Solo [Windmount Stables] Brown Study

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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] Brown Study

Postby Dovey on June 1st, 2017, 3:06 am

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75 Spring, 517 AV
"Speech"
"Others"


The only good thing about this season was the heat.

Oh, it got to her all right, same as everybody else. The way her clothes stuck to her skin, the constant coating of sticky sweat on her cheeks, the humidity so high it felt as if she were breathing underwater... Dovey didn't say it was pleasant. But it was familiar, homelike, and that was what she needed now more than anything. She wouldn't have been able to enjoy pleasant much, anyway.

She was at Windmount now, grooming a three-year-old bay mare Serena had asked her to work on training. "Stella needs to get used to working with a variety of people," the older woman had explained earlier that day, "so I'm having different stablehands do a session with her every few days. I know you can't ride, but would you lunge her a while in one of the arenas, over a ground pole? She's been balking at a canter and sometimes a trot, and I'd really like to get her used to it."

At Dovey's assent, Serena had smiled brightly and led the way to the filly's pasture. Dovey had taken the horse on a lead rope to one of the indoor working arenas -Stella had been fairly polite, only mouthing at Dovey's elbow a few times - and tied her at one wall inside. But Stella had evidently been rolling, and Dovey thought she had better brush the girl before starting in on any training - and so now here she stood, dusting a stiff brush across a restless filly's back in short, sharp strokes, and feeling thoroughly morose.

The real problem was, she reflected as she brushed mud from Stella's belly, that there was no real problem. There was nothing which she could puzzle out or confront, nothing to fight or to run from. There was only this sadness, this senselessly long-lived pain. Mother's death was a - problem, right enough, if one wanted to put it that way, but it was not the sort of problem she or anyone could fix. All she could do was wait until the memory lost its sting.

Gods, was such a thing possible?

She was tempted to shove off the grief, to simply refuse to feel it, but she remembered exactly how poorly that had gone for her before. It would only come back again, stronger for its temporary burial, and she would be sapped of her other emotions as well in the meantime. No, she had to wait it out; it came in waves, anyhow. In a little while she thought it would lighten, and then her mind would be a bit clearer for the task she had to undertake.

Giving the horse's rump a wide berth - Stella wasn't fully trained, and she didn't quite trust the filly not to startle and kick at someone behind her - Dovey moved round to the equally muddy right flank. Giving a resigned sort of sigh, she lifted the dark mane out of the way and began applying the brush to the horse's neck. That was quite enough introspection. She had work to do.


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Dovey
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[Windmount Stables] Brown Study

Postby Dovey on June 8th, 2017, 6:16 am

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75 Spring, 517 AV
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Dovey went on brushing for several more chimes, working at the mud dried into Stella's short hair until each scale of dirt came flaking reluctantly off. The horse didn't need to be completely clean - she was only being exercised, after all, Dovey wasn't showing her off for sale or anything - but it wasn't good practice to leave her so messy before working with her, and so Dovey worked to make her at least moderately presentable.

At last Stella's coat was reasonably free of mud and dust, and Dovey returned the brush to its place with the other grooming gear at the far side of the arena before hastening back to the young horse. Stella was fidgeting when she returned, pawing a shallow trench in the arena sawdust with one impatient hoof. It was about time, Dovey judged, to get to her actual task: the lunging.

Which would, of course, require both a lunge line and a bridle. A bridle, moreover, which she had to be sure would suit Stella.

And to retrieve those, she needed to leave the arena.

"Petch," Dovey muttered aloud.

It wasn't that she couldn't find the necessary items. She could, and easily; the bridle might take a bit of asking, but Serena at least would know, and likely some of the other stablehands as well. But in order to retrieve them she would either have to leave Stella here alone - an unprofessional move which carried some risk - or else pull a coworker away from their own tasks to watch Dovey's charge for her. Both options were embarrassing - gods, this whole thing was embarrassing to begin with, not to have thought of retrieving the necessary equipment earlier and preventing this problem from ever arising. Why couldn't she just be competent for once - but no, now she was making too much of the situation, letting worry flare up too far, and that would only further hinder her ability to do her job... With her lips thinned to a severe line, Dovey stood with a hand placed distractedly on Stella's flank, trying to decide what to do.

She wouldn't normally have been so upset over the situation - that is, assuming normal meant neutral for her anymore, rather than a state of dull depression. Oh, it would have embarrassed her all right, but she could have dealt with that, shrugged it off and gone on with things. Now, though - right now she barely felt equipped to deal with her basic routine. Any kind of hitch in her plans threatened to distress her, and this was mortifying in itself, but distress her to the point that she was rendered too distracted to properly do her job. Besides, she was training a horse; she couldn't project disquiet or Stella would pick up on it, absorb it as her own.

Dovey blew a sharp breath out through her nostrils. She had to figure out how to handle this, and she had to do it now - before her own emotions completely upset her plans.


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[Windmount Stables] Brown Study

Postby Dovey on June 14th, 2017, 2:29 pm

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75 Spring, 517 AV
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All right. All right. She had to be calm, she had to be rational - gods, this shouldn't be so hard but she couldn't think about that now either or she'd only make things worse. Now. Leave the horse alone? Stella was still a baby, though, and she wasn't fully trained. She might pull her lead rope out of the slip knot it was tied in, if she yanked hard enough. Dovey didn't want the horse loose in the arena; it wouldn't be as bad as if she were wearing a bridle with dangling reins to be stepped on, but she might still injure herself somehow, or at least make herself hard to catch and too excited to focus on training.

Then there was the other option: recruiting one of her coworkers to watch the horse for her.

It was the obvious choice. But she didn't want to make it.

Stupid, really, how much she was letting the threat of public embarrassment get to her. Any stablehand would understand her situation; so long as she didn't ask a bully she'd get kindness, accommodation, and not scorn. But she'd messed up, and gods it was foolish but she despised the idea of anyone finding out. If only she could take the horse with her - but though she could easily walk her charge through the stable hallways, entering the tack rooms with her was a different story. Surely Stella would be fine, left for only a couple chimes in this uncluttered arena? There wasn't really very much risk at all. Yes, the horse would be fine. Almost before she realized it Dovey was quick-footing it for the gate. Everything would be fine. She'd hurry, and she'd find the equipment, and absolutely nothing would go wrong.

She lifted the latch on the gate, slipping through to the other side before securing it again carefully. This was uncomfortable; she should go back - but no, why should she? She wasn't really doing anything wrong. Hurriedly she crossed the stretch of grass between the arena and the barn, already bringing to mind which route she should take to the nearest tack room. Yes, she had this. She'd be back in no time.

She strode down the hallways, holding her skirts clear of her shoes with one hand. Take a left, then a right, then go straight past two intersections, and then... there! The door to the tack room glowed with lamplight, and she could hear the muted sound of chatter within.

A fresh-faced stablehand, seated on a barrel by the wall, jumped to his feet when she entered. "Dovey!" His companions, four other young men lounging on various improvised seats around the room, made noncommittal noises of greeting. "Good to see you again!" the first lad continued warmly. "We just ducked in here for a quick break. You won't tell Serena, will you?"

"'Course not," Dovey replied, "but I'm working, unfortunately - " this was accompanied by a quick, teasing grin - "and I have to hurry away. If one of you knows, could you please tell me where I can find a bridle to fit Stella?" While she spoke, she scanned the walls of the tack room. "Oh! Good, lunge lines." She stepped over to the rack containing the first of her two objectives and snatched one of the ropes up, tucking it safely under her arm.


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Dovey
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[Windmount Stables] Brown Study

Postby Dovey on June 24th, 2017, 3:34 pm

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75 Spring, 517 AV
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"Stella? The little bay girl, the one scared of shadows? Sorry you're stuck with her." Dovey's acquaintance made his way over to the far wall, where bridles hung from wooden hooks, the leather straps twisted neatly round each other for compaction. The lad lifted one bridle, a minimal affair bearing a simple snaffle bit, from its place. "This is hers. Good luck to you."

"Oh, she's not nearly that bad," Dovey protested, mock-seriously; the impish smile on the other stablehand's face made it clear he was only teasing. She took the bridle from him, hanging it over her shoulder. "Thanks. Now I've really got to get back to work." Giving the group a quick little wave, she ducked out the tack room doorway and set to speed-walking back down the stable halls.

There in the tack room, chatting lightheartedly with her coworkers, the complicated mess of guilt, anxiety, and sadness inhabiting her mind had faded more or less comfortably into the background. She had hoped it would remain so, at least for a bell or two; but already, without the distraction of sociability, the ugly emotional cocktail was flaring up again. What was worse, she knew she had allowed her feelings to prevent her from doing her job properly; who was to say she wouldn't go on like that, taking every possible sloppy or outright risky shortcut just to spare her lately delicate psyche a little knocking? She wasn't raised to behave like this. What would - her jaw clenched in resistance, but she stubbornly went on with the thought - what would Mother think?

She was nearly at the arena now. Hopefully nothing had spooked Stella, and she would be able to get on with the training and forget this embarrassing episode altogether. She crossed the small grassy area between the stable and the arena gate, and fumbled at the latch for a few ticks before getting the sticky thing open. She heard Stella whinny from inside, and her stomach tightened - was that simply a greeting, or was the note of anxiety she thought she'd detected more than simply a product of Dovey's own worry? Hopefully the horse hadn't hurt herself somehow in the several chimes Dovey had been gone - but even assuming she hadn't, if Stella was indeed frightened after being left alone, would she consent to calm down enough that this training session could succeed?

The gate swung inward, and Dovey, biting at her lip, slipped through.

Inside, Stella was still tied securely to the wall, and Dovey's tense muscles unwound a little. But a moment later, the tension returned; Stella was backed as far away from the wall as her lead rope would let her go, her halter straining against her face. One of the horse's front hooves was lifted uncertainly above the ground, and there was an indentation in the sawdust of the floor where she had been pawing. Clearly, Stella was spooked - and whether it had merely been the isolation or some sound she had heard while Dovey was gone, the half-trained three-year-old would need to be calmed down before Dovey's task could go ahead.


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Dovey
One unlucky girl
 
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[Windmount Stables] Brown Study

Postby Dovey on June 26th, 2017, 8:47 pm

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75 Spring, 517 AV
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Stella's flank shuddered as Dovey approached, and she took a step away from the stablehand, turning to look at the girl with her nostrils flaring in and out. Sighing, Dovey stopped moving. She had to steady herself before she could effectively steady the horse; otherwise she'd just make the problem worse. Taking a long, slow breath, she consciously relaxed her shoulder and back muscles, which had been stiff with tension. Her shoulders settled down from the sides of her neck to their ordinary position. The muscles wanted to tighten up again immediately, but she did her best not to let them; breathing deeply and deliberately, with her free hand hovering out in front of her, she again approached the nervous mare.

Stella whickered uncertainly, eyeing the approaching stablehand with suspicion, but when Dovey's hand made contact with her flank she shivered only once and then calmed down a little. "Shhhh," Dovey murmured, running her hand along Stella's side, feeling the horse's smooth, short hair brush past beneath her fingers. "Quiet now, girl. Everything's going to be all right."

Stella shifted her feet and tossed her head a little, but she seemed to be calming. Dovey shrugged the bridle from her shoulder to her hand, slid the wound-up lunge line out from beneath her elbow, and clipped the latter to one of the rings on the bridle's bit. She would adjust it so it was properly oriented later; this was just to get the thing out of her way. She undid the halter Stella wore, then rebuckled it somewhat loosely around the horse's neck. Spreading out the noseband of the bridle with one hand as she held the headpiece with the other, she lifted the thing gently toward Stella's head.

Stella balked a little and tried to back away, but when her taut lead rope prevented her from doing so she settled rather than continuing to pull. Dovey slipped the headpiece over Stella's ears, poked her thumb into the corner of Stella's mouth until the horse parted her teeth, then slid the bit inside. Stella was a little recalcitrant, but Dovey had plenty of practice putting on a bridle and the task was almost refreshingly simple. The training which was her goal would be a different matter; Stella might be calm enough to handle when it came to such basic things as tacking up, but Dovey would need to work out more of this stress if she wanted the mare to focus at all on learning.

Dovey readjusted the lunge line so that it was properly attached to the bridle, then unclipped the reins, moving away from the horse for a moment to tie them loosely onto the arena gate. Finally, returning to Stella's side, she took a proper grip on the rolled-up lunge line and removed the halter which held the horse to the wall.

Stella's stride was tense as Dovey led her to the arena center; a few ticks after the stablehand played out the lunge line and urged her forward, she sped from the desired walk to a bouncy, anxious trot. Dovey sighed, taking the lunge line in a bit and cueing Stella with her voice to slow down. This was going to take some effort.

In the end, the two worked for only about thirty chimes. Dovey could have managed more, but lunging wasn't meant to be a long-lasting exercise, and working Stella for too long would only risk injury. She wasn't about to make another bad-practice mistake, not in the midst of the consequences for the other; Stella had never quite lost her nervousness, and for nearly the first third of the training session she'd been so keyed-up that Dovey could focus on very little but relaxing her. Dovey might have done a good deal better had she not given in to her own insecurities, and she knew it perfectly well.

She scolded herself as she returned the tired Stella to her stall. Come on, you. You knew better, and if you keep going like this Serena's going to dock your pay. The exercise had centered her some, helped to clear her mind; the numb sort of sadness was still there but she could think past it more easily now, and she could see all too clearly how embarrassing her previous conduct had been. Honestly, she'd been that worried about looking like an idiot in front of a coworker, just because of a minor oversight? So she'd decided the better choice was to mess up her job, and neglect the horse she was meant to be looking after?

Because she was embarrassed?

So you were embarrassed. Okay, great, good for you. You'd better push through it next time.


Boxcode credit: Karin Ironyach
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"Common" "Fratava" "Pavi"
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Dovey
One unlucky girl
 
Posts: 270
Words: 221676
Joined roleplay: December 31st, 2016, 10:42 am
Location: Sunberth
Race: Human, Mixed
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[Windmount Stables] Brown Study

Postby Karyk on June 29th, 2017, 9:37 pm

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Dovey
Skills
Horsemanship: 3
Planning: 1
Observation: 2
Socialization: 1
Lores
Spring: The only good thing about Spring is the heat
Horsemanship: If a horse needs to be used to multiple people, rotate groomers
Grief improves over time
Nagging Thought: What would mother think of me being depressed?
Horsemanship: A taut line and dug ground suggests a desire to flee
Horsemanship: Attaching a lunge line
Determined Thought: Next time, don't be embarrassed, for the horse, for the job
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 nice thread, it was fun seeing the mingling of Dovey's depression and grief versus her determination and caring. Please mark your post in the queue as Graded.
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