First Hunt

Freshened breezes from the lake to the south linger with the stronger scents of herdbeast and wherry, dust and dung, that fill this ovoid enclosure. The sturdy fence sways out into the bowl, captures an outlet of clear blue lake, and, as it meets the bowl wall, grows into a stout wind-shelter replete with hay and feeding troughs; not too far above, a claw-marked series of feeding ledges lie, decorated by a few discarded and bleached-out bones. A few clusters of green sprout, downtrodden, in the hard ground, tracked over by the stampeding of the herds.
It is an autumn before dawn. The clouds above begin to clear out as a northerly breeze rolls in. Stars peek through the gaps in the clouds.
To the south, you see Zenzorath, Wiranth, and Soquilith.
Gold Tiareth, brown Chanticoth, and brown Mneoth are here.
You see Kukalaka, Herd of Herdbeasts, Belt Knife, and Hanabi's Uncreatively Titled Wagon here.
Ilare and Khena are here.

Cerdith pauses at the gate before choosing to move along the pens.
Reiko is led in by Cerdith.

Ilare chuckles as she pats her dragon's nose, nodding agreeably to private thoughts, eyes drifting towards the flock of wherries and herdbeast herd occasionally. Glancing over her shoulder, she blinks, then smiles and waves in welcome, walking some ways towards the approaching dragons and their lifemates. "G'morning to you! How are you, Cerdith? Mneoth, your hide looks very well today." Eyes twinkle as she comes to a halt, arms folding across her arms. "And how are the human halfs of the weyrling pairs doing?"

Cerdith dips his head in a polite greeting, warbling cheerfully in Ilare's direction. "He's fine," Reiko clarifies, still rubbing sleep out of her eyes. "Does /everything/ happen early with dragons?" Or is it just her imagination? Of course, 'early' for Reiko is anytime before noon... And even though she's gradually growing accustomed to being dragged out of bed at all hours, that doesn't mean she likes it.

"Morning, Ilare," Khena says, glancing from the brownrider to the pens, and then at her lifemate's hide, glistening from a rescent oiling. "He's just had this morning's oil," she continues, grinning at Reiko as she rolls a shoulder in a shrug. "With Mneoth it happens all hours of the day. Whenever he's awake that is.." Which was never to be predicted.

No one likes being dragged out at any old hour - but get used to it. Night shifts can be killer. A smile of sympathy at Reiko's question from Ilare is closely followed by a wink from her lifemate at Cerdith and Mneoth. Don't worry, humans can be trained to a dragon's whim. It just.. takes a while. "I'm glad to see their both fit. Chan here's a tad peckish, and was wondering if your youngsters would like a lesson in hunting." The ease of her smile is muted by the twinkle in her eyes, before her fringe is pushed back out of her eyes.

That's enough to wake Reiko considerably. She stops rubbing her eyes to peer closely at Ilare... but she doesn't look as if she's teasing. "Hunting? Really?" A twisted halfsmile curls her lips. "No more hacking apart carcasses?" This is the best news she's had all day. Okay, it's also the /first/ news she's had today, but she's unlikely to hear anything that will make her happier.

Khena gives a crooked grin as well, Mneoth letting out a deep rumble beside her, agreeing wholeheartedly that hunting would be a Good Thing. "He says he's been waiting for this, since the day Dsalth showed him how," she notes, rubbing the mahogany headknobs with the knuckles of her right hand. "I'm sure you'll do fine," she mutters under her breath to the brown, her eyes glittering with amusement.

That's what Ilare said. And Chan can back her up, too. "Certainly. The sooner they start to learn, the easier it is on /both/ of you. Mind you, no letting them gourge themselves - the rules that applied when they were tiny apply now. They're too big to carry back to their couch, and if they overfeed, there will have to be a purging." And that would NOT be pleasant for a dragon their size! Gold gaze flickers over the dragon halfs of the weyrling pairs, and a nod of approval given. "Glad to hear it. Chan?" Turning partially towards her lifemate, brownrider grins at brown dragon. "When you're ready, demonstrate. No double kills." That last is slightly stern - these are the babies, after all. No showing off!

Reiko has no intention of dealing with a purging, and silently reinforces Ilare's warning for the benefit of her lifemate. "Don't worry," she says aloud to Ilare. "He'll be good." Cerdith, for his part, watches with interest... although he's a bit more fixated on the wherries and other beasts than on Chanticoth just at the moment. Breakfast on the hoof. Innteresting.

Chanticoth, who was virtualy bouncing for paw to paw waiting for the chance to eat some of that niiice herdbeast he spies with his big glittery eyes, and upon Ilare's instructions, takes to wing almost immediately, the beating of his wings, producing drafts that ruffles grass all about, before he takes off in the direction of the herds. Now, kiddies, you're average herdbeast is an idiot, and they tend to run when chased. But since they can't fly, it's not too hard to catch them. You pick one... (eeeny, meeny, miny, mo)... and then you dive... thusly. Chanticoth swoops down, talons extended, almost knocking over the herdbeast he's chosen in his haste before he can sink his claws into it. But he does get a grip on it, and lifts it into the air, the beast's crying having ceased as the brown's talons pierced it. And then you take it to one of these here ledges. And eat it. Any questions? Comments? Points of interest?

Mneoth gives off a somewhat offended snort, dust whirling around his muzzle as he does so. Have you ever know him to overeat? Watching Chanticoth take off, Khena gives the brown a nudge with a bootheel, reminding him to observe how this is done. "Mneoth's never overeaten," she notes, crossing her arms over her chest somewhat defensively.

Ilare never said he had. Brows arch in Khena and Mneoth's direction, lips pursed, before she responds. "I believe that. But it's my job to remind you. Some dragons think they can get away with overeating when they learn to hunt, you see." Chan's performance gets a round of applause and a grin of approval, ebfore she turns to the weyrlings. "And there you have it. Who's first?"

X'ner pauses at the gate before choosing to move along the pens.

Nezdarvyth pauses at the gate before choosing to move along the pens.

Jewel-faceted eyes whirl with excitement as Cerdith watches Chanticoth swoop off with the herdbeast. The thought process is practically visible as he crouches, the tips of his wings trembling slightly in anticipation... and then he /vaults/ into the air. "Um... I guess Cerdith is." And Reiko nearly has her mouth open to suggest that her lifemate might like to rethink this strategy, when he's abruptly out of earshot, high above the pens. All right, on to encouragement. He /might/ be able to... right? Cerdith, meanwhile, appears to have made some sort of choice, suddenly swooping down, talons extended. It's a youngish beast, at least, but still not quite stupid enough to stand there and be mauled. Bleating piteously, the creature bolts, and blue talons miss their mark. With a disappointed warble, Cerdith settles in the middle of the now-deserted pens (every beast within range having taken the opportunity to make themselves scarce), turning a 'what-did-I-do-wrong' look to the others.

Mneoth sits up on his haunches, watching Cerdith go up, down.. And miss his mark. Twisting his neck around to look at his lifemate, for permission, he takes off (after getting a nod from Khena) with a mighty leap, swooping his wings down three times, just as he'd learned from Nylanth. Gliding around the Pens a few time, seeing everything from above, he closes in on a beast which has taken up refuge in a corner, his talons outstretched to catch hold of the fresh meat. The herdbeast, however, panics and runs, making Mneoth miss his mark as well. Wings beating, he makes his way back to his lifemate, landing with only a minimum of a stumble.

Ilare grins and waves X'ner and his lifemate over, winking at Nezdarvyth. "Come! Join the hunting lesson." Greeting given, attention turns back to Cerdith, and compassion shows on her features. The next miss, by Mneoth this time gets a grin still tinged with sympathy. "Try again, boys! Practice makes perfect!" A glance is shot her dragon - give 'em a hand when you're done with that 'beast, eh? A glance at Nez and X'ner is followed by a grin. "Care to try your luck, boys?"

Mneoth snakes his tail around his lifemate, eyes whirling blue and green, satisfied enough that he didn't actually /catch/ one of those beasts. Grinning, Khena leans into his shoulder, arm reaching up to put around a neckridge. "He says he doesn't mind not getting it right this time... Since he's just had his oiling," she informs the others, fingers rubbing the soft hide of the brown's glistening ridge. "And 'sides, he's not hungry." Shrugging, Khena gives Ilare a crooked smile, allowing her lifemate to abort the attempt at catching something edible this time around.

Cerdith slinks back to the sidelines, watching as the beasts cautiously resume their interrupted grazing. "Go on," Reiko says encouragingly -- needlessly, of course, but she's still getting used to the whole mindlink thing -- "Try again. Maybe something smaller?" Cerdith utters a soft little croon, and shifts his feet under himself, crouching to try again. The initial vault has the same energy as before, but his circling is a bit more circumspect this time. Finally, he chooses, folding his wings abruptly to swoop down on a very young beast -- hardly more than a calf, really. And this time, he's more prepared. When the creature bolts, Cerdith corrects his angle of descent, talons stretching out to snag the poor beast, which only bleats once before his spine is neatly snapped. With a rather self-satisfied unfurling of his wings, the blue catches himself and his prey, winging off to the ledges to see what he can do with it. Reiko, meanwhile, watches with morbid fascination, quite speechless.

Ilare coughs. "Not hungry?" Eyes widen. "Bad Mneoth! Where would you store that catch, eh?" Her tone, and the eye twinkle, is teasing, before her arms fold across her chest. "Never mind. It was a good try." Turning, a brow arches as Chan takes to the air again, high above the pens, circling at a leisurely pace. "He'll help keep an eye on them, and help the littles if they want." Not that Cerdith needs it... "Well done!" Hands clap in approval. "Now take it up out of the way on one of the ledges!" Helps stop too much blood staining the grass, you see. And it's a matter of manners. A bugle of approval is uttered by the big brown, who now waits for the next dragon to attemp.

Well, he had to at least /try/, right? Mneoth rumbles closing one eyelid over his slightly yellowtinted eyes as he turns his head away from the 'teacher', encircling Khena between neck and tail. "Don't worry, Mneo.. We'll try again some other day." Some day when he /is/ hungry, and has room for a herdbeast or a wherry.

Ilare gives Mneoth a smile, before she shakes her head, red locks dancing. "Never mind, Mneoth. It was an excellent attempt. Just watch that you're prepared for any fast movements on the part of the prey." Attention turns to X'ner and his lifemate. "You are going to have a go at hunting sometime this turn, I hope?" Grin broadens at some unheard comment.

Cerdith tears into his catch with gleeful abandon, aqua-splashed muzzle nosing into the hot flesh. Reiko's twisted smile spreads further across her face, lighting emerald eyes. She can just tell Cerdith won't ever be satisfied with cut up chunks again. Life is Good. Belatedly she notices that the others haven't tried again, and turns to look curiously at Khena and Mneoth. "Feed him too well, did you?" And there's the twisted smirk, but her tone is more teasing than sarcastic.

"No more than he wanted... Or needed," Khena notes to Reiko, her eyes glancing at the feeding blue. "How was I to know, he'd get a chance to hunt this morning?" She reaches a hand out to rub the mahogany-covered headknobs, giving Reiko a shrug and a grin, then eyes glaze over as she communicates with her lifemate. "He want me to congratulate you on Cerdith's fine kill..." Why he couldn't just tell Cerdith that directly, she couldn't understand.

X'ner lets out a soft puff of air, the action mimicked by a snort from Nezdarvyth. "You ready?" He peers at the dragon, who simply rumbles and turns his head to leer at the beasts in the pen. Really, why does he have to do this again? Being hand fed is so much nicer, and he doesn't have to /do/ anything besides chew. Why should he work for this. "I can't feed you forever, go on." The dragon snorts. Well, fine then! If Ner is gonna be that way about it.. Really, it's so hard to find good minions these days. But like they say, if you want something done right, do it yourself.
He ambles a little ways away from Ner, still eyeing the herd lazily, before he springs upward, vaulting neatly over the herdbeasts. Oh looky, there's one..yeah, that one looks as good as any. So he dives for it. Ack! Hey! It moved! It's not supposed to do that! As the animal begins to bolt, Nez changes his direction slightly, nearly coming down at the young animal's side rather than on top like he'd intended. Nevertheless, claws snag into his prey, and he pulls it down into death, warbling happily. See? He did it! Mwaha.

<Local> Cerdith senses that Chanticoth rumbles in amusement, drifting lower, eyes swirling in multifaceted glory. Mental streamers in delight and pleasure at his 'students' performances is evident. << Well done! >>

Ilare places her hands on her hips, nodding her approval. So Nez caught on the first go. He had time to study, after all.. "Well done, you lot. Now they no how to hunt, be sure to watch and mnonitor their food intake. Until they're competent at it, and at flying, don't hunt unsupervised." Just in case something happens. "Well done, boyos!"

X'ner smirks a bit as Nez now just sits there, blinking at the dead..thingy. "Nez, go ahead and eat it! ..No I'm not gonna come over there and cut it up for you! You've got teeth!" He rolls his eyes at the dragon himself looks disgusted, and begins picking at his kill. Ewwwwwww..

Oi. Weyrling. Drag that dead meat to that there feeding ledge! *shooshooshoo*

Mneoth uncurls himself, blue whirling eyes pinned on Khena as he intently communicates something to her, his pose somewhat impatient as he does so. "He needs to sleep," she tells the others, glancing back at the brown motioning to him with a wavering hand. "Again," she adds, in a whispering voice, which produces another impatient rumble from Mneoth's baritone voice. "Alright, alright... I'll see you all later."

"Thanks..." Reiko's full attention is on Cerdith, even though she's speaking to Khena. Very soon, Cerdith lifts his head, tongue lapping out to clear the blood from his muzzle, nothing edible remaining on the poor carcass. "Well done, love," she murmurs, silently adding that one is likely enough for right now. No need to push things. His head swaying from side to side with obvious reluctance, Cerdith gathers himself together, vaulting into the air to glide back to Reiko's side. She reaches to stroke the slender neck, which actually shows signs of needing to be oiled. Oops. "Thanks, Ilare.. and Chanticoth. We'd better head back to the barracks now, though." The smile Reiko gives the assistant weyrlingmaster is genuine if fleeting, and the pair turns quickly to leave.

Nezdarvyth snorts. What, now he has to /move/ it, too?! Injustice! He does it, nevertheless, taking his to the ledge, and starts carefully picking again. Ew. Ew. Ew.