• Solo • [Warrick] Increasing the Herd

Work thread.

The seven Duchies of Central Rynmere and their respective baronies, cities, towns, villages, and landmarks each overseen by a Duke of one of the seven noble families and ultimately controlled by the King of Rynmere.
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Lei'lira
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[Warrick] Increasing the Herd

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3rd Zi'da, 716


It was a beautiful day for riding. Although cold, as was typical for the season, the sun was out, and the sky was a brilliant shade of blue. It had snowed recently, leaving a light feather dusting of snow covering everything. There was no where near enough to cause problems for travelers, and the snow looked like an icy lace covering the world.

Lei'lira sang softly, unable to contain her excitement as she groomed Star, preparing them both for the long ride ahead of them. Today, she was going to Meadow Farms. To Lei'lira, Meadow Farms was a magical place full of delight, and unexpected treasures. She had volunteered there so many times as a child, that she counted Iggy among her few friends, and she was looking forward to seeing him again. With everything that had happened, she hadn't been by the breeding farm since she'd bought Star.

And her reason for going was one that filled her with joy. For as long as she could remember, she had dreamed of one day owning a horse breeding farm of her own; one to rival Meadow Farms. She had a very long way to go before that dream became a reality, but she was taking another step in the right direction, at least. It had taken her quite some time, but she'd managed to save up enough nels to buy some more horses for her farm.

She had another, less pleasant reason for going to Meadow Farms today, as well. Some of the local farmers were coming over to build a stable for Lei'lira. Despite being acquainted with the men, being around them terrified her. Between the events of last Saun, and Drayas's demands each time he came for a visit, being in the presence of any man was enough to terrify her. With as many men as were coming to build the stable, Lei'lira knew that she wouldn't be able to bear it. Rather than be a bad hostess, she had made her apologies, explaining that she wouldn't be there when they came. She had made a hearty meal of sandwiches, and cheese for them, which she left in the barn, so they wouldn't go hungry while they worked. Her neighbors didn't know the full story, but having met Drayas for themselves, had understood, and were sympathetic.

Part of Lei'lira wondered if she would be afraid of Iggy, too. But he was an old man, well past the age of being interested in a woman...in that way. More than that, she had known him for practically as long as she could remember. Surely those two things, and her excitement over the chance to buy some more horses would prevent her from being afraid of her friend...she hoped.
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Lei'lira
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[Warrick] Increasing the Herd

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Her morning chores had been seen to. She'd milked the cow, and gathered the eggs. She'd mucked out the stalls, and given the barn a through cleaning in anticipation of the new horses she was bringing home. And she had prepared everything the men who were coming to build her stable for her would need. All of the materials they would need were already waiting for them at the site she'd chosen for the stable to be built. Payment for their assistance in building the stable would come in kind; for the next season, all of her extra eggs, and any extra milk she had would go to their families. When it was time to shear her sheep, they would get a portion of the wool she collected. And come planting season next Ashan, she would spend a day with each of their families, helping them to plant their crops. Finally, she had offered each of them a free breeding from one of her stallions to one of their mares.

Everything was ready, so with a light heart, and eager anticipation for the task at hand, she mounted Star, and with a slight tug on the reins, she guided her out to the road.

I'll race you to that tree over there. Lei'luna suggested.

Her familiar must have gotten caught up in the same excitement that she felt, because the wolf spirit's voice was bright, and filled with a playfulness that had been absent since the events of last Saun. Lei'luna's mood was catching, and Lei'lira grinned at her.

"You're on!"

Lei'lira could tell that Star was feeling frisky. The mare wanted to run, so she gave her the opportunity to do just that. After making certain that no one was on the road as far as the eye could see in either direction. Lei'lira leaned forward in the saddle. Once Star obliged by falling into a brisk walk, she leaned forward again, and added a quick bit of pressure with her legs. The sudden surge of speed threw her off balance, and Lei'lira found herself clinging to the mare's mane as she desperately tried to stay on. A sharp kick in her belly, possibly triggered by her sudden change in emotions, reminded her that she wasn't the only one who would suffer if her inexperience as a rider caused her to fall.

Frantically, Lei'lira tried to remember how to slow a horse down. For a few terrifying moments, all she could remember was that pulling too hard on the reins would hurt a horse, and could damage its mouth. The words of her father echoed in her head, cautioning her that a horse's mouth would harden if it was abused by too much pulling on the reins over a long period of time. And if that were to happen, a harsher bit would have to be used on the animal since it would no longer be able to feel the pressure of a softer bit. That, in turn, would hurt the poor horse even more. Even in her growing panic, Lei'lira couldn't bring herself to be cruel to any horse. She tried leaning back, out of desperation, and the thought that if leaning forward while a horse was walking told the animal to go faster, leaning back might result in the opposite action.

Just as she was about to lose her balance entirely, Star began to slow, and come to a stop. She tossed her head in frustration, clearly wanting to run more. But Lei'lira didn't trust her abilities as a rider to allow that. She had been incredibly reckless, letting her run like that. What if she had fallen off? Not only would she have risked injury to herself, her baby could have been hurt. And what if someone else had come along? They could have been hurt if they couldn't get off the road in time to avoid Star.

For several bits, Lei'lira simply sat in the saddle, clinging to Star's mane as she realized the potential consequences of her foolishness. Then, once she had recovered her composure, she continued on her way at a slow, gentle walk.
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The rest of the ride to Meadow Farms was uneventful, but Lei'lira was still very happy to see the gates come into view. She had been shaken by her near fall, but even that had not been enough to dampen her excitement over her visit. Other than her own home, Meadow Farms was her favorite place in all the world. And today, she was actually going to be able to buy some horses, not just volunteer to work with them.

Iggy wasn't immediately in sight when Lei'lira rode into the breeding farm, but after a bit of a search, she found the older man in one of the barns. He didn't notice her as she approached him because he was busy wrapping the left foreleg of a yearling stallion. From where Lei'lira was standing, she could see the angry looking swelling around the knee joint. She wasn't experienced enough to be able to tell how serious the injury was by looking at it, but it did look like a painful one.

"Will he recover well?" Lei'lira asked softly.

"It's too soon to tell for certain, but I believe so, yes. It's going to take several seasons, though. Do you recognize the herbs I'm using for the compress?"

Lei'lira glanced at the bowl Iggy gestured at. It was filled with some crumbled dried leaves that had been moistened with water. To her, one dried leaf looked much like another, so after a few trills, she shook her head.

"It's plantain. Fresh is more effective than dried, of course, but in Zi'da, you take what you can get. Even dried, the plantain compress will help to ease the swelling."

Lei'lira watched the man work for a while, taking careful note of how he was wrapping the injured leg; tightly enough that it wouldn't come off easily, but not so tight that it would cut off the circulation to the young stallion's leg. The moistened leaves were pressed directly against the horse's skin by the cloth. When Iggy finished wrapping the first leg up, he began wrapping up the right foreleg as well, this time without the plantain compress.

"Why are you doing that?" Lei'lira asked curiously, unable to see any signs of injury to the right foreleg.

"Horses are funny creatures. If one foreleg or hind leg feels different than the other, it bothers them. By wrapping both legs like this, they will feel the same, and Riric here will be less likely to try and chew or rub the wrapping off of his injured leg."

Lei'lira nodded thoughtfully. She would have to remember that. She had been very lucky in that none of her horses had sustained any kind of injuries in the past. But things like this would be useful to know if she ever did have to treat them for leg injuries.

"So how can I help you today? Did you come for business, or pleasure?" Iggy asked with a grin.

"Both." Lei'lira replied with an answering grin.

"Coming here is always a pleasure, and I've come with the intention of buying three new mares for my herd." she elaborated.

"Well, then. Let's get down to business, shall we?"
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Lei'lira
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"What are you looking for? You mentioned mares, which helps to narrow things down somewhat, but do you have anything more specific in mind? And do you know how much you are willing to spend?" Iggy questioned briskly.

"I'm looking for mares that are of breeding age, but who are on the young side of breeding age. Possibly between five and seven arcs old?"

Iggy nodded, and gestured for her to continue.

"I want all three to be trained to ride, and to have good paces, but I don't need anything too fancy. I'm not looking to race them, or anything, nor do they need to be trained to pull a cart or carriage. Also, if you have any pregnant mares available for sale, I would like one of the mares to be in foal."

Iggy nodded again.

"And what kind of a budget do you have?"

"Three hundred and twenty gold nels."

Iggy smiled.

"I think we can work with that. Come with me."

Iggy led her to a large stable with an enclosed pasture. Several horses were milling around the pasture, and some of them watched curiously as they approached.

"These mares are all of good stock, but none of them are the more popular breeds, such as the appaloosa. Those would be out of your price range. Each of the mares here are young, but are of breeding age. None of them have been bred yet, though, so they are not proven breeders. But they are all trained to ride, and have good paces. I'll let you browse around for a while. If you see anything you like, you're welcome to ride her around the pasture a bit, or try her paces out on the lunge line in the arena over there. These mares are all trained to accept voice commands while on the lunge line, so you shouldn't have any problems testing them out if you want to. I'll come check up on you later, okay?"

Lei'lira nodded. Iggy was showing a lot of trust in her by allowing her to ride his horses, or work them on a lunge line without him being there to oversee her. But they had known each other for many arcs, and she had volunteered at Meadow Farms countless times since they'd met when she was a child. So a certain amount of trust was to be expected, and Iggy was a busy man, after all.

A lot could be learned about a horse, simply by observing it for a while, so Lei'lira started by doing just that. All of the mares were beautiful; Iggy knew her tastes in horses since they had worked together so often in the past, so he knew exactly what would appeal to her in a horse. But more importantly, these mares were of good breeding. They had good lines, and they all moved well as they went about their business. A proven breeder would be worth more than an unproven one, so by buying a younger mare, her budget would stretch to allow her to afford a better quality one.

None of them were of the best quality, of course. There were no purebreds here. But they were fine, beautiful mares that showed no signs of any bad habits that would have to be trained out of them. None of them lashed out at the others if they drew too close, proving that they would all mix with a herd well, and that none of them had vicious, dangerous tempers that would make them unsuitable for what she wanted. Nor were there any signs that any of the mares had old injuries; there were no scars that would suggest they had been fighting among themselves.

Watching a horse could tell a keen observer a lot about their personality, as well. Some of the mares frolicked about the pasture, much to Lei'lira's amusement. They had a bright intelligence in their eyes, and a sense of playfulness that Lei'lira liked. Such horses could be a challenge to work with if they decided that they wanted to play rather than be ridden, or if they found ways to amuse themselves that were less than desirable. And playful horses could often be stubborn ones, too. But they were often worth the extra work.

A few of the mares seemed to cluster around the feeding trough, unwilling to stray too far. Such horses often proved to be lazy, and unwilling to work, so Lei'lira dismissed them out of hand. Others appeared to be timid, watching Lei'lira carefully from a safe distance across the pasture. A timid horse could prove to be a skittish one, but that wasn't always the case; some horses just needed time to get to know someone before they warmed up to them.

After half a break, or so, Lei'lira had narrowed her choices down to a few that interested her especially. Since she only planned to buy two of these mares, she decided to work with each of the three mares to see which ones she liked the best. So she entered the stable to get the lunge line, and a halter. Then she approached the first mare she was interested in slowly. The dainty little mare gave her no trouble as she put the halter and bit on, and attached the lunge line. Lei'lira led the mare into the nearby arena, and got to work.

"Walk." she said firmly.

The mare began walking immediately, a slow, even stride that looked like it would be very comfortable for a rider. Lei'lira watched closely as the mare made several laps around the arena before giving her next command.

"Faster."

The mare sped up, moving at a brisk walk now. Her strides remained even despite the increased speed. Lei'lira liked what she saw. The mare was obedient, quickly responding to verbal commands. She wondered if a horse could be trained to accept verbal commands when not on a lunge line. It seemed reasonable since they could take verbal commands while on one. Lei'lira made a mental note to ask Iggy about it some time.

"Trot."

Lei'lira watched as the mare's speed increased once more when she shifted into a brisk trot. Her movement was good, and from what Lei'lira could tell, a rider would feel comfortable with the pace. It was hard for her to be certain though, since she herself rarely rode at a trot, given her own uncertain riding skills.

"Canter."

The mare's stride lengthened as she shifted paces once more. She looked good while moving at a canter, and while Lei'lira had no personal experience with riding at such a speed, it looked like an easy movement that a rider would find pleasant, and comfortable to sit.

"Gallop."

The mare was really moving at speed now as her stride lengthened even further. She was a beauty to behold, and Lei'lira enjoyed a brief image of being on the mare's back and racing along the road, or across a field at such a clip. But although she savored the mental image for a few trills, she didn't allow it to distract her from what she was doing. That could turn into a disaster quickly.

Lei'lira was pleased by what she saw. Satisfied, she called for a walk once more, and gave the mare a good cool down before removing the lunge line, and giving her a good grooming. Then she brought her back to the pasture. Lei'lira tried each of the other two mares on the lunge line before making her final choice.

"Did you find any mares that you liked?" Iggy asked when he returned.

Lei'lira nodded, indicating the two she had chosen with a grin.

"They're perfect." she said softly, with more than a little awe in her voice.

Iggy chuckled.

"I'll get them ready for you, then. In the meantime, would you like to see the pregnant mares I have available?"

"Yes, please."

Lei'lira had high hopes. The other mares she had been shown had been exactly what she'd wanted. And the last time she'd had money to buy a horse, she'd gotten Star. So she was confidant that Iggy knew exactly what she was looking for. Perhaps in the distant future, when she had her own breeding farm, she too would be that good at matching prospective buyers with horses that would be ideal for them.
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Lei'lira
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Iggy led Lei'lira over to another pasture. Several pregnant mares had gathered around a cluster of hay bales that had been broken open for them. A lone mare stood in the far corner of the pasture watching them. The other mares ignored her completely.

"That's Smokey. She's...kind of complicated." Iggy said with a sigh.

Lei'lira raised an eyebrow, inviting the man to continue.

"If she likes you, she's the sweetest thing you can imagine. There isn't a thing she wouldn't do for you. Problem is...she doesn't like many people. Or horses, for that matter. And if she doesn't like you, there's no getting her to do anything. She's stubborn like that."

Lei'lira glanced at the lone mare. A stubborn horse could be a real problem. They were hard to work with at best, and some were impossible to deal with. There was the foal to consider, as well. If the dam was stubborn, there was at least a chance that the foal would be grow up to be difficult as well. And yet, if she was accepted by the mare...it would be well worth introducing herself to see what happened.

"I'll give it a shot."

Lei'lira approached the mare slowly. Her eyes were alert, and her ears flickered warily. When she was several feet away, she stopped, and extended her hand out to the mare with the palm up. Then she waited. If Smokey was inclined to approach her, she would do so. At first, the mare simply looked at her. Her ears flickered towards Lei'lira with a mixture of wary curiosity. After a few trills, Smokey took a few hesitant steps toward her. With a little more hesitation, the mare lipped her hand, making Lei'lira smile. Then she butted Lei'lira's arm playfully. Lei'lira had taken a chance, and it had paid off. Smokey liked her, and the feeling was mutual. The little mare was impossible not to like when she was showing her affectionate side.

"I'll take her." Lei'lira said as Smokey nosed her, looking for treats.

It didn't take long for Iggy to get all three mares ready for the journey to their new home. The three mares were tied into a line, with an uneasy Smokey tied directly behind Star so she would be close to Lei'lira. Lei'lira thanked Iggy for his help, then headed on her way. It was a slow, careful ride, and Lei'lira was happy to see her farm at the end of it.

Lei'lira brought her three new mares into her barn, and gave them a good grooming. Smokey seemed to be stressed by being in close proximity to strange horses, so Lei'lira gave her some special attention and care until she calmed down. If the mare didn't take to her other horses, she would need to find another stabling arrangement, possibly building a second stable before she'd planned to do so. But that was for the future. When she was done grooming her new mares, she gave them a nice warm mash, and plenty of hay, and water. Then she went out to check on the progress of her stable.

The frame was standing already, and as she watched, several of the men were working on one of the walls. Being around so many men made Lei'lira very nervous, and anxious. Even knowing that she knew them, that they were her neighbors, didn't seem to help much. But this was her stable; an improvement for her farm. And she wanted to help; she wanted to be a part of it...of every aspect of her farm. It was her farm.

"How can I help?" she asked timidly.

One of the men led her over to an area where they were a few men were sanding boards that were being taken from a large pile.

"These planks are going to become the inside of the stable. If you'd like, you can help us sand them, so there won't be any risk of your horses picking up any splinters?"

Lei'lira nodded, and the man handed her a cloth that seemed to have bits of rock embedded in it. She thanked the man, and got to work. Although she had never tried sanding anything before, the process of how to do it seemed self explanatory; rub sanding cloth over wood that needs to be sanded until smooth. So she picked one of the planks of wood from the pile at random, and got to work.

As she worked the cloth up and down the length of wood vertically, she could feel the bits of stone embedded in it doing their job as they ground against the wood. It was one of those tasks that allowed you to think while doing them since it didn't require Lei'lira's full attention on the task itself. She found the act of rubbing the cloth against the wood to be a soothing one, and it somehow seemed to help calm her anxiety about being near so many men.

"Lei'lira, stop!"

Lei'lira's hand froze in mid rub as she looked up questioningly at Trevon, one of her nearest neighbors. Like her, he was a farmer by trade, but he was a skilled carver as well, and often made additional nels by carving bowls, figurines, chests, and such to sell.

"You shouldn't sand against the grain of the wood like that. If you do, you'll ruin the wood. Here, let me show you."

Lei'lira watched closely as her neighbor used his own cloth, rubbing in small, circular motions. After a while, Lei'lira began to mimic him. Trevon grinned at him, and praised her efforts.

"Now feel the wood where you just sanded it. Can you feel how much smoother it is?"

Lei'lira did as she was bid, and nodded. There was still quite a long way to go before she'd describe the wood as being smooth, but there was a definite difference when compared to an area that hadn't been worked yet. Encouraged by her success, Lei'lira threw herself into the task. It felt good to know that what she was doing, simple though it was, would help to improve her farm; both for herself, and for her children, who would one day inherit it.

Off Topic

The cost of the stable, and new horses has been deducted from my ledger already
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Arlo Creede
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[Warrick] Increasing the Herd

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Review: Rewards

Lei'lira

Story: 5/5
Collaboration: 0/5 (Solo)
Structure: 5/5

Knowledge:
Animal Husbandry: Horse: Choosing good stock
Animal Husbandry: Horse: Horses crave balance
Animal Husbandry: Horse: Approaching a difficult horse
Animal Training: Horse: The importance of maintaining a soft mouth
Animal Training: Horse: Voice commands
Business Management: Bartering for services rendered
Business Management: Balancing your budget with your desires
Carpentry: The importance of sanding to create a smooth surface and remove splinters
Carpentry: Sanding is best done in a circular motion
Medicine: Plantain Compresses are helpful for reducing swelling
Medicine: Fresh plantain more effective than dried
Medicine: How to apply a leg wrap
Mount: Horse: Combining reining with pressure focused riding
Mount: Horse: Knowing your limits as a rider
Mount: Horse: Mixed messages (mismatched riding cues) can confuse and frustrate your mount
Psychology: The natural high of realizing a dream
Psychology: Overcoming fear isn't always easy
Psychology: Learning from your mistakes

People, Places and Things Knowledge:
Iggy: Your friend
Trevon: Your neighbor
Trevon: Skilled at carpentry and carving
Rynmere: Villages: Meadow Farms: Breeding farm

Fame: N/A
Devotion: N/A
Loot: New stable. New Mares. (1 in foal)
Magic: These points may not be used for domain magic

Comments: Nice thread and an enjoyable read. I like the interaction between your character, her horses and her neighbors, as well as the use of memory as a base for her understanding of horse handling. Anything I may have missed, or any concerns, feel free to drop me a pm. Thanks!
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