A Camping They Will Go

Fort Weyr - Western Forests
The forests here grow all the more pressing, soon choking out the gravel- and sand-formed path that splits from the fork. While it continues to wind further into the darkness and coolness that only such thickly grown foliage can create, other smells hint at places yet to be fully explored. Blueberries and the calls of birds, lush blackberry thickets just out of sight, and deep undergrowth that holds promise of mysterious fungi and other such plants.
Traveling through the woods alone is always a dangerous affair … and all the moreso with whisperings of renegades and feral beasts running rampant throughout. The whoop and call of avians and firelizards penetrate the strange not-quite-silence of the forest, while deeper rumblings of creatures yet unseen might be heard in other places. Great beasts crash through the forest from time to time and set the avians into unexpected flight.


Misty drizzle greets the dawn, but by the breakfast hour it has tapered away and the clouds scatter to allow the sunlight through. It's a slightly cool morning but perfect for the hiking that is about to take place. The Candidates were warned the night before and after being gathered by the Weyrlingmaster and his staff and given rucksacks, gear and supplies to be spread out between the Candidates. For after their hike they'll be responsible for setting up their own camp! How fun? However they're not alone, not by a long shot. While given a bit of "free reign", the Candidates are closely watched the moment they leave the Weyr walls and enter the forests by a few Guards, but mostly dragon riders. Among them is the Weyrleader himself and he sticks close to the group, visible at all times. There is one "guest" among the group too as they hike out and if Kyzen is present then the excursion must be a "laid back" one. No one pay attention to the fact that Th'ero is armed. "If any of you see a good spot for camp, signal us!" he reminds the group as they slip deeper and deeper into the forests.

Kimmila moves with ease and purpose through the forests of her youth, the bluerider armed with her bow and quiver, feet silent as they traverse the faded trails. Closing her eyes briefly, the rider smiles at the lingering scents of rain and dampness, eyes watching Kyzen closely as the child scampers around like…well. Like a kid.

With pack secure on his back. Skyler tags along with the rest of the group. There's been a few glances at the guards and the bows, but then he turns his attention to other things. Certainly not the wet though, whats a little water when one has had to be out in it much of their life? Let's just discount the fact that 100 of people exposed to water have died. Ahem. Well, maybe the wet a little. "Somewhere dry maybe?" he muses and looks around. Not much chance of that. "Are there any caves in the area? A cave could be fun. Or maybe a really, really big tree with a hole in it." And with that thought he's hurrying on ahead to climb up onto a fallen tree to peer around.

Camping. This Sairon knows! The traveller and partly-trader hikes his way through the woods, his pack secured to his back with his share of gear and tent parts. His boots crunch on the path and he's absently chewing on a piece of jerky as he goes - as if he's not usually eating something or another. He lets out an affirmative noise towards the Weeyrleader and his words, though a chuckle escapes him as Skyler mentions dry. "Ideally. At least to sleep. Otherwise, oh it's not so bad. Can always sleep up on a high branch if the ground is too soggy."

At least the candidates have been well fed before being sent off into the wilderness!. Ravyal holds onto the straps of his pack as he walks along. At least the coolness of the morning is keeping any stickiness from the hike at bay. There's an occasional glance up at the trees as they walk, as well as the more concerned looks given the guards and..weaponry. Still, breathing in the damp, woodsy air is rather relaxing..despite the mud clinging to the bottom edges of his pantlegs. That, he could do without. There's a faint smile though about the mention of dry, shoulders shrugging under pack-straps. "With how wet it is..I dunno. Things might dry out a bit more later on in the day though?" Though there's a blink, a worried look being shot at Sairon. "I..think I'd rather stay on the ground.."

Of course Kyzen is going to scamper around! He's young and full of energy and despite a warning look from Th'ero, goes off to race to where Skyler climbs that tree. It takes him a little longer to haul himself up, but he'll stand on it triumphantly when he does! "Could we really camp in a tree? That'd be so cool! Too bad we can't build something. Like a tree fort! A fort within Fort!" he sing-songs with a grin, only to leap off the tree, fumbling the landing a bit and falling forwards on his knees with a grunt. He'll get right up though, brush himself off and hurry away again. "How do you stay ON the branch though?" he asks Sairon, only to peer at Ravyal. "Even if it's wet?" Color him confused!
Th'ero just hangs back, glancing sidelong to Kimmila and murmuring a few low, quiet words with her.

Kimmila chuckles. "Dry would be very nice," she murmurs, grin crooked. "There are caves, but they're small and likely have critters living in them. Same with the trees. Our best bet might be an open clearing that the sun can dry. Or," she tips her head to Sairon with a nod, "in the trees." She flashes Ravyal a wink for that one. "You can stay on the ground and make sure nothing climbs up the trees." She's kidding right? Tilting her head to Th'ero, she grins and murmurs back.

Skyler glances way up into the trees. "Now that would be cool." he says and then he looks thoughtful "A fort would be way cool, with rope bridges between the trees. Though I guess we won't be out here that long, would we?" Another thought as he looks back around at everyone. "Though I guess we don't have all the supplies either. But it would be cool. And we can keep an eye on everything and see if any wild creature is coming." A clearing though. He glances around before jumping down himself. Nothing to see from here. He races on after Kyzen "I know! What if we make a hammock in the trees?!"

Sairon glances down to the youngster, seeming to find one easier to me in the presence of than four. "You tie yourself, this way if you roll over in your sleep or something you don't fall off." He says to Kyzen. "Belt, rope, vines, whatever's handy. I agree though, dry ground is preferable. Trees are good though if the ground isn't safe but that's why camping as a group is smarter." He shifts his pack on his shoulder and his eyes glance skyward, looking for patches in the canopy that might held denote a clearing. "Looks like the forest may be thinner that way." He calls, pointing it out.

Ravyal shakes his head a little, although he does offer Kyzen a small smile. "I'd take the wet ground over up in a tree, any day.." Tying himself down or not, the thought of rolling right out of a tree? Nope. He looks off where Sairon points though, standing on his toes a little to better be able to see. "Y..yeah, it looks like it. Clearing..?" One of those with lots of sun and eventual dryness, perhaps? Yes, he can hope for that. His gaze strays to Kimmila though, brows furrowing together. "Make sure..what? What /would/ climb up?"

Cyrus trudges along with the group carrying his rucksack. He looks to be in at the very least an acceptable sort of mood, though its hard to get as excited about camping as it is about going to space. He surveys the group, the guards, and the kid. Looks like most of them are here. So good. He keeps to the back of the group just listening.

Therynn has finally found the light at the end of the chores tunnel, even if only to be sent out on a Candidate excursion. This type of adventure though, Rynn can totally handle. Dark bags beneath eyes have begun to fade, hair has been washed and combed and even the huntress' attire looks as though it has been cleaned an tended to after painstaking days of working herself to the bone. No one is really sure why the gal started to over-dedicate herself to nonsensical hours of chores, duties and training, pulling away slightly from the group for a few sevendays. Maybe she just loves the hard work, or maybe she too was caught breaking some rules? Either way, some serious reflecting happened during this time, and the white-knot wearing huntress is ready for some good ol Candi-camping. She'll tread softly behind the group, bright eyed and bushy tailed, happy to be out and listening to everyone's ideas. Watching Skye chase after Kyzen puts a smile on her face, with a glance to Ravyal she eases "Dunna worry Ravyal.. Th'ero, Kimmila and the guards won't let anything happen to us.." She hopes, also near the back of the group, walking next to Cyrus Rynn asks "Ready for this?"

"I'd rather not use the caves if we can avoid it. Unless anyone here wishes to hunt dinner. I hear the tunnel snakes are rather nice in this range and the wherries not too gamey… though it's the latter roosting — best we don't disturb the caves." Th'ero's voice carries easily and though the Weyrleader's expression remains neutral, his tone almost sounds amused. He glances again to Kimmila and now he does chuckle for her murmured comment. "Perhaps." he agrees cryptically.

"You're weird." Kyzen informs Ravyal with a snickered, child-like laugh and his expressive blue eyes turn to Sairon next. "…but what happens if you roll and get stuck upside down?" he asks, demonstrating with his hands. See? Only he's got the attention span of a… well, a six Turn old and when Skyler goes racing off to join him, Kyzen is there to join him with the word "…hammocks!" crowed out in delight and loud enough for all to hear. Half a beat later, he looks rather perplexed. "What's a hammock?" Oh boy.

Kimmila shrugs at Ravyal with a slow grin. "Never know really. We don't have felines up here, but tunnelsnakes, small wherries, all sorts of bugs…who knows." The talk of a clearing has her nodding and following the others in that direction, eyes scanning all around as they go, especially looking up into the trees. Old habits die hard.

Skyler grins at Kyzen "You take cording and weave it into a bed basically. And then you attach the ends to something. Like a tree and all. My brothers and I made some a few turns back. Easy enough to do. But it takes time. Uncle Alder showed us how. He says the sea folk use them for sleepin' on the ships. Keeps ya from being thrown outta bed when the sea gets rough." He's all excited now, and then he oh's a little as he turns to face Th'ero "Ooo's we can maybe have fresh wherry for lunch?" he asks with a grin and then he's off and running towards the direction Sairon pointed off towards. Maybe? Either way, he's not looking at where he's going. He's just going."

"Then you learn next time to tie yourself down better." Sairon says towards Kyzen with a toothy grin. "And hopefully you learned to land good." He continues walking, keeping eyes on all of those he walks with but not bothering any of them and listens to the chatter.

Ravyal glances over at Therynn, giving a slight tug on the straps for his pack. "I..don't think we'd be out here if there was /really/ much to worry about." Right? Maybe? The former weaver does try to at least not look /too/ worried about it. If others are telling him not to worry, he might /look/ quite like…he's worrying. At least he stands up a little straighter! Which..becomes a bit difficult with the pack on. So he simply hunches forward again just a little. He watches Skyler and Kyzen a moment though, brows lifting just a little bit. Alas, he has been designated…weird. The teenager clears his throat just a little after a moment though, turning a glance on Th'ero. "Well we've..all gotten a little bit of training..in that sort of stuff. H..haven't we? We could try our luck. You know, with hunting.."

Cyrus glances over to Therynn as she speaks up and gives a bit of a shrug of his shoulders, "I'm not exactly the outdoorsy type. I never really did much of that sort of thing as a kid, and when I was an apprentice I never really had the time and when I was posted over in Xanadu I never really wanted too." He still can't say he really wants too, "But I couldn't very well say that I didn't want to come." he says softly, "As Sairon would say…I'm going with the flow."

Therynn nods in agreement with the Weyrleader "I'm withya on that one Sir, n'm up fer huntin'.."As usual, though tunnel snakes have never been her favorite munchable. Gauging later desperation and wildlife availability will be the deciding factor as to what's ultimately for tonight's grub. "S'agreat idea Skye.." she calls out to he and Kyzen about the hammocks "Though we'd still need coverage from the elements ya? Whatta'bout a lean-to? If we find a good area butted up against a hill it'd provide some run off from rain with a few trenches dug, and protection on one side.." A genuine smile is shot towards Ravy with a nod "Exactly.." she says, following Kimm's glances towards the trees and watching the other side, doing a quick and covert weapons check under the worrying-weaver's radar while he talks to Th'ero "We've got plenty back up out here.. right?" is asked of Kimmila quietly. A side-bumping motion of petite self is jutted playfully towards Cyrus as they walk "Never too late t'start.." Though it's plain to see it's not his thing a smirk at the saying has Rynn chuckling "S'agood way t'go.. with that flow n'all.."

Kyzen listens with rapt attention to Skyler's description of a hammock, eyes wide and eager. "Maybe we can get supplies brought up!" he says excitedly and if he wasn't already energized enough he certainly is now! Off he races with Skyler again, following him and gesturing for the other Candidates to do the same though he doesn't wait to see who follows along. "I don't really like wherry…" he can be heard saying, not quite a complaint. Yet.

Th'ero chuckles, "I'd rather not disturb a nest or flock of wherry if we can help it, unless we organize those of us who're skilled enough with bow and snare to take them down," he says, his eyes following Skyler and Kyzen a moment before turning to Ravyal. The Weyrleader turns thoughtful before giving a reassuring nod of his head. "We've taken precautions, lad. You've nothing to fear of these forests, save for the wilds themselves. Guards are roaming the perimeter and you will always have riders with you. Perhaps not always in view, but we will be here." Watching. Kind of creepy?

Kimmila watches Skyler and Kyzen tear off with an amused chuckle, shifting her bow to her other hand. "Yeah," she adds on to what Sairon says, "you really only fall out of a tree /once/. Then you make sure it never happens again." Grinning at the Candidates, the bluerider chuckles. "Just how long are you all planning on staying out here?" she drawls, amused. "Back-up? Well yeah, there's us, some guards…plus the weyr." She points to the tall walls, still visible despite the thickness of the trees. They see you when you're sleeping… Yeah, kind of creepy for sure.

Who's going to sleep? Too much to do, right? Skyler slows a moment to look around "Don't like wherry?" He tips his head and then shrugs "Well, that's okay. Maybe we'll find a nice stream and get some tasty fish. That sounds good too." He turns around a couple of times "Now which way?" he says with a thoughful hmm and then glances at Kyzen. "Think they would bring more supplies? That'd be great." He turns to look back at the rest "Come on! Isn't it nearly lunch time? I'm hungry!"

Cyrus gives a helpless little shrug to Therynn as she offers her bump of encouragement, "I think I might be getting just a bit to old now to be liking completely new things…" he says with a small chuckle, "Especially things that involve alot of physical activity. I'm not is as good a shape as I used to be." Not that he is really super out of shape, but if you get old and work inside things just sorta go that way. He listens to what Th'ero and Kimm are saying and gives a glance around looking for these 'hidden' riders, "A perfect inducement of paranoia if I saw one." Jokes the mindhealer as he fades into the background of the candidates.

"Hey, the whole Weyr came camping by the sounds of it." Sairon says with a quiet laugh as he pulls another piece of jerky from a pouch in his pocket, chewing at it from one corner of his mouth. "You know, the second you say there's nothing to worry about, somethin' always hears that. Natural law, that." Not that he seems worried, but then Sairon never does. The man seems incapable of worry. He jerks a thumb back towards Cyrus. "But what he said, that I said: You just go with the flow."

Ravyal tilts his head just a little bit, but nods. "I doubt I'd be good at it, anyway." The hunting part, at least. Lessons he may have had, but that doesn't make him any sort of expert at it! Still, the teen rolls his eyes skyward for a moment, glancing back across to Sairon. "H..how about we stop mentioning it, then?" The less talk about /bad stuff/ happening, the less chance that it actually will! So much logic! He keeps on with the forward march however, giving a small laugh. "I'd eat..pretty much anything, I think. So long as it's cooked." Possibly if he doesn't know where it came from and what it took to make it, either.

Therynn wishes she was in a rowdy, rumble, kid chasing kinda mood, but at the moment she's feeling a bit.. aged.. or fatigued.. or both. "Anything tastes good when your stomach is screaming for food though!" She calls to Kyzen, able to keep a steady stride, the mini-huntress looks up towards Th'ero and jests "Wrestling a mama wherry s'better than wrastling a tunnel-snake. More rewarding' too.. Sir." Always showing respect, even if questioning his not wanting to 'disturb' their furture hunt. A hearty exhalation of ease is shared, giggling at Kimm's comment about falling from trees. "Copy that.." is said to the bluerider about guards, riders and the Weyr. "Not always in view though.." she mumbles, mulling over what kind of big brother set up may be going on here. "West.." Rynn says to Skyler, pointing left when he turns back "Seems like a good direction t'head for water." This based on moss, new growth, air flow and other markers beyond astute intuition. One of the truths of friendship is about being there for someone through their doubts "Aww c'mon Cy! You're still young and strapping!" Then towards Ravyal "N'I bet you'd be better than ya give yourself credit for it y'tried! Here.." Bow is pulled from back "Wanna check this out? I can teach y'how t'shoot it when we're done with camp if yer interested.. best way t'hunt in my opinion."

"Oh, I know that wherry proves to be a better challenge. If we were a troupe of seasoned hunters, all of us, I'd consider it. But we're not." Th'ero remarks to Therynn and jerks his head to where Kyzen is racing about, dipping in and out of the brush. Sairon's comment earns a low chuckle from the Weyrleader. "And that's the point of this camping excursion. Well… a small part of it. To just go with the flow of things. Hone skills already learned or learn new ones." Or just enjoy some well deserved time away from the Weyr and in fresh air! Glancing to Kimmila, he smirks. "If the weather holds, I'd imagine they can stay out overnight if they wish to. Any closer to finding a suitable camp?" he calls out to the group at large. Lunch will likely follow once they're settled!

"I'd rather starve than eat wherry!" Kyzen calls in challenge to Therynn, grinning from ear to ear before he's off again, joining Skyler for a moment before his attention is grabbed and pulled away. Off he goes, crashing through the bushes and then returning with his hands full of… berries? "These for eating?" he asks, offering them for Skyler to examine first. Hey, he said he was hungry, right? Don't worry, they're harmless blackberries! Honest.

Kimmila pauses for a moment, peering into the trees before she resumes her walk. "Wherries have this reputation of being docile creatures but they can really be vicious," she murmurs, shooting Th'ero a look of agreement. "I was planning on an overnight stay for them…" For her? Maybe not. Time will tell. She rolls her eyes at Kyzen's remark. "You had it that one time and loved it." Until she told him what it was. That was a mistake.

Skyler veers westward, wait. Which ward? He glances at Rynn and then heads to the left. "Hey! Is that a clearing?" He asks and then he's grinning at Kyzen "Oh! Those look nice and juicy!" he takes some to try. THen playfully he grabs his throat and starts gagging "I'm dying!" Course, it's the most gleeful looking death scene as he falls to the ground and then starts giggling. "Mm, must have more of those." he remarks as he sits up and then stands up while brushing himself. Now, what was he doing? Oh yes. "Clearing! Food!" And he's off again to what may or may not be a clearing. "Last one there's a rotten wherry egg!"

Sairon gestures through the forest to an area that looks lighter than the rest. "How about that direction, Weyrleader? Might be promising. Light means less things casting shadows." Science! "Least seems promising. I'm no hunter but I'm not a bad turn at navigating. Benefit of wandering aimlessly, you got a lot of time to watch things." He turns his eyes towards where Skyler points. "That's worth a look too."

Ravyal blinks for a moment, then just smiles, shaking his head. "I guess we go that way." He gestures off toward the direction Skyler's taken off. A good direction? A bad one? Any direction is a good one at this point! Though hopefully it's one with a clearing. There's a glance back at Therynn though, one that turns into a slight stare before his lips curve into a slow grin. "I…well…okay! I'll try not to lose any of your arrows in the bushes but..I can't promise anything."

Therynn's head bobs with steps, trailing behind the Weyrleader, stretching short limbs as far as they can go to keep stride without buckling at the knees. "I do suppose tunnel snakes r'easier t'catch.." said to Th'ero and Kimmila with understanding, though her voice conveys she may not be convinced this is a better option than eating snake. Go figure, a huntress who's picky about what she eats! She'll snicker at Kyzen's challenge "Rockmites and grubs for you Ky!" There's hearty laughter for Sky'e fake out. "Just one night?" She repeats. Probably reasonable for anyone who's not a hunter. A bit further west and "There.." a nod of agreement with Skyler and Sairon "I agree. Could be a good spot.. n'looks like we'd have some protection. Whatdy'a think?" is asked of Kimm and Th'ero a smile for Ravyal and flick of the wrist as she trots after Kyzen and Skye "No worries. I've got plenty.."

"Kyzen cannot be staying here overnight," Th'ero mutters low for Kimmila to hear and perhaps some of the Candidates who are close enough but not the boy himself. Last thing they need is a meltdown in the middle of the wilds. The Weyrleader just snorts and shakes his head for Skyler's antics, which have Kyzen laughing and stuffing his face, only to mimic the younger Candidate and tumble over "dead" before miraculously coming back to life in order to tag along as they go towards a clearing. "M'not a wherry egg!" Kyzen shouts around a mouthful of berries, already staining most of his mouth with the berries' juice. Lovely. He'll stick his tongue out defiantly to Therynn. Nuh huh! "Maybe more, if you lot aren't bored of all the wilderness too soon. It may be staggered trips. A day and night here and there and further out if we can manage and the weather holds." Th'ero explains to Therynn, before glancing sidelong to Sairon and to Ravyal as well. "What say you of this spot?" Someone make a decision soon!

Kimmila frowns a bit at Th'ero. "Really?" Seems she was planning on them camping out tonight as a family. Then she's quiet,looking around at the Candidates with a little grin. "Yeah, where are we camping?" Apparently they're no in charge of this outing.

Sairon follows the others with no real hurry, he just stays close enough so as not to lose track of anyone. He glances around the space once they reach it, sucking on a tooth consideringly before he shrugs and flashes an easy grin. "Drier, nothing waiting to eat us… looks good enough to me. I ain't picky where I eat lunch." He says with a widening grin as he swings his pack off his shoulders, setting it down beside him.

"It looks fine to me.." Even if Ravyal's knowledge about proper camping /is/ a bit limited. Sairon seems to like the clearing well enough! The teenager just nods, looking immensely relieved to finally shrug out of the pack he's been carrying. He swings it down with one hand to make sure he doesn't just..drop it though, and stretches both arms above his head. "Mmm!"

Therynn crinkles her nose and playfully head wobbles back at Kyzen with a giggle. "Well now.." mentioned towards Kimm "..wonder where he got his feistiness from? N'y'all aren't staying?" is asked of Th'ero quietly, nodding in reference to explanations and hoping Ravyal missed the part where they all leave and Candidates pray for good weather. "Looks like a well chosen spot t'me gents.." glances shot between candidates to see if they agree. Just then, she hears something rustling in the bushes on the other side of clearing. Sense are heightened and Rynn is immediately on guard, ready to defend or attack at a moment's notice. Realizing Ravyal's now 'armed' she practically teleports behind him. "Ready for your first lesson?" An arrow is pulled from quiver.

Th'ero seems equally as surprised by Kimmila's response. Did their plans get lost in the preparation? "… you don't think the Candidates will mind him?" he mutters as his eyes drift to find where their son has run off too. For now, Kyzen seems engrossed in sticking to Skyler like glue and that helps keep the Weyrleader a little at ease. There's a snort for SAiron's assessment and likely the first true smile, even if small, from the bronzerider. "We camp here then." he muses, nodding to Kimmila. Perimeter check? Too late it seems, as the sounds of something moving in the bushes has the Weyrleader on alert and he's calling to those who have wandered off to gather again. His stance has changed, lowered and tensed and his hand rests on the hilts of the blades he has strapped to his hips, including his short sword.

Kimmila shrugs. "They don't seem to mind him now… I think it'd be fun for his first camping outing. Plus, there are so many people here…" The boy is less likely to wander off - without someone noticing. She sets down her pack and stretches, checking her bow by habit. Then she turns, frowning at those bushes. She hardly drops into a crouch with bow ready, but…she's a little tense.

Sairon jerks his head towards the sound and he moves with slow, steady steps to be nearer to those of the group. Slowly his hand inches towards his back but he doesn't make any immediate moves and keeps a firm look shifting between where the sound originated and the Weyrleader.

That pack Ravyal put down? It's immediately picked right back up…if only slightly. There's /rustling/, and tension, and even /weapons/ being drawn. If he doesn't at least have something to flail at whatever dangerous creature is about to come forth..well. He can just as well arm himself with a sack full of camping equipment. He starts a little when Therynn appears behind him though, huffing faintly. "Would've liked to at least eat first.."

Therynn isn't about to offer up an opinion about minding Kyzen or not, and yet she doesn't protest either. He seems to be having fun and is definitely tolerable for a tiny. After spending the greater part of recent duties tending to Weyr-chillin' she may be a little traumatized PTSD style. Rynn will likely leave most of the play up to Skyler, while she's more than happy to tend to general things, and at least would make certain he didn't wander off or something. Faranth forbid the Candidates lose Th'ero and Kimmila's little boy! Now that she's sidled up to Ravyal, thoughts about later slip away, there is only now. "This could be dinner.." Ravyal's rucksack shield is reached for "Y'can't very well be planning on whacking game with that.." or can he? "Grab the bow.." when he does, both hands are clasped, placing hers over his on the grip firmly. "Like this.. n'test the string.." she plucks at it "Like so.." Her voice is soft but deepens for emphasis "ALWAYS spot your mark first.. never let a wild arrow, dagger or star go. Could be some wanderer out there.. Now pull, n'wait." Arrow is put in place and Rynn, tiny as she is, is wrapped around Ravyal, the two of them focused on the bushes. More crinkling leaves, though it doesn't sound like something of large mass. Suddenly a wild fowl pops out in to the clearing, head bobbing as it puts along unaware of the on-edge group nearby.

Discussion of Kyzen's overnight stay with the Candidates (and consequently Kimmila and Th'ero remaining too) is set aside for now. Th'ero's attention is fixed on those bushes and the trees, keeping Kimmila to one side and Sairon to the other and with the other Candidates gathered in close. Only Therynn and Ravyal remain out and the Weyrleader is about to protest but decides to hold his tongue. He's not sure if it's entirely wise, but again, it is already too late! The mystery is solved when the wild creature reveals itself and Th'ero eases out of his readied stance with a sigh of relief. "Didn't think any of that game was still kicking about this close. After having to host the Games, I'd have thought they'd be all further out…" Surprise, surprise?

Kimmila looks a bit bemused at Therynn, but then attention is drawn to the bushes and whatever is rustling in there. When the little fowl emerges, Kimmila snorts. Raising her bow, she tracks it for a moment and then lets her arrow fly, making sure no one else is in the line of the arrow's flight. It strikes the creature in the neck, killing it instantly, and Kimmila grins. "Take that, archery contest." She is vindicated.
Sairon lets his arm return to his side as he looks past the Weyrleader towards the bird, letting out a puff of breathe. "…least it coulda been big enough for us all to eat." He remarks, though given the faint lopsided pull of his mouth he's likely joking. Likely. "Well, least she has something good to eat." Says the traveller with a laugh and a gesture towards Kimmila. He heads back to begin scoping the clearing, pausing at one point to begin stepping down the grass like a canine looking to flop down on the bed.

"Wait, what?" Ravyal at least lets go of the pack, only to have that bow pushed right into his hands. "I don't think…I mean this can't possibly be a good..idea.." The teen holds very..very still at being so completely wrapped up. His eyes are quite wide even, watching the arrow get nocked into place, mouth opening when it's drawn back. "Is this really safe to be doing like this? I could just..a few feet away and all.. Might be a little..hm?" Well it's a wild fowl. Certainly not anything to be afraid of. …At least it's not some sort of giant beast. Probably for the best. Still, the teenager blinks and starts when another arrow flies, and the creature drops dead. "..Oh."

Therynn is probably quite the silly sight standing behind Ravyal, attempting to show him how to use a bow. This, a teaching tactic that was delivered much more reasonably by Quorel who towers over the petite lady, could be some Pernese equivalent to the Terran art of learning golf thought much more funny looking. Before too much thinking or talking can be done, hands pulled up to chin height anchor point, the pressure on arrow is released and *whirrr* it zips through the air. Hesitance is seen and it shoots in the fowl's general direction, a bit wildly, and a few good seconds behind Kimm's on point shot. "Wow! Well done Kimm" she says at the blue rider's dead-on hit. "And now Ravyal, the hard part is over! You've shot your first arrow." Seemed safe enough right?

"Maybe I'll send the Guards after those wherries after all," Th'ero mutters low enough for Sairon to overhear, as he's left Kimmila, Therynn and Ravyal to their "hunting" of the fowl. He has no long range weapons on him, so it is not necessary for him to linger. He's confident enough in his weyrmate's abilities and Therynn's understanding of hunting to know how to handle a small fowl. "Want to help set the camp?" he asks of Sairon, slipping the large pack he'd been carrying carefully to the ground. "I'd imagine we'd need a fire pit now of sorts… No sense letting that meat go to waste." Right?

Kyzen had been a little frightened when the atmosphere changed and they were all huddled together but put on a brave face. When the fowl popped out from the bushes, his eyes went wide and then he had to bite back a laugh, grinning to the other Candidates. Look at it! It's so weird looking. He figures they're going to let it go and he certainly is delighted in watching it! And then it's… dead? He's seen dragons hunt before and he knows where his food comes from but seeing it is another thing. It startles him how swift it is. No one told him they were going to kill it! Kyzen begins to sniffle, wiping the back of his hands against his eyes.

Kimmila looks satisfied as she stows her bow and strides forward to scoop up the dying creature, pulling her arrow from its throat and setting it aside to be cleaned. Looking around… "Kyzen! Want to help me pluck it so they can cook it?" They. Someone else. Not her.

Therynn feels saddened only but briefly by Kyzen's reaction, crouching down to his level she says "It's ok little dude.. it's the circle of life n'we'll use it all. How 'bout we make ya a Chief's Feather headdress?" See!? She's not a complete salt cube when it comes to kids.

Sairon looks over towards Th'ero as the Weyrleader calls to him. "Sure." The young man responds as he crosses back through the clearing. "Fire pit is the best thing, this way we can get it going and get a fire set. Someone bring a shovel so we can clear some space? Others can get some wood, if we find stones can set 'em around the pit. Then while lunch is prepping we can focus on the tents then."

Ravyal might have closed his eyes when that arrow left. Maybe. And wherever that arrow has gone? Well..the teen can only stare after it. His certainly didn't hit the fowl! "I don't…I don't think that really counts.." /Does/ being maneuvered like a puppet count as /him/ doing the shooting? He's quick to untangle himself from Therynn though and hand her the bow back again. "Thank you, though. I'll just..I'll go find that!" Arrow! Come back! He trots off in the direction it went flying. Hopefully not too far!

Therynn is also quick to untangle herself from what's proving to be a rather awkward interaction with fellow Candidate and feels a bit saddened by Kyzen's reaction. Crouching down to his level she says "It's ok little dude.. it's the circle of life n'we'll use it all. How 'bout we make ya a Chief's Feather headdress?" See!? Rynn's not a complete salt cube when it comes to kids. "You guys are awesome.." is shot towards Sairon and Th'ero the fire masters before heading out towards Kimmila and her catch. "Of course it counts Ravyal.. that's how I shot my first arrow!" She didn't hit her mark either. "I can set up an ascham and target for us to practice more later if y'want.." When she reaches Kimm, a few paces past towards the bushes are taken. "Hey.. check this out!" Crouching down again, some brush and leaves are pushed aside to reveal a large nest of quail eggs. "We got eggs!"

Surely someone sent off for firewood. Because that is where Hazelon is and hopefully that isn't an issue. Arms full of the wood he reenters the main area, and moves to set the pile off to one side. His own bow and quiver are slung over a shoulder. So far he has made little attempt to talk to anyone, instead keeping a close eye of his own on the forest.

"What's that…?" Kyzen mumbles to Therynn between his sniffling, his hands still wiping at his eyes as he tries to be "brave" and not cry like a baby. Even if he is six and that's perfectly reasonable! He's so his father's son. He's intrigued though by what a "headdress" may be but when his mother calls to him and offers to pluck the bird he shakes his head and the sniffling, half-sobs start. No, thank you? Therynn is moving off and Th'ero is watching his son closely, trying to gesture to Kimmila that maybe it's best not to let him see the fowl or handle it. "Perfect. See if you can't find a good place for us to dig a pit. Ahh… there's our firewood…" he remarks as he begins unpacking some of the gear, nodding his head in thanks to Hazelon. "Kyzen, would you like to dig?" That's a safe task for a kid, right? Kyzen wanders over and grabbing one of the smaller shovels, proceeds to drag it behind him as he sidles up to Hazelon's side as he wipes his eyes with his free hand. Sniffle. "… you gonna help dig too?" he asks, only to look over to where Therynn calls out. Eggs? "Don't eat the eggs!" he protests.

Kimmila is confused by Kyzen's sniffling. "Why're you crying?" she asks, shooting Th'ero a baffled look. "He get hurt?" She's clueless. Of course, this is a woman who once threw a (dead) bird right onto the fire to show her daughter how dangerous fire could be. Blistering skin, crackling bones…poor kid is probably still in therapy. Crouching there, Kimmila begins to pluck the bird, nodding to Hazelon when he returns. "Manage to find some dry stuff?" she calls. Eyes follow Therynn and then she winces. Eggs? And…uh. They're not going to eat them? She looks at the bird in her hands. Sorry, mama.

"Well, could mebbe hatch em?" Sairon says. "Raise 'em, maybe find some others. Nice little flock for more eggs in the future and.. you know." He says with a cough, pointedly not finishing his sentance. He just collects up one of the shovels so he can assist in digging the pit, finding a place central to the clearing to break ground. Once the pit's dug, he'll collect unearthed rocks to go around the edge and haul in some logs for seating. Companionable chatter is, of course, always present around the traveller - it's getting him to shut up that's the trick.

Therynn will surely show Kyzen all about making a headdress from the beautiful feathers, necklaces and good luck charms from claws, beak or bones and anything else he's interested that may help him to understand the necessity of hunting. "It'll be great.. promise!" is said to the kid before heading towards Kimm. "I don't think he understands yet.." is said to the rider "I'll help ya pluck em…" looking back towards egg protest, there's a nod, with no message conveyed as to whether or not the eggs will be eaten or not. She won't go on to explain how they'll never make it without there mama because that would just be cruel! Sairon's notions are sweet, the idea entertained, but she doesn't want to be the bearer of bad news by commenting about how much tastier eggs are than scatids and rollers. "Umm sure.. hatch em.. I think there's about four here.." really there's ten, but who else is counting?

"Aye." Hazelon's answer to the inquiry is quiet as he kneels to stack the wood carefully so it stays dry. The sudden apperance of Kyzen at his side has Hazelon casting a swift look at Kimmila. But with Th'ero not raising a fuss, surely there isn't any problem here. In an undertone he'll ask, "You alright?" Because surely those tears must have come from somewhere and the ex-renegade was too late to see all of the fuss taking place. Talk of Eggs and hatching said eggs is ignored in favor of quiet conversation with the kid.

Th'ero quirks a brow for Sairon's suggestion but also says nothing, save to help where he can in digging the fire pit, as it seems Kyzen is otherwise occupied. Glancing up to Kimmila, he will wipe his hands clean on his pants and then stride over to where the bluerider is currently plucking the fowl. Crouching down, he murmurs low and privately with her. Time for an explanation! He doesn't seem at all ruffled that Hazelon is with Kyzen. They're in a big group, after all.

Kyzen however is glad to see Hazelon and would have dragged Skyler into this too if he wasn't already busy. They'll understand, right? "…no?" he mumbles to Hazelon and sniffles again. "They shot that pretty fowl." he points to where Kimmila is now plucking it. "I know things die but they didn't say it was going to and it was just minding it's own business and it was so fast…" Wait, what? Hatch eggs? He blinks his teary eyes. "Can we take the eggs? I don't want them eaten too! They don't have a momma now… We just keep them warm, right? Like all eggs?" Clearly. "It'll be just like Boo!" His kitten. "I can save them!" Oh boy.

Kimmila glances up at Th'ero, her brows furrowed, glancing at Kyzen. She grits her teeth. "He…wants to keep them," she mutters. "How are we supposed to keep fowl eggs and hatch them? Maybe I should send for D'ani…" Call the beastcrafter. He'll know what to do! She looks over at Hazelon and Kyzen as well, offering the Candidate a little smile of thanks for taking care of the boy since she's obviously frightened him. That stings a bit. Again, Kyzen goes to Hazelon instead of to her.

Therynn does her best to butt out when Th'ero comes over for private talk time with Kimmila (a Day Time TV Show?), rooting around gently in the nest to pull most of the eggs aside, besides the 'show' eggs that are potentially going to be incubated, hatched and raised. Tiny not-so-wild-fowl running around Fort would be pretty cool she concludes silently. With the bulk of them tucked away in a padded side pouch, the remaining four are removed from nest and Rynn turns back towards the group. "That guy almost ready to be skewered?" Rynn was never the super sensitive either, though she can see that twinge of dejection regarding Kyzen when she asks Kimmila quietly about the bird. "Trade ya?" Eggs are offered to take over to her son, a glance, smile and nod for Hazelon as he eases.

Hazelon flicks a glance backwards at the bird in Kimm's hands, then down to the boy next to him. "So you're gonna be helpin' her babies." A statement of fact. The teen doesn't attempt to soften the blow that the bird is dead, simply move on. Death happens, and so long as it happens to someone else, all is well. "You should try diggin' from this angle," and kneeling he will show the boy the right angle to dig the pick at. Therynn recieves just the briefest of glances, which then turns into a broad scan of the forest around them.

Cyrus has been hanging back amidst the chaos just taking it all in. The look he wears on his face is more or less neutral, nothing going on beneath that…nope. His gaze slips from Kyzen and Haze, to Therynn and finally settles on Th'ero and Kimm. Parenting is hard. Kids have feelings and stuff…who would have thunk. He then decides to finally speak up, "So far so good I guess…."

"I'd imagine it's no different than a firelizard egg…" Th'ero murmurs quietly to Kimmila and he'll nod his head in agreement to seeking D'ani's advice. "We could speak to a Beastcrafter again too." In case those eggs DO hatch. "He can't keep them in the weyr." He can be heard muttering to his weyrmate.

Kyzen nods his head, "Uh huh! We gotta, right? We killed and ate their momma." Or are going to eat the momma bird. See? He understands the death part and accepts it. His tears (now dried) were just from being spooked from the swiftness in which the fowl died. "When do we put the wood you got in?" Kyzen asks as he crouches down and begins to dig as Hazelon showed him. He'll paused occasionally to peer at Therynn and his parents and Cyrus too. Where are those eggs?

Kimmila turns her head to /peer/ at Th'ero. "That's rather harsh," she murmurs. "We should at least try…" She watches Therynn with the eggs, pushing to her feet to take the 4 that are brought to her. "Thanks," she murmurs. "Kyzen. You're going to need to find a container for these. With cloth or sand, maybe, just like firelizard eggs. But listen…they might not hatch okay? You have to be ready for that."

"Whene'er it's deep enough." Hazelon reaches down a hand to scoop out some more dirt. "Ain't deep enough we might be startin' a fire we ain't lookin' to be havin'." When Kimmila comes closer with those eggs Hazelon will look up once to glance at them, then go back to digging out that hole, working on enlarging what the kid had begun. "Stones." It isn't a directive to anyone, just a statement.

Therynn admires the way Kimmila and Th'ero parent, figuring that quail eggs are to fire lizard eggs like dragonets are to human babies. It's a harsh world out there and someone's gotta teach the little ones the reality of things, lessons learned by Rynn the hard way. "Welp.. looks like the fire's almost ready.. " a nod towards Hazelon and his endearing guidance of Kyzen "I'll gather up the feathers so we can make you that Chief's Headdress later.." and towards the rest on her way back towards the feather pile "…and look for a large skewer n'some things t'go with the fowl.." The small bird alone surely will not be enough for everyone. She'll look for approval from Th'ero before departing, smile at Cyrus in passing, and give a flick of the wrist as a departing wave before heading out in search of tubers, carrots, onions and greens that may have sprouted early this season, also covertly hiding the eggs for later when Kyzen goes mimis.

Cyrus is not enough 'camping savvy' yet to realize that Hazelon is asking for stones to use in completing the fire pit. He just sort of gets an odd look on his face and quickly shifts from the young boy and the young man to those present of the more grown up variety, "So do you all do alot of camping or is this the exception to the rule?" he asks. Ever curious, "Because if there is going to be lots of camping I might need to read a few books on how to do it right." Probably too late for this trip.

Th'ero blinks. "How was that harsh?" he asks, seeming perplexed but he does not argue with Kimmila. She's accepting the eggs from Therynn by then and his attention is drawn elsewhere. Namely to preparing that fowl for the spit and keeping a sharp eye on the other Candidates. Therynn will get her permission to go and she won't go alone, even if it seems she is. "Don't need no book to learn about this, Cyrus," Th'ero informs him with a faint and crooked smile. "Nothing to camping really or roughing it out in the woods. Find water, find shelter and find food and you're on the right track. Plus, it's best you learn hands-on!" Oh joy?

Kyzen frowns, "But we need a fire? How can this fire be not one we want?" he asks Hazelon, peering at the pit already dug and now slowly being ringed in stones, some of which are stacked by his small hands. "Why stones?" he inquires next, before his mother comes over bearing gifts. Overjoyed, he almost leaps up to embrace her but luckily holds off and doesn't crush those eggs between them. "Where can I find sand?" Kyzen begins to scan the area. "Or a container?" He looks up at her hopefully and though he looks a touch disappointed in being reminded, he nods his head. "… I know… Not all eggs hatch…" But his will! His determination is as clear as day and written all over his face.

Kimmila shrugs. "I don't know, Kyzen. That's your first task if you want to keep these eggs." Go, child, on this quest to find a container and sand. Only then shall she bestow upon you the four magical eggs…

Hazelon waves a hand upwards at the trees around them. "Don't want that to be burnin'." A simple statement before Hazelon finishes laying out the stones around the fire pit they have made. Except… the boy is going to be distracted by his mother. Rising just to his knees Hazelon reaches out for the firewood and begins to arrange it in the pit, with smaller pieces in the middle. When he speaks again, strangely enough, it is to Cyrus. "Ain't no book what can be tellin' you about the woods."

"I'd feel far better about the whole thing if I could find a book to read about learning something hands on." Thats what you get for bringing an academic along for the ride Th'ero. Given half a chance he probably would have said more about that, but then Hazelon interrupts his train of thought. This must be one of the few candidates that he hasn't yet met in some capacity, "Have you been to the archives? They have books on everything. Trust me. I've spent way too much time there…" Indeed Cyrus is often seen in his free time wandering about the archives on what is amounting to a fools errand, "For the moment though you are correct there are no books available. I'll just have to wing it."

"Live a little, Cyrus. It'll do you some good!" Th'ero remarks and his smile grows a little more. He's amused by the Candidate's academic approach to camping. "You may find that learning by experience is rather enjoyable and, in a way, liberating. Not to mention far more memorable than reading ink on a page." Clearly, he is not fond of reading as a pastime. No surprise there? While the others are content to oversee the setup of the fire pit, fire, spit and to cook their late lunch, the Weyrleader will round up his own volunteers and begin arranging their shelter, talking all the while. They've got to learn something from this, after all! Even if for some this is nothing new.

Kyzen understands Hazelon's explanation, nodding gravely. "No, that'd be very bad. I like these forests. I'd be sad if they burned. Where would the wild creatures go?" Never mind they'd all be seriously hurt or die too! "Sorry. I'll come back to help soon! I gotta find that stuff!" Kyzen explains hurriedly to Hazelon, carefully setting his tools down before racing off to find what Kimmila has listed. He'll manage (probably with some help from sympathetic Candidates) and all through the rest of the night he will protectively brood over those four eggs with a uncanny knack for responsibility and gentleness in a six Turn old.

Kimmila helps Kyzen get the eggs settled once he's found the materials, showing him how to turn the pot near the fire and how to make sure they're not too hot or not too cold, and how to cover them at night to let them retain their warmth. Time will tell if the orphan eggs survive. As for Kimm, as the Candidates begin to settle in the bluerider moves off into the forests with a few others to make the rounds, taking first watch and patrol.

Hazelon rises to his feet with a shurg at Cyrus. "Ain't no good to be readin' when there's else to be gettin' done." And with that being the most words he has actually spoken since the group left, he's going to just take himself away. It isn't much of a suprise that he drifts towards that circle around the candidates. Maybe he still doesn't trust them.

Cyrus also wanders off trying to figure out what exactly he is supposed to do with himself this evening. He should probably go find Therynn, she'll fill him in on everything. He gives a wave to Th'ero, Kimm and the rest, "Hope we all live through the night. See you in the morning."


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