DISCLAIMERS: This is fanfiction. No
profit involved. It is based on the television series "The Magnificent
Seven". No infringement upon the copyrights held by CBS, MGM, Trilogy
Entertainment Group, The Mirisch Corp. or any others involved with that
production is intended. This is mostly for my own
entertainment. Just thought I'd share it with you
RATING: PG for some snorting and horseplay
MAJOR CHARACTERS: Chaucer...and Ezra
SUMMARY: Just a bit of silliness from the horse's point of view. Don't expect a whole lot of plot, depth or anything. It's just for fun.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: Kristen supplied the name of Ezra's horse. Eleanor Tremayne Esquire provided Chris, JD and Buck's. Sue created Josiah's and I came up with one for Nathan on my own. Vin's horse uses his own name.
COMMENTS: Yes, please! comments and suggestions
DATE: May 28, 2000.
Horse Tale: Trick
As told to NotTasha
The chestnut horse dozed in his stall, a comfortible place. It was good to have walls around him and a roof over his head. Sure, the outdoors was nice; he could dream wild dreams under the stars -- mustang fantasies. But, truth be told, he was hopelessly domesticated. He liked being out of the weather. He liked the good life.
He looked about at the smooth, splinter-free boards that surrounded him. Those were his boards, his walls. He had come to think of this place as his home. Before he'd had this particular pen, he used to find himself in adequate liveries, but the stalls changed so often, along with the towns, that he'd never really had a place to think of as 'home.' There were always strange smells, strange horses who looked at him in suspicion, and strange people who didn't treat his man very nicely.
The horse appraised his herd, enjoying the closeness of the other six horses. He couldn't remember being part of a herd before and found the sensation rather enjoyable. He had vague memories of his youth with his dam, but those recollections were so misty and removed that he hardly could get a handle on them. Even more difficult to remember was another man who had owned him for a short time, but he was inconsequential and the memory was not worth keeping.
Until he came to live in this place, he had really known only himself and his man. Not that he had anything to complain about. He felt that he'd made a damn good partner with that man, his Ezra.
Chaucer looked over at the horse that was penned beside him. The grey, Clyde, still had that disappointed air about him. Something had gone wrong after Clyde's man had taken him out earlier that morning. The grey had come back sweaty and tired and disgruntled. Clyde's man was upset and it was obvious that the grey thought it was his fault. Chaucer snorted encouragingly to Clyde, but Clyde continued to stare at the corner of his stall in dismay.
Chaucer glanced to the others in his herd. The big black, Job, was on the other side of Clyde. Job leaned toward that wall, trying to be closer to the dismayed grey. Peso, across from Chaucer, whickered at Clyde. The little bay, Toby, tossed his head, trying to draw the grey's attention, but Clyde wasn't interested. Further down, Prophet and Badger watched solemnly.
Sorry, Clyde, Chaucer thought. Dunno what's wrong. Wish I could do something to help.
Chaucer's ears pivoted suddenly as he heard a familiar stride. He instantly recognized the cadence of those footfalls over the cacophony of human traffic outside the building. He raised his head in anticipation and snuffled the air, until he caught the scent. Yes, he thought, finally! Excitedly, he stretched his neck, leaning his head out of the stall. He wanted to see the man the second he entered the livery.
Chaucer nickered happy as his Ezra turned the corner and entered the building. The man didn't waste any time talking to the other horses -- something that could make Chaucer insanely jealous at times. He strode right to Chaucer's stall and smiled at him.
"And how are we feeling today, my friend?" the man intoned. Chaucer didn't understand much of what the man said, but he was fairly good at figuring the meaning. If nothing else, he enjoyed hearing that voice
Ezra reached up and the horse obligingly lowered his head so that the man could find that special spot behind his ears. Oh, it felt good to have that spot scratched.
"Are we feeling up to a little prevarication?" Ezra asked soothingly. Yes, Chaucer thought, not understanding exactly, but knowing Ezra was asking something of him. "It seems that Mr. Wilmington had made an unfortunate wager earlier today.” His man’s eyes strayed to the disappointed grey. “It shall be up to us to even the score." Chaucer bit playfully at the man's ears. Sure, boss, he thought.
Ezra batted the menacing head away. "Not that our Mr. Wilmington will share in my profits, but perhaps he'll gain a whit of pleasure in the outcome." Ezra moved toward the place where he kept Chaucer's supplies. "Of course, if he has any sense whatsoever, he may place a new and much more promising wager."
The brush! The brush! Chaucer thought, inclining his head toward the shelf where the precious brushes were kept. The wonderful brush! Chaucer's skin rippled in anticipation.
But Ezra didn't reach for that favored implement. Instead he picked up the bridle. Chaucer didn't like this... if there wasn't going to be time for a brush before the ride, that usually meant that they were going to be moving quickly and that they were probably going for a long time. Chaucer enjoyed riding with his Ezra -- looked forward to it in fact -- but the prospect of a long haul did not sit easy with him. He'd prefer a nice comfortable jaunt instead...preferred to be brushed first.
Chaucer thumped one foot when he thought of something. He hoped that this brush-less start didn't mean that they were leaving for good. There were many times when Ezra had come to his stall, saddled him in an instant, and the two of them had left town in great haste. Often, others had given chase, but the two of them were usually clever enough to get away.
Chaucer shifted uneasily. He didn't want to go, to leave his herd. This is a good place. Let's stay this time, boss, he thought. He pushed against Ezra's shoulder with his head. You like it here, too. You can't hide things from me. You don't want to go.
Chaucer pulled back his head and looked at his man and was satisfied. No, they weren't leaving. He could tell that by the set of his man's eyes. But he could also tell that something was brewing. I'm ready, Chaucer thought. Just tell me what you need.
Ezra continued to talk softly to the horse as he lifted the bridle. Chaucer had no reason to refuse the bit, and the bridle was soon buckled in place. The horse was always grateful that his man was never cruel to him, that his man always treated him with care. He had often been stabled next to less lucky mounts, with torn mouths and sides bleeding from spurs.
"There is a certain Mr. Munsk in town," Ezra said with a grimace. Chaucer tried to figure out why Ezra had made that particular face. He was satisfied that it had nothing to do with him, at least. "A most unsavory individual. He believes that he has a certain advantage over the rest of us." Ezra picked up the saddle blanket and took a moment to shake it out before he placed it on the horse's back and smoothed it thoughtfully. No folds or burrs would get under that saddle, no sir.
Chaucer continued to listen to the tone of his man, carefully paying attention in case the man said one of the words that the horse was meant to understand.
"He says that he has a thoroughbred racehorse," Ezra muttered. "Odious nag with a penchant for jumping the gun, if you ask me."
Ezra wrapped his hand into the bridle and said, "You aren't looking very well today, Chaucer. In fact, I do believe you are coming down with something." He pulled the horse's head down until they were eye to eye. "You, dear Chaucer, are a very sick horse." Chaucer listened. "A very sick horse, indeed."
Chaucer, recognizing those certain words, lowered his head slightly as the man moved off to get the saddle. "Quite dreadfully ill," he said, hefting the device onto the horse's back.
Chaucer let his ears droop. Like this? he thought.
"Yes, regrettably ailing. A pity really, when you consider the wager I've already made," Ezra continued as he cinched the belt, securing the saddle.
"Really, it's a wonder you're even able to stand." Chaucer's tail hung lifelessly and he let his head droop further. He half-closed his eyes and sighed, shaking his skin.
Ezra came back before him and smiled, dimpling his cheeks. The boss is happy! Chaucer instantly lifted his head and pricked up his ears, thrilled to see that expression on his man's face. Ezra frowned and waggled a finger at the horse and again Chaucer drooped.
"Excellent," Ezra said, pulling the horse's head close to his own again. He whispered conspiratorially into the Chaucer's ear, "You are a veritable thespian and perhaps will be able to garner us a little ready cash."
The horse nickered.
Ezra opened the stall and led the horse behind him. Chaucer watched his herd out of the corner of his eye as he listlessly followed his man. The other horses looked at him in concern, startled to see one of their own so suddenly sick. Even Clyde seemed to have snapped out of his stupor. Chaucer wanted to reassure them, knowing that the strength of the herd depended on its members, and that the weakness of one affected everyone. He whisked his tail at them, but did nothing else. They'd have to understand.
Chaucer followed his man out of the livery and into the street where a group of humans were gathered around one horse. Chaucer instantly decided he didn't like that horse, an Arabian. Chaucer disliked Arabians as a rule. They always seem so full of themselves, he thought. One look at this animal only proved his theory. The Arabian was acting as if he were the stallion of the town. Stupid Arabian, Chaucer thought, you're a gelding just like me.
The Arabian stood tall and confident. His head was held back and his eyes forward, not seeing anything but the road before him. The Arabian's man, just as damn confident as the horse, was already mounted. Chaucer could see the Arabian's man appraising him the second he left the livery. Chaucer noticed the humorous look in the man's eye and had to be careful not to let his own amusement show. Sick, he had to remember... I'm a sick horse.
Ezra led Chaucer to the Arabian and his man, and said, "I'm terribly sorry, but it appears that I'll have to call off this little bet of ours as my mount has taken unaccountably ill."
The Arabian's man scowled and spoke. Chaucer didn't bother to listen. He could hear a rather unsatisfied tone and nothing else.
"Really," Ezra said. "It'd be quite impossible. He isn't up to it as you can plainly see."
Chaucer looked about. He could see Ezra's herd standing around watching the proceedings. Toby's man, JD, was excited, listening intently to what was going on. The man named Buck was beside JD. Buck was Clyde's man, and Chaucer could tell that Buck was still as discouraged as the grey. Buck didn't like the Arabian's man. This was obvious in the way that the grey's man glared at the Arabian's man. Chaucer decided that he didn't like the Arabian's man any more than he liked the Arabian.
Chaucer looked at the Arabian again. Arrogant jerk, Chaucer thought as he noticed that the other horse barely even gave him a glance. Obviously, he wasn't a gentleman at all. He should have introduced himself at least.
The man called Chris Larabee, Job's man, was over by the place where the men played -- Chaucer thought of it as the men's corral. He knew that Ezra liked those corrals and would always spend a lot of his time in them... no matter what town they were visiting. He also knew that Ezra's stall was in that building. It was something that Chaucer really could never understand... why did his herd stay together in the livery, yet Ezra's herd lived separately? To the horse, it made more sense if the men all stayed together -- but he really didn't understand men very well. They were so damn irrational. Chaucer figured that it would be best if all of them - both herds - slept together in the livery. There was plenty of room. It would make everyone happy.
Chris Larabee was with the man called Vin -- that was Peso's man. Both of them were watching his Ezra. Chris Larabee was listening to Ezra and the Arabian's man. Vin, on the other hand, kept looking between Chaucer and Ezra as if he understood something. Chaucer sighed again and kept his head down.
Sick... I'm a sick horse. He rolled his eyes and shuddered as if he were going to pass out. He heard the men around him gasp and he almost tossed his head back with glee. The Arabian was looking at him finally. Chaucer could tell that the horse was a little afraid now... he doesn't want to catch whatever's ailing me.
Chaucer felt Ezra's hand come back to pat him on the neck. Good job, Ezra was telling him.
The other two men in Ezra's herd were nearby, too. Both of them looked upset about something, but Chaucer didn't understand why. They kept looking at Chaucer. Prophet's man, that big guy, looked disappointed. Badger's man, the dark-skinned one, looked especially angry and was scrutinizing Chaucer and then glaring at his Ezra. Chaucer wondered if he was putting on too good of an act. Why was Nathan angry at Ezra because of what I'm doing? he thought.
"Really, I don't think it would be worth my while," Ezra said with a shrug.
The Arabian's man was upset. His voice was filled with anger. Chaucer ground his teeth. He didn't like it when people used that tone with his man.
"Apparently you believe that the condition of my horse makes no difference in this matter," Ezra said very civilly. He then added, "Five-to-one odds may seem significant, but only if one stands a chance of winning."
The Arabian's man was talking sternly again and his Ezra sighed. "No, no, really. I'd only be loosing money. Good day, sir." Ezra pulled on Chaucer's reins and started to turn the horse. Chaucer complied sluggishly. He knew what would happen next.
The Arabian's man spoke again.
Ezra said, "Eight-to-one?" He turned back to the Arabian's man. "Make it ten-to-one and you have yourself a deal."
Then Chaucer saw those little pieces of paper that made his Ezra so happy. Lots of pieces of paper. Hurray!
The man called Josiah was collecting the odd papers from Ezra and the Arabian's man. Josiah gave Ezra an annoyed look, but held onto the papers anyway. Other folks were flashing their papers and Ezra was saying, "I'll take that bet!" Chaucer could see Buck was making similar transactions on his side of the street.
Chaucer really didn't understand the significance of the pieces of paper beyond the fact that they made his Ezra happy. He had tried to eat one once to see if that was the reason that Ezra wanted them so badly (must be plenty tasty), but that didn't go over very well... no... never eat the pieces of paper, Chaucer reminded himself.
They didn't taste very good anyway.
The horse turned his lowered head to look at the Arabian again. It curled its lips back at him in disgust and tried to edge away. Chaucer coughed and shook his skin.
Chaucer saw that the street had been cleared for racing. Yes, that would explain why Clyde was so upset earlier. He must have lost a race. Clyde was not a good looser. If one is going to play a game, Chaucer reminded himself, one must be prepared for any outcome. Ezra patted him on the neck and was mounted in a moment.
Chaucer sighed loudly as the man's weight settled on his back. For that he received another pat...good horse. The chestnut liked the feeling of his man in the saddle. They fit well together. Chaucer wanted to run and canter and prance about -- he was so excited. He loved a good game. He was going to race! Of course, he had to remember... sick, I'm a sick horse.
Ezra brought him up alongside the Arabian who tried to edge away from him. He's afraid of me, Chaucer thought as he coughed again. The Arabian shifted uneasily. Stupid Arabian, frightened that I might breathe on him. Well, look out big boy! Chaucer let his jaw loll open and rolled his eyes back again. The Arabian tried to skitter away.
That woman, Inez, walked toward them with a pistol. Chaucer waited to see what his man's reaction would be. Fire arms = bad. Ezra didn't telegraph any sense of alarm. It must be okay.
Chaucer watched as she lifted it over his head. He could feel his man preparing, his legs tightening. Get ready, he was saying. Chaucer tensed, ready to go. Ezra shifted forward... get set, no more foolin' around. Chaucer leaned forward, too, ever so slightly blocking the Arabian's path. He could sense the Arabian trying to move away from him. The pistol went off.
He sprung forward, flying through the street.
Fast...fast...fast as you can! The buildings of the town flew past as his hooves pounded the hard soil. He sucked in huge lungfuls of air as he galloped at full speed down the street. His man and he were like one creature... the fastest things in the world. Chaucer threw his heart and soul into the run, his rider guiding him down the street, urging him wordlessly to the barrels that marked the end. He could hear the Arabian behind him. The moron had been startled, caught off guard. Serves him right, the jerk.
They rounded the barrels perfectly balanced and Chaucer caught sight of the Arabian behind them, being forced to the outside as they rounded the marker. The Arabian's man was upset and the two were not working together very well, Chaucer thought as he noted their ungraceful turn.
Gotcha! Chaucer thought. You got nothin' on Ezra and me!
Then it was back again... back back back to where they had started. He strained, he forced himself into a faster speed, the Arabian falling behind him.
Ha ha! Chaucer thought as he stormed back to the beginning. Dumb Arabian. You may be fast but you got no style, no smarts. He flew past their starting place and felt his rider tell him to stop.
But he couldn't stop. Oh what joy! He flung his head back and kicked up his heels as if he were a colt. The Arabian continued past and Chaucer bit at him playfully. He heard the Arabian snort something that roughly translated to "Son of a Cow!"
Ha ha! Chaucer thought again, rearing back in delight. He heard his rider 'whoop' and tighten his legs as Chaucer danced on two legs. Ezra did nothing to discourage him, so he continued his antics. He pranced and bobbed his head, bowing to the appreciative audience.
He could hear his herd whinnying in the livery. They'd heard the commotion and wanted to add their encouragement. Even Clyde sounded happy. Oats and Fresh Hay! Chaucer thought, it's nice to have a herd.
He saw that Buck and JD were laughing. Buck looked especially happy. Chris Larabee was actually smiling... something Chaucer rarely saw. And Vin looked as if his suspicions were confirmed, and seemed pleased at that. Josiah and Nathan were a little less annoyed. Badger's man was shaking his head and muttering. Prophet's man sighed and looked amused.
Ezra finally let him know that enough-was-enough and he steered Chaucer back toward the others and dismounted. They were two creatures again.
"My, my, my," Ezra said to the Arabian's man, "It appears that my horse has made a extraordinary recovery. Nothing short of a miracle."
The little pieces of paper appeared and his Ezra greedily took them. Chaucer watched his man, appreciating the enjoyment he saw in Ezra's face. The more pieces of paper handed to him, the happier his Ezra became.
Chaucer saw a man reluctantly holding some papers, waiting for Ezra to notice them. Chaucer decided to help. He trotted up to the man. His teeth snapped loudly as he yanked the papers away. The man's hand shot back in surprise, his eyes wide.
Chaucer pranced happily over to his Ezra and presented the papers to him. Of course, he snatched the papers away twice before he let Ezra take them. His Ezra chuckled and gave him 'that look', which meant that he was pleased. Chaucer loved that look.
So many papers! Ezra must be very happy. His man looked over to Buck who clutched a similar collection.
Ezra folded up the papers and carefully placed them in his pocket. "Sir, it was a pleasure doing business with you," Ezra said to the Arabian's man.
The Arabian's man was mad and so was the Arabian. The man spoke bitterly.
Ezra looked hurt and said, "But I clearly remember you stating that the condition of my horse made no difference in this matter. There was no cheating involved whatsoever."
Chaucer made a horsey smirk at the snobbish Arabian. Serves you right. He heard the Arabian say, "Son of a Cow" again and it pawed at the dirt in defiance. So Chaucer turned and pissed on the ground. Yeah, that outta let him know what I think of him. He added a couple of turds to make his opinion well known.
"Chaucer!" Ezra said in alarm. He gave Chaucer a disgusted look.
What did he expect? I'm a horse! Chaucer thought. When nature calls... well...I gotta listen.
Ezra guided him away from the crowd back toward the livery. "Really, Chaucer," he admonished, "We are gentlemen."
Chaucer recognized that last word. He changed to a high-stepping stride and tossed his head magnificently. I'm a gentleman, he thought and thumped Ezra on the back of his head with his muzzle. Ezra shook his head and glanced back at him in amusement.
The horse stopped when he realized where they were heading. Back to my home already? he thought, but I was just getting ready for some fun. I don't want to go back yet.
Ezra stopped, and turned. "So, are you trying to tell me that you don't want to return to your stall?" he asked the suddenly stubborn horse.
Chaucer didn't understand the words exactly, but he saw that slight twitch of the eyebrow. He nodded.
Ezra sighed and said, "But I thought you were sick?"
The other eyebrow twitched and Chaucer shook his head.
"Very well then," Ezra complied. "We'll go for a bit of a jaunt before duty calls us back to town." The man easily mounted.
Chaucer sighed in contentment as he trotted out of town with his man. He felt Ezra turn in the saddle and saw him raise two fingers to his herd before they were out of sight. When his man was seated forward again, Chaucer took off at a gallop, heading no where in particular.
THE END - By NotTasha
The next Horse Tale is -- Hat
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