Leonard, Melly, and Greg headed out to the stables for their first riding lesson. It was a beautiful morning and they were as full as they could be. Breakfast had been excellent. Waffles, bacon and a choice of syrups had appeared on their tables courtesy of the group with kp duty that morning. It turned out there were chores here at camp to do. None of chores except maybe cleaning the bathroom had been too bad.
Blue Sky and Oak had said at the meal that it was important to remember they had two hands to work with and not to use magic for everything. Blue Sky had commented that if they let you use magic for everything that they would eat twice as much and the camp couldn’t afford it which caused a lot of laughter. Leonard thought his grandmother would have said the same thing.
Now they were out in the sunshine. Leonard looked up at the oak leaves above him fluttering in the wind and for the moment couldn’t worry about whatever the next test was going to be, it was too lovely a day. For the first time in a long time he relaxed, even his grandmother let him sleep last night or he was too tired to remember.
They climbed the hill to the stables and were met by the Horse Ranger who told them to line up by the corral and wait for everyone to get there. At the corral railings were tied ten horses, all colours and all sizes and one odd looking animal that looked like a really tall donkey. Leonard and his friends waited quietly and looked around the area. There was a barn in at the end of the far corral and some pens. They wondered quietly what was over there but decided to wait since they were supposed to stay here and they were eager to try riding.
The rest of the kids had started to gather at the rail and were looking at the horses and trying to decide which one would be theirs. Meanwhile, Leonard was feeling a tugging on him from the direction of the barn. He could see not everyone was there yet so he went with it. Greg and Melly followed curiously.
“Leonard! What are you doing? We’re supposed to wait for the Wrangler or whoever she is.” Melly whispered urgently.
“I know but I need to go here.” Leonard said calmly.
Leonard was following the tugging and headed into the barn with the other two behind him. A tall thin man was stretched out on the barn floor trying to reach around a hay bail.
“I wondered if anyone would come.” The man said not turning around as he continued to try to reach around the hay bail. “Cleo is back here and I think she is trying to decide it’s the place to have her kittens and I can’t get her out. Help me move this bail of hay.”
He stood up and turned around. He had hair that was black as a crow’s wing and the bluest eyes Leonard had ever seen. “It takes at least two people to move these things when they get old. Grab an end, guys.”
The three gathered around to pick it up and moved it over to the other side. The man stood up and looked at them. “My name is Ash, like the tree. Who heard me call?”
Greg and Melly pointed at Leonard.
“Hmmm, a red head with earth or air elements. That’s unusual.” He looked at the other two. “You didn’t hear or feel anything?”
Greg and Melly shook their heads. There was something about this man that was very calming but intimidating at the same time. He was wearing a green polo so it was clear what his element was, earth.
“Now, I think it’s time for you to head back to the corrals while I take Cleo to a better place for her to have her kittens,” and he grabbed the calico cat as she peeked out from her hidey hole.
Leonard, Greg and Melly headed back out shaking there heads. What had just happened?