Fort Weyr - Feeding Grounds
Milling herdbeasts dot this lightly grassy section of the southern end of the bowl. Fences keep them neatly secured on all sides, even extending into the lake, allowing the beasts ample drinking water without granting them an escape. Dragons young and old come here to hunt on a fairly regular basis, though not all come at once of course. From here you can easily make out the entirety of the Weyr's lake as it spreads out south and southwest to the tumbled rubble of the far shore, while the rest of the bowl lies beyond the fences to the southeast, east and northeast.


Spring seems to be taking a firmer hold on Fort these days. Though colder days are not an uncommon occurrence yet, sunnier days kissed with warmth are beginning to become more and more frequent. Today is just such a day, for Rukbat's rays gently warm the feeding grounds as the beasts mill about in their enclosure. Standing outside the pen and watching the sky over the bowl is So'l, who studies his gleaming bronze's flight up, up, and away from the Training Complex until Sharuth is slowly circling overhead. They've been working on both flights and ground hunting and thus today is the first time the bronze will give aerial hunting a go. An Assistant Weyrling Master observes from afar, standing on the opposite side of the pen. The bronze rider looks a little nervous - after all, Sharuth could likely injure himself coming at the beasts from the sky - but there's also determination on his face as well.

Dtirae is Fortian by birth, so while spring has colder days, Dtirae still wears clothing that looks more fitting for the spring weather. Hands are tucked into the pockets of her pants as she strolls with leisure out towards the feeding grounds while Zuvaleyuth is overhead. Taking stock and getting food, two birds with one stone… And they're about to be down a handful of beasts considering the dragons about to feed. Spotting So'l on her way, the woman pauses to look at the bronze and take in his form. Then, she continues on her path but stops near the Weyrling. "Nervous?" Her tone is far from teasing, more touched with concern than anything. "He'll get it. They're meant to be hunters… Even if it takes a few tries." A glance up towards where Zuvaleyuth glides, the gold careful in her patterns of stalking so not to hinder the chance of the youth.

Sharuth senses that Zuvaleyuth's mind trickles in with a few drops of water that become a gentle stream, moving with the flow rather than forcing in. « Do not worry, do not panic. Your rider is nervous, but you can do this… Do not pick out the one that looks the strongest. He will move too quickly, too swiftly, and he will escape you before you can catch him. There is one, » an image of a meaty beast, young but clearly not the strongest of the herd, « this one will be easier for you to catch. The old will not be tender enough, and the youngest will be too little. This one will turn off from the rest, because it does not pay any mind to where the others are moving… It is distracted. It sees the two of us and will be distraught. »

Hearing a voice from behind, So'l turns to greet its very familiar source with a salute. "Dtirae," he smiles, remembering her directive to leave titles behind. Glancing up again at Sharuth, he nods slowly as his eyes return to the senior Weyrwoman. "A little, yes," So'l admits. "He's done very well in the ground hunts and I can't believe how…/naturally/ he's taken to flying," the bronzer grins. "Combining the two, though? I'm confident he'll get it," he nods to Dtirae's assurance, "I just hope he doesn't injure himself in the process." «Zuvaleyuth is guiding me,» Sharuth sends, keeping the gold in the conversation for reference. «Do not worry, little So'l. I will be fine,» the bronze promises. 'Little?' So'l asks in reply, smirking outwardly as he looks up at Sharuth. 'You may be bigger than me now but I'm /not/ little,' he laughs. 'Not by human standards, anyway.' «You will always be little to me. But that is not a bad thing,» the dragonling remarks kindly.

Sharuth's own thoughts combine with the stream, coming through at first as hinted scents of pine until the smell of the forest is more evident in the link. «He worries for me often. It is sweet but I will not hurt myself,» the bronze replies, his eyes whirling with both hunger and determination. The gold's advice is absorbed and Sharuth is soon locked onto the target she has suggested. «I see him. I am very hungry and he looks very…tasty,» the bronze's laughter bubbles into the mental landscape in the form of chirping springtime birdsong. «I am ready,» Sharuth cements, lowering his head and raising his foreclaws before descending. The ground comes fast though the bronze is ready for it, wings flaring and flapping to brake his speed and send him parallel along it. The beast senses its death is imminent and runs, darting first right and then left before turning to run the other direction. The maneuver is successful as Sharuth flies past without his breakfast in hand. «This is harder than I believed it would be,» Sharuth admits with a note of failure but continued desire to feed.

Dtirae returns the salute easily before her hand is tucked back into her pocket. "Of course it'd be natural. They're born to do this. But, some don't take to it as well as others… I believe when I was a Weyrling, more than a handful struggled." A shrug, "but they learned it in time." A grin is given to the young man before she's looking up towards the dragons. "He won't. Unless he is careless, but Zuvaleyuth doesn't believe that he's the sort to go in without a plan. And, it seems that she's helping him in that aspect, so, we'll have nothing to fear." This is romised with a gentle smile before her gaze is drifting back downwards and to the bronze rider. "Have you been hunting before?"

Zuvaleyuth mixes the scent of the forest easily, settling to become an ice cold river in the mindscape with the gentle sounds of the water serving as a back drop. « They often do worry. Dtirae did not fear so much as she knows how to hunt and how to track. » When the target is taken, warmth and pride drifts forth. « Wonderful. » She will observe, watching his form and considering the other beasts as he does so. The beast escapes capture and the warmth continues to flood forward. « They are smarter than they seem. It is sometimes easier, though risky, to continue downwards, grab them and then take off skywards. If they struggle, they fall and die regardless. But, you are young and that is something to try later. For now… Drive it into a corner. Give no escape for the beast. » And she will wait her turn.

"Me?" So'l asks, turning to look at Dtirae for a moment. "Not really. I've spent a lot of time in forests…marking trees for cut down, working the saws, dragging trunks back to Lemos." He shrugs then, offering, "Hunting wasn't really my father's style. And since he pretty much dictated my whole life…well," he smirks but there's a hint of something darker there, "I didn't really get to /branch/ out much." A tree joke from a woodcrafter? Ugh. "There he goes!" So'l grins, suddenly spotting his bronze diving to make a kill. Breath held, he waits several long moments as Sharuth tries - and fails - to snatch the beast. "Damn! Smart beast, that one," he remarks, watching it continue to run away. "C'mon Sharuth," he calls loudly but lovingly, "you can do it!" Turning back to Dtirae again, he nods and says, "Sharuth and I both appreciate Zuvaleyuth's help. And your reassurances," he smiles softly.

Sharuth enjoys the settled mindscape where both their minds intertwine. Waves of satisfaction ripple through the link to underscore this as the bronze climbs higher once more. «The corner? Yes,» hunger colors Sharuth's response, «that is a very wise suggestion. I will try it again,» he thinks, coming about to approach the beast from the front this time. And with that, he drops into dive that - with wings flared at just the right moment - has him chasing the beast towards the corner of the pen now. With fencing on either side, there's nowhere else for it to run really. And so, when Sharuth plucks it from the ground with his claws and lands, it dies in a bloody gurgle of rending teeth and plaintive, fading bleats.

"Yes, you." Dtirae meets his gaze when he looks to her, nodding as he explains. She remains in silence as she listens, attentive to his words. The joke, however, does cause the woman to laugh out loud. "Branch out. That's funny… But, really. I understand. Well, when you get cleared for *betweening*, how about Zuvaleyuth and I take you and Sharuth out hunting? I'll try and clear it with M'icha. I think you both could benefit from it. We can do some basic trap work, hunting with and without our dragons. If you want." A shrug and the woman turns her gaze upwards as Sharuth makes his attempt. The beast gets away, but she does not seem all that concerned. "He's smarter than he let on." A glance towards So'l for his appreciation and the woman smiles a touch wider. "You're welcome. Glad that we could be of some help."

Zuvaleyuth allows the sounds of the river to fade almost entirely as he rises again, silencing for concentration and for his focus on the beast. As he makes his second attempt, the scenery pauses entirely, river halted and trees frozen… Until the beast is caught. Then, it all comes rushing forward with a surge of pride from the gold. « Well done! Very well done! » Warm undertones coat her voice, entirely pleased by the results. « I will have to tell Velokraeth how well you've done, it was most splendid. » And now that the bronze has caught his meal, the gold dives without warning towards the herd, already frantic from one dragon catching one of their own. Her own meal is caught with graceful ease, a motion repeated often. It dies without much sound, and then brought away from the fearful herd. Even tearing into the beast is delicate without much mess.

Chuckling, So'l says, "Sorry, we woodcrafters can't be helped sometimes," he smirks. As Dtirae offers to take he and Sharuth on a hunting lesson, the young man's eyes light up a bit. "I think that'd be great. I can see where knowing how to trap and skin kills could come in handy." Though food is only a *between* away from anywhere on Pern, learning to be self-sufficient is a valuable thing. "Thank you for the offer, Dtirae. It is most appreciated," he grins before turning back to watch Sharuth make another attempt. This time, the bronze experiences success in his first aerial kill! "That was fantastic, Sharuth! Great use of the environment to your advantage!" He could have sent all of this mentally with both the AWLM and Dtirae present, So'l understands that everything is potentially a test. And so he ensures they know he is being properly supportive of his lifemate by vocalizing his pride and encouragement.

Sharuth appreciated the silence but, now that the kill has been made, revels in the returned mindscape and Zuvaleyuth's approval. «Thank you! You are an excellent teacher, that is truth,» the bronze replies, watching studiously as the gold makes a seemingly effortless kill. «That was very elegant,» Sharuth compliments, «and I hope to be as skilled one day.» He continues watching Zuvaleyuth eat, hoping she doesn't mind the way he studies her approach to the act. Then he's attempting to mimic it, knowing So'l's stomach for watching him savagely eat isn't so strong. 'I'm working on that,' the rider sends back, sensing Sharuth's concern. «I love you anyway,» the bronze replies before suddenly realizing something the gold has said. «You will tell Velokraeth?» Sharuth suddenly stiffens a bit with pride, though blood and bits drip from the edges of his jaws. Ew. «He is mighty. I would be honored to have his approval as well as yours.» His head dips to the gold with deference before he returns to eating.

"Oh, I enjoy a good joke. It made me laugh, so don't worry over it." Dtirae winks teasingly at the Weyrling. "It will come in handy. Not to mention, it's always good to learn new things. I'll see if I can talk M'icha into it." As Sharuth catches his prey on the second attempt, the woman nods her approval before looking to watch Zuvaleyuth do the same. There's a moment where her gaze is distant, focused on the gold before she's nodding again and looking towards So'l. "Wonderful display. I'll look forward to our trip." Because she has confidence she can convince M'icha, or, maybe she intends on rebelling? "I've got some numbers to crunch, now, to make sure our new beasts come in at a proper number. I will see you again soon." A salute is given before the Weyrwoman turns and departs from the feeding grounds.

Zuvaleyuth's river warms at the praise given. « You are far too sweet, dear one. You will be skilled with practice, and from what I gather: Dtirae intends to take you and yours for further practice. » Her voice is still brimming with pride, warmth radiating forward. There is, however, a brief pause in which there is only silence from her. Communication between rider and dragon, no doubt before she's showering more warmth. « I will tell him, and he shall be proud. For now, I must eat and then see what some of our lovely greens are gossiping about… » She will give one last gentle brush of warmth, her presence still lingering but becoming distracted with the happenings of the Weyr.