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Author Topic: Dangerous on Both Ends and Crafty in the Middle  (Read 1563 times)


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Dangerous on Both Ends and Crafty in the Middle
« on: July 17, 2016, 04:05:38 AM »
All of Dérn’s sons were taught to fight from an early age, but while they had some rams at Silver Hill, they were few and constantly used. It took them a tutor for the six to learn how to ride. That tutor took only two trainees at the time if paid enough, so Bóren and Dúren were sent off for a summer and got kicked back to Silver Hill in one month. They’d been nothing but trouble, between their arrogance and their foolishness, so the tutor had said - but Dérn only raised the sum to be paid. Little did Féren know until the very morning he was to leave Silver Hill that the new preparations were for him. There was already another guest at the farm he was to receive his education, therefore only Féren could go. So the poor lad was left with only the horror stories Bóren and Dúren had given him about the old hag of Ellit and her dumb goats before being shipped off east. Oh, he also had his father’s stern reminder that if he did not endear himself to Ellit or learn, he was to leave his younger brothers without the chance to learn to ride. Why was it all left to him to do everything right?

His brothers’ tales were only the surface of Ellit’s harshness. She and her daughters-in-law were just mean-spirited all over, not fit to foster anyone of any age. Still, Féren bit back any retort in danger of leaving his mouth for the sake of his family - and also to show that he hadn’t been bothered by Ellit. Besides, Féren had seen generals much harsher than these old Dwarf crones. And they weren’t entirely unkind - just unsocial, vague with instructions, and easy to nettle. Unhelpful, but what was Féren to do about that. His brothers had only succeeded in making her so mad they were kicked out with their complaining. Irreverence would not solve this - perhaps submission might. A rare, and very wise thought for a hotheaded sixty-year-old that was barely scouting for apprenticeships.

One of the good things about the stay was the other guest at the farm. Féren and Eskr had often ended up in similar groups at the Iron Hills settlement closest to Silver Hill. They hadn’t struck much of a friendship, and it was all too common for Féren to see Eskr bloody and bruised from confrontations with other army brats such as Féren - not exactly enemies, but their situations didn’t endear them to each other. They were initially distant, then began to warm up to each other to weather the usual Ellit behavior.

But what made the experience hellish for Féren were the furry devils he was supposed to be riding. Rams, goats, whatever they were. The first one Féren had attempted to touch had almost bitten his fingers off in one bite, and Ellit had the audacity to say, “That ram is worth more than you are. Stop petting him.” The eerie eyes of the goat Féren had grasped for locked on him maliciously, and from then on Féren knew they would not be getting along well. Not literally that one, as it was one of Ellit’s prize fares to be sold off later that week. Its brethren could almost smell Féren’s fear - sure enough, getting the damn goat to calm down enough for his first lessons took a while. “This isn’t a pony, remember. If he decides he’s done with you, you’re getting gored to death,” a stablehand reminded Féren solemnly, the first time.

“Why not use wolves to hunt instead of dogs,” muttered Féren under his breath.

[OOC: I hope you didn't mind the date, I researched and Eskr is still in the Iron Hills by then, he's 63 and Féren is 60.]
« Last Edit: September 13, 2016, 05:40:23 PM by Féren »

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Re: Dangerous on Both Ends and Crafty in the Middle
« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2019, 01:13:09 AM »
 A few days earlier.

 “Where’s the pup?” Ellit’s voice, sharp and clear. Eskr held as still as he could.

 “Which one?” A different aunt. The goat in the stall looked balefully at him, and he held a useless finger to his lips. Hopefully it would just keep ignoring him. He wasn’t annoying it! It’d just be plain belligerence if it turned on him now. “Ekri’s pup or the new one?”

 “Who, Dérn’s? The next one’s here already?” Eskr’s brow furrowed. He knew a few of Dérn’s lot. Ellit made a disgusted noise, and metal rattled – setting down a bucket, maybe? “What are we up to now?”

 “Féren. Third son.” Eskr grinned. Féren was… Well, a rich soldier’s brat with a good uppercut. At the very least he alone probably wouldn’t be expected to handle all the jobs reserved for those who had annoyed Ellit now.

 The goat bleated at him. Ellit pulled the stall door open. Eskr’s head thumped against the wall.

 Ellit snorted. “Never mind, I was after this one. Right, you, stop annoying my prize stock and get yourself down to the fallside pasture, and count the kids and the nannies. Then get to the south bonemeadow, think long and hard about exactly how worthy it is to hide in straw from simple tasks, and count the billies.”

 Eskr straightened, mouth starting to form a protest, and then remembered that it would be useless. He settled for scowling. “How many of each am I hoping to find?”

 Ellit emptied her bucket into the feed trough. “Ah-ah. Count what’s there, fool, and tell me what you come up with. And take the other insolent kid with you, I don’t have time to teach him anything in the next few hours.”

 He swallowed his retort again. “Which goats can we take?”

 Ellit grinned, which was not generally a great sign. “Féren can’t ride yet. You’re each taking your own two feet. Off with you.”

 “No buts! Be off!”


 It was the kind of environment that bred either friends or foes very quickly, and thankfully Féren and Eskr had been settling into the former. Mutual griping provided an icebreaker, Eskr was absolutely terrible at rabanu’azgh and had resolved to get good enough to defeat Féren, which meant he had enough patience to actually play when they weren’t outside, and Eskr knew enough about goats to be helpful with the basics.

 It had taken a while, and a lot of less fun tasks, but at last Ellit had deigned to allow them to actually fulfil their purpose here and practice riding. By themselves, not with stablehands holding lines, or extremely placid, elderly goats following each other nose to tail in a plodding line. This was proving a challenge for Féren, who was currently (finally) sitting stiff and unhappy on a nanny called Whisper. Eskr’s counterpart was equivalent in age and build and called Trumpet. As far as he could tell, the names had no bearing on the goats whatsoever, and they were both at least fairly calm.

 “Why not use wolves to hunt instead of dogs?”

The mutter wasn’t meant for him, but Eskr laughed. “Don’t they breed hunting dogs to have teeth and speed?” Féren might actually know, coming from a well-off family. “Relax! They’re messing with you. The goats aren’t wild beasts. If they don’t like you they’ll throw you off. It’s only if you really mess up that they go for murder on purpose. Just try not to do that, yeah?”

 He had been waiting for Féren to be mounted securely before he left the ground, just in case more help was needed. The plan at this point was to haul himself into the saddle in one smooth, easy, impressive motion – but Eskr had in fact been sent here due to a lack of practice, so it wasn’t executed quite so cleanly in reality. He got up, narrowly avoided falling down the opposite side, and only hauled himself back into the correct position by virtue of hard-won strength. Had Féren noticed? … Féren wasn’t blind. Féren had definitely noticed.

 “See, pretty forgiving, really.” He grinned, adjusted his stance, checked the length of stirrups and reins. “Come on, are we ever getting out of this stable?”

((OOC: Man. Scowly teenage jock Eskr is bizarre to write.))
« Last Edit: October 08, 2019, 01:15:28 AM by Eskr »


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