Inouv 35, 228: A Failing of Horses

A Failing of Horses
Summary: Princess Roslin, Princess Nima, and Duke Crawford attempt to slip out of the castle for a ride. They do not make it far.
OOC Date: December 23, 2013
Related: None
Nima Ronan Roslin 
The Stables at Darfield Castle
Horses, groomsmen, hay, stables, and the lot.
Inouv 35, 228

The days are very short, Inouv's days of darkness. Yet the Duke does not abide staying in doors even for the 15 or so days of this darkest time of the year. With snow upon the ground it isn't that difficult to see and there is light yet reflected from Cri to cast a wane illumination. Even so, Ronan has come out to the stables wearing his armour rather than simple riding attire. The Rioga has no intention of tempting fate to turn an ill eye upon them and not be prepared for such possibility, especially after the attempted abductions of so many nobility of late.

Kierne is in attendance, also armed and wearing his partial plate and mail. He likewise wears a black cloak for as long as House Crawford is in mourning. He and Ronan have saddled their horses and now lead them out to await the ladies and their escorts whom will accompany them on the ride.


Roslin arrives quickly enough, and she’s impossible to miss. Four guards, two maids. All in purple - quite impossible to miss, indeed. She rides with the men boxed around her, maids tailing, until she approaches Ronan. And then the guards melt away to allow her to speak to him, to face him, and to see him.

She rides atop a black horse, a large and tamed lady it is. On her person she has a long crimson dress of heavy velvet, with an even heavier riding cloak of Kilgour purple with an eagle embroidered along the back. The hood is up, but beneath it can be seen her crown of braids, her gold tiarra. Her face is pale from the cold, save for reddened cheeks. She is difficult to read just now, but for a moment, upon first spying the Duke Crawford, she seems quite happy, even smiling a bright smile to the man.

“Your Grace,” she says respectfully, lowering her head in a bow from horseback. Her gloved hands hold the reigns lightly, and she sits appropriately sidesaddle. Poised like some delicate thing.


The Duke's horse is a dappled grey and when Roslin's black mare rides up, Alanza stretches out his neck to nose her, curious. Ronan looks Roslin over to satisfy himself that she is suitably dressed against the cold, and then to her guards and maids to see that they are ready as well. "Good day to you, Your Highness." He looks past her briefly, "I invited the Princess Nima to accompany us, but I did not have confirmation if she will join us or no. If not, I shall ride with her another time."

Alanza is behaving himself, interested in the other horse. Ronan nonetheless keeps a light hand to check the stallion and keep him from getting /too/ friendly, nor too pushy. "It is a cold and unpleasant day for a ride but we'll make the best of it. Too dark perhaps to dare the wood though along it is park-like if that should please you."


Roslin bows herself gently to the man. “It would please me very much, your Grace.” She says. Her smile remains when she is informed the Princess Nima might be coming - indeed, it brightens a little. “Oh? I am so very happy to hear it. I hope it is not too cold for her. This must be so very different from the desert. Though I confess ignorance, as I have never seen one.” She nudges her horse a little with a tug of the reigns, turning to look this way and that curiously.

“Before she arrives, your Grace, I would like to formally apologize for the distrubance my brother and I created in the hall the other day. It was undignified of me to host such conversations in such a local - indeed, for me to have instigated or participated in such a conversation at all. Sadly I did both, and I do hope that I have not suffered for it too greatly in your eyes. If I have, it is surely earned, however sad it makes me to say it.” Almost shyly, Roslin lowers her eyes to glance downward.


Among the others going in and out of the stable, a small group of Kundari depart wearing a splash of vibrant colors and mounted on the distinct horses bred by the Kundari. Among the group is Nima, her handmaid Syri and her main guard Davyd along with a few other guards.

Nima is dressed in a saree the turquoise and gold of her house, with a black cloak lined with fur worn over. She sits straight and tall in her saddle, her bearing rather regal. As they approach the others, she lifts a gloved hand, offering a friendy wave accompanied by a warm smile. Gently she nudges her horse forward at a slight canter until she brings herself even with them. "Good day, Your Highness, Your Grace. The weather is beautiful for riding." Crisp and dry


Roslin both apologizing to himself and looking demurely shy? Should Ronan trust it? It is a strange day indeed. He lifts a dark brow and strokes the neck of his horse as Alanza paws at the cobbles at their delay to start. The Rioga makes the horse stay and does not allow him to circle. The bit jingles as the grey tosses his head once, impatient as a young horse often may be.

"I believe the Princess Nima said something of her homeland being both very hot and dry. I know not, for I have never ventured there. Though I have been close to the mountains that separates Kundari from Weston, many times. There is a hot wind that comes off of the sea to the west up there that makes not for cooler climate as you would expect, and hense why Jada is so warm also."

As they wait a bit longer, Ronan smiles faintly, "Apology accepted, Your Highness. It did not bother me in the least. I think you know by now that I am not always … refined in my social graces. I have been little to court ere my brother's passing."

Ah, and there is the Kundari party with the Princess to join them. The Duke bows his head, "Welcome, Your Highness. We are pleased you could join us. These are the dark days of Inouv so I would not call the weather fine, but it will do." With a subtle shift of his seat and slacking of his reins, the Rioga sets his stallion to walking to lead the way as they begin. Kierne drops back so that the two Princesses and the Duke may better converse.


Roslin nods her head to Ronan. If she might say more, the chance does not arise - Nima is there, and the discussion is left in the snow. “Your highness,” Roslin says, lowering her head respectfully even from her side-saddle position. “I am so happy that you have been able to come riding with us today. Both the Duke and I have spoken several times already about how insuferable the inside of the castle can become when it is all a person sees for days and days. I hope you shall be warm enough - the winter wind in your face while riding can sometimes bite a little.” She nudges her horse forward again to slide in to the right of the Duke, allowing him to set the pace. Her horse seems fairly comfortable with that as well. “I must confess, Your Highness, I am somewhat dissapointed to see you astride a horse today. The Duke spoke with some fascination of some Kundari beast that is ridden in the horse’s stead, in your home.”


"The dark days of Inouv have given me a whole lifetime to get used to it, so I try and see the delight in the day whether the sun is shining or ducking behind Cri." Amusement plays over the Kundari Princess' lips as she looks between the two. "If you are both certain I am not interrupting, I would adore a ride. I admit that getting to see more of the countryside would be quite enjoyable." Her handmaid and guards remain behind her, giving her just enough space to speak with the others.

As Roslin nudges her own horse along, Nima does the same, gently coaxing her own to walk on the side of Roslin, leaving the other Princess in the center if possible. "If you would like to see the camel, it could be arranged. Or the Duke also owns a camel, perhaps he would enjoy showing you and seeing what reaction you would have to the two humped beast."


“The Duke of Sutherland owns a camel?” Roslin asks, her tone incredulous as she laughs a little, looking up at the muscular man beside her. “I had not known this! Congratulations, sir. Is that an appropriate response to a man who finds himself newly in posession of a camel? I’m afraid I do not know.” The redhead lifts a gloved hand to pull her hood tighter around her face. It is heavy enough where it seems like it may well stay at the current pace they are riding. “Either way, your highness, I should like very much.”


Ronan looks a bit more at his ease and happier than usual. To be on the back of a horse is clearly where he belongs, no matter the weather, light or dark. The Duke wears his plate and mail which has been darkened to a deep grey-black luster both for his House in Mourning and as a member of the King's Rioga who's armour is traditionally black. His is not quite so dark, setting himself apart as Duke.

"Indeed she has gifted me with one of the two camels. The one the Princess has yet, I am told, is the taller with one hump upon it's back, and seems to have less hair. The one I have is smaller, thicker, and has two humps. I have not handled it enough yet to know the animal well. I am told they spit a vile cud." Which obviously he has not experienced first hand, yet.

The Duke looks up the road ahead as it stretches for some length. One side forks off into the city and the other curves to follow the coast, sheltered by woodlands to block the wind. "If it pleases you both, we might gallop the horses a small distance to reach the shelter of the trees and get out of the wind the sooner."


With her own cloak around her, Nima appears to be quite warm in that she is not shivering at the moment. "I took your advice, Your Highness. I spoke to the tailor and had fur lining sewn into my cloak as well as my brothers and the others from Kundari. It is much warmer, thank you, truly."

As Ronan answers the question from the Princess, Nima cannot help but to smile as she recalls the reaction he had to the beast as well. "Indeed the taller of the Camels is to be a gift for your father whenever he will grant me audience with him. I do understand he is a busy man, and there is no demands on my time here, so it is not something that should be hurried."

When the Duke indicates the trees, her attention is taken from the immediate conversation, and she agrees immediately! "Oh yes, a dash towards the shelter of trees." Without waiting, she gently almost imperceptibly uses her legs to get her horse picking up speed, laughing with delight as her hood falls off and leaves her braid bouncing around on her shoulders as she gallops ahead a little.

Roslin too seems about set to embark on speeding her animal. But the animal does not take kindly to this, and neighs, and rears a little, and stomps her feet unhappily. Roslin looks concerned, but manages to maintain control of the beast with calmness. “Why are you…” she mutters, looking down at the horse. And indeed the animal appears to be favoring a leg over the other. The Princess frowns unhappily, but lifts her eyes to the pair. In a moment, she makes a decision.

“Her foot seems to be making her unhappy. I know little enough about horses myself to know why this may be - go ahead, I beg of you. We all shall ride another day. I will take her back to the groom and see that she is looked after.” She nods, encouragingly to the pair.


Gods be praised! If only he could keep the company of both of these two women in time to come for they are both of them surprisingly remarkable. For this moment he laughs, pleased to see the response Nima gives. Woe be to the retainers to try and keep up, haha! The Rioga lets them cut ahead and holding his stallion back only the barest breath, the Duke then realizes that Roslin's mare has turned up lame! He checks the eager stallion that fights him, wanting badly to run.

Ronan has no desire to lose Nima too far ahead, but neither to leave Roslin. He frowns, glances at the retainers and guards who will keep her safe, and that they are yet within sight of the castle. Ronan nods, "Very well, though I am loath to leave you behind, Your Highness… I am also not wishing the Princess Nima to get too far alone." Though surely her guards have passed to make certain she stays safe. He lingers a moment longer keeping his horse back to make certain it is what Roslin wishes, then Ronan lets his stallion run!

Iron shod hooves pound the ground, throwing clots of mud or sod. Ronan doesn't care. He leans a bit forward in the saddle and feels the wind in his face, biting cold but welcome. Alanza's dark mane whips back, smacking the front of his breastplate. The Duke looks back once to make certain Roslin's mare will bear her back all right, then he focuses ahead on the Kundari mare well in the lead.


Enjoying the ability to ride free and fast without endangering the horse with the shifting sands of Kundari, Nima finds the feeling to be something new and all together incredible! Her horsepicks up speed and she gives him his head, letting him lead her instead of the opposite. She trusts him implicitely.

Unaware of what had happened with the Mobrin Princess, Nima does not look back, just tips her head back marginally and feels the crisp wind on her face. The sound of the pounding hooves of her party behind her is a steady and comforting reassurance as well. The trees are getting nearer, so finally, gently, Nima pulls back on the reins, her cheeks are pink from the cool weather, but her eyes are glittering brilliantly in the darkness as she laughs in delight. Only then does she turn and look back to see how close the others are.

Roslin nods respectfully to the Duke as he makes his exit. She watches his back as he rides off, perhaps looking a bit sad, a bit forlorn. But it does not last - there are people all around her and appearances to maintain. She moves to swing off her horse. A guard has done the same, taking hold of the animal’s reins and bowing respectfully. “We’ll walk back easily,” Roslin says. “The poor animal has been through enough today, and the groom was very particular that we be as gentle as possible with his foot.”

She doesn’t look back again, but rather slides up on the guard’s horse and the party begins to move slowly away.

Aye, he did look back once but not again until he pulls his horse up as well beside Nima's. Alanza blows, nostrils flared and eager to run MORE! Yes, let's not stop now! But no, Ronan checks the young stallion's eagerness and glances back one last time - it is now too far and too ill lit to see Roslin and her party but the Duke can make certain all of the Princess Nima's guards, hand maiden, and Kierne himself are accounted for with no further mishap.

Ronan turns back in the saddle. First a careful look around them and the road ahead ere his attention goes to Nima herself. He smiles, "You seemed to enjoy that as much as I myself, Your Highness. The Princess Roslin's mare pulled up lame so she and the others turned back. She insisted rightly that I should not let you go alone." Alanza prances and tosses his head, then sidles enough to bump lightly into Nima's horse, fighting the Duke's hold. Ronan uses leg pressure to push his horse back into line, "He is much eager, yet." The Rioga strokes the grey's neck but gives him no rein to run again.

"I will be glad when the sun returns. I like not this darkness, even if it is usual. Spring, with whatever it brings, will be far more welcome." Even in the dimness he can see the flush to Nima's cheeks.

Watching as Ronan rides up along side her, Nima also looks back towards the area she had left, seeking Princess Roslin. When she hears what had happened, she looks dismayed. "Oh Your Grace, I do apologize. Perhaps we should go back so that she may come with us. I do know I was eager to know her more." Fretting over her own folly of leaving the others behind, she worries her lower lip with her teeth, unable to see the Princess or her entourage.

Her gaze falls back on the stallion the Duke rides and her smile returns upon seeing his eagerness to have his own freedom to just run."I know, Alanza," she murmurs, "Perhaps we could race back?" An experienced horseman, though nowhere near as experienced as he, she is confident in her own abilities.

Gripping the reins loosely in her hands, she turns her horse about, so that she is still beside him, but facing him now. "If you would like to we could go and see that she has made it safely. I would worry without knowing for certain."


Ronan is feeling pretty randy himself and watching Nima, who is a very attractive woman, he is alas reminded that it has been far too long. The Duke draws his gaze off of her and circles his stallion, giving her some room. "Very well, we can race back and see. I know she was as eager for your company before, as you for hers, and I'd like to ride with you both myself. We can do so. It is no matter to come back out again together tomorrow. Once I see you back however, I am going to go ahead and ride. Alanza and I both need to escape those walls a while."

The Duke pats the grey on the neck, then gives him rein and nudges ever so lightly with his spurs. Off Alanza leaps, mouth gaping for an instant as the horse strongly wishes to go NOW! So he does, haunches bunching as he leads the way, breaking into a full out run. Ronan looks back over his shoulder to be certain Nima and the others are close behind.

Duke Ronan was indeed a beautiful man, though Nima carefully keeps such thoughts limited to just that. Her thoughts regarding men were limited to knowing she must one day wed one of her family's choosing and thus will learn from him her own role in a relationship. It does not stop her admiring the beauty of him astride his stallion, the barely checked power stirring in both man and beast. Breathtaking, it truly was.

When he takes off on Alanza, she realizes she was caught off guard watching him… watching him and she nudges her own horse so that he takes off after the stallion. Never had she looked twice at a man, not in that way, and she knew not what to make of her own actions.

Her and the guards and maid are close behind, though Ronan is clearly the leader and going to reach the stables first. She laughs again, just enjoying the ride, specifically with him.


Alanza gallops and as he's pulled out ahead, Ronan slows the horse to a canter as they approach the gate house. He then eases down to the trot both to allow the others to catch up and so not to encourage the stallion to slip and fall on the icy cobbles. Hooves ring out as they enter into the courtyard bailey and he turns once more in the saddle to see that everyone is accounted for, and especially Nima herself. His gaze lingers on her for a few heartbeats, unaware that she had been watching him in turn only moments before.

Ronan settles into the saddle and drops Alanza to the walk. The grey blows, eager yet to keep going but now his edge has been taken off and he is more content to do his rider's bidding. The Duke pulls him up and turns the grey, Kierne taking up position beside him. "It has been my pleasure, even if it has been all too short a ride. I caught sight of the others just now going into the castle as I came through the gate. I believe all is well, Your Highness." He turns his horse with intention to head back out at once, "I bid you a good day, and my thanks for the all too brief company."

Her own mount is nowhere near as fast nor is he as eager as the stallion but when Ronan slows down, it takes little time to catch up and ride at a slow gait beside him. Her cheeks remain pink and her smile warm as they approach the gate house.

Her hands loosen on the reins when they enter the courtyard, letting her own horse go the way towards the stable since he knows it well enough. "Thank you, Your Grace." As she addresses him, a blush follows the way of the cold pinkened cheeks, darkening them slightly. "Perhaps tomorrow we could try again, if the Princess Roslin would be available and agreeable." When he turns, she ducks her head in a polite bow. "Good day, I look forward to seeing you again." Lifting her gaze to his, she smiles once more. "Until then, please know I enjoyed the company immensely."

After those final, parting words, she leads the way of her entourage into the stables, to care for the horses, glancing back outside the stable doors, to see if he will allow his stallion to race along again.


While she had not seen him smile in all this time until today, Ronan smiles now at her words. His gaze rests upon her briefly ere he turns his attention back to his own horse and Kierne, heading back out of the courtyard.

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