Chapter Six – Anna

The storm blew in with a vengeance from the sea.

Shortly after, Seth Morgan stormed in from the main gate.

Anna sat in the hay loft in the barn above the courtyard. She had seen Katherine to the Keep and seen that her brother was fine. She sent them both on their way and then tended to the distressed horse they rode.

The weather seemed to turn the minute as she worked to calm Storm down and then finally set him loose behind the barn. With nothing else to do she found her favorite spot in the hay loft.

It seemed like the barn cats had just settled next to her spot at the window between the stacked hay bales when Seth Morgan arrived. He rode in on a large brown charger and as he arrived the weather turned from just bleak to hammering dark. Thunder accentuated the increase in rain.

Anna’s breath caught in her throat as he dismounted. He was a thick, purposeful man and she had never seen him travel alone or move with such alacrity.

Seth dismounted before the charger had completely stopped and he rushed toward the Keep. The wind swirled his dark cloak as he raced inside exposing his dark purple and black armor. He nearly knocked a guard over as he hurried inside.

Harlow came out from the barn below Anna and took his horse inside. Two minutes later two others rode into the courtyard. Seth’s ever present guards Anna thought. He must have out run them on the road.

Thunder cascaded in the air, echoing Anna’s feelings. Something terrible was happening.

She left her perch to go help with the two new horses. By the time she arrived the dark purple clad guards were no where to be seen.

As Anna finished up with those two horses there was more commotion in the courtyard. When she got to the front of the barn she saw a large group of horsemen followed by a carriage.

The carriage was surrounded by four dark purple and black armored guards and Anna saw Willem Morgan exit the vehicle and hurry inside with the guardsmen.

Anna bit her lip as she went to work, not sure where to put all these extra animals. The two oldest Morgan’s had arrived. She couldn’t remember that ever happening before, Willem rarely left Newcastle.

After a rainy, cold hour all the animals had settled and Anna was about to climb back up to the hay loft for a late afternoon nap when there was more activity in the courtyard. She took a deep breath and stepped back off the ladder to see who had arrived now.

Tall and thin, he had sharper features than his brothers, but it was another Morgan to be sure. Julian arrived with one other rider, his son Benji, who looked more like his uncle¬† Seth than his father. Although he had many of his mother’s features as well, an extra sharp nose and chin.

Harlow nudged her and she stopped starring and went to work with the newly arrived horses. It was raining harder now and the courtyard was muddy and slick. They hurried to find stalls for what Anna hoped were the last two arrivals.

As she put Benji’s horse away she began to cry silently and then went to the front of the barn to wait. There was one more Morgan, she knew he would be coming. She didn’t think that all of the Morgan brother’s had ever been together here before.

The rain pelted her face and she shivered. Harlow told her to go away but she couldn’t. Finally well after dark Nelson arrived, leading his limping horse into the courtyard.

“Hello Anna,” he said when he saw her. He was bundled in brown cloths and thoroughly soaked through.

“Hello sir,” Anna said. She thought she contained her emotions but Nelson walked over with open arms. Anna took the embrace in the pouring rain and hugged him hard unable to contain her tears any longer.

“It’s alright,” Nelson said. “It will be alright.”

Anna looked up at him, rain mixing with her tears.

“Pedro has lost a shoe and I think he’s injured his leg,” Nelson said with a small smile.

Anna looked over at the horse but did not let go.

“It’s my fault, of course, hurrying to get here,” Nelson said, squeezing Anna. “Will you take care of him for me? I need to see my,” he choked looking up at the Keep. “I need to see my little brother.”

Anna sobbed hard twice in her chest, looked up at Nelson, bit the inside of her lip and nodded.

Nelson put his hand on her head and tried to ruffle her hair like he always did but it was wet and plastered to the side of her head. He left her with a nod and headed into the Keep.

Anna took Pedro inside the barn and set to work again.


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