[Raelia]Granegal, Chapter One: Silver's Outing

20th of Ashan 720

The cities and villages of Melrath are as varied and diverse as they come. The capital of Raelia is the the jewel of this western kingdom, playing host to a merchants, artisans, Aesir priests, as well as a cut throat political landscape dominated by the nobles of Raelia. To the south in the depths of the Myrkvior Forest lies Melrath's second largest, and oldest city, Fensalir. Here people have learned to live alongside spirits and the natural world by maintaining their loyalty to traditions laid down the first Melrathi. To the east lies the small fishing village of Noatun, and to the western mountains rests the Mer city of Verimeer, the brewing town of Alivilda and the alpine village Vormund.
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[Raelia]Granegal, Chapter One: Silver's Outing


20th Ashan 720


Ashling was looking around in the streets of Raelia for a certain mage named Adèle Air’ryn. She hadn’t seen Adèle again after their meeting in Zi’da. Several seasons had passed but Ashling hadn’t forgotten their deal. She had more or less promised to bring Adèle with her back to Fensalir. There she would help her get a job as a cook at the healing house of Ashling’s mother. In return, the mage would tell Ashling what she knew about the disappearances in Vhalar. The Ragnari and the Aesir had abducted a lot of people and their fate was still unknown.

Back in Zida, Ashling had believed that she soon would travel home to Fensalir. But, only a couple of trials later she had met Tristan, the man she had betrothed herself to. Instead of going to Fensalir she had stayed in Raeila to be with him (and his little daughter. Now when Cylus was over the winter’s grip on Melrath was about to loosen. Ashling had begun to think of a trip to Fensalir but her plans were unclear. It had made her realize that it was on time to speak with Adèle about their agreement.

Only one problem. Ashling had no idea where the woman lived.

But, there was one who knew how to find Adèle. This was Silver, the dog the mage had left in Ashling’s care. It was at least what the woman had said. Now, when Ashling attempted to make the dog find his former benefactor it had ignored her. It had even shown a general disinterest in obliging. Silver had gazed at Ashling with its beautiful dog eyes and wagged its tail. When she had spoken to him about going out to search for Adèle it had seemed to agree. Once they were outdoors, the dog had walked forth with promising enthusiasm. Every time Ashling had given the command “search Adèle” Silver had given her a happy yap. He had wagged its tail and continued to walk like he was on his way to a specific destination.

After a while, Ashling had tried to give other commands. She had hoped that Silver would understand them better. Look for Adèle had not been a hit and find Adèle had also been a failure. By now, it was dawning on Ashling that the dog either didn’t understand her commands or didn’t follow them. It was also possible that Adèle had told the truth when she had denied that she owned Silver. The mage had called it a stray dog who had been hanging out with her husband a bit. If so, the dog might not care about Adèle. He had a good and safe life with Ashling. She had made Silver her own, healed its leg injury and provided it with food every day.

Silver was very playful and “jumpy”. The dog was still young, as Ashling had suspected when she had seen how much he had grown during Ymiden and Vhalar. It must have been only a season old the first time she had met him. She had happened to make a lasting impression by feeding him sausages. He was grown up now, but he was only one arc. Ashling guessed that this might be one reason why Silver had attached to her with such ease. The dog’s affection was endearing, but alas it didn’t help Ashling find the elusive mage.

The dog will find me. Why, thank you very much for that one, Adèle!

It was almost noon now and they had started several breaks earlier. Ashling was getting tired of the long and fruitless (from her point of view) walk. Silver had met a lot of street dogs. He had barked like crazy at those who were bigger than himself but been friendly to the smaller mongrels. He had played with some of them. The dog had also investigated interesting smells. He had chased cats and embarrassed Ashling by begging strangers for food. From the dog’s point of view they were having a great time. Ashling was getting tired. But, a Melrathi Sheepdog was a herding dog, made for fulltime work. Silver’s fun day out had only begun.

Now, when Ashling said that they were going to take a break and eat something the dog understood every word. Ashling looked at her little companion and he urged her to continue toward the food stall nearby. “Yap!”

Okay. Silver did understand a lot. He was even able to “speak” when he found it important to do so. Ashling had to conclude that her own skills as an animal owner were lacking. It was one thing to take care of a dog but another thing to train it. Making Silver eat was easy. Socializing with him was also easy. Silver loved to socialize in general. Going for walks together was very easy as the dog was always ready to go out and never refused. But, making a dog learn to work together with their human took more knowledge than Ashling had at the moment.

It was a simple food stall. Ashling bought bread and cheese and a mug of hot tea. The air was still cool this time of the arc and it was good to get something warming to drink. She would eat nearby and return the mug to the stall when she had finished the meal. A rough log bench and table offered a place to sit. She settled there and the dog came to sit at her side, hoping to share the food. “Yap!”

Without thinking, she gave the dog a small piece of cheese. The animal gulped it down and kept staring her, waiting for more. Ashling knew that if she gave in to the prayer in those gorgeous dog eyes Silver would eat the whole meal alone. It had happened more than one time during her time as a dog owner. She knew that she ought to do better.

The current situation accentuated it. Here she was, after breaks of walking where the dog wanted to go and now it wanted to a reward, her food. She realized that she had been too lax. The dog might even feel that it was in command, taking its human on a fun outing. This thought made Ashling take a decision to find a good animal trainer and get useful advice. It was high time to do it.

She finished the meal, handed in the mug and asked the girl in the stall if she knew any good animal trainers. The sweet youngster looked to be age thirteen or fourteen or so and she was happy to help out. Oh yes, she knew a good animal trainer. He was her awesome older brother Hakon!

This time of the day he was often at the horse-market. Hakon Grude was this hero’s name and Ashling could tell him that his young sister Sif had sent her. After holding out her hand to get paid for the help, the girl gave a description of the way to Hakon. Ashling paid, memorized the route and was on her way, Silver walking in front of her as was his habit.

More dog meets and greets followed. After more cat-chases and general nose-work they arrived at the horse-market. The air was ripe with the smell of horse. and Ashling felt it blocks before the street ended at a big open marketplace. It was a maze of lanes between stables and paddocks and boxes. There were horses, sellers and intending buyers everywhere.

Ashling stopped and tried to think of where it would be best to enter. But, Silver didn’t hesitate to run straight in so her attempt to be tactical came to nothing. Instead, she had to hurry after her little dog and take the route it decided to take. Calling out for the dog had no effect. But, finally, he stopped. To no surprise, it was to beg a few lunching stable hands to share their food with a “starving” dog.

The stable hands didn’t mind. They laughed at Silver and gave him a few tidbits. One of them was a middle-aged woman with a furrowed but pleasant face. She pulled out a rope of bad quality and a piece of leather and threw them to Ashling. “Make a collar and a leash. You can’t let it run loose here. Some horses hate dogs you know.”

It was soon clear that Ashling was clueless though. The woman rose and walked over to help out. Siver sat like a good dog in the hopes of getting tidbits for good behaviour. He was an easy case for the experienced animal handler. Ashling got help to make a simple collar of the piece of leather and then attach the rope to it. She took part in it a bit, but the helpful woman did most of the task.

“Why a collar? Can’t I tie the rope around the dog’s neck?” Ashling watched Silver get a soft collar of brown leather around his neck. The dog made resistance but didn’t stand a chance.

“You should get a proper collar when you get time for it. It’s not good to tie a rope around the dog’s neck. You will either tie it too
loose and then the dog will escape from it ... or too tight so it can’t breathe well. You can adjust a collar so it’s neither possible to get rid of it nor choking the animal. Then you attach the rope to the collar...here we go!”

Soon, Silver was under control (a bit). Ashling continued her search for the glorified elder brother of Sif. She was looking for the awesome animal trainer Hakon Grude. Little did she foresee what awaited her...
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Re: [Raelia]Granegal, Chapter One: Silver's Outing

Review Rewards

Name: Ash

Points awarded: 10

Animal Husbandry: Using a collar that doesn’t limit the dog’s breathing
Animal Husbandry: Walking the dog
Animal Training: Trying in vain to make the dog obey commands
Animal Training: Giving to the dog makes it feel in command
Animal Training: Realizing that you are unskilled
Animal Training: Learning to use a leash on a dog

Skill Review: All Skills played within their levels

Awww, this was a nice little story. Of course my bias towards furry critters has nothing to do with my opinion... ahem. You played everything within range and believable, but I would suggest that you delve into the descriptive details a little more. This didn't feel rushed, but it was a tad superficial. As in, you described the What and Where and Why, without going too much into the visceral, sensory experiences of your character. I've always found they can give extra dimensions to a story and can suck the reader into it. But that's just me. Everything else was fine as wine, enjoy your rewards!

*gives Silver a biscuit* Such a good boy...

If you have any questions, comments or concerns in regards to this review, feel free to PM.
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