stood quietly as the two girls gently applied the salve
to the nearly healed sores on her legs and back. She still
remained wary of people, but once the pain and fever had
left her body the gentle handling of the two girls had
soothed some of her fears, helping her to heal both inside
and out. Katrina and Samantha had spent weeks seeing to
Destiny's every need, around the clock feedings, medication,
grooming, and exercise. While bribing her with sugar and
treats, the two had patiently reacquainted Destiny to
being handled and touched, slowly discovering every ticklish
or itchy spot on her body.
had been impressed with the two girls. They both seemed
to have real "horse sense." They let Destiny
show them what she was capable of doing, never over-pressing
or becoming impatient. Patricia had begun teaching Samantha
a number of longe line exercises to improve both Destiny's
fitness and her willingness to bond and ultimately follow
the lead of her human handler.
turned and snuffled the back of Katrina's blond head as
the girl leaned over and ran her hands down Destiny's
Katrina giggled. "Your hay is in the trough, girl."
bobbed her head.
I think she's laughing at you," Samantha laughed.
"How's her ankle looking?" Samantha asked.
swelling is better, " Katrina answered. "But
she's still favoring it a bit. You can see it when you
turn her out. I think we should keep her exercise at a
walk for awhile longer."
Wells has been amazed at her recovery," Samantha
knew she'd pull through," said Katrina. "She
has the fire inside. You can see it in her eyes. Even
when she was at her worst, she still had that fire."
I remember that fire," said Samantha. "She almost
bit your nose off."
was just afraid," said Katrina. "She trusts
know, Patricia still hasn't given her a name," said
Samantha. "We've got to start calling her something
other than 'girl'."
know," replied Katrina. "I think Patricia is
actually a real softy, but doesn't want anyone to know.
I think she is afraid of giving her a name because she
might get attached. Maybe we could come up with a name
and suggest it."
idea," Samantha agreed. "We can think about
it while we clean stalls. Lets turn her out for some exercise,
and get to work."
Katrina complained making a silly face.
on, lazy," Samantha said, giving Katrina a playful
girls turned Destiny out into her exercise paddock and
watched her trot off to graze. She still had not taken
off at a gallop, but at least she seemed to enjoy being
outside, and the gleam was slowly returning to her jet
black coat and mane.
lunch, Katrina and Samantha returned to feed Destiny her
special mash. A strange person stood outside the paddock.
The girls walked over briskly. This section of the stable
was not open to the public and they were wary of anyone
who might threaten the filly in their care.
me," said Katrina. "I'm afraid you shouldn't
be here. This area is closed to the public."
the young man turned and pulled off his cap exposing a
shock of blond hair, his ears turning a bit pink. Samantha
smothered a smile.
I'm sorry," he stuttered. "I know the
sign said no one was allowed, but then I saw Destiny and
I had to come over. I had to get a closer look to make
sure it was her."
Samantha and Katrina looked at one another. "What
did you call her?" Katrina asked. Both girls focused
their attention on the stranger, which made his ears turn
from pink to bright red.
I should be going," he said in a hurry.
no," said Samantha reaching out to put a hand on
the young man's shoulder as he began to turn. "Don't
go." Samantha smiled and said, "Let's start
again. I'm Sam and this is my friend Trina. We've been
taking care of this horse for the last month now. She's
a bit of a mystery. She was abandoned at the stable. We've
been nursing her back to health."
the young man exclaimed. "Camelot's Destiny abandoned?
She's the last foal by Excalibur. You do know who Excalibur
is, don't you?"
course we know who he is," answered Katrina, a bit
of fire rising in her blue eyes. "But just who are
you? And how do you know so much about this horse?"
name is Ian McGregor, but most people call me Mac."
I was Destiny's groom before Rosewood collapsed. I'd recognize
that filly anywhere, though she looks terrible. What's
been going on here?"
girls were quiet for a moment then Samantha turned to
Katrina. "Trina, we better take Mac to Patricia.
I think she'll want to talk to him."
said Katrina with some reservation, locking eyes with
Mac. "But I want to keep an eye on him."
finally looked away and sighed. "As you wish, lead
the three headed in the direction of the stable office,
Samantha turned back to look at the black filly contentedly
grazing in her paddock. "Destiny," she whispered
watched as Ian, Katrina, and Samantha headed back to the
stable. Her mind was nearly numb with the information
about their little mystery filly. Camelot's Destiny, last
foal of Excalibur. Could it possibly be the truth?
picked up the phone and called her husband at his law
Prescott, and Stone," a feminine, nasal voice answered.
"How may I direct your call?"
cringed. The receptionist was nice enough, however, she
had the most irritating voice. "Good afternoon, Iris.
This is Patricia Prescott. Could you ring me through to
Mrs. Prescott," the receptionist replied. "One
moment please. I think he just stepped out of conference."
The phone switched over to a pleasantly distracting jazz
tune. Patricia smiled. She had selected the music herself
when Howard and his two partners had opened the law office.
dear," interrupted a deep voice. "Something
wrong? Or do you need another pint of double mint chip?
You couldn't have possibly finished the last one."
Ha," Patricia said dryly. "No dear, but something
has come up. Do you have a moment?"
I think so," Howard replied. "We just finished
our afternoon conference call."
sit down," Patricia warned. "You are not going
to believe this. This afternoon a young man came into
my office claiming to be the former groom of our little
mystery filly. He claims she's the last foal by Excalibur.
Her name is Camelot's Destiny."
but silence came from the other end of the phone.
Howard are you there?"
yes dear. I'm here," Howard finally managed, stunned
by the news. "But, how is that possible? I know the
last of Excalibur's get must have gone for nearly a million
pounds at auction. Why would she not have been sold along
with the others?"
have no idea," Patricia answered completely baffled
herself. "But if it's true, we need to find out where
we stand. I know the purchase agreement we signed was
for the property and everything on it. Remember that old
draft horse still out in the west pasture. I just couldn't
bear to see the old boy go to auction and ultimately end
up on some French menu. Can you find out if any horse
on the property would be included in the sale?"
of course, dear," Howard replied. "I'll also
try to find out where the paperwork from Rosewood is being
stored. Perhaps there is a birth record, though you know
what a mess the stable records were in." Howard's
mind raced as he began to analyze the problem. This was
his element, working all the angles of the puzzle to find
we can't find papers," he continued, "perhaps
we can track down the dam and one of Excalibur's known
offspring, do some genetic testing. Patricia can you try
and get more information from that young man? Anything
he can remember about the dam, when the foal was born,
any distinguishing marks
anything that would make
I'll do that first thing tomorrow morning," Patricia
replied. "I've sent the lad off with Trina and Sam.
He needs a place to stay for a few days. I've offered
him the watchman's room in the north barn. He's a bit
overwhelmed with all the attention, but he seems a good
dear," Howard said the enthusiasm clear in his voice.
"I better ring off and make a few more calls. We
can talk more over dinner."
See you tonight," Patricia replied. "Good bye,
Howard said good-bye and hung up. Patricia returned the
receiver, sitting back with a sigh. A moment ago the world
had seemed like nothing but chaos. Now some sanity had
returned. Howard would help sort this out. They made a
some of the pressure gone Patricia could think straight
again. What if the black mystery filly actually was Camelot's
Destiny? What would she do with a yearling race horse?
Selling her would put the stable firmly on its feet. But
abruptly stood and started to pace her office. She couldn't
let sentiments cloud her thinking. She knew she had to
be honest with herself. She had become attached. The filly
had truly shown her character, fighting her way back to
health and proving she could be sensible, that she could
learn to trust again. And Patricia knew horse flesh. Though
still a bit lean and not fully recovered, the filly moved
beautifully. Everything was in the right proportion, the
right place. She had no doubt-one day, Camelot's Destiny
would run and no other horse would catch her.
sat down at her desk again. She had some serious thinking
to do before she talked to her husband. It might be possible
to prove Destiny's identity, but was it even remotely
reasonable to keep her?