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Author Topic: Curiosity and Wonder  (Read 2055 times)

Harper

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Curiosity and Wonder
« on: July 13, 2017, 05:02:28 AM »
Watching the Men (normal, unchanging Men and who aged quicker) ride by on their horses was immensely fascinating. Truly their horses were immensely fascinating to the young skin-changer also. She'd seen horses back in Dol Amroth and the village at the coast and edge of where she and her parents lived, but not like these! They were work horses, or the occasional visitors, but this was apparently the land of Horses and the Men here Masters and Lords of them! The horses here roamed almost free and we're just...majestic was the only word.

Harper's parents had mentioned it once and she'd also heard snippets along the road, both from above, on a branch, unnoticed and also as a shabby looking lost child given a bit of bread and a story by a fire from kind looking travelers, but who vanished just as soon and before they could offer up bedding and if they should take her along with them. Honestly, Harper had changed and shown herself for the company more than the morsels. She could more than make due with the squirrels and such even in a just fledging Hawk form, but still hardly anything ever truly beat warm bread (or bread that had been warm once before the traveling and was the best they could do) and companionship.

She understood the song birds about, but they weren't much for just sticking around a Hawk, even a smallish one still.

She was doing alright at this 'on her own' thing, just like she knew her parents would have told her they knew she would have, even without the unexpected parting. Harper shook off recalling that with a shake of her feathers and next flapped them to take to the air until she could glide along slightly , still flapping since she was near the ground and not circling to follow something...yet, and even if she did later do such, it wouldn't so much be in hunting and waiting for something to exit its hole as curiously following the progress of these Men and horses below, mostly the horses.

Of course the sight of a circling hawk could put both rider and horse on edge, even if she was probably too small to do too much damage, and even so smaller than she would later be, but you never knew...the random arrow at her father had taught her that.

Landing near where she knew she'd stashed the toss out cloths she'd been able to find around this area and to further try to blend in though she knew none would take her as one of the local girls, since she didn't belong to anyone and they would no doubt know it (her parents had early told her of the tricks she would need to use to blend in and make along, and it was what was mostly aiding her now), Harper changed skin twice as one did to blend in with other Men and with a girl's typical day dress, exited the cover of the woods for her mission and approaching, without startling and in a more familiar and comfortable form that it was used to, one of the majestic horses of this land.

The bridle said it was owned and shortly ago with a duty to do, and probably soon to be again, but for the moment it was freed to graze, it's ears flicking and soon lifting its head as the girl child of Man, but with something mysterious to her that any good horse could tell in a way, cautiously stepped out.

Harper smiled, entranced as any child of around a decade would be, and as she was still, despite hawk experiences. "Hey girl...", she lifted out and over a hesitant hand, seeing if the animal would come, and with an understanding herself of how to proceed so as to not startle, though those who ate only grass such as horses and such worked in a slightly different way. They were more scared of everything, with their lack of defense in a way and no predator's needing, so Harper moved more cautious but not the sort that spoke of hidden plans.

She was soon rewarded by the animal lifting its head more and walking over. "That's it...hey...", Harper smiled, studying the creature now that it was closer and in pure childish curiosity. She let it, her, the mare, put her muzzle to her hand, and then softly petted the horse's muzzle, giving a small giggle. She knew if the rider came back she was no doubt going to be taken for some horse thief, young or not, and so kept her own observant, seeing gaze and ears out for such, but then soon just became focused on the horse before her and its own swish of its tail and toss of its head as the two made friends.
« Last Edit: April 08, 2020, 03:02:41 AM by Harper »

(#DCDCDC)

Alvelin

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Re: Curiosity and Wonder
« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2020, 03:02:54 PM »
She hadn't passed through this way in a long time. . . It was only a few lodges then.  Now it had multiplied a hundredfold.  Alvelin was glad to see the village having flourished, despite the historical accounts she had gleaned alongside the caravan, telling of raids and massacres that had impacted the fragile community only for them to rebuild again, reinforcing their claim over the territory.  Entering through the main road, sweeping her gaze around the central square, Alvelin was partly relieved not to recognize anyone.  Except for a few names she overheard, attracting a sideward glance as she scanned those faces - those small infants and children she remembered having met - now middle-aged and worn, and oblivious to her presence, having forgotten the Elf maiden that had once resided with their late fathers and mothers, almost fifty years ago. 

But she did not come here dwell on the past. Rather, to make herself useful. To learn and observe, bask in the change of scenery, and enjoy the good company of these villagers while it lasted - perhaps a week or two, if she didn't lose track of time… which to be honest, Alvelin frequently did. A day went by in a blink, a year in just a shuteye. She could easily sit in one place for months before realizing how long it had been, checking her clock according to the change in seasons, rather than rising or setting of sun.

For the hospitality of the family that had opened a guest room in their house for her to stay in, Alvelin insisted that the least she could do to repay them was to help put food on the table - as much as she pitied snuffing out the lives of innocent deer and rabbits (being more of a vegetarian herself). Although the three young men of the household had poked at her slightly for being female, Alvelin had demonstrated her skill most humbly by shooting a rapid series of arrows at their makeshift archery range - clustering them in the center of a bullseye (she could've effortlessly done the whole cleave-the-arrow-into-two act to boast -but you know- why slice up good arrows?). On top of that performance, how could the young men say no, having a fair maiden accompany them?  Either way, her contribution to the hunt was fruitful and appreciated, as the four of them trudged into the woods and lugged their fresh kills back to the butcher's block, early before noon. Hot stew would be awaiting the family for lunch shortly.

With a moment of free time on her hands, Alvelin wandered over to the stables for a glance over at the horses that were penned outside:  Some for sale, others belonging to the villagers and travelers, and a few untamed, recently roped from their wild herds. Adorable fellows - Alvelin gave each inquisitive one a soft pat on the neck and a sympathetic eye - but none were so fine and sleek (and intelligent) as her silver bay mare, Rusco. Tethered to her rider by an unspoken bond, the Elf horse needed no fences or hobbles to keep her from escaping.  But Alvelin had placed her mare in the community pasture anyway, else someone raise a commotion about a loose horse perusing around the village. Clearly the mare held a grudge about being 'confined' to the field, for whatever reason. Despite Alvelin calling out her name from afar, which ordinarily wasn't even needed to summon the Elf horse to her side, Rusco only raised her head in a defiant snort and trotted off to the farthest edges of the pasture, pretending to ignore the young she-Elf.

Alvelin rolled her eyes in slight amusement, shrugging off her horse's antics.

Apparently she wasn't the only one trying to get a horse's attention. A small smile tugged at the corner of Alvelin's mouth, spotting a young girl [Harper] in a corner of the field who eventually coaxed the blue roan mare over to her. It was a cute interaction, one that tickled Alvelin's memory of a time when she had been a small child, captivated by the silver-maned herd that grazed along the elm woods of her uncle's home in Lindon.

She assumed the girl must be one of the villagers, based on her clothing.

"Hello." Alvelin called out from a few paces away as she approached.  She could've snuck up behind the girl if she wanted, being silent as an Elf and all, but didn't want to give the child a jump-scare.  As casual of a lumbering 'Manly' stride that Alvelin could mimic, there was still a subtle grace and poise to her movement. One that might be interpreted as being confident or comfortable in her surroundings, if a stranger were not aware of her race.

"Is this your horse?" Alvelin asked. There was no accusation or wariness in her expression, only curiosity. As gentle and genuine as the child whose fascination was riveted on the blue roan mare.  Maintaining her friendly smile, it brought out the radiance in Alvelin's face and the warmth of amber in her brown eyes, like the glow of autumn leaves, despite her drab hunter's attire - cloak, tunic and leggings that camouflaged with the dusky foliage of the woods she had emerged from. Her hood was down, revealing chestnut brown hair in a loosely-tied braid, strategically covering her pointed ear tips. By all outward appearances, Alvelin looked like one of the villagers - if not, one of the 'ordinary' Man travelers. And sounded like one as well, based on the Mannish accent she took on. So far, none of the villagers had stumbled across that little identity secret just yet.  It was much more entertaining to see a surprised reaction, if she could build it up.

Dialogue: Mannish | Sindarin | Quenya

Harper

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Re: Curiosity and Wonder
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2020, 03:52:17 PM »
Harper knew that she was becoming to preoccupied with the mare. Or, she should have realized this, and didn't until she heard the voice behind her, one which still called out from a ways away. She turned towards it, spotting a young woman, but still an adult and perhaps mother or guardian of someone; or in charge of the horse herself.

This thought occurred to Harper; and had already been in the back of her mind even as she had approached the mare.

"Is this your horse?"

Not an accusation, just a question. She honestly didn't know, but wasn't accusing Harper of anything. "Uh, no", the still child (despite her years) answered,  smiling back to the mare and stroking her muzzle again, "Though she is beautiful. I...was just saying hello", she explained. She next glanced back to the woman (assumed), "Honestly I was afraid at first that you might be the owner and...well...hopefully they won't mind my saying hello".

As someone with a secret herself, and who came off as a normal Man when not (though more so than the Elf before her), it perhaps should have been easier for Harper to see the other's secret, or have some clue to it, but she could be fooled like those around her and was still so young she didn't assume anyone else would have much to hide.

"You're new through here, aren't you, Ma’am?", Harper's question also just came off curious, and she couldn't get away without some form of surity in her voice. If she asked outright if the woman was new, or a visitor, it would peg her out as not from here herself, since any child of this place no doubt knew their neighbors enough to know newcomers. Thus a sort of game of which of them would spill their secret first started up, but unbenowst one to the other.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2020, 03:22:56 PM by Harper »

(#DCDCDC)

Alvelin

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Re: Curiosity and Wonder
« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2020, 05:17:49 AM »
Alvelin came up to the mare - who didn't shy away from her, despite the crowding-in of two people (perhaps because these weren't 'ordinary' people) - patting it on the neck and brushing her fingers through its midnight mane, as she listened to the child explain her reasons for being with the animal. So long as they weren't running away with it, attempting to sneak it out from the field, she doubted anyone would be too furious about it, if they caught them. If anything, they ought to feel honored that their steed was receiving this much attention and admiration.

New here?  Well yes, but actually no.

She let the girl finish completely before speaking.

"Indeed, I am a visitor," Alvelin replied casually. She could speak the truth without divulging too many specifics of where she came from and where she planned on heading. At least it quelled some of the usual questions and curiosity from those new people she met. Otherwise they'd feel more suspicious about her, rather than at ease. "Traveler. I enjoy a change of scenery. Although I may stay longer, depending on how the wind blows," she said briefly, drinking in the village and trees around them with a sweep of her gaze.

"Oh, and you can me Ava." She relied on that name moreso than her Elven one, in settings like these. Alvelin tilted her head curiously at the girl. "Yours?"
« Last Edit: April 09, 2020, 08:21:31 AM by Alvelin »

Dialogue: Mannish | Sindarin | Quenya

Harper

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Re: Curiosity and Wonder
« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2020, 04:22:28 PM »
Harper noticed the calm manner of the horse, even as the other approached, as well, but chalked it up to the woman being familiar around here, and the horses no doubt having learned they could trust her. Yet, the woman, Ava, as she said to call her, corrected this assumption when she answered Harper's own question, and said she was in fact a visitor.

Oh...well...then they must both just have a calming manner about them. Or the horse was just not spooked easily.

Harper accepted this last explanation her thoughts provided readily enough.

More than just visiting, Ava was a genuine traveler who was also moving from place to place! "Oh yes, a change of scenery is great!", Harper grinned, forgetting, in her excitement of finding one she could relate to (and who seemed so nice), to pretend to be from here, but then maybe she could still cover her statement slightly. Or explain it further to steer away from any suspicions it might have caused.

"I mean...I've heard it is...the few times I've traveled with relatives". Ok, that was more than a dodge, and a full lie, but then Harper knew she would most likely have to lie to cover her identity.

Years later, but for her inclusion of the word few, her statement wouldn't have been a lie, but more in line with the Misleading type, when she met a pirate, but one with a good heart, Eldred, who came from the Gondorian coasts (much like her) and whom she claimed as a sort of uncle figure; but currently she was on her own, so her statement couldn't even be counted as selective truth.

She nodded as Ava gave her name, and, despite still trying to keep secrets, didn't hesitate to give her own next. "I'm Harper, it's nice to meet you Ma'am".

<<I'm not sure when Harper and Eldred meet, Hades and I are still figuring that out, but I know it most likely hasn't happened yet. Just explaining back-history stuff I mention to the best of my knowledge ^^>>

(#DCDCDC)

Alvelin

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Re: Curiosity and Wonder
« Reply #5 on: April 12, 2020, 09:50:03 AM »
If ever Alvelin sensed something was 'off' about the girl, she didn't - or rather, wouldn't - let it show. Why stir conflict? Whatever inconsistencies arose, far be it from Alvelin to try and make Harper feel uncomfortable by interrogating and putting the young child on the spot.  She would rather those kinds of admissions come freely, with trust.  In due time.

"And you," Alvelin returned Harper's courtesy. "And no need to call me Ma'am," she chuckled. "Ava is fine.  But whatever you're comfortable with.  I take it you live here?" Alvelin asked, motioning towards the village.

She sensed the figure approaching from a few yards away…and knew who it was…but resisted the urge to betray any reaction ahead of time, until she felt the soft muzzle bump against her arm from behind.

Alvelin looked over her shoulder with a chuckle. "Looks like someone got jealous." She turned around to pat the silver bay mare that had walked over to grab her rider's attention. "This is my horse. Rusco. She's a mare, by the way," she introduced, inviting Harper over. "You can pet her, if you like." The mare would perform a pat-down of intense sniffing that would determine her judgement of a stranger's character.  Still, even if there were subtle smells about Harper that struck her horsey sense as odd, Rusco wouldn't shy away from an honest person, much less one that Alvelin was already comfortable around being with.

"Do you ride?" Alvelin asked, turning to Harper.  No, duh, this was Rohan.  But perhaps she was wrong in assuming that all people of Rohan knew how to ride from an early age, or at least were familiar with being on a horse's back.
« Last Edit: April 12, 2020, 01:41:45 PM by Alvelin »

Dialogue: Mannish | Sindarin | Quenya

Harper

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Re: Curiosity and Wonder
« Reply #6 on: April 13, 2020, 03:12:48 PM »
Harper knew her greeting came off a bit odd, but she thought it was a fact only she recognized, and how, at around two decades old, she was probably very near this Man's age (assumed, on both counts) but, as a normal child of Rohan, her statement was needed. Any polite child of just a decade would tag the young woman as Ma'am still.

Still, she smiled as she was given permission to call her 'just Ava'. She nodded. "I think I can manage that. Ava".

"I take it you live here?".

It was an innocent question of course, still Harper debated her answer for just a bit, but not long enough to be suspicious, hopefully. She just had to guard her secret, she could be forthcoming about a lot of other things regarding herself...

"Well...I'm from Dol Amroth originally, but I like it here yes!", she answered; and sort of didn't.

Maybe Harper craned around to watch as the other horse approached because she wasn't sure what else to go on to say after this, at any rate it was a welcomed intrusion because it dispelled any awkward pause.

"Hello, Rusco!", Harper greeted the newcomer for their affections, and moved over to pet him next, after Ava's permission was given of course.

"Do you ride?".

Harper glanced back over at the question. This was easier to just give full, honest truth to. "No, I never learned", she answered. would she be interested in it? was the underlying question. Yeah, Harper supposed she would, though she wasn't bold enough to think Ava was offering off of this question alone.

(#DCDCDC)

Alvelin

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Re: Curiosity and Wonder
« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2020, 10:06:39 AM »
It didn't exactly answer her question, whether Harper (and her family) lived in the village or not, but Alvelin could chalk it up to a child's simple misinterpretation of her point and didn't feel the need to press her curiosity any further. It sounded like Harper and her family just moved here, from Dol Amroth. Perhaps that was the reason why the child seemed a bit nervous, not yet adjusted to her new home.

"Never learned?" Alvelin feigned an air of disbelief, though it certainly made sense now, recalling the way Harper had acted in approaching that first horse. Someone with prior experience around horses would have been able to approach the domesticated animal within half the time and twice the confidence that Harper had, before the mare had eventually wandered over in curiosity. If Harper had come all the way from Dol Amroth, surely she must have had some exposure in looking after horses. Unless if she and her family traveled here on foot, not by wagon.

"Well, riding is a valuable skill you should learn," she advised Harper on an earnest note. "You never know when you might need it to go fast, one day." That was a light way of putting it, but Alvelin didn't want to unnerve the young child by talking about orcs and bandits that a horse could be used to outrun them, if the time came. Eru forbid soon.

"I wouldn't want to get in trouble with your parents or whoever's in charge of you." She glanced around, pretending to be cautiously on the lookout for Harper's guardian, lowering her voice slightly. "But if you can get permission first, I wouldn't mind giving you a lesson," she offered with a shrug. "If you're interested.  I'll give you a ride on Rusco." She patted her mare on the withers, where a rider would sit.

Alvelin could effortlessly cling bareback to her horse over any terrain. Being lightweight as an Elf, a saddle wasn't necessary for her to avoid giving her horse a backache over an extended period of time. Keeping up her façade as a Man however, she could go bareback for a short half hour, but going without a saddle for longer would raise suspicion about her from the knowing horseman. For Harper's lesson, Alvelin would have to tack up Rusco at the stables, where her equipment was located.
« Last Edit: April 16, 2020, 10:07:37 AM by Alvelin »

Dialogue: Mannish | Sindarin | Quenya

Harper

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Re: Curiosity and Wonder
« Reply #8 on: April 18, 2020, 09:33:31 PM »
Harper watched, giving a small smile as Alvelin pretended to be shocked at her not having ever learned to ride! Or maybe she really was that shocked by it, but it seemed just friendly over dramatizing and good-natured teasing. She went on to say that Harper should learn to ride, and, after a moment of thought, the girl found that she agreed, if not for the same reason Alvelin might mean. It would help in her blending in with normal Men if she could ride. Give one more fact to lend an air of credibility.

Plus it might be fun!

"You never know when you might need it to go fast, one day.". Alvelin did manage to keep a note of childish enthusiasm about the whole thing, even through this mention, and it didn't sound scary at all. Harper grinned along, and only partly as she thought over how, if she weren't still keeping a secret, she could tell this woman she knew all about going fast, just not on a horse! Even her just fledged wings were able to catch the air and soar her high above the world in a way that was just so unlike anything else!

How would riding compare to that? She wondered. Some might say a ground based freedom could never compare, but...it would be different no doubt, but maybe not less for all that. At any rate, Harper was willing to try!

Parent permission...right...

Harper's mind worked quickly over how to solve this problem, thankfully a trait she could use in both Man and Hawk form, darting after a rabbit or such usually only providing a few seconds of grace area for indecision. There was no one to ask, she was alone, but...even without the implication of not being so, what child of Rohan of her age would have no one to look out for them? Or would have made it this far without someone?

This problem coming up, over and over, would not be the only reason she would later ask Eldred (once acquainted with the pirate) if she could call him her honorary uncle, but even prior this permanent sort of solution she had a back up to pull. In her chatting with those she could find before, she had run into a woman on a local farm prior to finding the field and felt assured she could get her to stand in for the role of some aunt taking care of her or such, and was comfortable enough with asking.

"Sure, I'll...um...go ask my aunt, she's in that farmhouse just visible in the distance there". Plus they could also tack Rusco there too, if the woman agreed.

<<ooc: We can skip that parent permission asking if you want and have Harper slip off some time after riding lessons, or end it on them starting such and just move to the other thread. However <3>>

(#DCDCDC)

Alvelin

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Re: Curiosity and Wonder
« Reply #9 on: April 19, 2020, 01:30:53 PM »
With her keen Elven sight, Alvelin didn't have to strain her eyes too hard to be able to get a clear view of the farmhouse, peering over in the direction where Harper was pointing to.

Always an opportunity to meet new people. Alvelin looked forward to getting to know all the villagers eventually, before she left. Not in a creepy stalker kind of way, but naturally, with the right timing.

"Right, let's go," Alvelin said, preparing to follow Harper towards the farmhouse. It seemed only polite and -frankly- the responsible adult thing to do, for her to meet Harper's guardian, that way her aunt would get to see her face and talk with her and know what kind of character she was, so she'd be comfortable knowing Harper was in safe hands.  Otherwise she might as well be called a kidnapper, running away with Harper without letting her aunt know of their whereabouts.  And Alvelin couldn't have that kind of accusation on her head.

Dialogue: Mannish | Sindarin | Quenya

Harper

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Re: Curiosity and Wonder
« Reply #10 on: April 21, 2020, 12:06:19 AM »
Asking this woman at the farm to 'vouch' for Harper, in a sense, and asking her to fake a conversation (and perhaps the history that came with the girl's false story!) were two completely different things! Harper only felt capable of pulling one of those things off! "Oh...that's alright, I can ask her. Our...dog might be around and...I don't want to make her have to come out and restrain him; I can't manage him myself". All of these lies were weighing heavily on Harper. Why did Companionship have to cost so much sometimes? Of course, the more she spoke with Alvelin, the more she felt it would probably be ok to let out her secret, but...could she be sure only Alvelin would find out if she did?

She didn't think the young woman would tell on her herself, but also didn't need the rumor culture of any small civilization explained. Even spoken in the middle of a field, and with Alvelin keeping her own silence, someone could be passing by close enough to catch, and that was all it would take.

After delivering this excuse, Harper then dashed over towards the farmhouse, under normal foot-power; since it wasn't that far, and to further dissuade Alvelin from following. It seemed to work, and Harper soon reached the door. She paused to catch her breath, and collect her thoughts, and then rapped against the door, greeting the woman who opened it with another smile. "Hi Ma'am!".

"Why child!", the woman looked stunned to see her, and rightly so. Harper had already collected some bread from her and had intended to not need to 'bother' her again. 'Is everything alright?".

"Oh, sure, just...", how to explain?

Harper launched into an attempt...

~~~~

It actually went better than she'd thought, explaining to the woman that she just needed her to be on the same page if asked about being Harper's aunt, and saying, truthfully enough, how she just wished to dodge too much attention towards an independent orphan like herself. Of course, Harper knew she was going to have to dodge the farmer's wife now taking too much of an interest in her, but, again, as a Hawk she could no doubt slip away from both her and Alvelin when the time came.

"Alright we're all set!" she said, meeting back up with Alvelin (and Rusco), and hoping her saying so would be enough

(#DCDCDC)

Alvelin

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Re: Curiosity and Wonder
« Reply #11 on: April 26, 2020, 04:03:21 PM »
"Oh. Okay." Alvelin halted and eyed Harper curiously. As awkward as she felt about not getting to meet Harper's aunt, it wasn't any of her business to continue prying. If the girl insisted for her not to come… It would be on Harper's head then, if the adults came asking for her. "I'll be at the stables in the village center."  She called out as Harper dashed away, "And make sure you put some shoes on!"


──────⊱⁜⊰──────


Harper would find Alvelin in the stable courtyard, waiting beside Rusco who was tied at one of the hitching posts.

"Harper!" Alvelin greeted happily as soon as the girl appeared. Alvelin didn't question Harper's statement, considering she was just as eager to teach Harper how to ride. It would've been a disappointment had Harper's aunt declined or if Harper didn't show up at all. Not that the time invested in hauling out the saddle and waiting for Harper to arrive would have gone to waste.  Alvelin planned on heading out for a ride anyway, surveying more of the village countryside.

"Here, you can help me groom Rusco," she instructed, handing Harper a brush with an inquisitive eyebrow raise. "Have you ever brushed a horse before?" It was amusing for Alvelin to have to go over the baby steps for something that came so natural to her, having grown up around horses and ridden them her whole life. She was no stranger to teaching others how to ride, especially young children like Harper. Patience was a virtue, in these cases, since everyone had their own pace and method of learning.

Grooming was a lesson in itself: A lecture about all the different kinds of brushes and combs, and how to pick out a horse's hooves without getting stepped on. Then came the tacking process (Alvelin would do the heavy lifting of the saddle): Where to position the saddle blanket, how to tighten up the girth, and how to slip the bridle onto the horse's head.

With Rusco looking shiny and ready to go, Alvelin would let Harper get comfortable with leading the horse around on foot, taking a few laps around the courtyard before exiting the stables, towards an open field, where the actual riding lesson would take place. With a little leg-up, since Harper was a bit too short to reach her foot up into the stirrups, Alvelin would help the girl mount Rusco and then lead the two of them around the field, letting Harper adjust to the feel of the saddle, before moving onto the more complicated matter of steering the animal…

"You learn quick," Alvelin complimented, after watching Harper do a few independent circles with Rusco at a brisk walk.  Proper balance, upright posture, light hands on the reins, and firm leg pressure to guide Rusco's direction. The only thing Harper lacked was stirrups, which were too long for her, since the saddle wasn't the perfect fit for a child. Anything smaller would have to be custom-made to fit Rusco's back.

"I would have you go faster, but I'm not sure how well you'd stick to the saddle without stirrups," she cautioned, though if Harper insisted, Alvelin wouldn't protest in letting Harper try out a trot on her own, knowing that in Rusco's safe hooves, the gentle transition probably wouldn't bounce Harper too sharply out of the saddle before she could slow Rusco back down again and regain her seating. If Harper could sit out a trot at first lesson, that would be impressive.

"You need a pony," Alvelin chuckled, imagining how adorable Harper riding her perfect size of pony would look. "You should try volunteering at the stables," she recommended, listing possibilities for Harper to improve her riding skill and overall exposure to horses, even if she couldn't afford a horse of her own. "I bet they'll let you exercise their horses for free." She doubted the stables would say no to letting Harper muck out stalls and groom horses, and then working her way up from there. "And try to make friends with those neighbors of yours," she pointed out, recalling the farmhouses nearby Harper's "aunt's" place. No doubt Harper could try her luck befriending the neighbor kids and asking them if she could ride their horses, if available.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2020, 04:15:36 PM by Alvelin »

Dialogue: Mannish | Sindarin | Quenya

Harper

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Re: Curiosity and Wonder
« Reply #12 on: April 28, 2020, 02:52:13 PM »
Harper had recalled the shoe request Alvelin had shouted out after her, and, in a show of how important this, and further human interaction, was to her, wiggled her feet unaccustomed inside of some of the farm woman's also borrowed boots one of her children about Harper's size had left drying out back, and which were thankfully dry. Before she left the area for good she would return them to the back steps, even if that entailed doing so after her Changing and dropping them from her tiny talons before she flew off. Maybe with some spare feathers for arrows and such also left with them, though, still growing, they were not the long and spectacular specimens they would be years later.

Of course, the two put together would perhaps be a bit too much of a clue to the woman of the house, but Harper didn't anticipate crossing paths again and...it would almost be a silent explanation of her sudden disappearance; though more likely than not it would just fall under coincidence perhaps.

Alvelin's happy greeting (proving she wasn't just being too good and humoring Harper for this ride, and perhaps would enjoy it as much as the young skin-changer), was mirrored in Harper's bright grin back.

"Have you ever brushed a horse before?"

"Not...officially", Harper answered, as she took the brush, then realized she might have to clarify. "We didn't own any horses, back in Dol Amroth; my da' would borrow some from town time to time, though again they mostly just hauled things", she let the assumption they'd also borrowed some for the move also just sit, but didn't actively state such. "and I helped care for them a few times, and that included brushing but I'm sure I didn't do it...right".

She was eager to learn the right way to brush a horse, and from one who sounded like she knew. So she paid close attention as Alvelin explained that even brushes were not all the same, and went over the rest of it, lending a hand where she could and constantly checking as to Rusco's demeanor through it, but then the whole process was no doubt mundane by now, and Alvelin a familiar and trusted owner, so of course the horse was fine all through it.

Then she was hoisted up into the saddle! Alvelin just helping where Harper was too small to climb up herself. It was all so new of an experience, again, Harper not having needed to ride before, though she knew she should at least downplay some of the wonder and pretend she'd at least been on the back of a horse before, even if not in official riding. She would have had to, or ridden in a cart, for a move.

They started out around the outside track, Harper paying attention to Alvelin's instructions, but also able to adjust her grip and stance off the cues Rusco himself gave off, no doubt contributing to Alvelin's Fast Learner comment; and it wasn't untrue, just because a bit deeper of a connection with the natural world (perhaps) contributed.

"I would have you go faster, but I'm not sure how well you'd stick to the saddle without stirrups,"

It was a valid point, still...Harper tried to not over-judge how far a sense to read off of Rusco could carry her, but felt she could perhaps increase speed a bit. Still under Alvelin's guidance and watchful eye Harper tried it, grinning at the even newer feeling of even that bit more speed, or more intentional a trot. She still gave off authenticity, without even having to try, and didn't fully sit out a trot first thing, but she tried one out, before having to back down speed, and that felt like an accomplishment in and of itself!

She grinned over to her riding-instructor as Alvelin said she 'needed a pony'. It did sound like a fun idea...as did the rest of it. Staying, becoming part of a community, if not Rohan then...somewhere. But Harper also knew why she couldn't. Even if she found neighbors she could trust, until she was older she couldn't risk the vulnerability letting out such a secret would bring upon her.

"Yeah", Harper chuckled, "I guess I am a little too...shy sometimes". That wasn't a lie really.

<<We can next skip to lunch, or however you feel your reply will flow best>>

(#DCDCDC)

Alvelin

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Re: Curiosity and Wonder
« Reply #13 on: May 06, 2020, 11:16:23 AM »
Alvelin stood off to the side and observed Harper's attempt at exercising the trot, smiling amusedly all the while.  Practice made perfect, of course.  Aside from a few pointers, there wasn't much she could critique on that Harper was already aware of.  Besides, it wasn't a strict lesson.  As much as Harper was having fun in the saddle, Alvelin enjoyed watching the girl ride. Feeling a measure of warmth and…was it mother's or mentor's pride?...that brought back a sense of 'normalcy' with family. Her children… All the times she had spent with them, teaching them how to ride.  How long ago that was…

A pang of sorrow threatened to sweep her into a whirlwind of memories, but she quickly shook that cloud of emotions away, turning her attention back to the present, where everything was bright and sunny again, as she focused on Harper and Rusco trotting around in the field.

"Very good," Alvelin beamed happily at Harper, once the pair came around and halted beside her, so she could pat Rusco a job well done on the neck for being such a good sport.  She recognized innate skill when she saw it.  Then again, Rusco was an Elf horse, if that made riding for Harper any easier.

Shyness was understandable, though for reasons other than her young age and the claim that she had just moved here from Dol Amroth, Alvelin could only assume, but decided not to get all nitpicky about it.  The 'shy' ones were usually full of hidden surprises. Expanding those horizons and discovering something new about themselves - like horseback riding, in Harper's case - might help crack through that shy shell with a boost of self-confidence.  All they needed was a little encouragement and someone to nudge them towards the opportunity, if they were too shy to seize it themselves.  Harper had done well with the basics of riding so far.  What about a little more?

"How would you like to go for a run?" Alvelin looked up at Harper with a flicker of mischievous grin, excited to show Harper the full speed of being on a horse's back.  Everything relied on first impressions.  Hopefully this first gallop wouldn't be too traumatic for young Harper's senses to handle.

She'd carry this out responsibly, of course. Not letting Harper take off on her own.  The saddle had enough room to fit both of them comfortably, since Alvelin had a small frame and Harper even smaller, sitting a head shorter in front of the older Elf.  Collecting the reins in one hand, Alvelin steered the three of them farther away from the village, into the grassy plains that offered more room to race around in.

"Don't worry, I won't let you fall," Alvelin assured with a gentle squeeze of her arm around Harper, securing the girl with a 'belt' of protection to prevent her from jostling around too much in the saddle, but mainly for emotional support if Harper needed it, as Rusco's pace accelerated from a lively trot into the rocking motion of a gentle lope.

It might be 'scary' at first, according to some of the other children she had shown before, riding double with them the same way she did with Harper.  Afraid they were going to fall off. Or that the horse would fall… Yes, a falling horse was a real possibility.  Uneven ground, a stone lodged in the hoof, an arrow to the knee, or the hole of a critter's burrow that could easily break a leg.  But for an Elf horse that had a sixth sense of awareness about their surroundings, Rusco hardly needed guidance to be able to navigate the terrain and pick out the smoothest path for a run.  For someone who had never been on a horse before, the transition could be terrifying.  Not for Alvelin, whose uncle Lamroch had propped her on the back of a horse before she could walk, riding double with him as a child as they galloped across Lindon's shores, and then stretching out her wings in freedom when she could finally race with Lamroch, side by side. There was never any fear or hesitation, only exhilaration and pride, that she could gallop by herself for the first time.

She held Harper tightly as Rusco picked up speed.  The mare stretched forward. Her stride lengthened.  The grass blurred on either side as the tunnel of wind deafened Alvelin's ears and whipped her chestnut braid behind her.  Grinning widely and laughing at the thrill of the ride, even though she knew catching bugs in her mouth would definitely cut the mood short; Alvelin didn't care.  Without tack and extra rider to weigh her down, Rusco could gallop much faster than this.  Back in Lindon, when Lamroch had presented the silver bay mare from his herd for Alvelin to test ride on the beach, it had been the closest she had come to flying.  And while she had her doubts about bringing the beautiful Elf horse along to such a faraway place as Rohan, where exotic might raise unwanted attention, Rusco had managed to slip under the radar so far.  Her copper coat blended in with most ordinary horses, and after all these years spent on the road together, Alvelin couldn't think of getting rid of her close companion for a more mundane-looking steed.

Their run lasted only a minute or so, though Rusco still had plenty of pent-up energy to spare for a few more miles. But for Harper's sake, Alvelin slowed the horse back down to a walk, to see how the first-timer was holding up.

"How was that?" She asked Harper, anticipating her passenger's review. "No nightmares, I hope."  Alvelin chuckled, smoothing out a few strands of her (and Harper's) hair that had been disheveled from the breeze.

Strolling Rusco around the village outskirts, Alvelin glanced up at the sky, checking the sun for a time estimate.

"Oh! Lunch. Almost forgotten." Mentally chiding herself for losing track of time again, Alvelin turned Rusco and trotted her briskly towards the village, aiming to drop Harper off at her "aunt's" farmhouse along the way.  "Well thank you for the ride," she told Harper playfully. It was nice sharing the moment and making a new friend out of it.  "Best get you back to your aunt before she worries.  Unless if you're hungry.."  The words fell out before Alvelin realized she was offering an invitation. Oh well. Why not? "You're welcome to join me for lunch, if you like.  I'm staying with a family. Alditha, if you know her. She's the lady of the house. And her sons - Aldred, Gareth, and Albin.  There's always leftovers."  Again, permission would have to be sought out from Harper's aunt, before bringing the child over to a stranger's house.



──────⊱⁜⊰──────


A loaf of brown bread fetched from the village bakehouse made a hearty compliment to the pot of venison stew that simmered over the fireplace in Alditha's cottage. The blonde-haired, blue-eyed hostess was warmly receptive of Harper's visit, not one to turn a hungry child away.  Besides, Alvelin's deer from that morning's hunt had yielded enough meat to cover a bowl of stew for the both of them.  Alvelin had retreated to her room to change into a more comfortable daytime dress before joining Alditha and Harper at the table for lunch. The three boys (well, young men they were - but in Elf years, they still counted as children in Alvelin's eyes) dropped in at different times during their breaks from work for a quick bite to eat before heading out the door again, but were nonetheless friendly with Harper and Alvelin during the little time they could squeeze in for conversation.

Harper didn't seem to mind sticking around, showing little concern for her "aunt", as far as Alvelin assumed would be stressing out over Harper's lengthy absence.  But she didn't complain about having the extra company, and an extra hand, as she went on helping Alditha with a few household chores and errands after lunch, finding time in between to check in on what the boys were up to at work and partake in a few outdoor games that the village kids somehow dragged her into. Without much protest from Alvelin, immersing herself in the entertainment. 

Before long, the sun would start to dip behind the trees, signaling the approach of dusk and an evening supper.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2020, 11:17:54 AM by Alvelin »

Dialogue: Mannish | Sindarin | Quenya

Harper

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Re: Curiosity and Wonder
« Reply #14 on: May 16, 2020, 05:08:17 PM »
Harper wasn't sure if it was the horse, Rusco, herself, and the mare's easy going character the girl could just pick out instinctively, but she had no fears, or less than she perhaps would have had otherwise, all along their ride! The ride itself was smooth, and she had to agree that, while it wasn't the sky, there was a validity to ground-based freedom and riding along, able to all but sense the mare's joy at freedom same as her own when wheeling about the clouds.

She grinned as Alvelin praised how well she did! Next looking intrigued as her mentor of the moment mentioned upping the pace to a run! Slow and Steady had gone so well...

Harper thought, and then gave a bright grin.  "Sure!" she nodded, eager enough. She adjusted herself as Alvelin got up behind her, feeling more secure for the other's presence, though she hadn't thought Alvelin had meant setting her free along her run.

"Don't worry, I won't let you fall,". Harper hadn't thought of it, but gave a smile to the reassurance, and since changing into her Hawk form from any tumbles wouldn't exactly be an option and while they were riding along so fast, no doubt!

As Rusco picked up speed, Harper adjusted herself to the new motion, but found comfort in being aided still by Alvelin's grip and really it was nothing when compared up against the first time she flew! The grass flying by provided a lot of similarities, though it had been tree branches followed by clouds and blue sky then, and as she got more and more comfortable with going higher and higher.  Faster also, and the wind was a factor in both, and Harper was well used to it by now and less afraid of it on the ground, and when it was just another factor, and not the one needed to keep her up in the air, as in flight.

She grinned, and felt a pang that she couldn't share back, and show Alvelin what it was like to fly!

"How was that? No nightmares, I hope.", Alvelin asked, and Harper opened her eyes from realizing she'd shut them along their trek, but not in fear in, after taking in the sights, just taking in the feel of their flying along.

She shook her head to the question. "No it was great!" she answered, and when she was still so close to the ground so that any tumbles would have been from a lesser height than the sky at least!

Alvelin got down, thanking her for the ride. "Thank-you for showing me!", Harper answered back brightly. The offer to lunch further surprised her, but she quickly nodded. "Oh yes! I mean, thank-you again, and...I'll ask!".

<><>

Harper didn't mean to make these words a lie as well, and as she didn't check in with the woman so much as checked that the pair of shoes she was using weren't missed yet. She had some ideas about how to go about all of this honestly, but hadn't had too much time to observe and ask such of her parents before they were robbed from her so suddenly, and she was left to figure it out on her own and to the best of her ability.

Rushing back to the farm-house Alvelin was at, Harper hesitantly presented herself to the lady of the small farm house and was pleasantly surprised by her warm welcome also and the attention given! Even before it had to be brought up, the girl consented to the bar of soap and rag brought over by Alditha. While Alvelin tided up and changed, Harper worked at removing, not only the grim from her recent ride, but since the last time she'd been able to get such, and just enjoyed the homey atmosphere that reminded of her own cottage back in Dol Amroth before everything.

Alditha's boys were nice too, and Harper waved to them, and tried to engage them in conversation for while they were about, but they were clearly too busy to stick around for very long.

The good mood continued even after lunch, and Harper helped with clearing away the lunch dishes, though Alditha assured her it wasn't necessary. Despite the risk it brought with it, she stayed in the kitchen a bit longer, and didn't hurry away, chatting with Alditha, who of course wanted to know how long she had been in the area (and wasn't familiar with her family).

Harper gave the same types of Newly There answers as she'd given Alvelin before finding a convenient gap of time to slip off and join Alvelin and the boys outside, and get pulled into the games with some of the local kids.

It was as she laughingly went to fetch a ball kicked off further across the hill than anticipated, that she noticed the position of the sun on it's trajectory downwards. She was pushing her luck and should make off soon...

Sad as that prospect made her. She still kicked the ball back into play, but knew she couldn't stick around all the way until the evening meal and, in a gap where she wasn't the focus of attention, backed herself away from the crowd and, giving a wistful smile to Alvelin's back, wishing she could properly thank her once more (but then it would require more answers) changed back to her Hawk form and took off, not forgetting to grab the borrowed boots and drop them off back at the farmer's back door.

(#DCDCDC)

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