Day 068: Equine Equanimity
Summary: Khesu and Afaye visit the stables before retiring for the night.
Date: 6 August 2016
Related: Walking After Midnight
Afaye Khesu 

Stables - Tondc, Trikru
It has no description because someone is lazy. It's a stables with stalls and horses and crap.
68 Days After Landing

By night, the gounds of Tondc are much more quiet than during the day, and it is in relative silence that Afaye walks beside Khesu toward the stables. True to his word, the man does little in the way of stumbling about in the dark, and she is beginning to feel marginally foolish for offering her assistance as they finally approach her home. The flickering yellow light of torches flanking its entrance light the remainder of their path up to the main double-doors, and she pulls one open before gesturing for Khesu to proceed her inside. The scent of hay and grass, animal sweat and leather wafts from the open door, and something about the familiarty seems to put Afaye at her ease.

"The boys are asleep by now, I'm sure. You are welcome to introduce yourself to a horse or two, but steer clear of the blue-eyed one; he is a bit jumpy after his ordeal."

Khesu is, like Afaye herself, a hunter well accustomed to using other senses in the dark and not just his eyes. He is cautious out of a lifetime of habit of where he puts his feet and anything that he may bump his head into so it's not so difficult for him to take a little more care. Stepping inside, he smiles faintly through his beard at the pleasant musty scent. While animal dung and urine are never pleasant, horses and fresh clean hay each have their own spice that is welcoming.

A silent nod is given to Afaye's directions. Khesu moves quietly up the barn aisle and instead of choosing which horse he'll go to see first, he lets /them/ choose by whichever one seems the friendliest and puts it's head out wanting attention. To that one he'll go and offer his hand flat, fingers well away from lips that might nibble. Khesu may not be a horseman and know a thing about riding, but he's been around horses and other livestock enough to know about keeping his fingers out of the way.

Once it smells of him and finds he has no treats, he strokes the neck.

Afaye takes one of the torches from by the door and brings it around the jamb to set in a holder on the inside. She smiles at the quiet snorts and shuffling sounds of greeting from the horses, but does not feel rushed to tend to them; this is the quiet of contentment. Stepping back, Afaye drops onto a bench against the wall and clasps her hands behind her head, leaning back to watch as Khesu walks down the aisle in search of a friendly face. "Ay-shhhuh," she mutters in half-amusement, half-annoyance as a white head of a percheron (whose breed name was lost to the Trikru long ago) pokes out over its stall door and snuffles at Khesu's outstretched hand. "You're a greedy pig, Seo. The boys stuffed you full before they left, and don't pretend otherwise. Don't let him fool you. See how big he is? I could swear he eats twice his weight in food. He's the one I give Oxfor to ride. The man is huge."

The torch is eyed warily, knowing how flamable hay in stables tends to be. Khesu strokes the big grey's face and neck and smiles a little, "He is big." He keeps his baritone low, a rumble. "A powerful horse for war, the wagon, or the plow. Not so good in trees or on mountain trails. Something smaller and fast would be wiser if one wishes to cover distance over mixed terrain." And quieter, perhaps. This one maybe has kind, gentle eyes and a patience about it that Khesu can appreciate. "I do not know Oxfor well. We have rarely spoken and I have oft been here in Tondc to do Indra's bidding."

"He's light-footed in the trees, but we don't use him for climbing. He pulls out the deadfall caused by storms, and he might be useful when we start clearing land for New Coesbur." Should that ever happen is the unspoken end of that sentence. Afaye flashes Khesu a brief grin as he looks back toward the torch; she does like to leave people feeling unsettled, to say the least. But when he mentions having rarely seen Oxfor, her eyebrows rise upward ever so slowly.

Leaning forward, Afaye rests her elbows on her thighs with her hands dangling between her knees. Her gaze shifts away from Khesu and down the line of makeshift stalls; the sound of voices have brought a few more heads out in curiosity. "I had heard that after…" Well, she needn't follow that train of thought, so instead she switches tracks. "What would Indra have you doing?"

Khesu chuckles, "I was thinking more of a big horse trying to get through trees without knocking his rider off." Yeah, not so easy unless it's hardwoods with good open spaces beneath. A nod, "Aye, very useful for clearing. Strong." Well, /he/ intends to depart to start work on new Coesbur almost at once. No kicking his heels up in Tondc after the celebration, now he's almost fit to travel. Khesu strokes the big grey a bit longer and then moves on to meet the other horses that are stirring, if they seem to want to meet him.

A look back to Afaye and he raises his dark brow to prompt her to finish her thought. "Heard what?" A soft huff of breath as he looks back to the bay to watch how her ears lay - back would warn him she may not be friendly. "What do you think Indra would have of me? I am a warrior of the clan. I go where I am needed. Even when we are at peace, there are drills and training, scouting." A loose shouldered shrug, "I know Oxfor, I have seen him all my life, but we have never been close."

"Heard nothing," Afaye replies abruptly and rises from her seat to step toward the closest stall - this one containing her riduclously pretty gypsy mare. The girl snuffles at Afaye's hand, but seems slightly disappointed at the lack of treats. Laughing, the horsemistress rubs her hand up and down the animal's nose, allowing Khesu time to move farther away down the aisle. "I don't know what else Indra would do with you. I was just curious what you did get up to when we aren't warring with the Maunon or the Skaikru." This last word causes her mouth to twist into an expression of mild distaste, but it dissipates as she slides her hand forward and strokes her mount's neck. "Ahh, such a pretty girl you are."

Khesu will find that the further away from the entrance he gets, the more restless the horses become. The war-tested mounts are kept away from the more docile workhorses, and the ones lacking proper training are housed still further down with several empty stalls between them and the rest. "I think someone put Sage's horse down that way. The only blue-eyed one we have among the lot."

Whatever it was she heard and refuses to discuss, Khesu doesn't push. He makes his way to meet the horse Afaye is petting, it likely being a tobiano if it's after the fashion of the old Vanners. Lots of mane and tail, lots of feather like a Shire, but round and lacking the height.

"I hunt. The clan always needs meat, fish, herbs, and I cut a lot of firewood for winter. Others come with a wagon to collect it." He pauses to look further in to see if he can see this blue eyed animal she refers to (probably a pinto or a sabino.) and is vaguely curious. "Whom might you think suitable for me to try to ride, later?"

"Hunting, hah. There is never enough of anything. In my spare time, I try to hunt as well, but I don't make it a day-long affair. My contributions are small." Smiling fondly, Afaye ruffles her mare once more before tilting her head to beckon Khesu to follow. She heads back the way the came and pauses in front of a stall containing a fairly sturdy looking bay quarter horse. When she stops there, the mount greets her with an affable snuffle and allows her to pet his nose. The horse is a very rich, ruddy brown with telltale dark points and a pleasant, dark brown mane and tail - so dark it almost looks black. "This one. He's older, but he's very gentle and patient. Good temperament, doesn't startle easily, and isn't usually antsy."

Khesu will pet the Vanner a moment and then follow when Afaye would show him another, "Aye, with the loss of our crops at Coesbur, we are in for a very lean winter if we can not get enough grain and dried fruits from elsewhere. So I hunt and watch for places to find honey, or walnuts, anything I can help direct others to." He smiles a little, "I like best to go for days at a time, but if I get big game I should be in need of a horse to bring it back. Else I must butcher and carry what I can and leave some behind." Luckily he can carry a few hundred lbs but he may get held up for days salting or smoking it so it won't spoil on the trip back.

A hand is offered to the horse she indicates. Khesu's rumble has fallen silent once more as he studies the horse with his one good eye. The warrior allows the animal to smell him and then he'll stroke the strong neck. He seems content enough around the horses - and around Afaye herself. She isn't excitable and seems to have good sense.

"This one is Abe," Afaye murmurs, allowing the quiet of the late hour to linger by keeping her voice pitched low. Abe's head turns and his ears flick forward as he snuffles the offered hand. "He would be useful to you, I think. He has been used for hauling and riding both, but he tends to like men more than women or children. I think it's the high-pitched voices." She smiles at Khesu briefly and, finding that she isn't actually needed to supervise, slips away to move back toward her mare, Lin. The wee horse (at least compared to the others) waits expectantly for a treat, and Afaye rewards her patience with a bit of apple she fetches from the pouch at her waist. "When will you be available for lessons? I know you are a busy man, so I can adjust my schedule accordingly."

"Abe. A good name." Khesu likes it. Carefully he sees if Abe likes to have the base of his ears rubbed - some horses LOVE it and others hate to have their ears messed with. If they'll tolerate it, it's a great trick to get them to relax and lower their head for bridling. Tends to make them loosen the jaw and chill. Once he's off the ground though, Khesu's gig will be up. He's not going to have a CLUE what to do! Haha.

"I'll remain in Tondc another day or two at most, then head south. I will see you at the new Coesbur site when you come." He skims calloused fingers through the mane, "I have seen handsome jewelry and rope made of horse hair. Plenty for you to trade a little to the makers."

"New Coesbur?" Afaye frowns thoughtfully and leans forward to press her forehead against Lin's briefly before stepping back from the stall. She clasps her hands behind her back and watches Khesu send Abe into paroxysms of equine delight with the ear-scritches. "So soon? I am sure Oxfor will be here to tell me to round up the workhorses, then. It is likely I will be right behind you by perhaps a day or two at most with extra gear and supplies and mounts for hauling."

Despite her previous eagerness to re-establish her home and get out of Tondc, this news does not seem to be entirely welcome to Afaye. She shifts restlessly from foot to foot and eventually turns her back and marches over to the wall of tack. Everything has been sorted and put away, but still she riffles through the accoutrements. "You should get some sleep before you go, Khesu kom Trikru. The next weeks are going to be very tiring."

Khesu may be a big warrior who often doesn't speak a great deal and so some think him about as intelligent as a brick, but he watches and pays more attention than he often lets on. Afaye he watches, picking up on some unease of hers, even if he doesn't know why she has it. He is also a patient man, most of the time, so Khesu will bide his time and see. He rubs around Abe's ears a bit more and rumbles low, "I do not need depart at once if you want a hand. But I am eager to get away from so much confinement. Felling trees will be useful work." Clearly he can not abide being useless, pent up in Tondc healing.

She gets a hint of a smile out of him though and with a final pat, Khesu leaves Abe. "I bid you a good night." Quietly he slips out of the barn and heads on his way to where ever he will bed himself down. Probably outside beneath a tree somewhere where the air is fresh without others pressing in crowded and enclosed.

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