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  The sight of Jet's eating ritual gave Elidora queasy cramps all day, She has even left half her food in the wooden bucket, which made Axel and Zander displeased and worried. Red worried as well, his loving nature had made Elidora feel comfortable. Elidora had felt grumpy all morning, she was still covered in mud and blood stains with hay stuck in her mane and tail. Her ears and head perked up warily as Zander came in and had entered her pen and set down a rag and water filled bucket, He had locked the gate behind her as well as locked the barn doors to prevent her escaping. As the man came closer with a rope she had a quick flash back of what had happened to her sire, deep in thought she remembered what she had missed in that memory... Zander had the gun and had killed Bruce mercilessly. And that memory left a grudge and hatred of Zander. Elidora lifted her front legs that were hobbled and tried to knock Zander off his legs. Sadly she missed and she almost fell down herself, she pulled her ears back as far as she could, keeping her eyes on him and her front facing him as he attempted to touch her hide with the rag. Zander stopped and gazed into her eyes that blazed with anger and fear. he set the rag down into the bucket and said something that made no sense to Elidora. "Easy, I won't bother you now, I know girl, I'm sorry." He whispered in a calm voice and left, placing the bucket just outside her stall and locked her pen then left. Elidora snorted trying to hit him droplets of watery liquid that came from her nose. Red looked at Elidora and said "Don't think he will leave every time because he won't, he feels sorry for doing what he had to do at the valley." Elidora looked at him with great confusion. "And how would you know?" She growled under her snorting. "Because many wild horse have tried and done that over and over and eventually he stopped doing what "they" wanted and did what "he" wanted." Jet spat out looking up at the ceiling of the barn as some hay glided down, his lips and tongue trying desperately to grab it but failed. Elidora looked skeptical and asked "How do you know all this?" Red gave a smile and replied "Because once you've been with a human long enough you get a knack for reading their body language and voices." Elidora's ears perked up as she heard Meska throwing a tantrum outside as Zander had went to her instead. Elidora was sure she heard Meska howl "Elidora your gonna pay for pawning him off on me!" Elidora's head and pride dropped as she felt guilty all over again. Red perked his ears as Axel crept in with some treats that were orange and red. Jet jumped up and down with his front legs as he lipped up the treat that was offered to him. Red gently bit the red object ironically and ate it, which left Elidora who glared at the kid with her head tilted up. Her eyes softened when he smiled and held the treat in his palm with his hand flat. For the first time since she had gotten here her eyes looked welcoming and peaceful. She flared her nostrils sending a wave of hot air into Axel, he gave a small giggle and left the treat on top of the gate. As it balanced there Axel took a step back and gave some to the cow. Elidora leaned forward and asked Red "Is it safe?" Jet drooled on his gate and asked "If you don't want it can I have it?" Red sent a scornful glare at Jet then said "Yes, its safe to eat, its called a carrot I think, sweet tasting, Next time you can have the apple since Axel has to trade gold round things for them." That made Elidora smile. Jet snorted and gasped "BUT NEXT TIME I GET IT" Red frowned and said "Company means priority Jet, remember that."
    Later that morning Zander came back in, Axel had left for school, Jet had left with him, Red was also no where to be seen. Zander came in with some grain, and a rope, then gently unlocked the gate and reached for Elidora. Elidora gave a stomp and lifted her head up with ears laid back against her neck. Zander kept reaching for her and grabbed the rope tied around her neck and connected it to his rope. He showed no fear and that set Elidora off. She flung her tail around, nostrils flaring as she snorted angrily. Zander held on to the rope as Elidora yanked and thrashed around while being led outside. There was a new pen with it's gate wide open right next to Meska's pen. There was not much she could do, her legs were still hobbled, she was all sore and covered in filth from last night and her fight with Meska this morning. Zander was strong, and he had an advantage over her. Once she was well enough in Zander dropped the rope and quickly shut the gate and locked it, they were both in there and Meska gave a glare and smirked at Elidora as if she were amused. Red was tied down and tacked up just in case. Zander had made sure this pen was taller and stronger just for Elidora. Red watched on as Elidora and Zander seemed to have a staring contest that lasted for three minutes. Zander moved over to the fence and picked up another rope, along with another one of those head things that Red had on and the one Jet has. Elidora eyed it nervously, there was a metal part that went over the tongue with straps connected to it. Zander too a few steps closer, immediately Elidora's ears flew back and her rear leaned against the fencing. She turned her eyes over to Meska whom looked pleased for what ever was about to happen. Meska seemed like she had went through a lot when Zander was working with her, she looked raged and had markings that were long and thin, like some sort of wind or whip. Zander started swirling the rope as he moved closer, he angled it to the side so Elidora had no where to go but forward. Elidora stayed put and Meska laughed mocking her. Zander dropped the extra rope as Elidora's attention turned to Meska. Before Elidora knew it she was being tugged toward Zander as he held the rope tightly and was closing the gap between him and Elidora. She barely had time to react to Zander quick moves, and he had already secured her head and was now forcing the bridle on, holding her lower jaw open as the metal fitted in and the leather straps went over her head. It seemed that Zander knew she would take her attention to Red and Meska, a clever plan and it worked. Elidora jerked free with the bridle completely on over the rope halter, her lips curling as the metal was on her tongue. It tasted weird, and the bridle felt weird and comfortable over her head. Elidora threw her head around, the reins lashing her side and nearly hitting Zander as he moved to her side. Red kept himself still and quiet like a statue, Meska was prancing around mocking Elidora. Elidora held her jaw open and her tongue curled as the metal sat on top of it, she made grunts as the bit was making her uncomfortable. Zander was watching like a hawk, planning on how he would react and what would Elidora do if he did. The golden filly kept her eyes and ears locked on Zander as she charged around the corral, half leaping in a rear and kicking around wildy. Elidora let out squeals of anger and irritated snorts, as she ran towards Zander who was bracing himself for impact. Instead Elidora dodged past him, trying her best to scare him. She did so several more times before turning her anger out on the fencing, smacking her side into it then bolting when Zander attempted to grab the reins. Zander gave up on trying to grab the filly and instead got another rope and flung it around in a circle, slowly walking towards Elidora, pushing her forward. This patteren went on for about  50 minutes before Elidora started to tire, Galloping in a circle was starting to make her pant. Elidora now not noticing the bit's odd flavor much anymore, her mouth was no closed, with foam coming from her mouth and sweat all over her body from the exercise. Elidora slowed to a slow trot, her body sore. Zander let a quite smile loose then closed the gap between them. It seemed like Zander's plan all along. Elidora realized it, she was out of energy and Zander was just starting. Elidora  stopped to catch her breath, her head drooping almost to the ground. Zander turned to a slow run, grabbing he reins quickly before Elidora's head went up. Zander was fast, Elidora had to give him that, he was already up on her side, climbing on and dropping the rope. Elidora jerked sideways, making a u-turn and lunging into the air. She bucked as hard as she could, she was tired, and the extra weight did not help. It confused Elidora, how could Red and Jet run as fast as her with people on their backs. Jumping wasted too much energy, which she had little of, she quit that and ran to the fencing, and followed it around. Zander grabbed the rein right before his leg hit the side of the fence, leaving a scrap and his clothing ripped, Zander frowned as he yanked the reins back hard. Elidora let out a scared whinny, the bit pulling against her jaw, holding it somewhat open, and her head held up high, she stopped immediately. She whirled around as Zander was forcing her to turn around. Elidora yanked back, it was starting to hurt now, the bit fighting to go with the reins. It appeared Zander was strong, but he kepted pulling back and forth, and it seemed to work, Elidora was scared at that fact, that she could not do anything to stop it. They fought for the lead for about 20 minutes, before Elidora gave up. Her energy was sapped, nothing left to fight back with.
Zander gave a grin then said "Good girl, see it's okay, No need to fight me." He bent over, rubbing Elidora on her neck, then picked at the mud that was still on her. "Lets get you cleaned up, I trust you will let me now." Red perked his head up, letting a slanted smile, Meska just frowned and turned her back. Zander hopped off, climbed through the fencing and running into the barn. He came out in a fast walk with a bucket full of water and a rag, this time he opened the gate, closed it slowly, the walked over to Elidora, who was too tired to move, her head low to the ground. Zander bent down dipping the rag into the bucket of water, held it to Elidora's nose, letting her sniff it, then whipping her legs down cleaning the mud and blood, from the fight that happened early that morning. It was no easy task, spending a couple of hours with it on had made it hard, it clung to her hide. Zander worked hard for an  hour, scrubbing every inch of Elidora, until she was shinning, only the cuts remained from the fight. Zander, now finished cleaning Elidora, stood up and moved to the side of her head, pulling the top of the bridle over her ears. He kept his hand under her muzzle as she spat out the bit, then stretched her mouth.
    It wasn't until evening that Axel came home, riding Jet right into the barn, un-tacking him then running out as he saw Elidora in the new pen, all cleaned up. Zander poked his head out from the house and said "Dinner will be ready soon Axel, clean yourself up before then okay?" Axel smiled as he was climbing in to Elidora's pen and said "Okay dad, just gonna check on Goldy!" Zander laughed and yelled out "Is that what we're calling her?" Axel let out a giggle as he squirmed through, entering the pen "Well, until we get a real name, a good one too pa!" Zander shook his head, a smile on his face. Elidora kept her eyes on Axel as he slowly came closer following the fence. Elidora's eyes caught something form up on the cliff, her gaze jerked to it looking frantically as she heard a whinny, a gentle soothing whinny. It was familiar,  Elidora whinnied back, she pranced around past Axel, her head just barley above a top of the fence. Something came into view, a light pinto mare, her mane flowing with creamy coloring, followed by a couple of mares. It was Nila! Elidora's dam, her mother! "Its Nila, my mother!" Elidora whinnied, her voice loud and happy. Nila tilted her head, her gaze right on Elidora, it seemed to send a strong wave of emotion... love. Axel looked up, squinting his eyes to where Elidora's attention was, then glanced at Elidora, they were right next to each other, so close that Axel could touch her! Axel looked down at Elidora's feet, they were prancing, like she was running to her dam at that moment. Axel's smile turned sad as he said "I had a mom, but she's gone now, She was loving just like yours Goldy, She loved horses too, so much that she got killed saving hers, but her horse died too, to afraid to leave mama..... It was cougars." Tears tore down Axel's face, Elidora glanced at him the word cougar reminded her of the large felines out in the mountains. Cougars, Elidora thought in her mind, it was the first word she learned to understand when humans spoke. Elidora nudged Axel, he wiped his tears and attempted to hug her. Elidora snorted and backed away. "Not yet girl? Okay, but someday I will hug you." Axel reached in his pocket and pulled out one of those apples and held out his hand to her. "Its okay I got this for you, poor, Jet would be jealous, but don't tell him." Axel whispered. Elidora glanced at Red, who bobbed his head, Elidora stepped closer, bending down, her muzzle brushing Axel's fingers as her lips grabbed on the treat. She crunched down juice drizzling out on Axel's hand and her muzzle. Axel smiled and opened the gate, slipping out and running into the house. Elidora looked back to the cliff, Nila was gone, and so was the small group that managed to escape.  
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Submitted on
May 10, 2016