The stables were empty save for one stable boy, but as no one had heard the news, Owain mounted his horse with no difficulty. But as he was riding into the courtyard, the alarm sounded. They knew of his escape.
Desperately, he spurred his horse towards the first gate. Shouts of ‘stop him!’ followed as he galloped. The courtyard had never seemed so big… With a groan, the portcullis began to grate its way to the ground, but even now, Owain could tell he wasn’t going to make it. But he had to! The other gates were already closing. He had only one chance. He couldn’t give up now!
A bolt from a crossbow whistled past him, and he ducked quickly, knowing it would make almost no difference. He rejoiced that he’d advised his father against decking the guardsmen out with firearms – if they had bayonets, he would be dead by now.
The portcullis was nearly at the ground! No! He couldn’t fail now! Not when he was so close… Just a few more seconds… !
He spurred his horse again, whispering in his ear. He’d never failed him yet… He leaned as far over the horse’s neck as he could as they neared the portcullis… And here they were – it was now or never!
The spiked bottom of the portcullis brushed Owain’s hair as they passed beneath it, and it clanged shut seconds after him. But they were through!
He quickly left behind him the enraged shouts of the guardsmen, the woman he loved and his home. In only four days, he’d gone from being Crown Prince of all Disnarta, likely to marry his cousin, the beautiful Lady Beatrix, and son of one of the best kings ever to wear a crown – to being an outlaw, hunted by those he had once loved, and blamed for killing his own father.
These were dangerous times. For everyone. Not just the unlucky ones.