Solo [Unstable Stables] Desserts in Wrong Places

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Considered one of the most mysterious cities in Mizahar, Alvadas is called The City of Illusions. It is the home of Ionu and the notorious Inverted. This city sits on one of the main crossroads through The Region of Kalea.

[Unstable Stables] Desserts in Wrong Places

Postby Dovey on December 21st, 2017, 5:19 am

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54 Winter, 517 AV
"Speech"
"Others"


To groom a horse ought not be particularly difficult. That was Dovey's opinion. Even if, say, some completely hypothetical rich man with orange whiskers had demanded to see his reflection in his palomino's coat by day's end - even then, grooming ought to be a sweaty but ultimately simple task. Of course, that was assuming that the coat of the horse in question was currently formed of any remotely reflective substance.

Custard was not reflective.

The goopy substance lay thickly and evenly spread across the gelding's back. Dovey's hands were dripping with it before she ascertained that there was nothing underneath but pink skin, as smooth as though it had been waxed. Only once the skin was exposed did Dovey realize she had made a mistake.

Her investigative efforts had left a large bald spot in the horse's coat - which coat might be made of dessert, but it was all the coat he had at the moment - and when the custardy illusion faded the bald spot might well remain. Which would not do; she could not be the stablehand who had been given a horse to groom and wound up neatly removing the hair from his shoulder. She wiped her hands on the patch of skin, and a thin smear of custard came off onto the gelding. Not enough, and she couldn't do much more without taking the risk of worsening the bald spot.

The horse whickered, and bits of custard flew from his muzzle, spattering across the floor.

"Petch this," Dovey growled, wiping her hands on the wooden wall and succeeding only in filling the custard with grit. Petch this city, she would have said, and meant it, but she wasn't convinced Alvadas couldn't hear - and wouldn't take revenge. She thought it might be punishing her now for her impatience with its illusions. Of course, perhaps this particular joke was on the rich man who'd boarded the palomino here in the first place, and demanded his horse be returned spotless. Fastidiousness never did well in this city. Dovey wouldn't have minded seeing his face when he realized what had happened, only it wasn't likely to be very entertaining for her, given that she was caught up in the drama too.

That this particular illusion might be merely a random occurrence never crossed Dovey's mind. Although she had been so long in Alvadas, her mind remained unadapted to its setting. Things happened for reasons, it insisted stubbornly, and such an absurd, disruptive event as a custard-covered horse must have a special cause behind it.

But regardless, the reason for the custard was unimportant just now. The real question was, how was she going to fix this? A native Alvad wouldn't have been fazed, she thought irritably. And native Alvads employed her; illusions had sabotaged her work performance for the past two seasons, and if they kept doing so for much longer, her employers might get tired of waiting for her to acclimate. She had to figure out how to solve this problem and solve it well.


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Dovey
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[Unstable Stables] Desserts in Wrong Places

Postby Dovey on February 2nd, 2018, 3:19 am

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54 Winter, 517 AV
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Right. Plan. How was she going to get the custard she'd pushed aside back into its place? How was she going to spread it evenly without removing even more of it? She couldn't use her fingers; for whatever petching reason, the custard stuck to her much more readily than it did to the horse's utterly bare skin, and she would only further mar his coat. She had to find some tool which the gooey substance would not cling to, which would leave it smooth and not arranged into strange ridges and valleys -

something designed for the purpose would be ideal -

Shyke, she wasn't a chef. Why did this city want her to be a chef? Nothing but inconvenience at every turn since the day she arrived, and now she was supposed to frost a horse? This was ridiculous. She wouldn't stand for it. Nostrils puffed out with righteous indignation, Dovey turned on her heel and left the stall. Another stablehand was passing and she caught at his arm. "Hey Charlie, wait a tick!"

He turned and looked at her, quizzical. "What is it?"

"Just watch him till I get back." Already retreating down the hall, she jabbed a thumb at the gelding. "Don't let him touch anything. Anything!"

"Hey, I've gotta - "

"I won't be long!" she said, cutting off his half-formed protest, and ducked around the corner. Hopefully he would stay.

Now, to find a godsforsaken spatula.

She made her way through the mazy halls until she reached the stable's entrance. Then, after glancing about nervously for anyone who might challenge her - she really did not want to be forced to explain this particular mission - she hurried through the yard and out the gate, onto the streets of Alvadas. She lingered for a moment there, giving the imposing structure behind her a stern glance as if daring it to move while she was gone, and then walked firmly away.

There was a bar on the first corner she turned, and she slowed to give it a longing glance. The warm light of a hearthfire flickered in the windows, inviting her silently to step inside for just a few chimes... but no. She had a job to do. This city wouldn't outsmart her today.

About ten chimes of brisk walking and she came upon a tiny bakery, windows displaying an array of pastries and smoke puffing from the rotund chimney. They might have something Dovey could borrow. A silver bell hanging from the doorknob rang as she entered the shop, and before she could blink, a tall old gentleman with a long mustache was shaking her hand vigorously.

"Welcome, welcome!" he shouted, while she craned her neck to stare up at him. "Welcome to Codfish's Shop of Delicacies! I'm Codfish, and these are the delicacies!" A sweeping gesture with his left hand encompassed the pastries piled about the shop.

"Ah, hello," Dovey said, blinking. Codfish's large hand was still pumping hers violently up and down. "Um. May I borrow a spatula, please?"


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Dovey
One unlucky girl
 
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[Unstable Stables] Desserts in Wrong Places

Postby Dovey on February 17th, 2018, 7:11 am

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54 Winter, 517 AV
"Speech"
"Others"


Codfish blinked, still squashing her hand in his. A moment went by, during which Dovey held her charmingest grin for slightly longer than was natural. He'd seemed so friendly when he'd greeted her. He had just better not change on her now.

At last he let go of her hand - she resisted the urge to massage the feeling back into her fingers - and dropped his own limp to his side. "Then you're not a customer?" His voice was plaintive, his expressive eyebrows still more so. "You don't want - scones? Meringues? Everything baked this morning!"

He was gazing at Dovey with childish hope. She sighed at him. Honestly, this was a grown man - but a grown man in Alvadas, she reminded herself, and no Alvad had ever followed convention.

Even if that convention was to avoid acting like a moping little kid.

Well, she'd get nowhere by dwelling on such thoughts - let alone revealing them to the baker. "Look," she said instead, in apologetic tones, "I'm working right now. And I really just need a spatula, so if you could lend me one, please..."

"You're working, eh?" His shaggy eyebrows rose and he eyed her up and down, apparently just noticing her rather grubby outfit. "You're not baking in that, are you? There's no cat fur in my meringues - "

"It's horse hair, actually," Dovey interrupted, picking a piece of the coarse stuff off her sleeve as she spoke. She paused, but Codfish didn't speak again, only looking at her with increasing curiosity. So she went on:
"That's, ah, that's why I"m here. The spatula's for - I mean - " Petch, the sentence was so absurd it didn't even want to come out. "I've got to smooth the icing on a horse."

"A horse!" Had Codfish's hairline not been receding, Dovey had the impression his eyebrows would have disappeared past it. "A horse! Ha!" Suddenly grinning (he was missing several teeth) the baker slapped her hard on the back. "A horse! There's an idea! A horse!"

"I'm not joking," Dovey said, annoyed.

"No, course not. Course not," he replied at once. "Bless me, the tricks Ionu does pull! Now that gives me a notion to cook something looks like a horse, make a little sculpture - "

"Look, I really need to hurry." She didn't know when the custard might turn back to hair, after all, nor when the gelding's owner might return.

"All right, girlie, no need to be snappish." Codfish sauntered around the counter, pulling open a drawer and pawing rattlingly through its contents. "Spatula, spatula. Hm." He held up a plain wooden utensil for her inspection. "How's this?"

It was a spatula, all right. "That will do fine, thank you." She held out her hand to take it. "I promise I'll bring it back by - "

"Ah!" He waggled his eyebrows. "You can hand it straight over when you're finished. Not every day you get to see your craft done on a horse." When her brow furrowed, he grinned in amusement. "To spell it out, young'un, I'm coming with you."


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Dovey
One unlucky girl
 
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[Unstable Stables] Desserts in Wrong Places

Postby Dovey on March 10th, 2018, 1:06 am

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54 Winter, 517 AV
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"Oh." Dovey shifted, kicking at the hem of her dress. "Um. In that case, why don't you - " Noncommittally she pointed at the spatula he held, but he backed off dramatically, his free hand held up in protest. "Oh no, missy. I'm not getting within ten feet of any of your beasts. You'll do the honors and I'll watch."

"He's a pretty gentle gelding - " Dovey began, but Codfish's expression was resolute. She sighed and gave up. "All right. Only would you coach me as I go, please, seeing as you're a professional and all?" A bit of flattery never hurt. And she could use any help she could get.

"Of course, of course." Codfish untied his apron with one hand and tossed it onto a hook by the side of the counter. "Well, let's be going. Lead on!" He brandished the spatula.

"Er. I will." And Dovey led on, down the bakery's worn steps and into the bustling street.

She had worried, as they set out walking, that she might not be able to find the stables for a long time. She sometimes had to walk for nearly a bell before arriving to work in the morning, after all - and considering she was theoretically supposed to be at the stables now, she wasn't in love with the idea of wasting the rest of her work day trying to locate them. But Alvadas was kind, or perhaps merely amused, and as the motley pair turned the corner at the end of the street the Unstable Stables loomed large ahead of them. "There it is," said Dovey to Codfish, over her shoulder, and quickened her step.

For a chime or two more they wound through the twisting halls, until Dovey saw a telltale flash of custard-orange between the bars on the stall windows: the gelding was just ahead of them. She motioned Codfish on, hurrying forward. Was the stablehand she'd left to watch over her charge still there? Had any more damage been done to the horse's coat since she'd left?

The lad she’d pressed into watching the horse was gone, she noted ruefully. She would probably have left if she’d been him, and some girl had shown up giving orders and not explaining anything, but it was still a disappointment. That meant the horse had been here for a while without anyone to keep him from rubbing his custard off against things. "Have you been good?" Dovey breathed nervously, moving forward so she could inspect him through the bars of the stall door.

He had been pretty good; that was to say, there were no new large spots of bare skin that she could see. His muzzle was dribbling, and a few spots of pink dotted his chin where the coating had dripped off. That should be fairly easy to fix. The main thing was covering over that big bald patch she’d created at the start of this debacle.

She turned to Codfish, who had followed her over to the stall but maintained a judicious distance of a few paces. "May I have the spatula, then? It’s time I get to work."


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"Common" "Fratava" "Pavi"
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Dovey
One unlucky girl
 
Posts: 223
Words: 175718
Joined roleplay: December 31st, 2016, 10:42 am
Location: Sunberth
Race: Human, Mixed
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[Unstable Stables] Desserts in Wrong Places

Postby Dovey on March 14th, 2018, 2:29 am

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54 Winter, 517 AV
"Speech"
"Others"


She took the spatula from Codfish's outstretched hand, the solemnity of his expression infecting her with a vague sense of dread. He looked as serious as though he were sending her into battle. But that was Codfish, she reminded herself; the old man was afraid of horses, but Dovey liked them and got along with them. She would be fine. Shaking off the moment of unease, she entered the stall, sliding the big door shut behind her.

The gelding took a step toward her at once and nudged her amiably with his nose. She swore and backed up immediately, and he was content not to follow, but the damage had already been done - the custard from the top of his muzzle was now adorning her dress, and his dripping whiskers poked from smooth pink skin. This was going to be a challenge.

Before she started working, she would have to find a way to keep him still. Cross-ties would do it - but no, she couldn't get a halter over his head with him in this state. A bucket of food to occupy him - yes, if she wanted his whole head coated in oats as well as sticky custard. Petch it all, how did you hold a horse perfectly still without touching him?

Horse trainers usually taught their charges some command to keep them from rushing out the pasture gate as soon as it was opened. Most horses weren't so respectful of them as to stand stock still, and that was really what Dovey needed. But perhaps...? "Whoa," she said, in as calming a tone as she could manage. "Whoa. Ho. Halt. Hold. Still. Steady. Quiet." There were too many options, but what could she do? He wasn't moving, anyhow, though perhaps only because he didn't feel like it. She held her hand out, palm flat and facing the gelding. "Stay. Wait."

She edged round his side. He swung his head to look at her, and she pushed him back with two fingers on the bare part of his muzzle. "No, hold still, you stupid lump," she said, her voice still quiet, soothing. She lifted the spatula, laid it against the big mound of custard raised up next to the bald patch on his shoulder. Started to smoothe.

It was simpler than she'd thought it would be, even despite the horse fidgeting - "Shh, easy now" - and shifting his weight beneath her touch. Codfish called out suggestions every so often, telling her to switch her hand position or to pull up her sleeve before it dragged in the custard, but mostly he just watched. She appreciated the quiet as she worked; this coating had to come out even.

Slowly the custard spread back across the horse's pink skin, building before the spatula like ocean swell. Several times it wrinkled and frightened her; she tried to imagine what a horse with a coat like lumpy and wrinkled custard would look like. But she always managed to get it spread smooth enough. Now the shoulder was done - on to the nose - and now the last of the golden gel was spread down to the very edges of the gelding's nostrils, making him twitch his head and threaten to sneeze.

"Codfish, we're done," she breathed reverently as she slipped from the stall.

"Congratulations," he replied, taking the spatula from her outstretched hand. "And - oh, will you look at that?" He peered over her shoulder. "You're the expert, but seems to me that's how a horse should look."

She turned. There was the gelding in his own palomino coat - thick and even and unmistakably hairy.

"Thank gods," she sighed, seeming to sag in her skin. Then a thought struck her. "Um, Codfish? Do you think it made a difference, doing all that work?"

He raised his shaggy eyebrows.

"I mean," she pressed on, "maybe... maybe Alvadas would have put his coat back like normal anyhow. I guess it was good to play things safe, but... I never can tell how an illusion's going to work out, that's all."

Codfish twirled the spatula in his fingers. "No," he agreed happily. "You really never can tell."


Boxcode credit: Karin Ironyach
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"Common" "Fratava" "Pavi"
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Dovey
One unlucky girl
 
Posts: 223
Words: 175718
Joined roleplay: December 31st, 2016, 10:42 am
Location: Sunberth
Race: Human, Mixed
Character sheet
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[Unstable Stables] Desserts in Wrong Places

Postby Madeira Craven on April 8th, 2018, 7:11 pm

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Grades Awarded!

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Dovey

Skills
  • Horsemanship: 2xp
  • Observation: 3xp
  • Logic: 2xp
  • Planning: 2xp
  • Persuasion: 3xp
  • Socialization: 2xp
  • Negotiation: 1xp
  • Pastry Decorating: 1xp

Lores
  • Lore of the infuriating Custard Horse
  • Location: Codfish's Shop of Delicacies!
  • Persuasion technique: gentle flattery
  • Pastry Decorating: smoothing icing
  • Horsmanship: verbal commands

Awards & Retribution


Notes
Great job thread! I always appreciate people who use the city to create interesting situations. Your creativity is what makes you a fantastic writer. :thumbsup:

I wasn't sure what to give you for smoothing a custard horse, since it's not grooming, baking, cooking or cosmetology. So I hope you're happy with your pastry decorating skill. If you have any preferences for how I name it give me a shout. :p
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Madeira Craven
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