Overcoming Fears

Xanadu Weyr - Stables


The Stables of Xanadu Weyr are composed of one long building, lined with box and standing stalls that are kept thoroughly clean by the resident grooms and stablehands. Runners nicker and neigh at everyone who enters, save for the obstinate ones that just flicker their ears in indignant curiousity that they dare not make visible. The foremost stalls near the door to the Barn Yard are the grand box stalls which are home to the prized runners of Xanadu, as well as the most pregnant, those which are so far along that they require constant observation by the Herders, so as to ensure easy foaling.

However, the primary design of stall which lines the broad pathway that is covered in saw dust which is the main avenue of the Stables, is that of the Standing Stall. Many runners are in the standing stalls, with ropes strung across the front so as to keep the runners from leaving their designated containers. A few hay bales sit here and there along the avenue, some of which act as seats for the stablehands and grooms on their breaks, others as snacks for those runners who can reach out their necks far enough. Buckets and baskets of grooming supplies, brushes and combs, and the like also sit here and there, occasionally knocked over by a wayward hoof or inquiring muzzle.

Evening is warm and muggy, as mist seeps about the Weyr and the sun sets outside. Emerging from said mist is one Rhasmir, tall and currently looking a little worse-for-the-wear, a bit on the sweaty side and smudged with dirt. He is, though, smirking rather cheerfully, as he leads in a young stallion, the third of he and Ikemir's small string, and least-trained. The colt prances eagerly, peering around with bright curiosity at everything he passes, not quite as fiery as many colts of his age, but not exactly sedate. Rhas seems to have him well-in-hand though, and carefully ties him to a ring outside of his stall and untacks him, quickly putting away the saddle and pad before removing the reins entirely and leaving only the leadrope on his odd bridle; bitless. The runners on either side of the colt, both of them belonging to Rhas and Ike, peer at him curiously for a moment, but ignore them after a moment — not so for others. There is much in the way of quiet whinnies and whickers from various stalls, before their occupants eventually lose interest as the lad sets to meticulously grooming the runner, whistling to himself.

With her foot wrapped up pretty solidly, Keziah is hobbling her way around the stables. Checkinb up on how things went in her prolonged abscence and also checking in on her stallion, Running Hope. "How ya doing boy." she murmurs as she looks over the palomino. "Miss me?" the runner snorts and then nudges at her, looking for a treat. "Not now, later." she adds as she turns around at the sounds being made at the entrance. Hobbling her way back towards the front she smiles at the young colt and then at the man leading him "Evenin'"

Morlanol slinks into the stables, looking for all to see like a terrified sheep, "Umm…" He's visibly shaking, "I was told that I should c- come back t' th- th' st- stables… sumthin' 'bout-t a fear of r-r-runners…"

Lots of injuries, lately, in the stables — Rhasmir's eyes take on a rueful but half-amused glint as he catches sight of Keziah, lifting a hand in greeting. "Evening. You /too/?" Indicated with a nod down at her foot and a shake of his head. Her runner is smiled at, curiously. "Handsome fellow, that one." The trader lad offers with a grin, before Morlanol is slinking on in, looking like he's being herded in by a pack of rabid ovine. "Morlanol?" A wince as he explains himself, and a quick glance over at Keziah. "You not like being around 'em now? Aw — they're not so bad…I should have thought to bring you out here sooner." To Keziah, he explains, "Morlanol got pushed around by that wild stallion that broke loose and got Rogawani and Enkavir good, too."

Keziah ahhs a little and nods as she takes in Morlanol. "I heard about that. Them suckers can be mean. Though I've helped many get over their fear." she notes and then nods to Rhasmir "Yeah, twisted it out in the stupid swamp during a drenching downpour drying to get to solid ground." she mutters a little. Least she doesn't smell anymore. Well least not of swamp. Beasties don't smell. "How would you like to meet an old campaigner?" she asks the boy as she she hobbles down the row "We've a nice old chap, hardly bigger than you." She notes as she leads out a greying runner that's hardly larger than a pony. He's a bit plump and very placid as she ties him outside and then grabs up a brush "He's not been groomed today. Would you like to try it?" Back to Rhas "So, hows the colt doing?"

Still visibly shaking, Morlonal takes a slow step towards the runner, "I… I'm not sure I sh- should… I mean… I've n- never done it, b- before…"

Rhasmir's eyes sharpen a little bit over the shoulder of the tall black-bay runner as he peers over at Keziah. "Have you." It seems to have struck a cord with him; curiosity practically seethes. "I've always wished I could." Carefully-put, certainly, but there's a wistful glance outside and at the recently-repaired stall. But then he's wincing, nose wrinkling delicately. "Ah," The trader nods sagely. "Swamp is my least favorite place in the world. Glad to see you're out well, then." Nod-nod he goes, before wincing towards Morlanol, shaking his head. "Aw, shells…" Rhas clucks, watching Keziah bring out the tiny runner with a grin. "He's a lovely fella. Aw, I'd bet half've Azov that he won't hurt you, and it's not /too/ hard!" Enthuses he, with a broad grin. "Sure you should. He'd probably /love/ a good rub-down, yeah?"

Keziah doesn't hurry Morl any closer, but jsut watches him. "It's okay, even if you just rub it against his hide, he'll love. He loves attention. he's like a feline like that. Just loves to be petted." A thoughtful look and then a nod. "I know." she unties the old gelding and clicks her tongue and gives a couple of whistles. Slowly the runner lowers himself and lays down on the ground. "Good to know you still remember your tricks old man." she murmurs as she kneels and rubs her hands along his nose. "This a little easier for you?" she asks the boy and then glances over at Rhas. "All it takes is a little patience and repition. Not much different in some ways than teachin' a runner not to spook."

Morlanol takes another step closer and hesitantly reaches his hand out towards the runner, just barely touching the top of his head.

Rhasmir chuckles, lips quirking in a brief smirk for the little runner. "I've met a few like him. Only way they'd hurt you was if they didn't mean to." The trader laughs, patting the shoulder of his tall colt cheerily. "This fellow's not quite like that, but he's close. He's still a little clumsy, though for sure he's a few turns old." He watches the runner lower himself with a smile, glancing at Morlanol as it does. "Well done." Praised to either or both as the boy steps forth to pet the grey. "Lots of 'em like to be scratched behind their ears. Or their chin — like a feline, yeah?" He chuckles, continuing to slowly groom the runner in front of him. "Well, yeah," To the wild runner issue, with a wistful sigh. "Not if I stayed here though. I believe if I brought one in, a certain dragon would drop quickly from the sky and eat it…" A beat. "Probably with reason."

Keziah continues to hold close to the lead, but it's not really neccassary as the old runner just lies there. In fact his eyes close in blissful pleasure. Afterall, no one hardly wants to pay attention to an old runner. An ear twitches a little though, that's only natural. "You're doing great kid." she notes and then arches a brow at Rhas "And which one might that be?" she asks curiously. "And well, the Weyr isn't the best of places really. Too much traffic. Best to go to an outlying field, built a strong sturdy fence and teach 'em to depend on you. Away from distractions. But tis best to get the wild ones while young though. Can't always take the wild outta them. They always seem to wanna go back."

Morlanol starts slightly when the runner's ear twitches, then calms as scratches it lightly behind the ear, a smile starting to form on his face.

Keziah gives another nod "That's the ticket. Course, not all runners are as calm as him, but most are fairly decent, and we ask any owners that do have a tempermental runner to put up a warning sign and typically care for them themselves. Most others though just wanna sweet talk a sweet outta ya. They ain't like the wild'uns."

Morlanol's confidence grows with each stroke of the runner's head. He turns a slight smile to Keziah, "Why're some different than others? Why're some of 'em so scary?"

Rhasmir watches the pair and the runner with amusement as he goes about his tasks, finally bending to pick each hoof out and assure that they're stable and cool. "Good lad." He chuckles at the colt, who wuffles cheerfully at the nearest runner — Bell, who gives him a look that could easily be taken as 'stick your head in my stall, laddybuck, and I will remove one of your ears' — he takes the point and huffs, seeming quite pleased when Rhas leads him into his nice, warm stall with hay and water handy. "Weyrs aren't shardin' good places at all for 'em." The trader agrees, all but pouting, grumbling to himself as he straightens up his area, then grinning over at them. "Yet." A pause. "Morlanol, really though — I wouldn't worry too much. Like she said, they're not all like that one that got you. And it wasn't his fault that he did; he was scared, probably more than you. And when they get scared, they like to get away from what's scaring 'em. As long as your're careful around 'em, you'll be fine." The lad smiles cheerily, then rubs at the back of his neck, glancing down at the state of his clothes with a delicate wrinkle of his nose. "Now, if you will excuse me, the runner thought it'd be funny to jump in puddles for my enjoyment. I need a bath." With a smile and nod, the trader lad trots out of the stables.

Keziah tilts her head a little "Well, they're much like people. They've all got a personality. Some people are easier to get along with. Same with runners. And well. When you've kids that aren't disciplined and all and allowed to get away with anything, they're terrors and such. Wild runners are like that. THey don't know any better." She gives a smile and wave to Rhasmir as she watches him go. Looking a little thoughtful and then her attention is back on the boy.

Morlanol continues to stroke the runner, moving slowly down to his neck. His face turns more quizzical, his mouth screwed up in thought, "So… wild runners had bad parents?"

Keziah hmms thoughfully "That's one way to look at it I suppose. But not exactly apt. Lets see. Maybe it'd be more like a holding with vastly different traditions than yours. And when the two collide and people are scared on both sides, bad things can happen."

Morlanol continues his attentions to the runner, starting to scratch a little here and there, "Y'mean like when holder kids come to a mine fer th' firs' time and they think they c'n no' do any work an' still get their journeyman's knot?"

Keziah chuckles and nods "Something like that. A wild runner. He's used to having the run of the place. Bring him in. He's cooped up. Doesn't know the dangers. Like holder kids in a mine shaft. They don't always know that it's a bad place to goof off and play. Sometimes they get spooked and scared. The walls seem to close in and they panic. Much the same happens to a runner brought in from the wild. He feels the fence closing in around him."

Morlanol nods, finally having some sense of understanding, "I s'pose that makes sense, but then why coop 'em up? Why not let 'em run free?"

Keziah hmms a little "Sometimes people like to own a bit of the wild. They sort of live vicariously through the runner. For some. It makes them feel powerful. To be able to tame the wild. Others, it's owning a piece of beauty and some, well. Wild'uns can sometimes help improve the blood in a line."

Morlanol hrmms as well, "But isn't that kinda like givin' an apprentice healer a journeyman harper's rank knot? They look the part, but don't actually have the skills to support the display."

Keziah grins. She likes this kid "It can be. It takes skill to handle a wild runner. Again, gettin' 'em young is best. But a good handler can work with the older ones. But it's not a perfect thing. In some ways it's like having more marks than sense. Sure, you can buy what you want. But can you handle what you get?"

Morlanol frowns, continuing his petting silently for a second before speaking again, "So… it's like buying the newest toy from the techcraft… then burning down your cothold with it?"

Keziah chuckles and nods "Something like that. Some things are just more trouble than they're worth. A wild stallion. In my opinion most certainly is. Sure, you may get them to gentle a little. But give 'em an inch and they'll run off with your mares.

Morlanol frowns more deeply, "wierd… I guess I don't really get it… but still… why risk your livestock if what you have is already good?"

Keziah shrugs a little "Some never think what they have is already good enough. There's always something better." she states "It's a status think. Like who can dress up the fanciest for Turns End." she adds.

Morlanol's face brightens and he nods suddenly, "Like weighin' sapphires to see whose mine is better?"

Keziah blinks a moment and then nods "Yeah, sure one mine can dig out the biggest carat. But who's to say they'll get any more from it? A mine with smaller ones may have a bigger, umm what to do you call it. Deposit?"

Morlanol nods, "vein… they may make more marks from their supply of smaller stones, bu' the mine with biggest still thinks they're th' best."

Keziah gives a nod "That's right. Vein. People aren't always very smart. But they think they are. It's a shame sometimes and often because of their ignorance. SOmeone gets hurt. That's not to say that smart people don't have their share of trouble. Again as always. Even when you think you're in control. When dealing with the wild, it's like the calm before the storm."

Morlanol nods slowly, then goes back to stroking the runner, having moved his attentions to its back by now. He hums tunelessly to himself, "The world outside the mines is still so… strange to me…"

Keziah gives a nod "Yeah, the world of the Weyr can still be a bit strange to me and I've been living in various ones for about ten turns now. Before that I was mostly off in the wilds. Mountain ranges really, herdin' caprines."

Morlanol's eyebrows draw together in a puzzled look, "What're caprines?"

Keziah blinks a moment and then smiles "Caprines are one of the critters we get milk from. Some wool and some meat. Depenin' on the breed. Smarter than ovines by a long shot. A herd of ovines will panic and run off a cliff away from danger. A caprine now. She'll get away from the danger and take a high spot to keep an eye on it."

Morlanol shrugs, but his confusion lessens somewhat, "They got horns? There were some people back home who took care of food animals what had horns…"

Keziah nods "Some of them do have horns, some don't. All depends really. Some got dished faces. Others got noses that stick pretty good. Some pendulus ears, some hardly any ear at all. They very quite a bit."

Morlanol says "Wierd… they c'n be so diff'rent, but they're still all the same thing?""

Keziah chuckles "Well, look at people. All the same thing, but there are so many differences between everyone." she notes softly "Tis like so many sapphires, but each is distinctly different are they not?"

Morlanol nods, "definitely." He glances around, then smiles at Keziah again, "Thanks fer th' help, bu' it's nearly time fer my shift at th' mine. Thanks again, but I sh'ld go or th' master'll have my hide fer his records." He steps back, brushing some of the loose dust off of his breeches as he does so, then holds out his hand to Keziah, "Good t' meetcha."

Keziah shakes the boys hand and nods "Been good to meetcha as well. Just rememeber. There are many things to fear indeed. But don't let the fear cripple you, for there are just as many things to not fear as well." she notes "But you best be hurrin' Never does to keep a Master waitin'"

Morlanol nods his head, and runs out the door, waving back to Kez as he does so, "I'll try. Thanks."

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