Wrangler of Muses
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Ijo was so proud of all of them. They were growing like weeds, they were healthy - most of them, it seemed like, at least - they were turning from incomplete creatures into a remarkably stalwart set of Handlers. Isk sat beside him, licking the remnants of a snack-tunnelsnake from his maw. Breakfast had been purposefully light; fruit, some juice, a meatroll.
He wanted them hungry, for a reason.
Beside him, a stark contrast to the relatively short stature of the Brownhandler-Wherlingmaster, was the Master Tanner, Jyderin. On Jy's shoulder, Aura draped herself. She looked curiously at the whers that surrounded them, but ultimately was more interested in watching Feo, Jy's Burgundy, climbing through the tunnels in the walls. The smaller of the Tanner's flits was busy hunting bugs and tunnelsnakes.
"Good morning, Red Class," Ijo began, notably with his fingers wrapped in strings from a spool of twine, "You'll notice that I've had you all on a light breakfast, this morning. There's a reason for that, as unhappy as I know that's made some of you. To my right, is Master Tanner Jyderin. Many of you probably already know him, but as you can probably gather, we'll be working with hides and leather today. It's a rare treat to be taught a lesson by a Master, no less, so I trust the lot of you will be respectful and pay attention."
"I have faith they will, Wherlingmaster." Aura rested her head on Hers', and Jy answered with a small scratch to her haunches. "If I can be of service more than I already am, all the better. I don't mind in the slightest. On that note - if any of you require more lessons to the effects of what we're learning this even...I mean...this morning...please don't hesitate to come see me in the Crafter's quarters. I'm happy to help people better their skills."
Ijo nodded his head, a subtle 'listen to the man and don't be daft' expression on his face. Isk licked his nostril, snorting at His, before he stretched.
"We're going to elaborate on the training I believe many of you received as Candidates, and some of you probably learned from youth. If you haven't yet learned to work with leather for the purposes of making a harness and patching your leathers, then you'll learn that today. However; we're going to pick up on some of your memory capabilities, as well. In my hands, many of you have already seen the twine. There are spools of that at each of your places, as well as the hides by which you will be cutting the straps and set up for your wher's harnesses. Please be careful, those knives are ridiculously sharp, and I would rather not have to rush any of you to the Infirmary for removing a finger, or worse."
Ijo began to circle around the group, simply because he had a hard time just standing there nattering and not pacing in the process. Plus, it was a way to make sure all his Wherlings were paying attention.
"You will have half a candlemark to measure your whers, using the twine. You will need to cut it in sections, once you've wrapped it around your charges, so that you know how long to make the straps. You will need one strap around the lower portion of your wher's neck, where it meets your wher's shoulders," Isk stood up to become an example, as Ijo began to wrap the twine around his Brown, once he reached him, "One strand around your wher's midsection, here," around the girth, behind the forearms, "And then three strands between them. One between them here, at your wher's keel, and then two along their backs on either side. Please remember that you will need to account for the fact they will be continuing to grow between now and your eighteen-month mark, at which point your whers will be fully grown. We will have another lesson at some point, probably when I've seen that they're beginning to outgrow your harnesses, in which we will be judging your skills at adjusting the length."
"Please don't throw out or knot up your twines when you've finished measuring out your leather," Jyderin spoke up, once Ijo had finished, "I will be collecting them when we've finished the lesson. Once you no longer need the twine, please find your wher's name on this hide, tie all five pieces together through the hole beneath and up to the top, and return to your places. Do not cut your hides or tie off your twine, until I've come around and checked your measurements. Hides are expensive, now, and while I can make a great deal with scraps, when crafting anything, remember the old saying. 'Measure twice, cut once'. This will save you from mistakes with many things, not just cutting hides." Jyderin would be watching to see if they did it when measuring their whers, as well.
"Please be careful when cutting the twine. Do not cut it, obviously, while it's still close to your wher. You will need to hold the place with your fingers, remove it from your wher, and cut it against the cutting board at your places, so that we do not dull the Tanner's knives. Now...when you have finished measuring your whers, Isk and Bosk will be taking your whers out to teach them to hunt. Musk will be joining them, once you've reached the woods - he's out with His, Bosk's, and Czervosk's, making sure there are no wilds that could be causing an issue. Isk will be escorting all of you - bondeds, that is - out towards the harbor. When your whers return, if they have been successful, you'll fit them with their new harnesses, and we will see if you've managed to put something useful together. If they haven't, you'll feed them, and then you'll fit them with their harnesses. Drudges will be bringing meatrolls and klah down, once we've gotten underway. Any questions?"
Jyderin stepped forwards, sliding down with a knee to the bench on the table closest to Galya. Tables had been set up around a circle beside the lake in the middle of the Quarters, where there was enough light to see by, but not to hurt the Whers. Jyderin operated with a lantern on his table, which granted enough for all those at that particular table to see with. There was a lantern for each table, seven tables, wherlings distributed beyond where Jyderin was with Oreanda and Osk, and Galya with Gask (feel free to split yourselves off to each of the other tables, no more than two per - hides are huge, so each takes up half the table).
He waited patiently for them to do their measurements, before speaking up. Isk headed out, herding bondeds along with him. It was, potentially, the first time many of them were going to be away; Ijo kept a close eye on any of them who looked uncomfortable, and Isk did the same with the wherets; those who looked unsettled or concerned, would be reunited and taught the hunting skill at a later date.
"Now," he smiled in the dimly lit dark, Aura's whirling yellow-green eyes lit from his shoulder, "On your tables, you'll find strap-patterns. There are also chalk pencils. The hide will be big enough for you to be able to cut the entire harness' pieces, you will simply have to lay them all out so that they don't overlap, or go off the side of the hides. You will want to over-measure before cutting, to account for your wher's growth and the bit that wraps across the buckles; we have those, and a punch to make holes in the straps on their ends. Be mindful of where you'll be making holes. The last hole should be the one that sits your straps on your wher at their current size. We want it to be snug, but not tight. If you can't get your fingers under it, comfortably, it's too tight. Remember, your whers will be spending a considerable time in these harnesses, we want to make sure they're not bothered by them and able to pay attention to their surroundings."
Jyderin showed them how to lay the stencil - each one adjusted to their specific color of wher, so that they were uniform in size and strength - on the hide, lay the twine in the middle, and then slide the stencil so that the proper strap sizes could be marked. Ijo assisted, as well, so that everyone could learn how. He then showed them - carefully! - how to cut their straps out, work the hide against the side of the table to remove some of the stiffness, and then lay out their harnesses - once they'd tied their twines in the holes with their wher's name - for stitching. Each was given a metal needle and the thick-woven thread that would hold them in place.
Each had a thimble at their places, to keep them from stabbing themselves in the fingers.
"You will have to clean these like any other piece of your gear. When your wher is washed, so are your straps. They will need to be kept oiled, so that they don't crack. The worst thing to ever happen to any wher, is to be in the process of being carried by a dragon, and the straps of their harness break. Don't let that happen to you. Don't let that happen to your peers, either. Naturally, there are bags, I'm told, but emergencies."
[I am giving you guys the space to be creative as far as hunting goes, with your whers; keep in mind that we have a 2 rating for gore, don't be terribly disgusting. Whers will need to be quiet and stealthy; Isk will be teaching them how to track with scent, as well as sight. Once all whers have caught at least something, be it a bug or a beast, they will return to the Lower Caverns to be fitted with their harnesses. Have fun!]