Hiding in Plain Sight

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Elflady, Mar 31, 2012.

  1. Irmelin stood deep in thought, her normally cheerful face closed and concerned, leaning her elbows against the railing to the pen were a herd of horses grazed peacefully. The wind blowing from the east smelled of rain and played with the tall grass and Irmelin's long copper hair as she ignored her duties for the moment enjoying the calm before the storm. Her mind was a single mess of thoughts, a knot in her stomach that grew as the night approached, she knew what she wanted but still she didn't know if she were prepared to give up her life for her wish.</SPAN>

    Biting her lip Irmelin turned her hazel eyes to the sky were black clouds loomed in the horizon promising another spring storm as soon as tomorrow. She felt somehow connected to the storm although she feared the sheer power of it, the weather portrayed her own turmoil inside but it was also free to let the pressure out and change from chaos to peace.

    She hated the feeling of being stuck here forever, married to a man she felt nothing for and yet she loved the small village and her family and that made her torn between what she wanted and what her parents thought right for her. She hadn't much time left to decide she knew, the yearly festival celebrating the end of winter and the new life that came with spring started tonight and would end in three days time. In the chaos during the festival she would be more likely to sneak away unhindered as all the villagers would be on the main square and she could slip away in the dark while they were too busy drinking.

    She had even prepared a small pack that she had hidden under her bed, as the oldest sister still living at home she had her own small bedroom where her secret was safe, but it was a source of worry anyway. A part of her didn't want to acknowledge the fact that she actually had prepared for her escape and the fact that tonight, the first eve of the festival, was the best time to get away unnoticed.

    Sighing deeply Irmelin kneaded her forehead, a headache starting to bloom but she ignored it as she headed for the stable to continue her work before her father saw her slacking off again. Starting to muck out the stalls Irmelin tried to not think about what to do but the thought of freedom managed to worm its way in anyway. She had pondered on this for months now and now when she had practically made a decision she feared to put her plan in action.

    Her work went by much faster now as they lost many horses in the harsh winter, Irmelin still mourned their deaths and wished with all her heart that the next winter would be milder, in these regions though it wasn't likely. Heaving another fork full of dung and wet straw into the already full cart used for mucking Irmelin checked through the straw to make sure the stall was clean before putting the fork back in its place and pushed the heavy cart out of the stable and around back. Emptying the cart she placed it by the wall before going inside to sweep the floor clean of straw and dust, removing any spider web she could see and reach as well. When she was done Irmelin closed the doors before heading to the main house, the spring was warm and unless the weather changed drastically the horses would sleep outside.

    On her way to the quaint farm house Irmelin kept her eyes on the sky pondering endlessly on her problem, only looking down for a moment as she reached the gravel beneath the front porch, her attention caught by a small stone. It was small and glittered in the sun, black as the night with small white flecks resembling a starry sky. Picking up the stone Irmelin stared at it, fingers tracing the smooth surface, a chill ran through her blood as the realization struck her, it was a sign from the spirits. While the colour black stood for death it also represented change whether good or bad but the colour white stood for hope and purity making this a sign of positive change. A feeling of peace settled over her as she made up her mind, Irmelin may have a hard time with decisions but when she made a choice she felt satisfied and calm.

    A few hours later Irmelin lay in her bed with a supposed head ache and nausea listening to her parents trying to herd her young siblings out of the door and to the opening ceremony of the Festival of Change. In retrospect this was also a sign that change was on the way Irmelin realized after finding her stone.

    As soon as the house fell silent Irmelin got out of bed and pulled out her small pack, pulling out her older cousin's clothes that she'd grabbed a week ago. Stripping off her dress Irmelin quickly pulled on trousers, a shirt and a vest before she hung her dress back into her small wardrobe, the dark green of her favourite dress caught her eye. It had been ordered as a wedding gift but as the wedding was put on hold it was just hanging there, stroking over the soft fabric Irmelin pulled it out and rolled it up in her small bag, not wanting to leave the dress behind.

    In the kitchen she packed down some food, bread, cheese and dried meat to have on the way making sure her water sack was full. Pulling on her boots Irmelin hurried outside and headed for the stable, keeping to the shadows and grabbed a saddle and bridle from the tack room, taking the bridle for Kuja. Leaving the tack outside the horse pen Irmelin fetched a large bay mare with white socks putting on the bridle and leading her outside to saddle her, Kuja was extremely sensitive in her mouth leading to her not being able to have a bit.

    As the wind picked up Irmelin mounted the mare and set her sights west to start with, she had no idea where she'd go then but the village didn't stretch far to the west so she'd make it further without meeting anyone. Kuja danced slightly under her and Irmelin stroke her neck softly to calm her before gathering the reins and leaving, a gnawing feeling of fear and guilt lodged in her stomach as the houses grew smaller.
  2. Colzack yawned as the morning sun rose higher and higher, almost coming close to midday before he actually got out of bed. He stretched and sighed, heading down to the lobby of the inn he was lodged at. Colzack was an adventurer. He never stayed at one place very long and his only source of income came from simple wood carvings that he sold to passersby. It wasn't the easy life, but nonetheless, it was a life in which he survived.

    Colzack took a seat at a table, the owner of the Inn offering him a complimentary breakfast. He ate it with gratitude. He hadn't eaten a meal this good in several months. It felt refreshing. Finishing off the breakfast and thanking the owner accordingly, he sauntered back up to his room to clean up and get ready to leave. It had only felt like he had been here for a couple hours, when in fact, he had been there since yesterday evening. And now he had to leave. That left him with a feeling of familiarity. He usually felt like this before leaving a town.

    Once he was ready, he stopped at his room window. Outside was a quaint little village that he could now see clearly. It was luch and full of life, crops abundant and families abound. It would be hard to leave such a nice village that had done so much for him since he arrived. Sighing, the lonely adventurer headed out of the Inn, waving to the owner. She waved back and bade him safe travels. He knew not where he would end up, but he knew he had to move on. Such was the life of an adventurer. His horse had already been tacked up for him, much to his surprise. He packed all his things onto Dagger's back and headed out.

    The country side was vast and beautiful and if he remembered correctly, the Inn owner had told him there was a village nearby. That is, if you considered 20 miles away nearby. He urged Dagger on, the beautiful black stallion suffering from the mere color of his coat. The sun wasn't friendly to black animals. After about 12 miles, he stopped, pulling out the water bag the villagers had given him. As he started to give him water, Colzack looked above him. Storm clouds were forming. They looked menacing, ready to drop rain at any time.

    Colzack began to look for a place to take shelter when he saw a dot in the distance. It was slowly getting closer and closer as he stared at it. What was it? Was it a person? He didn't know, but all he knew as that they needed to find shelter as well. He jumped onto Dagger and rode towards the dot, just in case it was another person. Hopefully the clouds would wait just a little longer. At least until he caught up with the dot, but he figured that would be highly unlikely. After all, Mother Nature never really had a knack for doing what Colzack wanted her to do.

    (sorry mine isn't as long as yours! I tried to write an equally as good post for you, but it seems I failed. I hope you still want to Rp with me ^^; )
  3. As the sun rose over the horizon Irmelin was starting to get tired but didn't dare stop yet and the chill kept her awake anyway. She was starting to get worried also, she got through the night without rain but now it looked like she wouldn't be so lucky anymore. Having no spare clothes it wouldn't be good staying outside, she could of course wear her dress if need be but Irmelin preferred not to. She was beginning to remember things that people in her village had talked about, especially those that travelled, about how dangerous it could be for a woman to travel alone. </SPAN></SPAN>

    You never knew who you met and for some reason men could travel safer, having lived isolated and never been told details she had never known why women wasn't safe though. But her instincts said it would perhaps be safe to hide who she was until she reached a destination. It would also be safer in case her family looked for her if she didn't fit the description. While her intention was to ride easier in trousers Irmelin had without planning it, a pretty good disguise as a boy already and she was flat enough to hide her figure. But her hair was long, instantly pointing to her real gender.

    Biting her lip Irmelin knew what would be the smart move, to cut off her hair and try to pass off as a boy, but she hesitated. Irmelin wasn't vain but she loved her hair, and she'd saved it out for years to get it this long. Her eyes went to the long dagger by her waist, she'd taken it as a precaution and wasn't even very skilled at using it but it certainly would do the trick.

    Irmelin pulled Kuja to a stop, they had mostly just walked after the initial trot to get a good distance, but she didn't want Kuja to get exhausted at the very start. Jumping off the mare Irmelin patted her neck and let her graze for awhile, it was chilly in the early morning and she didn't want to sit down on the cold ground so she ate her bread standing pondering her choices.

    Having put her decision on hold long enough Irmelin steel herself and took the dagger, grabbing her hair with her right hand she held it out behind her and before she could hesitate again she cut through it all. Long red strains of hair lay on the ground like a dead animal and though it was a superficial thing Irmelin mourned her choice though it was too late to regret it, now she could at least pass as a feminine boy.

    Holstering her dagger she called for Kuja and mounted the mare and continued on her way. Scanning the beautiful but desolate country side Irmelin saw nothing that could amount for shelter against nature but she refused to turn around.

    As the day went by the air got humid and a light drizzle begun to fall, Irmelin's now shoulder length hair turned curly from the damp air. Ahead of her she suddenly noticed a dark shape stretching for the dark skies, urging Kuja into a trot to outrun the weather. Finally she reached the shadow, a small cluster of trees with wide spreading branches full of leaves. Jumping off the mare Irmelin led Kuja beneath the branches to the driest spot and bound the reins to a sturdy branch before finding a good spot herself.

    It wasn't the best place to spend during a rainfall but it sure was better than riding in the open, looking out over the fields Irmelin's eyes fell on a figure closing in. Nervously she realized it was another rider looking for some shelter against the rain, now she'd find out how well her disguise worked.

    (No worries yours is veryl good besides I don't write this much all the time, I just wanted Irmelin out off her vilalge in my first post:)
  4. Colzack could see a grove of trees ahead. It seems that person or whatever it was had stopped and taken shelter in that grove. It was better than being out in an open field like this. He had to go to where that dot was. As he closed in, the dot had finally revealed its shape. It seemed it was a young boy with his horse. Strangely however, the boy looked very....odd....was it that he looked very....what was the word....very...feminine. That was the word he was looking for. However, he knew better than to judge a book by its cover. As he entered the grove, he stopped nearby, leading Dagger to the spot where the boy stood. Colzack stopped in front of the boy, bowing slightly.

    "I'm Colzack Harding. I'm sorry, but I couldn't help but notice you out here on your own. Do you live nearby or did you run away? I'm cool with either to be sure, but I needed a spot to rest until this storm let up. You ok with that?"

    Colzack walked over to the pack on Dagger's back and pulled out a blanket made of wool. He only used this when it rained. He walked over to the boy, holding the wool blanket over his and the boy's head. Sheep wool made great rain cover cause the rain would slide right off the tightly gnarled hair of the sheep, making it almost smooth like. Dagger walked over to just in front of Colzack as if blocking the excess rain from hitting him.

    "Dagger, be careful. If you get cold, you move right away! You hear me?"

    Dagger looked to Colzack as if saying to him "Yes master". Colzack looked to the boy.

    "Do you mind if we sit down? If I stand for long periods of time, my legs give out...you know...since I'm used to riding my horse a lot of the time....Boy, do you mind telling me your name? It feels as if I'm talking to myself and I am not crazy...trust me..." His eyes wandered down the boy's frame. What was it about this young boy that made him want to protect him? What was it that made him feel like he was a father? He couldn't place that feeling, but he would do everything he could to make sure that this boy got to where ever it was he was going or to make sure that he got home. He couldn't just abandon a child. What kind of adult would that make him? Although, the boy didn't look much younger than him. If Colzack ventured a guess, he would guess the boy looked only a couple years younger than himself and he, himself, was 23 years old...Colzack shrugged slightly, waiting to see if the boy was the talking type or the silent type.
  5. Standing with her back turned towards the field, trying to ignore the humid and cold air that curled her hair, she scratched Kuja's forehead and whispered to her in a low voice, glad that she had the mare with her or else she would have been lonely and far more scared than she was now. Startled by the sound of hooves walking through mud and grass Irmelin jerked around to see a large black horse stop nearby, with the rain and bad light the horse and its rider looked like an equipage from the past, a ghost rider. Of course it was just her imagination going wild as the man was real enough.</SPAN></SPAN>

    "Eh, hi," she answered, glad that her voice was quite deep for a such a short girl. Unsure whether to trust this Colzack she stood silent for awhile deciding how much she should tell him. "I ran away from home," she admitted. If he thought she was a boy then what she said wouldn't matter she hoped. "I had some disagreements with my family. Of course it's not good to ride in this weather." This was technically not a lie after all.

    She appreciated that he lent her shelter but more so Irmelin liked that he cared for his horse, in a way she believed that if a person treated animals as more than soulless creatures then they couldn't be all that bad. Her father had always said that a man's hand with animals showed a lot of his character and while her father didn't understand the affection for a single animal like Irmelin he was still her largest source of knowledge.

    Looking up at Colzack she nodded. "Sure, as it looks the rain could go on for awhile." As she said it Irmelin sat down, in the last moment remembering to uncross her legs and tried to remember how the men in the village behaved. This pretend to be someone else thing sure was harder than Irmelin had imagined from the start, but in a way she felt a bit safer this way.

    "I'm...eh..." Irmelin stuttered, frantically trying to think of a name, why hadn't she thought of that earlier? "Imre Calendula," she said with a small smile at his words about not being crazy. "So do you travel a lot?" She asked curiously. "I mean do you know the country well?" Irmelin had no idea of what existed outside her village, only a few had travelled outside the peaceful place and few traders came by so she had no idea of where to go really.
  6. Colzack nodded as the boy spoke up about how he had run away. Colzack couldn't blame the kid. After all, he had run away too. In his village, he was to wed a nasty woman that hated him and how his father ran the village he was in. He couldn't wed a woman who hated her own village elder. The pitter patter of the rain soon drowned out his thoughts of why he had run away and soon turned his attention back to the boy. His voice, his figure, everything about the boy looked almost feminine like. Like a delicate piece of glass that could shatter at any moment. No matter what, Colzack had to stick with this boy. At least until he found a place where he felt safe.

    "Look, Imre...I know how you feel. I ran away from home as well. I was to wed a woman who hated our village elder. She also hated me....The village elder was my father....I didn't want to wed a woman who hated me and my father. It just made no sense. So the night before the wedding was to take place, I took off, never looking back. But that was 3 years ago and they have all but stopped looking for me....Imre, I will stick with you until you find a place where you can feel safe because I relate to you in many ways...."

    He looked up, watching to see if Dagger was getting cold at all. He could see the animal shiver. He sighed. That was Dagger. Always disobeying his words. He pulled out another 3 sheep wool blankets, throwing them on Dagger so he could stay warm. Dagger was like a son to Colzack. He had been with him these whole 3 years making him 5 years old. Dagger was more important to him than anyone else. He patted the horse's neck and quickly took cover under the sheep wool blanket with Imre.

    "Oh and about those questions you asked. Yes, I do travel a lot. That's all I do...I like to explore. I know almost this whole country except for the part we are now....This is the only spot of the country I haven't been too quite as often. I've been here, but only once...probably...so I'm not so familiar with this area, but I do know the other side of the country like the back of my hand....Say, Imre...Would you like to travel with me? I have a source of income for us and we could travel wherever you would like to go. You up for it?"

    It had been 3 years since he actually had someone by his side all the time. He was constantly moving from place to place, giving no one the pleasure of being by his side except for Dagger. This could turn out to be fun. He pulled out a charm he had made awhile back. It was a wolf carved out of dark red wood. He had carved a loop for him to make it into a necklace one day. He pulled some leather strips he had bought awhile back out of his pocket and tied one through the loop and onto Imre's neck.

    "If you should choose to travel by yourself, however, keep this charm with you. I made it myself. It is a charm to help keep you out of danger...So, would you like to stay alone or would you like to travel with me?"
  7. Listening to Colzack tell his story that was quit like her own made her feel connected in a way, that despite not knowing the man they had a similar past. Though she didn't feel comfortable or connected enough to tell the truth she felt bad about lying, even to a stranger. "I can understand that," she said as he finished. "But why did she agree to the marriage then? Or had she no choice?" Irmelin asked, confounded about how a person could marry someone they hated freely.</SPAN></SPAN>

    "You would?" Surprised by his kindness to a complete stranger, unaware of how small and fragile she looked. "Thank you Colzack, it means a lot." Her words polite as she had been taught growing up but also sincere.

    The man rose up from the ground leaving Irmelin to hold up the sheep wool as he proceeded to put some blankets over his horse, a small smile crept into her face at the connection the two seemed to have. It was a bit like how she and Kuja got along, though Irmelin had never owned her favourite mare, and her father had said that if a traveller wanted to buy Kuja then he'd sell her as the mare was no working horse. Of course now Kuja was hers and she could develop their bond deeper because of that.

    As he spoke about his travels all over the country Irmelin grew envious about how much he must have seen and experienced, how free that kind of life must be, to just ride were you want without ties and without someone telling you what to do. Having led a sheltered life dominated by a family that wanted the best for her without actually listening to what she did want Irmelin found it a fascinating life, though she didn't see the hardships that was involved.

    Her eyebrows rose in surprise as he asked her to travel with him, not only to a certain spot that she didn't know herself yet, but actually travel with him. Giving her the opportunity to lead the life she had quickly come to envy. At a loss for words Irmelin just sat silent, a bubbling feeling starting to rise from her stomach at the thought of agreeing leaving Colzack time to continue talking.

    Tracing the small charm with pale fingers Irmelin admired the beautiful carving it was surprisingly detailed for being so small, and the shadows forming on the dark wood cast the illusion of the wolf being alive. "Thank you, but this is so beautiful, are you sure you just want to give it away?" Irmelin said rising her hazel eyes to meet his for the first time, pushing down the urge to hug him in thanks. "If you are sure you want me to hang after you all the time then I would love to accompany you, it sounds like a life of freedom." Her answer had been quick and honest and not until some time after she realized the problems of hiding her identity. But by then she'd been amazed by the idea of travelling and reasoned that if problems occurred she could just leave.

    "If I go with you I don't want to live off your money alone though," she said sternly. Not wanting to live off someone else's money if she could do something herself. "I am actually quite good cook, it's a hobby since a few years back that my sister got me into," it was true. Irmelin liked cooking and in her village some men could cook so she didn't found it too strange for a young boy. "I also learned from my father how to make medicine, mostly for horses but also for humans. I could sell those for money to help." It would perhaps not make much money but at least she wouldn't feel useless.

    "I just have one demand, the village I came from, about a days travel to the east, I'd like to avoid it and if you want to see it then I'll sleep outside the village." Her slight disguise wouldn't fool anyone who new her, much less her family and Irmelin wasn't about to loose her new free life so easily.
  8. Colzack smiled and nodded.

    "It's no big deal. I like to help where I can!"

    He listened to him farther.

    "She only agreed to marry me because my father had wealth beyond her wildest dreams....I hate people like that...greedy and arrogant people need to be taught a lesson..." He clenched his fist. He knew it was unbecoming of a gentleman to strike a woman, but he was so close to hitting her back then, that the only way to stop himself from doing it was to leave the situation.

    "I wouldn't mind if you want to come with and you can do whatever you want...I try not to judge someone by their cover....Whatever your circumstances may be, I don't judge. I just help. Or try to anyway... and don't worry about that charm. Your more than welcome to keep it. It's just what I do to pass the time." Colzack looked up at the sky. It seemed the rain had stopped. She uncovered Imre and packed the blanket back up into Dagger's pack. He also took the wool blankets off of Dagger and put them back into the pack. He looked back at Imre, smirking.

    "You ready to go? Seems we'll be going south from here since going east wouldn't be a smart thing to do...." He patted Dagger and hopped on. He looked back at Imre to see if he had gotten on his horse. Colzack studied Imre's horse a little bit. It was a mare, no doubt. She was a beautiful color and just beautiful in general. As he started south, he decided to ask Imre about his horse.

    "Hey Imre, your horse. She's a beautiful mare. What kind of breed is she and how old is she? Just wondering...you see...i'm a bit of a horse fan...I admire beautiful horses....and yours is beyond beautiful. So beautiful, in fact, that I might have to keep Dagger away from her!" he chuckled a bit. It would be a bit different, having someone following him. But for all the time he had been alone, this would be a break from that loneliness.
  9. Irmelin nodded slightly to his words but she agreed with Colzack fully on the matter, though women had much fewer opportunities to do something against it, though apparently men as well wasn't always in charge either. On a more positive note though perhaps there were places where people could chose their own life freely and maybe she'd see them when she travelled.

    Seeing the rain slowly seize and Colzack rose to go over to his horse Irmelin did the same, stretching her back as she went over to Kuja, glad to see the mare was mostly dry after taking shelter under the trees. Stroking the mare's brown neck gently Irmelin looked over the tack to see it was all in place and didn't hurt Kuja.

    "Sounds good," Irmelin said, grinning back at Colzack and jumped up on Kuja's back, glad she had practised a lot and didn't embarrass herself, the mare did stand almost 16.3 hh and Irmelin was quite short.

    His question about Kuja was pretty much what she herself used to wonder. "Yeah, she's beautiful, but I'm not sure about her actually," she admitted untangling a part of black mane caught in the reins. "My father got her in a trade three years ago, she is probably around eight years old and a purebred Warmblood. We have never been able to use her for farm work though, Kuja never adjusted to any other work than being ridden. So father wanted to sell her but no one that passed through our village could handle her, she is very sensitive and they were too rough and hard on her mouth."

    Of course Irmelin was always glad when a possible buyer failed at managing the mare, it meant that she could continue to train Kuja herself. "It wouldn't be so good to let them run without supervision no," Irmelin agreed with a low chuckle. She loved foals and had always been glad when they had one but to have a foal when travelling wasn't the best idea perhaps.

    Irmelin looked over the black horse, well muscled, powerful gait and with a good build he was an impressive stallion. "What about your Dagger, he is majestic, far from the usual horses we got at the farm." She may not have been an expert but Irmelin had picked up some things from her experiences growing up.

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    I imagine Kuja as a KWPN mare:)
    KWPN 2.jpg
  10. Colzack chuckled, patting Dagger as he trotted along happily.

    "Dagger was actually a gift given to me when I turned 16. He is a black arabian. It was tradition for my village. When the son or daugher of the village elder turned 16, they were given a horse. There really is no point to it other than horses are a symbol of strength in my village. If you got one, it was either one of two things. Either you were a higher up, like me, or you were deemed worthy by the village elder to own one..."

    Colzack wasn't proud of the fact that he rambled on and on. It was something he could thank his mother for. He looked back at Imre and smiled sheepishly.

    "Sorry about my ramblings...If I ever bore you, please feel free to stop me...I am not proud of the fact that I do ramble on..."

    Looking ahead, he could see what was ahead. A beautiful river ran just to the left of them. He pulled over, pulling out his almost empty water bag that he used to hydrate Dagger and filled it up. He then took his canteen, dipping that into the cool stream and filling it. He turned to Imre.

    "If you have a canteen to fill, I'd do it now. Also, I'd let Kuja get a drink. Dagger likes this stream the best so, naturally, he's already getting a drink. I also stay here for about a day when I'm passing by so that Dagger can graze while I carve some wood to sell...Feel free to do whatever...We are about 15 miles away from your village so we should be fine if we stay where me and Dagger always stay when we come here..."

    He pointed to a small forest that surrounded both sides of the river.

    "We usually just find a clearing and camp there for the night..."

    Colzack took a seat by the river's edge, pulling out a piece of beautiful redwood. He instantly started carving the beautiful wood, trying to smooth it out, not knowing what he was going to carve it into yet.

    "So, yea....you can watch me or whatever you would like. I will try to catch some fish for dinner tonight if that is alright with you...."

    Colzack wasn't used to having a companion so this was all new to him. He just hoped he wasn't boring the boy.

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  11. "Don't worry," Irmelin said and moved her gaze from Dagger to Colzack. "I find it interesting actually." Not used to hear about things and customs from other places it were intriguing to hear, she had not heard much of that in her quite isolated village. It was something that spurred her when agreeing to follow Colzack, to see and learn of all the different people and their customs, there was so much to see and do that it couldn't realistically possible to chose a single place to live in, at least not in Irmelin's opinion.</SPAN></SPAN>

    Pulling Kuja to a halt as well Irmelin nodded as she listened to Colzack, it was a beautiful place to rest at with plenty of food and water for both horses and humans. Dismounting the mare Irmelin gently scratched her forehead before loosening the girth and pulling off the saddle, hanging it on a low, sturdy branch. Kuja, though loose, followed Irmelin as she used to, in a sense the mare was like a dog following the girl around and coming when called.

    Doing as Colzack had suggested Irmelin took her water skin and filled it in the water, almost emptying it instantly, the cool water was fresh and felt good after the warm sun. Filling the skin once more she placed it in her bag before sitting down in the soft grass near Colzack, watching him carve a piece of redwood. She wasn't sure what to do herself yet so she settled for observing him work, hazel eyes caught on his work, she was fascinated by how Colzack could take a simple piece of wood and form it to something almost living. Afraid to disrupt his concentration Irmelin sat quiet at first, content with watching but only for awhile. "Did you learn to carve in your village?" She asked curiously. "Or was it something you picked up later?"
  12. Colzack continued to carve until Imre asked him a question. He had to think about it for a minute. He knew he didn't start carving in the village. It was a hobby he took up after the fact. He didn't know what he took up that hobby. He had just seen someone doing it so he thought he would give it a shot. So he did and ended up being very good at it. He made enough money to live on which was all he needed.

    "Well, you see...I started carving when I started traveling. I hadn't even known about it till I left the village. I took it up after I saw someone else doing it. And before you knew it, I was addicted. I travel mostly to find good wood to carve. The south, where we are headed, has particularly beautiful yet sturdy wood I like to use with my carvings...It's this red wood that I have. They also have some beautiful smelling wood and that is sturdy as well...."

    He continued to shape the block of wood, deciding to carve a bear figure. Most people, when the bought from him, he found out that the bears were the most popular. Why? He had no clue. Maybe it was the majesty of the giant beast or the strenght it seemed to radiate to everyone that saw one. No matter what, they were popular and that was all that really mattered to him. The more popular they were, the more he sold and therefore, the better the places he could go and the better the wood he could find.

    "Imre, are you really good at anything? Cooking? Carving? Did you learn something like this in your village?" Now Colzack was interested in the boy sitting before him. He still couldn't help himself. The boy looked so feminine it was hard not to stare. He tried his best as he waited to see how the boy would respond.
  13. As she listened to Colzack explain Irmelin looked on as he carved the piece of wood, seeing it slowly take the shape of a bear. She had always admired people skilled at carvings, they brought life to simple pieces of wood or stone, how they could see the shape in their mind and carve accordingly always baffled her though it was not something she could see herself doing.</SPAN></SPAN>

    His question got her thinking though, something she was very good at? Well that was a good question. Of course she'd done many household chores, worked with animals and similar, but she hadn't had the chance to learn many crafts exactly, unless medicine was counted as a craft. Her parents owning a horse farm led to her spending most of her time working with animals so she was very good with horses, in her village though this was needed for work and was expected of her and not counted as a craft.

    It wasn't that she looked down herself or had bad confidence Irmelin just didn't think she truly excelled at something, in her eyes she was more of an all-rounder. "Well," she said, hesitating slightly. "As I've worked with horses all my life and also been quite interested in acrobatics, so in the end I combined the two. I have always been small so I have been able to train vaulting on horseback as well as on the ground." She'd spent much time training horses, especially Kuja, on the ground and from the horse back so she could train her vaulting without fear of the horse leaping or shying away.

    Irmelin had little knowledge of how to act to pass as a boy, even though she had brothers and cousins she had never thought about how they acted really, they had just been the annoying type of guys that she mostly avoided, a typical sibling relationship, now though she wished she'd paied more attention. Normally she was more open and talkative, now though as she was trying to pass as someonw she was not her words locked themselves in her throat, she felt that she ehaved somewhat stiffly but Irmelin wasn't sure how to beahve and so instead she froze up, not knowing what to say or do, or if there really was any kind of difference that she imagined.
  14. Colzack continued to carve as he listend to Imre speak. He had his suspicions. Wierd ones, yet they seemed so viable right now it wasn't funny. He didn't raise his suspicions to the boy though for fear of offending the boy. Maybe he was just born to have a girlish figure. A lot of boys nowadays looked oddly like girls. But the only wierd thing though...was that Colzack was actually interested in that kind of stuff. Girlish boys? Did he really swing that way? And all along he thought he was into girls...He was so confused right now.

    He just decided to go along with it. It was no point arguing with himself over this. If he did roll that way, then he did. That was all there was to it. Colzack continued to carve the wood, the head almost finished. He looked up, taking a break from straining his eyes from concentration. It seemed that Dagger kept wandering over to where Kuja was. He could tell that the stallion was interested in the stunningly beautiful mare. But he couldn't let them do anything. Having a foal on this trip would only mean they would have to spend years in one village and Colzack wasn't keen on doing that just yet. He stood up and walked over to Dagger, taking this lead and tying him to a sturdy looking tree. He hated restraining Dagger, but it had to be done for the sake of his continued travels. He then returned to the riverside to continue carving, turning to Imre just before he started.

    "Acrobatic Horse trainer? That's a skill i'd like to have...But I have not the figure to do it, besides, I don't think Dagger would like it if I tried it on him anyway.." he chuckled.
    "But you are more than welcome to train him if you would like. I'm sure he wouldn't mind if you did it, seeing as how your more lightweight than I am. I'd acutally like to see if Dagger is willing to let you do it..."
  15. Irmelin looked on a bit guiltily as Colzack tied up Dagger as the stallion seemed very interested in Kuja, this could be a problem later on when the mare went into season. It was a problem that could wait until later though but at the moment it was unfair that Kuja could walk loose so Irmelin decided that to make it fair she would keep Kuja by her side as well so she could not wander over to the black stallion. Calling the bay mare over Irmelin grabbed her reins and untied one end so it became one long lead instead, as Kuja had no bit the simple bridle acted as a halter as well, letting the mare graze around her. "Sorry about this," she said as Colzack came back from Dagger. "Under these circumstances it is unfortunate that Kuja is a mare."</SPAN></SPAN>

    Listening to him Irmelin grinned slightly at his words as she looked at the impressive stallion, it would be interesting to try and train him. On her family's farm she hadn't had the chance to handle many well bred horses, only a few and they were quickly sold. Too bad that she in her hasty packing hadn't had the thought to remember her specially made surcingle, a padded strip of leather that was fastened around the girth area and aided her when she trained acrobatics on horseback. "I'd love to try with Dagger, without my surcingle though I can't do as much on horseback even if he accepts me though," she said looking back to Colzack. "With larger horses my height does make it harder to jump up on the horse's back without a saddle or surcingle but with Kuja who is trained for it I can still do it."

    She was already planning out what she would need to make her own surcingle, not much, some leather and padding, but until they reached a town Irmelin had to make do with no equipment. She needed to establish a bond with dagger first anyway which was done from the ground so the lack of equipment wasn't a hindrance.
  16. Colzack offered the boy his hand and lead him over to Dagger.

    "Dagger, this is Imre. He's very kind and won't hurt you...ok? And I am sorry for tying you up, my friend. Once we settle down, I will see if I can convince Imre to let you formally meet Kuja, ok?" He winked at the horse playfully and stood back, so Imre could do whatever he needed to do. He imagined that having a bond with the horse was the first thing he needed to do and Dagger wasn't hard to befriend. Dagger trusted anyone with good intentions. This horse had a suprising intuition.

    Colzack found a spot on the ground and sat down, still carving his bear. It was slowly taking shape. He carved away as Imre made a bond with the stallion. He would also probably find that Dagger had a sense of humor and would often play little tricks on him every now and then. He was an intelligent horse. He just needed direction which, if anyone could give it, Imre could. After finishing the bear's torso completely, he looked over at at Dagger and Imre again, just to check in on them and see how they were doing.

    "Dagger, you be nice to him, ok? No tricks! He's very nice, trust me..." He trusted Dagger to his intuition. Hopefully Dagger could see him as Colzack did, kind and gentle.
  17. After making sure Kuja could not get caught in her reins Irmelin let Colzack lead her over to Dagger, she had seen already that the stallion was well trained from the start. He lacked much of the typical stallion behaviour that Irmelin had seen in many stallions, the only ones she'd seen that behaved civilized were those trained and socialised from a young age. Dagger smaller and slimmer than Kuja, having a chiseled face and a slender yet strong exterior.</SPAN></SPAN>

    "Hey there Dagger," she said, stretching out a hand to the stallion Irmelin waited for him to sniff her hand before going closer. As he lowered his black head to blow on her Irmelin stepped closer and stroke Dagger's neck gently, scratching him near the withers as horses usually did to each other. "Aren't you a handsome one?" The stallion didn't seem to have anything against her but many horses accepted people while being petted but it could be an entirely different thing to try training or riding them.

    Irmelin turned away from the horse slightly to look at Colzack to praise his horse but she only had time to open her mouth before Dagger lowered his head and pushed her in the back making her stumble a step forward. Laughing she scratched him some more on the neck and behind the ears. "I was going to say that Dagger is a very sweet and well trained horse," she said looking at the man sitting by the river. "But I guess I will have to add in mischievous as well. It's a good thing I don't have a hat on, he would probably steal it," she added in the end and turned back to Dagger scratching his forehead and gave him a quick kiss on the black muzzle.
  18. Colzack watched as Imre quickly made friends with Dagger. He was a bit of a jokester, but all in all, he was a good horse.

    Dagger whinnied when Imre kissed the stallion on the muzzle. Seemed Dagger made a new friend rather quickly. Even Colzack himself wasn't sure how Dagger would react to the feminine boy, but he was glad he hadn't reacted negitively. This was a good sign. Colzack watched Imre closely. The fluid motions that moved the boy's body, the slim figure. All of it held Colzack captive. SO much so that he began wondering if Imre was indeed a girl. No boy was this feminine. And Colzack refused to believe that he rolled that way. But the only thing he could do now was watch the boy to see what he would do and how he would act.

    Eventually the boy would slip up and reveal himself to actually be a young and beautiful girl. At least that is what Colzack hoped would happen. He refused to believe he liked people of the same gender. He absolutely refused to believe it. But as he watched Imre, he seemed less likely to screw up and reveal it. After all , the kid was graceful. Colzack's face grew red with frustration and embarrassment at his thoughts right now. He looked back down at his bear, determined to finish carving it instead of being distracted by the feminine boy. As he continued to carve the bear, he shouted something to Imre.

    "You be careful and don't hurt yourself, ok?"
  19. "I'm always careful," Irmelin said. Ignoring those times when she had gotten overly excited about something, usual something with horses, and that had resulted in her falling off, but if you never fell of a horse than that just showed you weren't really riding. Even if they were embarrassing mistakes or just accidents a fall was something to learn from, at least after getting past the embarrassing time if you fell off with someone watching. By now Irmelin had become quite good at falling off correctly so as to avoid serious injury but no one could guarantee complete safety. Noticing Colzack's red face Irmelin got curious, but he his eyes were fixed on the sculpture in his hands so she guessed he was frustrated over his carving, and soon her attention was drawn to the horses again.

    She looked over to where Kuja was grazing calmly, swishing her tail at the flies, occasionally the mare looked up to make sure her owner and the others where still there but other than that she was busy eating. She'd always been fond of food and treats, and you had to be careful when rewarding her with treats so as she wouldn't become spoiled.

    Turning the Dagger again, glad that the stallion seemed fine around her Irmelin got an idea, seeing as Dagger was calm around her maybe she could try riding him now. Not for long or for any real training but just a short while to get a feel for him, to see how sensitive he was. Okay, to be honest a large part of her just wanted to see how he was to ride she had to admit to herself. "Colzack," she said casting a look at him. "Do you think it would be alright if I tried riding him a little, not anything straining of course as both horses have walked enough for today."

    After getting his approval Irmelin smiled brightly, "thank you." Untying the reins Irmelin placed them back over the stallion's neck and walked closer to his side, she wanted to see how flexible he was with his neck before she mounted him. Gently she grabbed the rein and stretched it until it was straight, she held it with her thumb and forefinger only and didn't pull on the rein, just held it steady. First Dagger seemed a bit confused as to what to do but soon he bent his head towards her and Irmelin instantly let the rein go loose as a reward. Again she did the same, now the stallion immediately bent his head to her so he muzzle came to her hand.

    Letting go of the rein she stroke his neck as an extra reward. "Dagger is a very intelligent horse Colzack," she said, impressed. "Some horse I have done this with took a much longer time to realize what I wanted." Moving to his other side Irmelin proceeded to do the same again, holding the rein straight with two fingers, this time it took an extra try before he bent his head all the way. Irmelin supposed that as Colzack was from a village where horses meant a lot then it was no wonder he would be well trained and muscled evenly on both sides, though as humans had, Dagger was stronger in one side.

    Feeling satisfied that Dagger accepted her Irmelin mounted him without much trouble, she was used to mounting Kuja so the smaller Dagger was no problem. Taking the reins, though letting them hang loose, Irmelin proceeded to see how Dagger accepted her lateral flexion training while on his back. Gently she did the same as from the ground and Dagger quickly responded showing his flexibility, and quick thinking when she asked him to do it.

    Leaning forward slightly, more so that she shifted her weight forward Irmelin gave him a gentle squeeze with her legs and he listened instantly, walking with energy in his step, he was apparently not a stallion that dragged his hooves over the ground. Letting him walk a few vaults in a walk Irmelin gathered the reins and by tilting her weight forward and a reminder with her legs he went off into a trot. As other Arabians he had amazing gaits, even the trot was fluid and almost had a floating moment as normally only the gallop had.

    That's when it happened. Irmelin heard a rustle from a bush nearby but she had no time to see what had disturbed it as Dagger reacted. Maybe he had a skittish side or perhaps it was extra hormones after being near Kuja but Dagger had apparently decided whatever animal that had appeared was a monster in disguise. First jumping forward in a mix of canter and trot Irmelin got thrown out of balance and when Dagger threw himself to the left and then instantly back to the right Irmelin felt herself glide off centre.

    Not wanting to go down easy she tried with all her might to stay on, being sure to use her legs as means of staying on Dagger's back and not the reins, but with one last jerk from Dagger she fell off, stubbornly holding on to the reins so that the stallion could not run off and get caught in them. She was determined to be the only one hurt from this, her last thought before landing was the pure embarrassment of falling of this quickly with Colzack watching, this was humiliating to be thrown off from a simple trot.
  20. Colzack watched Imre ride and train Dagger like he had. With precision and experience. He as impressed. So impressed in fact that he forgot about his embarrassment from earlier. Watching closely however, it seemed that Dagger's skittish side now reared it's ugly head. Dagger was very intelligent, but when it came to being spooked, that was his downfall. It was so easy to spook Dagger that even a mouse could topple the great and beautiful stallion and make him shiver in fear. Colzack watched as Imre hap hazardly fell off the horse from a simple trot. It reminded him of when he had first fallen off of Dagger from a simple trot. It was embarrassing. He ran over to Imre, offering a helping hand. As he went over to help the boy up, he noticed something that now was very hard to ignore. The "boy's" chest didn't look so much like a boy's chest at this close of a range. His face turned bright red. He helped her up anyway and then turned away, putting his hands over his mouth and trying to supress his hormones.

    That was no boy. Imre was indeed a girl. Last time Colzack knew, boys didn't have a chest that prominent.

    "Excuse me if you think this is rude, but I simply have to ask. Are you really a girl? If you are, you didn't have to lie to me...I'm not a lech or a pervert by any means and I am actually very kind...Tell me Imre, Are you a girl?"

    His face was hot now and he felt he could almost collapse from the heat now rising to his face. But he had to know. He had to know if what he saw wasn't just a lie.

    (Sorry it's not that long. It's late and I have work tomorrow. I need to head off to bed now)