This Round Goes to the Sheep

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.

The day is slightly overcast but rainless at Xanadu and the young dragons have been doing a lot of eating, sleeping and exercising. During those sevendays they've been growing bigger and stronger each day. Venturing further from the weyrling areas to visit other parts of the Weyr for longer periods of time. The Weyrlings have been learning all sorts of things, from the classroom lessons with manuals and lectures, to hands on meat cutting, mucking after their dragonmates, scrubbing and cleaning. And most importantly, the bonds that begun one destructive day on the sands have grown much stronger, both with dragonmate among fellow weyrlings.

Kera is near one of the pens with Moncerath, the greenrider loosening the cinches of the dragon's straps while nodding agreeably to a silent observation from the green. Several herdbeasts are milling about inside the main fence, totally oblivious to the dragon watching the ambling snack on the hoof with interest, and some bleating sounds are coming from two paddocks over. A couple of weyrling pairs have already started gathering and Kera gives Moncerath an affectionate smack on her shoulder and props her elbow on the fence as she watches the early pairs stretch their wings and muscles in preparation for the task to come.

Oooh, what's that? And what's that? Leikoirath gambols around Jaya in random orbits, falling behind while sniffing at things or bounding ahead in turn. Jaya mostly just keeps walking and pretends she's got a dragon by her side… well, except for one point when she realizes just how far back Leikoirath has fallen, and turns her head to look back. "Come-" Oh, wait, there's that internal voice thing, isn't there? So she tries that, with an expectant stare and a mental communication that has Leikoirath lifting her head and chirping before she trots her way to Jaya… and on past. Oh well. Jaya grins, continuing on after at Leiokoirath bounds her way to the feeding pens and rears up to place her forepaws on the fence and watch the beasts inside, tail wiggling.

Masikoth is making his own way at his own pace. Which is generally M'ori's pace, just with a lot more..presence. He looks to and fro as he moves, taking it all in as if he owns it. That tree over there? He knows it well. There's even a subtle nod. Yeah, they know each other. M'ori just shakes his own head a little, looking more amused than anything as the pair make their way along some ways behind Jaya and Leiokoirath, although once they find their way to the fence Masikoth lifts his head higher. Curious.

Moncerath is crouched nearby, her wings tucked close to her back and tail curled around her body, except the tail which twitches randomly as the green studies the herd. Kera turns her attention to the arriving pairs, smirking at Leikoirath who practically bounds right up to the fence. A head tip to Jaya then to M'ori before she looks over Masikoth with a critical eye, then back to the young green a moment. Giving a moment for the newness of the situation to pass, pushes off the rail with a grin to everyone. "Good morning Weyrlings. I hope you followed instructions and only fed your dragonmates half their normal rations." she gestures towards the railing, "Move towards the railings if you wish to see the beasts better. Today we're going to try first hunts. Don't be upset if there are a few misses at the beginning. Mon missed her first two tries." Said green wuffles and cants her head as if to say /Nuh uh/. Kera snorts at some retort from her dragonmate that's probably best not shared and goes on with an amused eye roll. "Aaaaannyyy. She's going to show you an example of ground hunting. Then we'll make sure your dragonmates are ready then we'll see how they handle what's in the other paddock." Kera smirks at that and another bleat can be heard echoing across the fields.

Jaya salutes vaguely, grinning to Kera, then nods. "She's definitely hungry." A glance to Leikoirath, who wiggles. « Are those food? » the green asks as she peers at the herdbeasts. « They look funny. » She tilts her head back to look at Jaya, then over to Moncerath with a little chirp before returning her attention to the beasts. Jaya grins, and nods to Leikoirath. "Yeah but - don't go yet!" Impulse control. It's a thing. One Leikoirath doesn't really have. Jaya waits to make sure her dragon's going to obey, then nods to Kera before stepping up next to Leikoirath to rest her hand on her dragon's side and get the good view.

Kera turns and peers back into pen, shifting her weight and propping on the rail as Moncerath cants her head towards a particular beast. It's been nosing along the ground, ripping bits of grass from clumps here or there and has meandered away from the main group. The green keeps her wings tucked, mostly, and bunches he body up for a leaping pounce. As she prepares, her wings flutter just a little and her back half wiggles as she makes last minute adjustments. The herdbeast shuffles even closer and Moncerath moves quickly, leaping into action to spring over the fence, using the railing to push off and aid her speed. It's a clean kill, the full grown green pouncing the beast's back and snapping jaws around the animals neck to snap it quickly. Her actions haven't gone unnoticed by the rest of the herd, a startled outburst and some jostling among them while Moncerath snuffles her kill then drags it to the fence. She'll grapple to get a good hold before sorta winging over the fence in a leaping pounce to get clear of the herd who will soon calm down. Kera nods at her dragonmate as the green starts working on her meal. Soon her trio of lizards are darting about, waiting for their turn at Moncerath's leftover. "Alright, was what they will look like once they are a bit bigger. Notice, she didn't spend time chasing it down, nor did she scare or hurt it needlessly. She studied the animals and chose that one specifically, made a quick kill and the beast probably never knew what happen." Kera looks among the pairs observing the reactions of each weyrling. "Now if everyone would follow me to the next paddock, we'll leave Moncerath to her meal and let your dragonmates try and hunt.

Leikoirath fidgets, shifting on her paws against the fence. Jaya nudges her side, indicating Moncerath with a tilt of her head. Watch the older green! See what she does! So Leikoirath does… and so does Jaya, watching as Moncerath pounces and takes her prize. Gulp. She's gone fishing, sure, and she's been passing by when dragons hunt, but she's never exactly watched it in detail and paid attention before. Jaya's just a little green… but Leikoirath's all enthusiasm, with a warble and a bounce. Was that cracking sound from the fence she's leaning on? Nooo, surely not. Everything's fine! « Now me? » Leikoirath asks, turning to nuzzle Jaya, who laughs a little. "Well… soon, okay?" At the next paddock! Jaya steps away to follow Kera to that next pen, and Leiokoirath jumps down to join her. That bit of the fence definitely didn't sag like that before… oops. At least it's still upright!

Kera leads the way to where smaller prey has been gathered. The young dragons have grown quite a bit, but they have much growing still let to do. With a gesture of her arm to the sheep, some freshly sheared while others still rather poufy looking, Kera turns her attention to the young pairs as they gather. She'll walk along the row, pausing to admire look over each dragon, "Masikoth is looking good M'ori." An pleased smile to the weyrling and she moves on to the end of the row, or beginning, however you look at it. She chuckles after observing Leikoirath a moment and smirks to Jaya. "I wonder who's more excited, the dragons for being able to hunt? Or you 'lings who will soon not have to cut meat anymore?" Not waiting for an answer she steps to where the whole group can see her "Okie, Jaya how about Leikoirath go first. We're starting with these sheep to help your dragonmates hone their skills a time or two before tackling the much bigger herdbeast. Now, try to have her pick one out, and go for it. Now there's nothing wrong with missing , it takes times to pulls things together something."

Jaya giggles a little to Kera. "Leikoirath is good at excited," she muses, and grins as her dragon wiggles and rears up again on the fence to peek at the new prey. Sheepies! Fluffy and scraggly alike. And soon, they'll be hunted! Soon, Leikoirath will hunt. Soo- wait, now? Jaya blinks, then nods. "Uh, okay!" she says, with a hopeful sort of grin. "We can try." And it's okay to fail! Right. "Okay, so… Leikoirath…" Her dragon turns hungry golden eyes to her, and chirps. « I get one? » Say it's so! "Yeah… and remember to pick it out first!" Leikoirath chirps, jumping over the fence and then crouching her hindquarters with her tail wiggling as she looks over the prey. Which one… which one… oh! What about that nice fluffy squeaky-looking one? Clearly the best. So she readies herself… she aims… she charges! Pitter patter go paws and… the sheep bleats, dodging as Leikoirath goes charging by with wide-open jaws. The green dragon skids to a stop with a surprised expression. Rrrh? Where'd the tasty sheepie go?

And off the little sheep darts, like a poufy bleating blur, towards the safety of other sheep. The clumsy charge and miss stirs up the other sheep, most of then skittering a few paces only to stop and mill about. While they are settling back down, Kera sidles over to Jaya, trying not to grins at the young green's attempt "That was a good try. She didn't catch her prey, but she learned something in the process. Do you know what that was Jaya?"
Jaya does grin a little, though it's replaced by a thoughtful frown as Kera comes over and asks her that question. "Uhm." Leikoirath shakes, turning around to peer at those sheepies. « Fast food! » she declares, with another shake of herself as she gets up onto her paws again. Jaya looks to her, then back to Kera. "That… they run away 'cause they don't want to be eaten?" she hazards uncertainly. « But I want to eat them! » Leikoirath adds, eyeing the herd as she looks for another tasty sheepie bite to pounce.

Kera nods gently, a grin creeping across her face as she turns her attention back into the paddock. "Yep, that's one lesson. Another is that tactic didn't work. Hard to sneak up on something when it can hear you galloping at it." A glance over to the sheep before she gestures and nods encouragingly "Have her try again then we'll let another have a couple of tries." « Calm yourself young one. They are easier to catch if aren't spooked. » Moncerath waddles towards the paddock, stopping a reasonable distance from the fence and proceeds to clean her ichor stained muzzle. Kera will check her dragonmate's teeth for little meaty bits later.

"Oh," Jaya says, and nods. "Yeah… that too." Leikoirath lifts her head, peering first at Jaya, then at Moncerath. « I didn't spook it! » Not on purpose, anyhow… "They heard you. Like your clutchmates do," Jaya attempts to explain as Leikoirath's swirling eyes turn back on her. « I didn't say anything to them. » "…just… try quietly? Quiet, and a big jump?" Leikoirath considers this deeply for a moment, then chirps. « Okay! » She wiggles… and crouches down… and wiggles some more… and then… hey fluffy sheepie, here she comes! Lei's flying pounce is a little short, and she practically slides along the ground right into the confused sheep… who tries to jump away, only to have Leikoirath spring up with snapping jaws to catch it mid-air! …badly. She catches a mouthful of fluff, and the sheep bleats in terror and kicks at her head before managing to pull away, leaving Leikoirath with a muzzle of wool, a few bruises, and a very puzzled look.

Kera glances to Moncerath with a little nod, the green most likely relaying her messege to the young dragon, then turns her attention back to Leikoirath as she prepares to pounce again. For a second, it looks as if she may have her meal, but it's not to be. Kera winces as the pummeling delivered by the scrappy little sheep. "Oh, that's enough for now." She gestures for Jaya to call her dragonmate out. "Make sure she's alright." Everyone wants a huggle after being viciously attacked by poufy sheep.

Jaya winces at the aftermath of Leikoirath's attempt, then nods to Kera. "Yeah… come on, Lei." « But I caught it, » Leikoirath protests. See? She's got all this fluffy wool! « I did! » ".. it got away." « I pounced and I got it and - » "…and it got away, now come on." Leikoirath snorts - probably got some wool up a nostril - and trots her way across the pen, gathering herself and jumping over the fence back to her rider. « My nose hurts. » "Probably 'cause it kicked you," Jaya says, peering at her dragon's muzzle and then giving her neck a pat and scritch. "You'll get it next time." « I did get it. » "…no, you got wool. Next time you'll get a sheep." Leikoirath considers on this, and while she's distracted by that, Jaya looks back to Kera. "Can I take her to get some numbweed? And some chopped meat?" …oops, Leikoirath heard that part. « I'm hungry! »

Kera watches the green pair a moment and can almost imagine what the young dragon is thinking by the expressions on the small green muzzle. Moncerath on the other hand can hear very clearly « You very nearly had it, but that one was a stubborn snack. » Kera nods to Jaya "Certainly, sooth her bumps and cut some meat for her. She can try again tomorrow."

Jaya nods to Kera. "Thanks." « It'll be my snack soon, » Leikoirath declares to Moncerath. Jaya grins to her dragon. "Tomorrow. It can be your snack tomorrow." …assuming Leikoirath remembers which it is and some other weyrling dragon hasn't eaten it, but oh well. Minor details! Jaya waves and heads off with Leikoirath - who's still clutching that tuft of wool, and likely will be up until she has her chopped meat to eat.

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