Duskar

Issa looked at the magnificent horse in the darkness of his stable and then closed her eyes trying to recall the image of black fire. A vivid image formed, a world of fire, great walls of orange flames burned all around her. The flames turned black and within them she felt freedom and fury and the forming of a word.

‘Duskar,’ Issa breathed. The raven cawed again above them and the horse stamped his foot as if in response.

‘A most fitting name,’ Ely replied nodding thoughtfully, ‘in old Celenian it means “black fire”.’

~ Issa & Duskar, Dark Moon Rising

~*~

The dark shape in the corner stamped and snorted loudly, tossing his head up and down. She could feel the horse’s fear as if it were her own, a sense of loss, confusion and stress, these were all feelings she knew well.

‘There, there,’ she whispered softly, ‘I’m not here to hurt you.’

The raven cawed above her once and then was silent and she wondered if he was talking to the horse, reassuring it in some way. All at once the horse ceased his stamping and was calmer, daring to venture forward a little into the light. His coat was as black as midnight and glistened with sweat from the daily battles fought against the Demons in his mind. The whites of his eyes were brilliant crescent moons of fear shining in the darkness. He was very tall and his sleek; powerful muscles twitched nervously. She found him quite magnificent to look upon.

~ Issa & Duskar, Dark Moon Rising

~*~

Issa stepped outside into the warm night and after a moment’s thought headed towards the stables. Duskar whickered at her approach and was bold enough to poke his head outside the stable door.

‘There now,’ she soothed as she carefully entered the stable. She laughed when he let her stroke him. He stood there quietly, patiently, intrigued at what she was doing but not nervous. Issa sensed he enjoyed her touch on his back. His feelings were like a faint extension of her own. She stayed only long enough to soothe his fears and then quietly left, not wanting to overstay her welcome and hoping only that he was getting used to her presence.

~ Issa & Duskar, Dark Moon Rising

~*~

What about Freydel and Cirosa? Arla? She shook her head, she dared not hope. But then she remembered her dreams. Her heart beat faster in her chest. Duskar! He had to be alive else why did she have those dreams?

‘Duskar!’ she called out. ‘Duskar!’ she cried louder, her voice ringing out in the silence. ‘Duskar, come to me,’ she called out with her mind and stood there waiting fearfully, this time daring to hope. Time ticked by but still she hoped. And then, there in the trees, a black shape moved. A big black horse stepped cautiously into the clearing.

‘Duskar!’ Issa cried and ran to him. He stood there for a moment sniffing the air and then trotted towards her, ears pricked forward and tail raised high. His black fur shone with sweat and rain and he whinnied. She hugged his sleek neck and he bent his head down to nibble her thigh as he always used to. He still trembled often and looked very thin but he was alive and strong.

~ Issa & Duskar, The Fall Of Celene

~*~

‘You know how hard life is don’t you, friend?’ she whispered. He snorted and flicked his ears back and forth in response. ‘It seems it must be hard again, Duskar. In truth, I am afraid,’ she admitted, ‘I’m a fool for accepting this task.’ She fell silent, listening to him munch on the hay, it seemed he was considering her words.

‘Shall we go outside for a walk?’ she said, and with her mind, not her feet, urged him forwards. She felt something like acceptance of her request and he moved to the door. She reached down, undid the latch, and let it swing open. Through no coaxing of her own, Duskar stepped outside. She could sense his immediate joy at being free of the stable.

~ Issa & Duskar, Dark Moon Rising

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