A wild horse – those who ride – fimfiction fluid behind eardrum adults

Sunset dreamed of darkness, of the deep and deadly night. Cold, bitter cold, and chilling, and closing in; the feeling that there was something terrible in the darkness, some white thing that stalked her in the darkness, darkness so profound that nothing could be seen, no matter how white, no matter how terrible its blue, blue eyes were…

Sunset greeted the morning sun with a song in her heart, but somehow, the usual magic didn’t spark her heartsong into the usual real-song. Singing was a deliberate and intentional thing in this new world; this world didn’t sing you, like it did where she had grown up. All in all, Sunset prefered this world‘s ways, if only in that regard.

She, and Irri, and Jhiqui were escorting the khaleesi to collect her gray, and mounts for the other two handmaidens.

The khaleesi tried to get in at least half a day’s riding every day on the march, to get her settled in the saddle. She was wearing riding leathers today, partially because Doreah was tied up trying to mend the damage done to her fancy Pentoshi silks, but also perhaps because the little khaleesi thought her brutish husband liked her better in Dothraki hides.

Sunset wasn’t sure about that. She didn’t really understand the khal, didn’t understand his motivations. The khal’s people, those she was starting to comprehend – the little people were always simpler in their needs and desires than the great ponies – great people. The lords, as the Pentoshi said it.

The Dothraki didn’t really have lords – they had free riders, and they had zafra, and they had khals. But the khals weren’t lords as the Pentoshi had them, perfumed and fat and sly. They didn’t hire killers to do their will. Sunset’s flank burned with the memory of how exactly Khal Drogo did his will, with his own blade, his own hands.

She pronked, avoiding the heavy copper-hided hand of the older herdsman as it grasped at her mane, and bounced lightly away from the awkwardly-stumbling man. They didn’t have their lassoes in hand, so all Sunset had to do was keep on her hooves, and spring clear every time one of them got close. It was almost like a game – tag, perhaps, or pin the tail on the –

Sunset hadn’t been paying attention to the half-freed herd of remounts while she was playing with the idiot herders, and when she looked up and away from the fool collapsed face-first into the churned half-mud at her hooves, she found the herders’ charges wild-eyed and nearly on the edge of stampeding.

The ride went much more smoothly, and Sunset enjoyed the stretching exertion of keeping up with the longer-limbed horses that the khaleesi and her other handmaidens rode. They passed through the local fragment of the horde which were breaking camp, and curled around the first few bands moving out into the morning’s van.

The clear blue skies of yet another afternoon stretched over Sunset’s head as she left the khaleesi resting in her cart, attended by Irri and Jhiqui, deep into the day’s chores, with Doreah still fighting over that tattered silk rag which had once been the richest of fineries. The khaleesi had sent her with a message to Khal Drogo – nothing of import, but merely reporting where her household was in the road-column that day, and that the khal’s loving bride was at his disposal if he required her for aught.

Sunset did her best to relay this message to the enormous, intimidating khal, but found herself shrinking down a bit for fear of the great man’s terrible presence. She wasn’t so intimidated, though, that she couldn’t clean up the khaleesi’s somewhat jumbled Dothraki message into something more grammatically coherent.

However that may be, Sunset’s rendition of the message seemed to please the great killer, and he nodded with a half-smile on his brutish, bearded face, dismissing her from his presence. As she left, Sunset’s gaze crossed that of one of the youngest blood-riders in the khal’s retinue, Rakharo, her new acquaintance. She jerked her head off to the south of the road upon which the khal’s khasar traveled, ears quirked in an unspoken question.

Rakharo and his mount met her in a meadow just away from the roads and paths that the endless horde streamed along. Sunset looked forward a bit, and judged for herself that they’d be able to meet up again with some part of the khalasar further down the road, if there weren’t any fences or hedges in between. Nothing she could see, anyways.

The bloodrider and his mount settled into a punishing gallop, closing the distance at an alarming rate, and forcing Sunset herself into a straining headlong charge. She couldn’t spare the energy or attention to turn her head and follow the progress of Rakharo’s pursuit, but a tingle across the back of her withers and up the back of her horn gave her a tangible warning when –

Sunset sprung to the right, and took off perpendicularly from her previous direction, heading for a bit of deep grasses along the center of the meadow. Glimpsing the dampness before she put her hooves into it, she leaped – and landed, squarely, on the far side of the boggy half-stream hidden in the grasses.

Sunset’s eyes widened, as she realized what was coming. She broke into another gallop downstream, away from that bit of dry land she had inadvertently revealed to her pursuer. He and his horse easily cleared the negligible obstruction, and turned a wide quarter-circle, following in Sunset’s wake.

The lasso settled around her throat, and dragged her off her hooves, tumbling her across the half-muddy verge of the grass-choked stream, which had been getting wider and wider as the chase had gone on. Sunset ended up with her horn half-buried in the mud, feeling that damn halter around her neck.

Sunset gave her parole to the smug bloodrider, her promise to not flee, or kick up her heels, or escape, if he agreed to not lead her on a halter into the presence of the khal and his retinue. They caught up to the khasar where they were watering their horses in a creek which their own little tricklet had flown into some distance upstream. The khal himself looked up at his beaming bloodrider, and his heavily bearded face broke into a wide grin, to see Rakharo so smug, and Sunset looking sheepish.

Khal Drogo prodded the one bloodrider who remained mounted, and Haggo reached into his saddlebags and pulled out what looked like a heavy wineskin. The khal tossed the wineskin in the general direction of Sunset and her captor, and Rakharo grabbed it out of the air with a flourish.

Well, that’s that, isn’t it? laughed the khal, as he swung himself into the saddle. Rakharo, that dye is expensive, but we can’t have one of my horses running around in Khal Rhalko’s foolish ochre colors. Paint her down, yamori, paint her down. I want her Drogo blue!

Sunset drew a ragged breath, realizing what was happening. Khal Drogo‘s own dyed paint job had faded and cracked in the week since the wedding, but he’d left it on his copper hide all that time, never bathing. But then, few Dothraki bothered to bathe, and Sunset herself had grown almost used to her own stink.

A quick swipe across her face barely left her enough time to close her left eye to protect it from the dye. Rakharo examined his work, turning her face side to side, and nodded. Then he refreshed the dye in his left hand, and drew parallel streaks across her left shoulder, then again across her right.