Saun 10, 716 – Midday
The first sun of Saun was awake and in high spirits, shining rays of blinding light down on the mortals foolish enough to be wandering the streets of Ne’haer in the early afternoon. Most of the merchants had retired into their storefronts or homes, preferring to lose a little business over baking in the hot sun. Inali did her best to ignore it, but the rays wore her down quickly, seeking to pierce into her cold Videnese heart. The Edisi trudged onward, intent on making it to Zuroni’s Animal Care and Training Sanctuary before her blue skin fused with the road beneath her feet.
After twenty bits, Inali reached the pastured grounds of the Sanctuary and sighed loudly. She had hiked her dress up to a level that most Eidisi would find scandalous. The air against her legs had provided a modicum of comfort during the journey through the city, but she could hardly speak to owner of the Sanctuary in such a state. As Inali attempted to press the wrinkles out of her dress with her palms, a stable hand stepped forward, eyeing her with a glint of mirth in his green eyes. He had been standing against the side of a large barn, hidden in the cool retreat of the shadow. Startled, Inali looked up at him and mumbled something in the Ancient Tongue.
“I didn’t quite catch that. Are you lost?”
He searched her face, obviously unsure of why she had arrived to the stables in such a state. Inali shook her head and spoke slowly, unsure if her Common would help or hinder her. If all else failed, she could draw her request in the journal she kept with her coin purse.
“Need to buy horse. For riding to Tret’”
Her accent mangled the name of the town, but the stable hand seemed to get the gist of her needs.
“Can you train a greenbroke one? Do you want a mare or a stallion?”
Inali stared at the man, unsure of how to answer such a question. Electing to repeat his words instead, Inali mimicked him,
The stablehand laughed and beckoned her to another stable that was a few hundred paces away. He spoke as they walked, obviously entertained by the foreign Eidisi.
“Greenbroke means that they’re stubborn and a bit wild. In some cases, more than just a bit. I don’t think you can handle that. We have a few mares that have been well trained. They help with all the children when they first learn to ride. They cost double and then some but they’re mild mannered.”
Inali nodded slowly, her bewilderment plain on her face. Mares? Horse manners?
“You’ll need tack too. You can ride our mares without a saddle, but you’ll have to have a bridle to direct ‘em and some basic supplies to keep ‘em healthy and happy. When you’re done with your trip, we can stable her for you at the cost of five copper nels a day.”
Inali did her level best not to focus on the running total of nels that occupied the back of her mind. Horses were damn expensive! By the time the stablehand finished his brief lecture on the use of a bridle, they had arrived at a stall that housed a beautiful roan mare. The horse whinnied as they approached. The stablehand sighed and pulled a crumbling sugar cube from his apron. He handed it to Inali and gestured with his hand, holding it flat out in front of the mare. The roan sniffed at his hand and eyed him suspiciously. The stablehand chuckled,
“You’ll get your sugar cube, Sana. I’m just showing this one how not to get her fingers chomped off.”
Inali imitated the gesture and recoiled slightly as the roan’s muzzle touched her palm, eagerly searching for the sugar cube. The roan secured her prize and devoured the cube in a matter of trills. Smiling, Inali reached out and gently patted the mares jaw, marveling at how soft the light brown hair was. The stablehand nodded and pointed to a bridle hanging from a hook by the stall gate.
“While it isn’t new, she’s used to that bridle and it fits her well. I can sell it to you, and the brushes you’ll need. Do you want any saddlebags?”
Inali nodded and watched the saddlehand make his way to a room on the far side of the stable. He returned with two separate brushes and a black leather saddlebag.
“Now, the horse will be 110 golden nels. The bridle will 13 gold nels since it’s used. They normally run 15. The bit will cost 4gn, the harness will cost 15gn. The brushes are 4gn and 5gn respectively. The saddlebags will run you another 9gn.”
He quickly totaled the numbers in his head.
“That’s 164 golden nels.”
Inali nodded and counted the coins from her coin purse until she reached the correct total. The stablehand took them with a smile and gestured to the roan.
“Well, why don’t you take Sana out of her stall? I’ll help you with the bridle and we’ll see if you can ride her around the pasture here.”