To Skin a Rabbit

Survival Camp - Campfire Square

During the day this area is a small clearing that sits just big enough to land four dragons in it, though by night it becomes an inferno where a fire is built up that licks its stray bits of lights to the ground just before the barracks nearby. The two barracks sit across from each other in strong contrast, the leader barracks being a comfortable modern barracks that looks clean and kept in good eminence while the follower barracks has a sharp destitute about it, looking that the ivy and decay is a day away from making the whole thing collapse.

Evening has fallen, and the campfire has been built up enough to light the clearing and provide some warmth against the chill bite of the darkening air. Natishen sits on the ground outside of the tent he shares with Satoris, scratching absently at a trio of light scratches on his arm as he studies the flames drowsily, an amused smile on his lips and contentment in his sleepy green eyes.

Phylicia has been in her hammock for the past half hour, presumably taking a nap after an exhausting day of having taken another small group of candidates into the forest (and behind the follower's barracks) to gather a few more vegitables and plants for their food source. Which also means she was shouting after a few of them and quite a bit of yanking on collars. But some of them still sport a lovely rash. The candidate-healer settles herself a little closer to the fire than Nash is, seeking its warmth, though bleery eyes do note the scratching. "Rash? Or dry skin?" Since she doesn't see the scratches from where she's at. And she's so hoping its not yet another rash…

After K'ael's visit earlier in the day, Satoris had disappeared into the woods himself. To check those snares Phylicia had spoken about and test out his new spear. There's a rustling in the leaves and soon he emerges, makeshift spear resting against his shoulder and balanced in one hand. However, in his other hand is one of those snares… with a rabbit caught up in it. Yes, successful, he is.

Natishen blinks curiously as Phylicia speaks up, frowning at her in confusion before looking down to his arm. He seems surprised to see himself scratching, and, with a sheepish smile, removes his hand. "Neither," he replies, lifting the arm and turning it to show the pinkish scratches. "I bumped into some thorny plant and got a few scratches. It just itches a little - they said that was 'cause the scratches were healing." He certainly doesn't seem to have come to any harm, other than the scratches themselves. As Satoris comes into the clearing, he perks up and waves to the other Candidate, eyeing the rabbit. "Wow, you got that?"

"I hope 'they' doesn't mean any of the other candidates." Phylicia says, knowing full well there aren't many healers in the bunch. But Phy has had her share of yelling after others today, and not having any good ointment to ease itching or rashes. As Nash perks up, she twists to look herself, looking at Satoris and that rabbit held in his hand. "The snares worked?" She asks, happily. A bit of meat would be a wonderous thing. But she's already moving from her spot on the ground, going for that large communal pot used for boiling water or making stew. And it'll be a combination of the two for the pot tonight, as she pulls the attention of another, getting them to fill the pot.

"One did," Satoris offers, his shoulders rising and falling in a shrug. A glance to Natishen and he chuckles. "I wish I had caught it, but all I did was find it." He approaches the fire pit and settles on a log near it serving as a chair. "Anyone know how to skin one of these?"

Natishen merely offers Phylicia an innocent look - or at least his version of such, before bouncing to his feet and dashing over to Satoris, all but dancing around the older Candidate as he takes his seat. "I dunno," he says, his cheerfulness almost out of place in this dreamy evening. "Never even seen one, well, not already cooked an' stuff." He studies the dead rabbit, brow furrowing slightly. "Looks kinda asleep. Only - dead." Some of his cheerfulness seems to drain away as he settles on the log, on the side opposite Satoris from the bunny.

Phylicia hopes that no one really thinks of her as a lady, because their dream is about to be burst. "Just.. make a slit in the stomach and … peel." Right. Lessons in the forest with her previous mentor have paid off in more than just her herbology knowledge. "It comes off pretty easy."

"Asleep…" Satoris echoes, lifting the rabbit to squint. Yeah, asleep if you count the angle its neck is at after Sat broke it. He glances to Phylicia and raises an eyebrow at the description. "H-uh," he choes, pulling the rope from around the dead thing's neck. He tosses it aside and pulls his knife from his belt. He shifts forward on the log to have more manuverability and makes a long slit in the creature's stomach.

Natishen looks somewhere between facinated and disgusted as Satoris begins the process of flaying the rabbit. Leaning forward, he cocks his head to the side, wrinkling his nose as the older Candidate begins the first cut. "Ew." For all his singular protestation, however, he doesn't take his eyes off the procedure, though he does pipe up on a different subject. "Hey Satoris, didja see Dorovan? He got lost on his walk an' fell into the marsh, got stung by something as made his face all swell, an' tore his pants right on the rear." Yes - the bullies don't seem to be taking well to this experiment in social bonding. Oddly enough, the rest of the Candidates don't seem inclined to, well… bond with them.

"Now, just pull the skin away from the body." Phylicia says over to Satoris as she unsheathes her own knife and rustling through the small stockpile of vegitables they have been collecting. The first thing to be set aside are the tubers. Always tubers. And oo! Lo and behold there's a small bit of wild garlic to be had too. The other candidate has finally returned with the large pot half-full of water and Phy has them set up it up over the fire. Her face is serious, as she tends to be of late, but her eyes are positively gleeful as she listens to Natishen. "I've heard they also seem to have a case of the runs." … No. She really doesn't have anything to do with that. … When she's offered to refill their water skins for them in a 'friendly' gesture. Laziness will work against a person.

"I didn't," Satoris answers Natishen, flashing a grin over at the boy. "But that must have been a sight." He sets his knife aside and gets his fingers in there, pulling the skin from the body. Apparently the grossness of it doesn't phase him. "What about the other two?" he asks Nash, not looking at the lad this time. He's too focused on carefully peeling the skin from the carcass.

"I heard Crosus got caught with his fingers in his tentmate's bag, and he was sent to chop wood and lug water all day," Natishen replies, smirking. "He's still gotta do his walk yet, and I heard maybe he might have t' go with one o' the weyrlingmasters, only the weyrlingmaster ain't allowed to help him, just gotta keep an eye on him. Ain't heard nothing 'bout Hanron, but he's not really that bad." The boy makes a slight gagging sound as Satoris begins to pull free the hide, but his complexion remains clear and he only looks mildly disgusted. "I bet that feels weird. How come you know so much 'bout skinning rabbits, Phylicia? Most girls'd run screaming." Indeed, while a few of the male Candidates look on in interest, the clearing is rather devoid of females beyond the healer-candidate.

As Satoris starts pulling, the rabbit's skin comes away remarkably easily, only a few patches seeming to stick, though with a little extra pressure those come free as well. Phylicia isn't so much watching Satoris do this, as rustling through the remainder of the vegitables gathered, hoping to find some basil for something leafy. A 'stew' of water, tubers, garlic and rabbit would be sad fair, if better than hard tack rations. Phy blinks at Nash's question, but she looks up from her sorting and grins. "My former mentor was … something of a hermit." She supplies. "And I spent a lot of time at his cave with him, and things simply don't keep in a cave." Her shoulders lift in a small shrug, and there's a bit of a fond grin on her face, as she remembers. "What we wanted to eat, we found. Unless we wanted rations." Oh. So there's a reason she's used to this - what some are calling - punishment.

Satoris hasn't appeared to mind the hard tack rations either. Mind, he's been on these survival camps before and has likely had to subsist on similar during spelunking expeditions. Underground, you don't even have the opportunity to hunt. He pulls the skin free, finally, and holds it out — his fingers dripping — in Natishen's direction. "You want it?" he asks, not actually glancing that way. Instead, he's looking at the be-skinned rabbit carcass he now holds in something of a rapt fascination.

Natishen blinks at the skin and makes another gagging sound. This time, however, his skin has gone slightly paler than its normal klah-with-cream color. "N- no, thank you," he says, pushing his hand outward in a warding-off gesture. "All yours. You caught it, after all." Looking away, he tilts his head up, studying the night sky - or honestly, just looking anywhere but at the flayed coney. "Huh. That sounds… interesting." Nash himself is loathe to complain about anything, and he's been fair enjoying the entire adventure. Then again, camping in a wilderness is right up a young boy's alley, and it has the added benefit of getting him out from under Moyra's cautious, watchful gaze.

"I'd actually like to see the liver, if you wouldn't mind?" Phylicia requests as she looks up, catching Satoris' look of fascination. She doesn't seem effected either way by it, because that's dinner he's holding. And it may not be bovine or herdbeast, but it's meat. "I'm sure it had nice fur. You're sure you don't want it, Nash?" Though belatedly she does note the young candidate's gagging and pale color, and she leaves off any other questioning about the hide. "Or you can look at the liver." She says, her eyes tracking to the hide. After all, if that's in good condition, there's a fair chance the rabbit meat is too. "All I want to know is if it's spotted or solid."

"I can honestly say this is the first I've ever skinned a rabbit… or any animal, really," Satoris says, laying the hide — fur down — on the log so his hand is free. "We usually just stuck with rations." A look to Phylicia. "How do I get to the liver?"
Natishen is what one might consider a city boy - if Pern had cities. Either way, it's clear that for all he enjoys watching dragons in the feeding grounds, this is the closest he's ever been to his dinner before it's been cooked and prepared. Still, his color evens out and he's able to turn back and study the carcass with only a slight hint of his queasiness in his eyes. His one glance at Phylicia says volumes - no way some girl's goingto out do him, at least as far as stomaching the sight of a soon-to-be-evicerated rabbit body is concerned. "What would I do with the hide?" he asks, his voice only half an octive higher than his normal boyish treble. "And what's the difference if it's spotted or solid? The liver, that is."

That question has Phylicia standing from her plant-sorting as the water is slowly starting to heat up. Oh, it'll be awhile before they're able to eat… But she produces a scrap of hide to tie back her hair as she also pushes the sleeves of her coat up slightly. She takes the hide of the rabbit and lays it out on the ground, furry side down. "Lay the rabbit on it's back?" She says with a grin, before Nash's question registers. "If the rabbit was relatively healthy, the liver'll be solid. If it was really sick, it'll be spotted." There's a small pause. "Meat or no, I'm not eating anything that was sick enough it'd die soon anyways." Yeah. Someone missed out on telling Phy that girls are supposed to be squeamish about these sort of things. And even a few of the boys are starting to clear out, guessing at what's about to happen.

Satoris lays the rabbit out on the hide, on its back. He ponders it, brow furrowed still. "Well, hopefully its liver is good. I want some proper meat." A sidelong glance to Phylicia. "I feel bad that I have to be taught this, but… most of my survival trips have been while surveying potential mine sites. I'm either too busy, or too far underground to do anything more than eat jerky or rations."

"Sick?" Natishen looks mildly confused, but lets it pass, waving it off with a flick of his fingers. "I hope it's good, too. My belly's been rumbly for days." Given the fact that he's probably put on a good three inches since being Searched, there's little doubt that this growing young boy probably hasn't had enough to truly fill him up since they left the Weyr. "Not that I'm complaining," he adds hurriedly, eyes darting between the two older Candidates in an anxious search for a negative response to his inadvertant grumble. "I mean, I don't mind - it's okay, since all the rest of this place is so neat. Right?"

Phylicia waves a hand in dismissal to Satoris' feelings on being taught. "I wasn't exactly born with this knowledge, you know." She teases him lightly before she takes her knife and actually slits the rabbit from throat to crotch. They're going to want the skeleton gone, after all. And she speads the stomach of the rabbit wide open with her thumb and pinky one hand, just over the ribcage. "As with humans, the heart and lungs are encased in the ribcage." For protection, duh. "And just below the diaphram is the stomach, liver, kidneys, intestines.." Guts, in other words. She lets the older candidate look into the stomach if he wishes before she actually starts removing most of the guts with more care than probably needed, setting them on an unused part of the hide. The liver is sort of resting atop the stomach, and she pulls that out, straighting up as she places it in the palm of the hand that was previous holding the rabbit open, looking at it. "Sick. Animals get sick too, y'know. Just like us." Well, maybe not just. But the comment is directed towards Natishen, more or less oblivious to the boy's gripe. Though his cover up makes her smile. "It really is. A good part of me wants to go back out there and explore the forest." It's a little different from the forest that borders the Weyr, and she's a curious sort.

Satoris leans back as Phylicia steps in and begins the process of gutting the rabbit. Why can't they just cook it and eat it now? He rests his elbows on his knees, hands draping between legs set akimbo. He watches the healer-candidate's work attentively, should he ever need to skin and gut an animal in the future. You never know. "We're all hungry," he tells the boy. Well, /he/ is at least. He's one of those guys who just seems to have hollow limbs. Someday his metabolism might catch up, but it won't be anytime soon. "Maybe you can help me do some hunting here soon?"

Natishen is just a growing boy. He eats his weight in food every day, and it barely fills him up. But he flashes a cheeky grin at Satoris. "That would be neat. But you'd have to show me how," he adds in warning, his eyes flicking back to the flayed carcass. "If animals get sick, do they have healers?" he wonders, eyes flickering up to study Phylicia's face.

In one retrospect Phylicia is very much a girl. She just doesn't eat a whole lot, though after something like survival camp she still might put away more than normal. Likely still nothing compared to either Nash or Satoris. "Rabbit works best when you boil it done. If you just spit it and roast it, it gets really stringy." She notes at the end. And the solid colored liver … gets dumped into the pot of freshly boiling water. As do the kidneys. She looks down at the rabbit, and a look of distaste comes over her features. "I hate doing this…" She murmurs before she cracks the ribcage open, having to use a considerable amount of force for that. And the heart gets dumped into the pot too, though the rest of the guts are taken into hand. "Feel free to cut chunks from it, and put those in the pot." She pauses on her trip to the wooded area, guts and inedible organs in hand as she looks to Natishen again. "Those would be the Beastcrafters." She tells him with a friendly smile. "They're the animal healers. I just know enough to tell if something is good for eating or not."

"I'm just learning myself," Satoris advises Natishen, giving a shrug. "I'm going off of theory, but we can certainly try." As Phylicia walks off with the guts, the miner shifts forward and pulls out his knife as he begins cutting the meat of the rabbit into chunks, which he passes over to Nat. "Put those in the pot for me, please?"

Natishen has no knife, so he's quite content to help Satoris strip the carcass instead. Taking a handful of the raw chunks of rabbit meat, he scoots over to the pot and dumps them in, staring into its depths. "So we don't just eat the meat, but we eat the innards as well? Heart and liver an' what else was it she put in there?" One might think he'd be disgusted by that thought - but no. The boy looks absolutely facinated.

"Not sure what else she put in there," Satoris admits. He didn't pay much attention to the different parts she put in. "I know the liver gets used, but I didn't know the hearts did." At least with cutting up meat, he's fairly swift about it, usually having a few more chunks of meat for Natishen to put in the pot each time the lad returns to the fireside. "Smells good," he comments.

Natishen seems quite happy to toss the chunks of rabbit into the pot, pausing each time to stare into it before returning to Satoris' side. Soon, the carcass is reduced to a pile of bones. Nearby, the boy's two firelizards eye it curiously, chirping. "Yes," he says to Mikado as the bronze creeps closer, "you two can help clean the bones once Satoris and Phylicia says they're done. Unless she means to use them too," he adds thoughtfully, craning his neck to peer into the forest, hunting for the healer.

It takes Phylicia a little longer than it probably should to dispose of the rabbit's guts. But when she finally does re-appear, its with clean hands, a grin, and a healthy chunk of basil leaves in her hands. "The wonderful thing is, you can eat better than people realize if you know what to look for." And you get lucky with a snare. Only one or two leaves immediately go into the pot, the rest being put with the tubers and wild garlic. She comes in time just to hear Nash's promise to his 'lizards. "If the majority of the meat is off, they can have it." She says as she settles herself, pulling out her (also now clean) belt knife to begin peeling the skin of the tubers off.

"This is the last bit," Satoris offers, passing it to Natishen. He settles back then, nudging the carcass out so the 'lizards can get to it. "I think giving them a bit to gnaw on might keep them from going after our supplies," he intones, glancing over to Phylicia. He looks to the tubers, then his own dirty knife, "You need a hand with that?"

Mikado and Chanteuse beeline for the corpse, latching onto the bones and stripping the meat off hungrily. Natishen watches them for a long moment, wincing slightly, though not at the sight of his normally calm firelizards tearing into the dessicated carcass. "I haven't been feeding them enough," he murmurs to Satoris. "And they aren't really that good at hunting for themselves yet." The pair, after all, are only a bit over three months of age. "Maybe we should wash our hands," he suggests to Sat, eyeing Phylicia's now-clean fingers. "I heard you can spread nasty stuff if you have blood and goop on your hands."

Phylicia's head jerks up in a bit of an after thought. "But leave the hide! If no one else wants it, I'll take it." Oooo, soft fuzzy rabbit fur. Satoris' offer gets a grin. "Sure. After you wash your hands and that knife." She says, starting to cut up the tuber she just skinned, into bite-sized chunks. With one tuber hacked up, she pauses a moment and takes that bit of wild garlic, crushing a clove with the flat of her blade to break it up a bit. "There's the brook we've been using for water over there." She says, waving the hand with a new tuber in it in the general direction. Bonus: flowing water means the uck won't stick around very long. Her own has probably already washed away.

"Mine rarely come to me for food," Satoris admits, giving a small shrug. "Oil, yes, but not food." They're also half-wild, too. He's really not good about training creatures. They just find him, impress to him, and he lets them do their own thing. He glances to Phylicia and gives a good-natured roll of his eyes. The man shifts to his feet and stretches. "I'd keep the hide to make a gift for Zevi, but I have no idea what I'd do with it. It's pretty small." With that, he strides off to go clean his hands and knife.

"Mine like me to feed them. Maybe when they grow up I won't have to feed them so much," Nash muses, eyeing the pair before he shakes his head and rises from his seat on the log. "I'mma go wash my hands. I don't like icky." And his hands are very icky - though not as bad as Sat and Phy's were. He trails after the older man, humming cheerfully.

Phylicia continues to work on the tubers as the two men leave to wash their hands free of the blood and uck associated with gutting an animal. Eventually, bits of tuber get added in, along with the garlic, though a stockpile is kept aside for towards the end, so they aren't entirely soggy when it comes time to eat. Occasionally one of them stirs, and eventually, their meal is finally ready, and hot enough at first to burn a person's tastebuds. The taste? Somewhat bland, but remarkably like wherry, and garlic.

Shortly, Satoris returns with clean hands and knife. He resumes his seat and assists with finishing the preparations for the meal. In all honesty, it's probably the best meal the camp has had since they were dumped in the clearing in the middle of nowhere. Once they've finished, Satoris just ponders the fur and sets to cleaning off the inside of it with more meticulous care. "I think I will keep it," he tells Phylicia. "I'll figure out something to do with it…"

Natishen trails after Satoris - as usual, wiping his now clean hands on the thighs of his shorts. "The fur is really soft. Maybe you could use it for something nice for your lady." See? He keeps current with the Weyr, even if he doesn't always show it. "Is it ready then?" he asks Phylicia. "I'm starving!"

"Fur trim on a set of gloves, maybe?" Phylicia offers to Satoris with a bit of a grin. Nash gets a bit of a laugh as she nods. "Just be careful, it'll be scalding hot." She warns him. The utensils and wares left to their use are crude, but they do work. At first equal amounts are portioned out to the few who helped, before the left overs are spread out a bit more, more going to those still growing, like Nash.

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