[P] How to leave my worries behind
P. Lyla | Charmingtown | late morning
Location: Lancaster Stables || NPCs: Hennessy (horse) || Form: Optime

Even though the red dun was officially Remy's now, she still looked in on the mare to ensure that he was sufficiently keeping up with her training and care. Rafaela didn't doubt that he would — she and her adopted brother had a similar affinity to horses and Remy treated the horses under his care better than he treated himself — but after what had happened to Yuma, she still worried about him. Besides, with the mare and Hennessy stabled in the same location, it was no torn in her side to look in on her, too, while she was there to check in on the dark bay colt.

It had been nearly a year since she and Remy, with help from Boots and Holly, had rounded up the two horses. They had been wild things then — greener than midsummer leaves — and proved a welcome challenge to the two fledgling trainers. What equine low-speech they had learned form Zsorthia had helped convey some of their intentions not to do the horses any harm, which Rafa thought might have assisted their efforts to gentle them. But the vast majority of their success came from time, patience, dedication, and trust. Both of them, together or separately and with or without help from the Mckenzie siblings, worked hard to see their efforts rewarded.

The mare, for her part, was spirited and always would be. And it made sense. Not only was she much older than the colt, but it had seemed to them during the round-up that she could have been the lead mare of the little band. It took a particularly tough, intelligent, and brave horse to lead, Rafaela thought, just as it did for coyotes. But she was perfect for Remy in that way, Rafa thought, and the bond that they were sure to build over time would be a lasting one.

As for the colt, he hadn't even left the band he was born into yet before they caught him. He was young and not yet established in the ways of a wild horse, which made him a little easier to assimilate into the Gang's structured life. Although resistant to many things at first, Hennessy had come around eventually to everything that Rafaela had shown and taught him. But he needed more work yet. Although his precise age was unknown, she thought that he could start rider training this spring. With all the groundwork and desensitizing she had already done with him, building his trust and getting him used to odd sights and strange noises and the unnatural feel of a saddle on his back, she was hopeful that he would take to a rider easily enough.

"Mornin' Henny," she murmured to him after she'd walked though the stables and come up to his stall. "Ready for a little trainin'?"

He stepped up to the stall door and sniffed at her curiously. But another sound at the other end of the stables drew his attention and, lifting his head with his ears tall adopt his head, Hennessy turned his toward the disturbance.

[WC -- 517]


The thrum of the busy town and how crowded everywhere felt during the cold days of winter put Lyla into a sensory overload and therefore she found herself needing to escape. When she did not want to be bothered by people, she tried to at least find the familiar company of other animals that were not her own kind. Mainly, that meant horses, so she always tried to sneak in and spend some time around the barns when nobody else was around. If someone found her just sitting outside a stall and reaching in to pet the horses, good chance she'd either be chased out or put to work. Neither was really wanted so she tried to slip in when Rafaela was not around as she seemed to be the one in and out the most.

To be fair, Lyla was a little intimidated by the other girl, who had been a few months older than her. They grew up pretty close in age, but the slight age gap when they were younger seemed worlds bigger and therefore, Rafaela was already the cool older girl in her head. Which did not help with her fear of being caught by her in the barn.

Today had been one of those days she had snuck in after the other woman left, carefully making sure that she was completely alone as she made her way up to one of the stalls. Peaking over the side, she reached her hand out to pet one of the little goats that was bouncing around in the pen. A grin spread across her lips, creasing her eyes as she looked at the little thing stomping around and bouncing from one pile of hay to another. She crossed her arms over the top of the door and bent over to lean her weight on it as she watched them all play. The quiet that the barn offered her was enough to settle her nerves as she began staring off into space. This was the exact reason she did not hear Rafaela coming until it was too late.

Remaining completely still, Lyla froze up like a deer in a set of headlights hoping that if she did not move a muscle no one would notice her. Yet, she let out a startled yelp as all of her attention had been focused on remaining still when the small goat had seemingly wanted to challenge the much taller luperci and ran towards her, headbutting the door trying to get at her. Stumbling backwards, the cinnamon colored woman tripped over her own feet before smacking against the opposite wall and released a small groan as she rubbed at the area she would surely have a bruise on her butt from her hard impact with the ground. Hoping that maybe by some small sliver of hope that they did not notice she made a complete fool of herself Lyla sheepishly glanced over and noted Hennessy staring straight at her.

He was laughing on the inside, she could tell.

"Uh, hey Rafaela, what brings you out here?" she said nonchalant, like this was the most normal thing in the world.

526 |
Thank you for starting!
Location: Lancaster Stables || NPCs: Hennessy (horse) || Form: Optime

To be fair, Rafaela had been so caught up in her thoughts about Remy and the mare and Hennessy that, just as Lyla hadn't noticed her returned to the barn, the Caballista didn't realize it had become occupied by another Ashen in her absence. With an eruption of sound that drew the colt's attention and startled Rafaela back out of her head, the Tejada woman followed Hennessy's lead and turned sharply in time to see Lyla stumbling backwards from the stall containing the goats.

It took several moments before her heart slowed and her awareness of the present returned. In her surprise, for just a flicker of time, Rafaela had been transported back to late summer. The acrid smell of wood smoke and singed fur and burned flesh — her flesh, her fur — filled her nose and fear; anger; agony flashed in her eyes as they fell upon the other woman. In that moment, Rafa didn't see Lyla. She saw the ruthless, maniacal creature named Rat and felt the urge to attack.

And then the memory cleared. Lyla's nonchalant voice pulled her back out of that horrifying time in her past; it reminded her that that was the past and this was the present and the horses were okay. Remy was okay. The Gang was okay. Rafa blinked away the final few motes of that memory and released out a sharp hiss of breath.

"Goddammit Lyla!" she yapped, giving her body quick shake to settle her hackles again. "I was jest about ready t' rassle you down, woman. Shit."

Drawing in a final steadying breath, Rafaela turned back to Hennessy. Taking a halter into her hands, she started to put it on him while she responded to Lyla's question properly.

"Gonna do some more work with Hennessy, here." With the halter on, she looked sharply at Lyla again. "What bring's you here, 'sides scarin' folks half t' death?"

[WC -- 325]
OOC: lol oops

Lyla had been a bit of a klutz for as long as she could remember, but when she was young it was always blamed on her ever growing body and not being able to keep up with her lanky legs. She always was tripping over everything, even just the air it seemed, she would just go sprawling, but as she got older - her accidents may have been a little less frequent - she just kept having them even if it was not nearly as much. There was nothing to blame it on now as she had stayed the same height for over a year now and all that filled out were maybe a little soft curves here and there. Completely embarrassed by the display and Rafa's sudden jolt and curse, her ears laid flat down against her head and her eyes dropped down to the ground in front of her.

"Uh, yeah, sorry 'bout that," she squeaked sheepishly, "I didn' hear ya coming and ya surprised me. I think I was starin' off inta space," she explained, slowly pulling herself back up from the dirt and onto her feet, her tail tucked tightly against her leg. The goats bleated beside her as they all scattered from the loud crash of the waifish girl and she smiled apologetically at them too hoping she did not give anyone a heart attack or anything.

"Well, uh, I like lookin' at the goats," she said, throwing her hand over her shoulder as she faced Rafaela again and pointed with her thumb. They were pretty cute to look at and they were getting pretty adventurous, it was always cute to come in and see them, but she did not like to disturb anyone working which is why she tried to sneak in when no one was around. Just today, Raf had come back a little earlier than she had thought. Maybe, the day had gotten away from her again. That happened a lot when she got lost in her own head and thoughts, all of a sudden the night came on and it was about time to get ready for bed and she would have nothing accomplished and barely remembered to eat or drink anything.

"D'ya need some help with 'im?" she queried, figuring the least she could do was offer some help. Lyla had always been a natural when it came to horses as her parents let her around them since she could leave the house. It was always her favourite place to hangout when they came and cared for their own horses and other things, she would stay out here for hours every day, but that started to fade as she got older. Although, the majority of her time had always been spent amongst species that were not her own. One day, she would be able to gather enough to trade for her own horse at the Lancaster Stockshow. That would be the dream, but she did not have a whole lot to her name to trade other than labour, but even she knew she was not the most reliable luperci around. As much as she tried hard to be, her brain just made her forget about anything that was not in her immediate view.

541 |
Hahahaah, poor Rafaela!!
Location: Lancaster Stables || NPCs: Hennessy (horse) || Form: Optime

She brushed off Lyla's apology with a limp flick of her wrist and a subtle shake of her head. But she listened all the same as she attached a lead rope to Hennessy's halter and, opening the stall door, lead him out of his stall and into the hallway. Rafaela could take care of the other livestock but it was the horses that had her heart. To that end, it wasn't as easy for the Caballista to find decent qualities in the other animals, the least of which were the pigs but goats came in a very close second.

A memory from earlier last year came to mind. The goats had escaped and Jimena, of all the Ashen, had set her mind to chasing one of them. It had taken her hat, if she remembered right, which became the catalyst for the chase. But very little thought or strategy had been put into it, resulting in a near-collision with Rafaela and Saratoga, who she had been walking about Charmingtown to get her used to being halter-lead.

No, Rafaela had a hard time finding anything entertaining or interesting about the goats. They did have their purpose, but otherwise they were nothing but troublemakers.

"Sure, if you're offerin'," she replied, bringing Hennessy nearer. "You wanna hold him for me? Gonna git a saddle an' blanket on him before we do a little lungeing."

The colt was doing fairly well with there weight and girth of the saddle, but he was still getting used to it. Before they could try adding the weight of a rider atop him, Rafaela wanted to make certain that he was completely comfortable with the saddle itself first.

"He's still gittin' used to all this," she explained. "What it means t' be a pack horse, but he's a quick learner. Reckon he'll make a good companion for someone someday soon. Jest needs a bit more trainin' an' trust-buildin'."

Rafa considered Lyla as the colt stretched his head to snuffle her and pick at her mane with his lips.

"Seems t' like you," she observed before turning to retrieve the saddle and blanket.

[WC -- 364]
OOC: Feel free to PP Hennessy in your next post if you like! <3

Forum Jump: