Completed [Windmount Stables] Learning Cliff

Dovey's tour of her new workplace goes a little wrong.

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This shining population center is considered the jewel of The Sylira Region. Home of the vast majority of Mizahar's population, Syliras is nestled in a quiet, sprawling valley on the shores of the Suvan Sea. [Lore]

[Windmount Stables] Learning Cliff

Postby Dovey on February 16th, 2017, 6:55 am

33 Winter, 516 AV

Just follow along, just learn the routes, where the grain is, where the tack is, be calm and focus now, no reason to get upset -

"Are you all right?"

Dovey glanced up, startled out of her reverie. Holly, the sweet-faced groom Serena had sent to show Dovey her way around Windmount, had stopped walking and was eyeing her with concern. "You look worried," Holly offered, fingers plucking at the folds of her skirt. "All sort of puckered up in the face. Is everything - "

Dovey smiled as wide as she could manage, lifting a hand to forestall the girl's words. "I'm all right. Thank you for asking." Holly nodded, shrugging, and turned away to lead her new coworker on through the stable hall. "I'm glad, love," she said warmly over her shoulder. "Now if you come this way, the door over here to the left lets us out near the north work arena..."

Dovey followed, sighing.

It wasn't Holly's fault, of course. Dovey hoped she hadn't given her that impression. It was Syliras - being here alone, what with the newness of it all, was scaring her - and then too, it was being in a stable again. Last time she'd been in a place resembling this one, she'd been safe at home in Kenash. Last time, her mother had still been alive.

She swallowed the lump that had arisen in her throat with difficulty, coming through the open door after Holly and into the fierce sunlight of that year's strange winter. Squinting in the sudden brightness, Dovey made out a sturdy gray building a short distance from them which she supposed must be the arena. The doorway was wide and tall, blocked by a solid wooden gate about half the height of the doorframe, and a gangly lad leading a great black horse was presently fumbling with the latch.

"Aldwin!" Holly slipped away from Dovey's side and trotted over to the gate. "I can help," she said hastily, "it pushes up from this side if you work at it, you just get a proper hold on Thunder - "

All the while she spoke her fingers had been busy, slipping into the gap between gate and wall, and nudging the latch upwards. For a moment, stubborn, it didn't budge; then, with a suddenness that startled Holly visibly and sent her hands slipping from the latch, the bar sprang up and the gate came open. From her position by the stable wall, Dovey saw a horse's soot-black shoulder, formerly pressed against the gate, shift first to the side and then abruptly forward when the barrier swung out of the way. Holly leaped aside, and from somewhere behind the stallion came Aldwin's cry of shock as the lead rope slid from his grasp. Dovey pressed herself back against the stable as the horse surged past her, huge hooves kicking up earth as he ran, trailing a gray-white lead rope in the dust of his wake.

Aldwin rushed immediately to Holly's side. Dovey did the same; the girl had fallen in her wild leap away from the charging horse, and now the two other stablehands helped her cautiously to her feet. "You weren't stepped on?" Dovey asked her urgently. "I couldn't see."

Holly shook her head. "You?"

"No. Is Aldwin - "

The two women looked over to the horse's erstwhile handler, who had released his hold on Holly as soon as she confirmed she was unhurt. "Petch it!" he shouted now, scowling up at the cloudless sky. "Petch, petch - Dira take his sire, the stupid clod - Caiyha hates me!" He threw a punch into his hand and huffed.

"Oh, stop sulking," said Holly anxiously, "we've got to catch him before he gets into a pasture and tries to fight or mate or something!"

"You think he can jump the pasture fence?" Dovey asked, surprised.

"Likely," said Holly. "He's a Tiaden, we don't graze him with the ponies. Not all the paddock fences are tall enough to keep him out."

"So what do we do?"

The three stood in anxious silence for a moment before Aldwin gave a quick nod. "Holly, go for Serena," he said, and without more words Holly took off back into the stable.

Dovey looked sideways at Aldwin. "Then we're going after him?"

"Come on." And he set off round the corner of the stable. Hitching up her skirt in one hand, Dovey followed at a run.
Last edited by Dovey on May 14th, 2017, 11:01 pm, edited 7 times in total.
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[Windmount Stables] Learning Cliff

Postby Dovey on February 19th, 2017, 3:33 am

By the time they rounded the corner, their mark was already out of sight. Aldwin slowed to a jog, glancing about desperately as if the huge horse might simply be hiding nearby, and Dovey too reduced her pace. "Where d'you think he's gone?" she asked her companion, more out of frustration than any hope that the question would be useful. Any loose horse was bad enough, and its being a warhorse, a stallion - that was worse. But why did this have to happen on Dovey's first day of work? It hadn't been her fault, but would Serena believe that? What if she found herself out of work, or with her pay reduced, because of this?

Aldwin was shaking his head, slowing to a walk and then halting altogether. "If he finds the mares out to pasture he'll try to get over their fence - there's some in heat now. Maybe we'll catch up to him grazing, but..."

"Are the mares nearby?" Dovey asked. Privately she was a bit annoyed at Aldwin; if the Tiaden was normally hard to control, then why in Caiyha's name hadn't the stablehand kept a better hold on him? But there was nothing to be done about it now, except finding Thunder and getting him safely into a stall.

"Pastures are that way, out past this barn," Aldwin replied, pointing. "Mares graze far from the stallions, and stallions are back by the stud barn, so - petch, yes, they're near - "

"We'd better go, then," Dovey interrupted, and Aldwin appeared to collect himself. "You're right," he murmured, and took off again, this time at a steady lope. Dovey hurried after, her movements impeded a bit by her skirts, though she was able nonetheless to avoid falling behind.

"He'll be excited," Aldwin said over his shoulder. "He won't want to pay attention, and I don't want to startle him."

"No," Dovey said with a slight shiver. Startling any horse was a bad idea, formidable animals that they were, but she especially wouldn't want to spook a warhorse like Thunder.

"We can't run up on him," Aldwin continued. "We'll walk once we get nearer the pastures. If he's there, I'll call him, get his attention. You keep him off the fence if you can - petch, I wish we had a crop - "

Dovey glanced around but saw nothing, no fallen sticks or tough grass, which would substitute. "I'll wave my arms to turn him," she said. They were getting near the end of the second barn now, and Aldwin slowed to a brisk walk. "Is he aggressive?" she asked, slowing down as well, a little tired from the short run. "I mean, will he attack me?"

"He shouldn't without being told, but he's being trained for war, we can't exactly teach him hurting people is always bad. And he's a stallion anyway. Just... be careful, all right?"

Dovey nodded, swallowing her doubts. Aldwin knew Thunder, had been working with him one-on-one when the stallion escaped. Besides, Holly had gone for Serena. Everything would surely work out fine.

The pair turned the barn's corner, and suddenly the area before them was all broad, fenced-off pasture. There were horses past the barrier, lovely chestnuts and skewbalds and grays, most grazing, one rolling, and two cantering in exuberant circles within their paddock. Dovey paid them little attention. Sure enough, Thunder had arrived at the pasture. The huge black horse was trotting restlessly up and down by the fence, whinnying to the mares within.
Last edited by Dovey on May 14th, 2017, 11:03 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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[Windmount Stables] Learning Cliff

Postby Dovey on February 20th, 2017, 5:11 am

Dovey eyed Thunder, gauging the distance between him and the pasture fence. He was right beside it now, far too close for her to turn him aside without risking being trampled by the excited stallion; she would have to wait for Aldwin to call him and hopefully get him to take a few paces away. Then Dovey could use herself as a wedge, driving the stallion farther from the mares and closer to his handler.

Of course, that was all if Thunder didn't leap the fence - something he seemed more and more likely to try with each passing moment. The mare who had been rolling in the dust had gotten to her feet and was now ambling closer to the fence, watching Thunder with interest out of the side of her eye. "Louse-ridden lovechild of a Zith and a - " Dovey heard Aldwin whisper beside her, and with a small, annoyed sigh, she held up a hand to cut him off. "You need to call him," she said flatly.

"Sorry," Aldwin muttered, though he didn't sound particularly apologetic. He cleared his throat, and Dovey began moving nearer to the fence - though not too close to the area where Thunder was running up and down - in preparation to turn the horse toward Aldwin.

"Thunder," Aldwin cried, moving, subtly, a little closer to the stallion. His voice carried, clearly urgent, but not too much nervousness showed through in his tone. "Thunder! Come here, come now... steady, my lad..."

Thunder's head swung round and he eyed Aldwin, blowing hard through his big nostrils and lifting his feet high as he continued to trot along the side of the fence.

"Steady, steady." Thunder had slowed, prancing almost in place, his tail held high and his attention at least partially on Aldwin. Dovey slipped nearer. She and the stallion were facing each other, and she knew he saw her even if he was focused on the other stablehand. He snorted, lead rope flapping from his halter as he tossed his head at her approach, and she halted once more. If he would only move a little closer to Aldwin...

"Whoa, Thunder," Aldwin called. Thunder was still prancing and tossing glances at the interested mare, though his steps were lower now and his whole demeanor slightly calmer. Aldwin kissed at the horse, taking a few backward steps toward the barn as he did so, and finally - finally - Thunder moved away from the fence.

He changed his mind almost at once, whickering lowly as he backed toward the mares' pasture, but by that time Dovey was on the move. "Get on his left," she called to Aldwin, striding toward the horse's right flank even as he arched his neck to glare at her out of one eye. The plan was to drive him straight into Aldwin's hands, and if that failed, the two stablehands' positions would at least help keep Thunder away from the fence until Aldwin could capture the stallion's trailing lead rope.

Dovey waited to confirm that Aldwin was following her instruction before she moved in, closer to the restless stallion. He ignored the initial, gentle arm movements she made, save fixing her with an even more intense glare, and she cursed her lack of a crop or whip before flapping both arms rather suddenly toward his flank.

Far from wheeling away, he twitched his flank and hindquarters out of her direct line of sight, turning to face her. She froze immediately, trying to assess the stallion's attitude. He wasn't pleased with her, that was for certain - he was giving her more little head tosses, his nostrils were flared, and one front hoof was pawing at the ground.

She edged backward, and the motion seemed to upset him, because then he was coming at her.

Thunder sprang into a canter, head down, aiming straight for Dovey. She gasped and stumbled backward, waving her arms at him frantically and ineffectually. Seeing him still coming she seized double handfuls of her skirts, shaking them violently, flipping the hem up like a whip at the charging horse.
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[Windmount Stables] Learning Cliff

Postby Dovey on February 23rd, 2017, 2:04 am

She had thought he wasn't going to turn.

Thunder pounded across the ground, taking frighteningly few strides to cross the expanse of close-cropped grass between himself and Dovey. The stablehand drew a sharp breath and held it, stepping backward in a move some part of her already knew was futile, flicking her skirts frantically toward his feet and ankles - and then, and then, he wheeled aside. The stiffened ends of his flying tail scraped Dovey across the face as he turned to canter back in Aldwin's direction.

She could do nothing for a moment but gasp for air. Thank gods, thank all the gods that her skirts had worked well in place of a whip - but what if they hadn't? The answer burned its way through her. That horse could have killed me. For several ticks it was all she could think. He really could have killed me.

Then she remembered Aldwin.

Dread seized her and she snapped her eyes up, glancing desperately about for her coworker. She saw Thunder immediately, trotting parallel to her some distance away, moving slowly but with restless energy practically crackling in the air around him. Dovey's target, however, was not so easily spotted, and she nearly panicked before spying out a familiar pair of human legs, moving briskly forward on the far side of Thunder's body. Dovey blew out a long breath she hadn't realized she had been holding. Aldwin had the lead rope.

She took a few steps toward the two of them, legs a little shaky but steady enough on the even ground. "You've got him?" she called out, just to be absolutely certain.

Thunder's neck bent as he reached the fence and made to trot alongside it. Aldwin came into view then, striding along beside Thunder's front leg, working to turn him and walk across the open grass again before he could be smashed up against a fence post by the horse's enormous bulk. He bumped his own shoulder against Thunder's again and again, bringing both hands far forward with the lead rope clasped within them, tugging left - and down, and back - and left still more, slowing the stallion, ordering him to sidestep and then to turn.

Thunder whinnied sharply several times, bobbing his head, tension seething through his muscles, before he reluctantly turned and set off in a stilted trot in the direction of the barn. Now Dovey's view of Aldwin was unobstructed. He turned his head to grin at her, a little anxiously. "Sort of!" he said. "I've sort of got him - oh, petch - whoa, you!" Thunder was fighting to race back over to the pasture, and Aldwin was stumbling along in his wake, dragging at the lead rope but hardly able to hold on.

Dovey glanced to the pasture. The interested mare had reached the fence and was flirting hard; her back was to the stallion and her tail was lifted high. Rolling her eyes at the spectacle the little mare was putting on, Dovey turned back to Aldwin. "He wants to get to that mare," she said, indicating the flirty horse. "If I move her, maybe he'll stop fighting you."

"Go on, then," Aldwin replied. "Halters and lead ropes are round the left corner inside the barn." Thunder tossed his head high, nearly lifting Aldwin off his feet as the horse continued to pull forward. "Hurry, please!" Aldwin added.

Dovey nodded, giving Thunder and Aldwin a wide berth as she edged past them and through the nearest door into the barn.
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[Windmount Stables] Learning Cliff

Postby Dovey on February 26th, 2017, 12:15 am

The peace of finding herself safely within the barn was incredible. Dovey could have collapsed to the dusty floor from sheer relief. Still she stood, though her legs shook a little, and as hastily as she could manage, she made her way down the hall. Aldwin was still outside, attempting to control a huge, crazed stallion. She had to find those halters.

Reaching the end of the hallway, she hurried left, glancing from one wall to the other in her effort to spot the halters and lead ropes Aldwin had told her would be there. After a few moments she saw them: multitudes of metal hooks lined a section of wall, and each hook held a halter, ranging in size from miniature to one so large Dovey almost believed she could wear it over her torso. Beside the collection of halters was a larger hook holding an assortment of lead ropes. She scanned the wall; it occurred to her now that she had no way to tell what size halter the problem mare wore, and she chewed her lower lip in consternation as she tried to decide which to grab.

It was best to err large, she decided after a moment, and accept a somewhat higher chance that the mare would wrangle her way out, rather than risk the horse's head being too big to squeeze into the rope halter at all. Seizing a size she suspected would work out all right, she snatched a lead rope off the hook to her side and hurried back out of the barn.

Outside was, well, alarming. To say the least. Aldwin still had hold of Thunder, but he was far from having control; the two were much closer to the pasture than they had been when Dovey left, the mare was still flirting for all she was worth, and the stallion definitely noticed. The big horse reared up as Dovey watched - not at all high off the ground, but enough to threaten Aldwin's safety if the stablehand tried too zealously to keep Thunder back from the pasture fence. Even getting the mare away from her romantic interest might not be enough to calm Thunder, but Dovey had to try.

She looped the lead rope over her shoulder, and fumbling to get the halter into a workable position, she hurried across to the pasture gate.

The mare didn't want to come with Dovey, of course; as soon as the girl reached her, the horse turned and began walking away along the edge of the pasture. Putting on a burst of speed, Dovey moved forward until she was beside the mare and, before the horse could hurry out of reach, wrapped the lead rope loosely about the mare's neck. Slowing her with that impromptu harness, she slipped the halter over the horse's face and clipped the end of the lead rope to it. Then, glancing back over her shoulder to the stallion which was still barely held by a determined Aldwin, she led the mare close past the other occupants of the pasture and towards the far side.

Though this particular mare was the main problem, it was possible the stallion's interest would simply shift to some of the less interested horses in the pasture; Dovey hoped at least a few might follow her and the horse she led away from Thunder. Sure enough, as Dovey walked further from the fence, four of the other horses stopped grazing or dozing or whatever they had found to do and ambled along behind Dovey's charge in an impromptu parade. She didn't look back until she had reached the far side of the pasture and tied the mare's lead rope to the fence at that end. Then she hurried across the pasture once more, this time to see if moving the horses had worked.

Thunder did seem far calmer than he had before; he was still moving side to side a little, but he was no longer rearing up or attempting to escape his handler's hold. But that was not the only difference in the scene before Dovey. Holly was back, standing with her hands folded beside the barn doorway, which was open. And in the foreground, holding Thunder by the halter even as Aldwin still had the lead rope in hand, was a very stern-looking Serena. Dovey couldn't hear what she was saying to Aldwin, but judging by Aldwin's stare at the ground and the way he was fidgeting, he was not enjoying the conversation.

Dovey sighed. She had no idea whether she would also be in trouble - it depended on Serena's reason for being upset, whether that was Thunder having been let loose in the first place or the two stablehands' decision to chase him - but there was no use putting off the revelation. Brushing a few strands of disheveled hair out of her face, she trudged across to the pasture gate and let herself through.
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[Windmount Stables] Learning Cliff

Postby Samuel Longwell on May 26th, 2017, 7:20 pm

Grading Complete


Please edit your grade request thread so that it's obvious that it's been graded. Feel free to PM me if you have any questions/problems with your grade.


Name: Dovey

XP Award:
  • Socialisation 2
  • Observation 3
  • Planning 2
  • Horsemanship 4
  • Leadership 1
  • Tactics 1
  • Running 1
Lore:
  • Tiaden: Knights' warhorse breed
  • Can't trust stallions around mares
  • Stallions can be violent
  • Thunder: Could have killed me
  • Removing temptation from a stallion
Notes: An enjoyable thread to read. You have written about horses more accurately than many people do, well done. I hope you enjoy your grades.
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