TITLE: Winter's Discord
GENRE: YA epic fantasy
The morning started wet and dark when the riders set out to the east. The sun was little more than a dull glint behind gray clouds while a blanket of fog covered the land surrounding the castle. It filled Ben Grange with the promise of mystery and excitement. But by mid-morning, the fog lifted and their party of fifty riders was galloping over the farmland that stretched as far as the eye could see. Ben stayed focused on the eastern horizon as he rode alongside his father, the Duke. A sharp, cold rain began to fall, stinging his face. Ben almost wished it were snow falling instead. Snow wouldn't hurt as much.
It was closer to midday when they entered the hills of the western woods. The road narrowed so they could only ride two or three abreast. Ben tried to position himself next to his father, but was pushed further back into the column. Eventually he found himself between two older soldiers with a distant view of his father's horse's rear. To make matters worse, the rain stared to come down harder. The column slowed as they entered the woods and Ben pulled his hood further over his head as they continued to ride. Ben began to lose track of time as the woods pushed in all around them.
Ben noticed they had slowed, the guards beside him pulling back the reins. Looking up from under his hood, Ben tried to see what was holding them up.