Completed [Windmount Stables] Splish Splash

Dovey bathes some horses on a hot day. (Job thread)

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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] Splish Splash

Postby Dovey on February 26th, 2017, 7:45 pm

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73 Winter, 516 AV
"Speech"
"Others"


Everyone kept talking about how warm and summery this winter was, but thus far, only today's temperatures came even close to rivaling Kenash's heat. Dovey had showed up a bit early to work this morning, and Serena had immediately set her to mucking out stalls in the finished horses' barn - and although it was certainly cooler within the stable than without, Dovey was still sweltering.

She tucked a lock of sweat-damp hair behind one ear, leaning on her shovel for support as she tried to catch her breath. She was nearly finished removing this stall's dirty bedding, but then she would have to take her wheelbarrow outside to dump its contents, haul a fresh pile of straw back inside to refurbish the stall, and then move on to the five other stalls remaining in this row...

She sighed deeply before standing up straight, taking her shovel in hand once more. Just think of your wages, she told herself, and with the image of those daily five gold mizas firm in her mind, she set herself to scraping the last of the filthy hay up from the floor.

"Hey!"

Dovey blinked, looking up from her work to see a well-freckled boy waving at her from the doorway of the stall. She dumped the current contents of her shovel into the wheelbarrow and turned to face the lad, smiling despite her irritation at being interrupted. "Yes?" she replied, eyebrows raised a little. Hopefully this wouldn't take long.

"Are you Dovey?" the boy said by way of answer, then went on without waiting for her to reply. "Serena said I'd find you here. She wants you to help her."

"Help her with what?"

"Baths," said the boy. "Come on, then," and he turned away, marching down the hall without looking back to see if she would follow.

Dovey's lips tightened, but she stuck her shovel firmly into the mound of hay in the wheelbarrow, then turned to follow. The boy led her through a few different corridors before they reached the corner of the stable which contained several wide wash stalls. Each stall included two long ropes hanging down from eyehooks in the walls; most of these dangled freely, but one pair was attached to either side of a petite chestnut's halter, holding the horse still as Serena gently sponged down her face.

The boy stopped before the occupied stall, and Dovey halted beside him, trying to catch Serena's eye. Serena noticed them almost immediately and left off washing the horse's cheek to flash a smile. "Thank you," she said, nodding to the boy, and he bowed playfully before heading away down the hall.

"Dovey!" Serena turned to the girl, warmth in her voice. "Glad you're here. It's such a hot day today, I thought we'd better bathe at least some of the horses - especially those who've been working."

Dovey nodded. It was true, bathing the horses would mitigate the effects of this weather on their bodies - and hopefully it would cool her down too, what with the inevitable soaking she would get. "You want me to help with her - " she indicated the mare tied in the stall - "or get somebody else?"

"I'd like you to get Milk Whiskers - do you know him?" When Dovey shook her head, Serena continued. "He's the tall gray gelding straight down that hall," and she pointed. "His door has a halter hung on it with a black lead rope attached. He had a prospective buyer ride him for quite some time earlier, so he's sweaty all over and really needs a wash."

"All right," said Dovey, "I'll be back in a chime," and she set off down the hallway.


Boxcode credit: Karin Ironyach
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Last edited by Dovey on March 3rd, 2017, 3:36 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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[Windmount Stables] Splish Splash

Postby Dovey on February 28th, 2017, 10:31 pm

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73 Winter, 516 AV
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It took her hardly any time to find Milk Whiskers' stall. The gray looked fragile and elegant, with a small head and long, slender legs, but Dovey knew he wasn't so vulnerable as he seemed for all that. A fleabitten pattern dotted his pale coat, and true to his name, a cluster of milky-toned whiskers sprouted from his chin. The horse whickered softly as Dovey approached, peering at her curiously from behind the bars of his stall door.

"Hello there," Dovey murmured, reaching the stall. She unhooked Milk Whiskers' rope halter from where it had hung on his door, draping the attached lead rope over her shoulder. "How are you, sir? I hear you've had some exercise today - ugh, petch this bolt - there it goes. Finally." The sticky bolt of the stall door had at last squeaked into its unlocked position, and Dovey pulled the door open a bit in order to enter the stall.

She drew the door loosely shut again once she was inside, blocking Milk Whiskers' path out of the stall with her body while she fumbled with his halter. The horse seemed tired, giving her a few gentle nudges with his muzzle but otherwise standing still, and she was able to slip the halter onto his face without delay. Holding him by his lead rope, she heaved the door fully open and exited the stall, gelding following sleepily along behind her.

In less than a chime they had reached the wash stalls. Serena looked up at the sound of Milk Whiskers' hooves clopping softly on the stable floor. She smiled at Dovey, wetting down the chestnut mare's neck all the while. "Go ahead and put him in the stall next to this one," she said. "Then you can go and fill up a bucket for him. Sponges are here already, you don't need to go hunting for those."

"All right," Dovey said, nodding. She led Milk Whiskers over to the next stall - the chestnut nickered at him as he passed her - and circled him round inside the stall so that his head was facing the front before she halted him. These stalls had no doors or front walls, relying only on the restraining ropes to secure their occupants, but each was walled off from the stalls beside it and although she knew Serena was right next door, Dovey felt almost lonely. She clipped one rope to each side of Milk Whiskers' halter before hurrying from the stall in the direction of the nearest water pump.

She arrived quickly, and placing a bucket beneath the spigot from the small collection kept nearby, she gripped the pump handle firmly and began to force it first up, then down. It took several pumps before the water came gushing out in uneven rushes; the first almost upset the bucket, and Dovey had to stop pumping for a moment so she could steady it. After several more pumps, the bucket was full. The effort had been somewhat strenuous, especially in this unusual heat, and Dovey lingered half a chime to catch her breath before picking up the now-heavy, sloshing bucket and making her way back to the wash stalls.


Boxcode credit: Karin Ironyach
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Dovey
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[Windmount Stables] Splish Splash

Postby Dovey on March 2nd, 2017, 1:26 am

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73 Winter, 516 AV
"Speech"
"Others"


Dovey hauled the bucket in closer, setting it down at last just outside Milk Whiskers' stall and straightening up with a deep breath of relief. She rolled one shoulder back little by little, then the other, relishing the soft ache as her stiff back slowly relaxed. "Where are the sponges, Serena?" she asked then, realizing she still hadn't spotted them.

"There's a box over by the far wall," came the reply a moment later from within the other stall. "It has scrapers too, and a few towels when you need them."

"Thank you," Dovey said automatically. Making her way over to the wall at the end of their corner of the stables, she chose a large, stiff sponge, a wooden scraper, and a couple cloths from out of the box in question. Returning to her water bucket, she set down her other supplies, wet the sponge, and began the task of thoroughly soaking the big, placid horse.

She had reached Milk Whiskers' mid-back before that strange sense of loneliness welled up again, too powerful to ignore. Lips thinning, she pressed her eyes shut for a moment before opening them again to focus on her work, but the feeling wouldn't go. It was like hunger, physically so - a vast empty space in her belly, wanting, craving someone -

She watched her hands on the horse's back, one lightly placed on his side, the other making even strokes with the sponge in the direction his hair grew. One, two, three. Long swathes of gray hairs tinged darker with water. Four, five, six, she counted the strokes. Seven, eight...

The swathe of hair she had just wetted was not so dark as others had been, nor could she see the water running down his sides; her sponge was drying. She moved past Milk Whiskers' neck and head, finding the bucket she had left by the entrance of the stall, and bent to soak her sponge again; she rose, and the loneliness rose with her, into her chest, hard into her gullet. She made her way back to the horse who stood patiently, secured to each wall, seemingly dozing as he had his bath. There was something caught in her throat; she ignored it or tried to, raising her hands again to the horse's back, washing him fast and cursory all down the rest of his flank. She moved on to his thigh, took in a sharp breath, held it. She couldn't cry. Not now.

She had been doing so well - she hadn't woken up with wet cheeks in fifteen full days - she'd been calm, polite, she'd gone out and drunk and been social, people's jokes had made her laugh - she'd really thought she was better -

- Mother -

No. She set her teeth. She couldn't do this again.

Though her heart felt as if it would stop with the effort, Dovey swallowed the lump in her throat, forced herself to stop acknowledging the desperate ache in her stomach. She leaned low to wipe a touch of mud from Milk Whiskers' hock. Returned to her bucket, found a cloth with which to clean the horse's privates. Moved on to wash the other side of his body. Worked. Breathed. Listened to the chestnut's hoofbeats in the hallway as Serena led the horse, bath presumably finished, deeper into the stables. The hoofbeats faded after a little, and then there was no sound but that of Milk Whiskers' breath and her sponge scraping softly across his barrel.

Her stomach hurt, and there was something very fragile in her chest, but she was all right. She was all right. She wasn't going to cry anymore.


Boxcode credit: Karin Ironyach
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Last edited by Dovey on March 3rd, 2017, 4:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
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[Windmount Stables] Splish Splash

Postby Dovey on March 3rd, 2017, 12:46 am

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73 Winter, 516 AV
"Speech"
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Milk Whiskers' right side was a bit muddier than his left had been, Dovey noticed. She had to return to her bucket several times to swish her sponge around in the water until it was clean again; the water in the bucket was slowly turning brown itself, but she thought she could finish this particular horse's bath before she went back to the pump to get a fresh bucketful. She finished his barrel and back, then his legs, washing each section of hair with a few even strokes of the soaked sponge that sent rivulets of water running down his legs to pool about his big pale hooves.

Dovey was soaked herself by now, sleeves dampened by the water which fell from her sponge, the back and shoulders of her dress saturated with a flood of curiously cold sweat. Shivering a bit despite the day's heat, she went to the bucket and wrung out her sponge, twisting it first one way and then the other until it was at least reasonably dry. Then she set it down on the floor beside the bucket, taking in exchange the sweat scraper she'd selected earlier, and went back to the gelding's side.

Water ran ahead of the slim wooden bar in mounting waves as she pulled the scraper firmly along Milk Whiskers' back. The excess moisture spilled down onto her shoes, the hem of her dress, and the floor; little streams of water picked up dust and dirt from the floor of the stall and made miniature mud puddles about Dovey's feet. She continued scraping until the horse, while still damp, no longer had the sheen of water on the surface of his coat. Then, abandoning the scraper by her bucket, she made her way with little steps over to the box of supplies and dug in her hands in search of towels.

It took her a few ticks to find the number she needed, but soon she rose and headed back to the wash stall with three ragtaggy towels dangling from her hands. She'd found a comb, too, and after draping two of the towels over Milk Whiskers' back and rump, she set herself to combing out the horse's mane and tail. Both were tangled, and several times she had to dig her fingers into the knots and tease them loose, rather than tug the comb through and risk hurting the gelding or pulling out his hair. While she was working she heard Serena return, leading another, much larger horse, by the heavy sound of the hoofbeats in the hall. The two women said nothing to each other, though, and Dovey continued to work.

Finishing with the mane and tail as best she could - several tangles were simply too much for her fingers to undo - she retrieved her third towel and wiped down the horse from hooves to shoulders. When he was as dry as she thought she could get him, she gathered up the wet towels and took them back to the supply box, folding them before she set them down on the floor beside the container. She'd ask Serena what to do with them later.

She returned to the stalls, clutching one hand hard in the other. "Milk Whiskers is clean," she told Serena. "Who now?"


Boxcode credit: Karin Ironyach
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Dovey
One unlucky girl
 
Posts: 270
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Joined roleplay: December 31st, 2016, 10:42 am
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[Windmount Stables] Splish Splash

Postby Dovey on March 3rd, 2017, 4:56 am

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73 Winter, 516 AV
"Speech"
"Others"


Serena kept Dovey bathing horses until Syna's light through the windows was tinted with the reddish-orange color of sunset. At last, when her arm felt as though it would drop off from the repetitive motion of wiping down each horse's coat, her employer called a halt to their work. While Dovey rubbed dry the back of a restless bay mare, Serena stuck her head around the divide between their two stalls. "Once you finish drying her let's close shop for the day," she said, her voice weary, but nonetheless still quite cheerful. "You can put her out to pasture with the rest of the mares, and then come back and help me clean up." She disappeared again around the corner, presumably to finish up her own horse's cleaning.

Dovey sighed, a deep long exhalation more due to fatigue than any sort of irritation with Serena. This was her job, after all, and it wasn't as if Serena had taken the day off - besides which, she'd be paid for this day's work in a little while. She tried to muster up some excitement over that idea, but her emotions refused to comply; a tight, dull numbness seemed to have settled all throughout her body without her notice. Dovey sighed again. She was tired, of course. Best just to complete her tasks for the day, head back to her apartment, and go to bed early.

She gave the bay mare a few last wipes with a towel in places where she still looked damp, then reattached the horse's own lead rope to her halter, unclipping her from the two securing ropes which kept her in the stall. Then, clutching the lead rope with what she knew was a bit too firm a grip, she set off, horse clip-clopping along behind her.

By the time they arrived at the mares' pasture, Syna was already kissing the horizon. Dovey pushed open the sturdy gate, led her charge in, then removed the halter from the horse's head and sent her off to relative freedom. The bay was more than excited to be released, and despite the low light she cantered off kicking and bouncing into the pasture as if to make up for the long period she'd had to stand still in the wash stall. Dovey watched for a moment, then realized she was shivering - the day had cooled somewhat and her sweat- and water-soaked garment was no protection against the chill evening breezes which gusted about the exterior of Windmount. Turning, Dovey hurriedly reentered the stables.

Back at the wash stalls, she found Serena with an armful of wet towels. "There you are," the woman said to Dovey. "I'm just going to hang these up. Would you pick up our tools, and dump out the dirty water?"

Dovey nodded wordlessly, stepping to the side to allow Serena to pass before she went to gather up their combs, sponges and sweat scrapers. Cleanup was fairly simple; the box of tools was nearby, and all Dovey had to do was pile their supplies back inside. Then there were only the two buckets of muddy water to empty. She did that in two trips, heading to the nearest stable exit with one bucket and sluicing it across the ground away from the trodden path, then returning for the other bucket. Her mood was still pensive, though, and what should have felt like a quick and easy task seemed to take much longer. At last she had emptied the two buckets and piled them by the water pump, and she made her way back along the stable's dusky corridors, the promise of five gold mizas and a good night's sleep - after which, somehow, everything would be better - drawing her onward, step after weary step.



Boxcode credit: Karin Ironyach
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Dovey
One unlucky girl
 
Posts: 270
Words: 221676
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Race: Human, Mixed
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[Windmount Stables] Splish Splash

Postby Aladari Coolwater on May 29th, 2017, 6:14 pm

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Your grades have been spotted!
________

Dovey

■ Horsemanship + 5
■ Endurance + 2
■ Meditation + 2
■ Observation + 2
■ Cleaning + 4

    Lores
Horsemanship: Shoveling is Worth it For the Mizas
Location: The Windmount Stables
Self: The Stables can be Lonely
Self: Somehow, A Night's Sleep Will Make it Better
Horsemanship: Bathing with Sponges and Scrapers
Horsemanship: Combing Knots with Fingers is Gentler
Horsemanship: Only Need a Gentle Grip on the Lead
Meditation: Focus on Repetitive Motions
Cleaning: Dirty Water Can't Clean

    Additional Information
Injuries, loot, rewards: None

________

Comments:

I haven't gotten to read much of Dovey's journey yet, but if you succeeded in making such a simple job thread so interesting to read, I might have to follow up. ;) I really enjoyed your descriptive writing. My only advice would be that we can tell Dovey's emotions from her actions and thoughts, and so it isn't necessary to continuously tell the reader that she is sad, or lonely. It's easier said than done, but you're already writing so well that any improvements will be difficult.

Don't forget to delete your post in the grading queue, and if you have any questions or concerns, feel free to PM me about your grade!

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