The Dawn Patrol
AKA Bangastrom (But only to other Horses)
At 21 hands, Tauntaun is a very, very large horse. He is a seventh “generation” white warhorse and, much like the honey badger, gives zero shits about what is going on most of the time. He is extremely loyal to Cerlissa and the Dawn Patrol, and happily follows them wherever their travels take them.
Note: Bangastrom means “Hammer Storm” in Old Norse. My brother gave me the name.
Great. Another horned one. Bangastrom thought as the stable hand led him to toward the gate where a rather tall Rider waited. At least it’s the smaller type. They generally let me do what I want.
The stable hand passed the reins to her and made some noises. She made noises back and abruptly turned and led him to group of smaller horses. Bangastrom snorted, All horses are smaller horses.
The Riders got on, and the riders told him to go, and Bangastrom went. Bored, he occasionally attempted to scrape the horned Rider off of him or stop to eat the roadside vegetation. No luck, though. The Gold-Horned Rider, as he took to calling her, actually knew what she was doing. It was both refreshing and annoying. At least she didn’t try to hurt him.
Once, one of the little painted horses tried to pull out front and lead the herd. Stupid little bugger. Bangastrom thought as he trotted up and bit the painted horse’s flank. He jumped up and his Rider lurched awkwardly. Bangastrom tossed his head about until the little painted horse and Hair-Faced Rider relented and allowed him to set the pace. Bangastrom doesn’t allow smaller horses to lead. Gold-Horned Rider didn’t admonish this, and that’s when he decided he liked her.
The herd came upon another city, and Gold-Horned Rider handed the reins to another stable hand. Three days later, which was an awful long time for Gold-Horned Rider to leave him alone, the stable hand began putting his gear back on. Bangastrom was giddy with excitement, but when the stable hand brought him out, Gold-Horned Rider was nowhere to be found. Bangastrom was surprised at himself. He never cared before who was his Rider, and that apathy served him well, as he was passed around at the other stable quite a lot. But he really thought that Gold-Horned Rider was going to be HIS Rider. Bangastrom saw the new Rider waiting at the gate, and immediately hated him.
Belly Rider. That’s what you are He thought to himself as the stable hand made noises and passed the reins to the new Rider. He was the regular type. No horns, no scales, no fur, no pointy ears. Just round, subdued features, and Belly Rider was rounder and more subdued than most.
Belly Rider turned with the reins in his hand, and began walking away. Bangastrom didn’t move. Belly Rider looked at him with an expression Bangastrom had never seen before, and tugged the reins again, hard.
Bangastrom didn’t so much as flinch. He wanted to let Belly Rider know that he did things when he did things and not because Belly Rider told him to.
After a solid minute of Belly Rider yelling at Bangastrom, he turned and raised a fist at the stable hand. Bangastrom liked the stable hand, so he decided to begin moving forward. Belly Rider wasn’t looking, and was knocked aside. Clearly frustrated, Belly Rider started moving again, and Bangastrom followed.
It was weeks later, and another typical day, when Bangastrom and Belly Rider were having another argument that Belly Rider was losing… again. The stout man wanted him to keep walking when there was clearly a stone in his shoe. Bangastrom could easily keep going for some time without much discomfort, but he didn’t feel like dealing with a stone today, so he wasn’t moving. He even moved off the road, because other horses sometimes need to pass and Bangastrom knew he was a big horse and got in the way sometimes.
He started paying attention to Belly Rider’s yelling and tugging again when he produced a long stick and moved to hit him with it. If this little man hits me with that stick, I will hit him with this stone I happen to have in my shoe. Maybe then he’ll understand the problem.
Luckily for Belly Rider, another Rider grabbed the hand that was holding the stick. Bangastrom changed his mind on how lucky Belly Rider was when the other Rider kicked him soundly in the middle. Belly Rider made a big “WHOOF” noise and dropped, gasping, on the ground. The other Rider made absolutely no noises at Belly Rider while she approached Bangastrom, which was strange for Riders. They usually had so many noises to make, especially when they hit each other. Belly Rider was certainly making a lot of noise.
That’s when Bangastrom looked at the new Rider and saw, with great satisfaction, that Gold-Horned Rider had not abandoned him at all. She looked him straight in the eye, grabbed his reins, and began walking in the same direction she was originally going. Bangastrom nudged her back with his face, and she took a few extra steps to keep her balance, but otherwise continued walking.
Less than a mile down the road, she stopped and looked at him. Tall-Stick Rider, a large, scaled Rider with pointy teeth, made an impatient noise, and Gold-Horned Rider made a noise he used to hear her make a lot.
Gold-Horned Rider took the stone out of his shoe, but he barely noticed her picking up his foot. He mused, thinking about how the smaller horses sometimes were given names by their Riders, when they owned them.
This must be my name, then. Thought Tauntaun, My Rider will never leave me, and I’ll follow wherever she leads.