'The World of Pern(tm)' and 'The Dragonriders of Pern(r)' are copyright to Anne McCaffrey (c) l967, 2000. This is a recorded online session, by permission of the author but generated on PernWorld MUSH for the benefit of people unable to attend.

Beastcraft Hall - Livestock Barns

All manner of stalls and pens are laid out in this large barn. The support beams in here are well-spaced out, giving it a more airy feel than a simple runner barn. Toward one end of the barn, a large bovine shoot stands open to the pastures beyond. In the center of the barn, several pens march down the aisle, each one holding a different species, some caprines, some ovines even precious porcines. Against one wall, several cages sit where chickens and geese chatter at eachother with unintelligable tongues. In the rafters, a mother feline teaches her young to hunt. This is a busy place and a noisy place, full of life and energy.

Whisked from Fort Weyr to Keroon, the group of Candidates on field trip have been taken on a tour of all the areas of the Beastcraft Hall. They've been whickered at by runners, chewed on by caprines, clucked and honked at by various and sundry poultry and grunted at by porcines. Led by their escorts in each area, they've had a break from the odors (those unused to it might call it stench) for some lunch, then toured the hayfield and witnessed the harvest and have seen the haymow, sweetly-scented with baled alfalfa. Now it's back into the wonderful musk that is the Beastcraft barns to see the bovines. For this part, since Edani has spent considerable turns in here, the candidate/exJourneyman is handed the keys, so-to-speak and conducts this part of their experience. Leading them first to the dairy pens, he lifts his voice only enough so it will carry and not startle the animals, "For the hands-on part of today's trip, you'll all get to try… milking one of the bovines." Whee-fun? But it could be worse! They could be doing a delivery instead?

Zaala wasn't too keen on the smells, though most of the folks that were are more likely to have spent considerable time in a barns. She especially did not like the porcines. But that was all done with nose holding and holding her shirt up to her nose to try and keep some of the more putrid smells away. The cattle barns aren't too much better, but at least they're not as stinky. She follows in with the rest of the group, trying to stay somewhat interested in the opportunities that the beast crafthall offers. It was one of many choices to make after the eggs hatch, afterall. Pulling on her braided hair, drawing it forward to give it a quick tug, her eyes move toward Edani, as he takes charge of this part of the tour. The last remark gets her to giggle, "You… really want us to do that?" Oh dear. What fun indeed!

It's a good thing they don't know that was considered, or at least that's a likely conclusion. Inyri, with her hair back and up in a braid twisted on her head to keep it clean and out of the way of being part of somebody's cud, gives first Edani and then the group of bovines a curious look. "Sounds exciting," she concludes, with a smile up at the corner of her lips. "Which one? What're their names? And I assume you're gonna show us how to do it, not just set us each loose with an udder and see what happens."
So the Healer said not to go between, but…what does he know? Which is why Kimmila is here, cast and all, to help chaperone this excursion. She's with Th'ero, the pair sticking to the edges of the group and talking quietly from time to time.

Abigail has had some experience with animals like runners and bovines but this is more than she's went wandering though, or been around. As for the 'odor' that some may be commenting on at times she doesn't offer her own thoughts, around animals this is rather normal. The caprines she found amusing, especially when she was feeding a few of them hay, and was crouched down more to their level, and like her dear firelizards one of the lovely little caprines started to chew upon her hair. After she was able to escapes, minus a few strands of hair she is rather glad to move on to other things. Lesson for her; don't let caprines near hair ever again. She leans against one of the pens and peers into the bovines that can be found there, a soft oh escaping her as she what the 'hands on' part of the trip is. A smile is seen and she nods, she's seen it done before, though she hasn't even actually had that chore. Hearing Inyri she nods and looks up to Edani curious like. "I'm with Inyri on the showing us part." No need to go in cold so to speak.

Well, the Healer said to limit Between, not necessarily bar it all. Right? Th'ero could have had selective hearing by that point. The Fortian Weyrleader is indeed right by Kimmila's side, glued there some might (bravely) venture to say though he barely touches the bluerider and hovers just out of her personal space. Here to observe, he sticks to the edges and dips his head down to murmur something or other to his partner. Bets, maybe? Soon two become three, as another rider greets them but lingers a little off to the side from them. Anoryn is much more aged, greyed hair pulled back into a messy bun but her blue eyes remain sharp and keen. She's smirking in a lopsided sort of way, almost smug and from the knot on her shoulder, it pins her as a Xanadu greenrider.

Now, caprine, that makes a good stew, and poultry is better in lighter dishes, and… Borodin has been keeping his words of wisdom to himself, thank you very much. Still, he's been rather interested in this whole affair, following along and listening. The smell's no worse than stable duty, which is what he was doing before this particular trip. So, hey, his clothes already have the right bouquet as he follows along. "Milking?" he repeats, and hurms for a moment, chewing the thought over. "All right." Though he nods at the getting instructions part!

"Actually, I am." Letting them loose upon those poor, unsuspecting udders. "You can't hurt them, just don't pull. Squeeze instead. First wash your hands," Edani instructs pointing them towards the wash station near the entrance. "Then take a bucket and a stool from the stack and select your cow." He says this brightly like they're all going to be as thrilled as children let loose in a candy shop told to pick out all of their favorite treats. The bovines, several different breeds, are all in the stanchions, calmly chewing the milled greenfeed and waiting patiently to be milked. Not one of the cows looks nervous but maybe they should be? "You'll sit to the left flank, place the bucket underneath and then just talk to them quietly while you pat and stroke their udders to get them to 'let down' the milk into the teats," he tells them cheerfully. "Oh… approach the cows from the front. They kick towards their bellies, but you don't want to walk behind them regardless. Trust me on that one. Anoryn and I will be around with the warm cloths and to help you."

Zaala happens to have her fingers curled around her long braid, pulling it once when she hears the answer to her previous question, eyes roving over toward the cows. "This is going to be… strange," she is the first to admit it, "Aren't those like… their boobs?" Udder's Zaala, udders. That's the proper term but apparently she's not all up to speed on this beastcrafter lingo. It's not like she -hangs- out in the stables. Her eyes drift over the selection of cows, blinking, trying to make that decision of which one she wants to attempt. One cow is like the next right? Yet her attention creeps back to the first step of the instructions, looking about for a place to wash her hands and striding that way with a pinch of her nose as one of the cows squirts out a nice big old sloppy pile of poop. Just good thing she wasn't close for it to splash at her, nevertheless she makes a face, "Yuck."

"Well, I love you too," Inyri tells Edani, then, wrinkling up her nose at him in that way that she's done to him a thousand times before. What is this 'having respect for the leader' thing? This is Edani, and Inyri's going to treat him just like Edani. Her focus slides over to the bovines then, though, looking thoughtfully at them. So, which one calls to them? "They're sociable, huh? Like being talked to. I was thinking of asking that," but, of course, he beat her to mentioning it, is essentially implied. She selects one whose particular pattern of spots most intrigues her, and offers the cow her palm to sniff, like she would a dog. "Hello."

There is no way Kimmila is doing this. But she does watch with amusement as the Candidates move forward, green eyes scanning the group and the bovines. "This'll be interesting," she says aside to Th'ero, with a crooked grin. Spotting Anoryn, the bluerider smiles and waves. "Hi! The runners are doing great." Not that she asked. But still! "The mare is as smooth as you said." When Kimmila isn't hurting her with a clipped hoof. Ahem.

Abigailglances on over to Borodin and she gives his arm a slight nudging, all will be fine! Though soon her attention is back to Edani as he goes about explain what all needs to be done before going through starting the actual milking bit. Hearing Zaala she blinks and looks towards her, she can't help but grin at the question. Hand washing first, and she heads on towards the area and gets her hands nice and washed, and she pauses to make sure her hair is all pulled back. The thought of a bovine chewing on her hair seems to have just wandered through her mind. Bucket and stool is then picked up, and with them in hand she steps around a few piles that are in the way while she moves on towards a dark brownish color cow. "Hi there" Well Edani did say to talk to them.

There is no way Th'ero is doing this either, but that doesn't stop the Weyrleader from leaning against the wall and crossing his arms loosely over his chest. Yes, he's going to watch this and at least for the Candidate's benefit he won't laugh outright or grin. In fact, his expression seems as reserved as always, save for a small smile given to Kimmila and Anoryn alike. "Mhm, I don't doubt that for a second." he agrees, before turning his head to give Anoryn a brisk nod. The Xanadu greenrider only tips off a rough salute with her fingers from her forehead, her grin a little more easy going. So the trio know each other? Seems that way. "Glad to hear it," she says in a gruff voice, chuckling throatily. Perhaps she knows of the injury, perhaps not. But talk of runners will have to wait, as she sense her cue and with a low exhale, gathers up a few warm cloths. "Time to go see if this'll end in failure or not," she chimes in oh-so helpfully and then she's off to walk briskly among the group, handing off the supplies to those who still need them.

At the nudge from Abigail, Borodin doesn't respond. He's just listening to Edani, up until… cow-boobs. Zaala just had to say it, and now Borodin just has to think it. He blushes, and his mouth opens… but then he closes it again, and simply shakes his head as he goes to wash his hands and get a bucket and stool. Okay, cows… hey, there's one, a black and white one. She'll do. He steps up to her, wiggling his fingers. "Uhm, hello, uh, hey girl…" he says, going around to her side and starting to pat there. "So, uh, I guess it's just you and me, and I'll just sort of say things, right?" …and touch cowboobs, er, her udder. Deep breath, and… time for teat-stroking!

Edani is keeping his eyes in respectable places when he says with a chuckle, "Yes, yes they are," to Zaala and then quips right back in response to Inyri with lazy, half-lidded eyes and a purr, "Do you now? You can show me how much later, hmmn?" As for that cow Zaala saw, there is reason number two (no- yes actually pun intended) that he warned them not to walk behind them! He's walking amongst them and passing by Abigail, he reaches to guide her hand towards the cow's flank, patting the brown cow with the girl's hand, "They do enjoy socialization. They like people and they enjoy petting." He totally did just say that! But without any hint of insinuation, it's merely meant as an answer to Inyri but also means it as a reassurance for all of them as well. "They might lick you, but bovine do not bite. And they aren't aggressive." Thankfully there are no bulls in the barn, so there is no chance of an embarrassing mix-up. He moves on, leaning over Borodin's shoulder to say helpfully, "You'll note they have four teats. You need to give them all attention or she won't let down." Straightening up, he says brightly, "So now, when you see the teats begin to swell, just use your thumb and four fingers to give their teats a gentle squeeze and you should see a stream of milk squirt out. You then use those warm cloths to wash them and you're all ready to start milking."

Zaala's cheeks go red as Edani agrees that that's what they are well, cow boobs. She'll keep her embarrassment to herself for now as she finishes drying her hands, walking over to select a brown and white cow. There she approaches the animals head and has to pull back her hands when the thing noses out to try and sniff her. "Ew… no… keep that oozing nose of yours away…" Indeed, the cow's nose and mouth are dripping with saliva, much due to the cud chewing that's going on. With hands up to prevent the thing from touching -or- licking her, she side waddles against the cow, staring down at the udders that Edani goes into explaining how to give them -attention-!! "Oh Faranth… that sounds ridiculous…" she starts to giggle the more he goes on about stroking and getting the teats to swell. Yes, her cheeks are going red and she's a weyrbrat, but very much enjoying the amusement over the subject. Ahh, teens, everything is worth a giggle at her age!

But what's wrong with cow boobs, really? Inyri's not bothered, anyway. Inyri is — if 'zen' were a word on Pern, Inyri would be it. "They're pretty sweet, actually," she decides, as her bovine has in fact moved from sniffing her to licking at her fingertips. "Such a soft tongue." And soft coats, as she learns while moving to sit at the cow's left and settling in to do some milking. Before the teat-squeezing, she gets in some petting, and that's when the soft-coat determination is made: "Or soft everything — they're very soft. And gentle." Things she maybe should've known before, but didn't! Squeeze, squeeze, gentle squeezing and kneading and — milk! "Oh! Well."

Kimmila continues to watch, her casted arm held in front of her - almost like a 'don't make me do this, I have a broken arm!' shield. At least it's good for something? Smiling at Anoryn, she leans back against the wall with Th'ero, chuckling under her breath but otherwise playing the role of observer. But if renegades burst in on this cow-boob-fest, she'll…do nothing. She's broken! But Th'ero totally will rescue them all.

Abigail peers at Edani as her hand is taken hold of, and she goes about giving said brown cow a soft petting across that flank. Cow boobs, that is going to be part of the conversation for the rest of the day she can just see it. With the stool in place and as she listens to Edani she eyes the cows udder a moment while letting her arms rest upon her knees. Oh the jokes she can just image all the other guards could be making at this point in time, maybe she'll be lucky and they won't find out? Not in her life time. A hand moves to rest against the cows flank and she uses the other to give the teats a slight rub as told, all as told which she finds just a bit amused for some reason. "How long do they get milked at a time?" Good answer to know at the moment.

Th'ero can only rescue them all if he has his sword… which he doesn't. He has his dagger though, which one hand occasionally reaches for to lightly touch the hilt. The guards will do the messy work, the rescuing will consist of the riders swooping in and grabbing Candidates and hauling 'em by their collars if they have to. But what renegade group would be crazy enough to go against a Hall? So the Weyrleader is left to simply observe, occasionally turning to Kimmila to make some low remark or another. And maybe, just maybe, he chuckles. Meanwhile, Anoryn is absorbed in simply making sure everyone is following Edani's instructions. Bovines may not be her speciality, but the older greenrider knows right from wrong with most of the Hall's many creatures and she'll correct what she can and yet not wholly intrude.

Aww, but Zaala! Cows have such neat rough, LONG tongues though. And they usually only drool when they're eating like they are now. Edani simply chuckles at the girl's prissy behavior. Zaala's cow stomps and moooooos, twisting her head to eye the girl pleadingly with her lovely, big dark eyes. Get on with it, I'm fit to burst! "You're doing great, Inyri," he says with approval at her lack of squeamishness. Meanwhile the barns felines are gathering and clustering about looking VERY expectantly at the milkers. Pacing back towards Abigail, he answers, "It takes about half an hour to empty their udder. Twice a day." He then nods encouragement to her, "Go ahead, pat and nudge that udder." No giggling from him, nope. Straightforward and easygoing, he explains, "You're simulating a baby cow." Speaking of which, in the big pen there are the calves, waiting to be fed. And since their mama's milk is going for human consumption there are bottles of formula for them, prepared by the apprentices. Edani casts a look towards Th'ero and Kimmila, indicating the waiting bottles with a sweep of his hand. "Would you two like to feed some calves?" It'll be great practice for them for the future!

There's a reason why Zaala is called a girl of the 'Sassclass' by certain Xanadu folks. It's not that she's adverse to such things it's just, she doesn't feel like it should be -her- doing them. They have beastcrafters, people who -wanted- to go around stroking cow boobs all day. Really. She looks at the cow when it stomps and moos at her, giving a few quick pat pats to try and settle the creature. "Ok. I'm petting you. Big dumb thing as you are," she turns her head on a slight tilt to listen to the advice that Edani keeps giving and finds herself a stool, and that bucket. RIght, need one of those to do this. "Don't kick me or anything…" she warns up to the cow but hasn't yet made a move to touch the cow's udder.

The future of what? Kids? Faranth save us if Kimmila becomes a mother again. "No," she says to Edani, with a little smirk. Maybe next time?

It's a good thing Inyri didn't overhear Zaala's comment about calling the bovine dumb, because she absolutely would have argued. Then again, cute animals? An easy sway for Inyri. Ever since she met that first calf of Edani's the day she got Durahiko, Inyri has been all over thinking bovines are cute. /She's/ having a good time of things right now, petting her companion cow and wrapping warm towels around teats in order to get some milk in a bucket — humming a song to the bovine the whole time, too.

Abigailseeing someone milk a cow is for the record different then actually doing it. An as she listens to Edani the wet rag is used and she goes about wiping off the cows udder. With that done she then goes about squeezing one of the teats, faintly puling it one way then another before squeezing it downwards. A slight squirt of milk hits the bucket and she ohs softly, seems she figured it out! With the new knowledge of what to do, and how to do it she goes about working on giving he teat a soft pull and squeeze. Hearing the bit on 'don't kick me' from Zaala a soft ah escapes her. "Don't put the bad vibes out there for that." She would rather not get kicked either. A glance is sent towards the cow's hind hooves, there big and sort of covered in gunk, and hay, yes she would rather skip that part.

Th'ero would not make the greatest of fathers either. His reply is the same as Kimmila, a simple spoken "No," given to Edani, though the Weyrleader at least follows with a tactful. "But thanks for the offer. Best leave that to your follow Candidates." And he will give all a lingering look, as if daring to try and challenge his polite refusal until he's back to simply observing, though a bit more warily now. Hopefully he won't be roped into anything else? The Vintner Hall was one thing… apparently he used up all his "fun" there.

Oh ALL day, they stroke cow boobs. That's what beastcrafters do, yep. Yeaaaah, Zaala's not even started yet and so with a sigh, Edani steps over to her and kneels down, preparing the udder for Zaala, then guiding her hands to the teats and squeezes her hands to show her how it's done. "They're actually quite intelligent," he says with a gentle reproach that turns into a sly grin. "Watch this." He tilts the teat and squeezes, again around her hand and aims it at one of the felines gathered around the milking area, hitting it in the face with a stream of milk. The animal opens its mouth and its tongue goes a mile a minute to keep up with the milk. There's a scramble as the felines jostle each other and jockey for position to intercept the stream. He grins at Zaala and leaves her to the task. Straightening, he smirks back at Kimmila but refrains from teasing, nodding respectfully to the Weyrleader right after. "Doing great, don't pull, just squeeze," he reminds Abigail kindly. That way she won't get kicked! He is perhaps the most pleased with the obvious pleasure Inyri is taking from her experience and so when they are finished, he gets them involved with adorable calves, bottlefeeding and maybe even romping with them.