Solo [The Sanctuary] Moving Forward

Lian's first day on the job.

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Built into the cliffs overlooking the Suvan Sea, Riverfall resides on the edge of grasslands of Cyphrus where the Bluevein River plunges off the plain and cascades down to the inland sea below. Home of the Akalak, Riverfall is a self-supporting city populated by devoted warriors. [Riverfall Codex]

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[The Sanctuary] Moving Forward

Postby Lian Windrunner on October 31st, 2015, 8:09 pm

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45th Day of Fall, 515 AV
7th Bell, Morning
Sanctuary



The young girl looked both terrified, and defiant at the same time. There was also a hint of despair in the depths of her expressive blue eyes. It didn't matter. Lian reached out for her, but she drew back warily. He tried again, only to be met with the same response. This time, the girl dodged past him, and bolted towards the tent flap.

Annoyance filled Lian, making him snarl at the girl wordlessly as he pursued her. He caught up with her in a matter of ticks, yanking her off of her feet as he dragged her back to his bedroll. With her already off balance, it was easy to knock her off of her feet. She struggled wildly as he fumbled with her pants, pulling them down to her ankles. It was a useless attempt. His strength was greater than hers, so he had the upper hand. Her screams for help went unheeded. Lian had made certain they would by informing his neighbors of what they were likely to hear. He glared down at the girl. Her defiance was understandable, but it would have to be punished all the same. Lian had planned on trying to spare the girl as much pain as he could, but now he wouldn't. Perhaps pain would teach her what his warnings had not; defiance was the same as disobedience, and would not be tolerated.

Lian drove his knee between her thighs, forcing them apart. Her deep blue eyes were wide with terror, and filled with tears. There was no sign of her earlier defiance now.

"Please..." she whispered.

Lian ignored her. He felt something give way as he buried himself deep within her tense, unwilling body. Agony darkened the girl's expressive eyes even more than the terror had. Although he had planned to give her time to adjust in order to spare her unnecessary pain, he did not do so now. Anger at her defiance caused him to be rougher with the girl than he truly needed to be.

Her screams of pain slowly faded into soft whimpers as her voice failed her. Lian felt no pity for the girl. Her own defiance had made this worse than it had to be for her. Intense pleasure drove a shout of triumph out of Lian as he reached his climax. When he was done, he stared down at her coldly.

The blood of the girl's innocence stained her inner thighs. Her tear filled eyes had a dazed, horrified expression, and she shuddered as she looked up at him. Then she turned away, curling in on herself. Her entire body shook as she sobbed brokenly.

"Don't defy me again." he warned her coldly.


Lian's eyes flew open, as he fled from his disturbing dreams. Who was that girl? Had that really happened? The details of the dream began to fade, and Lian was happy to let it happen. It was deeply disturbing to think that it might be real. He didn't think he was capable of hurting someone so terribly, but how could he be certain? He knew so little about himself, and the dream had felt so real...

Lian forced the fading images back into the depths of him mind. If it was real, and he truly was capable of such cruelty, then perhaps he didn't want to remember the past. Perhaps it was better if he just focused on the here and now, and made a new life for himself. One where he wouldn't be capable of such things.

To that end, Lian got up, and readied himself to face the day. It was the first day of his new job as a riding instructor, and Lian wanted to prove to Kavala that she wouldn't regret hiring him..
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[The Sanctuary] Moving Forward

Postby Lian Windrunner on November 4th, 2015, 8:32 pm

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Lian was nervous about the lesson he was supposed to give. Who was he going to be teaching? Did they truly want to learn how to ride? Or was someone pressuring them to do so? If it was the latter, Lian didn't think he would be able to teach them much. Would they give the horses the respect they deserved? Or would the horses be no more than mere animals to them? If it were the latter, Lian didn't think that he would want to teach them anything.

He needed to quiet his mind, or he wouldn't be able to teach anyone anything. So after a quick bite to eat, Lian made his way outside through the tunnel that led into the riding arena. It was here that he would be giving his lesson later. But for now, Lian turned to the right, and made his way into the barn where the horses that were being boarded in the Sanctuary were being kept. Talise was waiting for him in the east pasture, on the far side of the boarding barn.

She wasn't wearing her yvas, but Lian decided that he didn't need it for this. He mounted his strider, and requested her to start walking with a gesture from his legs. Lian guided Talise into the riding arena. As a warm up, they alternated laps where they walked around the edge with ones that Talise took at a brisk trot. It felt good to be riding his strider. It felt...natural. Like home. The act of riding didn't stir up any of his missing memories, but from the feelings he got as he rode, Lian guessed that it must have been a very important part of his life.

When Talise had been warmed up enough, she tossed her head restlessly, wanting to run. Lian obliged her, giving her the signal to move into a canter. It felt as though Lian were flying. He couldn't imagine a better feeling in all the world. They circled the ring several times before Talise upped the game, moving into a full gallop of her own accord.

Instead of pulling her back into a canter, Lian merely leaned forward, trying to cut down his resistance to the wind that whipped past them as they ran. Man and strider were one. It was a heady feeling, one Lian knew that he couldn't live without. And yet, there was still something missing. He felt free...and yet not. They were constrained by the riding arena. The arena offered more room to move, and more freedom to run than the city did, but it wasn't the same as true freedom. True freedom was racing the wind out in the Sea of Grass, with no one to tell them how far they could go, or what direction they had to ride in. Lian didn't know how he knew that, but he felt it with every fiber of his being. He had had that freedom once. And he would have it again. But that was for another time. He had a lesson to give.

With considerable reluctance, Lian slowed his strider into a walk. He gave her time to walk herself cool, then gestured for her to stop. Feeling calmer now, Lian went to get his curry comb. He wanted Talise to look her best for the lesson he was about to give.

Lian slipped his hand into the handle, and started with Talise's mane. With slow, gentle strokes, he brushed the dirt out of his strider's mane. Once he was done with that, he moved to her neck. Using circular motions, he moved slowly from her neck, to her shoulders, to her sides, and finally to her withers. As he brushed her, Talise leaned into his touch. It was obvious that she enjoyed the attention. Lian enjoyed caring for Talise like this, too. His actions didn't stir up any specific memories, but he did get the distinct impression that he cherished quiet moments like these with Talise.

He slowly brushed Talise's back, before moving on to her croup. While brushing her croup, Lian was especially careful not to startle her. When he was done, he moved to Talise's other side, and repeated the process starting with her neck. Finally, he wiped away the dirt and hair he'd stirred up with his hand. He gave Talise's neck a quick pat. Then he left quickly, promising her that he would return in a few ticks. He had just enough time to go put his curry comb away and get Talise's gear before his students were expected to arrive.

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[The Sanctuary] Moving Forward

Postby Lian Windrunner on November 6th, 2015, 5:02 pm

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The people he was supposed to teach were arriving by the time he got back. They were children, and most looked excited to be there. Roughly half of the small group were blue skinned, broad shouldered boys. But there were several humans, as well. And even a couple of girls who had the same pale beauty that Kavala did. Konti, then.

Lian eyed the eager group, wondering how to begin. He was supposed to teach them how to ride, but there was so much a person had to know before ever getting on a horse if they truly wanted to be able to call themselves a rider. How to introduce themselves to their horse, for example. And how to put a horse's gear on properly. It went against the grain to simply put these children on the backs of the horses available to them without teaching them everything they should know. So he decided to start with the most rudimentary of basics.

After introducing himself as their teacher for the day, Lian began telling them how important it was to form a good relationship with any horse they planned to spend much time riding. Trust was the most important element of this bond between horse and rider. And that trust went both ways. Trust that the horse will obey the rider, and not throw them at the first opportunity. Trust that the rider will not hurt the horse, or lead them into danger that they are not trained to handle. Lian's voice was soft, and even as he explained the importance of trust. between horse and rider.

He told the children that trust was formed over time, and required horse and rider to spend time together. Not just working together, but simply getting to know each other. And the first step was a proper greeting. Lian demonstrated this to the group, offering his hand flat with the palm facing up to Talise. Talise sniffed his hand in greeting, then nuzzled it. This made several of the children smile, and Lian returned the gesture by stroking Talise's neck gently for a few ticks.

"Horses are wary of people and things they do not know. They are not predators, and so their instincts are to flee or avoid what they do not understand and trust. So if you want to work well with a horse, it has to be able to trust you." he summarized.

Then it was time for the kids to get to know their horses. Lian watched as they did as he had showed them, offering their hands to the horses they would be riding in order to introduce themselves to them. Most of these introductions seemed to go well. But one of the boys startled his horse into shying away by moving too quickly, and abruptly, startling the mare in the process.

Lian calmed the mare, soothing her with soft words, and a gentle touch. Then he turned, and explained what the boy had done wrong.

"Horses are easily startled. They don't like fast, sudden movements. Especially when they don't know you, and haven't learned to trust you yet. Let's try this again, and this time, go slowly, okay?"

The boy nodded, and apologized. Under Lian's watchful eye, and guidance, he introduced himself to the mare again. This time, the mare responded better, and lipped the boy's hand after sniffing it curiously. The boy grinned at the sensation.

Once the introductions were out of the way, Lian took Talise's yvas off, and spread it on the ground so they could all gather around and see it clearly.

"This is called a yvas." he began.

Lian made certain to show his students the strap used to fasten the yvas around a horse's belly, and the rings that could be used for so many different things.

"Where do you hold on?" one of the kids, a nervous looking girl asked.

Lian studied the young girl. Her expression was one of nervousness mixed with interest, and eagerness to learn. Lian guessed that she truly wanted to learn how to ride, but that the horses intimidated her in some way. Possibly due to their size. She was a very small girl, after all.

"If you need to, you would hold on to these rings here." he explained, pointing out a couple of rings at the front of the yvas.

"What about the rest of the rings?" one of the boys asked.

"There sure are a lot of them." another boy commented.

"You can attach yvas bags to the rings so you can carry any supplies that you might need. Or you could tie a rope to a couple of the rings so your horse can pull a travois. Or both. If you are a hunter, you can tie a rope to your kill, and attach it to one of the rings so you can drag it back with you. Or if you've managed to capture a wild horse, you can tie the rope securing the animal to a yvas ring so you can lead it back home. There are any number of things these rings can be used for."

Lian answered a few more questions before moving on to the next part of the lesson.


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[The Sanctuary] Moving Forward

Postby Lian Windrunner on November 6th, 2015, 5:57 pm

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"When are we going to...you know...learn how to ride? That is what we're here for!"

Lian eyed the boy who had spoken so rudely with a relentless gaze. The boy glared at him with a challenge in his eyes. Lian didn't budge. He simply stared at the boy in silence. After a few chimes, he backed down with a muttered apology. Satisfied with the apology, Lian nodded.

"Don't rush things. I am going to teach you the way I was taught. The way all Drykas are taught how to ride."

It was an assumption on his part, as he had no memory of actually learning how to ride. But it was a fairly safe assumption to make.

"We start with the basics. One of those is how to introduce yourself to the horse you wish to ride. We've covered that. And just now, you've learned what a yvas is. Do you know how to put a yvas on your horse?"

The boy shook his head, staring at the ground.

"Then, unless you wish to ride bareback...which I wouldn't recommend for someone who knows nothing about riding a horse...it would be a good idea to learn how to put one on a horse, don't you think?"

The boy nodded, and apologized again. He had looked sullen before as Lian scolded him, but now that Lian had explained why he was teaching them the way he was, the boy seemed more understanding of the slow pace of the lesson. Lian looked at the other children to see if there were any others who were impatient with the way he was handling the lesson. There were none.

Lian demonstrated how to put a blanket on a horse. As he did so, he explained that it was a good idea to do so because it gave the horse a layer of cushioning between its flesh, and the yvas. That was especially important on long rides to prevent chafing. It also helped to keep the yvas cleaner since the blanket offered protection from sweat.

After Lian had demonstrated this a few times, he let the kids practice. He watched them carefully as they worked. Some seemed to understand what they were supposed to do immediately. These finished quickly, and without mistakes. Lian grinned at them, and nodded in approval. Others struggled, and Lian let them. It was important to let them make their own mistakes, or they wouldn't learn. A few seemed to figure out what they were doing wrong, and tried to fix their mistakes on their own. Lian let them do so. But if they couldn't figure out what to do, Lian moved in to show them. Then he made them start over, and practice until they got it right. It was a simple task, so most got it right on the second try. A few asked him questions, and Lian answered them.

When all of the children had managed to get their blankets on their horses, Lian showed them how to put a yvas on. He made certain to move slowly so they could see what he was doing clearly. And he explained each step as he worked. Lian also showed them the trick of tapping a horse's belly gently to make them exhale before buckling the yvas if they saw their horse inhaling deeply and holding their breath. He explained that some horses did this so that the yvas would be loose once they exhaled. This, he told them could lead to the yvas coming off as they rode, causing them to fall. Tapping a horse's belly to make them exhale would prevent this.

Once again, Lian let the kids practice what he had showed them. As before, some of the kids caught on quickly, while others needed more time. Lian allowed them to make their own mistakes, offering assistance only if asked, or if one of the children couldn't seem to figure out what they were doing wrong. And he waited until everyone had succeeded in putting their yvas on their horse before continuing.


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[The Sanctuary] Moving Forward

Postby Lian Windrunner on November 7th, 2015, 5:55 pm

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The next obvious step was to teach the kids how to mount a horse. Lian demonstrated the proper way to do it, going slowly as he did so. With each move, he explained what he has doing so that the kids would understand. He also took the time to explain why certain things shouldn't be done; like moving too quickly, which would startle their horse, or coming at them from their blind side, which would frighten them. Finally, Lian made sure to show the kids how to dismount as well.

When Lian was certain that the kids knew what to do, he had them practice what he had showed them. He kept a close eye on them to make certain that they were taking the lesson seriously, and not doing anything that might get them, or one of the horses hurt. But he didn't really expect anything like that to happen. The kids seemed to be a good bunch, and they genuinely seemed to want to learn how to ride. Lian was ready to offer assistance if it were needed, but most of the kids were doing exactly as they had been instructed. And to his pleasant surprise, some of the kids who had caught on immediately were helping the ones who seemed uncertain, or nervous.

After all of the kids were sitting astride their horses, Lian noticed that adults were starting to gather at the edge of the arena. He realized that they must be the parents of the children he was teaching. Had the time really passed so quickly? It surprised Lian to realize that it had. He was even more surprised to realize how much he had enjoyed teaching the children. Seeing them learn what he was teaching them, and the enjoyment they seemed to feel while doing so stirred feelings of pride and contentment in him. Although he couldn't remember any specific memories, he felt as though this was not the first time he had taught a child. Did that mean that he was a teacher? Lian wished that he knew. Perhaps it did not matter. He was enjoying himself now, and the kids seemed to benefit from his teaching. Perhaps that was all that mattered.

When the kids noticed that their parents had come for them, they were quick to dismount. Lian noticed that they were careful to walk out of the arena, making certain not to startle the horses as they left. One of the boys paused at the gate of the riding arena.

"I understand why you taught us the way that you did now...but will we actually get to ride the horses next time?" he asked hopefully.

Lian grinned at the blue skinned boy, and nodded.

"Next time." he promised.

The boy grinned, and ran over towards a giant of a man. He, like the boy, was blue skinned, though his skin was much darker than the boy's, and had a purple tint. As Lian watched the kids telling their parents what they had learned, Lian noticed that there were no blue skinned women mixed in with the men. For that matter, although roughly half of the kids he'd been teaching were blue skinned boys, none of the girls had had blue skin. Lian had learned that those who had blue skin here in Riverfall were of a race called the Akalak. Was it a cultural thing for that race, not to let their women be seen in public? Lian was curious, but he did not want to offend anyone, so he refrained from asking.

After the kids had gone, Lian turned back to the riding arena. He now had several horses that needed tending to.

"I think that I am going to teach those kids how to care for their horses after they are done riding them in their next lesson, too." he said with a rueful sigh as he got to work.


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