Congratulations, It's Babies

Warning: Baby Goats.

baby-goats.jpg

Fort Weyr - Stone Barn
Fashioned from the same volcanic material that houses the caverns, these square-cut stones have been laid by a Mastercrafter stonemason turns ago to house the implements necessary in caring for Fort Weyr's stock. Large enough to stable several runners, there are also stalls for ailing herdbeast, with straw-covered stone floors within the stalls, the aisle outside swept clean. Overhead is a loft full of hay, grain bins, and other supplies. Large double doors open wide on either end and smaller windows higher up along the walls allow for light and the free flow of fresh air.

At either end of the structure are two work stations, one for leatherwork and another for healing: the waist-high counter of stainless steel with shelving above contains gadgets and tools, jars, bottles and boxes of salve, potion and powders - some of it fairly scary-looking like saws, clippers, clamps and needles. Mingled with the scent of animals and hay is a pungent medicinal smell that marks this as the healer area. The other has a wooden workbench with a rack of snippers, blades, mallets, awls and an anvil beside which are pegs with strips of leather, half-finished harnesses, whips, aprons and wide-brimmed hats. Overhead, shelves with jars of finish - dyes and oils, boxes of coiled rawhide thread for stitching and hand tools indicates this is the leatherwork station.


There is a lot of noise coming from the stone barn, for sure: it is definitely not a usual series of sounds, and may be attracting any number of eyes from outside on the feeding grounds. The noises in question? High-pitched, irritated braying; several loud clangs; a couple of crashes; high-pitched triumphant braying, the sound of what might be a young human woman groaning, and a lot of general hoof-smash sounds. Inside, Anrila (appreciating the fact that she's recently cut her hair relatively short and it's not getting tangled in anything) is trying to herd three baby caprines back into a stall. "No," she says firmly, "Alcater. Come. Here." At their young age, the one who is called Alcater probably knows that that's his name, but shows no interest in ceasing chewing on someone's half-finished leather project.

Zhirayr is — understandably — quite wary, as he makes his way to the barn from the feeding grounds, as one of the attracted crowd. (More than his eyes, it would seem, have turned this way.) It isn't really the braying or the groaning or the hoof-smashing that has him actually heading in to the barn; it's the clanging and crashing sounds. Somewhat reticently, he nonetheless calls out: "Is anything broken, or is anyone hurt in here?" as he tries to convince his eyes to adjust to the light-level change more quickly, the better to know what he's walking into.

The sound is attractive. Very attractive. And it brings a curious listener to the doorway of the barn. He's too big to not make a sound when he lands, wings inadvertantly knocking over some of the shovels leaning against the side of the barn. Oops. Ha'ze'll have to fix that later. Alas, his head is TOO BIG to fit through and see what is making that sound. It sounds like babies. Please let it be babies. — Kainaesyth.

All that clamour is bound to bring several interested folk down to investigate and even some who aren't actually of Fort Weyr. Rayathess is here half business, half pleasure and with the 'business' part done he perhaps wandered this way in hopes of catching Anrila. While he certainly does find his sister, he's not expecting the baby goats, the (new) Steward and… Kainaesyth. "Heard it too, huh?" he mumbles absentmindedly to the bronze as he'll start to gather those shovels. May as well be kind and get those sort of safely out of the way? Next step… squeeze by inquisitive bronze dragon.

Congratulations! It's babies. "Um, not permanently, sir," Anrila calls to Zhirayr as she does her best to place his voice, wrangling one of the three kids — the other boy, the one who isn't Alcater — back into the correct stall and turning to try to catch the female of the triplets. Fat chance on that happening, because she's already dashed straight for the curious Kainaesyth like a suicidal herd animal who does not realize that dragons eat herd animals. Anrila's eyes widen in horror for a second before she dashes off to catch her too, leaving Alcater with his tasty leatherworking for the time being and manages to also call out, "Thanks, Raya —" The little girl caprine simply sits down in the doorway in front of Kainaesyth and brays.

"Please don't eat the babies — wait, what am I saying," Zhirayr has begun in a pleasant, cautious voice, only to make a face at himself and scrub at his forehead with one hand. "It's you." Presumably he means Kainaesyth, since he's looking at Kainaesyth — and the baby-girl caprine, for that matter. "Of course you wouldn't eat a baby. My apologies." To Anrila: "Did you need help keeping them from escaping, or eating their way out of their pens, or…?"

Rayathess doesn't fear being stepped on because, yes, it's Kainaesyth for one and because he's been around dragons enough to know they'd not harm a human (though he has been tied to one!). "You alright in there, Anrila? What's making the noise and… why's the bronze wanting so terribly to make a dragon sized door into the barn?" he asks with a faint smirk. So maybe he can't pass through quite yet but he'll wait…

Kainaesyth is like a calming stone. Zen radiates out from him. A step backwards (Rayathess could probably get through now) and lays his head down on the ground. Still slightly higher than the baby caprine, but eye to eye. They're going to engage in a staring match for a moment, as Kainaesyth makes no sudden movements. Less he scare the baby. There's a flicker of feeling that slips along Anrila's mind, a cool breeze on a slightly warm day, bliss and comfort all wrapped into one.

The dragon he was tied to even still remembers it, so that's why you'll find that Kouzevelth is as a result somewhat inexplicably fond of the Harper. Anrila even likes to tell this story sometimes, mostly to younger apprentices who need to be told that dragons aren't scary — the 'being tied to a dragon's paw' part isn't usually as reassuring as she wants it to be. "How'd you know," she asks Zhirayr weakly, "that they ate their last pen. Yes. That's exactly what I need, if you brought a miracle with you — it's week-old caprines, Raya. I think Kainaesyth just likes them." That comes with a tiny smile, one that appreciates the mental intrusion rather than refuses it, and as for the caprines … one of them, at least, certainly likes the dragon. One of them likes this leather, which is now mostly torn to smithereens. The third one? In Anrila's arms.

"They're caprines," is Zhirayr's dry answer. "Of course they ate their last pen. They'll eat anything they can get their mouths on, if it doesn't fight back. I'm not entirely convinced they couldn't have eaten Thread, if it came to that. They certainly eat the fabric kind often enough." That said, he's been taking advantage of the non-held caprines' assorted distractions to sneak up on the leather-chewing one, and scoops it — him — up into his arms, the better to keep him from squirming away while Zhirayr finds some rope, or something, to use as a leash for at least, oh, an hour.

Rayathess probably wishes he could forget that experience since it's certainly not the best way to be introduced to riding a dragon OR Between. Maybe that's why he's still twitchy and jumpy about flying? Kainaesyth however is not airborne, nor is the Harper tied to him or ever bode him ill or dislike, so Rayathess doesn't mind the bronze. His rider? Totally different story. "He certainly seems fond of them," he remarks as he can finally slide past the bronze and into the barn, nodding his head briskly to Zhirayr before the Steward is scooping up the leather-chewing caprine. Rayathess' focus is more on his sister and yes, the caprine she holds. "Need help?"

A small scoot of Kainaesyth's nose forward. Blocked door again. A deep breath, and then released, as the hair on the female baby caprine is fluffed by the exhale of the bronze's. Entranced. Don't mind him. Or try to leave. He's just going to STARE. That baby could totally jump on his head if it wanted to. SO STILL.

We are talking about a caprine here. They LOVE being up high and climbing things, and so, of course, with the opportunity given … the little lass makes a break for it and is actually trying to jump up on Kainaesyth's snout. Anrila cringes, though she knows Kainaesyth won't hurt her — it's more that jumping up in dragons' faces isn't a good habit to encourage. "Um," she tells her brother, clearly in over her head here, "If you want to hold him," the wriggling thing in her arms, "while I try to repurpose their enclosure so it closes and go get his sister — oh, I should just shove them in an empty runner stall for now until their mother is back." Anyway. The tiny boy, who still has full hooves and knows how to kick them, is extended Raya-wards. "Careful, he might want to nibble your sleeves, but he doesn't mean any harm. None of them do. They just — have energy and eat everything." Why did she take this project again?

"That," Zhirayr remarks mildly, while trying to tie a rope around a caprine's neck with one hand (since the other one is busy, well, holding the caprine in question, isn't it), "looks as if it would be somewhat painful. I hope she doesn't step in his eye," is slightly more worried.

Wait, what? She expects him to hold the baby goat? Rayathess kind of freezes, reaching out stiffly and clearly both uncomfortable and uncertain. Runners? No problem. Canines? Sure. Caprines? Eh… Though it's his sister and he'll still do anything for her. Which includes holding said caprine, wincing if some of those hooves make contact with him. Ow, ow… "Energetic lot. Brave… too." Meaning the little girl goat who is now using Kainaesyth as a personal climbing structure. "So the Weyr's looking to expand the herds or something…?"

Stillness, thy name is Kainaesyth. He could almost be the stone his hide takes after. Hopefully she doesn't step in his eye. That would be a whole pile of :(. But Kainaesyth wouldn't twitch. He's a good hill, if she's the mountain-goat kind, and easy to climb. A slight vibration produces the ugliest of flute-like sounds from the bronze. Happy Happy Happy.

There is no eye-stepping, just happy little snout-prancing to go along with the strange and off-kilter music that Kainaesyth is providing. This is indeed a delighted caprine whose siblings are somewhat jealous, though at least they aren't biting at or trying to escape from Zhirayr or Rayathess. The 'being held' thing is also interesting and new. Anrila's opened up an empty runner stall and is pushing hay around, trying to keep an eye on Kainaesyth's head and its visitor and also answering questions, "I think so, yes. I know I'm here often enough that — well, D'ani thought I could probably handle caring for the little ones mostly on my own." He may or may not have been accurate.

"How old are they?" Zhirayr asks, now that the rope is finally in place, as he forcibly redirects his attention away from trying to predict the tune Kainaesyth is humming. (It isn't working, anyway.) "Where's their mother? Are they still nursing? — They do that, don't they? Caprine milk is a thing, I'm sure of it." He's not sure enough, though.

Rayathess blinks and his answer is delayed by the fact he's now close to wrestling with his charge if the little one tries to evade his hold and scurry off to join his sister. Surely it can't be that hard to watch after a baby goat for a few minutes? "So this is a… project of sorts for you? Or a test?" Poor Anrila, suddenly peppered with questions while she's trying to organize a new pen!

Can Kainaesyth just abscond with the baby goat? Please? Maybe that's the reason that Ha'ze is appearing and saying "NO." Not to make Kainaesyth sad or anything, because Ha'ze-voice (blocked by Kainaesyth bulk) goes "They'd eat your plants." Sadness. Sad eyes at Anrila. SAD EYES.

"At least a project," Anrila explains, as she uses traditional wood and wire pieces around the runner stall as Zhirayr didn't bring her a miracle (today; maybe later; at least he caught Alcater the leather eater), "it might be some kind of test, I don't know. I'm sure I'll be evaluated on it. You can bring them over here now," she tells the two helpful men, as between the haphazard pen and the stall door they must be able to stay in one place for a little while. What was the other question? "Nine days. They're nine days old. Their mother is out on a run and getting some grazing in, she'll be back soon, they are still nursing, yes." Aw, poor Kainaesyth gets guilty eyes right back. "He has a point," she says gently. "They love to eat plants."

"And they will always love to eat plants," Zhirayr adds, 'helpfully', as he deposits his armload of caprine into the pen without actually using the gate, because maybe if Alcater doesn't realize it's a gate he won't try to eat his way through the gate. "So possibly you will prefer visiting them here, as opposed to taking them home with you. So they won't eat your plants." He looks, thoughtfully, at the pen, and adds: "Maybe if you can find a small storage cave somewhere? They're not likely to eat their way through stone." Much.

Excuse Ha'ze. Kainaesyth is going to get carefully crawled over by his rider too, as he squishes through the area between dragon head and doorway. One moment, no Ha'ze. Grabby hands reach up and he's gathering the small caprine into his arms, holding firmly, but gently. "He likes them. They're not afraid of him."

Rayathess smirks as Ha'ze arrives to dissuade Kainaeysth but he'll leave the bronzerider alone, looking back to Anrila as he does his best to bring the baby goat to his new pen. "Well, hope it all goes well for you! I'm sure you'll do fine with the three of them. Or is the mother under your watch too?" Zhirayr's suggestion has the Harper giving him a curious look, "Could they build something for them perhaps?" If it isn't already underway. Once the goat is where he should be, Rayathess straightens and smiles faintly to his sister. "Listen, I don't have long but I figured I'd come say hello. I best be off… I promised Tyani I'd be back at the Hall by sundown." She understands, right? "We'll catch up soon." Which is the beginning of his farewell apparently as he's already stepping back.

Well, he might be trying, but Rayathess is getting hugged before he escapes, provided he lets Anrila get away with that much. "Yes. I'll come by soon," because she has a stallion to keep saddle training, and that's a fantastic excuse to tour around the Fort area and see all of her loved ones. "I'm hoping they'll be getting a better enclosure built as soon as possible. Their mother handles her stall very nicely, at least; she's kind of a group effort. Really the Weyr's problem but she took a shine to me — I can suggest it. Stone." That's a lot of talking for Anrila; it's because it's all work-related. Ha'ze gets a soft welcoming smile, and a, "They aren't afraid of anything right now, though if he keeps being nice to them as they grow they won't ever be afraid of him."

Zhirayr pulls a small notebook out of one of his pockets, and a pen from another, and makes a small note for himself before putting both away and starting to set his clothing to rights once again. After all, it's currently all caprine-y! "I will, too," he promises. "Between the two of us, we might be able to speed things along a little bit. Are they better-behaved when their mother is present?"

Look how nicely Rayathess and Ha'ze are getting along. So nicely. Kainaesyth huffs once, then reluctantly pulls away from the doorway looking all sorts of forlorn. Ha'ze jerks his head back, referring to the bronze, "He knows they're food." Baby caprine keep not understanding for a while, please? "But they're small. Can you do me a favor?" Why is Ha'ze asking for favors? One hand pets the little baby on the head, "Could these not become Dragon bait at some point?"

Rayathess will always allow Anrila to hug him. She is one of the few (three total) people who could get away with it. He'll even return the hug, followed by a pat to the shoulders and maybe the hint of a grin. "I'd like that. Wedding planning and all too, if you want in on it." Not that she didn't have her fill with Ezra's wedding. Oh joy? Rayathess is getting along with Ha'ze because he's hardly acknowledged the bronzerider and only does so by a curt nod as he makes his slow escape. "I'll see you around, Anrila." Zhirayr will get a more polite dip of his head before the Harper is edging out that door.

After Rayathess departs is when Anrila gives Ha'ze a look that is … pretty much horror-stricken, though it's likely not anything to do with him. "What? No. They're breeding stock," she says, as if the idea that they would be dragon food is — yeah, that's what horrified her. "They are bred for high-quality coats and good milk. They're not actually dragon food. They're just, um, a lot of dragons would eat them anyway not understanding that they aren't meant to be, which is why I'm not excited to let them think they can prance on any nearby dragon."

Zhirayr raises a finger, and then belatedly tucks a handkerchief (black) away (into a black pocket). "Point of order, but — aren't these three from one — " He spins the finger around, looking for a word, and then half-scowls and philosophically shrugs. " — clutch, for lack of the word I actually want?"

"Kainaesyth could mate with his mother." Just throw in some ew there, right? Not to mention the HORROR of Ha'ze ending up as WeyrLeader. DISASTER. Outside there is the sound of Kainaesyth backing away, moving, away, gone soon enough with the force of wind under him. (I don't care if that sentence didn't make sense.) Ha'ze gives the goat one last scratch and lifts it over the side of the stall and sets it within. "Stay alright? Not all dragons are like Kainaesyth." No dragon is like Kainaesyth. He doesn't even step on baby plants if he can help it. With hands free of baby caprine, Ha'ze is going to try to kiss Anrila's cheek (without telling her) but only for like the smallest second ever. "Thank you."

Kainaesyth is apparently DONE with this conversation now that it's about him mating with his mother. The caprine, on the other hand, gives Ha'ze a happy little noise as she's placed in a nice safe resting area, looking tired enough from her adventure to actually pass out as soon as Mama Goat comes back. Anrila is answering Zhirayr, "Litter? Yes. They're not going to be bred to each other," when Ha'ze's gesture cuts her off and she smiles shyly, whispering, "You're welcome."

"I'm glad the caprines have the sense to understand that their genetic material isn't that of dragons," the Steward offers dryly. "Not least because it will minimize attempted cross-breedings between the two, I'm sure. You're all set, for now?" he adds to Anrila, glossing past the way that Ha'ze is apparently attempting to increase his own cross-breeding count. Again.

"Hasn't hurt the dragons yet. Oh, Zhirayr." Ha'ze had turned and was walking out, when he remembers something and turns back to the BLACK MAN. "Congrats on exoneration."

"I — think they do, at any rate. They will mate with their own siblings in theory, I suppose, if there's literally no other available option, but it's a last resort and they don't tend to be fans of it, no —" Anrila can talk about these sorts of things. She's come a long way from when she was afraid of Zhirayr due to colliding with him at a party. When she was thirteen. "Anyway, yes, I'm all right now, thank you for saving the leather pieces." Which she will have to leave a note for the owner of, promising repayment, or at least new supplies.

"Don't most animals instinctively try to mate with those other animals who smell the most like they aren't related, anyway?" Zhirayr hazily guesses, and then shakes his head. "Never mind. I need to get back to work; Anrila, take care, good luck keeping this pen in its current shape as long as possible." And then he's heading out, the way that once held Kainaesyth's face — pausing only long enough to offer Ha'ze a quiet, surprisingly-radiant smile, and a very quietly murmured "Thanks." (Hey, he never had to ask for that getaway ride after all.)


Add a New Comment
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License