My Little Death Ponies

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adelard1.jpg taril1.jpg

Scene Title My Little Death Ponies
Synopsis An old dragon and a young fox talk amid the company of death ponies
Location Meadow/Forest's edge
Date April 4, 2001
Watch For Taril's A+ landing
Logger Taril

The rear courtyard spills out into a large meadow. The area isn't entirely flat, sometimes the ground drops off sharply down the hills. In the spring and summer, the grass is spongy and emerald green, in the winter; snow blankets the area, inviting everyone of all ages out into the open for harmless winter sport. (With a wizard's flair of course.) The meadow is boarded abruptly by the forest that is off limits to students. Situated at the edge of the forest is a circular shaped, wooden hut. This is the home of Rubeus Hagrid, the Keeper of the Keys and Groundskeeper of Hogwarts. A buffer area of smaller trees set farther apart lends space for students to learn about the care of magical creatures that would otherwise not venture into the open. Scrub, stone, and woodland detritus have not been cleared away, giving a less forbidding place for students to gather. Smaller areas of the meadow contain grassy knolls, flagstone paths, stone fountains and statues. .

Sitting by itself, away from the forest edge is a recent addition, the Whomping Willow. It was planted in 1972, and no one really seems to know why. It's a rather, uhm, violent tree and hits anyone that comes near it! Some students occasionally try to poke at the knots on the tree on dares.

It's balmy today, the kind of day where students go and test the waters of the Lake. Bright and clear, with just the faintest touch of April's moisture in the air. Surely, this kind of weather could not last, but right now it was proving to be a pleasant April. So why in the world would anyone venture into the deepest part of the Forest's edge on a day like today? Here, the trees filtered out most of the Spring light, and somewhere in the distance things lurked that would rather not be spoken of. Yet, here Adelard sat, atop a large, mossy stone that rose at least four feet into the air. Beside him, a large basket of steaks sit, still wrapped in butcher's cloth. For now, he sits seemingly idle, elbows on his knees, fingers laced together, staring out over the small clearing before him. Esmeralda, murky green and brown today, sits perched upon his shoulder asleep. For those that know what to look for, though, what he is watching is evident. A herd of Thestrals, at least two dozen of them, even a couple of young ones toward the center of the group.

You know who's not in the water today? Taril. Or, rather, the fox-form that he normally inhabits when he's moving through the forest. A fox with a double sided bag strapped to its back that comes skidding to a halt as it enters the clearing and lands as a young man sitting on his backside with his hands behind him to steady himself. "Well now, there's a sight." One he's not going to interrupt. He's a risk taker, not a jerk. Adelard finally catches his attention and he gives a nod. "Fair day for it."

Adelard muffles a small laugh as the fox-cum-man comes sliding into the clearing. One particular mare in the herd lifts her head, looking over to Taril and then deciding he's not worth worrying about. "Aye, that it is." He says from atop his stone, nodding. There's no denying he's Scottish through and through, this man, not with a voice like that. "What has you out in the forest?" Which is when he whistles lightly, and the herd, almost as a unit, looks up and trots over toward his stone. These animals know him, and well, some of them bold enough to even put front legs up onto the stone to nose at him, earning a warm smile and a soft touch to skeletal noses. "Yes, hello, dear ones…"

"Bowtruckles," Taril answers, which is obviously the short form. "Well, lookin' for 'em. Managed to harvest some wiggentree seeds. Wanted to be sure we'd have some of the wee things to colonize 'em if I manage to get a tree or two." The herd gets his attention again, because of course it does, and he grins. "These yours?" It's a good thing Adelard is just as Scottish because this kid forgets to modify his accent at the least distraction. "Lovelies, they are."

"Bowtruckles?" Adelard sounds curious as he reaches for the first of these steaks. It's tossed out into the clearing, high in the air, and caught during its flight by one of the plucky, young males. "Are you hunting for wand wood?" An idle question, asked as he tosses another steak to the herd. They know this game, and the youngest dance about excitedly. The older members of the herd stay nearby, knowing he will show them mercy in good time. "In so far as Thestrals ever belong to anyone, yes. I've tended this herd for the better part of twenty years. They know me." An easy explanation, touched with another small smile, though this one borders on the realm of melancholy.

"Never know when it might come handy to have a few trees for it." Taril answers. "Doesn't seem right to have 'em growing without proper protection. Fortunately, we I found some! Damn near took a beatin' for it, but I came askin' for it." His grin shows no hint of anger toward the creatures in question. "May sound bad when I say you're lucky for it, but it's a fair compensation for bein' visited by death." He watches the foals in their excitement for food and chuckles. "Y'ever wonder how anyone could think those wee things could be an ill omen?"

"Fair enough. I've heard rumours that the Forest grew wand quality trees, but I've never known much about Wandlore myself." Adelard says, tossing a couple of the steaks down to the patient, older crowd. Esmeralda rouses on his shoulder, the tiny dragon yawning and stretching before clambering up to perch on the top of his head. "At my age, just about everyone has seen someone die." He says, shrugging his now free shoulder, "I've never quite understood the fear of Thestrals. They're sweet as pie if you know how to handle them."

Taril gives a faint bow to the small dragon. "And hello to you, lovely." Then he shrugs. "There's not a thing born weren't meant to die. Reckon that's true of everything, but no one wants to think about it. S'why they don't wanna see Thestrals." At least this kid knows to keep a respectful distance, seemingly happy enough to watch from his distance. "That's the other reason for me bein' in the forest. I sneak treats to the school herd while I'm out for other things." He smacks his forehead and chuckles. "And here I am, chattin' over these beauties and forgettin' manners. Name's Taril. Taril Mackinnon, though don't suppose my surname's meant anythin' since the professors stopped trailin' out my name in full to let me know how much trouble I was in."

Esmeralda glances over to Taril, but she remains on her perch, quite content to watch the silliness her human has gotten up to. "Surnames always mean something." Adelard says lightly, though he doesn't look over to Taril, continuing to feed the herd. It's a rote motion, one he's so used to that the repetition is soothing. "Adelard de Morhban, it's nice to meet you." Well that's a name. Out here, though, in simple, grey robes, just feeding a herd of Thestrals, he's not as intimidating as the stories like to claim.

Maybe not as intimidating, but that doesn't mean that Taril isn't more than a bit surprised. Fortunately, he also tends to treat everyone as they treat him, so he's at least still as casual as he'd been. "Mam said it was the name of the clan that ruled Skye." He shrugs. "Grew up in a crofter's hut and the name didn't put the mice in awe of me." He grins. "That name, though… well, ye still won't impress the mice, but anyone else… Not a burden I'd want. Bad enough to have it yelled whenever there's a mess been made." Until the Weasleys. Bless those boys.

That inspires an actual laugh from Adelard as he empties this basket. "Mice are terribly difficult to impress." He says on the end of that laughter, "It's not so terrible a thing, a name worth remembering. You just have to learn how to wield it." One of the youngest foals, curious now that he has been fed, prances up to Taril. Unafraid, he immediately noses at the young man. We've a bold one this season. "You'd best get those treats you've squirreled away for the school herd to them, or this lot will sniff you out."

Taril laughs and drops down a few of the meat strips. "I've plenty." He nods. "I'll keep it in mind. If I do ever manage to impress the mice, I'll call it a win." With that, he's suddenly gone, replaced by a red blur. Never mind that he's taking a shortcut past the part of the forest the centaurs have claimed.


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