[Featured thread] Elephants in the Room

(Job thread) Ines's first day on the job, learning the basics.

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Syka is a new settlement of primarily humans on the east coast of Falyndar opposite of Riverfall on The Suvan Sea. [Syka Codex]

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Elephants in the Room

Postby Ines on June 28th, 2019, 11:17 am

Summer 4th 519AV
528


In Ines's opinion, Lars was an excellent keeper of his Ashta. She had not said this out loud, though she privately considered this thought a great honor to him. Only her clan could do it better, and that was with many generations of knowledge passed down and improved upon.

She was told that her first day of helping out the man would consist primarily of being shown around, meeting the Ashta, and a description and instruction of her duties. The bat was not particularly phased about the tasks. Certainly much of this would be something she had done before in some capacity, but the man in charge of the saw mill could not be too careful, even with her gnosis on full display and her testimony of her clan. Even with taking this day away from his mill to make sure everything was in order, he had told Ines that taking her on as an apprentice would more than make up for it. With one to care for the Ashta, it left him with more time to handle the logging.

This also gave Ines the opportunity to keep his logging in check. The kelvic knew every tree to be important, but she also knew that one could not just live without their use, and as long as Lars was careful he would not disturb much. She, in turn, respected his own heritage. The day before, after her arrival, he had asked her of her own history in the care of the Ashta, and she asked him of his history of logging in return.

What he had told her then was that his own family owned and ran a saw mill. He, however, was the youngest, and was sent to Syka from Riverfall to run the mill until he was able to teach someone else to run it instead. Lars was originally going to return back after this, but found the settlement more to his liking. It was also an opportunity for him to run his own saw mill, rather than simply work under his father and older brothers. The kelvic had immediately asked him what Riverfall was like. Named for the large waterfall it was built over, he had said, and comprised primarily of a race of martial men, with blue skin and two minds, called Akalak. The concept of a race of entirely men was incredibly foreign to the young kelvic, but the thought of a female Myrian and an Akalak meeting made her chuckle. No two cultures could be more different, yet so similar.

Lars began her lesson by bringing her to an area near the sawmill with no Ashta present. "The first thing you have to know to take care of the Ashta here is to know how to get them to come to you. For this," he held up a signal whistle, "I use this." He followed this with three short bursts through the whistle, just longer than chirps. The noise was loud, but the jungle was not known for sound travelling far. Even the tiger roarers used in the Taloban army had a limit, and the millwright was just using a normal whistle.
Last edited by Ines on July 6th, 2019, 3:43 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Elephants in the Room

Postby Ines on June 28th, 2019, 11:18 am

519


With just that pattern, a few Ashta made their presence known, ambling towards the pair at a slow and steady pace. Lars continued his lesson, "Their ears are very sensitive. I've not yet had them wander so far that they don't respond to it." Ines watched as the entire herd appear from the distance, protecting the calves and their mothers in the middle. Lars remarked that he had also trained the calves to respond to the whistle, ensuring that they knew what to do and weren't just following the cows.

As they drew closer to the pair, Ines could sense in their eyes that they were excited by her presence. The witch soon found herself surrounded, calves tugging at her clothes and touching her face with their trunks. Ines touched and felt them as well, enjoying the full experience of truly communicating with the large beasts. Where she felt their curiosity, she in turn showed them her interest in their health, care, and wellbeing. The kelvic felt their friendly rumblings in her bones, and knew from their own minds that they accepted her.

Lars stood and watched her for a while, but had to interrupt the gathering to continue teaching with another set of whistles. The first whistle was much longer than the earlier signal, but the singular sound was punctuated with another chirp before the sound of the first had left her ears. The calves were still wholly interested in the bat, but the adults meandered towards a shed a short walk from the mill itself. The man began following the ashta with a wave of his hand towards Ines, beckoning her to follow.

As they drew closer to the shed, Ines noticed the piles of ashta shyke. While much of the area around the mill had been cleaned up, the bat suspected he left a few of the piles to assess her abilities of cleaning up after the creatures himself.

"They take turns. I didn't train them to do that myself. They just seem to do it for each other themselves." remarked Lars. Ines then noticed that four of the adult Ashta waited patiently next to the shed, while the others ambled around nearby. The witch chewed on the thought for a moment, filing it away next to the other reasons for which she believed the various elephantine creatures in the jungle to be remarkably smart. Not many people would be so altruistic, let alone animals.

The man opened the doors to the shed, retrieving sets of Ashta tack one by one. The tack consisted mainly of a harness designed to be attached to the large sleds nearby, in order to carry the hewn logs across the sand. The first piece was simply a set of straps worn around the chest and under the front legs of the Ashta, connecting on its back. This allowed the weight to be distributed most evenly around their body as they pulled. As he strapped the harness around them, he made a careful effort to avoid touching their ears, and to avoid catching the viney "droplets" that hung off of them.
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Elephants in the Room

Postby Ines on June 29th, 2019, 8:49 am

wc: 526


His efforts to adjust on the harness without brushing or bumping into their ears appeared to make things more difficult than they needed to be. Ines had her own question, now.

"Why do you so consciously avoid their ears, even to make it harder for yourself?"

"Their ears are not just sensitive to sound - rough physical handling can hurt them, too." He explained as he tightened the leather into a comfortable fit. The harness was designed in a way that one didn't need to be able to see on top of the Ashta to put it on them. While all of the pieces connected in a solid strip on its back, the straps that actually needed to be adjusted for their different sizes were on the bottom. Because of this design, one only needed to essentially toss the harness over its back and focus on fitting it from the ground.

Lars called Ines over for a closer look as he was tightening the straps. "This is the chest strap,"[b] he said, running his hand down the leather piece that, as expected, ran under the cow's chest. Moving towards the straps around her front legs and the straps leading down to it, he continued as [b]"and these are the leg straps." He moved towards the rear of the ashta, where straps dangled both behind and in front of the highest arch of her back, hanging off of a paralell pair of centralized straps running down either side of the spine. Large, sturdy looking metal clips were attached to multiple parts of the harness, in the same positions on either side.

During Ines's close inspection of the original harness, Lars had retrieved another one and set it down next to one of the other cows waiting near the shed. "Now you try." he remarked, gently patting the cow, perhaps as a pre-emptive balm to soothe what was sure to be an irritating experience for her. Ines nodded, picking up the harness and immediately noticing its weight. The size of the metal clips, buckles, and the sheer amount of leather layered and sewn together with such thick thread made it much heavier than she expected, but not nearly as heavy as the harnesses used in Taloba for the Tskanna. Before coming to the settlement, the witch had never considered anyone using Ashta as work animals. In Taloba they were more like very large pets and mounts, something to be spoiled rather than use to pull anything significant. Syka, however, did not have the benefit of the Tskanna.

Ines attempted to replicate the gentle toss of the harness across the ashta's back, but her efforts only served to throw it against the cow's side and earn an irritated look from her. Meeting the eyes of the ashta, even for the brief moment, certainly reinforced this, but also told the witch that despite her annoyance, she would still stand there until the bat got it right.

Ines tried again, changing her grip on the harness to be more centralized before tossing it again. It landed much closer this time, but took only a tick to slip off onto the ground.
Last edited by Ines on July 1st, 2019, 12:16 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Ines
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Elephants in the Room

Postby Ines on July 1st, 2019, 12:14 am

wc: 711


The kelvic was beginning to suspect it wasn't such a gentle toss after all. Considering that this ashta was nearly twice her height, she should have thought about that much before. Lars laughed at her second attempt and then left to get a ladder from the shed.

"You got much closer than I thought you would, I'll give you that," He said as he came back. Ines suspected there was a short joke hidden in that somehow, but her grasp on common wasn't strong enough to find it. Maybe it was paranoia from being so much shorter than almost any adult Myrian. There was a near-constant stream of them in Taloba, especially because of her working with the Tskanna who were often four times as tall as she was.

"The Tskannas in Taloba are so big, they do not put them in harnesses." Ines replied as she climed up the ladder, harness in tow. "They can just carry and dig with their trunks and tusks." The witch tossed the harness again, being much closer to her target, but overshot. She should have expected this - she had just gotten used to the distance and it was changed again, even though it was now much easier. Lars retrieved the harness from the other side and held it out to the bat.

"You've almost got it! That's the hardest part, and much easier with practice. It's only hard because of their size, anyway." Ines nodded, now filled with an overabundance of determination for such a task. Her fourth try was the closest, and only required some tugging on the loose straps to center it properly. Satisfied, Lars instructed the kelvic to now tighten the straps. Ines was distracted for a moment still attempting to perfectly align the straps, stepping down a few minutes later.

She wasn't tall enough to reach the leg straps comfortably, so instead she began tightening the chest strap. The witch used Nura to her advantage here, tightening the strap while continuously probing the Ashta for her comfort level, and loosening the strap just a bit once it became uncomfortable. Lars inspected the straps and vocalized a sound that she assumed to be approval until he loosened them another rung.

"Very close. Now you can tighten the leg straps." He said that and stood off to the side, waiting to see what she'd do. Ines considered why he would have loosened the straps again if the ashta was comfortable still when it was a bit tighter. Because of her short arms compared to the distance to where the legs were supposed to be strapped, she moved the ladder over, taking a few steps up until she could reach. She did the same thing here, using Nura to guage her comfort level, but repeated what Lars did and loosened it more than she did around the chest.

Ines climbed down the ladder, picked it up, and moved it to the other side, spending a noticeable few ticks standing it up the same distance and position from the Ashta, but in reverse, and then looked at the man.

"Why do you loosen it like that? It still fit without being uncomfortable for her." Lars nodded, waving Ines over to the other side to look more closely at the straps.

"If it's too tight, it'll chafe their skin while they're moving and pulling the loads." She hadn't considered this before, but she had also gotten so drawn into the act of fitting this ashta into the leather harness that she forgot why they were doing it. "You have to be able to fit at least three fingers in between the harness and the skin."

The millwright, looking at the kelvic's dimunitive size and small hands, continued, "Maybe four fingers for you," followed by a laugh. That was definitely a short joke, but not an uninformative one. Ines returned to the other side of the ashta and wrapped the straps around her leg, tightening to the same spot the other leg had been tightened. The witch could tell that the cow was still pretty annoyed about having to stand for so long, especially by the way her head had turned in order to prove the kelvic with her trunk. Caiyha's gift also confirmed this.
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Elephants in the Room

Postby Ines on July 1st, 2019, 12:14 am

wc: 718


Ines pet the part of the trunk rubbing snot and dry, wrinkly skin against her face. Ines attempted to soothe her, saying "No worries, I will soon be done."

This was apparently a funny sight, because Lars laughed again before carrying out two more long strips of leather and some rope. The first thing he did was push one side of a leather strip through a large D-rings on the straps around one of the legs, repeating with the other side, on the ashta he had originally equipped.

He then gently directed her towards a large wagon literally full of shyke. She took her memorized position in front of it as Ines followed the pair. As if on cue, a masculine voice started speaking from behind the witch, thoroughly startling her. The voice laughed when she jumped and glanced behind her.

The sneak was an older man, with white hair, sun-tanned skin, and a funny smile. "So, you're the new mill apprentice, hm?" He asked the kelvic, setting a hand on her shoulder.

"Yes...I am helping with the Ashta." Ines did not like being startled, but the man seemed friendly enough.

"I'm the one that most of this shyke is piled up for. Rainforest soil is poor, and for my Isuas, I need a lot of it. I'm Tony. What's your name, then?" His tone of voice was nearly infantilizing. She thought that maybe he thought she was a child.

"Ines of the Ivory Tusk." She only had enough time to say her name before Lars called her over again. He had finished tying the first strip onto the arms of the wagon, and wanted her to watch the other side. He then proceeded to tie what he described as a round turn and two half hitches onto the ring with the strip of leather. He pulled the leather through the ring, leaving a good chunk of tail, and then pulled the tail through the ring again. Lars then crossed the leather over itself, and repeated the same motion that had had taken through the ring twice, but with the leather strip over itself instead. The result was fairly neat and sturdy looking. The millwright tugged on it, and then took the other end of the strip to the long wagon handles. The handles of this wagon were significantly larger than a normal wagon, going a bit past the length of the ashta without anything hitting her back legs.

He described the knot he used now as a boom hitch. The leather was wrapped around the wagon arm in a sort of figure eight pattern. Lars pointed out specifically to make sure that the third loop, starting the second figure eight pattern, went over the first turn, but that the fourth loop went underneath the second loop from the first figure eight. The witch could tell she was going to need a lot of practice with this.

Finally, the man pulled the leftover all the way through, and had left enough to tie what he called an overhand knot, for security. The overhand knot was much simpler looking than the other two, and was essentially just wrapping the knot around and through itself before pulling to tighten.

Ines must have looked lost, because Lars patted her shoulder. "We'll do it step by step for the other one, don't worry." He quickly finished the rest of the tying, with 3 of each of the knots her showed her on either side, the start and end points going down the ashta's body and the length of the wagon handles.

"You should come to the grove sometime soon," said Tony to the witch, his eyes pointed at the obvious Caiyha gnosis on her arm. The Tskanna in it were drinking water out of a stream, the tiniest shred of sunlight making it past the dense tree cover and illuminating the mother's tusks. "Maybe the next time I come to pick up the manure." The kelvic smiled, her teeth not showing like they were earlier when she first met the Ashta.

"I will, thank you for inviting me." Apparently Tony was trusted to lead the ashta to his grove alone, because he and the ashta that Lars had equipped himself departed, leaving the other female wearing the harness Ines put on herself.
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Ines
a much cuter dracula
 
Posts: 93
Words: 54214
Joined roleplay: May 2nd, 2017, 10:41 pm
Location: Syka
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