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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

A hunting we will go (OPEN RP)


Eqwina
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The last days of summer were fast approaching and Thera was growing restless just thinking about the months of snow and cold. The trainees all had a free day and for once she was not behind on her paperwork. That morning she had already enjoyed a run in the empty yards and sharpened her sword. All of her daggers had been sharpened and she’d even restrung her bow. The light was just beginning to come over the walls and into her office window. With a steady rhythm she tapped her fingers on her desk. The fact of the matter was she had grown used to activity and company. With no trainees to work with and no paper work to do she was bored.

 

Immediately the idea of sneaking away with Jasine come to mind; But with so many trainees off of the grounds today they would surely be noticed. Frustrated Thera grabbed for one of her knives and threw it at the door. Three more hit with steady succession landing all with in inches of each other. With a sigh she crossed the room and removed them from the door, tucking them back into their homes. Catching sight of her bow sitting propped by the weapons rack gave Thera an idea. Excited to finally have something to do she rushed back into her bedroom and changed into pants and a coat of deep green. On an impulse she grabbed her Warders cloak and slung it about her shoulders smiling as it settled around her. As Mistress of Trainees she rarely had occasion to wear it.

 

Strapping a quiver along side her dagger she picked up her bow. It had been some time since she’d been hunting, but this late in the season it was sure to be ripe. Nailing a note to her office door she headed off through the yards. She would stop at all the barracks and see if anyone wanted to join her.

 

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Arath was just going outside, he was planning on getting some training done while the Yards were empty. He already had his day of rest yesterday, and today he couldn't afford to slack on his training like some other people. Arath imediately thought of Eqwina Sedai- he had promised her that he would become a strong warrior so that he could protect her and the White Tower. Sighing melodiously, Arath strapped on his sword. He knew the basic forms like the back of his hand, but the Intermediate forms were a little bit tougher. He had still been practicing them for a bit, but they were new to him, and still a bit shakey.

 

Strapping his sword onto his belt, Arath made his way outside, opening the door just in time to get a fist on his chest. More specifically, Mistress Thera's fist on his chest. Arath was suprised to have the Mistress of Trainees striking him, but soon realized that she had been trying to knock on the door but he had unfortunate timing. Arath was about to appologise for being in the way of the Mistress' fist (for one thing he had learned was that with women was that it was always your fault) but suprisingly she was in a very chipper mood.

 

"Oh good, trainee Arath! I see you're getting ready for training. Haven't we already had this lecture about taking time off?"

 

Arath was about to explain that he had already taken a day off, but the Mistress didn't give him a chance. "Come trainee Arath! If you are so eager to train then come hunt with me!"

 

"But I don't know how to-"

 

"Great! Concider it training then!"

 

Helplessly, Arath was dragged off to the woods to go hunting. Where was Jasine when you needed him?

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Arath had not been the target she’d had in mind when she headed to the trainees quarters, but in a pinch he would do. Still she could not help but peek around the door to see if Jasine was in sight; with it being a free day he could be anywhere.

 

She dragged him along to the stables and saw that he got a properly placid mount. She remembered from previous outings what a horrid rider she was, and she didn’t want to have to cart him back to the Tower with a broken leg. BlueRose nuzzled Thera and she returned it with fervor; her spirited mount had been serving her well in the last months. “Don’t worry Arath, we aren’t going far.” She smiled at him over her shoulder as she watched him mount awkwardly. “You..uh..don’t happen to know where Jasine is? I thought he might like some time away.”

 

Turning around in her saddle she straightened her saddle bags and arranged her cloak as if the answer meant nothing to her. “Or Perivar, he seems like a hunter to me.”

“Oh well, no matter you and I will give it a go.” With the pressure of her knees she got BlueRose moving and guided her through the yards by instinct alone. Thera’s sharp eyes scanned the paths and wooded areas hoping to catch a glimpse of her young man. As they approached the gates she stopped to have a few quite words with the guard on duty before leading her and Arath out of the Jualdhe Gate. She had left instructions as to where they would be, just in case anyone else decided to come along. There was always good hunting this direction and easy terrain, nothing a novice hunter couldn’t handle.

 

By habit or maybe still out of fear Arath rode a measured pace to her back. Rearing BlueRose to a halt she looked over her shoulder at Arath as he stopped, with much less grace. “Do I smell foul Arath? I just bathed this morning. Or perhaps it is my breath that offends?” She cupped her hand over her mouth, letting out a breath that she could inhale. “Or are you still really afraid of me?” Her voice was serious, but her eyes danced with delight. “If it is none of those things then why do you ride behind me? Is my bum truly that grand?”

 

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Did he know where Jasine was? No, but Arath was suprised that the Mistress wasn't currently beating him off with her bow. Really, she needed to be a lot firmer else Jasine would just keep coming. Arath's friend really was a hopeless fool, every time they were sparring and the Mistress passed by he would completely loose control of his sword and look like a novice. Arath sighed before mounting the placid animal that the Mistress had arranged for him to ride.

 

Arath was a bit excited to go hunting, after all, he had only ever used his sword with the other trainees, preparing himself for real life situations. He kept some distance between his animal and the Mistresses, for he was aware that if you let your mounts get close to eachother, there was the possibility of them kicking. Arath had never done anything like this before, and didn't want to splatter all over the ground within five minutes of riding.

 

The ride was a bit bumpy, but Arath thought that he was handling himself well until the Mistress started distracting him. Because he was so inexperienced, Arath had to focus completely on his task. Arath noticed that Mistress Thera came to a stop, so he stopped as well- although he was much sloppier because he didn't have the experience that she did. Shocked by her words, Arath fell completely off of his ride, and his faced burned with embarisment- he was doing wonderfully with hard part! Naturally it was only after they came to a stop that he managed to splat on the ground.

 

Arath was mortified, he had managed to fall out of his bloody saddle! Ashamed and embarised, Arath sat dumbfounded, looking up at the Mistress and tried to hault the blood rushing to his head.

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Thera leapt down from her horse and knelt next to Arath. Her eyes were brimming with tears and her cheeks twitched with the effort of hold back the laugh. “ A very nice landing. I would give it 10 stars. Are you alright? Did you hurt anything but your pride?”

 

When Arath nodded that he was fine, Thera sat back on her heels and laughed until tears were falling down her cheeks. “I have seen people fall while mounted, while dismounting and while riding, but never when the horse is stopped…. At least not without an arrow in their side.”

 

Jumping to her feet she extended her hand and pulled her trainee up with her. “Maybe we aught to walk the rest of the way. Are you sure you can mange that without falling down. Maybe just in case you should walk with me so you don’t have a chance to get distracted by my backside” She grabbed Rose’s reigns and stopped waiting for Arath to catch up. Her face was still red from laughing but she thought she had it under control. “You must be excited to be getting so close to being raised? Had any prospects towards becoming a Warder?”

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OOC: ok, war's over, I don't think I could manage another one ;)

 

IC: Arath burned with a mixture of embarisment and anger; he was embarised for obvious reasons but angry because Thera couldn't stop taking blows to his pride. Arath almost wanted to mutter that maybe he couldn't stay on a horse but at least he had never been banished from an Aes' Sedai who had bonded him. However, Arath wasn't feeling suicidal today, so he decided to keep quiet. It wasn't uncommon for trainees to play pranks... perhaps he should cook up a nasty prank for the Mistress of Trainees... but then again it wasn't a wise decision to antagonize the person in charge of making your life misrable.

 

Arath was completely distracted by his plots of murder when she asked about his prospects of being a Warder. Imediately, Arath forgot all about his quarrell with her, and thought about Eqwina Sedai... Light how he wanted to become her Warder. "Well... there is one Aes' Sedai..." Arath imediately clammed up, knowing that his affections for Eqwina Sedai were even more foolish than Jasine's affections for the woman beside him.

 

"I'd be fine with being just a Tower Guard, though. I mean, not every one can be a Warder, or there would be no one to guard the Tower and City. And then we would have to start making Warders guard the Tower and City and there would be no point. In fact, we'd be worse off because we have a group of soldiers who are all completely loyal to different people. Being a Tower Guard is a fine job, a noble job. Sure, we don't get as much recognition as the Warders, but it's an important job that someone has to do"

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It was a fine thing to be a Tower Guard, nobler than most men realized. It was as if every Sister was your own charge, and all the Sister’s knew who had kept them alive through out the years.

 

During her time as Mistress of Trainees she had become adept at learning the truths her children wanted to keep hidden, as well as how to beat out bad habits while enforcing the good. She eyed him, but did not need the slight flush in her cheeks to know that the boy had been bitten by the love bug. She herself even had that look when Jasine was near. It was obviously a sensitive subject for him, but she couldn’t help but pry. “This Sister, has she been Aes Sedai long.” Thera smiled when he nodded his head. “ I can think of only a few ways that you could have met her. I’ll bet a weeks pay that she is a Yellow Sister. That one that healed you..what was her name?”

 

Slowly the open ground gave way to trees, large oak and leather leaf; perfect ground for the small game they were going to hunt. Putting hobbles on both the horses Thera took her sword off and laid it up against the tree. Her bow and dagger would suffice for today.

 

“You had better watch yourself getting tangled with an older sister like that. She would have your hide for even a trivial offence, but then again….she could teach you a thing or two.” Thera laughed again and clapped Arath on the back. “Every man needs that kind of education a time or two in his life”

 

Easing her bow from her case she checked the tension on the string before heading them deeper into the forest. “Hunting is easy, it is all about patience combine with a little bit of know how.” Her eyes scanned the ground for tracks and she pointed out the ones she saw. “So tell me more of this sister.”

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Arath stiffened as Thera correctly guessed the Aes' Sedai. Arath blushed as the coarse Mistress of Trainees spoke so... suggestively. Arath had no idea just how loose lipped the woman was. She had always seemed the like the proper type of woman (well as proper as a woman warrior could get) who always stuck to protocal. For his entire time at the Yards, Thera had always been his superior, the untouchable Mistress of Trainees who was as harsh as she was beautiful. It was odd (more like life shatteringly shocking) to see her act so... human.

 

Finally, Eqwina Sedai's words hit home. She had said that all Aes' Sedai and Gaiden were human, and it was important not to forget that. Thera had always been so untouchable- leages ahead of everyone him and there had always been a tone of formality in their interactions. Arath studied the animal tracks carefully, trying to think of what animal would leave such tracks. "She... she is wonderful... so full of compassion. She's kind and encouraging, and yet also strong and firm. Her shawl makes her look like she's wrapped in the Light..." Suddenly embarised, Arath blushed and looked down.

 

Coincidentally, he managed to find some tracks. "Hey what animals make those?" Arath pointed down at the odd tracks. He tried to think of what animal could make tracks like those, as well as the way the vegitation bent. Perhaps it was a large animal? Or maybe a few? Arath, although he had no idea what he was doing, was starting to see the fun in this hunting thing.

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Arath was a good student and would make a good warrior, but pretty he would never be. The way he spoke it almost sounded as if this Aes Sedai returned his affections. Well, there was no accounting for some women’s taste.

 

“Has she mentioned bonding to you yet?” Sisters usually did not comb through the yards searching for warders, but that was not to say they did not gather information where they could. Already Thera had seen no fewer than three Green’s eyeing Jasine, and one strangely beautiful young Accepted. She very much feared that he would find himself bonded before he even knew what happened.

 

Thera bent down to study the tracks more closely, and right away she knew them for a large cat. More than one from what she could tell. Judging by the other tracks that crossed them, they were several days old. “That is a very large cat, and not one you would want to meet with just your sword, but look here.” she pointed out the other tracks that crossed them. “These appear to be days old. Nothing to worry us.”

 

Over their quiet talk Thera heard the quiet rustling of leaves. Putting a finger to her lips she picked her way carefully across the ground not making a sound. With an expert eye she raised her bow and knocked an arrow. “Arath, grab a small stone and pitch it at that large bush.” His stone flew true and out from behind the cover of the brush came a beautiful young deer. Thera did not draw her arrow and she lowered her bow with a smile. “Beautiful wasn’t she?” Arath looked puzzled but Thera only smiled. “I have never been much of a hunter, I don’t like to kill anything without extreme need.” Straightening she picked up their conversation where they’d left off.

 

“Do you think this sister will ask you to bond, once you are able?”

 

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Perivar caught wind of an outing, some new trainee was excited that Mistress Thera had left the training grounds for a while.  The poor boy thought he was free from observation as if there were not a handful of others who tell on him in an instant if he fell afoul of the laws.  He chuckled then grabbed his gear hurrying from the barracks to retrieve his warhorse from the stables.

 

The stablehands quickly saddled Nightdancer for which Perivar threw them each a silver mark.  He liked the lads who were always eager to help.  Well the coin helped but he thought they would still be just as helpful without.

 

Perivar trotted Nightdancer to the Jualdhe gate, his horse's hooves ring loudly on the paving stones.  At the gate the guard passed along the information so he would be able to find Mistress Thera.  He hurried across the bridge slowing to a walk on the other side as he made his way through the town of Jualdhe.  Once outside of the town he picked up the pace and Nightdancer rose to the occasion as he always did.  His warchorse was happy to be out of the stables and it showed. 

 

Perivar slowed and began looking for the sign of the others.  After searching the ground for a few minutes he found two sets of tracks.  One set belonged to Mistress Thera's BlueRose, the other he could not tell.  He followed the tracks for a while then noticed something that made him stop.  The other horse's rider had fallen off, so the other was certainly not Jasine.  If the other track had belonged to Jasine then Perivar would have returned to the yards leaving them to enjoy each others company.  While they never spoke about it, Perivar was completely aware of the romance between Jasine and Mistress Thera.

 

Perivar continued following the tracks then stopped briefly to listen.  His ears picked up the sound of voices up ahead so he continued on bringing Nightdancer to a trot.  He slowed Nightdancer to a walk and approached the pair so that their voices could be heard over the occasional creak of leather from his saddle.

 

Still in the saddle he bowed to Mistress Thera then nodded to Arath.  "At first I was not sure if I would find you though since leaving the road you left enough of a trail that a blind man could follow.  There were some interesting marks in your trail about a mile back." He said purposely eyeing Arath before flashing a friendly smile. 

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Arath's eyes widened. A very large cat! Kabria had shown him a picture of one, of course, but he had always thought that they were just stories. The fact that they actually existed and weren't just stories shocked Arath, but he trusted the Mistress to know what she was talking about. When she said that the tracks were old, Arath was disapointed; he had wanted to see the animal with his own eyes. Arath stilled as Mistress Thera put her finger to her lips. He obeyed her orders and lobbed a stone towards the bush. The stone moved almost in slow motion, travelling in a perfect arc down towards the bush.

 

When it landed in the shrubbery, a gorgeous animal came out. It really was beautiful, her coat shimmering in the light streaming through the trees. The doe was a picture of peace- it was so fragile and ellusive... Arath could hardly believe that such a creature could exist. Yes, it would be increadible to see a huge cat, but this was almost as amazing. It was life at its purest, and Arath almost despared that the Mistress was going to shoot it. Saving the portrait in his mind, and promising to draw it later, Arath was suprised when it escaped without a single arrow flying.

 

Arath looked puzzled at his companion, but felt a ceratin knowledge fill him at her words. Arath saw even further into Eqwina's words; Most people saw Mistress Thera as a cruel and merciless taskmistress. However, now Arath could see that she had compassion and humor, and a desire to preserve life. That must be why she worked her trainees so hard, so that they would go out into the world, prepared for any challenges they would face. Suddenly, Arath realized just how wise Eqwina really was; she must have so much experience and knowledge. It only made him love her more.

 

At the Mistress' last question, Arath could only shrug. "I... I can't say for certain. She told me that I was handsome and that I would make a wonderful Warder someday. So I guess she at least approves of me... I can only hope that she wants to Bond me." With newfound realizations about Thera, Arath wasn't as embarised talking to her. "Do you... do you know how to tell when an Aes' Sedai wants to bond you?"

 

Arath heard a rustle in the bushes behind him and spun around quickly to see what was behind them, perhaps a giant cat? However, it was nothing of the sort, and Arath was suprised to see Perivar standing there. He managed not to blush when Perivar shot him the friendly jibe and snorted. "Perhaps if certain people would keep improper thoughts from being voiced, other people would keep from making certain tracks."

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They had been talking about the bond when Perivar approached, it seemed as though some sisters were interested in Arath.  It made Perivar frown, unlike Jasine and apparently Arath as well he had not spoken with any Aes Sedai save Loraine Sedai.  She was a green but from his recollection she had no interest in adding another Warder.  Something about the way they were said that they were more than just Aes Sedai and Warder. 

 

At Perivar's comment about the strange tracks, Arath glanced at Mistress Thera saying "Perhaps if certain people would keep improper thoughts from being voiced, other people would keep from making certain tracks."  Perivar turned to stare at Mistress Thera with one eyebrow raised uncertain as to what improper thoughts Arath was referring to.  Light please say there was nothing between Mistress Thera and Arath, Jasine would be crushed.

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“I cannot tell you the signs for if she wants to bond. Every Sister is different, as I am sure you are coming to realize, but believe me if she has her eye set on you…you’ll know.” Thera’s voice made it sound ominous and in a way it was. Being bonded opened up a whole new world, both physically and emotionally.

 

Before the rider came into site Thera saw mote of dust he kicked up before him. She held small hope that it was Jasine, but was not at all disappointed to see Perivar. They’d had a rocky start, but over time his fierce pride had tempered right along with her temper. She could not yet call them friends, but perhaps someday now it would be possible.

 

"Perhaps if certain people would keep improper thoughts from being voiced, other people would keep from making certain tracks."

 

With a casual hand Thera reached out and slapped the back of Arath head. He turned to her with an indignant stare but she only smiled and gave him a wink. “What happened was Arath got SO distracted staring at my back side that he couldn’t keep control of his horse. Not that I can blame him, but it was an embarrassing accident to be sure.” Perivar barked a laugh and Arath started grumbling under his breath. “Don’t worry Arath, I am sure Perivar knows how to keep a secret.” With a glance she gathered up both the boys and headed deeper into the sparse woods. “I am sure you are an expert hunter Perivar, do you have any tips for our aspiring Warder?”

 

It was not that Thera disliked Arath, he was a fine boy, but he did not take joking well and it was fun to ruffle his feathers.

 

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Arath scowled as the Mistress conintued to make fun of him- her rear was not anything special to be staring at! In fact, Arath couldn't imagine why in the world Jasine would want to stare at it! And then she went on to insult his hunting and his aspirations! Well, Arath didn't really mind that she had insulted his hunting skills, after all they were rubbish. Arath continued to walk along, trying not to look indignant.

 

Arath wondered why the Mistress was switching back and forth so quickly. One moment she was coarse, the next sympathetic, the next gentle, and then back again! She was really a mystery, but Arath thought that perhaps she was just a strange woman (well, a stranger woman). Fed up with having her make fun of him, Arath decided to focus fully on what they were actually supposed to be doing- hunting! Arath kept in mind the things that Thera had inadvertently taught him. When he saw two tracks interecting, he looked for the tracks that were crossing over to see which was more recent. He would ask every once in a while about the tracks, commiting them to memory and planning on drawing a chart later.

 

Every once in a while he would see tracks that he knew, and then tracks that he didn't know. There were so many tracks that it was hard to remember them all! Deciding to focus on only a few different tracks and memorizing them, Arath resolved to come back with Perivar and sketch all of the tracks while he was in the woods instead of in his barracks. "Hey! Mistress Thera... those tracks are the same tracks of that big cat you were talking about, right? And the way they're crossing over those other tracks.. that means they're more recent?"

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((OOC: Well I was working on this and had it open while Talavin was posting so sorry if it doesn't flow perfectly though I tried to edit it to fit better.))

 

When Mistress Thera explained what happened Perivar barked a laugh.  She said it so matter of factly that he doubled over with laughter.  The more he got to know the Mistress of Trainees the more he liked her.  There was no denying her beauty so he easily believed that Arath was doing just as she said he had been.  When his laughter died down he ensured Arath that he would not tell a soul.  He was also happy to find that there was nothing between Mistress Thera and Arath.she wasn't yelling at you she was usually making you laugh or at least smile.

 

Perivar dismounted then hobbled Nightdancer, it wasn't necessary though he wasn't taking any chances.  He grabbed his bow and quiver then followed Mistress Thera deeper into the woods.  He nodded ensuring that he would share his knowledge of hunting with Arath though something else was on his mind at the moment.

 

As they walked he layed out some basics for Arath.  Stealth was key, awareness of your surroundings, concealment, you had to spot your prey before it spotted you our it was finished before you started, be mindful of the wind so your scent and noise did not carry.  Perivar rattled off dozens of tips for Arath.  Most were common sense and others you had to learn from experience.

 

Perivar needed some time away from the rigors of training though it was not his primary motivation for tagging along.  Directing his attention to Mistress Thera he spoke quickly and quietly as they walked trying to get it all out before they picked up another trail.  "Speaking of Warders, I am a little concerned.  Although some accepted visit and joke each other about which Warder they will choose when they are rasied, I don't see many sisters visiting the yard.  I know that is not always the way yet I don't know how else I am supposed to meet a sister unless I wait until after being raised to Tower Guard where I guess there would be some opportunity."  He looked around scanning their surroundings then continued.  "Well we are close to being raised to Tower Guards or Warders for those who are promised though I have not met a single sister other than Loraine Sedai."  

 

Suddenly he heard Arath speak up "Hey! Mistress Thera... those tracks are the same tracks of that big cat you were talking about, right? And the way they're crossing over those other tracks.. that means they're more recent?" Perivar felt bad they were supposed to be hunting after all though he hurried to finish what he was saying.

 

He looked at Arath then back to Mistress Thera "As you well know I am not as gifted socially as Jasine or Arath.  I was never one to strike up a conversation with a stranger.  I just figured that the sisters would pursue us and not the other way around.  Perhaps there is something flawed about my character that does not make me a suitable candidate for a Warder.  I figured being familiar with the blight that someone would find me useful."  He eyed Mistress Thera trying to gauge her reaction to see if her body language would reveal anything.  "Do any sisters ever ask after us?"    

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It was hard to focus on the tracks in front of her with Arath glaring on one side and Perivar nattering away on the other. “Yes Arath those are cat tracks and only a few hours old. Perhaps you will see a real life kitty after all.” She patted him on the back and smiled, hoping that he could learn to adjust to the rough sort of humor that life in the Yards lent itself too.

 

"Do any sisters ever ask after us?"    

 

Thera sighed audibly. Every time a group got close to being raised these questions started to arise. It was not that she disliked answering, most of the time she just didn’t know what to say. Glancing around Thera spotted a few fallen logs and led the boys over to them “Sit down boys, the hunting can wait.” Sitting down on the damp ground she crossed her legs and leaned back against the rough wood. “ I know you have been told before that not everyone is going to be a Warder, but your life as a Tower Guard is just as important. Except for a few of the Greens, Sisters do not come to the yards combing for a Warder. No respectable Aes Sedai would be so obvious. But I assure you the Sisters that are looking for a Warder do see. They observe, and ask questions and… when the time is right they will approach you.” She had been trying to hold both boy’s gaze but now she looked only at Perivar. “I hesitate to swear to you, but I am most sure that with your background and qualifications you will find yourself a Sister.”

 

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Perivar felt better after the reassurance by Mistress Thera.  He was not outgoing like Jasine and felt that he would never meet anyone outside the training grounds.  He wanted to fight the shadow, his best chances for that was to become a Warder.

 

He looked over at Arath then back to Mistress Thera.  "I am sorry for the diversion, we are here to hunt right?"  He said jumping up and brushing himself off.

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Because Perivar reminded them that they were supposed to be hunting and not chatting, Mistress Thera started again jovially, and they started finding tracks again. Arath found that while he could track resonably by the end of the day, he couldn't use a bow to save his life. He'd much rather hunt down animals and then startle them so that he could see the beauty of the natural world. Arath could see himself "hunting" for days and not catching a thing.

 

Arath found himself regretting the fact that Mistress Thera killed a few animals, but he didn't mourn for long. After all, meat on the table had to come from somewhere, right? Arath resolved to eventually learn how to actually catch an animal, but for now he laid back and let the others catch as many animals as they so desired. After they had caught a good few, they made their way back to the barracks. They dropped the animals off at the kitchens, of course. Arath found himself looking forward to hunting again.

 

Arath got back to his rooms and sketched the tracks that he knew the best he could, and then labeled them. He resolved to go back and sketch more tracks so that he could have a guide to study. Then he would go around and find animals and draw them. Pleased at his new goal, Arath set down his sketches and wondered what to do with the rest of his day.

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