September 22, 2021, 01:37:03 AM

Author Topic:  [PD] chase the wind and touch the sky  (Read 98 times)

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Adèle Appel [ Bellefeuille ]
478 Posts  •  18  •  Heterosexual  •  she/her  •  played by Olivia
[PD] chase the wind and touch the sky
« on: May 10, 2021, 11:53:58 PM »

Breed: Hippogriff Age: 5 Gender: Male
Traits: Fast (bonus to speed rolls).
Aerodynamic (bonus to flying). Skittish
(scares easily around danger).
March 2004

The return of the Pegasus Derby was all Adèle could have asked for as her final year at Beauxbâtons drew to a close. Last time, as a Fourth Year, she’d been paired with Blitz the reindeer (which she still had trouble believing sometimes, an actual flying reindeer) and managed to win the Advanced class; this year, her partner was Zephyrus the Hippogriff. As much as Adèle loved horses, the challenge of adapting to ride a non-equine magical creature would always enthrall her.

By now she knew every single one of the stable’s occupants at least by name, and had probably ridden at least 75% of them at least once at some point or another over the past seven years. She didn’t know much about Zephyrus, however, aside from what his info card had said (fast, aerodynamic, and skittish) – so, as she’d done with Blitz three years previously, Adèle went to make friends as soon as she was given her assignment. She also spent a significant amount of time with Manon, always delighted to offer plenty of encouragement as well as tidbits of what she felt was helpful advice (whether it was actually solicited or not).

On the morning of the Derby, she woke bright and early (as usual) and made her way out to the pitch to watch as many of the Beginner and Intermediate sessions as she could, cheering on her friends until she had to step away for her own run at the course.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Bowing to Zephyrus, she waited for his reciprocation before stepping forward to pet him and mount-up. Much of the course was the same as last time, she’d heard, though they’d not been given an opportunity to walk it beforehand. Adèle was just fine with that, though; she liked improvising.

At the signal, she urged the big Hippogriff forward with her seat, taking a moment to settle into the rhythm of his gait – which was decidedly very different from any equine’s. In the distance she spotted their first obstacle: the familiar height-changing fence. In truth she had no idea how well-suited a Hippogriff’s anatomy was to jumping (though if she had to guess, she’d venture ‘not particularly’), and so the trick would be to time it just right – or at least well enough so that the fence was either at its peak or just starting its descent as Zephyrus took off. Her job was to ‘see’ her distance, and adjust Zephyrus’s strides accordingly; something she could ordinarily do in her sleep. Hopefully translating the concept to a Hippogriff wouldn’t be too much of a stretch.

Adèle felt him lengthen his stride, and deduced that he had now seen the obstacle as well. She let him go for the moment, and as they closed the distance she was able to get a better handle on how long it took the fence to go from minimal to maximal height. She also became acutely aware that they were picking up too much speed – too fast, and Zephyrus might assume she wanted him to fly over the fence, which would lose them points.

In response Adèle sat deeply in the saddle, shifting her weight further back onto her ‘sit-bones’ (as her nonno referred to them) in an attempt to convince the Hippogriff to shift his weight back as well and collect himself.
“Easy, easy…” she murmured softly, applying gentle intermittent rein pressure to convince him to settle – she felt him slow down slightly, but it was very clear that he wanted to go. Adèle felt she had enough control that she didn’t need to circle him first, but in another five or so strides they would be too close for that to be an option. Another half-halt with her reins – opening and closing her fingers – and he came back to her a bit more.

Adèle let out a slow, steadying breath. Her gaze was fixed at a point just over the maximum height, but she was simultaneously watching the distance disappear beneath her and the vertical motion of the fence in her periphery – trying to sync up the timing, counting down the final strides in her head as the fence loomed closer.

‘Five… four… three… two… one…!’

Rolled 1d6 : 3, total 3
|| pinterest | Anni '19 . Anni '21||

when the cold wind is a-calling and the sky is clear and bright
misty mountains sing and beckon, lead me out into the light
I will ride, I will fly, chase the wind and touch the sky
I will fly, chase the wind and touch the sky

Adèle Appel [ Bellefeuille ]
478 Posts  •  18  •  Heterosexual  •  she/her  •  played by Olivia
Re: [PD] chase the wind and touch the sky
« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2021, 09:51:34 PM »
Fortunately, Zephyrus didn’t seem opposed to jumping – he even had the decency to not even try to run out on her!
She felt his hindquarters bunch up underneath her as he left the ground on the final stride, and Adèle shifted into jumping position (hoping he wouldn’t try to take flight entirely), suspended for what felt like an eternity – and then they touched down, cantering away on the other side. Jumping a Hippogriff was definitely not as smooth as jumping an equine, thanks to the varied anatomy, though the Seventh Year was hardly complaining. They’d made it, but still had two more challenges to go. Nonetheless Adèle beamed, patting his neck and telling him what a good boy he was as they approached the next part of the course.

She knew what was coming, but struggled to displace the ominous feeling of the bottom dropping out of her stomach that would be sure to greet her in the next few seconds as they went airborne. Zephyrus seemed to know, too – he tossed his head and fought her, wings shifting impatiently as he picked up speed of his own accord. Glancing up, Adèle found the first ring in the sequence and kept it in her periphery, and cast a quick glance at the remaining four; each seemed to be moving more dynamically than the last.

Her stomach clenched briefly in anticipation, and she had to actively remind herself to relax; she wasn’t sure she’d ever get used to the sensation of going airborne, but she needed to be extra aware today. Zephyrus’s info card had said he was ‘skittish’ – if she was tense, then that had the potential to make him even more sensitive. It had also said he was ‘aerodynamic’ and ‘fast’, and she intended to put both of those to good use.

“Alright, then… let’s go!” she told him, urging him forward and giving the cue for him to take flight. He let out a screech (of what she perceived was excitement) and immediately unfurled his wings, leaping greedily upward into the sky in a less-than-graceful fashion.

Rolled 1d6 : 4, total 4
|| pinterest | Anni '19 . Anni '21||

when the cold wind is a-calling and the sky is clear and bright
misty mountains sing and beckon, lead me out into the light
I will ride, I will fly, chase the wind and touch the sky
I will fly, chase the wind and touch the sky

Adèle Appel [ Bellefeuille ]
478 Posts  •  18  •  Heterosexual  •  she/her  •  played by Olivia
Re: [PD] chase the wind and touch the sky
« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2021, 10:56:40 PM »
need 4+ for obstacle 2
dice roll 4 | +2 mount bonus (aerodynamic, fast) | +1 advanced rider bonus
total score 7 = PASS




Taking-off was as jarring as always – the powerful sweep of wings, an abrupt upward surge, and subsequently a brief sense of weightlessness before the next wing-beat propelled the rider back upwards. Adèle was fortunate she wasn’t the type to get seasick, or this would have been a significantly less pleasant ordeal. Despite the tangible reassurance of the Hippogriff beneath her, she still felt very much like a cork in the water and clung more tightly to him than she otherwise would have. After a few cycles, however, she’d gotten her bearings and was ready to face down the enchanted hoops.

Directing her attention to the first in the lineup (large and completely stationary), the pair sailed through easily. The second drifted towards them and away, but was otherwise uncomplicated; they made short work of that one, too. Zephyrus was noticeably happier to be airborne, and he seemed to resist her direction less and less.
The third hoop was positioned at an odd angle but, with a practiced eye for ‘seeing a line’ and mapping a mental route, Adèle was able to guide him through a rather tight hairpin turn to shave a few seconds off of the clock. The fourth was trickier in that the diameter expanded and shrank at timed intervals – here Zephyrus resisted Adèle’s holding him back, as he desperately wanted to rush the hoop while it was collapsing. After no small amount of convincing, she was able to rein him in long enough for the hoop to reach its smallest point and begin to expand before letting him loose; he responded with an irritated squawk and a burst of speed that nearly unseated her, and she pressed herself against his neck to avoid smacking her head on the hoop.
The final hoop moved side-to-side at a brisk rate and – from what Adèle could deduce in the few seconds of their approach – somewhat regular intervals. Rather than annoy him further with holding him back if she could avoid it, she instead guided him to gently zig and zag with the direction of the hoop’s motion. He seemed to enjoy this (though Adèle wasn’t sure she could say the same, as the constant swaying was a fundamentally unsettling motion) and at least put up less of an argument; and it worked just well enough to squeeze them through at the last opportunity.

Good boy, that was very good,” she told him, breathless and a little shaky; she hadn’t realized she’d been tensing so much during their hoop navigation – successful though it was – despite her best efforts. She was going to need all of her calmness, coolness, and collectedness (and all of Zephyrus’s speed and agility) to get through this final phase.

Perhaps, if they went fast enough, he wouldn’t notice the cloud of Flemish pixies that was positively vibrating about thirty feet above…

Rolled 1d6 : 2, total 2
|| pinterest | Anni '19 . Anni '21||

when the cold wind is a-calling and the sky is clear and bright
misty mountains sing and beckon, lead me out into the light
I will ride, I will fly, chase the wind and touch the sky
I will fly, chase the wind and touch the sky

Adèle Appel [ Bellefeuille ]
478 Posts  •  18  •  Heterosexual  •  she/her  •  played by Olivia
Re: [PD] chase the wind and touch the sky
« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2021, 09:35:27 PM »
need 5+ for obstacle 3
dice roll 2 | -1 mount deduction (skittish) | +1 advanced rider bonus
total score 2 = spectacular FAIL




Alas… no such luck.
Despite her grand plan to keep him focused on her and oblivious to his surroundings, the instant that the pixies were within earshot Zeph’s head shot straight up in the air and he balked in midair, refusing to fly forward.

She let him look for a minute, rubbing his feathered neck reassuringly and speaking softly to him. He tossed his head and swung it around to locate the pixies, fixing a beady eye warily on the humming cloud above. Adèle couldn’t say she blamed him – the buzz of their wings in swarm raised the hairs on the back of her neck. After a moment he seemed to settle, and began to move forward with a powerful sweep of his wings – then he let out a SQUAWK of indignation.

Adèle flinched; not because the sound was upsetting to her, but because all hope of going incognito had effectively vanished. A quick glance upward confirmed her suspicions – the pixies had caught onto them, and were descending to undoubtedly dive-bomb them. Exhaling briefly through her nose she urged the Hippogriff onward, towards a sequence of half-partitions that they seemingly needed to weave between. Zephyrus resisted her request to dive down to meet the obstacle; he kept swiveling his head back and up to look at the cloud of pixies, despite her best efforts to distract him. She managed to convince him to descend far enough for long enough to weave through half of the sequence – but the pixies were gaining on them, and Zeph panicked and shot straight up into the air, nearly unseating the experienced Adèle in the process.
She glanced wistfully behind her, saw the swelling cloud of pixies, and decided to cut her losses; the Hippogriff beneath her was distressed enough as it was and she had no desire to stress him further for a mere competition, for her enjoyment. She had learned long ago that there was no point in getting upset with a horse (or any creature, really) when they did not do what they’d been asked, and she tried hard to bring this lesson to the forefront of her mind now. Zeph wasn’t doing this to be ornery – he was afraid. He had no way of knowing that she was trying to direct him to what she thought was relative safety… all he wanted to do was get away from those pixies, and fear was a powerful motivator.

They were coming up on an ominous-looking storm-cloud next, which scared even the pixies away. The moving rings were back, it seemed – on a backdrop of simulated lightning and thunder. Poor Zephyrus was in full-blown panic-mode, now, and minimally amenable to any guidance she attempted to offer. She managed to negotiate through the first two of six hoops, then a lightning strike drove them wide right of the third, and then wide left for the fourth, through the fifth – and just when they were about to squeeze through the sixth, a deafening thunderclap startled Zeph so badly that he reared in midair and dove directly downward, seeking to get away from the clouds.

From then on Adèle reframed her expectations. She still spoke soothingly and reassured him and attempted to gently guide him – but if he panicked or fought back, she gave him his space and tried again a few moments later. The compromise was that they hit maybe fifty percent of the targets that they should have – but with the end result of a somewhat-less-stressed Hippogriff by the time they touched-down.

“You’re alright, Zeph,” she repeated soothingly to the frazzled Hippogriff, dismounting smoothly once he’d finally stood quietly for a few seconds without jigging. Once she had, she continued to pet and comfort him until he stopped looking warily at the skies and instead began nudging her pockets for treats.
She didn’t think she’d done quite as well as last year from a points perspective (which was bittersweet, as it was her last Pegasus Derby), but it wouldn’t have felt right to push him given the degree of fear he had exhibited… not under these circumstances and only having had a few days to work with him. She liked to think her nonno would be proud of how she handled herself and how she’d worked with Zephyrus, though – and that was good enough for her.


[[ end! ]]
|| pinterest | Anni '19 . Anni '21||

when the cold wind is a-calling and the sky is clear and bright
misty mountains sing and beckon, lead me out into the light
I will ride, I will fly, chase the wind and touch the sky
I will fly, chase the wind and touch the sky

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