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> Postcards from Tamriel, Stories and such that fall somewhere between a snippet and a thread
SubRosa
post Jul 6 2019, 05:00 PM
Post #121


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Joined: 14-March 10
From: Between The Worlds



With all of this ranching, Athlain is starting to look like John Wayne to me.

Athlain is a true knight in shining guar poo!

It looks like he is the guar-whisperer. A very sweet tale of fatherhood.



Nits:
They’re hungry and they want you to feed them[.] They wouldn’t do that for me.
One of those hungry guar ate the period between the sentences.


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haute ecole rider
post Jul 7 2019, 06:09 PM
Post #122


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From: The place where the Witchhorses play



Aww! This brings back memories of feeding hungry hatchlings at the wildlife rehab center! They always knew when you were going to feed them and wake up from a sound sleep to chirp madly and reach ceilingward with gaping maws. At least they didn't have teeth . . .
laugh.gif tongue.gif


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treydog
post Jul 10 2019, 07:41 PM
Post #123


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From: The Smoky Mountains



@SubRosa- I have a feeling he is going to walk funny, at least. And despite his protests, he does rather like the critters- but he has to pretend to be grumpy just to declare his individuality. And I got the baby guar to... expel... the missing punctuation point. They will probably gobble some more if I don't watch them....

@haute- I was thinking of your veterinary experiences as I wrote this. And I also decided to go with the idea that dinosaurs -> birds and that guar are warm-bloods.

And now, the conclusion of this... messy tale... or should that be "tail?"

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A sound interrupted my rest; it was not sleep, because noxious odors had always kept me awake far more certainly than loud noises. This sound was not loud; it was somewhere between a soft belch and a cough. I raised my head enough to see a tiny face looking back at me, with what I could only describe as a quizzical expression, similar to Rah working on a particularly perplexing chemistry problem. The mouth opened, letting out another small belch, and I started to grin. However, my impending good humor was wiped away, or rather inundated, when the mouth opened wider and let loose a torrent of... whatever it was that the little ba... beast had decided not it no longer wanted in its stomach. If it had smelled awful going in, it was ten times worse coming back up. I jumped to my feet and flailed around, using words that I imagine Athynae did not realize that I knew.

For her part, she sat up from where she had been sleeping, did some indefinable thing with her hands that made it look as if she had just brushed her hair, and stifled a laugh at my antics- and probably my language. “Oh- I forgot to tell you. The mash is not an exact formula, so their little tummies can't digest everything. They get the nutrients they need and … um... get rid of the rest. It's perfectly normal.”

Anything I might have said in response would have set the air on fire, so I just pointed to the water bucket. She had the kindness to bring it to me, and also the fortitude to avoid laughing as I wiped my face, but her eyes were dancing. I had just finished cleaning myself when I heard several more “urp... hack... blechhhhh” sounds from behind me, and felt something coat my lower legs and feet. “It just gets better and better, doesn't it?” I muttered.

Athynae put both hands over her mouth and spoke between them, her words so muffled I could not make them out.

“What?” She shook her head from side to side, still keeping her hands over her mouth. Her shoulders were also quivering and I got a feeling of impending doom. “You are going to have to tell me eventually. Think of it this way- just like those little... monsters over there,” I pointed to the babies, who were watching my arm-waving with avid interest, “Better out than in.”

'Thyna finally took a deep breath and composed herself, with what appeared to be a supreme effort. “Interesting that you said that. Because... if they are finished digesting, which is what this indicates,” she pointed at the mess that splattered my boots and legs, “that means we- and by 'we', I mean 'you', need to stimulate the... ah... other end of their digestive systems.”

I crossed my arms and shook my head. “Oh no. Not a chance. I stuck my hands down their little gullets so they would eat, but there is no way in Oblivion I am putting my fingers in their....”

“Of course not, you scrib-brain! That would probably kill them!” She calmed herself and spoke more quietly. “What you need to do is gently massage their little abdomens with warm towels to stimulate their colons and bladders. When you do, nature and muscles will take over, and they will feel much better.”

“I, on the other hand, will smell much worse,” I muttered.

Of course, her elven hearing caught my protest. “Oh, I don't think that's possible.”

The next several days were a nightmarish repetition of the first one- making... baby guar glop, stuffing it into their gullets, letting them process what they could, and... expel what they couldn't. And for the entire time, I was confined to that small room. Whenever I made any attempt to esc... leave for a moment, one of the tiny beasts would awaken and alert the other four, at which point they would all start cheeping. The first time it happened, we heard a loud banging coming from out in the main stable and Athynae had to go and check, because I was obviously trapped. In a few minutes, I heard the pad of large feet coming toward the door, and watched as Athynae came in, holding a lead rope. She stepped to the side, and Lumhara's massive head poked through the portal and turned so as to bring an eye to bear on the nest. She took her time, seeming to inspect every part of the arrangement, before turning her gaze on me. She held eye-contact for a long moment, then gave a derisive snort and shook her head vigorously. “I take it that is a comment on my parenting skills,” I said, interpreting her actions.

Athynae agreed, “She probably wonders why you aren't in the nest with the babies. Now that she seems more or less satisfied, I will get her back to her stall.” She paused on the threshold, “I would strongly suggest you don't try to go anywhere.”

I was beginning to forget what the sun looked like- and what fresh air smelled like. That room had become my prison. I wondered if it had been this bad for my father and Aunt Serene in the Imperial Prison. Surely not. At least they weren't confined with five tiny, hungry, incontinent little monsters. Athynae did as much as she could- taking over my cleaning duties in the other parts of the building, bringing in fresh bedding and food for the hatchlings, and clean water and food for me as well. The one time she tried to assist with the actual feeding, the ungrateful little wretches snapped at her and huddled around my knees, eyeing her with dark suspicion. I know that bothered her, especially since she was usually much better with guar than I was. And because it reinforced the fact that I couldn't leave the room, I did not find it in the least amusing.

Yet another crisis presented itself when she brought me clean clothes. Because I had avoided doing stable work, I did not have much in the way of “suitable”- that is, ready for the rag pile- clothing for my current situation. But 'Thyna, with her usual resourcefulness, was able to find some shirts and trousers that would not be any less valuable for being exposed to... that particular environment. The problem arose when I pulled off the thoroughly disgusting striped shirt I had been wearing for three days straight. As soon as I had it off, the babies began carrying on as if their tails were caught in a steel trap. Athynae recognized the issue. “Put the shirt back on, Lainie! If you take it off, they can't 'see' you and they are wondering where 'Mama' went.”

“Just paint stripes on my skin! Please don't make me put... that... back on.”

“And what happens when you wash? And we don't have time anyway- Lumhara and the other girls will tear this place apart if you don't do something quick!” She was right, I could hear disturbed bugling and banging coming from the stalls. Holding my breath, I pulled the disgusting article back over my torso and crouched beside the nest. The hatchlings gave contented sighs, along with some... presents for me.

My voice was gloomy as I looked at my best friend, “Please find me some more striped shirts. I'll pay for them. If I can wait until the little... creatures doze off, I can probably change without causing a catastrophe. As for the old clothing....”

She shook her head, “We are friends, Lainie, but... there's no way I am touching those clothes, not even to burn them.”

I couldn't really argue with that. I had been wearing them, and I didn't want to touch them either.

By the fifth day, there was considerably less regurgitation and they had also figured out how to take care of their other... needs... without assistance. We set aside an area for that purpose, and they got fairly good about using it, except for the smallest one, who seemed to choose her moments to have “accidents.” Better still, they were able to take feed from bowls instead of requiring someone- that is to say, me- to stuff it into their mouths. They were also getting larger; two of the biggest reached to above my knees, and the others were not far behind. Less frequent feeding meant I got to rest a bit more, and that gave me time to think about my other requirement- I desperately wanted a chance to wash thoroughly, instead of the “bucket baths” I had been taking ever since this ordeal began. The lavender that Athynae had used to scent the water, out of kindness- or more likely, self-preservation- could only go so far. What I wanted was a long, hot bath- but I would settle for dousing myself at the pump outside the stable. With that goal in mind, I waited until my little scaly watch-lizards had dropped off to sleep following their afternoon meal. Athynae had escaped earlier, mumbling something about “needing to exercise Lumhara.” It might even have been true, but all I knew was, she could leave whenever she wanted and I couldn't.

Just to be safe, I hung one of the spare striped shirts over a chair and placed it where it would be visible from the nest. Then, moving as stealthily as any burglar, I eased out the door, being careful not to let it slam shut. Luck continued to smile on me, as the stalls were empty, their usual inhabitants having been turned out for exercise or grooming or socialization. The sun beckoned from the back door of the stable like a long-lost friend and I crept toward it on feet that felt suddenly light enough to dance. This was going to be perfect- a quick nip outside, a wash, some fresh air- and then back to the dungeon. But I would be clean! Still moving quietly, I checked outside. Athynae was atop Lumhara in one of the training rings, working on knee signals to get her to turn, stop, or accelerate. Once they had those mastered, 'Thyna would be able to use her bow while mounted. But for me, it meant they were focused on their task- not on the door or the pump.

I had just reached that blessed fount when I heard an odd noise from Lumhara's direction. I looked to see the golden guar facing me, every line of her body the definition of “alert.” Athynae was also looking my way, or actually just a bit behind me. She pointed and started to say, “Don't you think it's a bit soon for a wa....,” when the words were snatched from her mouth as her guar lunged for the paddock fence and cleared it in a single bound. It was a testament to 'Thyna's skill that she managed to keep her seat. As for me, I was paralyzed by the sight of several hundred pounds of guar charging toward me. Just before she arrived, I got my muscles unfrozen and turned to dodge back into the stable. And there, also mesmerized by the charging beast, were the five hatchlings. Visions of trampling carnage flashed through my mind as I dove to shield the little monsters who had been the bane of my existence for the last five days.

But the impact I was dreading never came. At least not to my escaped charges. I felt the ground shake and the breeze of Lumhara's passing and turned just in time to see her knock one of the wildling males completely off his feet. That accomplished, she placed a hind foot on his neck and raised her head, bellowing a challenge that must have been heard in Maar Gan. He had the good sense to remain completely still, until Lumhara gave him a shake and rumbled a low warning.

“Lainie! Get back inside, right now!”

I looked with longing at the water pump, only scant feet away, “But...”

“Now!”

With a sigh, I turned back into the stable, watching as the babies turned to follow me. Well- four of them did. I counted them off, calling the names I had given them as I went, “Filbert, Gilbert, Lilbert, Wilbert... Where's Fafnir? Fafnir!” The smallest hatchling was looking at Lumhara with what I could only describe as... admiration. Meanwhile, the look Athynae was bestowing upon me was anything but admiring.

“You can't give them those names! You do know that three of them are female, right?”

I glared back at her. “So? I'm their 'Mama,' so I can name them whatever I like. I did have some alternate names--- Barfy, Poopy, Pukey, Sneezy, and Sh...”

No! Never mind! Fine! Just... get them back inside, please.”

I turned to lead my parade of fellow escapees back to our cell, and again, Fafnir lagged behind. Lumhara released the male with one last warning shake and stepped carefully over to where the smallest hatchling stood, stretching as far up on her hind legs as she could. Athynae's guar leaned down and give her tiny duplicate a snuffle and a lick, then nudged her toward the rest of us. And as we walked (or waddled) back to the tack room, Lumhara paced after us, for all the world like a guard or an escort. When we finally got back to the doorway, Lumhara had to nudge the little F bomb (as I called her because of her apparently premeditated flatulence) into the room. She then turned to face the doors and went into the “starting rest” stance that she used at the beginning of a race.

After that, things settled down. It was only a couple of more days until all of them had gotten independent enough to not need me there every second. They even started accepting food from Athynae, which was a major breakthrough for all of us. As for me, I finally got to go home, where I had to explain to my father why I had needed to rent a room at the Ald Skar Inn.

“Because they wouldn't let me use the bathing facilities unless I did. And then, after the third bath, they started charging extra for the hot water, so I used my Firebite spell to heat it for myself. And by then, I was so exhausted that I actually needed the room.” He nodded his understanding finally, his expression solemn, although I think his eyes were twinkling. I added, “Oh. There's a pile of... things outside the front gate. Nobody should probably touch it until I can get some lamp oil and 'Thyna can come by with her bow and some fire arrows.... For now, I am going to take a bath. And then probably several more.”

And, even though I had grown to detest striped shirts, I had no choice but to wear one every day when I went back to the stables. Because if I didn't, a certain quintet of guar, who should have grown out of it, set up a terrible ruckus. And their names were Lady, Dancer, Strongheart, Hopper... and Fafnir.

This post has been edited by treydog: Jul 11 2019, 10:42 PM


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Grits
post Jul 11 2019, 05:32 PM
Post #124


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Joined: 6-November 10
From: The Gold Coast



The inky dinky stinky pink skink hijinks was great fun to read! I adore Rah as Athlain affectionately sees him.

Oh my gosh, The Dejected Scientist and his Expedition had me in stitches. Four colors of ink! Athlain had a stellar moment almost inventing the head-sailing game. I loved Rah’s awed retelling. Uncle Seth! That was the perfect ending!

Good times in the guar byre! “Push it into their throat..” Yikes! I love that little F-bomb’s name stuck. Poor Athlain, guar rescue sounds as exhausting as any other animal rescue, only with a much higher volume of muck.

(A nit: It looks like some italicizing went haywire in the paragraph where Athlain names the sweet darlings.)

I love these postcards from Ald’ruhn!


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SubRosa
post Jul 12 2019, 06:31 PM
Post #125


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Joined: 14-March 10
From: Between The Worlds



Guar feeding habits, perfectly normal... panic.gif

Ooh, guar presents! ohmy.gif

That was a nice touch of 'Thyna exercising with Luma. Many people think riding animals are like machines, they can just hop on one, turn the key, and ride off. But the fact is that riders need to spend time working with their mounts, so they can learn be comfortable with each other, and to understand one another.

That was a sweet little interlude of Athlain's mommy days in the stable. I am sure he will using the stilt striders for all his transportation needs after that! laugh.gif



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ghastley
post Jul 12 2019, 06:40 PM
Post #126


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Joined: 13-December 10



I have visions of someone getting a striped shirt as a gift at the next holiday where one does that sort of thing. devilsmile.gif


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