Gentling a beast

White Rock Lake

A reservoir, White Rock Lake covers 1,254 acres and was once used for a portion of Dallas' drinking water supply. Now that it's use as a water source has been supplanted, the area has become one of the favored recreational locations in the city. The forested shoreline is dotted with numerous small cabins, fishing piers, and sailboat docks.
The lake is surrounded by White Rock Lake Park, which is home to the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden. Running through the park is a 9 mile trail designed for hiking, running or cycling.
Though swimming was banned here back in the '50's, it is still a popular location for area teens who generally enjoy the more deserted areas, using the beautiful backdrop as a makeout spot.

Early evening. The sun has set off into the distance with the moon and stars lighting the earth. It's coming into the 'really hot' period of the year, so what few people are taking advantage of the slightly cooler evening aren't moving quite so much. Shade obviously offers no respite from the heat surrounding them, but the grass beneath is just a degree or two cooler.
There is the distinct sound of a slow, rythmic *clop*clop*, interspersed with a more rapid step, only to settle back to an even tempo sounding from one of the packed dirt trails coming up from the lake. Emerging from the path is a large, dark brown horse, easily mistaken for black in the dim light, without a bit of white marking to be found on him. Upon his back, on a small, tan leather saddle, sits a still, impassive figure, cold blue eyes looking before him on the path.
As the horse breaks into the clearing area, it's easy to see the break of rythm as he 'prances', fighting the hold that is upon his mouth, stepping sideways, causing the rider to check the motion.
Annoyance flares as Marius begins (begins?) to lose his temper, and he growls, "Foreward, you damned beast.." and nudges the side of the horse again.
In a fit of pique on the horse's side, he apparently simply had.. enough excitement for the evening, and wheels around quickly, dropping his head.. and looks as if he has every intention of bringing those massive, muscular hindquarters up.. and quickly…

Owning an historic house has both pros and cons. The pros; you own a piece of history, you get the lovely feeling of ghosts and lingering memories, you get the comfort of a home that has been lived in for long periods of time. The cons; updating heating and cooling systems can be a pain. The heat may not have hit triple digits yet, though the temperature comfort inside with little to no breeze makes sleeping unbearable.
Out of doors by the lake is nicer. The water cools things down considerably, even if you're not bathing in it.
Beth is taking refuge with the cool grass between her toes, a long broom skirt worn for added airiness. Sandals are held in her hands as she walks nearly in front of the path of the beast. It is not until the horse is preparing to rear up that she notices it and stops dead in her tracks.
"Shhh, shhh. It will be alright," she offers to the horse trying to get it to not clip her with the hooves.

Rearing? That would be too easy for the rider to sit, thus not accomplishing the now stated goal of the charger. What he's doing, and Marius is all too aware, but even with vampire reflexes, he's no horseman and there's little that he knows in order to keep that tail from coming up…
With Bethany there or not, the horse brings his backend way up.. which has the result of catapulting the blonde vampire out of his seat and over the lowered head of the horse. It's only by twisting around slightly in the air that Marius manages to not land on the little breather that appeared from seemingly nowhere.
Just not paying attention.. and the lapse will be noted later, and remedied, certainly.
While not landing on his feet, neither does he land on his backend.. but rather more of a drop and roll.. and gains his feet as quickly as if he'd simply dismounted.
The horse, for his part, pulls his head up quickly, and finding himself riderless, takes a wide-nostrilled sniff at the woman before him before taking a step back, obviously not wishing to be caught..
Gutteral words emenate from the vampire.. a harsh language undoubtedly no longer spoken in the modern era..
Then, "Oh, no.. do not even think…"
"Catch that horse.." comes quickly after, an order barked.

A surreal experience to have a horse catapult a rider directly at you. The flare of the nostrils more than the words cause the barefoot woman to spring into action.
A slow movement sees her hand coming out toward the horse, another gentle, "Shhh devil beast. Calm yourself. No one is going to hurt you," is being offered. Bethany has neither the speed nor the agility to catch the horse if it decides to bolt. What she has is the ability to move delicately forward in an attempt to calm the beastie and lull it into security before she reaches for the reins.

It's the slow and gentle that gains a horse, and after pulling his head way up in a refusal of the first bid to grab at him, but he drops his head soon after with the softly spoken words. The horse blows out puffs of air, and allows the hand to take the reins that have gathered up near his ears.
Marius growls again in annoyance, though each step forward allows him to compose himself into something more 'becoming', that is, impassively vampiric.
"I will take him now." Reaching out to take hold of the bridle even as Bethany has his reins, the horse pulls his head up again, making to stay out of range of the vampire by taking a step back. This brings a snarl from the vampire, "Fine.."
Looking to Bethany again, he stares.. and hears.. calm?

Big beastie that the horse is, it drags Bethany a step back as well. Her entire focus is on the horse. "Now that is enough of that, you silly boy. Gentle. It will be fine, you will be alright. You have my word," she again uses the calm, soothing, and therapeutic voice she tends to when dealing with select patients. "Come now, it will not do to upset your master will it?" Reins in her right hand she reaches with the left to give the creature's ear a little scratch.
Not a move is made to acknowledge the rider, though she calmly offers, "You should approach him not with ire but with neutrality or calm. He will react better I think."

Marius watches the horse calm under Bethany's hand, and at her words, a soft, 'Hmmmph' is uttered.
As the great beast lowers its head for scritches along his ear, he reaches out to rub against the woman. Just in case she gets the idea that scritches will be stopping? Noooo..
Now, the vampire has a decision to make. Does he see if he can't ride back to Medieval Times where the horse is boarded, or does he remain on foot, discretion being the better part of valour?
"You will have my thanks if he is brought back to his home safely," is given, his tones tight. Apparently, the decision to walk is made. "He is stabled at Medieval Times."

"Are you training him for the dinner show?" Bethany will have to be careful not to spoil the devil beastie in that case. "Give me a moment to put my shoes back on and I'll gladly walk him back for you."
There is nary a chance she would attempt to ride.
Hand remaining firm on the reins, she drops her shoes to the ground and steps into them. "Though to be honest, you will have to give me directions or walk with me."

"No.. he is mine."
Receiving the acquiescence to his request, he looks at the charger once more, crystal blue eyes watching the beast. "He is a a rare beast on these shores, and was given to me as a gift." Turning his back on the animal, Marius' voice remains flat, "And given to me as a curse." Damned steed!
"We will walk until you are familiar with the area. When you are certain with your path, then I will depart. None shall hinder you."
Still, Marius can't seem to feel any fear in the girl; calm radiates. Usually by now—?
"What are you called, lamb?"

Bethany is not one to radiate anything but calm unless the situation warrants fear. The large beast requires the utmost calm to deal with, so calm is what she presents.
"He is a fantastically devilish creature but I think with a few kind words and a gentle hand, he will behave as you wish." The horse receives another scratch to the ear as she walks. She must stretch up to accomplish this but it is still done.
"I appreciate that. I am sure that he does as well." Moving forward there is a delicate hint of a smile upon her lips. "On the other hand, beastie, you should heed your master's wishes and allow him to train you properly."

A gentle hand.
A gentle hand?
"I would that he behaves as I wish now." Without having to resort to a gentle hand.
Even without the hints and cues of any real tonal shifts or change in posture, the vampire is currently suffering from a fit of pique. "Do you hear that, you damnable beast?" Marius walks along now, the lamb leading the charger. "You will heed my wishes."
The horse blows out a great puff of air as if to respond to the chastisement, and simply continues being led by the gentle hand of the calm woman.
"When we return," still Marius speaks to the horse, "you and I will have another discussion regarding this entire.. scene."

"There are times when you may wish an outcome but the only way to see it to fruition is to do something that you find less than desirable." Bethany continues plodding along with the horse. No hurry can be found in her movements, no rush carries her feet.
"Have you named him," she queries lightly. "Perhaps you could start by calling him something beyond damnable beast, and he will respond better to your desires."

"Are you speaking to the horse, or myself?" Marius could be inquiring seriously, or perhaps there is added a mote of levity in the situation that he finds himself in now, but he's not giving any indication as to which. Marius, too, walks with even, tempered steps, and the *clop*clop* of shod hooves on hard ground, soon to be sidewalk strikes rhythmically. "He is more clever than that. He can smell deception." Just in case she was speaking to him?
"I have not named him, no. He is of German blood.. a Hessich warmblut. I have not yet come across anything that fits except for 'damnable beast'."

"Perhaps both," Bethany replies thoughtfully, not truly sure of to whom she was speaking. "The suggestion is hardly a deception. There is a lot of lore to support that knowing the true name of a creature will allow you to wield power over it." Her head turns slowly so that she can face the horse. Her eyes narrowing in on the head of the beast a little.
"I just cannot decide whether you are Abaddon or Eligos yet. Are you partial to either?"

"That is different than a gentle hand."
Marius looks at the horse again, and considers, "The grantor of the gift would be much offended if he was deemed 'Eligos'." That would cast Isobel into the persona of Satan.. as it was his gift..
"Abaddon is a fine name for a beast such as this."
Turning away, he continues his pace. "The knowledge of a true name of such a beast would give the wielder power over it? Then we must choose wisely and risk offense."
The woman still either isn't aware of his own nature and is able to maintain her calm, or, by her words, perhaps she is.. and does?
"He appears to enjoy your company."

"What of you, horse? Is your name Abaddon?" Bethany continues to watch the horse's head for any sign to see if he likes it or dislikes it. "Will you be a destroyer then, I wonder? Definitely to your master's pride you are." There remains a soothing calmness to her voice. No indication apparent as to whether that is meant as jest or insult.
"There is lore to support it. Even fairytales support this theory. Look at Rumplestiltskin."
Pausing in her steps she ducks under the horse's head to look at the man with curiosity. "He enjoys my company because I am calm and he can tell that I mean him no harm. Though it does make me wonder if I were a horse handler in another life."

If there is a sign from the horse, it is as subtle and visible only to one looking. Perhaps the sound of Abaddon is lighter on the ear than Eligos as the ear-twitches might suggest.
Marius gives the breather a long look, his expression neutral and impassive. There is nothing there that he can find that would suggest that she mocks him, or jests.. which is slightly .. irritating. Not enough to make mention, however.
"Let us not explore that too much farther, yes?" The destruction of the vampire's pride, that is.
"The knowledge of my name harms me not. Indeed, instead it gives warning. None have power over me just from that knowledge." Unless, of course, "Though I know not what vile witches are capable of doing with such a thing." Now that it's mentioned…
Marius watches as the girl ducks under the horse's head, stopping as she does so. "Another life?" He can almost feel the pulse of blood moving through her veins, so it's not a matter of her having "lost" her life.. "There is but one that we are bound to, and it is to that I hold."

"Abbadon it is then," Bethany says to the horse as she ducks back under the head and begins to walk once more.
"As you wish." There is no reason to continue with a line of conversation that he does not wish to after all.
"Untrue. A name, a true name, old one, is something that can be wielded against you. I know nothing of witchcraft, but I do know as a regression therapist that when you find a soul's true name it has much power indeed."
Several steps are taken before she choose to reply to what he says. "There are many religions, many belief systems which state we are not bound to this earth by one body, but by one soul. Each soul enters into a journey from one life to another. Each life gaining new knowledge, new understanding until finally we are all able to ascend to meet our maker."

"And what of us soulless demons that walk the earth in the same life cast over centuries rather than decades? It is said that some believe that it is the exchange of soul for a long life is the deal.. and the farther from the event of turning, the less human we become?" Marius' voice lowers, "There is not a single, errant wish in my body that I would be as I was." Raising his voice again, his gaze moves back to the horse, "Not even for you, beast, so that I could hold you without your constant flinching."
Animals. Vampires.
"That must mean there is no power over us, by that route. Another blessing, then.. within this that some consider a curse."

"Your kind is hardly soulless. Merely frozen into a specific lifetime. You have very little ability for growth, and so your soul becomes stagnant which leads to the loss of humanity." Bethany means what she says, though she is still good at maintaining that calm she has about her. "He will flinch, and he will give you issue, provided that you believe he will. As I said if you give him a gentle touch, a softly spoken word, he will do as you command."

Marius scoffs at the word, the sound of expressed air one of disbelief. "There is nothing stagnant. I learn of new things every day." That which he wishes, of course.
He continues his pace once again, the edges of the park nearing. "He flinches because it is his nature to do so. He is afraid of me, and there is little a gentle touch can solve because he knows that the next touch can be a correction. There is little use for a kind word for this beast. But, he will learn." Or Marius will.
"This walk has taken more time than I have expected. His home is only a couple of blocks distant, and on the left. Large and white, looking very much of a castle. The steward will recognize the horse immediately, so tell them that Marius has instructed that you bring him. None shall bar your way."

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