“Lycralad” Lycralad answered.
“Lycralad?” The Huntsman questioned. “Really? That’s it? That’s all you’re giving?”
Lycralad smiled both sheepishly and uncomfortably.
“You look to me like an Alex.” The Huntsman looked Lycralad squarely in his eyes. “Yes. Definitely an Alex.”
“What makes you say that? Why not George or Fred or something?”
“You look more of an Alex than you do a George or a Fred, but if you want to be called Lycralad, so be it. It’s only a name. It doesn’t really matter.”
“Of course it matters.” Lycralad felt himself becoming more defensive. “It’s just a…”
“A mask?” Adam questioned, “Something to hide behind. That’s fine. I’ll still take you to the golden diamond. I sense it is of great importance to you. Shadow! Here boy! Quickly!”
The black stallion with the very shiny coat suddenly reappeared inside the circle of stones. Adam swiftly mounted the steed, and looked down to Lycralad, who looked back slightly bewildered. “Well, jump up then!” Adam smiled, thumbing behind him on the horse’s back. Lycralad clambered up and settled behind Adam. “Hold on – we’ll be travelling very fast!”
“Hold on? To what?” Lycralad knew what the answer was going to be.
“To me, my new friend… Wrap your arms around me and hold on tight. I can’t guarantee a smooth ride, but I can a fast one!”
Shadow suddenly reared upon his back legs again and seemed to scream, so strange was the sound that he made.
I can’t see you, but I can see where you are headed, Lycralad.
Sue? What is going on?
Finally. We can communicate through our thoughts alone. I’m sensing good vibrations from your new friend; he seems to really want to help you.
Have you coerced him, Sue?
Not at all. This chap doesn’t seem to need any kind of coercing. His horse, however, a little more so.
You are in the horse?
Not exactly, but along those lines.
“Woah, Shadow… what’s wrong, boy? That’s it,” Adam patted the horse’s neck and gently stroked his mane, “Settle down. Calm down. We have to take our friend here to the Monument of Eternity, and we need to be as relaxed about it as we can. The scripulus are everywhere tonight – we need to be extra guarded.”
“The scripulus?” Lycralad asked, unconsciously holding Adam tighter around his waist, “there are more of them?”
“Oh yes. Hundreds!” Adam smiled as he started Shadow galloping along a gravel path away from the stone circle.