(2016-08-19) Serenity at the Stables
Serenity at the Stables
Summary: Serenity finds the stables, and Warpath, while trying to find a quiet place to eat some stolen food.
Date: 2016-08-19
Related: None
NPCs: None
Scene Runner: NA
Social/Plot: Social/Plot

-==[ Horse Yard - Xavier Estate ]==-------——

A large wooden and steel fence surrounds the area and is linked to the stables on both ends. Gates divide the various horse yards and offer an expanse of scores of acres over a sparsely wooded area; Offering lots of land for grazing. Many of the horses are seen doing horse things all throughout.

Students are responsible for the chores involving the horses; while there are stable hands, the students are required to do rotations in their learning cycle.

The path to the south east returns to the mansion and there are various trails from this location all throughout the estate forest. Also in this area are the stables, proper.

When James is at the Mansion he usually spends more time of it outdoors than in, he doesn't teach any particular class but ends up substituting for a number of them upon occasion. Primarily, James is one of the 'Team', always on call when otherwise not engaged. This evening while the others are indoors prepping lessons, grading papers, studying, doing homework, or fooling around as is their want to do based on their position in the school as student or teacher, James is out at the stables currently brushing down the horses, seeing to their needs, and otherwise enjoying the peace and quiet with living beings that aren't humans, or mutants for that matter.

The stables itself has already been cleaned, which is why it's down to the brushing stage and the huge Apache is brushing down a piebald mare just outside the doors to the stables, letting the horse get some fresh air before it'll be locked up for the night. Even as intent on his work as he is though, thanks to his senses, James is aware of practically everything within a half a mile radius so he's probably aware of Serenity before she's aware of him.

Though it is not the time for eating, Serenity has just recently snuck into the kitchens and gotten food. Since she cannot both eat and play an instrument, she put together a packet of food and snuck back out of the kitchens again. Said packet is taken with her out of the house to get away from the areas where someone might catch her eating at this hour. She was told the stables are a quiet place to go so she heads in that direction figuring there will be no one there this time of the evening.

Serenity moves with exceptional quietness compared to other people since she long ago taught herself how to move without making a sound that she could personally hear. Still she is not silent to those who can hear better than her, but she might be closer than James would expect before he notices her.

James doesn't act like he's noticed anyone, just continuing to brush down the mare until he's made sure she's had a good rub down and is ready to be put back into her stall. In fact it's his stomach that gives him away more than anything else giving a rumble at the smell of the pack of food Serenity's brought out even though it is still in the pack and there are so many other stronger smells in the stable and he chuckles softly more to himself than anything else. He also doesn't recognize Serenity's scent having not met her before.

"It's alright to stay." James says, his baritone a deep rumble that is felt as much as heard really, at least at close range. "The horses won't mind the company." He leads the mare into her stall and puts a blanket over her before he checks her feed and then shuts the stall behind her. Brushing his hands off on his jeans James finally looks over towards Serenity and in the dim light she might catch a hint of a red glow from his eyes, or maybe not. "You must be new." He says, stating the obvious. "You don't have to hide here you know, this is a safe place." He gestures around with large hands in a welcoming gesture.

Serenity jumps when James speaks to her since she is not used to people hearing her coming. "Oh! I wasn't trying to hide… I just wanted somewhere quiet to sit. I didn't think anyone would be out here." She looks at the horses longingly. There used to be horses at her grandmother's estate. She even knows how to ride them if not overly well. "You're sure it's alright for me to stay?"

"I'm sure." James says with a small smile, "We have classes here, students learn to care for and ride them both for show and for pleasure if that's something that interests you. I even do field trips out into the wilds away from people and cities sometimes. Of course those aren't all just fun and games. I also teach wilderness survival, tracking, hunting, and a few other things on them." James offers conversationally, "They're not required. I don't teach her full time."

Making sure the stall is locked for the piebald James gestures over towards a bench, "Have a seat and eat your meal, it smells good." He moves to check the other stalls, "If you like you could help care for them. It'd be good to know there's someone around who loves them when I'm not here. I'm James Proudstar, please call me James though. Not so big on Mister Proudstar." He chuckles as he checks a stallion's stall, "Sounds pretentious as all hell."

Serenity glances toward the bench before she heads toward it. In addition to her packet of food, she's got a guitar slung on her back that she's not willing to leave out of her sight in a room somewhere. "James. I'm Ma…" She stops and there's a long period of silent breaths before she says, "I'm Serenity. My grandmother had horses."

"Nice to meet you Serenity, and if you want to go that route you can call me Warpath if it suits you." James offers plainly and then goes to get the stallion out of his stall. "I grew up on a ranch in Arizona." James, or Warpath, says conversationally. "It wasn't anything glamorous being on the Reservation but we had horses, some cattle, even some goats. They won't really eat tin cans you know, not on purpose but they'll eat damn near everything else. Don't much care for goats." He rumbles, "We had this one that chewed through his lead all the time and I'd have to chase it down to get it penned again…" He pauses, looking thoughtful as he gets the stallions brush out and starts grooming the animal. "Should get some goats here… be good exercise and training for the students, catch the goat, no powers." He chuckles again then falls silent as he works on the horse, letting Serenity eat, or speak, as per her liesure.

Serenity is super skinny and obviously undernourished from missing meals so it's no surprise that she chooses to eat in silence for a while before looking back to James again. "Wouldn't be much different for me. They tell me I'm a mutant but I never knew I had powers until Doug told me."

When she speaks again James will answer, "Some of my powers were like that for me. An old friend had the ability to mimic powers and when he tried to mimic mine he couldn't handle the sensory input without a lot of pain." So that explains how he knew she was there at least. "I didn't even know it wasn't what everyone was like, thought I was only big, strong, and tough." He continues brushing the horse, "Lots of ways to get powers, don't have to be a mutant, and all are welcome here. We even have had royal alien children here… sent to us to teach them to control their abilities and learn to adjust to aliens like us."

Serenity murmurs, "Mostly I sing and play. Music is my power even if it's not my mutant one. Music is peaceful. Don't you think?"

"Really depends on the type." James answers honestly without even thinking. "Not a real big fan of disco." A slight smile at some memory or another probably related to the music though. "Music can set many moods… and that's good, that you like something beyond your powers. Smart. We all need something to ground us. Keep us even and balanced."

James moves to the other side of the stallion, the big apache dwarfing even the horse. He probably doesn't get much chance to ride anymore himself. "You can help if you want, when you're finished eating. I have two more mares and another stallion to put up for the night."

Serenity packs up what she finds she cannot eat for eating later. "I've never gotten to help before. I was too young the last time I was around horses. You'd have to show me how." She walks over to him slowly. "What kind of music do you like?"

"Sure, it's not hard." James says and then points over towards a rack in an empty stall. "Go get a brush and then come here. Go wide around the horse's rear end, a good kick can kill even most mutants if they get spooked. It's good practice even on animals like these who are very used to alllll sorts of things." He goes back to brushing the stallion's side. "Anything but hard core rap, country, and disco." He answers her question about music. "What about you?" He pauses, "Oh and polka. Not a polka fan."

Serenity fetches a brush. She speaks very quietly even when she is not close to him. She heard what he said about being sensitive after all. "Anything. I love all music but I do avoid violent lyrics. I don't like to hear terrible things." She gives the dangerous part of the horse a wide berth.

James moves around to the side to where he can hold the stallion's muzzle with one large hand, gently stroking it's nose and face with the other. "You can talk normally. It doesn't hurt me. If it did I'd hardly be able to go anywhere. Could you imagine the city?" He smiles wryly. "I even go to concerts." He gestures towards where he'd been brushing the horse. "Brushing isn't necessary but it helps remove parasites and makes the animal more comfortable and healthy. In the wild it's part of why they rub against trees and such. If you look close you can see the direction I was brushing him and where I stopped, his coat will start to go in different directions and be less glossy from the dust." He nods towards the animals shoulder, "Just brush him like you might brush your hair, you can press down pretty good and itch his skin but if you go to hard he'll let you know by lifting a hoof, or shifting his weight."

Serenity brushes slowly so that James can correct her technique if necessary. "I was doing it as much for my benefit as for yours. I… don't like to make a lot of noise. You might have noticed." She brushes less firmly because she doesn't want to risk a bad reaction.

"I understand." James says without needing any further explanation. "Make sure you keep the brush strokes going in the same direction, and put some pressure into it. Unless you're a lot stronger than you look, you're not going to hurt him and he'll like the feel of it on his skin." He pauses, "Like, when you brush your own hair and you can feel the bristles against your scalp. It feels like a massage almost, it's the same thing for him. That's why the brush is so stiff." He continues stroking the horse's muzzle and then lapses into silence again, willing to let her control the conversation, if any. He is apparently comfortable with silence.

Serenity brushes more firmly as instructed. She falls silent but after New York, this is actually too quiet for her and she whispers, "I didn't have a brush in the city. It was strange to have so much stuff available after I got her. I'm out of practice at sleeping in a bed too."

James nods a bit, leaning down to rub his nose across the top of the stallions nose. "We try to make things comfortable here for our students to give them the best chance at an education possible. Graduating from here opens doors down the road if that's something you want to pursue." He considers, "It's better now, than it was in the old days, but not perfect yet." He admits, "As for the bed, if it's to soft we can get you a firmer one if you want. Or you can sleep under it. We had some Morlocks in the past and most of them slept under their beds, it just felt safer to them after spending so much time in the pipes under the city." He looks over towards her then, "I know it can be a huge change here… I wish I had gone to school here."

Serenity's eyes go wide and she stares at him for a moment, "There were people living in the pipes under the city? I thought they just lived in mutant town." She blinks then shakes her head as she returns to brushing, going back over the areas where she didn't brush hard enough the first time. "I suppose that's no worse than being homeless."

"A lot of mutants don't get to look normal like you Serenity." James explains, "They get mutations that make them look like what people consider monsters. You'll probably meet some here at the school if you stay… assuming you haven't already." When the stallion seems comfortable he takes his own brush and moves to the other side of the animal to start brushing the other side, starting up on his neck and moving down towards the shoulder in long strokes. "They have scales, mishapen lumps, or worse and their powers if they had any weren't always geared towards combat so it was hard to survive for them. In the old days they would be hunted down and killed, sometimes by their own families and so they'd run and end up down there. They made their own society. I wouldn't be surprised if they weren't still down there, some of them. Some like it better than the surface and they called themselves Morlocks." He glances over the stallions back at her which isn't hard given his height. "Homeless is one thing, but living in the sewers and such… last time I was down there they had trained these alligators as watch dogs and I think one of them could enhance them because they were tougher and stronger than any normal alligator could be."

Serenity smiles faintly, "That's really clever." She rubs steps back and stops brushing to look at him. "I've been to mutant town and seen some of them. I maid money busking in the city so I could eat. I know what it's like not to feel comfortable being seen. Have you ever felt that way?"

"You do see me right." James says with a small smile, "I may not have scales but I stand out everywhere I go. Oh I look pretty enough but I'm not normal and people don't treat me as normal. I am scary even if I were at a body builder convention." He rolls those massive shoulders in a shrug. "I used to not be comfortable with it, and… I'm still not a lot of the time. I get tired of the stares and frightened looks but… it's gotten better lately. People finally looking at us as heroes and not monsters. For the most part."

Serenity admits, "I've been afraid of most everything since I ran away. People aren't nice to each other. Homeless people are always unwelcome everywhere." She collects the remains of her food packet. "Except when playing. Even when I stank occasionally people didn't mind it for the music."

"Want to know a secret?" James asks as he works further down the stallions flank.

Serenity looks wary at that briefly. "What kind of secret?" She moves around to another spot and tries to brush again.

"Everyone is afraid." James says, "Even non-mutants. They worry about their loved ones, they worry about their finances, they worry about their children, things that are important to them." He pauses a moment and then continues, "Fear is healthy. It helps keep us alive, as an individual and a species but when we don't control that fear and let it control us… that is when we go to dark places. Do things we probably wouldn't do otherwise. You can't stop feeling afraid and be human, but you can make a choice to not let it control you."

The stallion of course enjoys being brushed because he's used to it, and likes the feeling of his coat being straightened and skin not itching so doesn't raise a fuss as the mutants talk and do right by him.

James considers, "I know that things are new, and the unknown can be scary but this is one of the few places where you can be yourself and be safe while doing it. I'm not saying that life will be all sunshine and roses here Serenity, there've been some real hard times in the past, might be more in the future but… I think you might enjoy not being afraid all the time, if you stay."

Serenity laughs once at that, "It's easier said than done. Not being afraid. I don't have very many good memories to fall back on. I wouldn't know how to expect something to be sunshine and roses.""

"Are you strong enough to try?" James asks curiously and then fixes her with his gaze, "Being alone for so long takes strength, cunning, and luck. Nobody is going to try and make you stay here. You're free to enroll into the classes, follow the student rules, or even just be here as a safe haven but you have to be the one willing to make that choice. To decide which life you want to have."

Serenity presses her lips together and looks back at him, "I never finished the 8th grade. I couldn't get a job if I wanted to. I have to try to do something different but I don't know. I do love the conservatory. I fell asleep on the piano last night."

"Sounds like you already know what you want to do then." James says looking away from her to look back at the stallion he's brushing. "At your age you could probably get a private dorm room. I can try and speak to Logan about it if you like."

Serenity nods, "That would be really nice." She hesitates for a moment, "I don't forget things. I don't think I could bear sharing a room with someone who talked a lot or made noise all the time." She pulls back abruptly and goes to put the brush away. "I suppose I should get back inside. I expect they'll want me to decide some things tomorrow."

James nods, "Take your time. Nobody is going to rush you to make a decision. If they do… let me know." He rumbles, "I'll put a stop to it." He turns his attention back to the horse and goes about brushing the animal again. "Sleep well, and if the bed's to soft… try what I said."

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