Historical setting: Along the ridges of the Pyrenees, 6th Cent. C.E.
The shepherd is enamored by great possibilities that Nic will teach him courage and the fighting prowess of a mighty warrior. His chatter lets us see he wishes to attain personal power through becoming a fearsome danger to everyone around him.
Nic is prepared to begin the lessons in owning the power by offering his wondrous animal training technique. “So, when I got The Rose, my first horse, everyone was telling me ‘to train a spirited animal like this first you need to show him who is boss.’ Having been in the military for so many years I do know this is an important first step — training rank. So I said to The Rose, ‘You need to know who is boss, and I will tell you: When it is a man thing like entering into buildings, or walking on two legs and speaking, then I am the boss; but when it’s a horse thing, you are the horse so you are the boss.’ So we’ve agreed to that, and it seems to be working out well. I’ve needed no leather thongs for flailing, only braids for holding the saddle onto his back so he can do all the trots and gallops and leaps and dances horses tend to do and I’ll stay astride. We’ve worked it out as though we were a captain and his mate.” The Rose standing at the critter end of the lean-to, twitches an ear and offers a snort of agreement.
“So you can see, I can’t loan these leathers to you for flailing of an animal. They belong to The Rose and he won’t share them for that purpose. He always sides with the critters.”
I have crafted a fine crutch from the Shepherd’s rod, and Nic offers his medical common sense advising the shepherd not to step down hard on that foot until it has healed.
“But how will I follow the sheep?” he rails. “And when your food runs out I have to walk back to my father’s farm for more supplies.”
We had kind of hoped to be in Gaul when our food runs out. And the crutch I’ve crafted will hardly meet his need in carrying a pack of food supplies. But I present my handiwork.
“What have you done to my fine stout rod? How will I do my battles with this short padded stick?”
He doesn’t seem pleased with my fine craftsmanship.