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The Expedition of the previous season proved to be far less dangerous than possibly any before, with a handful of newly discovered species, and plenty of wealth in the way of resources. As the snow melts, the cold retreats, and bright green buds of Spring burst forth, Dalibor sets its sights on the future as Red Ingoth lays her first clutch upon the sands of the Hatching Ground and the Weyr prepares for another hatching full of possibilities.
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 Wher Candidate Lesson: Camping in the Dark, SU:18 {Wher Candidates, Ranked Handlers}
Ruin
 Posted: Feb 27 2018, 11:44 AM
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[OOC: Any Priderunner+ Handlers are welcome to join in and help out with the lesson, but no Crafthandlers who aren't part of the military system

-Dual Candidates may decide whether they want to go or not. They may attend both lessons posted this season.

-As a note, even if no Priderunners participate, all Candidates must assume they are there in their posts, at least five watchful sets of eyes will be on all Candidates during this trip.]


The cave-in had been an unexpected lesson in the life of a Wherhandler, but an unrealistic one for a Weyr's Handler, unless they decided to open a mine on Dalibor's island and participate in her pillaging. So she'd thought of something slightly less dangerous than being crushed by falling rock: Getting eaten by wild whers. Okay, not really. They wanted all of their Candidates to be safe and happy, but a Wher Candidate had to be made of tougher stuff than a Dragon Candidate, and anyone worth their salt knew that. They would be on the ground for the rest of their lives facing head-on what dragons would face in the sky. Whether it was Thread burrows or wilds, it was a dangerous hard life as a Handler, and that didn't even include if their bonded partner was more killer than sense either.

She'd left a notice for them on the bulletinboard a sevenday ago that all Wher Candidates would be going outside the Weyrwall for a five-day camping trip, a nice swatch of days between Threadfalls. Now, she was back to collect. It was nearly mid-night, and Osk stood outside the barracks with a row of leather back satchels lined up behind him, pacing back and forth in echo to the gentle swaying of his tail. Call them, Anda urged him when she was certain everything was ready, and the Bronze obliged; Come you candies to the night, Osk here, others here, keep safe...if you listen. Come dressed, and with the five items you have chosen to bring,
when outside put the five items in front of feet so can look and see if smart or not.
Be fast and silent, pretend you true Handlers and be shadows.


Osk was careful to touch only the minds of his Wher Candidates, though if they in turn woke up their Dragon counterparts that was no fault of his own; Oreanda waited until each Candidate was lined up with their five chosen items and she would go to each one personally and see what they had decided to bring. Once things were sorted into their personal packs (or discarded for being absolutely worthless in the forest) and they were essentially ready to head out, she gave them the run-down as Osk stood behind her in the dark, his eyes sending dancing lights across his metallic hide.

"We are heading out beyond the Wall for the duration of this break in Threadfall. We will be as 'on our own' as we can be, but make no mistake, the vegetation will be thick. No dragons will come, regardless of how frantically I call that one of you has gone and gotten yourselves eaten. This is not the average Candidate lesson, and this is not your typical patrol. Normally something like this would be undertaken to hunt wild whers, but Dalibor has long since made an agreement with most of hers, so that is no longer necessary unless an errant Queen or Subqueen washes up on the beaches. This is dangerous, but only because you must learn, not because your lives will be threatened."

The Betahandler offered them a smile, though as always her eyes remained close; by this point most of them should understand that she was completely blind--if they weren't familiar with her prior to her promotion. "That bag you were given is all of the supplies you will have for the entire trip, with the exception of food. Food? We are going to hunt, and you aren't going to rely on the whers to do it for you. There are fishing locations, hunting locations, and there are even caches of food hidden throughout Dalibor's island by Wherhandlers. There are caves kept relatively free of land predators, and places where you might spend overday should your Patrol run long and trap you out at dawn. The vast majority of these caves are on the Southern part of Dalibor's Island, the more dangerous part, but there are some in the North--where we are camping--and you will be shown the signs that lead you to them."

As she was speaking, her fellow Wherhandlers were helping the Candidates to shrug on the packs, showing them how to tighten the wherhide straps so that their hips would carry the burden while leaving their backs unencumbered and supple for future climbing. "It's a five-candlemark hike to our camping location, one of the aforementioned caverns. Once there, your first lesson will begin: How to set up a camp. Handlers don't often use tents like Dragonriders might, we're made to be tougher folk, so I expect you to be tougher folk. There will be more on that when we arrive at the cavern. First? The walk. Each of you is now being given a set of glows in a small basket, this is to simulate the glow of your whers eyes: Remember, glowlight is one of the few lights that will not hurt your wher. As you grow into the life of a Handler your eyes will adjust, when you bond, your eyes will adjust further in response, or so they say, there will be no firelight until we reach camp, and then it will only be lit to cook our meals. You will be taught other ways to stay warm."

Osk gave the gathered group a once-over before he signaled the other whers with the order to move out. One Wherhandler took point position, leading them along the Weyrwall and unexpectedly back into the Wherhandler tunnels, a funny ploy, perhaps? Other Wherhandlers took up positions between every other Candidate or so, evenly spacing themselves out, while Oreanda and Osk protected the rear of their little moving feast. Once within the Wherhandler tunnels, they followed a winding corridor that narrowed enough to force the whers single-file in some places, though the Candidates could hear the occasional scrape of claw that indicated a wher was widening the tunnel through his or her own power, even if only slightly. The tunnel twisted and turned sharply as it continued through dark, rough rock. "Look at the stone," Anda encouraged from behind, her voice bouncing up the walls and carrying along the train.

"See how rough it is? Hands have not worn it down over the turns, feet have not smoothed the bumps beneath you. These passages are only for the Handlers, and are always guarded," as if she had planned it, a pair of spinning red eyes seemed to dance in the darkness just out of reach of glowlight in a widened cavern. Tunnelsnake or wher? Was there much of a difference? "Smell the air," she encouraged some moments later, "it started fresh, became stale, and now--just the slightest hint of freshness again, freshness and foliage." The smell of plants would grow overwhelming soon enough. Most Pernese lived in a world devoid of vegetation due to fears of Thread. Hold, Hall, and even Weyr burned down and culled a swathe of forest around their perimeters and left nothing but weeds to grow in most areas. This smell was overwhelming, and sure enough the tunnel spilled them out into deep jungle where branches and vines reached and grasped.

"Stay in a line at all times, watch each others backs and sides, call if you need help, and watch where you are walking." Some of the Wherhandlers might even take this moment to mount their whers and ride them as they would a runnerbeast, and Anda was sorely tempted, but it was important to show the Candidates that learning how to go over rough ground in the dark and at speed was one of the most important facets of being a Handler. "You will never see as well as your wher, and you might not always be with them, see how the ground tries to snare you here," she stepped over a root as she spoke the words, guided by Osk's eyes and her own bouncing voice as well as the movement indicated by those ahead of her. "How the fronds reach out to slap and snare. You have five full candlemarks to become accustomed to this. Eventually we will require that you are nearly silent, the perfect unseen guards of the Weyr, but for now we simply ask that you don't break anything and end your lesson prematurely."

Anda laid a hand alongside Osk's powerful neck, and the train wound its way deeper into the forest.


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summerrain
 Posted: Feb 27 2018, 05:13 PM
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A five-day survival lesson? Oh, this was perfect. This was Caliska's element. She had spent a good bit of time since the notice had been posted tending to her bow, making sure it was in peak condition. They were given permission to bring five items with them, and she already knew hers. Her bow and hunting knife made two. The flint rock she'd managed to hold on to was her third item, and she had a waterskin that would fit on her knife belt. In her quiver, she had about twenty stone-tipped arrows fletched with two black feathers and one red one, and she could carve more arrows if she needed them. She hadn't bothered bringing anything that resembled a bedroll because she didn't feel like she needed it. She wasn't opposed to sleeping on the ground, if she had to. It wasn't comfortable, but she hadn't worried about comfort in the caravan. Being a trader, a Handler, was about surviving in the wilderness. And that's what this lesson was for.

When the call went out, instead of a pack, Caliska slipped her quiver up and over her head, allowing the strap to rest on her right shoulder and cross her torso. Her bow was unstrung and inside it, and she belted on her hunting knife and waterskin. She wore a long-sleeved tunic and trousers, with her sturdy shoes and a pair of simple, plain leather gloves she'd cut the fingers off of.

She wasn't at all afraid of this lesson. She embraced it. And once the Candidates were deemed ready, she fell into line with the others as the Handlers led them through the tunnels. Her right hand kept contact with the tunnel's wall, noticing that it wasn't smooth like the rest of the weyr was, while her left hand held the basket of glows she'd been handed. She wasn't worried about the declaration that they had to hunt on their own. She could do that, easily. In fact, having an unfamiliar wher might have ended up a hindrance instead of helpful. When they were encouraged to smell the air, she did so, realizing that it was a very familiar scent.

"It smells alive," she muttered, awed and wistful at the same time. She hadn't smelled this since her arrival at the Weyr, two turns prior. The halls and tunnels in the weyr proper smelled like cold stone, sweat, and sometimes like food. A different sort of life smell, but this was the smell of damp dirt and roots, combined with the musk of wild animals and the sour-sweet scent of decay. It was the smell of the forest. And it smelled like home.

When they emerged into the jungle that made up the northern part of the island, Caliska felt her heart soar. This. She hadn't realized how much she'd missed being able to leave the walls, being able to see the nature that went untended between the Holds. She was tempted to string her bow, but another part of her knew that they wouldn't be expected to hunt yet. They hadn't even been told to set up camp yet. She would wait until they were told. Besides, she couldn't fire her bow one-handed, with the basket of glows still carried in her left. Her knife, however, she could wield with one hand if she had to.


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Captain
 Posted: Mar 1 2018, 11:25 PM
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Oh, wasn't this exciting? This was the deciding factor, Felrin decided, as to whether or not he had made a good decision or if he'd had been better off sticking to his craft. But, what was life without a little adventure?

Selecting his five items was easier said than done. In the end, he'd opted for: A knife, a palm-sized piece of reflective glass, a square of cloth currently wrapped around his head to keep his hair back, a skin of water and a fishing line with a hook at the end. He was rubbish with most weapons, but he could fish decently and the glass, well, he was good with glass and had learned very quickly that reflective surfaces could both hinder or help. Might as well hold on to it. It was small enough to slip into a pocket if nothing else.

Fel listened intently, already clearly excited and trying to keep that fact at bay.

--

Pavir had no class at the moment, so he opted to chip in with the candidates he could hope to be working with. Pavisk was, by no means, a pretty wher, and it did them good to get used to the creature some would consider deformed, with his sideways front paws and oversized lower jaw. The dim glow of his eyes was a welcome comfort and he ran his hand over the blue's head, aware of his tongue lolling from his mouth and sucked up with a noisy slurp.

Keep babies safe. He grunted, snuffling at the nearest candidate and, no doubt, spraying them with snot from his fairly squashed snout. Pavir smiled at his companion, giving him a short nod. "That we will. Or at least assess what quality stock they have here."


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Leo
 Posted: Mar 6 2018, 06:25 PM
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Candidatemaster





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Zanii was among the first to arrive having packed her things well ahead of time though admittedly she wasn't bringing much just the necessities. Still, it was more than her candidates were allowed to bring, including the pouch at her hip filled with basic first aid supplies. She was determined to see all of her little ones back to Dalibor in as close to perfect health as they could be and Faranth knows at least one of them was going to fall and scrape their knee and need medical attention. Or worse- an actual healer. Reminders of Oreanda's last expedition out with her babies still flitted through the candidatemaster's mind, though Zanii didn't blame the Betahandler for the incident. How could she have known? Still, the little voice of worry remained.

Of course, Zanii wasn't about to let her stray thoughts rain thread on her threadless day and instead offered the handlers and candidates around her the warmest smile she possessed. If any of the wher candidates looked surprised to see her there, the short woman would appear bemused, as if to say, of course I'm coming- I'm the wher candidatemaster aren't I? Out loud, she greeted Oreanda and Osk with a cheerful "Good evening loves," before returning her attention to the candidates. Zansk would be their shadow as much as hers, a familiar form with eyes that matched their glows. Most of the candidates had also met Clara by now, Zanii's tan flit, who was almost fully grown and the size of a small canine. The tan liked to divide her time between candidates, though those who played with her the most had earned the firelizard's special attention. For the start of the journey, Clara chose to quietly monitor Caliska's progress, unless the girl seemed opposed to the company.

Zanii and Zansk took point position when indicated, knowing their candidates would feel much safer with them at front. "Follow me," the blackhandler called with a hint of a chuckle as she led them back into the tunnels. Oh, they had so much to learn...if only they could keep them safe over the course of the next five days.
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Harbinger
 Posted: Mar 11 2018, 02:40 PM
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Xavinyra had been excited for this camping trip. It was something so out of the norm, a chance to do something new and full of energy. Her five items had been somewhat difficult to choose; less because she didn't know what to do and more because she didn't have much. Not that the Weyr left her wanting, but unlike the searched and the crafters especially, she didn't have an need for outdoor items. She wasn't afraid, but a life behind stone and under Dragons had a certain disadvantage on this part.

Still, she had chosen well, as far as she was concerned. If they didn't consider Belior an item, her leash was. The handlers may have Whers, but the candidates would have to rely on other means. Her beltknife may not be as specialized as the knives of others, but it was honed well with the whetstone also brought along. She brought along a square of leather saved from making one of Belior's chew toys, and lastly her winter jacket. It might be summer, but nights could get cold, especially in the mountains or in caves.

With pack tied securely to her back, Xavinyra followed the line, Belior obediently at her heel. She kept her glow basket at waist height, hoping to both light the uneven floor and the jagged walls and not quite succeeding at either. The handful of curses that left her were muttered under her breath, so hopefully no one important would hear or, if they did, care too much. The rocks she certainly noticed. The scent of greenery... that was a little more sudden and surprising. She could hear Belior's snuffling and, as soon as they got out into the open, Xavinyra let the Icehowler take the lead, scenting for anything they may need to be concerned about. But mostly, her thick fur helped keep the worst of the branches from clawing at the candidate.


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Ruin
 Posted: Mar 19 2018, 11:37 PM
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Betahandler





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The trip to the cavern where they would be camping was just as important as the camping itself. "Watch how the whers move," she would call out every so often. "Take note of how they see everything around them. Their eyes will be yours, one day. They will help you in a way unlike any other partner you may have known before. They will not rely on you like a dragon might, but you will surely rely on them." A straight shot down one of the many paths created by patrols would have cut the trip to the cavern in half, but making it hard was half of the fun of priming the Candidates for what would come. They had Zanii's wisdom guiding them every day, showing them how to care for a wher, how to tell when it was full or hungry, how to wash them. Harness them. But this was seeing it in motion. Out where they would belong.

So what if a few rocks tried to fall on them.

"Trust is one of the most important connections you will make with your wher. Never forget that they don't need you to survive. They will outlive you, they can live without you, they could, at any moment, run off into the jungle to live separately without you ever being able to find them if they didn't want you to." She let those thoughts worm through their minds as they ducked under, or climbed over, gnarled roots and low-hanging branches. They crossed small brooks, larger streams, and skirted boulders that stood taller than her head, were she riding Osk. "So how do you earn the respect of a wher, and how do you keep it?" She gave them a chance to answer, listened to anything they may have said, and encouraged them when they were on the right track.

"They need to feel that they are better off with you. That you are an ideal partner in a dangerous world, or that you can be turned into an ideal partner if you're slightly lacking in that department." As they went she paused the group to show them the carvings put on rock and tree that marked the woods in the direction of the cavern they were headed. She ran her fingers across it to see it herself and smiled. "There are hundreds of these scattered throughout the woods. Far too many Handlers over the turns, and far too many wild whers. The fish will lead you to good fishing, the feather to good hunting, and the arch...that leads you to a cave. There should be a carving every dragonlength or two from the last. Keep in mind that some of these are older than I am, and not all caverns are safe. Not all fishing is good."

The twin moons had shifted by the time the cavern came into sight--for the whers, not for the humans--they smelled it. Osk chuffed under his breath as they approached, reaching out mentally to the other whers and leading half of them inside with their handlers. Anda and the other half stayed mixed with the Candidates as they entered the cavern as a group. The cavern, of course, had already been cleared by a patrol who had passed by unnoticed not long before, but this was more for the lesson than any actual danger. "Whers don't follow colour, or size. Our Alpha is no Queen, one of our Beta's is a Grey. All whers are dangerous and capable killers, so what then, do they follow?"

Osk and the whers who had joined him made a show of clearing the cavern, searching, heads down for wilds or other dangers lurking the rocks. The glowing dance of their eyes in the darkness and the light cast by the glows the Candidates held were the only illuminations to their dizzying zig-zag of a path. There was a scuffle in the back, and a crunch. Tunnelsnake, no doubt, but the six-foot serpent was no match for whichever wher had picked it up and devoured it. "A wher follows leadership. Intelligence. Ability. Some are ambitious and strive to be those things, some seek to serve and want to see those things. You, as Handlers, should give your wher all of it. One of you may be Beta or Alpha yourself someday, if you find your partner and create a trust between you both. All of you will follow a Beta or an Alpha. It is good to understand this."

"Dragons, with the exception of Reds, are simple. They are dependent, and easygoing. I can hear them even now, as they chatter away in the Weyr, so you can believe it when I say this. They listen to their Rider, and their love and trust is freely given. A wher is none of those things. They give nothing for free. Their first acts are violence against you because their Bond is made with blood. Even a wher that appears kind, or loving, can be prone to instant violence--especially if you are threatened. You will need to find the balance between being strong, and being murderous. Now,"
she said, moving on to simpler things as the whers began scrabbling into the stone to form more comfortable sleeping quarters for themselves. "Over the next five days you will be dealing not only with Zanii's daily lessons, but my lessons, and the first one is how to survive out here without too many comforts from home. I won't be like the Weyrlingmasters you might've overheard or been told stories about. If you're separated from your wher you're probably already dead, but that doesn't mean you won't learn to appreciate how much easier a partner makes things."

"First thing? Setting up camp. Fallen foliage, dead foliage, shrubberies. leaves. All can be used to pad your bed if you do not have furs. Fires for cooking? Dung is our preferred fuel, even wherdung, but downed foliage will do in a pinch. Be mindful of two things, one--we do not harm living trees because they are slow to grow and hard to thrive on Pern with Thread, and two--firelight will hurt your wher's eyes. He or she may, of course, not look at it, but you should always be mindful of the fact that if you have a roaring cavern-warming flame it will be exceedingly uncomfortable for your own partner. Foods may be cooked in coals, and fires can be kept low. Of course, let's not freeze to death, shall we? Intelligence first."

She split the Candidates up into groups with Zanii and the other Handlers, and then instructed: "forage nearby, be mindful of game--wherries, lizards, insects even. You are looking for bedding. Food. A source of fresh water maybe? Anything of interest. Do not wander from the Wherhandler you have been partnered with. Ask as many questions as you would like, and follow all orders. Once you come back, set up your sleeping area and add your fuel to the pile over there, game to the pile over there. If we gather enough we'll have to show you how to preserve your food in the wild--something I myself learned after I arrived at Dalibor and it has never once actually served a purpose but...I'll be ready when it does!" She motioned for the Handlers to take their Candidates and go, while she wandered from group to group astride Osk, checking in on progress over the candlemark.


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Jenn
 Posted: Mar 23 2018, 08:58 AM
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Weyrlingmaster





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Teral to Pavir and Pavisk

He'd been prepared for something like this, he'd looked forward to it to be honest, and he gathered the items he would take with him. They were simple, extra socks, a regular knife and a boning knife, a fish hook with line and his waterskin. His was a fisherman at heart, the hook and the boning knife was something that shouldn't have come to a surprise. He would not ever go hungry near fresh water if he had a fish hook and some line.

He knew this wasn't a fun adventure, Teral couldn't allow himself to consider this business anything less than serious. He needed to learn how to be a wherhandler and how to survive with only himself and his wher alone. A smear of wetness coated his arm when Pavisk snuffled against him, the thought of the snot from a strange looking wher not even raising a brow. Teral was used to being up to his elbows in fish guts and scales, what was a little bit of wher snot? Maybe he should have been a little squeamish about it but he simply could not. It helped that he liked the look of the weird looking wher. He allowed him a small smile at the man's words.

"Does he normally snot all over candidates or am I just special?" Teral asked without an unusual amount of tongue-in-cheek.

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Rii
 Posted: Mar 23 2018, 10:38 AM
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Kelrin was hyped. There wasn't really any other word for it. They could treat it as a grimly important life-and-death lesson all they wanted (and it was), but that didn't mean it wasn't also an adventure and he wasn't going to enjoy all of the challenges it presented.

Life since he and his twin had joined the wher program hadn't been completely dull, but it had been a lot of routine work. Routine that he'd happily injected his own brand of humor into, and when he had energy to burn, well, he could always drag Felrin out to wrestle for a while.

Five items, huh? Like his brother, he'd chosen a knife as number one. To this he'd added a roll of cloth bandaging, a hank of lightweight cord, a flint, and a flask of water. Good sturdy clothes weren't on the "list of five things", but he wore them anyway. He hadn't spent a ton of time in Western Continent wilderness survival, but he'd spent more than his fair share of time being rough and tumble and getting into and out of trouble. He could think of plenty of pretty critical uses for the things he'd chosen.

And, of course, bring a buddy. He supposed on patrol that would be his wher, if a wher was in the cards for him sooner or later. For now they were out en masse, so that was kind of a moot point, but if he had to choose one, it would be the man he drew up next to as Oreanda stopped to lecture them extensively on survival skills the gathered candidates may or may not have known.

He clapped Felrin on his shoulder heartily with a grin. "You'd better collect fuel, brother, your boots would scare every living thing in five dragonlengths," he teased. A huge exaggeration, but he'd been born to give his twin a hard time. That, and to scare everyone else off from doing the same, not that Felrin couldn't completely take care of himself. Brothers. Why live without 'em.

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summerrain
 Posted: Mar 23 2018, 01:15 PM
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Caliska noticed pretty quickly that she had an observer in the Candidatemaster's Tan flit, but she didn't mind. The Tan, far as she'd noticed, wasn't terribly loud or otherwise bothersome, so she didn't see it as a problem. In fact, Clara was almost enough to make Caliska want a flit of her own someday. Maybe something a little smaller, though. A Brown, or even a Blue, might be nice.

Her train of thought was broken when Oreanda began talking again. Caliska listened to the Betahandler while still focusing on the ground beneath her feet. The question of earning a wher's respect and trust was brought up, and she thought for a moment before speaking herself.

"Whers respect ability more than anythin', right?" she asked after a moment, stepping over an oddly high-reaching root. "Actions over words, an' such." At least, usually. While dragons had a hierarchy that they stuck to rigidly, whers were less about color and more about actual accomplishments. That was why she liked them more than the dragons. The spot they were born into wasn't always where they stayed. In fact, it often changed, so she'd heard.

She paid attention to everything that was pointed out to them, making a mental note of it all. Hopefully she'd remember. But hearing that Oreanda could hear the dragons chatting even at this distance came as a surprise, and brought up new questions that Cali would probably never ask. She filed the new questions away as simple curiosity and returned her focus to the task at hand. Setting up camp and collecting food. That was simple.

Caliska wasn't sure now if Clara was still watching her, but she found herself standing beside Zanii in the end anyway. Caliska quickly looked around the cave, taking stock in what they had. It was a lot like the caves her caravan had stayed in, but this time she didn't have Kenai with her to nose around and clear it out. At least the whers seemed to have taken care of that part.

"Huntin's my specialty," she said confidently. She was pretty good in low-light conditions like this too. As long as the twin moons were shining overhead, she could do pretty well. It was unfortunate that she hadn't gotten much real practice since her arrival at Dalibor.

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Mopsy93
 Posted: Mar 23 2018, 11:08 PM
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Tarele was pretty used to bringing along Candidates and Wherlings alike along on patrol, though this was a first doing a five day survival expedition even during his fairly long tenure as a Pridesecond of Charlie. He might’ve overpacked as he finished off the top of his pack, mostly the essentials with hunting gear and first aid supplies being counted among them, but he was born. Tarele spent his formative years as a Trader so this wasn’t the first time he lived away from Hold, Hall, or Weyr for extended periods of time.

Tarele only brought with him Iron Imalven and Black Girsen, he didn’t see the point of bringing Tienna along considering her attitude towards strangers and even some people that Tarele had met before as well as the wildcard Nirvan and his other Black Barstel. The three, especially Nirvan, probably would show up over the days he would be spending outside of the Weyr.

Tarele, Taresk, and his two accompanying firelizards took up roughly the middle of the the group as they headed off into the wher created section of the tunnels making up the lowest parts of the interior of the Weyr. Soon enough he was within the cavern that they would hopefully be spending at least the first night within, though a tunnelsnake that Taresk deftly killed without much fuss wasn’t that good of a sign.

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Captain
 Posted: Mar 28 2018, 01:02 PM
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Felrin grinned at his twin, slapping him on the back in good humor. "I'll collect fuel if you try to get camp established, then. Between the two of us we'll be loud enough to keep everything away!" He flashed a good natured smile and adjusted his pace so that he could walk near his sibling. Kelrin, obviously, couldn't be trusted to keep himself safe. "Nary a soul in sight, all frightened off by us!" He laughed at the idea, falling quiet to listen to the instructions as they were given before elbowing Kelrin. "What'd you bring?"

He caught himself watching the whers more than his own footing and after more stumbles than he was willing to admit, finally kept his attention on the ground, but not before Pavisk snorted and opted to comment on it.

Watch path. Not me.
"Sorry, mate. If you weren't so handsome..."

That earned a snort from Pavir himself, whom marched by the twins with a casual glance, hand brushing over Pavisk's side to encourage the blue onward. Keep an eye on them, love. All of them. Don't trust them not to find a hole and break an ankle.

Keep babies safe. Pavisk repeated with a grunt, vanishing into the dark. Which was mostly impressive since he was about as blue as blue could be.

Felrin gave Kelrin another sheepish grin and focused on his footing. "Any guesses as to whether or not they'll trust us with one of them?" He teased.

"He'll snot over anything that lets him," Pavir informed Teral without hesitation. "He's among the uglier whers -"
Rude.
"But I'd not want any other at my back." Pavir continued, a small smile twitching his lips at his wher's insistence that he was no uglier than anyone else. "Does your lot good to see those that aren't perfect to look upon. Even if he's perfect to me," Pavir added quickly with a glance cast to the side of the path where, no doubt, Pavisk lurked.

@Rii @Jenn


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Ruin
 Posted: Apr 3 2018, 08:54 PM
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ooc: feel free to keep on with your rp arcs, just going to give y'all the next day!


They'd hunted, some more successfully than others. They'd fed, because the Handlerpairs were more than capable of finding some food item or another. They'd set up camp, again, some probably had issues and others didn't. Then they slept. Well, in shifts that was. "When you're in the wilds, it's important to set up shifts. Just because light hurts wher eyes doesn't mean a desperate wild won't make an attempt, or some other animal who is caught out for Thread. Your shifts will vary depending on who you have with you, and what shape you're all in. Injured, caught out, hungry, you might not make it more than three candlemarks without switching. Rested, just running patrol, maybe you do an eight candlemark shift. You'll adapt and change as you go. As it is, we're going to run shifts every 2, just to keep you all on your toes. No one will be repeating so you'll all have a turn but still be rested. Just easing you into it," the Betahandler smiled.

When the day was gone and dusk was settling around them, Oreanda roused them and set them all to tasks. Gathering fresh rushes for the bedding, warming breakfast, checking the perimeter of their camp for any disturbances that may have happened during the day. All tasks were shared for the group: the food was prepared by a pair for the entire group, the bedding changed for the entire group by another pair, and so on and so forth. "A dragon relies on their Rider first, and their Wing second, it is very similar for Handlers. While a Handlerpair can be completely independent, you will always work better with another Handler, or even a Pride of them. So long as duties are split and everything is managed. You should always ask for help, even if you don't need it, because it strengthens the camaraderie between you and your fellows. Ambition, position, power, ability, those are all things you can easily still vie for while still showing good sportsmanship."

Their second night in the woods involved living as a Handler lived. First, they helped care for the whers, preparing them for a long evening by checking them for any scratches earned the previous night. Oiled, washed in a nearby source--downriver of course--and then harnessed for work if required. Then, they were sent on patrol, but unlike the typical patrols these were scouting missions into the surrounding jungle. Unlike the normal circuit of a near-Weyr patrol, these forays were like lances shooting straight out and then coming right back. Each Handler and their accompanying Candidates would check caves, gullies, hollows, and trees for wilds who hadn't agreed to Dalibor's accord, or were at present breaking that accord. They were also instructed to keep their eyes out for exiles or other holdless who may have sailed across the sea looking for trouble.

It would be a long night for them, there would be only the typical rests that a Handler was used to taking during their shift, and when they did return to camp, they would again be set up for shifts through the daylight hours.


ooc: totally up to the individual Handlers what they might find!


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Leo
 Posted: Apr 3 2018, 09:00 PM
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Candidatemaster





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Zanii and Zansk waited alongside the candidates as the cavern was cleared out. Their duties remained with their babies, as always, and the Candidatemaster took great care to examine them for signs of fatigue. There would be no time for dallying - not when there was still work to be done - but if they needed water from a skin or a word of encouragement, she would only be too happy to provide. It was very important to the woman that her candidates understood she would support them for as long as she lived and they should not hesitate to turn to her for help. Still, they should not come to depend on her for everything as she could not make their choices for them. It was their life to live, not hers. The fact that this lesson was a glimpse into their chosen future was progress; it helped that Oreanda had not glossed over the harsher realities of handler life. But the candidates should not be afraid of these truths, because if they listened, if they learned, there was nothing to be afraid of. A whole wide world of opportunities awaited them.

The satisfying crunch of a broken tunnelsnake elicited a sharp-toothed grin from Zansk as he prowled through the wher candidates. There was a hint of something deep and primal whirling in his green eyes if they looked close enough. The candidates had only ever known the black's patience and deep love for them, but like all whers, his ichor flowed with instinctual rage. He would not hesitate to attack - or kill - anyone who hurt them. They had earned his loyalty; they would do well to keep it.

Clara had continued to follow Caliska throughout their journey to the cavern, but she vanished with a soft pop! as soon as the girl had been paired with Zanii. The tan sensed she was no longer needed and would return later when she was. But for now, it was Zansk's turn to be their guide. "Hunting, huh?" Zanii eyed Caliska's bow and hunting knife. "Yes, I can see that. Good: whers, as you know, are meat-eaters. While they can hunt for their own food once fully grown, your future wheret will not be so capable. Shall we see what the jungle has to offer us today?" Once confirmation was given, Zansk took the lead, his camouflaged hide perfect for the jungle environment making it difficult to track him. Caliska was instructed to not pass him up unless told otherwise. While it was unlikely a wild wher would attack them - too many humans and whers nearby - their safety was never guaranteed. It was better to be cautious than overconfident, at least in this case.

'Smells every-where. Hu-man. Wher. Many-legs.' A pause. 'Wherry.' Zansk lifted his snout and snuffled deeply before rotating his head sharply to their right. 'That way. Calis-ka take front now. Zansk be silent, no worry. Wherry not even know here.'

@summerrain (Caliska)
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Mopsy93
 Posted: Apr 6 2018, 11:20 PM
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It was relatively easier for Tarele and the other wherhandlers amongst the group to get enough food for the night, though of course Taresk would need more meat than Tarele did alone along with the two firelizards he had brought along. Soon night turned into dawn then day and finally back to dusk, of course Tarele and his two firelizards did their part in keeping watch over the group without much in the way of excitement which was good under these circumstances. Tarele’s Brown didn’t mind the attention from those that he was guiding through the process especially the oiling part and Tarele certainly didn’t mind the aid with Imalven and Girsen being rather indifferent to the goings on.

Both the Candidate that accompanied the Handlerpair as well as the two male firelizards were a good addition in the scouting patrol they were assigned to do for the second night of the mini expedition. The Pridescond didn’t encounter anything that would be of concern at least, maybe a couple of wild firelizards or overly adventurous tame ones but no wild whers or Holdless to be seen for now as the second night drew to an end. No sign of Nirvan either, which hopefully meant that the Blue hadn’t tried anything that Tarele would find foolish or he was smart enough to not get caught.

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Ruriko
 Posted: Apr 12 2018, 03:46 PM
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@Mopsy93

Dhiren was glad for a candidate lesson that was different from the others he'd experienced thus far. There was only one thing about being a candidate that wasn't working out so well for him. It had nothing to do with chores or lessons, though. It was entirely something else. Something that had only escalated following Zelsk's run. He tried to put it from his mind. Those kinds of things happened, after all. There was nothing he could do save really think about what he wanted should he not bond when Zelsk's eggs hatched. In the meantime, it was more lessons. He was actually rather glad for the welcome distraction.

The five items he'd brought were practical enough. A large water flask, small axe, hunting knife, his firelizard, Shell, and a rope that was strong enough to bear the heaviest person's weight--or even a wher's. He was dressed practically. Wher-hide boots for hiking rough terrain, matching jacket, though it was thin to compensate for the weather. Both boots and jacket were made water-proofed, as well. Sturdy leather trousers and a shirt that allowed for 'breathing' so that if he were to sweat, it would not stay in the clothing and cause him to grow ill or smell unpleasantly.

He wasn't a stranger to roughing it out, though perhaps others here were more so. He could manage hunting well enough, especially if he had the burgundy firelizard scout for him. It had seemed practical to have the firelizard come along. Shell was pretty well behaved and useful. The going was not easy, but he listened to all the instructions Oreanda gave, and he managed. He knew how to start a fire well enough, and how to find flint to do it. Hunting had proved a little harder than planned. In the end, he'd tied off the knife he'd brought and made a spear of it, like he saw someone else do. He'd brought down a wherry that Shell spotted, and it had made for a good meal--one he'd shared with Shell, and then taken the bones from and used his knife to make a couple pointy ends for more spears. These ones could be used for spear fishing or smaller prey animals. All in all, it was going well enough.

He was accompanied by Tarele, a pridesecond. They had two of their own firelizards, so that made three--certainly good to have in a pinch! They were supposed to be keeping mostly quiet, so not a whole lot of talking was done, though a little. Dhiren figured it couldn't hurt to get to know the other young man--fairly close in age to himself--a little better. And so, he asked quietly, when others were busy talking as they set up camp,

"When did you bond your brown?" He wasn't necessarily much one for small talk. Yet one day, he might end up in this man's pride, for all he knew. It really wasn't possible to forsee the future, and he hadn't said much in a couple of days now, as was. It seemed most talking was done when they were at camp.




@Ruin, OPEN

Malika had grown up with traders. She had an advantage, and knew it, and would not be sorry to use it. Her five items were selected with care. She could use bow and arrows, but her hunting spear was what she was most adept with. It could be used to hunt medium and small prey, or to spear large fish. It was also a formidable weapon. Her fur lined sleep bag was water-proofed, warm and good for the cold nights. Flint to start fires with was imperative. She knew how to use sticks, but it took a long time and was not as effective. A small but sturdy cook-pot for boiling water and making food would serve her well. Last was strips of sturdy, clean bandages, in case someone were to be injured. She was able to utilize anything else she would need from her surroundings.

They walked along, Malika thinking that many of them moved like herdbeasts lumbering through foliage. Their footfalls were too loud, and they did not know how to move silently. She had learned about survival in more than one terrain. Realizing her thoughts were perhaps a bit unkind, she shamefully reminded herself that these ones were new to this. It was not their fault they moved like stumbling babes not yet trained to these things. In essence, they were as such. She chose to walk alongside Oreanda and Osk. After all, these two were not Betahandlers for nothing. Blind the young woman might be, yet she saw in other ways that mattered more. Malika admired such a thing. Perseverance in the face of an adversity was respected among her people.

She was silent, for there was need of it, here. When it came time to hunt, she did not shy from looking for food that others might turn up noses at. Fat grubs beneath logs were full of protein. Small lizards held meat on them, still. Roots dug up with a sharpened stick were nourishing and full of fiber. She was not an individual who would struggle to find food or survive, so long as there was any to be found. A fish for dinner with tubers was delicious when stuck over the low burning fire. At night, she laid out her furs and was warm. She was quite self-sufficient, and even had she been alone, she would have been unafraid--though wary. She could care for herself, out here, and was aware of the many dangers. Still, it was nice to be in the company of the bronzehandler. She might be bold enough to wish so great a partner for herself, one day. Yet she would be happy for any that chose her, in the end.




OPEN

Larka had been Searched. A thing unexpected. Yet she hated being a candidate, as much as she'd let her elder sister encourage her to do so. She had no place, here. Content to do her own thing, she had been simply idling and living life, as she'd always done. Yet seeing all these people around her with goals, with lives that involved them in something bigger than themselves...some part of that had got to her. She was content to spend her days with Fell. The icehowler was going to be a turn next season. He was huge already. When they'd been told they could 'bring five items', she had counted him as one.

She didn't need these people around her. They were mostly clumsy, untried, and would get themselves and everyone around them killed sooner than survive without the handlers who accompanied them. She saw one or two who could have perhaps survived a few days or more out here on their own. Yet for the most part, they would all be useless. They'd never have, in her opinion, survived on the isles. This was no different than that, really. Perhaps less than, since there weren't people aiming to kill you or worse...yet similar. She wouldn't cheat by using Fell to aid her with anything. She could find food and hunt plenty fine on her own. The traders she'd been with--ironically Malika's own people--had further taught her how to do things. She was used to surviving with nothing, or next to nothing.

She had brought a hunting knife, a small net for catching fish, a sleeping fur that, like Malika's, was water proofed on the outside, fur lined on the inside, and twine for snares or traps. She had little troubles catching fish, and snared a couple of small creatures that she cooked and ate. She had Fell, and if she'd wanted to be bothered to use him to help with hunting, he was protection, warmth and food. Even without him, she knew she would have been all right. With him...she had no need of the whers and handlers or other people about her. She didn't feel safer for them being there. If anything, she felt less so. They were loud, and would draw attention. She ignored them, lost in her own thoughts, but ever aware of them and their location in relevance to her own. She'd opted to Stand for whers and dragons. She didn't really know that she wanted either. Being a candidate forced her into these lessons. She hated them. She didn't know that she could tolerate being forced to interact with others like this every day for long. Still, she didn't have to trust them or make friends. She just had to do the silly chores they assigned and attend these lessons. Admittedly, being out here in the open like this...this wasn't so bad.
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summerrain
 Posted: Apr 16 2018, 01:03 PM
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And just like that, they were off. Caliska followed behind Zansk as quietly as she could, though unlike the Black she couldn't be truly silent. When the wher told her to take point, she held her bow in her left hand, at her side, and glanced around. He had told her what direction the wherry was in, and she began to make her way toward it. She was careful to avoid any roots or low hanging branches, and after a while she spotted it. These beasts were ugly creatures, but they could make good food if cooked right. She held her bow before her and pressed her back against a nearby tree, to make herself harder to notice. She drew a single arrow, still moving slowly so as not to make any extra noise. It hadn't spotted her yet, likely because it was upwind, and she was going to take advantage of that.

She placed the arrow on her bow and drew the string back as she raised it, the well-treated wood making no sound of protest. She aimed carefully, but before she could fire the beast lifted its head, alert to something. She narrowed her eyes slightly and released her arrow, felling the wherry with a single shot. Making too much noise might attract the wild whers, so taking it down quickly was definitely important. Though she hadn't expected it to just take one. She hadn't had much chance to hunt in the dark, after all.

She approached it only to find that she hadn't actually killed it, only stunned. The wherry blinked up at her, looking surprised to find an arrow through its hide. A quick strike with her knife was all that was required to end the beast's suffering.

"One's not gonna be enough on its own," she said after a moment. But she didn't think she could effectively hunt and carry this thing too. Maybe someone else had more luck finding other edibles. "Maybe it can feed us Candidates and the Handlers, but this won't be enough for the whers too."

@Leo


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Mopsy93
 Posted: Apr 19 2018, 11:36 PM
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Now that Tarele had a good look at the Candidate that had been paired with him at least at first, Dhiren was barely four turns younger than Tarele though it wasn’t that unusual since age didn’t matter as much as with Dragons if at all. As long as the Candidate was older than fourteen turns, which Dhiren was most certainly over, the Candidate was allowed to officially stand well at least with regards to age and even some had Impressed at an earlier age in the stands.

At least the Candidate brought along his own firelizard, hopefully the Burgundy would be reliable enough to not be a hindrance for what they would have to do for the next few days. Neither Imalven nor Girsen felt any reason to interact with Shell for now, that could very well change but they didn’t need to. “It has to be eight turns now, it surprises me at times just how much time has passed,” mused Tarele briefly thinking about how long it had been.

Taresk wouldn’t know any better, after all it wasn’t long after Taresk hatched that Taresk bonded to Tarele, chimed in the Brown wher addressing the Candidate directly as well as his handler.

@Ruriko


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Jenn
 Posted: Apr 21 2018, 10:45 AM
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"Eh he's not so bad," Teral chuckled at the interplay between the two. This was how he hoped his own impression would go. A wher that would compliment him in the best ways. "I've seen uglier wherries," he continued, "And uglier fish." He grinned back at the smile that twitched on the wherhandler's face.

"My hope is to impress a wher that'll have my back no matter the consequences," he admitted, "I wouldn't mind if they were as ugly as Pavisk here. What's a little beauty to a best friend you'll always have?" Maybe that was the true issue there. Maybe Teral needed that friend he didn't have to pretend around. Someone he didn't have to be serious around every second of the day.

"You know he's really not all that bad looking," Teral said eyes darting to the side where the wher most likely trotted along with them, "If you can get beyond the snot, he's actually kind of handsome." Maybe he was just sucking up. Maybe just a little, but Pavir was in charge for a bit, though the alphahandler and candidate master were present, he had some measure of control. Teral wasn't generally one of those who made note of who was important but if noting Pavir's importance today would do him good, he had no issue doing so.



@Captain


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Ruin
 Posted: Apr 22 2018, 12:57 AM
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The Wherhandlers certainly fell into an easy routine, one that they taught to each of their charges. Oreanda ensured that there was time each day for Zanii to host her own lessons for the Candidates; all of the day-to-day expectations of people within the program. It was deep into the night, well beyond its zenith, that Oreanda would call for them to gather. Hunting, changing out rushes at camp, and clearing the cave of Wilds every time they left and returned, those were the routines that never changed. Never would change. Partnering with a beast such as a wher required more work, in some ways, than partnering with a dragon, but Anda was a firm believer that it was more rewarding. These young people would hunt alongside their wher when out on patrol, not watch while it slaughtered in the pens. Though, of course, some whers were lazier and pickier than others.

"Tonight, we run patrol. We've taken this part of the Island, and there is more to it than simply walking a border and sniffing out trouble. The wilds out here are smart, as smart as your wher is, sometimes smarter depending on your wher. You will both need to use your heads together to be smarter than the wilds. More than that, you must learn when diplomacy is best. Dalibor started working with her wilds a few turns ago, and we haven't found a reason to stop that as of yet. So you'll watch as the Wherhandler you are partnered with handles each wild. Ascertains if it is a danger, or if it is under the rule of the Kings who Dalibor has made a pact with. You will see how things are discussed with wilds, and you may even participate in a little wild wher barter."

Anda smiled, and was able to liken it to her Craft. "Some of you may know of the Contract. The rules whereby a pod of dolphins cares for a shoreline in exchange for treats, treatment, and socialization with Human Dolphineers. This program is very much like that program. A wher may come for treatment of injuries, removal of thorns, or even bones from between their teeth. We've removed wild wher eyes in some cases--though those are usually required to come to the Weyr for treatment from the Dragonhealers or styled Wherhealers. They don't need to go inside, and frankly should not, but the wher will tell you. They will trade information for food, for information, and sometimes for some compliments or a few scratches in places they can't easily reach. You must listen to your Wherhandler partner, and eventually your wher. Your wher will almost always instinctively know the intentions of another wher, whether it is intending to attack, or is friendly."

"It is important to be mindful of Dalibor's history with wilds. She has suffered attacks by wild Reds, and again by whers gone wild within her walls, but we do not cull without reason due to the agreement we have with the whers on our Island. They will report any Queens, and any untrustworthy wilds they may run across. They may even request that you cull a wild in their quadrant who is giving them trouble; they know it is easier --and safer--for a pair to take on a wild, than they are as a single unit. They will take advantage of you. It is important not to be manipulated by the wilds. They are not as helpless as they want to seem, or as hungry as their greediness will lend you to believe." Osk looked over the gathered crowd for her, as she could not, and she viewed them through his heat-seeing eyes, watching the colours of their bodies shift in the cool night air.

"Because of our numbers, we will be splitting into five groups patrolling. Our paths will overlap slightly and in such a way that there is not so much space that something cannot slip through without a wher scenting it within a quarter candlemark of its passing through their patrol territory. What could would patrols be, if the scent of something crossing over your wher's trail dissipated before he returned to smell them? The whers will be in constant contact with one another. Roughly every five minutes a wher will say his or her name to the others on their route, ensuring that--should contact be lost--it is discovered with reasonable swiftness. Patrol can be extremely boring, unless you enjoy being out beyond the Wall and in the woods with your lifemate. There are patrols through the Weyrbowl, and down in the Crafter's village, but the majority of our strength is out here, where wilds roam and people might land on shore and try to sneak into the Weyr. Inner Weyr patrol is typically where we place Weyrrunners who are not old enough yet, and those who are not quite as comfortable with living like this, so please always be honest with your Candidatemaster, and eventually, your Wherlingmaster."

"The Weyr has a place for everyone, and with everyone in their place things run far more smoothly."

Anda fielded any questions they may have had, then paired the Candidates to their Handlerpair and dismissed them for their duties. They'd all return during the Grey Dawn before the heat of Rukbat rose to burn the eyes of the whers.


ooc: can go with anyone!


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Mopsy93
 Posted: Jun 6 2018, 11:17 PM
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After the meeting of the wher Candidates (and the Dual Candidates that had elected to go to along rather than whatever lessons that would be covered by the Dragon Candidate lessons) had with the Candidatemaster it was time for the last part of this extended lesson. This time would be a full patrol with a good chance of coming across one of the King wild whers that Dalibor had made a contract that were more reasonable and reliable than would be expected with a wild wher. At first Tarele was one of the people who weren’t all that enthused about the prospect but with the passage of turns he had grown to accept this agreement, it certainly hadn’t caused any problems for the wherhandlers.

Of course the Pridesecond will be a part of the five groups, it would be bad form for the Brownhandler and his wher to even think about sitting this out unless he or Taresk was seriously injured, but who would be joining him was another matter entirely. Taresk was much more interested in what would the whers that would be going along with them though that wouldn’t be that big of a deal as far as his handler was concerned and of course the job was the priority.


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