Maybe Tony is right.
The moment Marianne thought it, she felt a stray breeze play at her hair. In the next instant, strong hands lifted her out of the chariot seat and placed her on the sturdy back of a sleek, midnight-black horse. It was the handsome blonde who had passed them earlier.
The animal spread its wings and they were almost immediately soaring above the road.
Marianne opened her mouth, and the first thing that came out was a scream. Then she yelled at the strong arms that wrapped around her waist. “What are you doing? Is this a kidnapping?”
“Look down." Said the deep voice above her shoulder.
Marianne looked and felt her stomach drop earthwards. They were maybe twice as high as the tallest building in that district and directly below them she could see her brother standing in the chariot, looking up and yelling something she was too far away to hear. On the roof of the house where she had seen the man in black stood another man also looking up. The sunlight flickered off some metal object he held in his hand.
Then another patch of black caught her eye. There were other men on other roofs, all holding something that glinted in the sun, all looking up at Marianne and the winged horse's rider where they circled above the city streets.
"There were men following you on the rooftops," the young man said over her shoulder.
Marianne jerked forward, nearly throwing herself out of the young man's arms. "My brother! What about my--"
One of the men down below moved suddenly and something whizzed past Marianne's face. The arms fastened themselves tighter around her middle and in moments the winged horse was in a steep climb.
"Arrows," the young man hissed over her shoulder.
Marianne craned her head around to look back. Where was her brother? Where was Tony? God, she couldn't lose him. There had been enough death in her family already.
There he was! Very small, still standing in the chariot. The other men were just spots of black scattered about.
The horse leveled off and Marianne struggled, clawing at the her captors arms. "Take me down. My brother's down there!"
The arms didn't loosen. "Stop that. I'll drop you rather than let you pull me and Torrent out of the sky. Then my good deed would have been for nothing. We'll be on the ground soon enough."
Marianne stopped struggling long enough for the ground to get a little closer.
As the winged horse descended toward one of the mansion's flat roof tops, Marianne fought again. When the horse was only a few feet from touching down, the man released her and she fell onto her hands with a thud that jolted up her bones to rattle her scull.
Marianne stood, cradling her aching arms. She turned and backed away from the winged horse and its rider. "How could you leave him?" Tears streamed down her face. "He could be dead. They must have shot him. We have to go back!"
The man had slid from the saddle and stood with his back to her, speaking softly to the horse. It lowered its head to rub it against the man's chest. He smiled then pulled the reins over the creature's head and looped them over his arm. The man sighed, then turned to Marianne. "You're brother is, no doubt, fine," he said. "They wanted you. The Order isn't interested in just anyone."
Marianne stopped in shock. "You know the Order? Then what--Then, in God's name, who are you?" she asked.
"Who I am is not interesting. But if you wish, you may call me Cayden." Cayden turned and ran a hand over his horse's neck. "I am much more interested in why the Order found you of note. I think you should come inside and tell me about yourself. I will, of course, provide dinner."
Marianne hesitated. Not only was she still kidnapped, but for all her brother knew she had been taken by the Order and was dead. "My brother--" she began.
"If you tell me where you were going," Cayden interrupted, "as soon as we get inside I will send a messenger to apprise your brother of your health and well being and to summon him to our impromptu dinner party. Is that agreeable to you?"
He had probably saved her life. There was nowhere else for her to go. And he was going to call her brother. Marianne shrugged, then nodded. "Yes."
"Good then." Cayden turned and kicked a slightly larger piece of roof gravel. The stone fell over with a chunk, as if it were a lever of some sort. There was a rush and a rumble as something below them roared to life. Marianne started back and watched in awe as the roof before them slid back into itself with a series of hisses revealing a dim, curling stairway leading down into the house below. The whirring and hissing ceased and Marianne took a step forward.
"Are you a sorcerer?" she asked.
Cayden smiled. "No. This isn't magic. It's science. Mechanics." He walked towards the opening and the horse followed him. "Digby! Where are you? Come and take my horse. We have visitors."