Bloody horses. He hated the beasts—loud, oversized dogs, in his opinion—but there had been no time to be picky. He'd stolen the first horse he could find, a brilliantly black mare with inky eyes. If horses could smirk, he'd thought.

A flash of lightening reflected over the Queen's castle, thunder echoing in his ears; he was sure the curse was soon to follow. "C'mon love, faster," he urged the steed, digging his heels into her sides. The Queen's men were likely taking the troll road, but he knew he could beat them by a good twenty minutes if he cut through the forest.

But the Queen burned the wardrobe, a small voice reminded him. Just what do you think will save that child now?

He steered the horse in the direction of the forest, and after a brief moment's hesitation, she followed his lead, charging through the trees.

He had but one card left to play.

Reaching around his waist, he pulled a small pan flute from his satchel. He brought it to his lips as the mare leapt over a log, and for a brief moment, he was flying, the wind carrying his whistle to the stars, singing the song he could never forget.