Meet My Imaginary Friends: Xena, Pearl, Excalibur, and Sultan
Xena, Pearl, and Excalibur are Gypsy Vanner horses who live on Amelia Schreiber's horse farm. Xena is a buckskin mare, Pearl is a white mare, and Excalibur is a palomino stallion. But the most prized of all Amelia's horses is Sultan, a Friesian stallion, who was taken from his stable by her jealous ex-husband. In this scene from The Legend: A Marienstadt Story, stable-keeper Kit Wilde meets Sultan and Amelia for the first time.
“Got us a new boarder,” Andy said, hanging up the phone, one morning when Kit came into the stable’s office.
“Good,” Kit said. “Are they bringing the horse over or should I go pick him up?”
“She’s riding him over this morning.” Andy grinned a mischievous grin. “We’re in for a treat with this one. Ever seen a Friesian stallion?”
“No. What’s that?”
“One of the most beautiful breeds of horse that you’ll ever see. Black as coal, every one of them, and powerful. They’re an ancient breed of draft horses so they’re all muscle, but every one I’ve ever seen is as graceful and nimble as a show horse.”
Kit’s eyes widened. “No kidding?”
“Missus St. Clair said the horse was a gift from her husband. He’s some kind of big shot financier—worth a ton of money. She said they had a big place out in the country where she could take care of the horse herself, but her husband is selling it so they can move into the city. She didn’t sound real happy about that.”
“Why would he do that?”
“Because people have their heads up their asses.” Andy stood up and reached for his hat hanging on a wall rack. “Can I count on you to stick around here?”
“Her name is Amelia St. Clair. I’m sure you’ll be more charming than I am. She sounded upset. I’m not real good with upset women.”
Kit kept his amusement to himself as he watched Andy take the reins of the horse waiting for him, mount it, and ride off like a disgruntled old gunslinger tired of shooting people for their own good. An hour later Kit was crossing the driveway between the office and the house when he spotted a horse with rider galloping through the south pasture toward him. He stopped in his tracks and stared. There was no mistaking this creature—he had never seen anything like it. The horse was both powerful and graceful with an elegant neck and a long, thick mane that blew about in the wind like billowing smoke. Its deep black coat gleamed and long feathers puffed out around all four lower legs with each step. As horse and rider drew closer, the animal slowed to a beautiful, high-stepping trot. Kit looked up at the rider whose face was shaded by the brim of a dark fedora. He raised his hand in greeting.
“Hello,” he called. “You must be Missus St. Clair.”
She returned his greeting. As the horse slowed and stopped in front of him, Kit thought he’d never seen anything as majestic as this animal. It held its head high as though aware that it was no ordinary horse. When Kit reached for its halter and ran his hand lightly over its neck the horse nickered softly as if to say, “Yes, you may touch me.”
“Mister Wilde?” the woman asked.
“I’m Kit Wilde. Who is this gorgeous fellow?”
She swung out of the saddle and dropped to the ground, as fluid and graceful as her horse. “This is Sultan,” she said, caressing him with her hand. “My darling Sultan.”
Kit stroked Sultan’s neck. “We’re going to take very good care of Sultan.”