their beaten enemy.

“No!” Meagan cried. “Call them back! Do not follow, that is what they want you to do!” She tugged on the sleeve of the Englishman. He turned to her with eyes drunk with conquest, unseeing, and then looked back to the battle.

The man would not listen, Meagan plainly saw, and there was nothing he could do anyway. Victims were only allowed to surrender because the Mongolians did not want to reveal their battle tactics, but once the nomads attacked, they killed to the last defender. There were no witnesses to an attack by the horde, ever. Meagan thought furiously of how to escape.

Determined to chase their beaten enemy into oblivion, the knights below were being drawn into the nomad’s trap. As they galloped, the battalion of knights loosened and drifted apart, and their lines became thinner.

Swarms of horsemen emerged from the horizon like black claws as the trap began to close. The main force of nomads encircled and engulfed the knights, discharging volley after volley of arrows, turning away so fresh riders behind could launch still more. Wherever the knights drove, the nomads dashed away and wheeled back with reinforcements. Knights and their heavy horses began to fall. The horde continued to flow onto the battlefield like floodwater rising.

Meagan turned from the rail. Stunned by the disaster below, no one noticed her walk quickly to the other side of the platform. The stairs were in pandemonium. Men pushed in both directions and fights were beginning to break out. She looked over the railing. Except for prisoners held in the stocks, the courtyard was almost empty. Her heart caught when she saw Targa. The pony was dancing short, nervous steps around a man who held her lead.

The platform was perhaps ten feet above the ground. Meagan looked back at the men watching the battle. Slowly, the truth was dawning on them. It would not be long…

The above excerpt is from “See all Excerpts,” the medieval-era section of Eclipsed by Shadow, and is set in 1240AD. (p. 203 Hbk)

The Legend of the Great Horse trilogy is an adventure through history … each section is about a different time period.

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.

__________

Quick Links:

Check out the trilogy’s page on Facebook!