Solo [Windmount Stables] A Bit of Work

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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] A Bit of Work

Postby Dovey on May 23rd, 2017, 12:06 am

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15 Spring, 517 AV
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Almost immediately after Dovey had left the house that morning, she'd felt that today would not be her best. The air was hot, as still as stone within the high walls and enclosed corridors of the city, and it wrapped about her like a suffocating blanket as she made her way out to the stables. The walk was brutal, but the climate was a little better once she arrived, perhaps because the space was open; the occasional stray breeze found its way to her as she slipped between paddocks on her way to the nearest barn. Nevertheless, she was sticky with sweat by the time she reached her destination, and it was with irritated resignation that she set herself to work.

She no longer needed direct instructions from Serena in order to begin her day. She'd been working at Windmount long enough to know what needed doing in the morning, what daily chores she ought to take care of before starting in on less pressing, more long-term tasks. She might have to ask Serena for direction at that point, but for now things were simple: she would feed and water the brood mares whose daily sustenance she'd taken on, she would turn out a few whose stalls needed cleaning, and she would muck out those stalls. Hard work, but at least these routine tasks didn't require a great deal of thought.

It was comforting, even despite her irritation, that she had such clear knowledge of the tasks she must do. Meant she didn't have to think too much about anything. Just had to let her hands, her calloused hands and her long wiry muscles, do what was needed.

Her feet thumped softly in the dust of the hallway as she moved through the barn, past a couple of other stablehands whom she acknowledged with a quick smile and a nod. Soon enough she had reached her destination, a feed closet near the horses whose everyday care she was responsible for. Taking the varnished wooden scoop in her hand, she set to filling a sizable bucket with oats; these would go to the nursing dams, as the high-energy food would help them stay healthy and produce enough milk to satisfy their foals.

Oats pattered into the bucket, sounding less like rain as they began to pile and more like the noise of a handful of pebbles falling into someone's palm. Dovey's breath slowed and her stiff frame began to relax; the annoyance born from her day's beginning still lurked in the back of her mind, but it was diminishing, albeit slowly. The heat wasn't so bad either, not tucked away in this windowless corner of the stable. She took scoop after scoop of feed, pouring them down until the bucket was about three-quarters full. That would do for about half the horses she needed to feed; she would have to return when she was ready for the rest. She wouldn't be strong enough to carry the container if she added anything more. Lifting the bucket, both hands wrapped close around the handle, she hauled it out of the feed closet and into the barn's wide hall.


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[Windmount Stables] A Bit of Work

Postby Dovey on June 8th, 2017, 11:12 pm

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15 Spring, 517 AV
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"Dovey!"

Startled, Dovey stopped short in her tracks. Her shoulders had tensed reflexively at the unexpected noise, but when she saw who had called her she relaxed. "Yes, Serena?" she responded, padding over to the older woman in solid, careful steps. The bucket hung heavy from her hands, and she bent to set it down on the floor just by her feet. "What do you need?"

"You know how hot it's been," Serena began. Dovey nodded agreeably, watching her employer's face. Where was this going? "I'm trying to keep it from affecting the horses' health," Serena went on, "and I need you to help me out."

"All right," Dovey replied, "only I've got my regular chores to finish - "

"Oh, exactly," Serena said. "I'd like you to start giving these dams extra salt in their feed, from today onward - most of them have salt licks to supplement as well, but you'll need to pour Little Beauty some loose salt in an extra bucket, she bites chunks off of salt blocks - "

"All right," Dovey said again. It was extra work, but she could manage it.

" - and then I want you to go and help scrub troughs in the mares' paddock," Serena continued, not doing so much as acknowledging the interruption, "we've got to keep them hydrated and you know how fussy some of them can be. Afterwards you can go to the back workout arena. Colin should be there pulling a couple geldings' manes, you can help him." Colin was another stablehand. "If you finish that then... let's see, I could use you to clean tack. I've let some of the older pieces be shamefully neglected. Now's as good a time as any to fix that."

"I'm not wonderful with leather," Dovey admitted. "Don't have much practice maintaining it."

"That's no problem," Serena said briskly, "you can start learning from some of the other stablehands. Hmmm... I think that's about all I'll need you for today."

"About all I'll be able to manage, ma'am," Dovey said heavily. There was a certain amount of dry wit behind the comment, good-natured for the most part, but Dovey was somewhat annoyed nevertheless. Serena seemed in a hurry, true, yet what reason was that to unceremoniously overload one's employees with work? It might be a boss's prerogative, but that didn't mean Dovey had to enjoy being on the receiving end.

"Dovey," Serena said, pausing to fix the girl before her with a pointed stare, "I thought I told you a long time ago to call me by my name. Now," and she turned nimbly away, "I believe we both have work to be done."

Dovey watched her employer's back as the woman walked away, a mixture of amusement and irritation registering on the young stablehand's face. Was Serena not aware of how she had just come off, or did she simply believe she had better things to worry about than her presentation to her employees?

Dovey had her answer a moment later; just at the end of the stable hall, Serena turned around. "I did come off a little strong, didn't I?" she called softly down the corridor. "Sorry about that. Just - do as much as you can, won't you please? I'm counting on every one of you hands to get us through this weather thriving."


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[Windmount Stables] A Bit of Work

Postby Dovey on June 28th, 2017, 1:54 pm

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"Of course," Dovey murmured as Serena walked away once more. When her employer put it like that, how could she be irritated? Her help was needed, and she knew Serena would be working even harder than her hired hands to maintain the stables.

She turned to consider the row of stalls she would need to fetch salt for, before she went to scrub troughs, before...

Petch it, she could still be irritated. She'd work her hardest, though. Returning to the feed closet, she rifled briefly through its contents, though she was fairly sure already that there would be no salt stored in this tiny cranny. Sure enough, she found nothing, and resignedly she placed her bucket of oats safely inside the closet before turning down the hallway in the direction of a larger storage room.

After a bit of searching she retrieved a sack of ground salt from a pile of its fellows; grunting a bit, she hoisted the thing over her shoulder and began walking laboriously back. Despite the relatively short distance, by the time she arrived her shoulder was stiff, her arms were aching, and there was cool sweat running down from her hairline to soak her forehead. Should have used a wheelbarrow, she told herself halfheartedly, but honestly, it was too hot for common sense; besides, she was sure she could have carried a bag that size a year or so ago and not been so sore or tired as this. If she was losing muscle, the solution was to gain it back, not to take the easy way out until that wasn't an option and then fail at doing her job.

She took a few ticks to catch her breath, then hauled the sack into the feed closet. She'd keep it in here from now on - no one would miss it in the big storage room, and if these mares were to be given extra salt from now on, it only made sense to keep some salt near them. She took a handful of salt from the bag and dropped it into her bucket of oats, then stuck an arm deep into the bucket and stirred, mixing the salt more or less evenly into the feed. Then, lifting the bucket with both hands, she moved back over to the dams' stalls and started at last on what she had thought would be her very first task that day.

After a good fifteen or twenty chimes, Dovey had given each of the horses a good dose of salty oats and refilled those water buckets which required it. Her arms were somewhat tired from the repetitive motions her work had required, but she was grateful to have finished nonetheless - at least until she remembered her next order of business. Petch it, she hated cleaning troughs - her arms got slimy from the mysterious residue left on the sides, and while her muscles were a bit sore now, her wrists might well be cramping by the time she was finished scrubbing at stubborn bits of filth.

She had to go. It was a necessary task. But it was with a heavy sense of gloom that Dovey slunk through the ever more oppressive heat towards the paddock.


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[Windmount Stables] A Bit of Work

Postby Dovey on June 28th, 2017, 3:48 pm

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15 Spring, 517 AV
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The sunlight exploded across Dovey's vision as she exited the stable, forcing her to bow her head and squint against the sting of its brightness in her eyes. The heat, too, instantly became far more intrusive than it had been before; whereas inside the stables she had merely been discomforted by the mugginess of the air, out here the sun beat down directly upon her and drew a layer of sweat immediately to the surface of her skin. Just like home, she thought wryly, before regretting it, as memories of Kenash dragged up memories of her mother, of her family. It wasn't really just like Kenash, anyway, she told herself - too dry - as if that correction would dismiss the sharp twinge of grief she'd called forth by remembering her home city in the first place.

"Dovey!"

She raised her head, eyes smarting a little still in the brightness, at the shout of greeting. Farther down along the paddock fence she saw several figures crouched around one of the horses' large troughs; she was unable to make out their faces, washed out by sunlight, but she recognized the voice which had called her. "Melanie!" she replied, striking out towards the little group. "Serena told me to help you all clean."

"Come on and get to it then," another of the stablehands answered, the seeming harshness of his words belied by his friendly tone. "We can use all the help we can get." Now that Dovey was closer she could make out each person's face, but she knew none but Melanie except by sight. "Coming," she replied good-naturedly, settling to the ground beside them all. "Do you have an extra - oh gods that's disgusting!" She had glanced casually into the trough, only to be confronted with algae-covered sides and a layer of soggy brown grime on the bottom.

"Yeah, tell us about it," Melanie said dourly. "We hauled it out here, took a close look, and decided to take a nice break before we started."

"We think it got skipped the last couple cleaning sessions," the lad who'd spoken earlier chimed in. "It was out of the way, kind of hard to notice."

"Wish you hadn't noticed it," Dovey said. "But we'd probably better get started. Have you got brushes?"

"Over here," another hand replied, shifting to reveal a bucket bristling with long-handled stiff brushes. She snagged one, tossing it to Dovey.

Dovey looked at the others with eyebrows raised. "I'm not starting until you do," she informed them.

Together the stablehands scrubbed at the trough, first at its gooey walls, then eventually at the brown gunk beneath. As she had expected, Dovey's hand grew wet and slimy despite the protective distance offered by the brush's long handle; the stablehands shook muck off their brushes onto the dirt at their feet, building a little pile of filth on the ground as they slowly, slowly, worked the trough clean. At last the task was finished, and Dovey stood, tired and disheveled, to help carry the trough back to the paddock corner from which it had come.


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[Windmount Stables] A Bit of Work

Postby Dovey on June 28th, 2017, 8:19 pm

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15 Spring, 517 AV
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They cleaned four troughs all told, though none of the rest took so long nor grimed their hands so much as the first they'd tackled. Helping to haul the last one back to its place in the paddock, Dovey glanced at Syna's place in the sky. "It's almost lunchtime," she announced.

Melanie looked up as well, following Dovey's gaze. "I think you're right," she said, with considerable cheer. "What do you all say we fill these troughs and then go fill our stomachs?"

Dovey winced. "Shyke, I might have to abandon you," she said. "Colin's waiting for my help with some geldings in the back arena. I can't just leave him there."

"Fair enough," Melanie replied, followed closely by a chorus of "don't worry"s and "go ahead"s. Dovey grinned gratefully at her coworkers, lifting her end of the trough a bit higher as the ground sloped up a bit beneath their feet. Oddly, and aside from the sweat and the slimy hands and the headache-inducing heat, she was feeling better than she had in days. She had to attribute it to the good company.

Reaching the patch of brown grass where the trough had been sitting, Dovey helped maneuver it into place before dropping her burden with a soft thump."Right, I'll say goodbye," she said. "Thank you, everyone, you actually made this bearable. Best of luck filling these." She gave the group a smile, lifted a hand in farewell, and turned to head back through the stable to the arena on the far side.

She stopped to rinse off at the pump just outside the door - there was no use getting the combs and the geldings' manes filled with muck, and besides, she was longing for clean hands. Then, with no more ado, she ducked through the door and set off down the stable hallway.

Her stomach felt hollow already, she realized, although there was still a good half bell before she generally ate her midday meal. Her muscles were sore, too; this morning had really taken it out of her. It was funny how adding one task at the beginning of her day, just putting salt into the dams' feed, threw her working rhythm off so effectively. She wondered idly why the dams even had to have their salt supplemented - why wouldn't they just use their salt licks more often if they needed to? Of course, some horses couldn't have salt licks for various reasons, but these...

Oh, shyke, she'd forgotten something.

"Pour Little Beauty some loose salt," Serena had said, "she bites chunks off salt blocks." But Dovey hadn't. Petch. That was something she really ought to do now if she didn't want to forget again, but Colin was presumably waiting...

Yes, but Little Beauty was waiting too. With a long sigh at the capriciousness of the world, Dovey turned round and made for the hallway which would take her back to the nursing dams. She would give Little Beauty her salt in another bucket, and then she would hurry to the back arena and see if she could still help Colin for ten or fifteen chimes before lunch. Afterwards he might want more help, and then she'd have to find someone to teach her how to clean and maintain tack without getting oil absolutely everywhere - which was what she'd done last time she had attempted the task. Then there was regular feeding time for the horses, and she had her everyday chores to tackle yet, like stall-mucking...

But at least she could go and eat soon. That was something.


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Dovey
One unlucky girl
 
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[Windmount Stables] A Bit of Work

Postby Karyk on June 30th, 2017, 3:28 pm

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Dovey
Skills
Planning: 3
Bodybuilding: 1
Horsemanship: 1
Observation: 1
Socialization: 1
Leadership: 1
Cleaning: 1
Endurance: 1
Lores
Horsemanship: Horses need more salt during high heat
Bosses can pile on work when times get tough
Planning: Keep higher used supplies closer to where they are needed
Miscellaneous


 
Notes and Comments
CS Checkmarked: ✓
CS Reviewed by Me: ✓
Season Request was Submitted for Grade: Summer 517
Season Thread was Started (IC & OOC): Spring 517 & Spring 517
Is that Season's expenses paid?: ✓
Eligible for grade? Yes



A fun little thread, well done. Please mark your post in queue as graded.
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