• Solo • All the Pretty Little Horses

Lei'lira is getting ready to return home from Andaris. She finds a rare opportunity, and takes it.

The capital city of the of Rynmere, here is seated the only King in Idalos.

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Lei'lira
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Wed May 17, 2017 4:37 pm

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25th Ashan, 717


They needed to be heading back to Warrick soon. Lei'lira longed for the peace of her farm, and even if she wasn't feeling homesick, there was always so much work that needed to be done. Especially in Ashan. Every trial...even every bit of time she spent here saw her further and further behind in that work. And some tasks, such as milking Daisy couldn't be put off while she was off running about the city. Her neighbors had agreed to come by and see to things while she was gone. But although they had offered to help, Lei'lira couldn't help but feel guilty. Helping her meant that they ran the risk of falling behind in their own work.

Lei'lira was nearly ready to go. Anything they weren't going to need tonight or before they set off for Warrick the next trial had been packed already. And she had settled her debts with the innkeeper before heading out on her current errand. So they would be ready to leave first thing in the morning. But Lei'lira wanted to make one last attempt to see of she could find out when she could free Eri before they left. And judging by the painful hope that Eri was trying to hide, she wanted to know too.

There was one more thing that had Lei'lira venturing out into Andaris. Rumors of a trader from the Hotlands had come to the inn where they were staying. If the rumors were to be believed, this trader had horses to sell; breeds that were usually only found in the Hotlands. Lei'lira couldn't help herself. She had to go see if the rumors were true, and if so, learn what she could about these desert breeds. And if she were honest with herself, she knew that should the rumors be true, she would be buying some of those horses. Although she didn't know anything about the horse breeds found in the Hotlands, she was aware of the fact that different breeds of the same species could have vastly different qualities. It didn't matter if they were horses, sheep, or dogs. And since Lei'lira dreamed of creating her own breed of horses one trial, one that her breeding ranch would become known for selling, it only made sense to want to learn as much as she could about existing breeds.

So with those thoughts in mind, Lei'lira, Eri, and Teirue slowly made their way through the crowd towards Lowtown, and the slave auctions.
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Lei'lira
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Tue Feb 06, 2018 2:53 am

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As they walked through Lowtown, a loud voice nearby started swearing furiously. Conscious of the young child holding her hand, she edged away from the man, not wanting Teirue to become frightened of the overly loud voice. But as she started to continue on her way, the man shouted something that made her pause in confusion. The man was clearly speaking Common; Lei'lira could tell that much by the sound of his words. Even so, she couldn't understand what the man was saying. After a few trills, she realized that he must be using the slang that was so commonly used in Lowtown. As someone who rarely entered the city never mind Lowtown, it was only natural that she wouldn't understand it. And as he continued to speak, she recognized enough words that she realized she could get the gist of what the man was saying through the context even if she didn't know exactly what it was.

They continued on, but not too long after the incident with the man, they came across a couple of kids hiding near a stall. It was obvious even to Lei'lira that they hoped to steal some of the meat pies that the vendor was selling. As she watched, the kids seemed to "speak" to each other using a rapid series of signs made with their hands. Lei'lira couldn't understand what was being "said," but she recognized the signs as ones that Eri and Teirue made to one another at times. The language such as it was, was one of gestures rather than words. It seemed to Lei'lira that it would be a very useful language for street kids to know. Probably hunters as well, if they were hunting in a group, and needed to communicate with each other without scaring off whatever game they were after.

Knowing that the kids could get in a lot of trouble if they got caught, and that the vendor herself likely needed the nels she would make from the stolen meat pies, Lei'lira made a decision. As quietly as she could, she made her way over to the kids. When she got their attention, she handed then a couple of gold nels, and made them promise to leave the meat pies alone. She didn't ask them not to steal anything ever again because she realized that it was likely the only way they got any food on some trials. The kids gave her an odd, wary look, but agreed before they took the offered money, and ran off.

It didn't take long for them to reach the place where slave auctions took place. A large group of slaves were chained near the auction stage, presumably waiting to be sold. Teirue's little hand tightened around Lei'lira's anxiously, and Lei'lira picked the young girl up. She knew that Teirue remembered what had happened to Eri here, and how much the little girl looked up to her "big sister." It was only natural that she would have bad memories of this place. Eri wasn't doing much better.

The slaves near the auction stage were talking quietly among themselves. Lei'lira frowned in confusion. She couldn't understand a word of what they were saying, but it was clear that they weren't using Xanthea, Common, or Rakahi. As she watched, one of the slavers backhanded one of the men, and screamed at the rest of the slaves to shut up. When he turned back to what he had been doing, a younger man glared at him, and muttered something quietly. Lei'lira got the distinct impression that he was swearing at the slaver. It was foolish of him, but Lei'lira could understand what the young man must feel as he tried to tend the older man's rapidly swelling eye as best he could with no medicine, or supplies.

"You would think they would have learned by now." a dangerous woman chuckled as she approached Lei'lira.

"But some idiots just need to learn the hard way, I guess."

"I'm sorry?" Lei'lira asked with a frown.

"Those slaves over there. They arrived fresh from Athart earlier this morning. They should know by now that speaking Dehasin around here is only going to get them punished."

"Dehasin?"

"Yeah. The Avriel have their own language...Lorien, I think?. Yeah, Lorien. But they have slavery down to a real art there. Their human slaves have a language all their own. A language just for slaves, as I understand it. That language is called Dehasin. Most slavers around here hate it when the imported slaves speak in Dehasin. It's a really hard language to learn, so most of us don't understand a word of it."

The woman's words seemed to suggest that she did understand at least some Dehasin. Lei'lira didn't ask her, though. The last thing she wanted to hear was this woman bragging about something. The very idea that there was a language specifically for slaves just made her sad.

"Are you interested in any of the slaves?" the woman asked briskly.

Lei'lira shook her head. The woman lost interest in her then, and took her leave. Lei'lira began to look around for the auctioneer in the hopes of asking him when she would be able to free Eri, but she was distracted by a pretty voice singing a quiet song in the language Lei'lira had just learned was called Dehasin. Following the sound of the voice, Lei'lira saw a woman sitting in chains. She was clearly very pregnant, and as she sang, she rubbed her belly gently, singing to the child within her. Even without understanding the words, Lei'lira knew that the woman was singing a lullaby. The song had that soft, soothing feel to it.

When the woman's voice faltered as she began to cough, Lei'lira noticed a bucket of water with a ladle leaning against it. The bucket was just out of reach of the slaves; a taunting reminder that even their most basic needs could be denied them on a whim. Frowning, Lei'lira moved without thinking to gather up the bucket and ladle, and offer the woman some water. After she had drunk her fill, she offered some to the rest of the slaves. Once the bucket was empty, she set it down. A couple of the slavers were glaring at her, but she ignored them as she went back to her task of looking for the auctioneer.

It took her several bits to find the man as he emerged from the branding shed. Lei'lira asked him about Eri, and was disappointed in the man's response; which was that he neither knew, nor cared. But there was nothing else she could do about Eri's situation for the moment, so Lei'lira, Eri, and Teirue headed out to the docks where the stockyard was located. If there was any truth to the rumor of a trader selling desert horses, that was where they would be.


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2 GN for the kids has been deducted from my ledger
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Tue Feb 06, 2018 7:38 pm

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It didn't take long to find the stockyard. All they had to do was follow the crowd. Once there, Lei'lira saw what she had expected to see; animals everywhere. Some were in the process of being loaded onto ships, clearly meant for trade in other cities. But there were many traders with animals to sell here, too. The three of them wandered around for a while, getting a look at the way things were set up. After a while, there seemed to be a pattern. Birds were kept in one area, sheep and goats in another, dogs and foxes in a third, and so on.

Once she noticed that basic pattern, Lei'lira knew it would be easier to find what she was looking for. While she was keeping an eye out for the horses, Lei'lira paused in the bird section for a few bits. Most of the birds available for sale were the normal ones; chicken, ducks, geese, and pigeons. But there were also some birds of prey available as well. They were magnificent creatures, looking wild, and fierce as anything. But there was something sad about seeing them cooped up in cages like this. Lei'lira knew that they were used by hunters, but something about the creatures demanded freedom. That was one of the reasons that Lei'lira had little interest in them aside from admiring their beauty. That, and the fact that she had no idea how to properly house and care for the beautiful creatures. And as someone who never did any hunting, she really didn't have a use for a bird of prey. Keeping one just to have one seemed wrong somehow, so Lei'lira moved on after a few bits.

After reaching the area where the horses were kept, the booming voice of a trader caught her attention. She frowned at him, worried that his shouting might disturb the horses, but she was quickly distracted by the promise of "rare, exotic wonders" from the desert. Some of his horses looked...normal. Like the kind she could find at Meadow Farms. Others seemed wild, and fierce, much like the birds of prey had been. Lei'lira couldn't help but wonder if those horses were even safe to ride, or keep around other horses. Still others were stunningly beautiful creatures. This last group had a metallic sheen to their coats that made it seem as if they were glowing in the sun.

"You seem to have a good eye for horses, young lady. Do you like what you see?"

Lei'lira nodded, still staring at the beautiful horses in awe.

"Those are the apanie. As you can see, they come in buckskin, palomino, bay, black, chestnut, and grey, and they have a natural metallic sheen to their coats. Apanie range from 14.2 to 16 hands high. Standard breed requirements include a refined head with a predominantly straight or slightly convex profile and long ears. Their mane and tail are usually sparse, and their long back is both lightly muscled, and coupled to a flat croup and long, upright neck."

"What are their temperaments like?" Lei'lira asked curiously.

Even the most beautiful horse in all the world wasn't always worth owning if they were too difficult to handle.

"Their temperament tends to be excitable and restless, so they can be difficult to control. But with the proper training, this can be overcome somewhat. Still, they are not a good match for an inexperienced rider."

Lei'lira nodded again.

"Are they really as "rare and exotic" as you say?" she asked, giving the man a skeptical look.

The trader looked rather sheepish.

"You got me there." he laughed.

"They are certainly rare here. That much you can't deny. But they are somewhat common in the Hotlands where they come from."

The trader's statement about them being rare here in Rynmere was true enough, so when the man grinned at her, she offered a hesitant, shy smile in return.

"What are they normally used for?"

"Riding, show jumping, scouting, and hunting."

"Is there anything else I should know about them if I wanted to buy some?" Lei'lira asked after a few trills.

"If" was something of an understatement. The apanie were beautiful creatures, and nothing she had learned so far was enough to dissuade Lei'lira from wanting to buy some. Several, in fact, and she hoped to buy a stallion as well as some mares. But she wanted to know everything she could about the breed before committing to what could well be a substantial purchase.

"As a matter of fact, yes. The apanie are most well known for their "sixth-sense" when it comes to detecting predators and enemies. This is made possible due to their long ears. It is believed that they use vibrations in the air to know when a threat approaches."

That last bit of information was of great interest to Lei'lira. Having a "sixth sense" of sorts sounded like a huge advantage for the breed when it came to survival. Lei'lira glanced at the horses' long ears wondering if it might be possible to breed that characteristic into another breed of horses.

"How much are they?" Lei'lira asked at last.

"That depends entirely on what you are looking for. My adult apanie are sixty five gold nels each. If you want trained apanie, it will cost you one hundred and thirty gold nels per horse. But if you are willing to take younger animals, I have several I can give you for thirty nine gold nels a head."

Seeing interest from Lei'lira, the trader rounded up several of the younger horses in question. Lei'lira examined them carefully, running her hands up and down their legs to test for soundness, among other things. Their willingness to allow her to touch them told her that while untrained, and too young to be bred or ridden, they were at least used to humans, and to being handled. Another thing she noticed was that the younger animals appeared to be of a better quality than many of the older apanie that were being offered for sale. It seemed to Lei'lira that it would be a better choice to take the younger horses and wait to breed them than it would be to take the lesser quality animals that were ready to be bred immediately. The reduced cost was also an appealing motivation.

"I would like to buy some of the younger apanie. But before I decide on how many, and which ones I want, I would be interested in seeing any other breeds you have available for sale."

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The reduced prices for younger animals come from the modifiers here
Last edited by Lei'lira on Sun Feb 11, 2018 5:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Thu Feb 08, 2018 7:25 pm

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"That is an excellent decision!" the trader exclaimed excitedly.

"And I do have a number of other breeds that I brought with me."

Lei'lira could see that he had visions of a large sale dancing around in his head. Those visions could easily come true if she liked the other breeds that he had to show her. The trader led her to a corral filled with horses that looked like ordinary horses. Lei'lira wouldn't have been surprised to find them at Meadow Farms. In fact, most of their horses were prettier than these ones were. They had an atypical sport horse conformation with a powerful front end, high withers, a short back, and a sloping croup. Judging by their appearance, Lei'lira didn't think that they had the best gaits; something that was important in a riding horse. While some of the horses that Meadow Farms sold had better gaits than others, all of them could be trusted to have decent gaits. On the other hand, Lei'lira thought that these horses might be good sprinters; a quality that would be valued highly by those who wanted a horse for short distance racing. Most of these particular horses were grey. But there were a few that were black, brown, bay, and chestnut as well.

The trader confirmed what she had guessed about the horses, adding that they were called badu, and that they were quite common in the Hotlands. He mentioned that they were used for riding, racing, cavalry, and drafting. He also added that they were known for having a fiery temperament. To Lei'lira, that was a clear warning that they would be difficult to train, and to handle. A poorly trained horse would be impossible for an inexperienced rider to manage. For that matter, a badu with a temperament that was more fiery than usual would be difficult to manage even for an experienced rider. For those reasons, Lei'lira decided that she really wasn't interested in the badu. They didn't have any special qualities to balance out the difficulties in handling them.

The trader seemed to sense her lack of interest, because he quickly moved on to another breed of desert horses. Most of these horses were white, but there were a few duns and and greys among them as well. Their coats were unusually short, and even without touching them, Lei'lira could see how smooth they looked. Each horse had ridges and rosettes of slightly longer fur on their faces and ankles. But the most remarkable thing about them was the odd markings etched into their coats. These markings were a lighter color than the horses themselves. They looked a little like lightning. There was only one thing that Lei'lira could think of to say.

"They're beautiful." she said in awe.

The trader grinned.

"These are the Katura." he told her.

"They must be incredibly docile creatures. Most horses would be too nervous to sleep in the midst of all this."

The trader hesitated a few trills.

"Well...it's true that they have a gentle, willing, and able temperament. They make perfect work mounts. But the reason that they are sleeping now is that the Katura are nocturnal."

Lei'lira blinked, startled by the man's words.

"Nocturnal?" she questioned skeptically.

Most horses hated to be out and about at night. Anything that made it harder for them to see made them incredibly nervous. It was why they hated to cross streams and rivers; they were nervous if they couldn't see where they were putting their feet.

"Yes, nocturnal. They spend most of the trial sleeping under the hot sun in the Hotlands. As they sleep, they seem to absorb the light of the sun somehow, because when night comes, their coat starts to glow. It allows them to work all night, and light the way of their riders."

Lei'lira could see the definite benefits of a nocturnal horse in the Hotlands. She remembered learning that many people who lived in the desert chose to travel at night to avoid the worst heat of the trial. But here? Lei'lira could see a few potential uses for a nocturnal horse. Long distance couriers who had to travel through the night at times to ensure a speedy delivery of a message. They could also be used as search and rescue mounts if, say, a child were to get lost in the woods, or something. The Katura wouldn't be as useful as a normal horse that could be used for just about anything. But there were a number of niche areas where they could be vital. If they could adapt to living outside a desert.

"What are they used for in the Hotlands?" Lei'lira asked, hoping to learn more.

"Farming, riding, packing, drafting, and search and rescue."

Lei'lira nodded.

"And do they need the intense heat of the desert sun? Or can they adapt to life in other places?"

The trader paused to consider the question.

"There shouldn't be a problem for them to adapt. As long as they have sun to absorb as they sleep, it isn't necessary for it to be the desert sun. Though they probably won't do well in areas that don't get any sun for prolonged periods of time."

Lei'lira wondered how well the Katura would be able to deal with Cylus, but she nodded.

Is there anything else a buyer should know about them?"

"You need to take great care in grooming a Katura. It is absolutely vital that their coats are kept clean, and free of dirt."

"How much do they cost?" she asked at last.

"They are extremely rare, even in the Hotlands. It is why I brought so many more of the other breeds. But I can let them go for one hundred and twenty gold nels for an untrained Katura, or two hundred and forty for a trained one. Or if you want a younger animal, I can sell it to you for seventy two gold nels for an untrained one, or one hundred and forty four for one that has had some training."

Lei'lira considered the offer. It was true that they were on the expensive side for a horse, but for what she would be getting, they did seem worth the price.

"I would be lying if I said that I wasn't interested in the Katura." she admitted.

"But before I make any final decisions, I would like to see what else you have to offer."

The trader grinned as he nodded.

"I can understand your decision." he said simply.
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Sun Feb 11, 2018 5:41 pm

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The next herd of horses that the trader led Lei'lira to were really more ponies than horses. As she watched them, she judged them to range in size from 13 to 13.5 hands. Although Lei'lira didn't disdain ponies as some horse breeders did, she did prefer actual horses. Still, she had to admit that ponies were usually clever creatures, and many had very amusing personalities. They were also quite useful as mounts for children, and as a mother herself, that was something she was going to need to take into consideration.

From a business sense, it made sense to raise ponies as well as horses, too. Unless a breeding ranch was specializing in one particular area, such as war mounts, or race horses, it was a good idea to be capable of providing mounts that would suit as many people as possible. That meant children as well as adults.

"These ones are smaller than the others." Eri commented quietly.

"They might make good mounts for the younger children, right? If they're patient enough?"

Lei'lira nodded absently as she turned her attention back to the ponies. The ones here were all chestnuts or greys. Did that mean that all ponies of this breed were those colors? Or were other colors possible, but rare? Like many ponies, these were not the most attractive of creatures. They had heavy heads, and short, thick necks. Lei'lira wasn't overly impressed with these ponies, but the anticipation in the trader's eyes suggested that he thought she would like them. That in turn made her wonder if there was more to this breed than what she could see. So after she completed her visual assessment of the ponies, she turned to the man to see what he would say.

"These are Etan ponies. As you can see, they are hardly the most attractive ponies you will ever see. Most of them are either chestnut, or grey as these ones are. They can be ridden, but if you do ride one, you will find them to be quite slow. These are no racers. Still, they can be used as children's mounts. In that instance, their slow speed may even be an asset, as it is less likely that a child will be injured riding one if they try to goad it into a faster speed than they can handle."

Lei'lira nodded. She had to admit, the man had a good point. How many kids got hurt, maybe even badly enough to learn to fear horses because they pushed themselves too far too fast, and tried to canter or gallop before they had managed walking and trotting? In a first mount, speed was not necessarily an asset. Still, that was not enough to interest her much when there were so many better horses available for sale. She could always look for some good ponies later when she actually had a breeding ranch instead of just the dream of having one.

"What they are good for is packing. Etan ponies are able to carry a heavy load very well, and they can do it for long distances. It is for that reason that although they can be used for short burst riding, they are more commonly used as pack animals."

That made them more interesting to Lei'lira. A versatile breed that had more than one use was more appealing from a business sense than one that would only appeal to a niche market. Especially when one of their potential uses was so important? A good pack animal was essential to a trader who wasn't rich enough to afford his own wagon. It was also essential to anyone who traveled a lot either for work, or by desire. And it sounded as if these Etan ponies made very good pack animals.

"Are they rare in the Hotlands?" she asked at last.

Rare naturally meant that they would be expensive, and Lei'lira wasn't willing to pay a huge amount for them when she was more interested in some of the other breeds she had seen this trial. The trader shook his head.

"No, this breed is actually somewhat common in the desert."

The trader eyed Lei'lira in a way that made her think he was trying to think of a way to convince her to buy some of the Etan ponies.

"There is something very special about these ponies, though." he said with a grin.

"Oh?"

"They require virtually no care. Where some horses require special feed that is usually quite expensive, the Etan pony does not. And they can go for three trials or longer without any water at all. That may not matter here so much, but in the desert where water is a rare commodity? It is a huge asset."

Lei'lira's eyes widened as she exchanged glances with Eri. A huge asset indeed. That would be a huge asset anywhere! A good pack animal that needed little care, and could go without water for trials if need be? That would be...priceless to many people. And if she could somehow find a way to breed those qualities into the breed she hoped to create one trial...the Etan pony just became a lot more interesting than Lei'lira would have thought even remotely possible.

"How much are you selling them for?" she wanted to know.

The trader grinned at her.

"An untrained Etan pony goes for seventy gold nels, and a trained one would go for one hundred and forty gold nels. But if you are interested in buying a younger pony, I can reduce the price somewhat. Say forty two gold nels for an untrained beast, and eighty four for one with some training?"

That sounded reasonable to Lei'lira, and she told the trader as much before asking to see what else the man had to offer.
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Mon Feb 12, 2018 7:27 pm

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When the trader led Lei'lira to the next herd of horses, her eyes widened. Like the Katura and the Apanie before them, these were beautiful animals. Their wedge shaped heads and peculiar broad foreheads gave them something of a distinguished look. Most of them had a distinctive concave, or "dished" profile. And their coats seemed to almost glow when the light of the sun hit them. Seeing her reaction, the trader grinned, knowing that he had managed to impress her once more.

"These are the Neeraja. They are somewhat rare in the Hotlands, so they will be on the more expensive side if you wish to buy some."

Lei'lira nodded, her eyes still fixed on the Neeraja. She realized that learning up front that a horse was going to be expensive was a warning that she'd be paying an arm and a leg should she choose to buy them. But conversely, a smart trader wouldn't mention a high price that might be enough to frighten off a prospective buyer unless they thought that they could convince said buyer that the animal was worth the cost. That suggested that there was more to this breed than their beauty. With that thought in mind, Lei'lira turned towards the trader, eager to hear what else he had to say.

"This breed runs from 14.1 to 15.1 hands high. They come in a wide variety of colors, with black, bay, roan, chestnut, and grey being the most common. And they are used primarily for riding, show jumping, and dressing. They are a beautiful breed, and they deserve to be admired for that beauty."

Show jumping, and dressage meant very little to Lei'lira. As a farmer, she was far more interested in the practical things. But she did realize that some people, nobles in particular did often appreciate a horse that was skilled in such things. So while she had little interest in them, she didn't dismiss them out of hand.

"You're right. They are very beautiful horses. But beauty isn't everything. It isn't even the most important thing in a good horse. Are the Neeraja easy to train? How about to handle? Would you recommend them for an inexperienced rider, or are they only suited for experienced riders?"

"Excellent questions! But they are questions that don't have simple answers. You see, the Neeraja are known for both their intelligence, and their spirited disposition. So sometimes a beginner rider isn't going to be able to handle them. The same can be said for an inexperienced horse trainer. But their intelligence means that they learn quickly, and if you can keep them interested in what they are learning, they can be quite easy to train. If not...they are likely to find their own ways to amuse themselves. So perhaps the answer to your question about the ease of training them is that it depends on the skill and creativity of the one who is training them."

Lei'lira smiled. She knew some horses who were like that.

"So if the trainer makes the lessons seem like a fun game, they will have more luck when it comes to training a Neeraja?

The trader grinned as he nodded in agreement.

"Yes, that's it exactly! And the same can be said for someone who wants to ride a Neeraja. The beginner rider who understands a Neeraja's spirit, and is willing to indulge it will find a much easier time handling their horse than a far more skilled rider who tries to ignore their horse's spirit, and break them to their own will. Of course...this can be said about any spirited breed."

The trader's words were true, and Lei'lira agreed with the man wholeheartedly. She already planned to buy some of his Neeraja, but she was curious to see what else the trader had to tell her. Earlier when he had warned her about the cost of this breed so early on in his discussion about them, she had gotten the feeling that there was something special about this breed. Something that would ensure that she wanted to own some. And while their intelligence, beauty, and spirit were all powerful assets, she didn't think that those were the only draws the Neeraja had.

"This breed is very special. It has intelligence, beauty, and spirit all wrapped into one horse. But their most notable quality is an abnormal organ in their foreheads which allows the Neeraja to detect sources of water from as far as 300 feet away."

Lei'lira's eyes widened, making the trader grin at her reaction. A quick glance at Eri told her that the younger girl knew what an incredible ability that was just as she did. The ability to find water was...well, no doubt it was of priceless value to someone living in the desert. But it would be a huge asset here as well. And if she could learn how to breed the Neeraja's intelligence, spirit, and ability to find water, and the Apanine's ability to sense danger into her own breed...it took an effort of will for Lei'lira to drag herself out of her daydreams when the trader coughed discreetly.

"I do have one more breed to show you if you are interested...?"

All Lei'lira could do was nod silently as she gestured for the trader to lead the way.
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Lei'lira
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Tue Feb 13, 2018 5:30 am

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Lei'lira was more than a little curious as she followed the trader over to the next herd of these horses. But as she got a good look at them, she could only think that they couldn't possibly be any more different than the stunningly beautiful Neeraja. These horses looked fierce, and intimidating. Even wild. Lei'lira eyed them cautiously, and was quite glad that there was a sturdy fence between her, and them. Were they even safe to be around this many people? What would happen if something should spook or enrage one of them, and it managed to escape?

Despite all of that, Lei'lira knew quality when she saw it. Though they might be wild, or half wild, these horses were strong boned, and had clean limbs. They were muscular, adding to the air of strength and power about them. They were also quite athletic looking. Without having to ask, Lei'lira guessed that they would make good racers...if they would accept a rider, that was. They were short-backed, and had oblique shoulders. And they had both good withers, and good conformation. For all of their wildness, there was something admirable about them as they milled about in their corral. Lei'lira found that she couldn't just dismiss them out of hand.

"These are the Namib. They are, essentially what you see. They stand between 14 and 14.3 hands, and come in bay, chestnut, and dun usually. We use them for riding, packing, racing, and combative purposes."

"You mean battle." Lei'lira said flatly.

The trader nodded.

"That's right. The Namib are one of the native wild horse breeds of the Hotlands. This makes them natural born fighters; they have to be in order to survive. Water is rare out in the desert, so herds of wild Namib fight each other over water holes. They also must be able to fight off predators who want to make a meal out of them. We simply hone their natural skills and instincts when we turn them into war mounts."

Lei'lira nodded, but the tension in her shoulders stated plainly that she wasn't happy with the idea of turning innocent horses into weapons of war and destruction. It was bad enough that people were so willing to kill each other. Did they really have to drag horses and other animals into it, too? The trader seemed to sense her dismay because he was quick to reassure her.

"I understand that not everyone is interested in war mounts. But the Namib are used for other things as well."

Lei'lira nodded again, relaxing slowly.

"I don't think that I need to tell you that the Namib are not for beginners. Since they are wild, they must be tamed before they can be trained, or ridden. And that is not an easy task. They
are feral, and spirited. They are incredibly hard to train, but once you do, they become the fiercest of all mounts. It is for this reason that they make excellent war mounts. Once their loyalty is earned, they will defend their rider to their death. A thief foolish enough to try to steal a Namib is going to wish that they had never tried."

That sounded promising. It was a quality that Lei'lira hoped to breed into her own horses when she was ready to try and create her own breed. Would breeding a Namib stallion to a more docile mare give her a foal that would be easier to handle and train, but just as quick to defend their rider? It was certainly something to think about. But the man was continuing, and Lei'lira wanted to make sure she heard everything he said, so she turned her attention back to him.

"Their most notable quality is their coat. It is an odd combination of tough hide and a semi-permeable membrane. That means that their skin is hard to cut, giving it an asset in combat with members of its own kind, or as a war mount. It is also breathable, allowing the Namib a tremendous resistance to the scorching climates of the Hotlands."

Lei'lira considered the man's words carefully. It sounded to her as if the Namib were well suited to the desert heat of the Hotlands. More so even than the other desert breeds she had seen. If their very skin was designed to help them keep cool in the desert, could they even adapt to life here in Rynmere? Sure it got hot in Saun, but even that was no comparison to the intense heat of the Hotlands. And what about Zi'da? Or Cylus? Could a Namib survive the cold seasons here?

When she asked, the trader told her that he believed that the Namib could adapt. He did caution her that they might have trouble with the cold seasons, though. Lei'lira decided to take his word on that. The man didn't seem like the type that would deliberately allow harm to come to his horses. Maybe she could use blankets to help keep any she bought warm enough in the cold seasons? It was worth a try, at least. But she didn't think she would want as many Namib as she did some of the other breeds...just in case.

"If they are a wild breed, I imagine that they are rare?" she asked at last.

The trader simply nodded.

"Quite rare indeed."

"How much are you selling them for?" Lei'lira asked almost against her will.

"Well, if we were in the Hotlands, I would say one hundred gold nels for an untrained Namib, or twice that for a trained one. But since we are here, and it would be beyond foolish of me to try and sell a wild animal in this setting, I don't have any untrained adults with me. So if you want an adult, it will cost you two hundred gold nels. But I do have some younger Namib that I could let go for less. A completely untrained one would cost you sixty gold nels. And if you want one that has had some training, it will be one hundred and twenty gold nels."

"I do want to buy some of the Namib." she admitted.

"But can I have a few bits to figure out how many I want to buy of each of the breeds that interest me?" she asked.

The trader grinned, anticipating a large sale.

"Of course."
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Lei'lira
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Thu Feb 15, 2018 12:12 am

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Lei'lira's mind raced, feeling overwhelmed as she considered her options. When she asked Eri what she thought, the young slave simply gave her a look of helpless indecision. This was Lei'lira's money that they would be spending, so it was her choice how much she would spend, and on which horses she would spend it on. Some choices were simple. The Badu didn't interest Lei'lira at all, so they were promptly dismissed from consideration. The Apanie, and Neeraja were of most interest to her, followed closely by the Etan ponies due to their ability to go without water for trials at a time, and how easy it would be to take care of them given that they needed so little care. So it only made sense that Lei'lira would focus mainly on those three breeds. But the stunningly beautiful Katura intrigued her, as did the idea of adding some of the Namib's fierceness and strength to her own breed when the time for such things came. As a result, they couldn't be dismissed entirely as the Badu had been. It was a risk investing in breeds so well adapted to the desert that they may be unable to fully adapt to life in colder climes. But the potential reward made the risk well worth taking...probably.

To make her decision easier, Lei'lira focused on one aspect at a time. She was patient enough to wait for results rather than needing horses she could breed immediately. So the better quality combined with the reduced cost of the younger stock made the answer to her first question clear. She would stick to buying three and four arc olds to save money. The one possible exception to that was the Namib. She was fairly skilled at training horses, but she had never attempted to tame a wild one before. So since she doubted her abilities to handle an untrained wild creature, it might be better to buy a fully grown, fully trained adult. There was this to consider as well; would a younger animal be able to adapt to the colder climes more readily? Or would a more mature horse fair better in adapting? She had never worked with an animal so completely adapted to one climate before, so she couldn't be certain of the answer. It was one more complication in an already difficult decision.

Because she was so uncertain about the ability for a Namib to adapt to life in Rynmere, she didn't want to spend too much on them. And since she hoped to breed Namib qualities into other horses in the future, the most obvious choice was a stallion. With that thought in mind, she began focusing her attention on the Namib stallions. One in particular stood out in her mind. He was a dark bay with a black mane and tail. At 13 hands, he was clearly not fully mature yet, being a full hand smaller than the smallest average size of an adult Namib. He seemed a bit less aggressive than the other stallions. While quick to defend himself if another stallion tried to start anything, he seemed uninterested in being the aggressor of a skirmish himself.

"What about that one?" Lei'lira asked, pointing at the stallion she was interested in.

"Him? He's only four, so if you're looking to breed him right away, he's not your stallion. But he's less aggressive, and more patient than most Namib. In the wild, he likely wouldn't last long, and he's not going to make the best war mount...but you don't seem to really be looking for that."

Lei'lira nodded to confirm the trader's words before continuing.

"Has he had any training at all?"

"Yes. He's never been ridden, of course. He's too young for that yet. But he is used to being around people, and can be trusted not to lash out without warning. And while he hasn't borne the weight of a rider yet, he will accept a saddle, and halter."

"So you'd want a hundred and twenty gold nels for him, then?"

"That's right." the trader replied with a nod.

Lei'lira gave it a little more thought, then nodded.

"I'll take him." she said at last.

The trader grinned, and moved the young stallion apart from the others. As Lei'lira turned her attention back to the remaining Namib, she saw one of the other stallions mount one of the trader's mares. Although she quickly turned to consider the younger fillies, she kept the mare in the back of her mind. Would a Namib foal that was born here in Rynmere have a better time of adapting to the colder climate than one born in the desert would? It was certainly something to think about. Finally, she chose a pretty dun filly, and decided to buy the dun mare that might be pregnant as well.

"That will be four hundred and sixty for the three of them; two young Namib with some training, one fully trained mare of breeding age, and twenty gold nels extra for the stud fee since the mare might be with foal. Were there other Namib that interested you, or are you ready to move on to another breed?"


Off Topic
Two young Namib with training (100 GN with a .6 modifier for age x 2 for training) = 120 GN each, one fully trained Namib of breeding age = 200 GN, and an unborn foal (to be born in Zi'da 717) = 20 GN for a total of 460 GN
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Lei'lira
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Thu Feb 15, 2018 3:36 am

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Before Lei'lira could answer, cries of alarm filled the air. Lei'lira started, and after exchanging glances with Eri, they both searched for the cause of alarm.

"Runaway horse!"

Mere trills after the cry of warning, a riderless horse galloped past in an all out run. People scrambled to get out of its way as it all but flew over the ground at a breakneck pace. In its wake; chaos and injured people who were unable to get out of the way in time. At Lei'lira's terse request, Eri ran to see what she could do to help. For her part, Lei'lira turned to the trader, her mind racing through the information she'd been given earlier. An Apanie might be too difficult to control in this crowd, and one of the Namib definitely would be, wild as they were. The Etan ponies weren't fast enough to keep up with a panicking horse, and the Katura were nocturnal. And while the badu were good sprinters, their fiery temperaments made them too risky to use in this situation. The last thing she needed was an equine temper tantrum over a strange rider trying to ride them through a crowd. There really was only choice.

"Can I borrow one of your Neeraja?" she asked urgently, her eyes following the path of the runaway horse.

"Of course."

The trader quickly saddled a Neeraja mare, and offered the reins to Lei'lira. Lei'lira thanked him hastily, then was off after the runaway horse.

There is some irony in this. she mused as she rode at a brisk trot.

It was a good idea to test ride any horse one planned to buy for a regular mount. Anyone who rode often knew that. But this wasn't quite what Lei'lira had had in mind as a test ride. She was an average rider at best, and rising through a crowd like this tested her abilities as a rider more than she was comfortable with. Riding a horse she was unfamiliar with through a crowd made it that much worse. She didn't know the mare, and the mare didn't know her; as a result, neither had had a chance to learn to trust the other. That was far from ideal in any situation. But no one else seemed to be trying to stop the panicked horse, and Lei'lira felt she had to try.

Following the runaway horse was easy enough. All Lei'lira had to do was follow the trail of destruction and outrage it left behind in its wake. Seeing that others were helping those who had gotten trampled, Lei'lira focused on getting to the panicked horse as quickly as she could in the hopes of calming it down before even more people were injured.
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Lei'lira
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Thu Feb 15, 2018 5:49 pm

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When she finally managed to catch up with the runaway horse, it was beginning to tire rapidly. The filly was slowing in her panicked flight, allowing Lei'lira to catch up to her. Lei'lira guided the mare she was riding alongside the frightened filly, and reached out to take hold of the filly's reins. Once she had them, she slowly guided mare and filly to a stop. The frightened filly's sides heaved as she trembled visibly where she stood. Lei'lira dismounted, making sure to keep the reins firmly in hand. She slowly moved to stand in front of the young horse, and made sure the frightened animal could see her. Then she carefully raised her arm, extending her hand towards the filly, palm up, and fingers flat. With that, she waited. Until she introduced herself to the filly properly, and was accepted by her, anything she tried to do in the hopes od calming the filly would only frighten her even more. Trust between horse and rider was of utmost importance; without that, there would only be fear and distrust.

The filly's ears were flat against her head in fear, but when Lei'lira made no further move, she warily sniffed the offered hand. Then she snorted softly, but seemed to relax a little. Lei'lira smiled, and stroked the filly's nose gently.

"You're a beautiful girl, aren't you?" she asked in a soft, soothing tone.

"What spooked you, hmm? There's nothing to be scared of here."

As Lei'lira continued to talk, the soft, soothing tone of her voice worked to relax the filly a bit more. The crowd pressing around her made her anxious and uncomfortable, but Lei'lira was careful to keep her own anxiety out of her hands and voice. Calm, and firm, gentle guidance. That was what the filly needed right now. She needed to feel safe in order to calm down, and Lei'lira did her best to give the filly the sense of safety that she needed.

Her efforts paid off after a while, and Lei'lira smiled at the filly.

"There we go. That's not so bad, is it? I wonder who you belong to..."

Lei'lira began to look around to see if she could pick out the filly's owner. It was likely that they would be following on foot to reclaim their property. As she did so, members of the Iron Hand arrived to question the crowd in an attempt to find out what had caused the commotion. One of them asked her if she was the filly's owner with a disapproving frown. She told him that she wasn't, and one of the bystanders was quick to tell him that she had been the one to calm the panicked filly. This seemed to mollify the man since he gave her an approving nod, and left her to it as he went back to questioning the crowd.

"That's my horse!" a masculine voice exclaimed over the noise of the crowd.

A middle aged man rushed up to the filly, and raised his hand as if to strike her. The filly squealed in fear, and reared up in alarm, causing the crowd to back away hastily. Lei'lira still had a firm grip on the filly's reins, so she tugged on them firmly until the filly dropped back to all four legs once more. Then she positioned herself between the frightened creature and her owner protectively, using voice and hands to soothe her once more.

Lei'lira tuned everything else out and focused entirely on calming the frightened filly down. Only once she had stopped trembling and stood calmly did she look up at the taller man.

"That's my horse!" he insisted again.

Lei'luna growled at him from her place at Lei'lira's side. It was clear to Lei'lira that if it were possible, the spirit wolf would give the man a good bite for his stupidity. A part of Lei'lira wished that she could do just that.

"You do not hit a horse. Ever." she told the man in no uncertain terms.

Her voice was calm and quiet because Lei'lira had no desire to frighten the filly she had just gotten calmed down. But it was filled a fury that made her feelings clear in no uncertain terms to any who heard her.
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