Is it Dead Yet?

Xanadu Weyr - Feeding Grounds
A large portion of the eastern edge of the meadow has been fenced off, the corralling on three sides is located on the rolling meadow, while the fourth is located a short way up on the eastern hills. Within the large corral are a variety of beasts - ovines, bovines, and wherries - milling around, though 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.

It's time for another hunting lesson, as the weyrlings have been having their lessons one on one - or one to two in this case - to avoid any messy entanglements or panicked herds. It's been awkward, with many of the dragons unable to make a kill and having to try again the next day, and the next, until they get all their limbs working in the right order at the right time in order to make a successful kill. Mur'dah stands at the fence while Kalsuoth rests nearby, the pair waiting for Anoryn and Bowyn to arrive. The weather is overcast, grey and cool, but no threat of rain.

Bowyn nears the feeding grounds with Saeth in tow, her hands flapping and making various motions as she explains some technicalities of hunting to the blue. His head is tipped as he listens, but the moment that he sees Kalsuoth he's practically gone. Saeth prances up to the older (and much bigger) dragon and whuffles at him, stretching out his neck for nuzzles or something. Bowyn is finally kind of used to Saeth getting distracted by his oily, winged brethren so she's just…stops talking and gives a half-hearted salute to Mur'dah. "I should have known you'd be here. Turning Saeth into a killer now, are you?" Narrowed eyes lock onto the brownrider for a time before the hunter says, "Well, you might as well. If you didn't get to him first then obviously I would have."

Anoryn will arrive on foot, walking with some stiffness to her steps. The colder weather is never easy on her joints, but the greenrider doesn't complain. There's just a tenseness around the corners of her mouth and her temper may be a wee bit shorter than most days. Either way, as she approaches the fenced feeding grounds she'll lift her hand up in a salute and wave to Mur'dah. "They're on their way." she informs him, smiling faintly. Speak of the devil(s) and they shall arrive? Rysith will glide in from above and from an awkward angle as she attempts to keep from spooking the herds too much. No sense working them up into a frenzy now, before the young dragons can get at them. Once landed, the aged green will fold her wings and shake herself out a bit with a gruff, rolling rumble to Kalsuoth. Mind some company? Though Saeth appears to be more company than her alone and Rysith chuffs with amusement for the blue's antics.

Kalsuoth lowers his muzzle to wuffle fondly at the blue, returning the nuzzle and then giving him a playful nudge. « Hello, young Saeth. Ready to hunt? » Then he welcomes Rysith. « Rysith is the best hunter in the weyr. You'll learn from the best. » Mur'dah returns Bowyn's salute and then blinks, looking a bit taken aback. "Ah…what? What's…with the attitude?" He's baffled. "Everything okay? You both ready to do this lesson or should we postpone until tomorrow?" Then Anoryn arrives and Mur'dah salutes with a smile. "Morning, Anoryn."

Oh good, one closer to Saeth's own size! The blue returns the playful nudge to the brown and says « I am. I will do my best. » The mention of the green has Saeth turning to trot over her way for more offerings of nuzzles and…sniffs? « You're the best hunter? But I thought Bowyn was the best hunter. » Mur'dah's response to Bowyn's admittedly attitude-injected quip has her blinking for a moment as she reflects on how she worded everything. "What…No, everything's fine! Isn't…isn't that what we do?" she asks, pointing to herself and to the brownrider. "We mess with each other right? Last time I saw you, you had me in a headlock and I was beating on you." She still catches phantom whiffs of his armpit stench. Anoryn gets a salute as well when the hunter's attention shifts, and Bowyn nods to her with a smile. "G'morning…ma'am," she says, adding the ma'am bit on for safety since she still doesn't know the greenrider well.

Rysith snorts and her tail may curl around to give Kalsuoth a light 'smack' against his hind quarter for his compliment. Which may or may not be true, but the old green does arch her neck a little. Modest, she? Pfft. She's old enough now though not to go bragging. « Only because I have had Turns and Turns of practice. But it is true, I have a love for hunting and so I will teach you the foundations. And yours, your Bowyn, can still be the best hunter. You will be a team. » Rysith will accept and even return a few nuzzles to Saeth, tolerant of the young blue's affectionate manner. If an adult male had tried, he'd have likely been growled and snapped at. Anoryn quirks a brow at the exchange between Mur'dah and Bowyn, frowning for a brief second before breaking into a lopsided grin and a gruff bark of a laugh. "Relax, Mur'dah. She's just joking around. Weren't you, Bowyn?" Glancing back to the blue weyrling, she'll wave off the use of 'ma'am'. "Anoryn's fine." she reminds her gently, allowing the lesson to progress with a bit more carefreeness to it than others to come. "About ready to start? If so, I'll have Mur'dah go over the basics of what's to be expected while Rysith readies to demonstrate."

« The best dragon hunter, » Kalsuoth corrects. Mur'dah blinks at Bowyn and then coughs, shaking his head. "Not during lessons," he says, though his grin is a bit crooked. Amused, even. Glancing back at Anoryn, the brownrider shrugs and shoves his hands into his pockets, rocking back onto his heels. "I'm not offended," he clarifies. He was just confused! Dipping his head in a nod, he turns to watch the green for a moment before he looks back at Bowyn. "Alright. Well, Rysith is going to demonstrate the technique, and really this lesson is mostly up to Saeth. What you do is make sure he doesn't fly, and encourage him. Odds are he'll miss the first few tries. You know how it is," hand wave, "it's hard. He'll get it eventually but it might take some practice. So you stay on this side of the fence while he hunts, encourage him, and keep your mind open for any signs of strain. Pulled muscles or twisted joints, that sort of thing. Any questions before she demonstrates?"

Saeth croons at the green, pleased with the explanation and reassurance that his rider can still be the best hunter. « Alright. I'll watch carefully. You aren't going to fly, are you? » he asks. Bowyn nods to Anoryn again as she responds with, "Right, just playin' around." Mur'dah gets a quick roll of the eyes. "Fine. I forgot that you've got to be boring and serious when you get an important job." After a brief pause her eyes shoot over to the greenrider and she spits out, "Not that you're boring and serious, ma'Anoryn." Manoryn? She kind of just…shuts up. A bit of color creeps onto her cheeks and she turns to lean against the fence. "I don't have any questions," says the hunter as she shakes her head. "I'll do my best to look out for any problems." At that, Saeth looks to Rysith intently, his wings twitching a bit as he waits for her to demonstrate.

Rysith whuffles and shakes her head and the mists of her mind swirl with amusement and silent laughter. Her voice is gruff and low, wizened by age. Grandmotherly, some would venture to say. « No, little hunter. That would be cruel and unfair, as you must learn on the ground. So I too will hunt on the ground. » Even if her wings itch to fly! Anoryn can't help but laugh again for Bowyn's teasing of Mur'dah, the old greenrider and AWLM just shrugging her shoulders. "No offence taken. It's kind of true? We've got to be serious, but hopefully not too boring. You'll see that soon enough when lessons progress and you start regaining some of your freedom." Some of it? Anoryn's gaze slides to Saeth then, studying the blue and then nods her head, satisfied by what she sees and by Mur'dah's explanation. "We'll get started then. Go ahead, Rysith. Show him!" Snorting softly, Rysith will lumber to the fence and proceed to stride right over it with barely a hop. Saeth may have more fun with that, but the old green has her attention focused on a herd at the end of the pasture. « Watch closely, Saeth. See the herd down there? Trick with ground hunting is you cannot sneak up on them. They can see you and will scent you. You just have to be smart and swift! » Rysith's posture lowers as she begins to prowl forwards. Not that she doesn't get a few steps ahead before the herd catches on and begin to stampede away from the green. She'll spring forwards, her gait, like most dragons, very awkward but she makes it work. Makes it look so simple before she's arrowing in on a straggler and with a swipe of her foreleg is taking it down. « Quick, clean kills. That is what you aim for. Now you try. » She is already dragging her kill away, though she'll only feast on half of it before shuffling to Kalsuoth. Want some?

Mur'dah snorts, leaning against the fence with his arms crossed, one foot up on the lowest fence rung. "Not boring and serious, just don't want him getting hurt," he says, nodding to the blue. "So." Yeah? Still, he'll reach over to try and give her shoulder a little shove. There, is that good? Then he's silent, focused on watching Rysith hunt - always a pleasure - and once she's made her kill he smiles. Kalsuoth rumbles as well in congratulations, and then picks at the kill - as long as she's offering!

Bowyn returns the shoulder shove with a shoulder punch, eyes never moving from Rysith as she observes the kill. "So it's similar to the way larger feral cats hunt," she offers, glancing back to Anoryn. "Only, you know…more impressive." Because dragons. Saeth is completely consumed by the green's demonstration, lowering himself close to the ground as she does, tail twitching, and scratching at the dirt with his foreleg after she swipes. When Rysith brings the kill over, the blue straightens himself and looks between her and Bowyn. He lets out a breath. "You can do it Saeth. Take your time…and be careful." The blue takes a few jumpy steps to the fence and leaps over it fine, though one of his back toes hits the fence and causes him to stumble a bit. Whoops…shake it off! He glances back at Rysith and lowers himself « Like this? », before creeping toward the alert and nervous herd. The blue moves slow, unsure of which animal would be best to take down, until he spots a scrawnier beast huddled up with two others. /His/ size! He quickens his pace, mindful of his feet so he doesn't trip, and jumps forward a bit to scare the herd and open up space for him to grab the skinny one. In running after the beast, he tires himself faster than he anticipated, and he only manages to hook its ankle with one claw, which is then freed when the terrified beast kicks and limps off. Saeth's wings drop a little and he looks back toward the other dragons. « … I missed. » Bowyn smirks and says, "At least he hurt it a little…"

Will Anoryn have to step between Mur'dah and Bowyn? All in good fun, of course! "Similar, yes, though dragons do not have the stamina, grace or speed. Their size… works in some ways and not in others. It is quite impressive, regardless. Though," And she flashes a grin to the blue weyrling and Mur'dah. "Nothing compares to aerial hunting." Which they'll get to in later months! Her eyes shift then to watch Saeth and Bowyn both as they work through their first attempt. « Good, very good. » Rysith praises when Saeth prompts her, giving him a gentle nudge of mental confidence and settling herself beside Kalsuoth, the old green observes. When Saeth is unsuccessful, she only croons softly. « So you did. No shame in that! Try again. You have injured it. Watch where it goes, regain your breath… and hunt when you are ready. » Anoryn smirks as well, "Not a bad first try though. If he focuses on that particular beast, he'll probably catch it on the second — or tire it out." Not a fun way to go but… such is the way with younglings learning to hunt?

Kalsuoth watches, and he croons encouragingly despite the miss. « Many dragons do not even touch it their first try. Try again, if you feel like it. » Mur'dah nods, "Absolutely. That was a good first start. He can try as long as he wants to, as long as he's not straining himself." This is where all those exercises and stretches are beginning to pay off.

Bowyn grins, proud of her lifemate, and sends him quiet encouragement and the tip to go after the hurt one. Anoryn gets a smile at the mention of aerial hunting, and she runs a hand through her hair. "I can't wait for /that/. He should be able to start flying soon, right?" She shakes her head at Mur'dah after asking Saeth is he feels any kind of pain or discomfort. "He feels fine…I'm just glad he didn't get kicked." Saeth turns his head back to the herd, and it takes him a few minutes to find where the wounded beast is hiding. « What if it kicks me? » he asks, hesitant. « Will it hurt? » He doesn't seem to put too much thought into that, and instead crouches down low again to creep forward. A few animals already start to run, but the rest of the herd doesn't quite move until he speeds up. The wounded beast does a surprisingly good job of running away in the beginning, and when the blue gets close enough to try to take it down it starts flailing and trying to kick him. He runs to the animal's side and pins it down with both forelegs, but doesn't kill it right away for some reason. His insticts might not be kicking in? The poor animal is flailing for its life under his feet, and Saeth seems kind of…confused. It's not dead! Why isn't it dead?! Something clicks and the blue lowers his head to bite its neck, but his nose is met with a fierce smack from the animal's head which takes him by surprise. « Do I…Do I wait for it to stop? » Bowyn just drags a hand down her face. "Bite it…" she mutters, and then she sends him the best encouragement she can give, assuming the older dragons are already on top of telling him to kill it. "Poor animal!"

"Soon. Wouldn't you say so, Mur'dah?" Anoryn ventures to say, a touch distracted as most of her concentration is on Saeth and Rysith, though she can't help but grin faintly for Bowyn's enthusiasm. What weyrling doesn't want to be up in the air? As for the blue's lack of understanding in the killing part of hunting, the old AWLM only sighs and tries not to grimace or wince when the animal's cries can be heard drifting over the grounds. "It sometimes happens! They won't always kill cleanly… Is he alright?" Rysith probably tipped her in on Saeth getting headbutted by the flailing herdbeast. « You have to bite it. Sometimes you will kill with a swipe or knocking it down but this time it has not worked. So you must grab it by the neck or throat and bite hard. Then it will stop and you may feed. » Rysith instructs patiently, not at all ruffled by the struggling animal under Saeth's paws. Just part of life! Rumbling to Kalsuoth, the old green does begin to drift forwards. Just in case!

Mur'dah nods, "Excellent," he says in reply to Saeth feeling fine. And then…"Ah." Hmm. He doesn't laugh at least? He does flinch a bit for the beast, nodding as Kalsuoth relays Rysith's instructins. "He'll get it," he murmurs. "And in no time you two will be quite the formidable hunting team, I've no doubt. You can teach him some of the finer points of tracking, even." Rambling a bit, he stops himself as Kalsuoth rises, ready to go but letting Rysith move in first. She's older, wiser, and smaller. He'd probably just fall over and make things worse.

Bowyn seems pleased with the answer of "soon." Her attention shifts between Saeth and the assistant weyrlingmasters again and she nods. "Yeah, he's alright. Just kind of overwhelmed I guess." Mur'dah earns a snicker and a look of understanding. She knows it's funny. "Oh I'm not worried…for his first try I guess it's pretty good despite the whole…not killing it…part." The suggestion of teaching him tracking is something she hadn't considered and it makes her grin over at him and reach up to push his head. "What-you actually have a brain in there? That's a really good idea, actually. Wouldn't you say so?" she asks Anoryn. Saeth waits for the beast's flailing to die down a little and then latches onto its neck, trying his hardest to kill it quickly once he's told to bite hard. « There. I think it's dead. » Mmmm. Blood.

« It is. » Rysith confirms, satisfied that Saeth finally succeeded and rumbles to Kalsuoth as well. See? Another weyrling dragon learns to hunt! Not so hard, is it? Anoryn shakes her head, trying not to laugh again when Bowyn pushes at Mur'dah though she gives the weyrling a lingering look. Careful now! Not too much roughhousing. "I'd say it's a great idea," she admits after a brief moment to mull over it, grinning at the brownrider and young AWLM. "Good thinking, Mur'dah! We do encourage you to work as a team. So… why not?"

Mur'dah rolls his eyes, his arm automatically lifting to try and fend off her push. "Aye, quit making it slosh around. Something'll shake loose and I'll be stuck drooling in a corner for the rest of my days." Eye. Maybe that's her /plan/. "Thanks, Anoryn. So Bowyn, have him pull his kill over to the fence where he can enjoy it. Usually the dragons will take their kills to a ledge somewhere to feed, but since they can't fly just have him move to the side. Clear the space for others wanting to hunt."
Bowyn grins over at Anoryn, too, and nods. "Definitely a good idea. I can just imagine it now…we'll be unstoppable!" Bwaha. She resists the urge to grab Mur'dah's head and shake it, especially while she's being watched by another adult, and then relays the message to Saeth about dragging his kill over. « Kalsuoth, look. Did I do well? » the blue asks, doing his best to drag the beast nearer to the fence. Once he gets there, he starts ripping it apart which causes Bowyn to grimace a little. But…whatever. "So when do you suppose he can fly then? Like…next week?"

Anoryn snickers under her breath at Mur'dah and even if Bowyn had grabbed his head again to shake it, the greenrider may have let it slide. This is amusing! Which totally blows the 'seriousness' bit of AWLM and lessons right out of the water but… Anoryn's never been one to entirely conform. Her grin broadens to Bowyn, "Now there's the spirit!" she encourages, only to blink and give her a long look. "Oh… no, Faranth, no. It'll be another month or so yet. Give or take." Anoryn's… joking, right? Nope. Not this time! She does at least smile in understanding and may reach out to clasp Bowyn's shoulder gently. "It'll come soon enough, you'll see." Be patient?

Kalsuoth rumbles, his mental feathers rustling in preening pleasure. « You did very well, » he praises. « And you'll only get better. Quick strikes, swift kills. It is most delicious when you kill it yourself, is it not? » Mur'dah shakes his head, giving Bowyn a sympathetic look. "Yeah, another month or so. It's worth it though, I promise. Let him master this skill first, and build up more strength. Wing muscle exercises, swimming is great for that…all those things before he's ready to fly."

Bowyn is rather disappointed at being told that they have to wait another month, which she shows with a sigh and the drooping of her shoulders. "I was hoping it'd be sooner, but I guess I understand. Wouldn't want him to hurt himself anyway," she adds, thoughtfully. "I guess I just thought they were able to fly a lot earler than they already are. Taking the time to build up the proper muscle for it makes sense, though. Hey," she says, to Saeth, "don't choke." The blue slows down at that and then whuffles up at the brown. « It does taste better. » After a moment's thought, his mind is cloaked in happy green and blue hues and his voice comes on a leaf-rustling breeze as he says, « I like hunting. »

Anoryn nods her head in agreement to Mur'dah, her eyes drifting out to the grounds where Rysith continues to watch over Saeth. "They technically could, but it'd be placing far too much risk into the mix of things. Better to take it slow and be sure than to jump ahead and wind up with an injury that could forever cripple." she murmurs, only to grin. "Now that he's hunting for himself though, you won't have to prepare him his meals. Unless he's too tired to do it, you're now permitted to bring him here so he can feed. We usually say it's best if you tag along too for the first while until his confidence and skill pick up." Rysith has climbed out of the feeding pens now. « Just wait until you can hunt outside of the Weyr! » the green intones and from her wistful tone it's clear that is her preference.

Mur'dah nods, and then he smiles. "You'll want to watch him learn. It's amusing, and…I remember being so proud of Kalsuoth, watching him progress and improve." He smiles fondly at his lifemate, who returns the loving look with a blood bubble popping across his nostrils. Lovely. "Any questions?"

Bowyn nods in understanding at Anoryn's explanation for the wait. "I get it…and I'm glad that I don't have to spend so much time cutting up loads of meat anymore. It was getting ridiculous!" Saeth glances at her at that comment but quickly goes back to eating until his little (large) dragon belly is full. "I'm excited about them learning to fly mostly /because/ of the amusing part. That's going to be hilarious!" When asked about questions she shakes her head. "No, I think we're alright for now." Saeth looks at Rysith then and says « I get to hunt outside of the Weyr? What is there to eat? »

Anoryn pulls a bit of a face when Kalsuoth blows a blood bubble. Eew? "It's true. It is a time of your life that sticks with you. Even I remember some of my weyrlinghood quite fondly." she admits, smiling to Mur'dah and then tilting her head, puzzled by Bowyn's reply. "Hilarious?" How? Do tell! The AWLM is definitely curious now. Rysith flicks her wings and then folds them tightly to her side as she begins to preen her talons. « When you are older, you will be able to hunt wherever you please, so long as the animals are not owned. » No eating a Holder's pet runner! « Oh, there is plenty! Wild wherry, wild bovine, wild runner… » the green lists off and then licks her lips. « … felines. »

Mur'dah chuckles, bobbing his head as he adjusts his lean against the fence. "Yeah, well just be grateful he's not a bronze or a gold. /That/ amount of feeding is obscene until they learn to hunt." Then he pushes upright with a smile. "Well, that's it for the lesson really. If you'll both excuse me. Paperwork." Joy?

Bowyn smirks over at Anoryn and shrugs a shoulder when prodded about the hilarity of watching them learn. "I don't know, it's just the awkwardness of them learning ho to do basic dragon things." It's like Pernese slapstick. "Like, for instance, when one of the other dragons in our class wasn't watching where he was going and knocked a couple others over. It's just simple, stupid stuff like that that really makes it a funny experience. As long as no one gets hurt." Dragon dominos! Mur'dah's departure has her calling "Whatever, have a nice sleep," after him with a lazy salute before she turns back to find Saeth has finished his meal and is…covered in blood. "Right…I should, uh…probably bathe him. Now." Bo gives Anoryn a sidelong look at that and adds, "Thanks for the lesson!" On his way back out of the fenced area the blue says, to Rysith « Will you take me feline hunting? » before being called away by his rider. « We'll go one day. »

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