The air always smelled so much better after it rained. The sky a little bluer after it finished trying to drown the land. The grass a little greener and shinier. Children running around, leaping in to the puddles that pockmarked the cobblestone roads with gleeful laughter. The world just seemed more alive after it rained. Anytime it happened, Mercer was happier. It was his favorite part of any day. Although today he was being forced to spend coin he didn't want to.
"Why do I even need a horse? I have no reason to leave the city."
"You will tomorrow. I got the group a job." A toothy grin passed over the woman's features. "Detin is already getting some supplies ready for us. It'll take us a couple days to get out to the location -on- horseback."
A groan escaped the man's throat before he could suppress it. "Filthy animals." He muttered under his breath, shaking his head, but he didn't veer off course as the pair headed towards the stables just outside the walls of Daggerfall.
The building - if you could call it that - was situated right up against the stonework. Open in it's design to allow the horses free reign to move to the shelter from their yard if they so choose. A pair of the animals stood grazing on grass, not a care in the world. The first; A jet black stallion, thick with corded muscles. The coat was beautifully shiny and well-maintained. The second and only other horse was a stark contrast to the former. A brown gelding, malnourished looking with a matted coat. It was clear which horse was favoured at this stable.
The 'stable master' was an lanky older Breton, wrinkles permanently creasing his creatures. The top of his head was devoid of anything but ring of bushy, grey hair ran around his scalp at just above his ear level. His clothing is simple rags, stained with dirt and other mysterious splotches. Seated in a creaky rocking chair on the porch of the tiny house that sat beside the stables, stuffing his pipe tobacco leaves. He glanced up as the pair approached, raking in their appearance.
Mercer with a rough leather cuirass, covering a dark tight fitting shirt with long sleeves that ended in a pair of leather bracers with strands of cloth wrapped around his hands, leaving his fingers uncovered. A long skirt like piece covered his legs that extended down to just below his knees and simple riding boots were worn on his feet. He was clutching a rather sizable bag that constantly but quietly jingled with coin. It was lucky they didn't get mugged on their way here.
Valery had a similar outfit to Mercer, albiet with a little less leather. She had no cuirass, instead opted for a ornate deep purple blouse, with loose sleeves that, like Mercer, were stuffed into leather bracers and cloth wrapped around her hands. Her pants; form fitting and black, disappearing in to thigh high riding boots. A long skinny sword rested in it's sheath that hung loosely from her belt. Her red hair looked almost orange in the sunlight but like usual, she had it tied in to a long braid.
"Waddya' want?" His voice already dripped with annoyance, it was far to early for visitors for him, despite it being a little before midday.
Mercer lifted the bag of coins and shook it a little. "Apparently I am buying a horse. You -do- sell horses yes?"
The demeanor of the stable master switched instantly. He pushed himself off his chair with surprising speed for a man of his stature. "You'll find no better horse than Garius here!" he motioned to the black horse. "Only twenty five hundred."
Mercer blanched and lowered his bag of coins. He looked back to Valery who was scrunching her face but smiled back him when she caught his eye. He motioned over to the gelding and sighed. "How much for the brown one?"
Once again the demeanor of the stable master switched. His face curled in to almost a snarl as he looked over at the inferior horse. "Five hundred." he chewed on the end of his pipe for a moment. "And I'll even throw in the saddle for free."
"Looks like we have a deal then." Mercer tossed over the bag of coins. "There is five thirty... ish in there. Buy yourself something pretty with the extra."
The older man fumbled a bit but managed to catch the bag. He gingerly opened it and started counting a few of the coins before either getting bored or figuring it looked like it was enough. He turned and tossed it on to the porch and then headed for the actual stables. He gathered a lead so that he could at least bring the horse to Mercer while he went and got the probably shoddy saddle he was throwing in for free.
As soon as the the gate opened, the gelding exploded in to action. He wasn't the biggest horse and despite how skinny he looked, he was fast! Even with small horses, it's best not to stand in the way of one that's charging. Mercer and Valery were thankfully on in it's path but the stable master had to jump out of the way. A loud curse was thrown before it was muffled when he hit the ground.
The brown horse took off down the road, turned like he was making for the wilds but instead jumped straight in to a puddle! It looked like he was trying to buck off an imaginary rider as it splashed around in the water and before long it flopped down, actually rolling around in it. It was having the time of it's life. Mercer couldn't help but smile.
He felt a nudge on his arm as Valery leaned. "Seems the horse has a few things missing upstairs. You and he should get along swimmingly then."
Mercer just turned to look at her with a 'how rude' expression but the smile tugging at his lips betrayed any feigned anger he was showing. She kissed his cheek and gave him a quick pat on the butt before moving to help the stablemaster gather everything they needed. Mercer however, walked towards his newly purchased horse with a cocked head as he watched the horse continue to play in the water.
As he arrived, the horse flopped around for a few more seconds and then moved to stand on all fours, standing directly in front of Mercer, staring at him. He let out a snort and stepped closer, nudging Mercer's outstretched hand with his nose. The Breton smiled from ear to ear, he already liked this horse.
"Alright, Puddles... want to get in to some trouble?"
Puddles let out another snort and started to prance around. This was the start of a something great.