• Graded • Herd Impunity

Once an isolated and dying township, an influx of academics, adventurers and thrill seekers have made Scalvoris Town their home. From scholars' tea shops to a new satellite campus for Viden Academy, this is an exciting place to visit or make your home!

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Darius Baer Bottom
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Herd Impunity

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Arc 721, 80th of Ashan
Darius was halfway back to the Libertalia from making his donation to Isonomia when Kirt appeared from the docks, running towards him with an awkward gait over the cobblestones. The sight was met with a furrowed brow, for the mariner knew how much the talkative man disliked sea travel - he had been very vocal about his mistrust of ships when they had first gone to Faldrass - but he could think of no other way that the farmer had made it to Scalvoris Town.

Darius would later discover that Kirt had indeed travelled with them aboard the brig, but fearing that the sight of water was what had made him feel uncomfortable during sea travel, and so he had hunkered down in a dark corner of the hold, with rather messy results.

By the time the stowaway caught up with him, however, he was clearly feeling much better, for he had colour on his cheeks...although that might have just been because he'd been running...

He was panting, but his expression displayed nothing less than excitement. So much so that when he went to speak, he could barely get the words out.

"Shaggyoats!" the man exclaimed. "We could get shaggyoats!"

Darius stared at the man blankly.

"Oats? As in...porridge?"

"No, shaggyoats!" Kirt reiterated. "Goats that grow fleeces, like sheep!"

Darius cocked his head slightly, still wondering why the farmer had joined them on the journey to the main island. It was almost as if Kirt heard his silent question, because the answer was soon forthcoming.

"A cousin of mine lives on Scalv-Town, and he told me there were goats between here and Beacon, running wild."

And they're...shaggy?" Darius replied, trying to piece together the excited man's thought process.

"They're a new breed, and they're called shaggyoats," came the response, with Kirt being too excited to become frustrated with the baron's lack of understanding. "They grow wool, and they can be shorn, so we can make blankets or warm clothing."

Darius nodded, before asking what seemed like the obvious question.

"Why don't we just get sheep?"

Kirt grinned, tapping his temple with right temple with the end of his forefinger, as if to suggest he knew more about shaggyoats than the baron did...which, in fairness, he probably did.

"Rumour is a shaggyoat's coat is better than that of a sheep's," the farmer explained. "Warmer, thicker wool, less prone to tearing, and more valuable, apparently."

Darius nodded, before casting a gaze in the vague direction of Beacon, as if he might actually be able to see the town and he wasn't next to the Scalvoris Town Docks. He had planned to return to Hopetoun immediately after delivering supplies to Cally's, but Kirt's suggestion presented the settlement with an opportunity.

And besides, he'd never hear the end of it from the farmer if they didn't at least take a closer look.

"Between here and Beacon, you say?" Darius asked after a pause.

"That's what I'm told," came the confident reply.

"Alright, no harm in checking it out," Darius acknowledged to Kirt. "If these things are wild, we're going to need some help in catching them, I expect. Go to the ship and tell Astra I need three of the crew to join us. And let her choose which ones."

Kirt let out a whoop of excitement and he turned, rushing back towards the Libertalia with the same awkward gait that had carried him from it, leaving Darius to wonder what on Idalos he had allowed to get himself in for.
 ! Message from: Pegasus
Darius Baer has discovered a SECRET about the Shaggyoats.
"A small number of Shaggyoats have escaped from Hope Farm and have been seen in the open fields and hills between Beacon and Scalvoris Town. The owner of Hope Farm has his hands full with the breeding program and after a failed attempt at reclaiming the animals, has decided to cut his losses and assumes they won't last long in the wild. If someone was to collect/capture some of them, they could in theory breed them and acquire their own source of milk and wool, though some consideration may need to be given to compensating the owner of Hope Farm."

Should Darius manage to collect / capture some of these Shaggyoats he will discover that, in fact, they are prone to escaping and will chew their way out of fences and try to jump over walls. Slippery little suckers!
Last edited by Darius Baer Bottom on Mon May 03, 2021 2:18 am, edited 2 times in total. word count: 764
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Darius Baer Bottom
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Re: Herd Impunity

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A few breaks later, the five of them were making their way through the long grass of the open countryside that lined the road to Beacon. A short distance beyond, at the base of a cliff, a dozen creatures that Kirt had identified as shaggyoats stood and grazed. To Darius, they looked much like regular goats, but there was no denying their impressive coats of wool.

As the person with most experience around animals, Kirt led the way, with Darius behind him, and then the three sailors followed behind.

Barnes was a young deckhand and an eager worker. He had been the one tasked with taking Rakvald below decks to be fed before the creature had decided instead to slither over the side of the ship. Joining him were Deric, another deckhand, and Lothar, the helmsman, whose skills were not needed while the Libertalia sat at anchor.

All three wore lengths of ropes over their shoulders. If the men knew anything, it was how to tie knots, so Darius was confident that if any of the creatures were caught, they would not be able to stray beyond the reach of their tethers.

When Kirt had returned with the three mariners, he had brought with him a shepherd's crook, the sight of if which had caused Darius to cock an eyebrow.

"What?" the farmer had responded incredulously. "Surely, you didn't think I was going to brave a journey on your ship to catch shaggyoats and not come prepared?"

Kirt held it now as the group stood in grass that reached their knees, instructing the others - Darius included - on how they might hope to capture the shaggyoats.

"Catching sheep and goats is simple," the farmer began, and then proceeded - by way of explanation - to show how that was not the case at all. "If you approach them from behind, they'll run forwards, and you won't be able to outrun a goat. If you approach from in front, they'll turn away and then you'll be behind them, and they'll run forwards. And if you approach them too quickly from any direction, they'll run off, too."

There were a few trills of silence as Darius and the other sailors exchanged confused looks. Kirt seemed to pick up on their uncertainty, and proceeded to answer their unasked question.

"To catch one of these animals, we need to corner it," he continued. "I'd normally use a fence line, if we had one, but this cliff face should do the trick. We approach slowly. Always slowly. While the rest of you surround it - at a distance, mind - so it doesn't know whether to run forwards or turn away, I'll catch it with the crook while it's frozen in indecision, by approaching it from its side. Once I have the crook around its neck, we can grab hold of it by its wool and tether it. Simple!"

And so they set to work, and they quickly discovered just how "simple" it was.

At first, the sailors were too eager and impatient, and they moved too quickly, startling a pair of shaggyoats who managed to escape their grasp. Kirt talked them through the process, however, keeping his voice calm so as to not alarm the animals, and after a hard break's work, they had managed to capture five shaggyoats: two bucks and three does.

The rest of the small flock had successfully made their escape, and watched on from a safe distance as their kin were led away, each one attached to a rope that was held by a human.

It was only as the five men turned and began to leave, shaggyoats in tow, that they heard an unfamiliar voice call out from behind them.

"Where do yer think yer goin' with me shaggies?"
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Re: Herd Impunity

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Hope Farm was not much of a walk from where they had found the shaggyoats, and the stranger - a man who revealed his name was Terrence Hale - insisted that they follow him there.

They brought with them the tethered animals, which didn't seem to mind being taken for a walk as long as there were clumps of grass to chew on during the journey.

As the group reached a fence, and Terrence opened a gate for them all to pass through, Darius, once again tried to explain to the man that they had thought the creatures were wild, and that they weren't 'shaggy rustlers', as the man had taken to calling them. The mariner had quickly realised that he was the only one attempting to reason with the man. Kirt, who usually was overly talkative about all things farming, was notable by his silence, and wearing a guilty expression on his face.

Once past the gate, the group were led towards a farmstead. The dirt road they were walking along was lined on either side by fenced pastures. In one, there grazed a herd of sheep, and in another, shaggyoats, but many of the others were fallow fields, or with very small yields of crops.

"Been a bad arc fer growin'," Terrence grumbled as they neared a farmstead, which was a small but sturdy-looking structure.

"Aye," Darius nodded, wondering if the farmer was aware that that was the very reason that had brought him back to Scalvoris.

"Raihi!" Terrence yelled towards the farmstead. "Raihi, come out here, love! Some'un's tryin' a take our shaggies!"

Within a few trills, a door opened and a brunette woman stepped out. Tucked up under one arm was a small lamb, which was eagerly drinking milk out of a small bowl from her opposite hand. The liquid sloshed about as the woman walked, and milk ran down the lamb's chin and onto its neck, but Darius got the distinct impression that the small creature would be making a mess of its drink regardless of it's carrier's movements.

"What's this, then?" Raihi asked, her softly spoken tone and good diction a complete contrast to that of her husband's.

"Allow me to introduce myself," Darius began. "I am Darius Baer, Baron of House von Smooglenuff. We came to the island to deliver goods to Scalv-Town, and found these shaggyoats in the countryside."

"And yer thought yer could take 'em shaggies fer yer own!" Terrence blurted out.

Darius shook his head defensively, and Raihi seemed willing to ignore the farmer. Perhaps she had seen him jump to conclusions before, Darius wondered. Or perhaps she was just curious to hear what five strangers with shaggyoats had to say.

"We didn't realise they were owned," the mariner continued. "Why would we have willingly come to your farm if we wanted to steal them?"

He glanced at Terrence, and the man scowled, but he fell quiet. There was sense to what Darius had said. He never could have caught all five of them, if they had decided to run. His odds would have been even worse if they'd decided to fight...

"So we have brought them back to you," Darius added, his attention on Raihi, before he cast a gaze out over the barren fields and their struggling yield. "But I wonder if we might be able to offer you a trade?"

Terrence and Raihi looked at each other, then back at Darius.

"What yer thinkin'?" Terrence asked, his tone much calmer than before.

"Your farm is not the only one to have struggling crops," he spoke cautiously, knowing he might be touching a sensitive topic. "It's affecting everyone on the main island. But in Faldrass, we're able to grow more crops than we ever imagined. In fact, that's the reason we came to Scalv-Town in the first place. We delivered some of our excess produce to Cally's so they could help feed hungry mouths."

Darius paused, his gaze switching between Terrence and Raihi who said nothing. Only the young goat's loud slurping of milk broke the silence.

"If we gift you the few remaining extra supplies that we have, would you permit us to take these fine creatures back to Faldrass?"

The pause, this time, came from the farmers, who looked at one another as they considered the offer. Darius had left one crate of Faldrass potatoes and one barrel of veil fish on the Libertalia for the return journey. He and the crew would have to tolerate a diet of spine fish instead, but that was a sacrifice that all of the sailors would be used to making. Kirt, on the other hand, would surely have plenty to complain about!

After a few trills of contemplation, it was Raihi who spoke again.

"That will help with our crops," she said politely, "but that doesn't make up for the shaggyoats who have escaped our farm."

Raihi pointed to a break in one of their fences. Darius nodded, then looked across at Kirt who had remained silent, forcing the usually talkative farmer to look up at Terrence and Raihi.

"Kirt here works the land in Hopetoun, our settlement on Faldrass," the baron continued. "He taught us how to catch the shaggyoats. If he was to help you catch some of the others, and we were to provide you with supplies to help you with your shortage, would that suffice?"

Raihi nodded immediately, a polite smile forming across her face, and without a word, passed the bowl of milk to Terrence while she extended her hand.

And so an accord was reached. While Kirt and Terrence set about catching more of the shaggyoats and return them to Hope Farm, Darius sent his sailors back to the ship with the five animals they had initially caught, ordering them to return with supplies for the farm. And in the meantime, the bearded blond repaired the break in the fence to help prevent another escape.
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Re: Herd Impunity

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Darius:

Knowledge:
Skill Knowledge:
Animal Husbandry: If approached too quickly or from any direction other than the side, shaggyoats will bolt.
Leadership: Assign tasks to those most qualified for the job.
Logistics: Make sure you have enough manpower to complete the task.
Negotiation: Don't start with your best offer.
Politics: Titles can be useful bargaining chips.
Tactics: Pivot!

Non-Skill Knowledge:
Fauna: Shaggyoats

Loot: -
Lost: -
Wealth: -
Injuries: -
Renown: 10, for helping Hope Farm and name-dropping.
Magic XP: -
Skill Review: Appropriate to level.
Points: 10
- - -
Comments: I loved this thread!

When Kirt came running towards Darius, excitedly told him about the shaggyoats and Darius said something about porridge, I couldn’t help but grin. That was such an amusing scene. Fortunately, Kirt explained what it was all about before long!

You really made Kirt sound like an experienced farmer. I appreciate that catching the shaggoats wasn’t easy regardless though – and that some of them actually managed to escape, and what more, you had one of the farmers from Hope Farm show up. That was an exciting moment!

Fortunately, Darius was able to convince the Hales that they were not thieves. I’m impressed by how he managed to convince them to let him keep the shaggyoats – and offered them a deal that will benefit all of them. I’m curious what Hopetoun will do with their new shaggyoats!

That being said, I appreciate the way that you handle NPCs. All of them, even if they probably only show up in a single thread, have their own, distinct personality.

Enjoy your rewards!
word count: 263

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