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A Visit to a Place from the past
Sat Dec 30, 2006 13:58 (XFF:

Crael had to admit the tents were pretty good, far better than he had expected and a luxury in comparison to what he had been used to in the lancers when they often made do with simply finding a hedge or their horses as the only shelter from the elements. Once up they had plenty of space for both him and Kaleb to sleep and stow their saddlebags in. There was also a sort of porch which Crael had used to put his armour in, stored just like Brutus’ barding in reverse order so he could put it back on easily and quickly if necessary. He was glad that they had got their tent up so quickly, other trainees less used to sleeping in the outdoors were still struggling with theirs, most of the time one of the two in a pair knew what they were doing but there was still a smattering of pairs who had no idea what they were doing and as much as Crael would’ve like to be able to ignore their plight and get to hunting for his dinner his Shienaran manners again wouldn’t allow him too. He looked at Kaleb who was just pulling his own mail hauberk over his head with a raised eyebrow in question as he flicked his head at the nearest group of struggling Aethan’Tar. The other Shienaran finished pulling the Hauberk off and folded into a neat pile alongside Crael’s in the porch before sighing and nodding with a faint quirk of a smile on his face. Crael looked around him, “If we split up we can help more than if we stuck together, just make sure you teach them what you’re doing or if we move we’ll end up doing half the camp every night!”

Kaleb chuckled as he slid past Crael and out into the growing gloom to help those who would be putting up their tents well into the night if they didn’t get any help soon. Crael couldn’t help but chuckle, “Peace, I know I’ll teach them right Kaleb so if any come asking for help tomorrow I’ll know that they’re one of yours and you can go and help them again!” That brought a laugh out of the growing darkness from the other young Shienaran who had almost reached the first group of camping virgins. Crael smiled, happy to have found such good company, he checked that his bow and quiver was safe away from the walls of the tent not wanting either to get damp, he had already unstrung the horse bow, leaving a bow strung permanently weakened its pull over time. His staff was inside the tent itself next to his bed roll, inside which were secreted most of his knives, he still had four on him if he needed them and the problem of hiding them from his partner had been solved early on as Kaleb swore as a dirk fell out of his bed roll onto the tent floor between them. The other trainee had tried to apologise and wouldn’t stop trying until Crael began pulling throwing knives and dirks from their hiding places on his body and in his saddlebags until there was a large pile between them. Abruptly Kaleb had laughed and accused him of being a walking armoury.

He started off into the night in the opposite direction to Kaleb towards the nearest troubled tent which was in the process of falling down on the two trainees trying to support it from within. Crael stood outside the tent and coughed politely, a head appeared from within. “Umm, we’re fine thanks, everything’s going fine here.” The tent this moment to collapse inwards, covering both the man with his head half out of the tent flap and the one still wholly inside. A slightly muffled voice came from within the tent. “Ignore that oaf, we could do with a hand and judging by how fast you and the Kaleb got your tent up you know what you’re doing.”

Crael smiled and bowed, “I was actually coming over to offer you just the assistance that you ask, and Kaleb is doing the same for others in that direction.” He lifted his hand to point to where two female trainees had, under Kaleb’s directions managed to make their tent look something like a tent at last.

The muffled voice from inside spoke again, “thank the Light, I have never camped out before in a tent such as this and this fool has never slept outside in his fool life!”

Two hours later found Crael back by his tent watching Kaleb appear out of the night in front of him. Many of the more adept trainees already had cooking fires going and smells of cooking rabbit or pheasant drifted to him on the wind almost making him regret his act of charity. Kaleb grinned as he returned, “Well that’s the last of them, bunch of city dwellers the lot of them, wouldn’t last a day on a real hike in the countryside!” He chuckled to himself as he shook his head partly in wonder and partly in disbelief.

Crael nodded, “I know just what you mean, and I found one lot sleeping under their tent like a blanket after giving up trying to put the thing up!” He laughed at that and Kaleb laughed with him. Crael reached into his pack and pulled out a flint and steel tossing it to the other Shienaran. “You get the fire going I’ll go find us something to eat, it can be your turn tomorrow.” Kaleb had been about to protest but hearing that they would be taking turns at the chores fairly he nodded, relenting as the darkness began to gather round he made a circle of nearby stones and after putting tinder onto the wood which they had already gathered he began to strike sparks into the dry wood, the sharp light sending shadows around their tent. Crael nodded and fetched his bow, quickly restringing it and fastening his quiver to his belt as he set off into the night towards the grove of trees that he had spotted earlier.

On reaching the trees Crael slowed to a slow stalking pace, an arrow knocked and ready to be drawn to his cheek and loosed at the sight of anything edible. The young borderlander probed the turf with his feet as he moved careful to avoid any dry wood that his feet touched, eager not to make a sound that might scare any potential prey. The night was far from silent, the noises of animals could be heard all around him. Something rustled in the foliage nearby and to his left, Crael slowed still further and pulled the arrow till the feathers on its shaft brushed his cheek as he turned a corner to see two large pheasants pecking at the grass in a moonlight clearing before him. Crael let the breath in his lungs slowly and quietly out before he loosed the arrow at the furthest bird, he did not wait to see whether it hit its mark or not instead pulling a knife from his sleeve and throwing underhand at the nearest bird. Two loud squawks rang out through the night as first the arrow hit its mark then the knife sunk into the breast of the remaining pheasant.

Crael found Kaleb sitting warming his hands in front of a by now crackling fire in front of their tent. He dropped the already plucked birds and Kaleb’s feet a smile obvious on his face from the light of the fire. “I’ve done the hard work my friend, so it’s your job to cook!” The other man sighed, shaking his head in mock annoyance as he quickly used his belt knife to carve the meat from the two birds and push them onto stakes that he had already made from twigs that had been stripped of their bark by his knife.

Crael sat down across the fire from Kaleb as unstrung his bow once again and put both the bow and quiver back into the tent next to his armour. He pulled out the knife he had used to kill the second pheasant and began to clean it off on the dew wet grass, satisfied that it was thoroughly cleaned he pulled out a whetstone and began to sharpen first that blade and then all of the knives that he had hidden about his person being careful to keep an eye out for who might be watching as he worked.

He finished his work at about the same time that Kaleb declared that the meat was cooked quickly pulling the meat laden stakes out of the fire causing sparks to fly and the heavenly scent of cooked meat to float through the air. He took the portion that he was offered and began to tuck in to the succulent meat. They ate in silence listening to the sounds of other trainees floating to them in the night, Crael winced at the sound of snoring starting up only two tents over. Kaleb had noticed his look and swallowed before remarking, “Imagine the poor man sleeping in the same tent!” Crael almost choked at the thought grimacing in sympathy.

Crael looked suddenly over at Kaleb, “You don’t snore do you?!” Kaleb looked insulted for a moment before catching the merry glint in Crael’s eye and throwing a spare piece of pheasant breast at him. Crael laughed again, “Peace, peace! You don’t snore I take it, don’t worry I’m sure you’ll be better company than Brutus!”

Crael awoke early the next morning to find Kaleb already awake, his blankets were tangled all about him as if he had fought with them in the night and he shook his head to hurry the fading of the dreams that had causes his midnight battle. The other Shienaran had their fire going again and had the remainder of the pheasant from last night stewing in a pot above the flames, he made no mention of what he must have heard in the night and for that Crael was grateful, and he needed no waking reminder of the demons that haunted his dreams. They ate silently again once the meal was ready before Crael quickly began to tidy away the cooking gear and douse the fire, as he was just putting the pot back in Kaleb’s saddlebags the man tapped him on the shoulder and pointed to where a Gaidin had just been talking to a pair of trainees outside their tent, Crael watched as the two bowed then set off among the trainees talking to each that they encountered, obviously passing on some message.

When the Andoran looking trainee reached them he waved cheerily, the young man was taller than Crael by a head and so Crael found himself looking up into the friendly, smiling face, “You my friend are in luck! I was told to tell the first twenty that I met that we’re to be allowed into Podian for the morning rather than starting on our training like the rest.” Crael found himself grinning along with him, Time enough to find that armourer and commission what I want. While thought about his costs and timings the Andoran continued, “we’re all to meet down there in the central square in ten minutes with whatever we wish to bring. See you then.”

Crael turned to Kaleb with a grin splitting his face to see the same look mirrored in his new friend’s face. Crael quickly dived into the tent tying his full money pouch to his belt before pulling the leather coat over his heat followed by the hauberk and finally the half plate for his legs and the steel gauntlets this time, he put the leather ones through his belt as he was only wearing the armour so the smith in Podian could get a better idea of the sizing of what he would be asking for. A passing Gaidin had a different idea though as he saw Crael emerge from the tent, “Good for you, going to train in full armour, that’s the spirit Aethan’Tar!” Crael gaped at the man who seemed to be entirely serious. The young Shienaran sighed then bowed quickly assuring the Gaidin that he would indeed be training in full armour.

Kaleb laughed as soon as the Gaidin was out of earshot and slapped Crael on the back, “that’s what you get for appearing to eager my friend.” Crael was about to reply with a biting comment of his own as soon as he could think of one before Kaleb continued, “I’ll guess that you’ll want a hand getting all that barding on that stallion of yours, well I’m going for my mount so I might as well help out.” The Shienarans smiled at each other in mutual friendship as they trotted off towards the paddock with all the belongings that they needed already in saddlebags over their shoulders. Despite his earlier unenthusiastic approach to the idea of training in armour Crael had no trouble in keeping up the moderately fast pace that the other unarmoured young man was setting. The training in the Tower as it is seems to have kept me in shape, maybe made me fitter than was in the lancers.

  • Home in the country and home in the companyCrael Kantar, Sat Dec 30 13:56
    Crael smiled, he took another deep breath and his smile grew. He felt at peace here, almost at home. He squeezed Brutus’ flanks lightly to urge the horse on from the gateway to allow other through.... more
    • A Visit to a Place from the past — Crael Kantar, Sat Dec 30 13:58
      • Luck, Armour and a feeling of belongingCrael Kantar, Sat Dec 30 14:00
        Just a couple of minutes later Crael was thanking the Light for the training back in the lancers that allowed him to get the barding on Brutus and everything else he needed done so fast or he would... more
        • Once more into the breach...Crael Kantar, Tue Jan 2 07:43
          Crael was the one who was laughing now, the Gaidin who had suggested that he train in armour would have been pleased at Crael’s efforts, for the past two days he had done just that. Most of the... more
          • A brush with deathCrael Kantar, Tue Jan 2 08:47
            Crael battled on as the clash of arms around him seemed to drag on interminably, underneath his armour he was drenched with sweat and Brutus’ flanks were increasingly warm to the touch. The battle... more
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