[P] [LcSs]All the Wild Horses
//OOC: For Juni/Azalea disguised as Elowyn. Takes place the 24th after the barrel races. //
So far the week had gone off without a hitch, everyday brought more joy and excitement to the young wolf hybrid.  Today would be no different, it was the day of the barrel races, something she had been looking forward to all week.  Taking the morning to rest up, she eventually dressed in her shorts and tank top and straightened her two braids that draped down her front on either side.  Placing her hands on her hips she looked around the campsite, making sure she didn’t forget anything she nodded and headed towards the stockyard.

Bright blue orbs darted from rider to rider and horse to horse as everyone gathered for the event to start, excitement coursed through her veins and she almost trembled with adrenaline. The young Hushhowl had no idea what the event really entailed but she did know that it involved horses, barrels and speed.  Zasha watched intently as every competitor ran the race, dirt flying up behind the beast as the skirted around the barrels as close as possible.  Cheering each rider on she jumped and hollered clapping her hands as her tail wagged enthusiastically behind her. She could have watched the event all day, but it seemed to end as soon as it began and she kicked the dirt in disappointment as the crowd started to dissipate.

Picking up a stick,  she walked slowly letting it click against each fence post as the young girl dreamed about what it would be like to ride in the barrel races next year.  Zasha would have to work hard and definitely beg her papa and momma for a horse or at least some lessons.  She just knew that riding in such an event had to be an absolute high, maybe even more so than cliff diving. It may even be worth taking on some more responsibility….maybe.

Standing on the bottom rung on the fence she leaned on the top looking out over the barrels,

One day…one day I will win this event, I promise. her voice trailed off.

The mahogany youth wasn’t talking to anyone but herself, but she spoke loud enough that others could hear if they were around. He tail swayed in determination as she kept her eyes on the prize before hopping down to search for what to do next.   
Word Count 385
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Azalea had missed out on the barrel racing event while attending another one, scribbling the participant’s names, affiliation, and placement surreptitiously in her tiny journal. Her steel trap of a brain meant that as long as she was paying attention during the event she could recall these things later when she was in enough of a private place to write them down. She’d been distracted after the initial event with her own record keeping and friend-making and by the time she arrived at the barrel-racing event the contestants and crowd had cleared mostly cleared away. Except here was one woman still there, gazing longingly at the barrels in the ring. Her lips moved, and Azalea caught the words, ”One day…one day I will win this event, I promise.”

The promise seemed a bit dramatic, but Azalea was curious. Had she been a contestant and lost? Her fingers went to her leafy belt pouch, touching it gently as she thought about the little book inside it. There wasn’t anyone else there, not anyone who looked like they may have attended. Approaching her from behind, Azalea let out a small woof of greeting to announce herself. The last thing she wanted was to scare her and maybe get into an argument. ”Hey there! My name’s Elowyn. I missed the barrel-racing event, were you a contestant?” She asked, though now that she was closer she could see that the girl was quite young.

She looked younger than Azalea, at least. She was pretty, Azalea thought, looking at her hair in particular and wishing that she had the patience to do anything to her own hair. Sometimes she wondered if she only got into the habit. . . but no, she always failed. It would start well, she would be doing so well for a couple days, and then she'd stop again. It was a good thing that Whisper liked playing with hair, because otherwise Azalea wouldn't even be able to make it look nice for Last Suppers. All she would to was run a comb through it and that was that! 
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Even if she hadn't participated in the event because she was too young, she didn't understand why age was a thing, she had shifted hadn't she?  Adrenaline was still coursing through her veins and she was pumped as she thought about next year and learning how one would actually barrel race. Though until this moment, she had no idea what barrel racing was.  Everything seemed different in the Del Cenere Gang, seemed so much more fun.  Zasha loved her pack and home, but there was a lot of work that went along with it and she was all about the thrill.

Spotted ears rotated behind her at the sound of a woof as she kicked a rock across the dirt.  Turning around she spotted a wolfdog a little older than herself with bright mint eyes and the Hushhowl smiled and waved enthusiastically as she walked over to meet the stranger.


What a dream it would have been if she could have been a contestant.

Unfortunately no.

Zasha folded her ears and sighed, sulking.

I am too young to participate in anything but the lure coursing event tomorrow! Which I'm so looking forward to!.

She giggled thinking about how fun it would be to run amuck with the other pups her age.

But the barrel racing was awesome!!! To be honest, I didn't know there was such a thing as barrel racing until today. But now that I do know that it is such a thing, I'm gonna learn it and practice super hard for next year.

The words poured from her muzzle with rapid fire never taking a breath.

Are you gonna do it next year? You said you missed it this year, but there is always next year right!?!?  Man it's gonna be awesome.

Finally Zasha stopped long enough to take a deep breath, her tongue lolled out the side of her muzzle panting. 

Doh! Sorry!

Her parents would be mortified for being so rude.

My name is Zasha!

Dusting off her tank top, then placing her hands in the pockets of her shorts she toyed with a clump of grass at her foot.

So Elowyn!  What are you gonna do now?!?

The girl had no plans for the rest of the day, just day dreaming about barrel racing and looking for something to get her heart racing. Maybe her new friend would like to play, even if Zasha was younger than her.
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Azalea quickly learned that her first thoughts about the girl had been right. The girl herself confirmed that she was younger than a year, though how much younger Azalea didn’t know. And the girl was excitable. She reminded Azalea of Lossë somewhat, though she didn’t seem dumb enough to eat a bee. Azalea smiled, she liked puppies. Of course, she had to remind herself that this girl wasn’t a puppy, but she was at that age where puppies were starting to grow up. They looked like adults but still acted like pups. Azalea had had that stage of life robbed from her by Aani. She’d been a puppy one day and an adult the next.

She supposed that she’d probably been around this girl’s age. . . no, younger, when Aani had dug her claws into her.

”No, I probably won’t. I still don’t know what it is, really! But I’m also not very good at competitions like these.” Azalea said kindly, thinking about her skill on horseback, or lack thereof. ”I’m just a wine merchant, after all.”

When Zasha finally gave Azalea her name, she did so apologetically, and Azalea waved her off. Azalea had been very much like her when she’d been a young pup. ”That’s alright Zasha. It’s nice to meet you. What am I going to do?” Azalea asked, thinking about the day plan and her schedule. It would probably be good for her to spend some time away from Sólveig so that anyone looking on could see that, no, they aren’t literally attached at the hip. ”I don’t think I have any plans after this! Except, of course, watching the sheep herding competition. Want to tell me about the barrel racing competition?”
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//OOC: .//
Antsy and bouncing in place her tail wagged happily behind the young Hushhowl as words spewed from her mouth hardly giving her new friend a chance to say a word. Eventually she paused long enough for Elowyn to answer a question her tongue lolled out the side of her mouth as she moved up and down on her tip toes.  She nodded repeatedly listening to what the woman had to say.

Mhmm.  Mhmm.  Yes! Yes! The barrel races were AHHHHMAZING!

Zasha used to hands to demonstrate how amazing the races were.

So they had these 3 barrels…

She paused pointing over to where they were still set up.

Yeah! Like that, they are still set up. But anyway!  Each rider charges forward with their horse and circle the barrels in a pattern as fast as possible and also as close to the barrels as they can get!

She paused barely a second to take another deep breath in before continuing to talk.

But, but, but! If you get too close and the barrel tips over, that is it!

Using her arms they crossed before spreading outward in a line.

You are disqualified and you get no placement! It is over, done.

Placing one arm across her body, the other hand tapped her brain seeing if she forgot about anything.

Yeah!  I think that about sums it up! It is over in a matter of seconds!  Talk about fun!

Looking into her friends bright green eyes she smiled, her bright blue hues wide with wonder and a brilliant idea.

Do you have a horse?!?!  Maybe we could try our luck at barrel racing!!!???!!!

Zasha threw her hands in the air out of excitement that should couldn’t control, she tried to stand still waiting to see if barrel racing was in her near future.
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Azalea listened with some interest as the young woman gestured wildly and explained the game. It certainly sounded like something she never wanted to do. She would never, ever, ever willingly endure such a trial. Spin around barrels wildly on a speeding horse? No, this was not the game for Azalea. She placed much more value on her own life and limbs than that.

Azalea’s smiled at the eager young woman and lied through her teeth. ”No, I don’t have a horse. Not here, at least.” She had borrowed Laurel again from Salsola to make the trip easier since she was carrying delicate goods. The slow pace of a horse’s walk wouldn’t break any wine bottles; At least, not when they were so heavily wrapped in cloth.

”Besides, I don’t think I ride well enough to try—and I think you look a little young to know how to ride that well, too. How old are you, one? Not even?” Of course, Azalea wasn’t much older if one looked simply at the time passed. But the difference was clear to see. Even if she was one, Zasha was still a puppy. Not that there was anything wrong with that, Azalea reasoned. Different lifestyles. In Salsola, puppies grew up quickly to survive.

”Well, not that it matters since I don’t have a horse.” Azalea said, giving a nervous laugh. After all, she wasn’t Azalea right now, she was Elowyn. ”Where are you from? Do you have lots of horses there?” She asked innocently, voice cheery and curious. "If so, maybe someone there can teach you. You can come back next year and win." If that didn't light a fire under that pup's butt, Azalea didn't know what would. Zasha smelled slightly like a Cavalier, if Azalea's memory served her correctly from her time with them. If she was a Cavalier, they had horses aplenty, she knew, and skilled riders besides. Zasha would have no problems finding a good teacher, Azalea was sure.  
(343) | NPCs: | Optime | I assumed that Zasha wouldn't be disguising her scent, let me know if you'd like anything changed! <3
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The thought of being able to practice barrel racing had the girl vibrating with excitement, but when learning there was no horse to try on, it left her with a disappointing frown. Of course, it only lasted a moment before she shrugged it off and conversation continued on, her tail swaying happily behind her bouncing up on her toes and back down. 

Yeah!  I won't be a year until the end of October!  Then we have to go through this stupid thing called First Blood, a coming of age ceremony.

Zasha rolled her eyes and put coming of age in air quotes.

Like how are you supposed to know what you want to do or who you want to be by a year old?  Seems impossible to me. I just want to run and play and be freeeeeee! Sometimes riding does that for me.

The young Hushhowl stopped to pause a moment thinking about the other woman's comments.

Yeah!  I can practice for next year!  That would be so awesome!  I bet I could win!  If I really, really focus and practice hard.  I just need a horse….

When Elowyn mentioned her being a Cavalier the girls eyes got wide, what this woman some sort of witch, could she see into the past and future.  But in the end she just shrugged it off, she was a Cavalier and proud of it, even if she didn't act like it much!

Yep, yep, yep!  I'm from Casa di Cavalieri!  We gots lots and lots of horses, I'm sure one of those would be fast enough to ride for barrel racing!  Imma have to ask my friend Lucian, he's been working with him since he shifted.  He knows all about them and what ones would be good!  Oh I can't wait to get back home and pick one out!

She began to laugh and jumped up and down a few times, she had so much energy that it was boiling over, she had a new dream and a new friend.  What a great day!!!! Trying to think of what to do next, she rocked back and forth, and placed and finger on her muzzle tapping it as she thought. 

Hey you said that you wanted to watch the sheep herding, right?  Do you want some company, I know I talk a lot but it's always more fun with friends!  Then, then you can tell me about how you became a wine trader and what that involves.  I've never heard about that occupation before.  Do you make the wine yourself or just trade for wine to trade the wine….

Zasha started laughing again and going cross-eyed trying to figure wine trading out in her head.

Do you ever travel near my home, we don't have alcohol in the main Fort but there's a bar in Wolfville that is open to travelers that trade for wine!  Maybe you could trade there!

Bright blue hues looked around, the place was pretty empty and she assumed that others had started making their way to the sheep herding trial.

So did you want to go to the sheepy thingy?

The dark furred girl pointed in the direction that she though the event might be taking place and gave her new friend a giant smile, what an exciting day it had turned out to be.

Word Count 585
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