Klane Kalonia and the Great Burning (25) by DMFW ()
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Riders and their Horses! What can we say? Even now when Rider culture is a relatively minor part of the complex of civilisations we have all become, the bond between the human and the equine is still acknowledged everywhere as a sacred sacrament. How much more so in the Season of Innocence when it was perceived as an ideal pattern of the way the Earth must always be, the symbol and the reality of a pure eternity of redemption from history? The origin of the bond between people and horses stretches back long before the Great Forgetting of course, even, some would say, unto those misty ancient ages before the Galactic Compact. Once, it is believed, there was an unequal mastery between men and their mounts. There were such mythic ancient artifacts as tackle, saddles, bridles, bits and reins with which the ancestors of today's steeds were constrained and mastered. But all that was a very long time ago indeed. Many ages before the Season of Innocence even began, horses had been genegeneered into a superior intelligence, a longer life span and a symbiosis with their human partners which removed almost all the need for those primitive instruments of control. There was still a call for a blacksmith’s shoe, it’s true, but Riders rode bare back and they thought of their Horses as equal partners with which they justified a fragile lordship over the desolate plains of the empty Earth.
So the second and final day of the Ironhope games was considered much the more important, testing Riders and Horses alike. Some measure of good humour had returned to the tribes in the early morning sunshine. This was what they liked best. Klane could see that there were plenty of fine Horses and proud Riders but he knew he had a chance in this competition. Lyr, the foal of his mother’s mare and her husband’s stallion was an exceptional animal. Soon Klane and his Horse would be tested in a way they had never been before.