Field Report, June 2011: Upon dispatch, I jumped to proper coordinates on the shore of Blackness to gain the attention of one Fiona XXX as instructed by the Council. The day was fine, a light mist adding sheen to my coat, and inspiring confidence that, as usual, I would appear irrestistable and my new Rider would, quite understandable, be grateful to be chosen. Blackness stands on a promentory in the Forth, removed from the town centre and full of secluded nooks and crannies, making it the perfect place for acquistion of a new Rider.
Fiona and her class arrived as scheduled, the teacher herding the gaggle of children first into the small curator's cottage, and then along the heath into the castle itself. The Rider's bright pink hair was easy to spot in the clump of teenagers and I tracked her progress through the gates.I overheard the teacher instructing teh children in proper behavior while investigating the ruins and extolling them to use their guidbooks to answer the quiz questions she had handed out on the bus. She then gave them two hours to disperse and explore.
Fiona consulted the papers in her hand, and then leaning over to say something to a friend, turned back towards the gate where I was standing and Thinking that this was the perfect opportunity to make myself known, I dissolved cloaking and arched my neck. She saw me. I am sure she saw me, but her face drained of blood and she reached back to grab the hand of a departing classmate. "On the other hand," she said, a little too brightly, "I think I will go with you guys. I can get that outside stuff later." I watched her walk away with some bewilderment, but I realized that she must not, in all actuallity, have seen me. Patience is a virtue and I am nothing if not a patient Horse.
I renewed my cloaking and waited patiently as the kids ran all over the castle, shouting down at each other from high windows and ramparts, taking turns incarcerating their mates in the tidal prison and staging pretend sword fights with biros and lead pencils. Fiona was never alone through this, but kept safely in a clump of her mates, participating in the general mayhem and distinct lack of scholarly behavior. I was growing restive, and, unable to still the ring of my hooves against the cobbles, decinded that I had best retire to the outer courtyard where I could watch for my Rider from the quite green turf.
Eventually, fiona came through the gates with two other young people. They moved along the Western wall of the castle down towards the shore. I followed at a distinct difference, careful to set each hoof silently against the stones. At the water's edge, the three students split up and wandered the lacy edge of the water, searching for inspiration in the rocky rubble. Fiona pulled a sketch pad from her backpack, and seated herself on a boulder facing the castle. The Firth of Forth spread out behind the walls of Blackness, the distant bridges framing the scene. I could see why she wanted to sketch it and was happy for her concentration as the other children wandered farther affield and Fiona, absorbed in her sketch did not notice she was alone.
Dissolving my cloaking, I stepped once again into her view, confident that the sparkling water, the ancient walls of the castle and the light breeze in my mane would conspire to make me irresistable. I was already hearing the congratualtions of my mates on the perfect recruiting run. So wrapt was I in my imaginings, that it took me a moment to process the reality of the scene before me. Contrary to all experience of humankind, Fiona seemed immune to my charms. She was resolutely not looking at me, as she fumbled to close her sketchbook and put it into her backpack without looking up. I stepped closer and tossed my head, knowing that the resulting shimmer on my glossy mane would call for her touch, knowing that once she touched me she would be mine.
"I'll have nought to do with you, ye black bugger!" Fiona said. "I know yer like, and I'll no be consorting with a kelpie, no matter how beautiful ye appear."
I was completely gobsmacked, and entirely unable to think of what to do. I had never had a human ignore me in such a rude and insulting manner before. I must admit, my pride was hurt. I snorted my diresion, and pawed the pebbled ground a little to show my impatience. This was my designated rider and she would be taking her first ride today. It was like the child was made of stone, she neither looked up nor said another word as she skirted the boulder to get away from me, wetting her legs to the hem of her tartan skirt, and never once turning her back as she resolutely refused to raise her eyes. It was infuriating to watch her progress back across the rock strewn ground to the safety of her classmates as they gathered onto their bus.
I stood on the shore, flanks quivering with rage as the bus backed around and pulled out of the parking lot. Fiona's bright pink hair blazed through the window as she watched me stand, riderless on the strand my own eyes locked on her receding form.