Who

Vaeslyn, Llewellyn

What

Llewellyn's mare, Melody, gives birth to her first foal! Vaeslyn gets to assist, as well as an unexpected opportunity.

When

It is sunset of the nineteenth day of the sixth month of the thirteenth turn of the 12th pass.

Where

Stables, Southern Weyr

OOC Date 15 Mar 2018 05:00

 

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Stables

The stone stables of Southern sweep breezily in arches and vaulted ceilings, done in the same architecture that figures so prominently within the inner caverns. A half-loft in the back shows neatly stacked hay bales, the sweet scents from the fodder drifting down to commingle with the aroma of runner and leather and sweat. There, broad box stalls house inhabitants safely away from the fancies of dragons: nickers and restless stompings fill the air, nirvana to those so inclined.


Bad weather seems to be the universal sign to animals everywhere to 'go on and have your babies NOW!!!!' and this particularly dreary and drizzly Southern winter night is no exception. A particular mare has looked like she's been ready to go any minute for the past few days, so it was no surprise when she started showing signs of delivery when the apprentices were making the evening food rounds. Messages were sent, appropriate folks were called and now Llewellyn has ran from the bovine barns over to Melody's stall. The journeyman (and his hat) are currently inspecting the runner's sides when he steps in a bit of a runner patty with a scowl. "When's the last time y'all changed this out?" Yelled at any apprentice that might be in the vicinity.

At least it's not some incredibly inconvenient hour, like 3 am? Small mercies. Even if the weather leaves much to be desired and dinner would have been nice, Vaeslyn looks more keyed up and anticipatory rather than anxious our annoyed. He is PROBABLY not the one responsible for cleaning that stall, but he's the one who shows up with a pitchfork mere seconds after Llewellyn is making demands on accountability. He doesn't go so far as to say 'not me' but there's definitely an accusatory look towards another apprentice who… is looking appropriately shame-faced and guilty. "I can get it," offered with a heft of the tool, pausing at the stall door because like heck is he going to be ducking in there without an invitation.

Llewellyn isn't one to hold a grudge too much (unless they happen to claim that steak isn't a food worth eating) and so he mostly just looks relieved when someone shows up with a pitchfork. He might not be as antsy as his runner, but it's pretty close. Cows are so much easier than runners. It's not a word of thanks, but a grunt and a slight nod of his head that's pretty much the same thing. And since he's a journeyman and there are apprentices around, words do need to be said on why. "Gotta keep it clean or the foal can get sick." As for Melody, the spotted sportshorse apparently isn't comfortable standing up, so she's going to the corner of the birthing stall and trying to lay down. Except that's more difficult than one can expect. Arranging legs can take a minute and even when she gets down, she's still fidgeting.

Vaeslyn speaks fluent 'grunt', (he also subsides on a diet that is almost 80 percent meat so…) it's all good. Really. It's like a herder-thing or something. He takes the non-verbal acknowledgement as acquiescence and slips quickly into the stall to clean up the mess. A scoop of the fork and he's moving out again, passing it off to a younger apprentice (because he's pulling rank, yo!) so that he can linger close and keep his eyes on the mare. For the most part, he's calm enough, though the inability to remain still (crossing arms just to uncross them, shifting weight from foot to foot, frowns and head-bobs) tell a different tale. He nods along with the spoken words, but he's watching Melody carefully. "She OK to lay down?" Too late now.

It is a well known herder-code, this grunt language. Probably why Vaeslyn has made it to Senior Apprentice and not just lingered on as a lowly apprentice. And this whole fidgeting thing is pretty contagious. As taciturn as Llewellyn might be with words, arm movements are apparently free grab. Crossed, uncrossed. Hat off, hat back on, as he eyes his mare. The question has him glancing over his shoulder back at Vaeslyn. "Huh? Yeah… most mares'll give birth on the ground. And some'll do it standing up." Speaking of standing up, she's going to do that right now and back to pacing, tail flicking back and forth.

Indeed. It's probably some sort of final-exam topic, that whole 'speaking without speaking' thing. With nothing more to do, Vaeslyn finds himself with a whole lot of energy and nothing useful to do with it. So it goes to fidgeting, and the plucking of runner-hair from his tunic, or the picking of dirt out from under his fingernails, until he finally gives in and steps forward to lean himself against the stall wall and get a closer look. Leaning at least gives the semblance of calm, though the normally stoic and reserved teen has taken to chewing the inside of his cheek. He's probably seen runners labor before, but maybe he's always anxious with the birth of foals. Or maybe it's just this runner. "Just don't want her to cast herself against the stall wall," murmured. Because if bad things are going to happen, this is probably when they will. Newton's law or something.

Llewellyn glowers over at the apprentice. Telling him stuff he knows. The man is also anxious around runner births, seeing as how so much can go wrong. But Melody is definitely not by the wall, or not for too long as she continues that pacing back and forth. Back and forth, tail still anxiously flickering. "You know where they store the bandages? Ledge right on the outside of the stall, right? Get in here with 'em." Accompanied with a finger beckoning. If he's gonna watch, he might as well learn.

Of course Vaeslyn is going to watch! What's more interesting than the birth of a runner? Certainly not chores, or homework, or the approximately one-million other things that Vaes should probably be doing right now. But he hops to attention quick enough, a quick, "Yes, of course," delivered for the knowledge of where the bandages are stored. He's practiced and precise in getting his hands on them, moving with purpose and lacking the previous hesitation when he enters the stall for a second time. "Sir," offered with another bit of a nod, deferential and polite enough. "What should I… uh. Do with them?"

"Wrap her tail," Llewellyn tilts his head towards Melody. Luckily for Vaeslyn, her fidgetting has led her back to laying down. This time more in the middle of the stall. Hopefully she won't try to get up mid-wrap! "Don't want it flicking up straw and stuff up when she's actually delivering." His arms are remaining firmly crossed as he stands at a not-so-comfortable hovering distance. The eyes of a herder are upon, you, Vaes!

"Yes, sir," Vaeslyn offers quickly. His approach to Melody is much more sedate, however. Not timid, not hesitant, but not rushing. Careful steps through the straw, but purposeful in the way they travel toward the mare at rest. "Hey pretty girl," murmured in a low, soothing tone that is definitely only used for runners, "S'just me. Nothing to fret 'bout." He crouches nearer her side, tucking a roll of bandages under one arm so that he can reach out and gently rub at her shoulder before working his way towards the more dangerous end. Positioning is carefully done, out of the way of potentially thrashing limbs. Bandages down, there's another stroke of his hand on a muscled haunch before he's gathering up her tail, starting the wrap of the bandage as he's been taught. He works in practiced movements, wrapping tight enough that it won't slip, but not tight enough to cut off the circulation. A glance. A frown. A glance toward Llewellyn that comes with a clear, "It looks like the birth sac is coming…" and the unspoken question, 'what should he do about it?'

Llewellyn is content to hover for the moment, although he is biting at his thumb nail. Ignore how much gross stuff might be under a herder's nail. He's just building up his immune system. There's not really much too be done at the moment, although he does give a nod of approval for the way the apprentice approaches the runner. Caution is a good thing, and Vaeslyn seems to have it and Melody doesn't seem any more fidgetting that she was, but he'll have to keep a tight grasp on that tail is he doesn't want her to flick it free. The last bit though has the journeyman springing forward to crouch down right next to Vaeslyn and it doesn't take more than a few seconds before he's nodding and grunting confirmation. "Right. You might want to step back. Have to check." He's already rolling up his sleeves to get down to some of the really dirty work if needed.

Vaeslyn manages to win the tail-versus-Apprentice battle. Victory is his! But it is short lived after the pronouncement of imminent births and the sudden appearance of Llewellyn by his side. More than happy to let the Journeyman take over, Vaes just scoots himself slowly to the side (no sudden movements!) and adopts a 'watching' presence. Hovering, watching, attentively listening should words be spoken. A moment's thought, and he gathers up the other bandages brought, clearing the space of debris. "What are you checking for?" wondered from his vantage point.

Forgive Llewellyn if he doesn't respond immediately to Vaeslyn's question. He is currently more than elbow deep in a runner's most sensitive of areas, although Melody doesn't seem to be objection too much although she's making her whole discomfort at this entire process known. But he does withdraw his arm, now all covered in fluids and grabs a rag out of his back pocket to at least attempt to wipe off some of it. "Checking to make sure it's gonna come out right. Forelegs and head first." He even does a little demo of the squished position foals tend to come out in, although it's very half hearted. "If they're coming out wrong, they die. Momma could die as well."

Definitely forgiven. And likely that Vaeslyn has briefly forgotten he even asked a question, because it's not every day that someone's entire forearm vanishes up a runner's backside. But maybe he's read a thing or two, or heard a thing or two, because there's certainly no repulsion or shock for the action. Just curiosity, heavily laced with apprehension and appropriate levels of concern, from a Senior Apprentice witnessing an activity he will likely be called upon to perform at some point in his career. There is a rapid nod-nod-nod of his head for the explanation and the half-hearted demo, gaze flashing from human to mare-butt and back again. "And is it?" Beat. "Coming out right?" he clarifies.

Hang around the herder's area often enough and you'll probably see it every day during certain seasons at least! And once a seven during the less frequent times… Llewellyn at least doesn't seem phased at all about the junk still clinging to his arm. Herding is a messy craft after all. And why get all cleaned up if you're just going to get dirty again in possibly minutes? He nods an affirmative to Vaeslyn. "Yeah. If it wasn't, it'd still be in there trying to twist her right." Melody's sides are almost constantly contracting at the moment and the birth sac is out with a distrubing splooshing sound. Followed shortly by the appearance of the first two hooves. "Get ready…"

Another quick nod-nod-nod that is definitely more nervous response than enthusiastic agreement . "Twist her right," Vaeslyn murmurs, repeating the journeyman in a tone and fashion that suggests he's not seeking clarification so much as expelling energy or committing the idea to memory. He shifts in his crouch, elbows on knees as one hand lifts to chew on his thumbpad. He's got eyes for the runner only, watching those squeezing contractions, and then flashing right quick to the further appearance of birth sac and baby-feet. "Ready?" ready for what? To catch? To dodge? It's clear Vaes isn't sure, but he shifts his weight and drops his hands so that, if need be, he can at least move with some speed and accuracy.

Twist her right is probably not the technical term, but it gets the job done and that's what matters, right? Llewellyn nods yet again, but his eyes are staying anxiously on the hooves that have emerged, along with plenty of more fluids. Someone (probably Vaes, lets be honest) will definitely be having to clean the stall again tonight. But they have a nose appearing now and Llew pumps a fist in a silent cheer. Now's definitely not the time for loud noises. "Just ready." Ready for anything. But right now, intervention doesn't seem needed. More and more of the foal is visible with every breath.

Technical-schmechnical. It paints the proper picture, and it's one that Vaeslyn can wrap his brain around. At least, he doesn't seem confused about it. Like the journeyman, Vaes's gaze is pinned to those little hooves promising more to come, breathing so quietly it's almost like he's not inhaling at all. And then there's a nose, and for one moment he really isn't breathing, breath caught in his throat at the sight of that tiny little muzzle peeking out. Cleaning up the mess afterwards? Definitely worth it, in the grand scheme of things. There's a nod of his head in acknowledgement, but it's likely missed considering their attentions seem to both be taken whole-heartedly by the birth that's happening.

Everything seems so good, but after the head appears and the foal's little nostrils flare with those first breaths (at least she's breathing even if Vaeslyn isn't), the forward momentum stalls for a minute. Llewellyn steps forward again and gently, but firmly starts tugging on the foal to help forward and it doesn't take much longer before she's fully out and he falls back on his bum. Meloday shakes her head and gets up to her feet and the foal also shakily gets up on it's little baby legs. "Well, that went better than I expected."

Vaeslyn will definitely survive his brief moment of asphyxiation. No way would he dare to drop dead (or unconscious) at a moment like this! There's a sharp little inhale from the apprentice as progress halts and assistance is given, Vaes leaning forward with one hand pressed into the straw to watch closer. And then a whoosh of an exhale as Llewellyn falls back and the foal slides free. He pushes away as Melody makes to stand, putting more space between him and the mare even though what he's got is likely adequate. "Wow, she's up fast," he observes, voice filled with fascination and delight, now that the worrisome part is over. It is over, right? "It is a she, right? And what do you mean, better than expected? What did you expect?" And there comes the worry. Really, Vaes is not usually one for feelings of concern (or feelings at all?), but this seems an appropriate moment to display some emotion.

Llewellyn is slow to pick himself up, watching first as his mare goes about inspecting her foal. "Can you get some wet clothes to wash her down with?" Water and clothes should be in plentiful supply around here afterwards. "And they gotta be up fast if they don't want to be a meal for felines." Prey animal instincts are hard to ignore. And he does heave himself to his feet, wiping off some of the hay that's now sticking to him, but by no means getting all of it. "Yeah, it's a she. And it was Melody's first time foaling. They don't always go over so easy." There's a calculated look given to the lad. "You thinking of picking a specialty yet?"

Almost before Vaeslyn has answered that request with a decisive, "Sure,", the apprentice is pushing himself to his feet and moving for the door. He disappears out of the stall, though likely not entirely given his head is more than likely visible over the wall, and returns quick enough with the requested items. Rags. Bucket of water. Eager expression and sure strides back into the straw and over to the mare. Cautious on approach, however. "It makes sense," he agrees, "And I did read that they stand… fast. But seeing it?" entirely different from reading it. "Oh," is uttered at the knowledge that this was a first-born, and with that knowledge comes a healthy respect for the maternal instincts that might not be so accepting of human's coming near her baby. "Can I?" he asks, motioning toward mare and foal with the hand that holds the rags, seeking permission to wash her down. As for his specialty? "Already did," he confesses. "It's always been Runners for me. Ever since I was a lad."

Llewellyn gestures for the apprentice to go ahead, seeing as he already has the supplies in hand and there's nothing like first-hand experience. "Runners, eh? Have you raised one from a foal before?" the man already seems like he's getting ready to head out now that both baby and momma seem perfectly healthy and content. "I work with the bovines. Already got two runners and don't need another. Can talk with your journeyman if you need a project…" And once Vaeslyn gives either an affirmative or declines, he'll be gone. Arrangements as good as done.

A slow shake of his head in answer to the question of having raised a foal, Vaeslyn moving with care as he closes the distance to the little filly. The bucket of water gets carefully set on the ground beside him, where (supposedly) no one is going to trip over it. Rag to bucket, then wrung out before he's moving to wash the birth-wet baby. "I… yeah! Yeah, that would be great!" The enthusiasm is definitely conveyed in his tone of voice, even if the volume is kept low and quiet, out of respect or reverence for the filly he's washing. "Thank you," follows Llewellyn out of the stall, and already Vaes is turning his gaze and his attention back to the little foal, delight drawing a wide smile across his face.

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