How (not) to Hunt (backscene!)

Xanadu Weyr - Feeding Grounds
Sparse trees are scattered through this field on the western edge of the forest, not far north of the clearing. The pen extends partly up the hills to the southwest, and the trees grow sparser the further west one goes. Within the large corral are a variety of beasts - ovines, bovines, and wherries - free to roam and graze. The appearance of a dragon may send them one way or the other to try and escape. A small pond is set near one corner of the enclosure, and at times it reflects the low, bordering mountains.
Just at the forest's edge, set under the tree line, is a guest weyr for use in mating flights, a simple cottage made of weathered planking and grey stones.

We're hunting the wild backscene! This would be a RL month or two back, but a pesky little thing called holidays kept us from making it happen then. Here it is now!

Today, these dragons and riders would take one more step towards self-sustenance. Getting a taste for live blood and what it actually takes to take down prey. Though.. C'iel is not a hunter. As a healer he feels rather the opposite impulse and let's face it he's one doe-eyed chicken away from swearing off meat altogether. But that was BEFORE the dragon. Before the growth, the hunger, the instinct and impulse that drives one towards incredibly untowards behavior regarding sheep and their kin. Nonetheless, he seems to be MOSTLY at piece with this at the moment as the pair linger at the edge of the grounds, waiting for the readiness of their companions. "So, er, how well does this ususally go…?" C'iel wonders, whilst Ceruadharth is quiet and broody, contemplating the fields ahead.

« Now hold on there….seems like they're lookin' down on us. » Varequoth's deep rumbles accompanies the honeyed voice that now floats over towards the other dragons and weyrlings. The bronze, once awkward in his gait, has now settled into what can only be called a bit of swagger. As he approaches the field, eyes spark with a tinge of organ as they take in the selection of beasts. "Awfully confident, aren't you?" V'ayn can't help but chuckle as they pull to a stop near the fence and he leans on it. There's a false of wings in response, Rukhbat's rays bouncing off scarlet sails as Varequoth beats them twice. « They'er like sittin' ducks. »

Euclath is creeping along near the ground, doing his best attempt to be stealthy. Insofar as he is not the most noticeable dragon present, it seems to be working, but that might have more to do with his relative size than with any particular ability to be subtle on command. He slinks in, the usual tangle of his thoughts held tight and focused as he tries not to broadcast his presence. Still, he can't keep himself from asking « Do ducks sit? » How did that idiom get started, anyway? And then there's the usual thought-bouncing state of Euclath's mind, as he tries to work out just what these ovines have to do with ducks, anyhow. "Subtle," Meion mutters. Yep. Subtle.

The finest of Xanadu, this flock ain't. Which isn't to say they aren't good stock and well-kept, but they're old, weak, injured… exactly the sort of things that a healer would want to help with, which are also the ones that make them suited to a dragon's first (or second, or fifth) hunt. Not everyone's as good as Varequoth thinks he is! Garouth is here in pursuit of the hunters, or at least having followed them, and D'lei with him. "Messily," he answers C'iel's question, and grins. « They can, » Garouth says of ducks. « If there are several, they can even do so in a row. »

Ceruadharth tilts his head a bit, and peers at C'iel, and his kin before letting a low rumble. «But what if it is only some of your ducks, and not all of them? Well. Mine seems to think they sit like this.» And he gives a right elegant display, tucking in his wings and kneeling down on his legs in a fascimile of a swan or duck-sit. Even scrunching his neck down a bit, though it looks silly in a hurry. Such a fierce killer. "Well. I suppose we'll just have to work on their manners later. Dainty dragons and all that…" C'iel laughs and fans a bit, leaning around to peer at the other riders. "I'm glad we get to learn with such… expert partners, though."

Varequoth lets out a deep chuckle at Garouth's words, though his attention soon shifts back to the selection of beasts. "I'd rather you do this exercise alone…" The weyrlings words are but a quiet murmur because he /isn't/ looking forward to experiencing Varequoth actually kill something. The bronze crouches down slightly, long tail swaying in the air as he does so. « We gonna keep talkin' about bird or are we gonna sink our teeth into these beasts? » Clearly the bronze is a little /too/ eager for the hunting part of things. It's causing the baker-weyrling to elbow his hide lightly followed by some internalized conversation on the merits of patience.

Meion cringes a little at D'lei's honest answer. While these are three of Xanadu's finest young hunters - or they will be, with practice - they're certainly bonded to three of the more squeamish lifemates. Of all the ways Meion had pictured this going, "messy" had been nowhere on the list of her favorites. Euclath is too focused on the task ahead to even noticed her slight discomfort. The blue crouches, sizing up his prey. At least he's got a realistic sense of his own skill, mentally marking off the larger ones as beyond him, looking for one that's smaller and more suited to his fast-but-weaker approach. « Are we teaming up, or should we each pick one? »

« Look before you leap. » There's a cold wind behind Garouth's words, chill as it rustles leaves. « Before you pounce, you must decide which prey you hunt. » D'lei half-smiles at the reactions of the weyrlings - and grins for a moment at Ceru's duck-sit - before he steps to the fence. "It's okay to miss. Most predators only succeed in like… a quarter of their hunts, even when they're experienced." An amused glance to Varequoth, then on to the two blues. « It is your choice, » Garouth answers Euclath. « Alone, you seek a single perfect strike. Together, you seek to chase to waiting jaws. There will be days when you must hunt alone, but either will teach you now. »

«We each must kill our own,» Ceruadharth remarks, light but still as chill as his sire. «We will be together in that. Besides… we ought to give them a fair chance this time.» Is that kindness, or confidence? Hard to tell from just the faint curl of lips. C'iel meanwhile has his arms tucked behind his back, his space to himself. He turns his head and smiles over at Meion and V'ayn. "Well. Whoever goes first is going to rile up the rest, I think, so we best be ready for that." Even if they ARE aged and injured, the lot…

« Do we have to /pounce/? Seems better to take 'em down from afar. » The bronze lets out a rumble, eventually making his way into the pen and circling around the edge. Doesn't necessarily mean he's going first though! He's eyeing one of the larger beasts from afar, though it looks slow and injured. His attention switches between the creature and some mid-sized rocks around the edge. "Vare…seriously…" V'ayn shoots a pained look at the bronze before he glances back towards the group and sighs. "Don't wait on us if yours are ready to go."

Euclath is in the pen a moment after Varequoth, circling in the opposite direction in a low prowl that's hasn't yet attracted any attention from the creatures gathered there. The little blue stretches his wings, then tucks them neatly against his sides - they're more of a liability than an asset, right now, and the best he can do is keep them from slowing him down too much. Meion stares out over the pen, feeling the slight tugs to her attention as Euclath uses her senses to build his picture of the grounds, starting to zero in on his choice.

« Your hunting is your own, » Garouth replies to Varequoth. « Kill to eat; seek to do so swiftly. Avoid injury. That is all that matters. » The bronze's tone is factual, simple concepts for the young proto-hunters… even if the execution of them can end up complicated, with herds in that uneasy but unstartled state that comes about in those raised near the Weyr. "That's part of why we wait for this one," D'lei says to C'iel. "Get the dragons big enough that the herdbeasts are going to take flight instead of fight." A wry smile. "Or at least, so that they probably can't do much damage." Or so he hopes!

At some point in the conversation, Cerudharth has ceased his duck-imitations and slipped into a proper prowl. Gone are the little stumbles and tripping over his own wings, though, to be fair he IS going at a rather statuesque pace. C'iel's gaze fades from any particular vision for a moment before he gives a nod. "Though I suppose these are just the pieces for when they can…" He makes a swoop-y gesture with one hand towards the other. "Better to go hungry than to break yourself on something, I suppose."

Varequoth lets out a rumble of acknowledgement for Garouth's words, « Injuries…to us? » Apparently he's finally picked a suitable projectile because his tail wraps around one of the rocks and he now begins to hone in on the beast he'd picked earlier. He's patient however and both him and V'ayn wait for it to wander off from the rest of the herd. Adrenaline rushes through them both right now, and it's quite plainly written on V'ayn's features. His pupils are wide as he leans forward, hands moving to clutch at the fence as they wait for the perfect moment. "Almost there…" He's swept up in this….for now.

Euclath crouches, shifting his weight back in preparation to launch into a run. His thoughts still for a few heartbeats, then - « Now! » He announces his intent to the other dragons in the same moment as he launches forward, bolting in a four-legged bounding gait toward one particularly old looking herdbeast that he's already noted a limp on. Wings tucked back, he rockets forward as fast as his legs can carry him - which is certainly enough to startle the flock, who start bolting in every direction!

"Even adults will hunt from the ground, sometimes," D'lei says to C'iel, and shrugs. "Matter of preference." A moment, and then he grins. "Not that you're not going to be learning both ways, of course." Can't pick a favorite until you see the options! …and it's probably a good thing that D'lei hasn't made any connections to what 'option' Varequoth is thinking about trying. « Herdbeasts can still injure dragons, and careless dragons can injure themselves - or each other. » Garouth's attention focuses on the beasts, as dragons prowl - then leap! - and herdbeasts scatter. The bronze crouches a little, watching as Euclath bounds toward his chosen target.

C'iel becomes further contemplative, or perhaps distracted given whatever moment. "That makes sense. I admit I'm partial to the idea of p.. to teams. But one step at a time, for that." There may be even a time where they will hunt without such close witness.
Headbeasts scatter and Ceruadharth still moves slow, watching the way that they move now that they're in danger. Searching for stragglers, watching before making a decision. Eyes whirl and he surges forward, paws thumping on the ground in a tidal wave of blue. Like he gets swerved off in his first pass.

« This one's a goner! » Varequoth lets out a bugle when the flock goes scattering and he winds his tail back before swinging it forward. The rock flies through the air and it certainly /looks/ like it's going to miss, but it's by pure luck that the animal switches direction at the last minute and the rock hits it square on the neck. A sickening crunch follows and moments later the bronze's muzzle is ensuring that the job is finished. But the moment teeth sink into the beast V'ayn is going absolutely pale. There's a choice of expletives because apparently Varequoth feels the need to /share/ the sensations of his first kill….and the baker /hates/ it. "Bad idea….dumb luck…." And lots of expletives.

As targeting decisions go, Euclath's has turned out to be less-than-adequate. "Old" in a herdbeast can mean weak and slow - but it can also mean surprisingly clever, since it's made it this far - and Euclath finds himself running in the direction he thought it darted off in, instead of the direction it actually went in. A few moments at a full-on run, and he realizes that he's managed to bolt for the middle of nothing in particular, where everything is running in some other direction.

Run this way! Run that way! Run all the ways! The beasts scatter and rejoin, and - FLYING ROCK! Garouth rears back slightly as it flies through the air, with a rumble even as D'lei blinks. It's successful, but… as D'lei stops leaning on the fence and stands up straight, he doesn't exactly have a pleased expression on his face. He looks to V'ayn, then… out to Varequoth… then back again. "V'ayn." There's something deceptively mild about his tone. "Why don't you tell us why that was such a bad idea."

Indeed, Ceruadharth is finding quickly that they can ~turn~ much more quickly than a dragon hurtling forward at full speed. They take a bit to come about, and it is mostly through C'iel's eyes that he catches the FLYING ROCK. There is a private conversation between the pair, and whilst the Blue circles for another approach, C'iel is lightly holding his breath. Oh, he'll stay well out of this one… the Blue sends a thought over to his kin. «How long do you think they can go without wearing out?»

"Because he isn't good at aiming….yet." V'ayn grimaces as Varequoth continues to eat, "And there are other dragons." Which indicates that if there /weren't/ other dragons around the bronze would probably do the same thing again. It's perhaps now that Varequoth notices that the baker isn't sharing his triumph and that large heads lifts, eyes swirling as he watches the group by the fences. « With practice I'm sure it'll be fine.» Clearly the point is being /missed/ here, which does not bode well for either of them.

Euclath winds down toward a stop as he realizes he's well and truly failed. « Longer than I can, I think. » Meion sighs a little, but she's smiling. She gets to chalk this up as Dragon's First Failed Hunt, with reassuring thoughts to send to her now-dejected blue. He comes wandering back toward the group of humans, unconcerned about being sneaky now.

D'lei stares at V'ayn… and then he stares a little longer before he speaks. "If he misses, he could hit another dragon, or break the fence. If he hits, he could crush a beast to inedible, or injure it without finishing the job. We are hunting beasts, not tormenting them." He glances to the other dragons, then out to Varequoth. "You want to fling rocks?" he asks, addressing himself to the bronze now. "Fine. Find an empty field and do it. It is not appropriate at the feeding pens."

Ceruadharth's hunger is less than his concern for his brother, whom he comes trotting after. «Well, perhaps. None of us got a proper pounce this time, but we will just have to hunt again. How did it ~feel~?» The rushing, the pounce, just the feel of being in the MOMENT. One that's come and gone and C'iel is a bit shivery and glancing between V'ayn and Meion. "Ah, yeah, we are kind of still in civilization, aren't we? And how much stress is that putting on his tail…? You buckle that up and it's not going to be pleasant for either of you." If there's one thing he CAN lecture, it's out of pure concern of health.

« With the right size rock and good aim it'll be out if it's misery just as quickly as my teeth could do. » Varequoth whirling eyes don't flinch for a moment. "Just shut up Vare…" The baker mumbles under his breathe, finally straightening up so that he can look over at D'lei. "Sorry…I'll make sure it's reserved for an empty pen." For now at least, they'll probably have a long fight between the two of them. « But V'ayn if it /works/…» Oh yeah, lots of internal arguing happening right now. It takes the whirling a bit to hear C'iel's words but when he does there's an irritable look shot in C'iel's direction however and for a moment it even borders on angry, "I'm fully aware of what his tail can and cannot handle and he is perfectly fine." Apparently the lecture isn't appreciated. Clearly they're the /worst/ (V'ayn and Vare)!

Euclath listens in on the conversation, considering. « I thought the only stones we usually do things with are firestone. » The thought comes with an all-too-obvious fantasy of Euclath the Burninator, cooking his meal and catching it at the same time. Meion gives him the mental nudge that she doesn't think flame is a hunting-approved technique, and he droops a little. « This would be easier if I could come from above, I bet. »

D'lei is very dubious of Varequoth's claims, and he certainly doesn't back down as he meets the dragon's gaze. « And if either lacks? » Garouth asks, a not-quite-rhetorical question against a backdrop of black. D'lei glances to C'iel, then back to V'ayn. "It's okay if you injure yourselves," he informs the bronze weyrling, with a look out to dragon as well. "That's your right. If you hurt someone else because of this, I will not be happy." He starts to look away, then… back to V'ayn again. "Control isn't easy. It is necessary." There's something that could have been a smile in another life, while Garouth settles a bit. « From above, you can strike swifter… but it is harder to change direction. » Always tradeoffs.

C'iel purses his lips and straightens his posture, glancing from V'ayn to Varequoth. "Good. I've seen plenty of self-sure riders come into the Annex having to leave all their words and pride at the door. I will be over the MOON if you are never one of them." A deferrant nod is given to D'lei. "… even if it IS your right." Still, there's a spark of quiet fervor that might have been absent in his previous exchanges with the baker. Yes, be irritated, despise him if you'd like if it will keep you mindful.
«I would rather not see anyone hurt, if it is no different to you.» Ceruadharth lets out a warm breath, smokey in… spirit. «The herd will settle eventually, and we can try again?» It's a bit of an open question, though meant to reassure his brother. «There are ways to get above without flying, too.» Even if they ARE inferior.

« Then it ends badly, but ain't it the same when humans use bows? They miss or don' get the kill on the first shot all the time but they practice. » V'ayn can't help but groan again before both of them fall silent for a long while. « If no one is around.» Perhaps the words are meant as a caveat to what was said earlier because they certainly don't make a complete sentence. But V'ayn finds himself apologizing again, as he always has since Varequoth broke shell. "I'll make sure that no one gets hurt…honestly. Sorry." In his mind he's definitely screaming SHUT UP at the bronze. Oh to be young and stupid! He glances back at C'iel once more, eyes promptly rolling at the other weyrling's words as they go in one ear and out the other.

By the edge of the pen, Euclath curls up, tucking his tail under his chin and settling in. If the herd needs to calm down, then he's just going to need to wait. And think about what he did wrong with his initial attempt. And listen to the somewhat-contentious discussion. Meion sits next to him, looking out at the pen. "Might work better if you tried working together a bit…"

A tilt of D'lei's head toward Garouth, and then he glares at Varequoth. "And if a human decided to start shooting a bow into a bunch of animals and humans, I would tell them to go shoot a target for practice and to clear down range before they start shooting." He holds his stare at the dragon for another moment or two, then glances aside to V'ayn and that apologetic assurance… which he gives a nod. "Good." The word's a bit clipped, and D'lei leaves it at that to go join Garouth and lean against the bronze's shoulder and look out at the gradually-calming but still-nervous beasts..

C'iel understands on some inherent level, really. But he's just trying SO SO HARD to do his duty as Dragon Doctor that he might very well pop from the forced tension. Not like he has the chops nor the rank to boss anyone around. His fists clench tighter until he's nearly bowled over by the *nudge* of Ceruadharth's nose. "R-right… I've not forgotten about you." He murmurs, managing a smile. Then he nods to Meion. "Worth a try."
<Very worthy.> Ceru agrees, peering at Euclath. <You just needed a proper warmup, I think!>
V'ayn is fighting with most everything he has to keep Varequoth from saying anything else now, because there's really nothing reasonable /to/ say. Thankfully he wins this battle, possibly because D'lei has, unfortunately, given him an /idea/. Oh yeah, he's now prattling off on V'ayn about trying to set up some kind of dragon shooting range for him in an empty pen. This can only go….well, who knows how it will go! But for now it seems the bronze pair will be retreating back to the barracks because fluke though it was, Varequoth did make and eat his kill already. There's a quick salute for D'lei and Garouth and one more apologetic nod from V'ayn before the two are disappearing from the feedings grounds!

Euclath perks up slightly at the attention from Ceru, and he picks his head up a little to start silently conspiring with his sibling-dragon. « I think I'm a little bit faster, and I know you're a lot stronger. So which of us should do what, if we're doing to try to catch one together? »
So long as nobody else wanders into Varequoth's shooting gallery, D'lei …. won't have to care! He gives a returned salute to the weyrling pair as they head out, then settles into his lean as he watches herdbeasts settle and dragons prepare. « You have seen how quickly the beasts can turn directions, when they are running. I do not think the two of you can surround them on every side… »

Who knows what other dangers lurk out there, what creative Weyrlings unleashing their and their dragon's genius on Xanadu? C'iel sighs and knits his fingers, reconsidering all he has said and ultimately fading off. Ceruadharth does not weigh in for now. «We do not need to surround them. And we are both strong enough to take them down.» Ceru flits his wings and turns a kind eye to Euclath. «… but you are faster. We do not need to surround them. Just get them to turn… into you.» Easy, in theory! This means Ceruadharth will get to play the role of agitator, of FEARSOME PREDATOR to once more strike fear into the hearts of all cloven hoofbeasts everywhere.

Euclath thinks in trajectories - paths and intersecting lines of thread that translate poorly to words but quickly convey options he considers, discards, expands on. He shares them with his brother as they work on strategy, building tactics together in a way that will one day gain a third dimension of consideration - but for now, the plane is complexity enough!

« To be stealthy, you must be where they do not look. » Garouth is a bit amused but also proud, listening to the young dragons as they work out their plan. He's not helping, but that's because his help isn't needed! Or so he deems. D'lei, well… he gives a sigh of his own, with a tilt of his head back to look up at the sky… and then a wry smile, gaze returning to the pen.

"Sooo…." C'iel pipes when D'lei looks back from that sacred sky. "Did you have any idea what all you were getting yourself into when you and he impressed?" A nod to Garouth, the bloke who nudged him out all onto this wild series of events. Still an ever-bearing curiosity, but one that takes a back-seat to… well, living it.
Ceruadharth meanwhile exchanges his observations from his.. more leisurely perusal, compared to the other two. Like certain beasts that favor certain legs, or maybe a blind spot. The odds of them encountering those one or two from the whole herd, though, is anyone's guess. «In this case, they will be looking at me.» The bigger Blue nods to his brother. «We'll meet in the middle.. though the pouncing will still be up to you.»

Euclath considers plans proposed, mentally notes his agreement. He grins, eyes giving a slow shift as the prospect of another try interests him. At the moment he deems the planning complete, he rises, slowly setting off around one side of the pen, leaving the other to Ceruadharth. Meion takes an interest in the asked question, meanwhile. "Tell me you passed out at least once."

D'lei laughs to C'iel. "I mean, who doesn't have ideas?" he says, and shifts a bit as he leans to look at Meion. "I usually stopped at the sparklefog," he tells her, and grins. "But yeah. See… when I was searched, it was Sindrieth… he was the clutchsire, and he also… mmh. He had some opinions about being fit." A wry smile. "So, he basically told me I could stand as long as I trained while I did. Which… he probably would have forgotten about, except… I went off in my excitement and found someone to help."

Storytime! C'iel tries not to look too excited. Oh, but not too disinterested, either. Don't mind the silly expression he inevitably arrives at. "Kind of comes with the package, doesn't it?" Imagine how Gold riders feel. "Oh, I find that the sires always have a certain amount of wisdom in such matters." At least there's a proper smile now. "Someone though?"
Ceruadharth likewise circles off the other way. It's not quite a pincer… they just need room to run! He'll naturally send of a whisper of a signal before beginning, but from the Weyrling perspective, there's a little too much silence before the blue BURSTS out again and sends the herd scattering the other way. Some even smug about their chances, if one can parse the cacophony of bleats and grunts.

Meion listens, laughing with more than a little sympathy at overenthusiastic overcommitment. The story is a good distraction from the // radio silence // of young dragons working on their flanking maneuver - but then there's the burst-and-scatter, and there's Euclath darting forward, picking one that seems slower than the rest and focusing his trajectory, trying to give Ceru a sense of which one he's after.

"Well, can't say if it's wise or not, but they've got opinions for sure." D'lei grins. "But yes, someone. One of the other candidates - she was from the guard, and so… I figured she could help me train." Wry amusement, because it's funny now. "What she lacked in social graces, she made up in demanding." Garouth is quiet, undistracting as he watches young dragons hunt - attempt two, with the two of them!

"Someone we know? Hmhm. I didn't exactly run out to find company, but…" C'iel sideglances at Meion and then pretends he didn't. "I got really lucky with the people I've found. Even the ones that look really uncomfortable, and get into fights all the time. I imagine it's what like, having siblings would be like." He laughs and shakes his head. "And this is just where it starts…" He trails off a bit as the noise and antics increase.
Ceruadharth's relay in the middle of the chase isn't exactly sophistiated. It's more like single notes, pings from birdsong to roars in single refrain. There's just a few left heading that direction as the Blue works to split their prey off, and maybe even feel like it's getting the better of him…

Euclath bolts forward, trying hard not to be noticed as he veers toward where Ceru is driving, working hard to actually do his half of the team effort, with complete focus as he rushes along the ground, trying to get close before he's noticed.

"I doubt it," D'lei says to C'iel. "This was at Monaco Bay, and she's not the sort who travels a lot." He shrugs a bit. "Anyhow. The point is, I trained a great deal, which meant I was just overwhelmed by Garouth as opposed to trying to keep up with him." D'lei grins, while Garouth makes a faint snort followed by a rumble, his own attention on that hunting and the tactics that the blues try on the agitated herd that tries to leap in any direction but danger. (But have they seen all the danger yet?)

"No? I see…" C'iel nod nods. "Certainly a different experience than we all had. But not in a bad way. Ceruadharth can be particularly overwhelming at times, but it… I am adjusting." Or just fine with it, yes. Ceruadharth signals that they might be going a bit faster… really, as fast as they can manage! Because if being chased isn't enough, he lets out a very difficult to ignore ROAR! To put the fear in him. And startle the heck out of C'iel, who bolts upright. He's never heard one of those from Ceru before… but it's got the last couple targets on their final bolt.

Meion is dimly aware of a conversation between humans, but it's hard to keep her focus on it when so much of her mind is occupied by running, leaping… missing. She gives a physical cringe as she feels Euclath overshoot with his jump, grazing over the herdbeast he'd meant to pounce on, and landing hard on one shoulder, letting up a cry of pain instead of a roar. She squeezes her eyes shut, grasping her own left shoulder. "Ah! It doesn't feel broken, but… Euclath landed hard." She stands up, all deliberate and ignoring that pain that isn't hers, trying to see if she can spot the blues across the field. She holds her face set, trying to hold the sense of calm for both rider and dragon.

D'lei nods to C'iel, but while he may have less distraction coming to him from Garouth - that combination of lack-of-action and more-practice - he's definitely not immune to the sort of distraction that comes in Ceru-roars and Euclath-yelps. It brings D'lei upright with a quick motion, Garouth echoing it. "Have Ceru keep the rest away," D'lei says to C'iel a moment before he hops the fence to try and make it past scattering herdbeasts and find the injured blue. Garouth stays where he is - for the moment, at least - but there's cold air against Euclath's mind, a wind that brings numbing as real as any ice-pack in the wake of its chill thought.

Meion has hardly spoken when C'iel breaks into a sprint—which turns into a stumble not a few meters out. Swallow. Nod to D'lei. "Aye." Then a nod to the other bluerider. "Not broken. That's good. That's… we can work with that."
Ceruadharth silences and lets his momentum run out fast when he senses hurt from his brother. Then he is returning to offer comfort, snout, even the pillowy gauze against pain that is small in comparison to Garouth's developed will. If any of the herd is feeling bold or vengeful, though, they'll find a particularly snarly and gnashing bit of teeth their way. He gives a couple short lunges and then settles in to guard his brother with a worried rumble. «You got your claws on it, you know. Best of any of us today…»

Euclath does seem to take some solace in the fact that he was in very nearly the right place. He's bruised his shoulder pretty badly, but it's nothing more than a bad fall onto an inconveniently-rocky patch of ground. No permanent harm to anything except his dignity, and even that seems likely to heal quite adequately. « We should practice the leaping part more. I hadn't thought about how much I'd need to adjust to hit something moving. » He can't be too badly hurt - after all, he's already working on his follow-up report. Meion walks out at a measured pace, following the other riders a few paces behind, as she works through rather more direct distraction than they have (or, more charitably, she can be of more use even before she's close).

« Bodies learn with practice. » Garouth is approving of these attempts, with pride for trying in the crisp fall air… and chill to ease the pain of this particular attempt's failure, little gusts of breeze helping nudge Ceruadharth's focus as well so that he too can practice with pain-blocking. D'lei gets into view of how bad it… probably isn't, this time, and he reaches out to C'iel with a gentle and encouraging squeeze to his shoulder. "Think you can check range of motion and weight-bearing?" It's not like D'lei isn't qualified to do that amount of field-triage, but he's offering the opportunity to C'iel. Dragonhealer, heal that dragon! …or wibble enough to shove it back to the Weyrleader, either way.

Look, C'iel is going to be wibbling at a LOT of things. A lot. Treating strains and sprains, hopefully, will not be one of them. He gives a gentle nod to D'lei. "Meion? If it's alright with you. Just going to see how bad it is. Though I doubt we're going to need a dragon-sized stretcher…" Pending permission, he'll gingerly approach the blue. "You can help him out, too. But, oh, don't push yourself. It's woefully tempting with any sort of painkiller…" Empathic or otherwise. Ceru nods calmly and follows his sire's direction, catching cool winds and helping fan them in with mental wingbeats. «We should,» he agrees. «You're close! Just need to get used to sticking the landing.»

Euclath looks to C'iel as he approaches, and ducks his head a little. « They can help », he says, and Meion relays aloud. He stretches his wings out, meanwhile, slowly checking if anything happened to them while they were tucked up against his back for the whole ordeal.

D'lei nods to C'iel, with a small (and also concerned) smile, and he steps aside… though he's certainly still paying attention, with a glance to - and smile for - Meion, then a return of his gaze to Euclath as he shifts those wings that - fortunately - didn't get trampled by upset herdbeasts. "We'll have plenty of numbweed, once we've made sure it's okay to move."

The evident joy of just being with, touching, interacting with dragons is muted while C'iel tends to that foreleg and by extension shoulder, showing Euclath which ways to try to move, NOT move, easing positions and figuring out just where and how big that injury might be. "We'll have you back on this in no time, I'm sure…"

Euclath demonstrates that he can, in fact, put weight on it, and move it pretty much exactly as he should. Upon inspection, there's a rather tenderly bruised spot where he made contact with the ground, but it's only a bruise - nothing broken, pulled, sprained or out-of-place. It'll take some healing - and numbweed will certainly be appreciated - but there's nothing at all stopping him from walking it off.

D'lei watches, both with his eyes and with the bit of him that's attuned to Garouth and his mental observations, with small nods as Euclath demonstrates that it's just some blunt trauma to soft tissue… which is to say, minor. "Hunting practice is over for today," he tells the dragons, just in case of more enthuse than sense, then smiles. "Looks like it's time for numbweed and taking it easy?" It's directed to C'iel, insofar as it's a question, and at Meion, insofar as it's an instruction. "I'm sure the Annex has plenty, if you're running low." It always does, because when it doesn't, everyone who doesn't have a better excuse gets dragged out to boil some more! Because dragons get hurt (and so do humans), and they don't like feeling the pain of their learning experiences.

C'iel will worry about being judged later. He gives a smile and nods. "You know well, yeah. Won't take a whole lot, either." They have such a good track record with numbweed, oh yes. "If you're having a sore morning, maybe a bit of a soak?" Provided somewhere is open, at least. «There will be another time to to practice together.» Which is to say that Ceruadharth is not the sort to just go back to it while Euclath is out of prime shape. "Amazingly, we haven't blown through our stock yet. I should send for a bit just in case, though…"

Meion laughs. "We'll see how much is left after I'm done applying some tonight. But no, no more hunting practice until we've slept this off." If nothing else, she needs to give her own shoulder time to recover from the sympathy pains that are making it tense up!

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