[P] [LcSs] There's a place where the sun doth shine
Sheep Herding Time Wrote:Del Cenere's ewes and lambs have been turned out into a corral and allowed to spread out to graze. Using a pale full of sand, competitors, whilst in lupus form, will be timed at how quickly they can corral based on how full it gets - and must herd the errant livestock back to the handler.

OOC: Timed sheep-herding thread, set at the Lancaster Stockyard and only slightly venturing into the Debouille Reserve. It's a sunny mid-morning. Feel free to make assumptions on Esperanza callin' out "time" and working the gate for the sheep!|| WC: 439

Dusty had spent the better part of a week prior getting the obstacle course together, digging shallow pits into the dirt to erect poles through which sheep would be directed throughout the field, and, while he doubtlessly had wanted (or, even a little more presumptuous hoped for) help in his endeavor, Holly had assured the scrawny, shaggy beanpole of a dog to muster most of these efforts himself.

Esperanza herself had been little help, but watched as he did the final touches, sitting up atop the corral’s fencing with the ewes mulling at grass that was still growing within their reach just on the other side of the fencing slats. The instructions had been given to her a number of times, relayed to her by their resident preacher, though, in truth, much of the rhetoric over the word of Gospel had fallen on deaf, mousey ears, and thus, went utterly forgotten. She wrung the hem of her shirt between her palms as she rehearsed, quietly, forgoing all sermon for something herself.

She was certain Resurrection wouldn’t mind it overly much – he had gone off to find some place to sit down, already winded by a morning of standing, waiting, watching as the Scarborough boy milled the field of gold in zagging lines only to return.

”You ready out there?” she called to his approaching form, and he waved back.

"Sure am. You ready there, l’il sister?" She beamed at his endearing, mellow words, and hopped off the fence to go trot to the contestants gathered near one of the Stockyard’s aged, worn barns. Dusty found his way to the timing station, and sat at the ready.

Esperanza erupted into the space of the contestants with thin arms outstretched.

”Shepherds!” she reigned herself in almost immediately, adjusting her stance and bringing her open palms back in to clear her throat. ”We are ready for you!”

With that, the blonde little Tejada trotted towards the field, and re-assumed her post atop the fence, straddling it for balance. ”Hello, and welcome! I am the handler of this here event, Esperanza.”

There was a gesture to her chest, before she planted her palms over the gate, only loosely shut by the slipknot of jute.

”Your goal is simple – Dusty over there is gonna time you, but the aim of the game is to get our lovely ladies, here, and their little bouncin’ lambs, through each of those three goalposts you spy out there in the paddock, before bringin’ ‘em home here to this pen! Let me know when you’re ready, n’ when the last sheep is out, your time begins.”

wc – 329


Jimena watched her sister straddle the fence, admiring the glossy sheen to her flaxen hair. Esperanza spoke with a voice of confidence, explaining the point of the game and how to win. The competitors were supposed to be in lupus, which normally was fine but in front of those gathered to watch the younger coyote felt small and rather flimsy.

The Tejadas competitiveness won over any hesitations she might have had and after watching the first two competitors finish their rounds, the silver and pewter female trotted forward and through the open gate, glancing at Esperanza with a determined smile and a confident flick of her tail.

" This should be a cinch, right Jimena? " She whispered to herself, watching the gathered group of ewes and lambs. Sharp orange eyes quickly counted the totals of each, 4 ewes and their 4 spring babies. Cute, but their eyes were wary of her and somewhat fearful. The lambs bleated uncertainly, shoving up against their mothers as the entire group kept glancing between Jimena and Luperci posted around the outside of the ring.

Esperanza yelled Time! Behind her and Jimena sprang into action, much faster on her feet and able to turn on a dime then she had been this time months ago. Grinning with excitement, she covered the distance swiftly as spindly legs propelled her forward but momentarily Jimena forgot any sort of strategy she had and dipped too close to the sheep, sending them scattering away from each other and their lambs.

This would be a common theme over the course of her round and Jimena grew more and more frustrated, snapping at ankles when she should be utilizing her placement more. Still, the El Probano was able to get them through the obstacles finally. Esperanza yelled out time to signify the end of the round and once being let out of the ring Jimena plopped into a seated position and panted heavily, ember eyes observing the final contestant.


• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 
I've got a heart like a silver dollar
I may be s m a r t but I'll never change
And I might sparkle in the right light
But I'm always worth the s-a-m-e
Ooc: im hereee

This time it was her Uncle's fault. Though she couldn't say how. Just that she'd had her name put down and Benji swore it wasn't him this time. Pontifex was learning to wield her mother's expressions with a familiar grace. Tail a-wagging, for her competitor's were putting up a brave show too, she whoofed gently in a doggish cheer.

Paws set into the lush green grass, Pontifex was ready to rise to this challenge presented her though.

Tongue lolling from her mouth with the heat, she watched the sheep with an unerring intensity. Something in her blood called, some deeply set heritage from far away and long ago. A left-behind taste of many yesterdays.

<"Time!"> Came the call; And she was off like a shot.

Long-legged and lithe, Pontifex was made to run like the wind, and this she did, coming up quick around the back of the small, anxiously-strung herd without trouble or slowing. Startled, they made to flee, the mother ewes placing themselves to protect their lambs yet again against another 'attack'.

Too close she came though, and the one herd became two as they split. Sheep darting every which way.

"Non tu ne le fais pas." She muttered under her breath, and darted off after the ones who sought their freedom, herding them back into the group that she rounded together again.

For a small time, she was running on air, keeping them together, and driving them relentlessly through the posts. Startled baa's, and complaining tosses of the head greeted her as she barked and set her muzzle down to hassle them back into their place. Hot on their heels, the herd broke again, costing her precious time to round them back up.

They were antsy, anxious and high-strung, and continued to fall erratically even as she dropped back, now thoroughly riled by her formerly too close presence.

It was a relief when she finally got them through the gate with a few well timed barks and the heading off of a last minute bid for freedom from one of the lambs and then the gate was closed behind them and she was done.

Panting gleefully, her willowy tail waved back and forth.

"'Ow was iet?" She asked as she exited the little corral, sunshine eyes glimmering happily.

Time Sheep Herding Prompt Wrote:He is thorough, and clearly designed for the task at hand, but, these sheep are proving exceptionally difficult. Quick to amend an errant ewe, Arran swiftly moves to re-group her into shape, and makes an unfortunate miscalculation: with eyes on the sheep, he doesn't spy the loose rocks underfoot, and rolls his wrist on a rapid pivot, causing minor injury and costing precious time.

(Injury prompt was agreed upon by me)

WC: 417

Arran was so excited that he could hardly keep still. Actually, he couldn't keep still. His front have may have been, but his back end had a wagging problem. Since his bobtail was so short, his somewhat fluffy butt tended to wag to in compensation. Still, he listened to the rules attentively and although his instincts pushed him to join in with each other competitor's turn, he refrained.

He barked excitedly as each canine finished, managing to keep the noise in before then so he didn't distract or scare the sheep when all he wanted to do was bark and howl encouragement for them.

And then, finally, it was his turn!

As soon as time started, he was in the zone, head low as he moved towards the sheep. It was second nature as he approached them, but apparently they were a bit stressed or something because they didn't react exactly how they expected them to. Instead, one of the ewes turned sharply and Arran kept his eyes on her as he changed course to go after her. He didn't see the loose rocks under his paw, though, and his leg and paw twisted oddly. It was a sharp, brief pain, enough to cause him to stumble. The sheep stopped and stared at him, too as he gingerly set his paw back on the ground, knowing that his time was wasting away.

Though his steps were painful, he got that ewe heading back towards the group, but they still weren't behaving correctly. His posture was all wrong for herding them because the pain in his paw caused him to limp a little. His movements weren't smooth, and were therefore more difficult for the sheep to anticipate and follow.

It seemed to take ages for him to finally get them all moving in the right direction, and part of him wondered if it was because they knew what they were supposed to be doing at this point. Still, they liked to go around the goal posts instead of between them because he couldn't move quickly enough to turn them. Eventually, he managed to get them through the goal posts and then into the pen. He knew that his time was not going to win, which was a little disheartening. But at least Gwaun still had a chance!

Arran limped carefully over to where the competitors who had already gone were waiting and sat down, ready to watch Gwaun go next.
6/7 Grand Quest Threads Complete
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Quote:Quick on his feet and equally fast to think, Gwaun's instinct has seemingly been honed for this very task. He keeps his distance to keep his shaping uniform and tight, and manages to drive the flock with relative ease through the posts, and back to the handler with relative expedience.

Gwaun watched the other contestants’ rounds with an appreciative, appraising gaze and took mental notes on which ewes spooked the easiest. They’d be a bit antsier for all the trouble, a bit wearier of the luperci interrupting their peaceful afternoon, but the information he was gathering would prove invaluable. Who was most protective of their lambs, who turned unexpectedly most often, who seemed to “lead” the rest of the herd and thus, should always be in front?

Gwaun shot a sympathetic glance at his dad as he limped out of the paddock and into a sunny spot to rest, before being ushered through the gate himself. He kept his head middling and his posture relaxed as he waited for Esperanza’s word, well-aware that the sheep were on high alert from all the commotion; it was only when she called the start of his round that he sprung into action.

Quick on his feet, Gwaun circled the ambling, cautiously separated flock and drove them back together with quiet determination. Cloudy sky eyes bore into the sheep’s woolly backs from a distance, but he didn’t dare get too close or snap at such high-strung animals; this herd was a completely different beast than the Realm’s, young lambs included.

Perhaps it was this careful consideration that led to the sheep moving through the first set of goal posts without major issue, then the second, only for a mother ewe and her lamb to break off halfway to the third. Murmuring a quiet, exasperated prayer under his breath, Gwaun took off after the runaway pair and hoped the rest of the flock would remain clumped together without issue.

Once Gwaun was between them and the rest of the paddock, he could tell he was in for a fight; this ewe wasn’t backing down, and unless he could convince her that returning to the flock was in her best interest, she was going to take off again. The shepherd paced back and forth for a moment, pivoting in time with the ewe, until he saw his chance to drive her and her baby back into formation.

The third and final set of goal posts gave the flock little trouble as well, and while another ewe broke away at the sight of the pen — it had surely become a confusing thing, something to be driven in and out of with no rhyme or reason in a sheep’s eyes — Gwaun had little trouble steering her back while the rest of the flock ambled toward the open gate.

And then it was over, as the last lamb trotted through and the gate was pushed shut behind them. Gwaun barked triumphantly, his entire rear end wagging along with his tail. ”Yes!” he cheered, a full body wiggle overtaking him as he danced in circles at his own personal finish line. In that moment, the competition had been forgotten; now there was only wiggle!

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