Open [The Seaside Market] You Cant Fix Everything All The Time

But sometimes you can make a difference, even if its a small one.

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[The Seaside Market] You Cant Fix Everything All The Time

Postby Kelski on August 30th, 2018, 4:54 am

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Timestamp: 91st of Summer, 518 A.V.

The sun hadn't been up long and neither had the Sea Eagle. She was still rubbing off her sleep as she walked the pre-dawn streets of Sunberth. Most people would call her crazy for being out this early, but she had a long day at work planned and wanted to go to the market early to get the best pick of produce. It was Kelski's turn to bring food home and her list was significant. She had a pocket full of coins to cover the cost and then some.

The Kelvic was feeling satisfied. She'd gotten enough coin together the previous day to make a significant payment on her loan to Goldfinger. She'd sweated every moment she'd had the coin in her bag on the hike to the loan agent. But it had felt good counting out three thousand coins and laying them on his counter. Her loan had dropped from ten thousand to seven overnight. If she kept having good seasons like this, it would not take her two years of being in financial slavery to the man. She'd get things paid off quickly.

So as a result of that happening, Kelski was lighthearted and in the mood to shop. There was a bit extra coin in her pocket and she wondered if she coudl find little extras for everyone in the gem as thoughtful gifts to say thank you for a successful season. They all helped out and made it possible.

As Kelski approached the market, she noticed there was heavier cart traffic than usual. Ponies and horses were loaded down with goods, probably meaning a ship was in the harbor or even a number of them. But there was also a standard array of the same types of animals hauling enormous loads of wood, coal, and assorted other things that made up Sunberth's day to day commerce. Kelski normally paid them no mind. They had jobs to do just as she did, and walking carefully through them, she started shopping.

Some of her produce she could get delivered if she ordered in enough quantities and she did so happily. There were also bags of chicken feed, flour, and the arrangement of milk to be delivered. Much of what she purchased went into her backpack, which while seemingly bulky, never got much heavier than it was when it was empty.

There weren't many shoppers out yet as light streaked the sky. Kelski was about half done with her round of errands when she heard the commotion. The crack of the whip hit her ears first. Then she heard a cry, a pitiful horrible scream of an animal in pain. The Kelvic told herself to ignore it, to walk away, but she found her feet taking her a direction she hadn't intended to go... closer to the noise.

More cracks rang out an she could hear the scrambling of hooves on the cobbles and broken pavement of the street. When she rounded another corner by a significant drop in the street, she paused. The sight she took in made her stomach turn.

A white horse with black mane and tail and bright black eyes was leaning heavily in its traces, straining against its collar, trying to wrestle a huge load of cut firewood up the hill. The cart was overloaded by such a capacity that it was almost unthinkable. The horse was trying, actively trying, but Kelski didn't see how it would be possible for the animal to actually make it up the small hill. The wood cart looked terrible too, swaying sideways as if it wasn't shorn up enough to hold the weight in it.

"Get on with it you lazy piece of crap!" Crack! The whip lashed out again and the horse scrambled almost jumping in its bindings. It lunged forward, over and over, throwing its weight into the collar but the cart only creeped forward.. .and when it stopped to pant the cart dragged it backwards.

The man was growing furious. His face was deep red and he looked angry he had to climb off the cart and try to get the horse to navigate it up the hill that was just a rolling slope in the road.

Crack! Crack! This time the man screamed and advanced, intending to somehow beat the horse harder by being closer. Kelski didn't even want to look, couldn't look, as she heard the sound of wood splinter as the cart literally collapsed under the load, dragging the horse backwards and almost throwing it on top of the shattered mess of firewood that was now rolling everywhere... down hill, into allies, into the arms of willing people snatching up the free wood...

The man in the street grew even redder as his jowls colored a deeper shade of crimson.

"See what you did now?!?! I'm going to slit your worthless throat!" The horse scrambled backwards, got caught in the lines, and was tangled in his harness before he could move much further. The wagon was much lighter now though, and the horse dragged part of the wreckage forward, scaring itself and bucking a bit which tangled it further.

The man whom caused it all in Kelski's mind by overloading the firewood cart in the first place advanced on the horse... which was now hopelessly tangled and so much so that he could hardly move. He balled up his fist and hit the horse in the face, very near his eyes. The animal tried to jerk its head up, but its bit was caught in a traceline which bent his head in a strange angle.

Whimpering, it tried to strike at the man, but the man was standing in a way the horse couldn't reach him. Instead of jumping back, the man balled up his fist and started punching the horse again and again, until he spotted one of the lengths of firewood and caught it up. Kelski saw him grip the wood like a club and advance on the horse again.

No. Oh by all that was sacred... no. Kelski would not watch this... not when there was something she could do

The Jeweler moved forward swiftly. "Stop! Wait... just stop a moment. Can I help you?" She said, moving closer, drawing her dagger carefully against her body while waving with her other hand, distracting the man with the makeshift club. "What happened? It looked like your cart was overloaded." She said gently, moving forward, placing herself between the hostler and the animal that suddenly dropped to its knees as if it were exhausted and just done with the whole ordeal and hoping for one last blow to end it all.

Kelski wasn't going to let that happen.
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[The Seaside Market] You Cant Fix Everything All The Time

Postby Kelski on August 30th, 2018, 7:16 pm

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The hostler turned on Kelski the moment she got in range. He was in a rage and it was clear anything that got in his way was going to be on the receiving end of his wrath. He threw an awkward punch at her that was half-assed at best due to the fact he had the whip in one hand and was trying to wade into the wreckage to get close to the horse that was having no part of it despite its confined circumstances. Kelski ducked it, expecting that to be it, and got up close and personal to his other fist which slammed into her face. The jeweler staggered back, spitting blood and brought her arm up to distract him as she swung her knife, aiming for his ribs now that she was close enough to take a punch.

The dagger slipped like butter between the man’s ribs, lower than she’d have liked, missing most of his vital organs, but perhaps only nicking his liver. The subsequent gush of blood was satisfying, but coated as much of Kelski as it did the man himself. It gave her a moment to step back, draw a second dagger, and wait to see what he was going to do.

The man screamed foul-mouthed and foul-breathed and with his good arm brought the whip back and cracked it at the Kelvic. Behind her the horse screamed, not wanting any part of the whip. The Kelvic was so close it was hard to dodge the waggoneers whip. If it had been a bullwhip he wouldn’t have had room, but as it was, the long stick designed to beat a horse’s rump from the seat was just fine for beating a kelvic who wasn’t minding her own business as well. The man brought the whip down cruelly in a series of blows, three of them, more than competent with his whip, and while Kelski saw the first one coming and neatly dodged it, the man anticipated the action and slapped her hard with it twice more. The thing hurt, not cutting skin but the blows to her neck and shoulders hurt like someone actually stabbed her and she cried out, staggering.

She understood in that moment so acutely why the horse had went down to its front knees, as Kelski did about the very same thing. Darvin taught her in a fight not to let go of her weapons, but the man in essence had range on her and she couldn’t close without the whip taking serious damage maybe even one of her eyes. So she blinked, went into pure fighters mode, and hurled her dagger in her right hand with what she thought was the right amount of force to get the right amount of spin to nail the blade deep in him. He was right there, whip in hand, and his action of bringing the whip up to attack again sent her blade sailing past him, only catching on the drape of cloth below his arm.

Kelski hissed in frustration, keeping her good dagger, but pulling a second dagger from her bracer of throwing daggers across her chest. It cost her time and the man was already bringing the whip back down, this time a gleam of pleasure on his face… having forgotten all about his anger over the horse. He slashed wickedly, forcing Kelski to duck to protect her face, hunching her back and protecting her neck with her arms. The man laughed harder, and while she had a pack on her back protecting it, the fact didn’t stop him at all. He caught the sides of her body which were unprotected and nailed her still healing ribs with three hard blows before she heard him take a deep breath to relaunch another attack.

Lurching upward and straight at him, getting closer rather than farther to limit his ability to use the whip…. She threw another dagger snarling, her arms burning, her ribs smarting again, and anger at the whole situation choking her throat like bile. The dagger lodged in the man’s throat… and he crumpled. In that moment, Kelski snarled, turning, looking for any more enemies. Strangely, the street was empty of everything but the tangled horse, the two fighters, and the ruined cart. The man was still dying, gurgling and thrashing on his back, but Kelski walked right past him, retrieving her lost dagger as she did so and pulling the other one free of the man’s throat which expedited his death.

Standing there panting, she turned, surveyed the area and shook her head. Every last bit of the firewood was gone… pilfered while she was fighting the hostler. She shook her head, looking around, finding no one but the trembling horse that was panting and shaking. Kelski wiped her daggers ,resheathed them, and gently approached.

“Shhhh… shhh its okay.” She said softly, knowing she smelled of blood and probably looked frightful. The horse, however, didn’t seem worried. It lunged to its feet, still tangled, and stood there with its ears slowly rotating forward. She walked closer, surveying its tangled lines, and shook her head. She knew nothing about carts and horses and hitching things up. But she did know about sharp daggers, so she drew Pitch and made short work of the lines and traces, cutting the horse free of the ruined cart. Catching a hold of his head piece, she gently tugged and he walked forward, following her.

“I don’t know where you live. I’m sorry.” She said almost apologetically as she gently made sure he wasn’t tangled in any of the remaining lines, and cut a few more. The heavy collar looked nasty so Kelski kept cutting until the harness was in a pile at the horses feet and she could slip the collar off his neck and dump it at his feet.

“Nasty thing that. I take it you are a slave.” She said thoughtfully. Horses didn’t speak and this was no kelvic, so the Sea Eagle simply left the headstall on him and gently picked up the tattered cut remains of his reins. “I guess you can come home with me and eat the grass out back.” She said thoughtfully, and then turned around and thought better of it. She had no idea what a horse needed and if this one was this man’s horse or someone else’s. But she did know there was a stable on the edge of the city. Anja had said as much. She’d go there first, or at least go talk to Anja, and see if the horse was injured, what it needed and then take it home if no one claimed it as she was doing so.
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[The Seaside Market] You Cant Fix Everything All The Time

Postby Anja Nightwatcher on August 31st, 2018, 3:50 pm

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As chance would have it, Anja had chosen to go to the market that day as the last of summer waned towards its end.

Habit pushed Anja to his feet at or before dawn, even all these years after he had departed from Endrykas. By the time Syna had risen from her bed and gently touched the dust bed with her divine light, Anja had already dressed, fed Maisa, tidied up his campsite, and checked his spirit beads to ensure they would function as wards against ghosts for the remainder of the day. The morning routine that the Drykas had become accustomed to in his season in Sunberth was slow paced and simple compared to his time in the Sea of Grass.

Anja filled the time and stalled his own boredom by checking Maisa over for any possible injuries while she ate. The strider patiently endured Anja’s pokes and prods, running his fingers through her mane and down her back and legs, and lifting her hooves to ensure she hadn't picked up any stones during a nightly trot across the Dust Bed. She was fine, of course. Anja’s companion would let him know if she had injured herself or needed something. Anja was just filling the time with busy work. Maisa knew this too. Drykas did not know what to do with idle hands, and enduring Anja’s annoyance was Maisa’s kind way of humoring her friend.

Eventually however, there was nothing else Anja could find for himself to do. A melancholy set in as the man stared at the sunrise in silence. The Dust Bed was quiet. Most days it suited him, but today he was restless. Maisa, having finished her meal, trotted over to Anja and seized his sleeve in her teeth, giving it a gentle tug. The Drykas turned to his friend with an enquiring look, and with a snort she trotted over to her yvas, resting in the dust beside the tent, and gave Anja a pointed look.

Anja chuckled, and followed his strider’s lead. Placing a yvas on a strider was second nature to all Drykas and it took him no more than a few chimes.

“Where do you plan on taking me today?” Anja asked his companion, tickling her chin with his finger tips. Maisa snorted, and pulled at his shoulder and turned to her side to face him. Anja mounted without complaint, and Maisa carried the drykas out of the Dust Bed and towards town.

After Maisa had made her first few turns through the streets, Anja already had a pretty good idea where the strider was taking him. His suspicion was confirmed when the Seaside Market sprawled in front of him. Anja’s lips twitched with a hidden smile. What was his steed planning on them doing here? He had no more than a handful of gold mizas; the majority of his coins were hidden in the Dust Bed.

Suddenly Anja was struck by an unmistakable sensation, freezing the man on Maisa’s back and causing the mare to stop dead in place. When he recovered himself, he nudged Maisa with his heels, leaning her in the direction he was drawn. Sensing his urgency, the mare broke into a trot, following Anja’s direction. It didn't take Anja long to find what he had expected to find.

The man had died very recently. His body lay crumpled on the ground and blood covered his throat and chest. A glance of the scene revealed the logistics of his death. An overturned, shattered cart, a trembling injured white horse, and Kelski, death emanating from her like a pungent mist.

“Hello Kelski,” Anja greeted the woman, dismounting from his companion's back. Maisa, recognizing the kelvic woman, let out a nicker of greeting and trotted over to sniff at her hand.

“What happened here?” the man asked. There was no accusation in him. As an Eiyon, Anja’s view on death, even murder, was practical. His rush to the area had been more of a rush to make sure no ghosts formed in the aftermath of a brutal death. Anja sensed no traces of unlife here, so his duty was not required in this moment, and socialization with his acquaintance was a logical secondary step.

Anja looked at the trembling white horse and felt a stab of pity. “You’ve had a hard time of it haven't you?” the man told the horse in Pavi. He brought a hand forward for the horse to smell. It’s nostrils flared, but it simply trembled, frozen in place.

“Too broken even to bite,” Anja said sympathetically, switching to common for Kelski’s benefit. “Poor boy.”
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[The Seaside Market] You Cant Fix Everything All The Time

Postby Kelski on September 2nd, 2018, 9:18 am

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Kelski jumped slightly, hearing Anja’s voice. A dagger was in her hand before she could stop herself and she was whirling from where she was standing tippy toe to whisper in the horse’s ear. There was something predatory in her silver gaze as she caught up Anja’s eyes in her own and bore into him with a gaze that was rife with violence. She glanced at Maisa, then back at Anja, and drew in a deep breath, re-sheathing her dagger. Kelski lifted a hand to touch Maisa’s velvety soft nose and drew in another breath.

His question caused her to glance around as if someone else was responsible or it was another person’s life, not her own. “A man had this horse hitched to a wagon that was very much overloaded. The horse was not pulling it easily and the man was beating him. The wagon collapsed and the load went everywhere. The man blamed the horse and I intervened. Now the horse has nowhere to go because the man is dead.” Kelski said simply, reaching out to touch the bony neck. She had no idea of the horses age though she was pretty sure it was male. It looked old, defeated, underfed and ill treated with long overgrown hooves and a sense about it as if it were just waiting for Dira’s call.

“I can’t just leave him here. Not with these…” She gestured to the ribs showing on the beast and the strips across his rump, flanks and even on this head where the whip had landed and bit. Kelski had similar marks all over her. And she had the man’s blood splattered across the front of her.

Her voice was soft, pleading, in a tone that was unusual for her. “Can you help him? Help us?”

It was a lot to ask, inviting a stranger to get involved with what in essence had been murder. But Kelski didn’t know what to do with the horse… if it needed medical attention… or just a safe place to eat and eat until it put on weight. She had no experience taking care of animals, let alone something as large as a horse.

“I was going to take him home… maybe visit one of the stables to get food, if he needs more besides the grass. I…” She paused then, took a deep breath, and looked Anja straight in the eye. “Once this was me… this horse… broken, starved, beaten, ill used by humans. I just killed his owner and now he is mine. I want to be a better life for him than he has now. Will you and Maisa help us?” She asked, hoping beyond hope Anja would say yes.

The gelding was in truth young, just a three year old, of mixed parentage. Though its coat was washed white, Anja could tell it was still very young and could see a deep grey dorsal stripe running down its back and faint dark lines on its legs that with proper food would grow out dark almost black. It was a silver grulla – a color often only found in Striders – though this horse was definitely not one of the horses of the Sea of Grass. He was, however, related and probably by a Strider stallion out of a mixed blooded mare. Stunted from the lack of good food, he most likely would not be much bigger than 15hh if he was put back on good food. And the rub marks on his neck indicated he’d probably been a cart horse as soon as he was old enough to work.

To someone of the horse clans, the animal wasn’t completely ruined. Horses put to carts too soon usually had blown knees and his lines looked clean and strong. It was most likely a case of youth saving him, though a year or two more in the traces with overloaded carts like the mess he’d seen would indeed result in such damage. His feet needed a trim badly, and besides food he had the roundness of a belly full of worms most likely from being in conditions with feces that were piled up and fetid water.

He’d likely never be a war horse or an animal that would carry a large man, but he’d be – if his mind was salvageable – a very decent mount for the Kelvic if she wanted one and would indeed be perfect for driving a small cart and acting as transportation around Sunberth in the line of work Kelski did.

Kelski, amusingly enough, for having just killed a man looked terrified… though not over the fact she’d killed someone. It was the horse that seemed to be her center of attention and that seemed to be scaring her… perhaps her lack of having a single clue what to do to help the animal.
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[The Seaside Market] You Cant Fix Everything All The Time

Postby Anja Nightwatcher on September 21st, 2018, 1:14 am

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Anja let out a soft breath. There was a bit of melancholy behind it, aimed at Kelski’s desperation. Even if she hadn't pleaded for his help, he would have of course helped her and this poor broken gelding. Seeing a horse so poorly treated brought a bitter taste to Anja’s mouth. Such treatment to a horse was unforgivable among his people, and though Anja typically did not have feelings for a person’s death one way or another, he was very glad that Kelski had killed this man, if only for the fact that this poor soul could have a better chance at a life. Under Kelski’s care it certainly would. The kelvic’s heart had resonated with this poor broken creature. She had seen herself reflected in his eyes. In a way it was a bit like the two of them had bonded, as a strider bonds to a drykas. Who was Anja to deny Kelski that?

“Of course I’ll help you, Kelski.” Anja heard a soft nicker of agreement from Maisa as she snuffled at the kelvic’s hands. “We both will.”

Anja approached the horse slowly, speaking a few words to him in Pavi. The man ran his hands across the creature’s frame, delicate and practiced fingers seeking out hurt and sickness. As he touched the horse, he spoke to Kelski to ease the young woman’s nerves and to inform her of what he discovered.

“I can only make a tentative examination Kelski. I know enough to care for Maisa’s small problems and hurts, but I am not an expert by any means. You should take him to an expert. There is a stable in Sunberth, the Jolly Good Stables. The woman who runs it is a Drykas like myself, her name is Tierra. She will be able to help you better than I can, and can teach you how to care for your new friend. But let me see what my amature eyes can find.”

Anja cast Kelski a kind smile as he examined the steed. The horse trembled under Anja’s hands as though fearing an unexpected blow, but Anja continued to speak softly to the creature, hoping to ease his fear. Maisa leaned her head towards the stranger horse and blew at him gently, and Anja felt the tension in his body relax very slightly. “He is very frightened,” Anja told Kelski. The Drykas could clearly see the wounds and hurt on the poor beast, but Anja bit his tongue so as not to say his first reflex; that the steed had been ruined by his previous master. Not, at least, until he examined further.

Anja spoke the encouraging things he could see. “He's young,” Anja said. “Perhaps half of Maisa’s age. And his color; you know, we often see similar to his like in the Sea of Grass. Perhaps he had a family member who was a strider, like Maisa.” Anja gently took the creature by it's head covering and made it walk a couple of steps. There was a slight hitch to it’s step, but Anja suspected that was due to the overgrown hooves and not, as he had first worried, due to the fact that his knees were ruined. “That's encouraging,” Anja said. “His gait is good. I think he can still work.”

Anja turned to Kelski, with a soft smile. “He is hurt and sick, but I think with the right care he can heal,” Anja told her. “Perhaps you won't have to get a pony after all. This fellow should be able to do everything you need him to.”
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[The Seaside Market] You Cant Fix Everything All The Time

Postby Kelski on September 22nd, 2018, 6:45 pm

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Kelski was oddly comforted that Anja was there. She’d liked the Drykas the first time she’d met him and that feeling just grew each time they came together. When he moved forward, approaching the horse and speaking in a foreign tongue, Kelski practically melted with relief. He was humble with his skills, but went on to examine the horse anyhow, looking it over thoroughly for the Kelvic. It was a boy… a gelding… and Kelski soon had a name for the place she needed to take it.

Everything was going to be okay. It really was.

Anja kept going over the gelding, speaking quietly about what he found, while Kelski reached out and buried her hands in Maisa’s mane, needing the comfort of another animal. “I was so scared for him.” She whispered to the other man’s horse, bumping her head against the mare’s neck. “That man hit us both.. with a whip! He was so angry and everything he was angry about was his fault. How do you stand humans? They are so selfish sometimes… so blinded.” The Kelvic said, muttering into the mare’s silky neck. She watched, like Maisa did, how careful Anja was with the underfed horse. The smile he threw Kelski further reassured her with its kindness.

“His fear is understandable.” She said, stepping away from Maisa, having had the mare somehow comfort her, ground her, in a way that she wasn’t unsteady or shaken anymore. “He was being beaten for something that wasn’t his fault.” She said fiercely, anger crossing her face and rippling through her voice. “That man didn’t deserve a quick death. He didn’t deserve to not suffer.” The Kelvic said fiercely. “How long has he been doing this to this horse? It’s not right.” She said bitterly. “People treat others the way they want without consequence. It’s one of the true wrongs in the world. People should treat others how they want others to treat them…with kindness and generosity, with understanding and acceptance.” Kelski said, shaking her head.

“Will he be okay if he gets lots of food and healing?” Kelski wondered what Ebon with his Rak’keli mark could do for whip marks and what looked to her like all over body pain. She listened to what Anja had to say and nodded. “If he comes with me he won’t have to work unless he wants too. Maybe a light cart sometime, or trips to the beach. His days of hauling huge carts were completely over if Kelski had anything to say about it. He could come home with her and be a horse, just a horse, and if he wanted to help out with trips here and there that would be a bonus. After all, everyone at The Midnight Gem worked towards the benefit of others.

“I don’t want him to have to still work. He should get to be a horse and if he wants to do something light like take us to town in the cart, that would be okay.” Kelski said, approaching the gelding and the Drykas once more. She tilted her head at Anja’s last statement, thinking it over. She’d forgotten she’d told Anja she was thinking of getting a pony. Maisa had come by and helped out a great deal by knocking the grass back around the place. But it was more than just one horse could eat. She began to smile slowly, watching Anja. “I could get him a cart, huh? Something light and easy to pull… so I wouldn’t have to go to town and hire a wagon all the time… to bring things back to The Gem I buy like supplies….” She said thoughtfully.

“Can you show me where this place is? This Jolly Time Stables? Or at least tell me?” She said, picking up the lead rope and reaching out to gently pat the gelding’s neck. “I’ll need to get him some food. Besides Grass, what do horses eat? And is there a place we can get his feet trimmed? You said they were overgrown?” She asked, curious now and full of questions. Kelski wasn’t normally overly talkative, but when she had something to say she really began talking a lot.

“I have heard they like carrots…. but carrots and grass can’t be all they eat. Do they like treats? What kind of equipment do I need for him? Do I need a blanket for him?” She asked, wondering where Moth was going to stay at The Gem. “He needs shelter too. We don’t have any at The Midnight Gem. I’ll have to have a lean-to or stable built for him.” She said softly, thinking out loud. “I wonder if Rodgers and Rodgers who have been doing our remodel of the upstairs would build a stable too?” She asked thoughtfully to no one in particular. She was already making plans… already looking ahead. Kelski was an excellent planner and loved all the planning she had to do for her own business.

She glanced at Anja apologetically.

“I’m sorry… I get carried away sometimes. Its just… I’ve never had a horse. I don’t know what to do for him or how to take care of him.” She explained, apologetically.

“You grew up among horses didn’t you? You’re people are known for them. What was it like?” Kelski asked suddenly, curious and thoughtful all at once. “This city treats animals like slaves. They use them until they are no good and throw them away. That’s what was happening to this horse. I bet the Drykas treats them better. Maisa is a beautiful mare. She’s well cared for and smart. Are all the striders like that? You said this one might have strider blood? That’s good to know.” She told herself, reassuringly. “I wonder if he will like Ebon and the other cats. They smell like cats so I wonder if he will be frightened around them. If he likes certain treats, maybe I can get Ebon to feed him treats until he forgets Ebon is a predator. I’m a predator too, but I think horses don’t mind eagles so much or else he’d be more upset, right?” Kelski asked, rambling now, thinking out loud and certainly excited by the change. The horse represented yet another change in her life. They were good changes though.

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[The Seaside Market] You Cant Fix Everything All The Time

Postby Anja Nightwatcher on September 25th, 2018, 9:09 pm

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Maisa turned towards Kelski as the woman buried her hands into Maisa’s mane and nickered reassuringly, the way a mare does to her foal. There were few people who Maisa used such a noise with. Anja was one. Kelski was now the other. Although Maisa did not know much common, she didn't have to know it to understand the feelings behind Kelski as the woman spoke to her. She was worried, hurt, angry and scared and considering the circumstances it was simple enough for the strider to guess the whys of those emotions. Maisa lended her confidence and strength to the kelvic. The strider knew that Anja could help this gelding, and more importantly she knew he would. So she nickered soft reassurances, and when Kelski unwound her fingers from the strider’s mane, she gently bumped her head against Kelski’s chest before turning her attention back to the injured gelding.

Anja was glad his strider could offer reassurances to Kelski. Maisa had taken to Kelski with a surprising swiftness. Part of that was that the woman had offered her long grass to Maisa for grazing but there was more to it than that. His strider’s like of the woman endeared him to Kelski even more than what was already there. Maisa’s opinion went a long way for Anja, and the mare did not trust easily. She was still not fond of Kynier. Whether that spoke volumes about Kynier or Maisa, Anja was still trying to figure out.

Anja listened calmly as Kelski spoke her fury. The drykas’ gentle hands had found some knots in the gelding’s mane and he had carefully began working them out, making sure as to not pull at the creature’s mane as he did so. The poor beast was filthy. Anja’s fingers came away stained with grime. “You need a bath, friend,” Anja told the horse gently. “I bet you’ll be shades whiter after it.”

Anja turned his attention back to Kelski and smiled sadly, but there was some heat behind it. “Treating a horse like this is a crime among my people. A criminal could be killed or exiled for this. It's unconcinable.” Anja was beginning to wish he had a brush. His fingers could only do so much to remove the grime. “People’s morals are reflected by those around them. I was raised by those who taught to do to others as you wished to have done to you. This man’s death feels just to me. Who knows how many steeds he has killed this way.”

Anja sighed as his fingers hit another knot, and he pulled away a hunk of what looked to be a dead insect husk. “Do you know where there's any clean water around here Kelski? Perhaps we could give him a bath before you take him to the stables. If we could find a brush for him somewhere at the market too, that would also be good.” Anja tossed the dead insect to the ground, and crushed it irritably underfoot.

“I think once he heals he will be able to get much better. He might not ever be as strong and healthy and sound of mind as a horse who hadn't been so violently abused, but I think he will be able to live a normal life.” Anja’s now grime encrusted fingers returned to the horse’s mane. “In my experience, I’ve found animals who are treated well are happier when they get to work. You wouldn't be very happy if you had nothing to do, would you? I think he would like going with you to pick up groceries. It would give him a chance to see the town, and to stretch his legs.”

If Kelski had a suggestion as to a place to get clean water, Anja would suggest moving towards there. Otherwise, once a brush or other materials for bathing the horse were acquired from the market, he would head towards the river in the hope they might be able to find a clean section of it. He gently took the horse by his head covering and found that the horse trotted placidly along behind him. Leading a horse was an odd sensation. Drykas didn't lead their striders anywhere and had no need for bridles. The walk was a good opportunity to observe the horse’s gait further as well. He seemed to be doing alright.

Anja laughed at Kelski’s barrage of questions and answered them as best as he could. “Carrots are treats. They like vegetables and fruits, but they mainly eat grass, hay, and grain. They eat a lot of it. The Stables will be able to teach you about how to feed him and care for him. They will be able to trim his feet and teach you how to do it. It's not very difficult if you have the tools. He will need a place to stay in. A blanket would be good too. The Stable will be able to help you figure out what all you need.”

Kelski changed gears and asked Anja about Endrykas, and the man calmly obliged. “The striders are our ancestors. They were once Drykas of the Sea of Grass, so we treat them as family. They live as they please, go where they will. They are as free as we are; they choose to live beside us and carry us into battle and to hunt. We would never survive without them. We love them as dearly as the rest of our family. When we bond to one, they are closer to us than brothers or sisters or lovers.” Maisa nickered from Anja’s side, prompting a smile from the Drykas.”Striders are very smart. As smart as you or I. I think Maisa knows more than I do sometimes.” Maisa gave a nicker of agreement. “I don't think this fellow is a full strider so I’m not sure how smart he will be, but he might be a bit smarter than your usual horse.”

At further questions, Anja considered. “I think your new friend will be able get along with your kelvic housemates if you introduce them gently, and they know not to bother him. He will need to be treated softly, so he can learn that there are good people in the world. Introduce him to new things slowly. Speak sweetly and softly. Always be kind. Once he learns you are kind, he will accept more from you. As for you being an eagle, well...Maisa likes you. And he seems to be fine with you. I don't think you being an eagle troubles him.”
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Anja Nightwatcher
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[The Seaside Market] You Cant Fix Everything All The Time

Postby Kelski on October 7th, 2018, 3:03 pm

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It felt good to be comforted by a horse. They were big scary animals, but Kelski knew Maisa and appreciated the gesture more than either probably the horse or Maisa knew. Rarely was the Kelvic hugged, comforted, or simply acknowledged in her life so when the horse did it… somehow it infused courage into the Kelvic and gave her a bit of strength, even if it was borrowed.

Unashamed, the Kelvic kissed the horses cheek and turned a smile on Anja that was a bit less shaky and shocky and then drew one breath, then another, and seemed to calm a great deal. She listened to Anja’s assessment and how he said the horse needed a bath. But for the life of her Kelski couldn’t think how to get the creature up to her bathing chamber and then she didn’t think he’d fit in her tub for all that it held multiple people. She watched as Anja pulled knots out of the geldings mane and spoke to the horse. And she was glad for it. Because for all the horse would not and could not speak back, she knew he listened and understood because his ears flicked back towards Anja at the man’s words.

“As it should be here. These animals work hard so that people can profit. It makes no sense to ill treat them.” The Kelvic said, stepping closer, up beside Anja and touched the gelding. She ran her hands carefully alongside the whip welts and knew immediately that Ebon could fix them. “Ebon can heal these… take the pain away. He’s marked by Rak’keli and has a very soothing touch.” She whispered. But there were other scars on the gelding… older ones she didn’t like the look of.

Kelski looked thoughtful at the question about clean water and brushes. “Yes… I’ve seen vendors selling horse grooming items at the market. And there’s a calm eddy to the Mudway where I dig clams at low tide. It has good footing but right now it should be filled. If salt water won’t hurt him, we can bathe him there and brush him out. It’s got a stream that feeds it so we can rinse salt out of his coat after we get most of the mud out. It’s not far from here and very close to the market. Women wash clothing there sometimes, but its late enough in the day they won’t be there right now.” Kelski said softly, and beckoned to them. “I’ll show you where.” She added, looking thoughtful but determined.

The Kelvic lead the trio of two horses and one drykas through the city. They didn’t walk fast on account of the unnamed geldings’ exhausted walk. But soon enough they came to the Market and Kelski went to the vendor she’d seen horse items at and looked over everything. Finally, she thoughtfully said…. “Can I just get a set of brushes … everything a horse would need and a bucket… and soap for a horse if you have it?” She asked, glancing at Anja to see if he approved. The man looked over the situation, saw the filthy gelding and took one of his buckets – a nice wooden thing – and began filling it with various brushes including a hoof pick. Then he also set out of a jar of powdered soap that was labeled mint shampoo. Then he put in a small jar of hoof oil and handed her the bucket. Kelski paid him the five GM and nodded to Anja.

As they walked towards the Mudway, Kelski nodded at Anja’s words. “Okay, light work, something to do that makes him happy…the groceries won’t be too heavy? Or make deliveries. I can get him a cart that will hold people, but I don’t think it would weigh anything at all like the wood load he fell too. Gotcha.. .he needs to get out, see the town… stretch his legs. I understand. I do too… often in fact. I don’t want to lock him up. Maybe he can help me… or come with me when I run the beach.” She said, looking thoughtful. Did she run as fast as a horse? No… but they had different gaits… walk, trots, loping… she probably could run as fast as a horse trotted.

“He’ll get better. I’ll make sure of it. He deserves a better life. He’s mine now.” She said thoughtfully, glancing at Anja and wondering if ‘owning’ a horse was okay. “Maisa, are you owned by Anja or did you pick him? Maybe you own him?” She said with a smile, a real laugh this time.

She listened to the talk of food and thought to herself that she was hungry. “What if we went to the stable later? What if we cleaned him up, took him home for Ebon to look at the whip marks, and got something to eat? He will have had a lot to deal with today without taking him to the stable… and if he can just eat grass tonight, I can take him tomorrow to the stable if you tell me where it is, and get the rest of the things he needs. You can stay for food, meet The Gem, and the Kelvics there, and Maisa can keep company with this boy until you are ready to head home.” Kelski suggested, coming up over the rise and gesturing down to a quiet eddy type pool in the Mudway the street ended at where a fairly clear stream ran into the Mudway as well.

Kelski swung the bucket happily. “Will this work?” She said, feeling better by the chime as they got away from the scene and had a plan formed. “If hes coming to live with me, you can suggest where we can have a stable built as well….” She said, knowing Anja might have some suggestions for horse shelter as well.

The Kelvic lead them down the path to the edge of the brackish water. The Mudway was fresh water here except at high tide where the salt water mixed. But it was not high tide, so it was in fact a good place to bathe a horse. Her only problem was she had no idea how to get a horse into the water.

Ledger :
Horse Grooming Kit – 5gm (Five brushes, hoof pick, hoof oil, and shampoo in a 2 gallon bucket)
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[The Seaside Market] You Cant Fix Everything All The Time

Postby Anja Nightwatcher on October 15th, 2018, 7:30 pm

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Kelski’s panicky words had receded into a calmer tone, and taken on the usual pattern of calm chatter that the Drykas was familiar with from his past conversation with the kelvic. Anja was relieved; he disliked seeing her distressed. His lips flashed a smile as Kelski kissed Maisa on the cheek, then he watched carefully as the woman tenderly caressed the wounds dotting the gelding’s hide.

Anja had not heard the name Ebon before. He assumed that this person must be one of Kelski’s housemates. Anja did not know about Rak’keli, but he had met healers before and knew how useful they could be. He didn't have much time to contemplate the possibility before Kelski had already set off to purchase the brushes that Anja had recommended and lead the quartet to the mudway that Kelski had recommended. When Kelski bought the brushes, Anja looked them over critically, but the quality seemed to be fine and as far as Anja could tell, Kelski wasn't being overcharged. The transaction went through without incident, and Anja was soon following Kelski towards the mudway.

Conversation bubbled up between the pair in an easy and relaxed way as if the two had known each other for years and this wasn't only their second meeting. “He might like to go running with you,” Anja chuckled. “But I think he’d like it more if you rode him. It perhaps doesn't work the same muscles as running does, but riding a horse is a good way to exercise. And he would enjoy it as well.” Anja gently stroked the gelding’s back and felt the muscles underneath his hand twitch.

Anja chuckled at Kelski’s quiet musing of ownership. “We Drykas don't really own our horses,” he said. He laughed when Kelski wondered at whether Maisa owned Anja, which grew louder when Maisa gave a quiet snort of agreement.

Anja considered Kelski’s proposition for a moment before finally nodding. “Yes,” he agreed. “I don't think that another day will hurt things. He’ll be fine with just the grass for the night and I’m sure he’ll feel much better with those wounds treated. A bath for your new friend, and then rest. I’m looking forward to meeting the Gem and your family as well.” Anja had been very intrigued by the idea of Kelski’s home and business being sentient, and he was very interested in seeing it first hand. Meeting the people that Kelski lived with was also appealing. The prospect of a meal was the third and final cinch. Anja lived far too poorly to resist the chance at a free meal.

When the group finally reached the Mudway, Anja eyed it critically for a long moment. He bent down beside the brackish water and palmed a small cupped hand of it and tasted it. The man soon nodded with approval. “It tastes clean, and there isn't any salt in it. The salt would have hurt and it might have made his wounds worse. So this is good.”

Anja walked back over to the horse and gently took hold of his head covering and began to lead him forward. The moment they reached the edge of the water, the gelding stopped dead. “Ah come now,” Anja told the horse soothingly. “It’s not going to hurt you.” Anja once more tried to move the horse forward, but he dug his hooves in. Anja sighed, and gave Kelski a wry smile. “I suppose you can lead a horse to water, but you can't lead him into water.” Anja gently released the horse’s head piece. “Alright then,” Anja said softly. “Let’s do this the slightly more complicated way.”

Anja took the bucket and brushes from Kelski, and carefully set the contents of the bucket aside, the filled the bucket up with water. He showed the bucket and the water to the gelding and allowed him to sniff them. Then he carefully emptied the water over the gelding, praying he wouldn't suddenly decide to bolt. Fortunately, the gelding remained frozen in place, quietly tolerating his punishment. Anja emptied several buckets of water over him until his coat and mane were thoroughly soaked with water. Next, he took the jar of powdered shampoo that Kelski had bought.

“You can help me with this,” Anja told the kelvic, realizing suddenly that Kelski should be learning how to do these things herself. “It’s not very difficult. Just sprinkle it over his coat and mane, and rub it in with your hands. After you’re done that, we need to rinse all the grime off of him with the bucket.”

While Kelski did that, Anja retrieved a long tined brush from the collection of brushes. Anja showed it to the gelding, and allowed him to smell it. Then he walked over to Maisa, and murmured a few words of affection as he combed the brush through her mane and tail. Maisa, who loved being brushed almost as much as she lived being fed, squirmed with delight under the attention. This grooming of course took place within full view of the gelding who watched the process curiously. It didn't take Anja long to get the few tangles out of Maisa, and after he was finished he proceeded to the gelding. Once more, the horse froze in place but he did not attempt to get away. Anja gently worked the tangles and knots out of the gelding’s mane first, then moved onto his tail, starting from the bottom of his tail and working his way up. It was an exhaustive process that took a considerable amount of time, but Anja was, as always, a patient man.

After all the knots were gone, Anja would instruct Kelski to pour more water over the gelding, until all the dirt and grime had dripped off his body and collected at his feet. Once more, Anja showed the gelding the tool that he was going to use; in this case, the hoof pick. Then he gently walked up beside the horse and pulled at his leg until he lifted his hoof. Keeping the hoof and leg in one hand, Anja carefully cleaned out the inside of the hoof. He couldn't help but frown as he worked; the poor gelding had picked up several stones and his feet were not very clean. As Anja worked, he explained everything to Kelski. “If they pick up stones and the stones are not removed it can hurt them later. It's important to check their hooves every time you take them out.”

After doing two of the hooves, one on the front and one on the back, Anja would encourage Kelski to do the other two and would walk her through the process. Then Anja would show Kelski how to use the different brushes and then encourage her to use them on the gelding. After all was said and done, the gelding sparkled, bringing a smile to Anja’s face.

“Much better,” the Drykas said cheerfully. “I think we can take him back to your home now.”
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[The Seaside Market] You Cant Fix Everything All The Time

Postby Kelski on October 26th, 2018, 12:42 am

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Kelski was glad Anja was here and helping. She’d have no idea what to do otherwise. The place she’d brought them to met with his approval and he ended up coaxing the horse near the water with just a slight hesitation. The animal wouldn’t get into the water though, and Kelski didn’t blame him. He’d had a lot happen to him today. So the stood on the bank and used the bucket and got the horse wet the old fashioned way like he was a dog or something, and then then worked shampoo into his coat. She listened to Anja’s instructions and before long she was tackling one half of the gelding while he was tackling the other half.

And while patient Anja was working the knots out of his mane and tail, Kelski dove into gathering bucket after bucket and rinsing down the horse until his grungy grey fur ran more towards a snowy white with dark grey points and deep happy dapples. She watched Anja pick the horse’s feet and then carefully copied him on the far side. Once the two people were soaked but the horse was clean, the four of them started back towards The Gem once Kelski had given the bucket and brushes a last rinse.

They simply followed the road back toward the sea, along the winding Mudway until the city ran out and the last scattering of businesses on the Baroque Bay clung to the bluffs above the sea. Kelski’s fenced acreage and her lone brick and beam home and business stood out on the very end of the road. Leading the horse, Kelski opened the gate to let both him and Maisa into the grass and then walked around to a big trough she’d gotten as soon as she’d invited Maisa to stay to eat the grass and ran a few buckets of water into it just to top it out so both horses had fresh water. Then she ran into the house, pulled out an older blanket, and made sure she fit it over the greyish white gelding’s back in case the wind off the sea chilled his still wet coat.

Then, of course, she invited Anja in. She lead Anja into The Gem through her workshop at the back off the deck and then took him to where the stairs lead upwards to the living space. She paused at the top of the stairs, glanced around and realized no one was home and grinned. “Anja, meet The Gem. Gem…this is Anja. He’s welcome here. He’s a friend of mine and that’s his mare who visits sometimes to eat down your grass outside.” Kelski said with a grin. The building said nothing back, but then again it rarely did. The Gem communicated in dreams, sensations, and feelings. And in typical Architectrix fashion, in response to both the wet and slightly chilled people, the fire roared up a bit more and the space above – which was partially under construction - warmed noticeably.

“Thank you.” Kelski said absently as she gave Anja a quick tour and then sat him down after throwing some water on the hearth to heat for tea. “Take a seat…. I’ll make us some tea. And you can give me brief directions to the stable I need to take him tomorrow. I have no idea what I need for a horse, but I’ll take your advice and ask them. I can also stop by the builders and find out if they can add on some sort of shelter. It’s going to be wet here this winter and cold. I was already thinking of adding a barn off one end for whatever horse or pony I got to drive back and forth to town… .and maybe pick up a milk cow just to cut back on how much milk we have delivered. I know there’s more acreage around that I can pick up and expand where they graze. I just want to make sure that gelding can be comfortable this winter without having to put him up at a barn. It would be pointless to own a horse if I had to go across town to get them to drive to town for groceries, then take them back to a rented stable and then return home… it would be better to spend the money here and expand.” Kelski mused, almost thinking to herself.

Then she glanced up at Anja as she fixed him a cup of tea as if seeking reassurance. “I’m out of my comfort level here. I know what most animals want… food, shelter, comfort, a loving safe place to live. I can give him that… maybe? It would be better if he were an eagle.” She said with a smile, then sat across from him, wherever he’d decided to sit…. either at the table or the set of couches.

She’d hand him tea. It wasn’t time to start dinner yet, but she figured they could speak a bit before she decided what needed to be made for food. “I know I invited you for dinner, but it’s a bit early. You can stay, relax, and we can talk. I can show you around more when we warm up…. and then I’ll make something for everyone as folks start trickling back in after their work.” Kelski said, hoping that would be fine with him.

“I’m fairly good at soups, but I was thinking tonight of making something called an egg pie… a quiche. It has bacon and cheddar cheese in it and you eat it by the slice. Would that be something you might like? It has a pie crust like the desert.” She said, knowing it might sound weird. It had sounded weird to her at first, but she’d tried them a few times and had really liked them… especially with the bacon.
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