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  1. Burrich maneuvered his way around buildings and people as he ran through the Stedding from the Ranger training grounds to the inn. As a Guardian he'd been invited to move into the Ranger barracks, but he had an Ogier-size bed at the inn so he'd decided to stay there until he could find or build a place of his own. As he ran people and wolves alike dodged out of his way, looks of worry and curiosity creasing their faces as they wondered what could send the gentle giant running with such concern on his face. Many called out to him, but in his haste he didn't even hear them until he was well past. He didn't slow down until he had barrelled through the door to the Hole in the Wall and saw Storm Hunter and Snowpaws look up in alarm from their place in the corner by one of the fireplaces. The beautiful black she-wolf with the white paws lay surrounded by two-day old pups hapily suckling away, while the giant gray male sat a silent guard over his family. Storm jumped to his feet when he saw Burrich, concern flooding the array of images he sent the man's way. 'Are we attacked Little Brother?' Burrich rushed to assure his brother, 'No, no, I'm sorry I upset you so. You can relax, your mate and her pups are safe, Brother. We are not under attack.' Buurich's words though did nothing to soothe his friend. 'Then tell me what has awakened your anger Mountain's Fury. I've never seen you like this.' Burrich replied as he walked up the stairs to his room. 'I was training with Owen and some others when a message came from the Watchers. A Wanderer is experiencing an especially difficult Howling. His village has locked him up and plan to execute him for being a shadowspawn or darkfriend, they aren't even sure which to accuse him of being. Owen sent me back to exchange practice lathes for my real weapons and gear and to gather food for the journey from the inn. I should be back soon, don't worry.' He took the back stairs from his room to go through the kitchen and store-rooms on the way back to the front door. When he got there he found Storm waiting patiently and looking as though he planned to go along. 'Storm, thank you, but we both know Snow can't leave the pups yet. Who will hunt for her if you leave with me?' Storm gave him a look that spoke volumes about how silly he thought the question was and then sent, 'We are pestered constantly by both two-legs and four-legs with offers to help care for the little ones. This is a large pack we're a part of now Mountain, I have no need to worry, Snow and the pups will be well taken care of. It is our duty to protect the pack, even those who don't yet know they are.' Burrich had no argument to offer and he didn't want to leave the wolf behind anyway so together the two of them headed back to the Ranger barracks. By the time they arrived Owen had gathered the rest of the rescue party and they were soon ready to leave. OOC: I wasn't sure if we'd be taking horses or not cus even though they would be faster I didn't know how comfortable the rest of the party would be with riding. If we do take horses, maybe somebody else could have saddled and brought midnight out for Burrich since he was gathering food for everyone? Midnight is a dark black stallion and the only horse in the Stedding large enough to hold him. Thanks!
  2. OOC: Continued from An Urgent Departure IC: Owen had set them a grueling pace since leaving the Stedding. but the mission was urgent so there were no complaints. Their compassion compelled them to push on beyond what Burrich would have thought possible. Yet, when he considered the fate that awaited the young Wanderer, he found the strength to endure. The trails they were using were narrow and steep, which slowed their progress significantly. Currently, they were forced to ride single-file with the wolves ranging out in front, in the rear, and even in between riders. It had been a very quiet journey. The vigorous pace left little energy for idle talk and even at night few were willing to do more than eat a quick dinner before turning in to replenish their strength for the next day. Burrich pushed himself even harder than the others. This was his first time working with the Rangers outside of training and he was anxious to prove himself worthy of joining their ranks in truth instead of only as a Guardian. Owen's command to seek out a campsite came much earlier than expected, but despite the urgency of their mission they were all relieved at the unexpected extra hours of rest it would bring. As they turned the next bend the trail widened and Burrich left his place in line and made his way to the front, then gave Midnight a nudge and took off running with Storm Hunter right beside him. A short way prior to where he estimated the party would make by lunch a small stream crossed the trail. Turning off the path he followed the water back toward its source. What he found was a collection of boulders, the apparent result of some long ago rockslide. The boulders were spread in two lines that formed an open-faced triangle, the back half covered over with slabs of rock to form a natural rooftop. A better location he didn't think he'd find if he searched for another week. He dismounted and walked into the clearing to explore. The area had plenty of grass for the horses and the covered area was more than large enough for all of them. It was even large enough for their mounts if the weather turned against them. The stream he'd been following came out of a cave in the back wall. He could see that it opened into a fair sized chamber but he wasn't able to squeeze through the opening no matter how he tried. With the time he had left before the rest of the party arrived Burrich did what he could to set up camp. He collected wood and got a fire going then ran a rope across the third side of the triangular camp. The lightweight rope would not be enough to truly hold the horses, but they were all well-trained and only needed to know what the boundaries of the camp were and could then be trusted to stay with them. Burrich sent Storm back to the main trail to lead the rest of the party in and spent his time waiting for them by exploring some more. Hopefully the morning's shortened journey would lead to an opportunity to get better acquainted with some of those in the party.
  3. OOC: Sorry for the delay on this. Starlight filtered through the trees in a forest south of Tar Valon, mostly diffused by the thick foliage. What was faintly revealed among the roots of a mighty oak, in what remained of the soft light, were a man and two wolves huddled close to share heat. They woke suddenly, looked at each other and stood to prepare to leave, despite it being only an hour or so past midnight. One wolf, a large white male, trotted down to the stream for a drink then returned to help remove traces of their camp by burying the remains of the small fire his campanion had used to cook last night's meal, while the other, an equally large black female with white paws and a belly full of pups took longer to leisurely drink her fill. Meanwhile, the young man was gathering the few belongings he had with him. Only twenty years old, he was the largest man in the kin, and he'd yet to meet anyone elsewhere that stood as tall or was built as large. Despite the cold Burrich, for that was the man's name, dressed in a simple pair of leggings and a loosely-tied vest. His belt held an axe at each hip and also served as his pack, holding flint and tinder, extra bowstrings, and some medicinal and cooking herbs in pockets around his waist. his vest had clips sewn into it to hold his quiver of arrows over his right shoulder and his battleaxe over his left. He put on a dark brown hooded cloak, picked up his unstrung bow that he used as a staff and surveyed his surroundings to be sure they'd left as little trace of their passage as possible. "Let's go, we've a long run ahead of us if we hope to get there before things get any worse," Burrich said to the wolves beside him. Storm Hunter nuzzled his cheek against that of his mate, Snow Paws, and ran ahead to scout the trail, leaving Burrich to keep pace with Snow. As a Guardian Burrich was in training to become a Ranger, a protector of the wolfkin. As part of that training Owen had asked him to accompany one of the Watchers to a village just outside of Tar Valon. The trip was peaceful and they'd only just parted company the day before. On his first night of the return trip he'd entered the Wolf Dream to report his progress to Owen and been met instead by Winifred. She'd shared that the wolves had passed word of a young woman going through the Howling, and having a rough time of it at that, including a recent attack from her fellow villagers. Winifred had asked him to make sure the girl was safe and bring her back with him as there were no Trackers nearby to do so. So now he and his 'brother' and 'sister' were taking a slight detour to Braem Wood, hoping to reach the girl before things with her neighbors got out of hand. He laughed to think of Snow as a sister but this trip had helped to bridge a relationship between them. Two years ago when he'd gone through the Howling himself Storm had adopted him as a little brother and gone with him to the Stedding. Until this trip Snow had tolerated his presence for Storm's sake but hardly ever spoken to him. But one week into their trip she'd gone into heat and become a mother-to-be. Amazingly enough, that had been the turning point in their relationship, and while he never expected to be as close to her as he was to Storm he truly felt that she was a sister to him in much the same way that Storm was his brother. And he was probably as anxious as either one of them to experience the births of their pups. Which is why, despite the great need, he was reluctant to run at top speed, fearful that too much exertion would not be good for her. Snow soon laughed at him and took off, calling with her mind that she knew what was best and they still had plenty of time. Near dawn they followed the directions of a local pack to find a young woman asleep in the woods. Burrich built a small fire and Storm returned a short while later with a pair of rabbits that he skinned and put on a spit to begin roasting. As they turned he rubbed in some of the herbs he brought, allowing the fragrant aroma to fill the woods. Roasted rabbit may not be the breakfast she was used to having but he'd always heard the Trackers say it was better to meet a Wanderer with food than without. So he sat on a stump with Storm and Snow cuddled together beside him, and waited for her to wake, curious how she would react to his presence but ready for anything.
  4. Owen had been practising his weapons since dawn in the ranger barracks, he fully believed you could never be too prepared and always believed in sharpening his skills. He worked hard first with his sword then with his axe. After that he moved on to the bow and was just about to start shooting when Burrich entered the room. “Good morning Owen, are we going to start on the next set of lessons today?†“Morning Burrich, it is good to see you are punctual, that is a trait worth keeping, I trust you are well rested and ready for the rigours of the coming day? Burrich nodded his head, eagerness showing on his face. The two men exchanged small talk, bringing each other up to date on carious events around the Stedding. Eventually, Owen strolled over to where a large wooden dummy was set up and climbed over the guardrail that surrounded it, he motioned for Burrich to stay on the other side of the rail. “Now this will be what you start on to learn how to fight without any weapons but your hands, feet and elbows. Let me demonstrate.†Owen punched out at one of the pads and as he connected he threw his opposite arm up to block the corresponding blow from the dummy. Owen kept this up for a while, using both his hands and feet until he was sure Burrich had the idea. “Now when you get more competent at this you will be able to move much quicker than I just did, and you will start to approach the level you need to pass this lesson. Watch and learn Burrich.†With that Owen started once more, only this time he did not hold back and went through his routines at full speed. He became totally engrossed in what he was doing, and his concentration was at such a pitch that he did not realise he had broken the padding on two of the arms, not until he stopped and realised what he had done. “Well it would seem I got a little carried away there Burrich, help me to rebind the padding then you can have a go.†Once they had secured the bindings, Owen instructed Burrich on how to stand, making sure his balance was correct and his feet were not wider than his shoulders. “Do not hit with your fist, that is an easy way to break your hand. Instead use the heel of you hand like this.†Owen demonstrated how he wanted Burrich to hit with the heel of his hand. “Now remember Burrich, every action has a reaction, try and anticipate what will happen when you do something and be ready with a counter to that. This is a skill that will take you a while to truly master, and will I think leave you with many bruises and cuts, perhaps I should get a Sage to attend our sessions in the future, just in case.†Owen The White Wolf Ranger Leader
  5. After all he'd been through, and all he'd learned, since coming to the Stedding, Burrich was being entrusted with the training of a new Wanderer. And yet, this Wanderer was unlike any other, since he'd been here before and knew more of the history of the Wolfkin than any other outsider ever learned. Thus the training would be different as well. Burrich would not be able to progress through Anton's training in the same manner John had guided him through his. He'd left a note for Anton to meet him at the break of dawn just out back from the inn. This had left him plenty of time to do his normal workout this morning and still arrived ten minutes or so before Anton was due to show. But, Anton was already there. Good, punctuality was something to be desired in a student. "Well Anton, I know you've spent some time here but before we get started on your training I thought I'd give youu a chance to ask any questions. Learning about us and becoming one of us are different perspectives on everything. I remember what it was like to go through the howling so I'd be glad to help you any way I can."
  6. It was a cold starless night; the wind was blowing from the mountains and gave a cold edge to the air. Owen and Burrich were at the Rangers training field, it was to be Burrich’s first lesson today, and Owen could sense his eagerness and curiosity. “I think the first thing we need is a run to warm us up, and from tonight I expect you to run this course everyday, stamina and endurance are needed more by the Rangers than any of the other groups in the Wolfkin, even the Trackers.†Without any more talking, Owen started running, using a long loping stride; one designed to cover long distances easily. Burrich fell in beside Owen and the two of them headed towards the hills and a trail Owen knew would not tax Burrich too much. “Tonight I will start to instruct you in the Way of the Warrior, it will not be all about using weapons, and you may find parts of it confusing at first. A Warrior should always act with the highest regard for the people he is protecting, even if they do not appreciate or desire his help. We do what we do, not for thanks, we do it because it is right, that extends to two-legs as well.†Burrich seemed surprised by the mention of two-legs, it was widely known among the Wolfkin, that Owen had no love for them. Knowing what Burrich would be thinking, Owen smiled slightly. “Perhaps how we act around two-legs is even more important than how we act around our own brethren. To them we are Darkfriends, or fiends; the only way to change that is to let our actions speak for themselves. I know you have heard I do not like many of them, and must think this is a strange view to have. But they chose to persecute us, not the other way round, so we have to act with great dignity and moral courage in our dealings with them.†The two of them were just cresting a small rise in the trail, and Owen did not speak again until they were over it and heading into the valley beyond. When they reached the valley floor Owen called a halt to their run, Burrich was puffing a little, but had managed to keep up so far. “Gather some dead wood Burrich, we will start a small fire and then continue with our lesson.†While Burrich gathered the wood, Owen scraped a fire pit out of the ground, using one of his daggers. When the young guardian returned, Owen asked him to build the fire and light it. When the fire was going, Owen sprinkled some incense on it, the smell permeating the area. “Clear your mind Burrich, focus on the flames and seek that that is within us all, the centre where we are at peace.†Owen’s voice had taken on a very soft inflection, one that Burrich could hear only because of his enhanced hearing. “When you look into the fire, ask yourself this, where does the flame go? Seek that place and you will find the wal, your centre.†Owen stopped speaking and let his mind clear, seeking out that inner calm that was so different to the Spring and was unlike any other technique of meditation he had heard of. Owen The White Wolf Ranger Leader OOC Burrich, start your post with a retrospective on asking Owen if you could join the Rangers. Then give your reactions to what Owen is teaching you. It is preferable that you do not succeed the first time you try this, it is like nothing you have attempted before. So realistically, it is unlikely that your char would achieve his Wal straight away. If you have any questions, or need any help, PM me.
  7. The morning dew clung to the grass and leaves of the stedding as Nights followed an old trail to the woods. Today was Burrich’s next senses training and the Ranger was curious to see if the young man was up to the task. ~You push cub to hard Nightsfire~ Quickenings message made him chuckle and he looked to his left to see the big grey wolf lopping through the trees. She always thought him too demanding of his students but he just reassured her that Burrich was ready. Cresting a rise Nights left the worn trail and plunged into the dense forest careful not to leave any sign of his passing. In this Owen had taught him well and he moved through the forest like a ghost. It was nearing mid morning when a roaring sound caught his keen hearing and he began moving towards it. The trees began to open up and the ground to slope downward. Not long after Nights found himself at the bottom of a valley and at the edge of a large pool of blue water. At the far end the sound of the roar, a waterfall, fell into the pool from the rocks high over head. Before he had left Nigths had left a note where Burrich was sure to find it with instructions that read. “Burrich the next part of your training will show us how well you have learned. Use your senses to find me before days end if you can.†The note had given the big man a location of where to start. This would allow Burrich to pick up his trail and follow it for a time until Nights had made it disappear. From there his student would need to use his wits and senses to find him. Finding a nice spot under a large tree that provided ample shade the Ranger sat down. Moments later the Quickening appeared and lay down next to him. “We wait and see now my friend.†Quickenings only response was to lay her head between her paws and close her eyes. Ooc: Finding John will not be easy he is ranger trained and knows how to hide from about anyone. He has left you clues along the way in the form of a broken branch here or a piece of clothing to mark his scent. Happy hunting.
  8. Nightsfire regarded his big student for a moment then nodded. “A battle ax it is then lad. Rangers are skilled in all weapons and I can teach you to master one with some hard work.†Leaving Burrich for a moment Nights went to the supply cabin and after a bit of rummaging found a practice battle ax with a dulled edge. Returning to the sparring ring he gave it to his student. “Until you have a good handle on your skills practice with that it will be safer for all involved.†Chuckling Nights stepped back as the Young man got a feel for the weapon and placed his own ax off to the side. “The first rule to learning any weapon is to let it become an extension of your body. Slow your breathing and let the feel of the ax mold to your hands.†Giving Burrich a few more moments to get the feel of the weapon Nights waited until he was ready. “Now show me what you know if its use and how to wield it properly.â€
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