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But Where is Home?
Sun Dec 10, 2006 10:25 (XFF:

About half an hour, probably longer of struggling with the overly active horse, he’s gonna be a nightmare to ride before I work all this excess energy out of him. Crael had finally managed to get all of the heavy barding onto his horse. Brutus looked truly impressive with the steel reinforced barding covering most of his torso, Crael’s quarter staff was attached to one side of the horse and his bow to the other. His bandoleer of knives was across his chest underneath the loosely tied leather covering of his mail shirt, with more knives hidden all over his body, two dirks were hidden in the barding close to the reins and there were two more throwing knives in his boots with another two strapped to his wrists. Feeling properly prepared at last with all of his provisions on his mount, saddle bags firmly tied on and weapons securely attached but still within easy reach Crael got ready for the last step in his preparations. Crael hoped that he wouldn’t get found out with his own bladed weapons, but he felt sure that if discovered the head Gaidin would understand Crael’s reasons.

He walked over to the corner of the stall and took the heavy, metal tipped lance from its place leaning in a groove in the wall. Crael then carefully moved back to the waiting horse and put one foot in the stirrup on that side of Brutus while balancing the shaft of the lance against his shoulder. Then with a smooth motion that comes from hours of practice he swung himself up onto his mount, quickly throwing his leg over the saddle and the lance is then dropped into the stirrup next to his foot. Finally in his place with everything ready to go Crael walked Brutus from his stall and into the sun, he kept up this pace all the way through the stables until he reached the grassy fields that lay between them and the training grounds themselves.

On reaching the fields Crael looked down and patted Brutus muscled neck smiling to his oldest friend in his new home. “Come on then Brutus, let’s use up some of that excess energy you’ve built up lounging around in that stall of yours!” At that he dug his knees into Brutus’ flanks and the battle trained horse responded by leaping forward into a canter which quickly increased in speed to a gallop, Crael laughed at his horse’s exuberance and lowered his lance as if he was back in Shienar drilling with the other lancers in conformed ranks.

Crael and his mount raced across the fields, eating up the fields in the space of half a minute as the large horse’s hooves eat up the ground, trampling large divots out of the wet grass. Reaching the end of the green stretch before the training grounds Crael pulled Brutus up sharply still smiling sharing his horse’s enthusiasm. He walked Brutus slowly through the training grounds not wanting to hurt or push anyone with the large warhorse.

Reaching the travelling yards seemingly before any other trainee he bowed low in his saddle to the assembled Gaidin and Aes Sedai. He stopped Brutus by the other horses noting that he seemed Brutus was, so far the only horse to be wearing any barding at all. Crael shrugged and swung one leg over Brutus and slid out of the saddle catching the lance firmly in one hand and leaning it against a nearby wall ready to leave when everyone was ready.

He watched the other trainees arrive in varying states of readiness, some with no weapons either because they didn’t have their own, hadn’t claimed them back yet for the trip or had yet to choose one from the armoury. Others obviously had never been to the borderlands before, wearing thin and light clothing that was likely to see them getting extremely cold, even in summer the borderlands could be terribly cold, granted when he got into the Blight itself he would be hot under his mail but he preferred warm in the cold of normal Borderland and hot and safe in the weird heat of the Blight.

Crael heard, or rather didn’t hear any noise as silence spread among the assembled trainees as Jield Gaidin called for their attention, he put one foot in Brutus’ saddle and pulled himself up so he could see above the crowd, Crael wasn’t short but the amount of people in the relatively small Tarvelling Yard meant that even he found it difficult to see over everyone else. “Welcome, Aethan’Tar, Sei’Tar, and Gaidin. These next few days promise to be an exciting change to the training of the Training Grounds and I’ve very pleased that you’ve all come. Before we begin however, I want you to line up in a single file line and tell Zekian Gaidin your name, so that we know you’re all here. We’ll also be able to see if any of you who aren’t supposed to be here are here.”

With a final pat to his faithful mount’s side he left the snorting horse to join the slightly untidy line forming around the Yard as the large amount of trainees attempted to follow out the order in a rather crowded space. Crael waited patiently as a Gaidin slowly travelled down the line towards him making sure that all the people were meant to be here were and that no one who was not on the lists had tried to come anyway, absently he tucked his riding cloves into his belt next to his dirks before pulling a knife from his bandoleer and twirling it slowly between his fingers and then tossing it into the air and swiping it mid spin with the other hand.

Crael flicked his eyes right and noted that the Gaidin with the list was only two trainees away, knowing how the warrior would react to an Aethan’Tar playing with his knives in a cue of people he quickly stopped the spinning knife and slid it back into the bandoleer hidden across his chest. The Gaidin looked at him with an obvious question in mind and Crael quickly gave him the answer, “honour to serve Gaidin, I’m Crael Kantar Aethan’Tar.” The Gaidin nodded and marked his name off of his list and moved on to the next trainee.
Crael wondered what he should do now, seeing other trainees mounting their horses, some a bit more confidently than others he returned to Brutus and took up the lance once again swinging himself back into the saddle. He steered the massive warhorse into the mass of mounted trainees, Gaidin and Aes Sedai ready for the gateway to the Borderlands and home to open for him to ride through. Home…only is it still my home?

  • Homeward bound?Crael Kantar Aethan'Tar, Sun Dec 10 00:16
    Crael glanced at the notice board as he walked past on his way to the training grounds for yet another couple of hours of getting beaten into the ground with his mentor’s practice blade. His sword... more
    • But Where is Home? — Crael Kantar Aethan'Tar, Sun Dec 10 10:25
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