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."
The reduced prices for younger animals come from the modifiers here