Solo [The Sanctuary] Returning a Kindness

Work thread.

(This is a thread from Mizahar's fantasy role playing forum. Why don't you register today? This message is not shown when you are logged in. Come roleplay with us, it's fun!)

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]

Moderator: Gossamer

[The Sanctuary] Returning a Kindness

Postby Lian Windrunner on February 7th, 2016, 4:44 am

Image
29th Day of Winter, 515 AV


You're going to give another lesson now?

Lian glanced at his strider distractedly as he tried to decide which horses he wanted to use for his lesson. He had taught the children who were coming a number of times before. A few had improved to the point that they were ready for a more challenging horse. One of the other horses he liked to use with younger riders was recovering from a minor leg injury. It was nothing serious, but he didn't think that she should be ridden today. The stress to the injured leg caused by the added weight of a rider would likely be painful for the mare, and might well cause aggravation to the injury.

"I am. You remember the group of kids who came several times last season, don't you? Especially the little girl who was afraid of horses at first?"

Yes.

"Those are the kids who I'm going to be teaching today."

Good. I like them. They're old to be learning how to ride, but they're nice. The others like them, too.

By others, Lian knew that Talise meant the other horses. And his strider was right. The horses that had worked with the children in the past did like them. They were good kids. Quick to heed his instructions when needed, and they often brought carrots or apples as treats for their mounts. It was little wonder that they were popular with the horses, unlike some of his other students. And while they were old to be just learning how to ride now by Drykas standards, Lian knew that things were different here. People didn't rely on their horses here in Riverfall as much as they did in Endrykas. So although it seemed strange to him, he knew it was natural for the people of the city to put off learning how to ride until they were older. Assuming that they bothered to learn at all. Not everyone did.

Lian finished choosing the horses he wanted to use for his lesson. One by one, he led them into the riding arena. When he was done with that, he fetched the gear he would need. One yvas for each student, and his own yvas for himself were hung over the fence surrounding the arena. He checked each yvas himself. It was the duty of the rider to check their own gear, of course. But these were children who had not grown up around horses and striders the way he had. Mistakes might be made if the children were careless in checking their gear due to eagerness to get on with their lesson. Worn areas might be missed. Lian had no intention of seeing one of his students take an injury in a fall caused by faulty equipment.

When he was done checking the riding gear, Lian retreated into the boarder's barn briefly to get a brush. Starting with Talise, he gave each of the horses a quick brushing. In doing so, he hoped to put the horses in a good mood for the lesson. And for the most part, it seemed to be working. As he brushed the horses, he told them what would be expected of them. When he brushed one of the horses who hadn't worked with this group of kids yet, he told them a little about each of the children. With his new affinity for animals, the horses seemed to understand what he was saying.

Lian had just finished brushing the last of the horses when he heard the sound of familiar voices chattering to each other. He looked up to see the kids entering the riding arena. They smiled, and greeted him excitedly. Lian returned their happy greetings with a grin of his own.

"Let me just put this brush away, and then we can begin, okay? You kids can start by taking a yvas and putting it on your horse. Those of you who don't see your usual mount waiting for you will have to choose another one from the ones I selected for you to use."

With that, Lian retreated into the boarder's barn with the brush in hand.


694/18,120 total

.
.
.
User avatar
Lian Windrunner
Player
 
Posts: 367
Words: 440531
Joined roleplay: October 9th, 2013, 12:58 am
Location: Endrykas
Race: Human, Drykas
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets

[The Sanctuary] Returning a Kindness

Postby Lian Windrunner on February 7th, 2016, 5:41 pm

Image
It was a test, of course. Lian wanted to see if his students would remember to check their riding gear without him having to remind them to do so. Much to his pleasure, many of them did. As he watched from within the barn, several of the kids checked their yvas over carefully before putting it on the horse they were using. Those who did not remember on their own, were reminded by their fellow students, something else that pleased Lian greatly. Even better, the students who would be using new horses this lesson remembered to introduce themselves to the horses politely, and allow the animals to get used to them. It was nice to see that his students were paying enough attention to his lessons to remember what he taught them. He continued watching them for a few more ticks before setting the brush down on its shelf, and returning to the arena.

The kids spoke of giant waterspouts that had appeared off shore only to freeze as soon as they formed. Lian had no idea what a waterspout was, frozen or otherwise, but from what he heard his students saying, these ones looked like giant horned icebergs. Lian didn't know what an iceberg was either, so he took note of the information, and decided that he might go see for himself once the lesson was over.

When the kids noticed his return, they stopped speaking immediately, and turned their attention to him in respect, and eagerness. That showed Lian that they truly wanted to be there rather than being told they had to come by a parent or older sibling. Having students that genuinely wanted to learn made his job easier. Such students were also more pleasant to teach.

"Mount your horses, and show me what you can do. If I think you're ready, I'll teach you something new today."

That was all the kids needed to hear. Although they were clearly excited by the prospect of learning something new, they carefully contained their excitement so they wouldn't disturb the horses. Even so, they were quick to finish putting the yvases on their horses, and mount up. Lian waited until all of his students had mounted before putting his own yvas on Talise, and swinging himself up onto her back. Once he did, he gestured for her to move into the center of the riding arena.

When he was ready, Lian had the kids ride around the arena in a circle. He kept a close eye on their seats, and the way their legs were positioned. If he saw something that needed to be corrected, he would call out instructions, and watch to make sure that those instructions were obeyed. Every once in a while, he would call out orders for the kids to start trotting, or to slow the horses back down to a walk.

The review of things that Lian had taught his students during past lessons gave him a good idea what each of the kids skill levels were now. Some of the kids seemed to have the basics down perfectly. They knew exactly what they were doing, and they took his sporadic gait changes in stride. These were the naturals. With time, and practice, there would be nothing they couldn't do while riding.

Others seemed to have a firm grasp on the basics in that they seemed to know what they were doing. But they were so focused on every move their horse made, and on the position of their legs and seat that his orders threw them off balance. It took them several chimes to implement his new order, and shift gears into concentrating on the new thing they were supposed to be doing. Lian could tell that they were trying hard, but they were far from the naturals their peers were. If they put a lot of work into it, they would eventually become competent riders...but nothing more.

Then there were the students who barely understood the basics. They were the ones who Lian had to correct their leg and seat positions. They could control their horses at a leisurely walk well enough, but they clearly struggled to control them at a trot. They sat uncomfortably in the yvas, and Lian could sense their mounts' discomfort as well. Horse and rider did not trust each other when it came to this group. And if the horses ever decided that they were the ones in charge, there would be nothing their riders could do about it. These were the kids that Talise laughed at constantly in the back of his mind. She also made it perfectly clear that she felt sorry for the horses they were riding. Not that Lian blamed her for her. Lian didn't think that these kids would ever learn more than the most rudimentary basics of riding. And even then, they would need to stick to the gentlest of mounts. Incredibly docile, patient horses who would forgive any mistakes. As Lian watched, he couldn't help but wonder if it would be better to separate these kids out, and teach them as a separate class of their own. That way, he could give them the extra attention they so clearly needed without neglecting the other students, or holding the more skilled ones back.

In this last group of kids, Lian noticed four familiar looking kids. Kids Lian had seen before...but not at his lessons. The last time he had seen Meiris and her friends had been at the Festival of Hope. Lian knew that they weren't paying for the lesson the way the other kids were. They must have thought they could blend in with the others, and not be noticed. For a few ticks, Lian considered pulling them aside, and confronting them about it. Attending a lesson you hadn't paid for was stealing in a sense, after all. But Lian decided against it. He was of the firm opinion that everyone should know how to ride. Who was he to deny someone who wanted to learn so badly? Not to mention the fact that they were doing remarkably well considering the fact that this was their first lesson, and that they had had no formal instruction. They were learning by watching the other students, and mimicking them as best they could. He decided that he would pull the kids aside when the lesson was over. If they couldn't afford to pay for the lessons, perhaps an arrangement could be made. They could help out around the Sanctuary in exchange for riding lessons. For now, though, the confrontation would have to wait. Lian had a lesson to teach.


1110/19,230 total

.
.
.
User avatar
Lian Windrunner
Player
 
Posts: 367
Words: 440531
Joined roleplay: October 9th, 2013, 12:58 am
Location: Endrykas
Race: Human, Drykas
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets

[The Sanctuary] Returning a Kindness

Postby Lian Windrunner on February 9th, 2016, 6:35 pm

Image
Lian continued to watch his students for several chimes more. Then he called for a halt, and gestured for them to dismount, and stand beside their horses. He hesitated for a tick, wondering if his plan would work. Then he split the kids up into three groups, based on their current riding skills. It was the best plan he could come up with. The three groups would start each lesson together, and end it together. Then they would divide into groups, and work on something suited to their skill level. Lian would split his attention evenly between the three groups so no one group would be favored, or neglected by him. And if a student improved faster than their peers, the could move up into the next group. Likewise, if one student began to struggle, and needed more time to master a particular skill, they would move down a group so they could get the extra practice they needed.

With that done, Lian brought the two weakest groups into the east pasture. He showed the middle group how to clean, and maintain their yvas, as well as saddles, reins, and a number of other pieces of riding gear that he didn't use in his own lessons, but were often used by people in the city. Then he brought out a large pile of gear, and set them to work cleaning it so they could practice what he had taught them. It was a skill that his students needed to learn if they were truly serious about owning a horse, and learning how to ride. If they couldn't clean and maintain their own gear, they would have to pay someone else to do it for them. And that would likely be very expensive over time.

Once Lian had them settled with their lesson, he turned his attention to his worst students. He set them to getting to know their horses better. The trust between horse and rider was of the utmost importance. It lay at the basis of...everything when it came to riding. A horse that didn't trust its rider wouldn't perform well for that person. It couldn't, because its mind would be on other things. The horse would be uneasy, even upset at being in close proximity to someone it didn't feel safe with. It wouldn't be able to focus on the task at hand if it wasn't calm, and ready to work. Likewise, a rider that didn't trust their horse would be uneasy, and distracted. They wouldn't be able to enjoy the ride, because they would be worried about falling off, or being thrown. They would be unable to relax, and their tension would be conveyed to their horse, making it nervous, as well. A rider who didn't trust their horse would be completely unable to let the horse do its part without interference from them.

Lian knew that the horses being ridden by this group did not trust their riders. He could sense it as clearly as if they were screaming their anxiety to him at the top of their voice. It was equally obvious that the riders did not trust their horses. They were unsure of their own skills, and afraid of falling, and getting hurt. So Lian set this group to simply spending time with their horses. As horse and rider got to know each other, trust would begin to form between them. Knowing this, Lian told his students that they could give their horses two treats; an apple, and a carrot. They would also be brushing their horses, a task that if done right would be very pleasurable for both horse and rider. It would allow horse and rider to relax and enjoy the other's company. In doing so, trust would become possible.

Lian got brushes for each of his students, and got them started on their task. Then he observed them for a while, lingering in the pasture in case his students had questions, or needed him to demonstrate how to brush a horse properly. When he was certain they had the hang of it, he asked the group who was working on cleaning riding gear to keep an eye on the others. Then he headed back out to the arena.

"You kids remember how to ask your horse to go from a walk to a trot, right?"

The kids nodded as a group.

"You press your heels or calf muscles against the horse's sides." one boy said confidently.

Lian grinned, and nodded.

"That's it exactly. Now, I think you kids are ready to take it up to the next level. Do you know what the next gait after a trot is called?"

The kids exchanged uncertain glances. Lian could tell from their expressions that some thought they knew, but weren't certain if they were right, or not. The rest didn't know the answer.

"A canter?" one of the girls asked at last.

It was more of a question than an answer, and far more uncertain than Lian would like. But he nodded all the same, trying to ignore Talise's laughter echoing in the back of his mind.

"That's right. It's called a canter. Now to ask a horse for a canter, you have to first take them into a trot. Then when they're trotting, you simply ask for more speed."

"By pressing your heels or calf muscles into their sides?"

"Yes."

"Is that how you make a horse run, too?" one of the boys asked eagerly.

Lian frowned.

"It's called a gallop, and yes. When a horse is cantering, if you ask for more speed, they will begin to gallop. But I'm not sure you're ready for that, yet. First things first. If there's still time left in our lesson when I feel you've learned how to canter well enough to progress further, we'll see about letting you try to gallop, okay?"


980/20,210 total

.
.
.
User avatar
Lian Windrunner
Player
 
Posts: 367
Words: 440531
Joined roleplay: October 9th, 2013, 12:58 am
Location: Endrykas
Race: Human, Drykas
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets

[The Sanctuary] Returning a Kindness

Postby Lian Windrunner on February 10th, 2016, 5:29 pm

Image
The kids looked disappointed, but they agreed. Lian directed them to mount their horses, and ride around the edge of the arena. He watched as they took their horses from a walk to a trot. Then when he thought they were ready, he gave them the command to take their horses from a trot to a canter. It went smoothly enough. Lian observed them from the ground for a while. Then he mounted Talise, and observed them from the higher view point of his strider's back.

For once, Talise wasn't laughing. She still thought the kids were old to be learning these things. So did Lian, for that matter. But the kids were doing well for their first canter. Lian could see a few flaws in some of the kids seats, and he corrected them when he saw them. After a while, Lian requested a canter of Talise, and guided her into the circle. Learning by example was often the best way to learn, and by cantering with the kids, he was showing them how it was supposed to be done.

This went on for a while, and Lian found himself enjoying the time greatly. The feel of the wind blowing through his hair as he and Talise raced around the arena with the kids gave him the impression of flying. He and Talise were one, his body shifting almost instinctively as she moved. He could feel her muscles rippling beneath him as they cantered. Her power and strength was a source of awe and amazement to him, even after all the years they had been together. Lian suspected that it always would be. He wanted to urge her to even greater speed, but he refrained, for the sake of the children he was teaching. They were not yet ready to gallop, and if he did so, they would want to try it as well.

As Lian rode Talise, he kept an eye on his students. They seemed to be keeping one eye on him, and the other on the path before them. It was a dangerous habit to form, but in the controlled environment of the riding arena, the ground was level enough that they wouldn't run into any difficulty. And since they were eyeing his form, and correcting their own in an attempt to mimic it, he decided to let it go this one time. After all, he was cantering with them in an attempt to show them the proper way to do it.

The sheer pleasure he felt at the ride had Lian in a near dream like state, focused only on the ride, and his strider. But a loud cry of alarm coming from the east pasture soon brought him crashing back to reality. He brought Talise to a stop, and helped his students do the same. Then he was out of the yvas, and running towards the east pasture as fast as he could.

When he got there, Lian was greeted by the sight of one of the more reckless Akalak boys sprawled on the ground, looking dazed, but still conscious. His horse stood several yards away, her ears pinned back against her head, snorting sharply in alarm, with nostrils flared. Lian sensed that she was more frightened than angry, but it was a near thing. For the tick, he let her be in favor of checking the boy for injuries.

Lian felt helpless as he knelt beside the boy and searched for any sign of obvious injury. He had no idea what to look for. But there was no sign of bleeding, which he felt was a good thing. Nor were there any obviously broken bones. What he did find was a massive bruise forming on the boy's chest. The kind one was likely to get when taking a solid kick in the ribs from a horse. It looked painful, but Lian didn't see any dented area that might suggest broken ribs. The boy looked as though he was okay, but Lian was the first to admit that he had no idea of what danger signs to look for.

"What happened?" he demanded urgently.

"That mean old horse kicked him!" one of the girls cried angrily.

"It's not the horse's fault! He must have scared her when he snuck up on her from behind like that!"

"He wasn't sneaking! He was just moving quietly so he wouldn't spook her!"

"I bet the horse thought he was sneaking up on her!"

Lian felt a head ache coming on, and had to resist the urge to growl at the kids in annoyance. How many times had he warned them not to approach a horse from behind?

"How many times have I warned you kids not to approach a horse from behind? This is what happens when you do! Unless you know the horse very well, and have earned its complete trust, you never, ever approach a horse from behind! Even if you have worked with a horse for years, you have to give plenty of warning before doing that. Go home. All of you. This lesson is over. I have a frightened horse to calm down."

Lian helped the injured boy to his feet.

"You need to get that looked at. From what I can tell, it doesn't look that serious. But I'm no healer, and a horse has a lot of strength in its legs. She could easily have done some damage that I can't see."

The boy nodded. Lian watched as some of the boy's friends stepped up to help him walk away. He hoped the boy would take his warning seriously, and get the injury looked at. And perhaps this time, his lesson would sink in; a horse should never be approached from behind. Lian walked over to the spooked mare, and stroked her neck gently as he spoke softly to her in the hopes of calming her. It took several chimes, but his efforts paid off.


994/21,204

.
.
.
User avatar
Lian Windrunner
Player
 
Posts: 367
Words: 440531
Joined roleplay: October 9th, 2013, 12:58 am
Location: Endrykas
Race: Human, Drykas
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets

[The Sanctuary] Returning a Kindness

Postby Lian Windrunner on February 10th, 2016, 6:14 pm

Image
When Lian sensed that the mare was calm again, he looked up from what he was doing. Most of the kids were gone, including the boy who had been injured. That was a good thing. Lian didn't think his temper would hold if he was forced to deal with them just now. But four kids remained. They watched him in silence, clearly trying to learn how to calm a spooked horse. Lian's first impulse was to tell them to go home. But when he realized who the kids were, he refrained.

It was Meiris and her friends. They watched him warily when they noticed he was looking at them. Their bodies were tense, and ready to bolt if he offered them any threat. Much like a frightened horse. So he found himself responding to them the same way he would handle a spooked horse.

"Did you have a question?" he asked, keeping his voice low, and soothing.

The kids shook their heads.

"We're sorry." Meiris finally said, nervously.

"Why?"

"You told us to go, and we didn't."

"Are we in trouble?" one of the boys asked.

This time, it was Lian's turn to shake his head.

"No, of course not. You stayed because you wanted to learn, right?"

The kids nodded again. They looked relieved, and a little more confident now.

"And did you learn what you hoped to learn?"

"I think so. A quiet voice and lots of petting calms a frightened horse, right?"

"Sometimes. Horses don't like loud noises. Loud noises scare them. But talking to a horse quietly like that reminds them that they aren't alone. And if a frightened horse trusts you, that can help soothe their fears. A gentle touch from someone they trust can help, as well. But the key here is trust. A strange person should never approach a frightened horse. It will only frighten them further."

The kids thanked Lian for the explanation, and turned to go. But they hesitated when Lian called for them to wait.

"You haven't come here for a lesson, before, have you? And unless I'm mistaken, you haven't paid for this one."

Meiris and the other kids flushed, tensing. Lian realized that they thought he was angry with them.

"I won't say it's okay. Attending a lesson you haven't paid for is stealing. But...I can understand the desire to learn how to ride. Are your parents too poor to pay for the lessons?"

The kids exchanged uneasy glances.

"We don't got parents." one of the boys said at last.

Lian nodded.

"I thought that might be the case." he said thoughtfully.

"What are you gonna do? We can't pay for the lesson we...we stole. Are you gonna turn us in?" Meiris demanded.

"Well, now...it seems to me that there is a way you could pay for the lesson. And more lessons in the future if you'd be interested."

"How?" Meiris demanded again.

"You can help me take care of the horses we use in the lessons. It would be a lot of work..." he cautioned.

"We can do it! Honest! You'll have to teach us, but we can work hard!" Meiris promised.

Lian grinned. The clothes the kids wore were old, and worn. But three of them wore outfits that reminded Lian of the Drykas. Had their parents been Drykas? If so, the kids probably knew something about horses already. It would explain why they had managed as well as kids who had been taking lessons for more than a season, even if they were in the worst group. This was their first lesson, after all.

"I'm sure you can. And I'd be happy for the help. There's one condition, though."

Meiris's expression turned wary, and she stiffened. The other kids didn't look any happier.

"What condition?"

"You'll have to stay here at the Sanctuary. Working with horses is a lot of work. You'll have to start early in the morning. And there are days when you'll be working well into the night. I'm sure you kids can take care of yourselves, but it would make me nervous to have kids your age walking to and from the city at night all by yourselves. But if you stayed here, there wouldn't be a problem."

"That's it? We'd just have to live here?"

Lian nodded.

"And what would we have to do to pay for room and board?"

"Work with the horses, like you'll be doing already to pay for your riding lessons."

Meiris and the other kids stared at him, searching for any sign of deception on his part. They found none, and after a while, they relaxed.

"We'll do it."

Lian grinned. When they confirmed the fact they were orphans, Lian realized that they must be living on the streets. That was no kind of life for a child. This way, he would be able to give them a home in a way they could accept it, without thinking he was offering them charity. By "earning" their keep, it wasn't a free hand out. And Lian would see to it that they earned it. There were a lot of horses to take care of, after all. Lian was sure that the staff of the Sanctuary would be happy for the help.

"Good. Then it's settled. You're first task will be to help me get all of these horses groomed, and turned out into the pasture so they can rest."

With that, Lian went into the boarder's barn long enough to fetch brushes for himself and the kids. Then he began teaching them how to brush a horse properly.


935/22,139 total

.
.
.
User avatar
Lian Windrunner
Player
 
Posts: 367
Words: 440531
Joined roleplay: October 9th, 2013, 12:58 am
Location: Endrykas
Race: Human, Drykas
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests