08.10.3013: Oh, Beautiful Antelope
Summary: After some insistance on Brianny's part, Kazimir finally decides to take her hunting in the veldt.
Date: 10 August 2013
Related: None
Brianny Kazimir 

The Veldt — The Crescent, Imperius
A rolling, semi-arid landscape of thorny brush and stunted trees, the veldt stretches for hundreds of miles east of Obsidia. Away from the mountains and the industry surrounding them, it is home to a wide variety of animals, including giraffes, rhinos, antelope, big cats, snakes, warthogs, and much more. Hunting camps with their own little Waygates are scattered across the veldt, often host to safaris and hunts across the veldt. Little gullies and canyons within the scrublands host streams and ponds, and provide shelter from the frequent wildfires that sweep across the veldt.
10 August 3013

"Fine. You can come along." Those were the oh-so enthusiastic words offered to Brianny after what may have been weeks of curious questions about his hunts, or from Kazimir's perspective, weeks of nagging by his new bride. The sort of man who seems to have difficulty thinking of a wife as much of an equal, or having a significant place outside the home, he's nonetheless finally relented to her. However, deciding that his native mountains and a proper drake hunt would be a bit 'rough' for his delicate Leonnida bride, he's arranged a trip to the lands of one of his neighbors. "They're still harsh compared to your oh so gentle rolling plains, but, at least they're flat. So you should be able to manage riding with me," was his explanation, that itself dismissive of her 'soft' homeland. And so here they are, mounted and riding through the scrappy scrub.

Though Kazimir's response to her inquiries is offered without much enthusiasm, Brianny's own response in regards to his, finally, positive answer is filled with great enthusiasm! There is a quick scramble to find the perfect dress for the occasion: A mint green riding gown gently adorned with light embroidery along the square bodice and at the hem of her skirts. A fancy riding hat in a similar hue rests upon her head while all of her dark brown hair is gathered up and braided neatly into an updo hidden beneath the hat. As they now set out towards The Veldt, the Saimhann's young bride, who has been mostly quiet during the entirety of their, so far, new marriage… when she isn't prodding him with questions, seems to come alive during this trip. No longer feeling as timid as she tends to when living in the walls of Drakholt. "We have harsh animals out in the plains too!" She starts off with a pointed statement, "Ferocious beasts even. Though I cannot imagine what sorts of animals would be living in a place such as this." Curiosity clear in her eyes, she looks upon the vast landscape as she slowly follows behind Kazimir atop her calico horse. "The environment is so hot, the terrain so harsh. I don't expect to find cute little bunny rabbits or singing songbirds anywhere near here."

The fact that she dons a whole new fancy outfit for this only confirms Kazimir's worst fears on inviting her along! Such a womanly approach. Yet, even if he's already regretting it, the man doesn't go back on his offer, and so there they end up: riding across the rough scrublands of the veldt, her in her fancy riding gown, him in far more… pragmatic attire. She might doubt that he even owns formal wear, as little as he wears it. "Not so harsh as the drakes," he reminds her. "And the land itself is far more dangerous. You must hunt your prey over rocks as sharp as teeth, and any slip can be deadly. The veldt is far less challenging." Here he shows his sense of superiority over his fellow Khournas vassals just as he has toward her house. "But, they do have some fierce game here." He laughs. "No rabbits. Well, maybe there are small creatures, but I rarely pay them mind." Now he shows just a little more interest in her, as they discuss the wildlife. "So you've never seen the animals here? There is a bit of variety. Maybe we can find a herd of antelope. They are graceful and swift, I have a feeling you might like them."

If Brianny did not change outfits, she would be right here on her horse wearing a gown with a full skirt and one made of far more rich fabrics than she does now. Of course, this is something men do not understand nor appreciate. It's not as if she looks uncomfortable in her gown and her gear and she even wears the slightest hint of smile, though her eyes are quite lit up as she takes in this new surrounding. "It's not a particularly beautiful place. No. But neither is the Drake Mountains." And here she turns to those large curious eyes over to Kazimir, before returning to her sight-seeing once again. "Oh, how I would like to see a rabbit or even an…. antelope? Are they not like deer? I've seen many a deer before, but I've only seen antelope in books or in movies and documentaries and…" A pause, "Lovely creatures they are. This much is true. I would so wish to see an antelope in person."

"Beautiful places breed softer creatures. Harsh lands breed strength," Kazimir declares, as if quoting some ancient law, clearly unbothered by their stark surroundings, the wide expanses of dry grass and rough brush. "Yes. They're some sort of deer, I suppose." As experienced a hunter as he may be, he's not really a naturalist, so he knows his prey by their shapes, habits and features more than by scientific classification. "If we continue this way a short while, we'll come upon a small creek. The antelope often water there, so maybe we'll be get lucky and stumble upon a few of them." And then, seeming to dawn upon something about his oh-so cheerful and animal-loving wife, he wonders, "Are you going to be able to handle this? You know we're here to hunt, not to… pet them. Yes?"

Brianny, herself, doesn't look much bothered by her surroundings either. She, in fact, rather delights in how different the veldt is from other places which she is used to. So easily distracted, her gaze lifts to idly watch a bird fluttering nearby, something which brings a pleasing smile to her lips. Then soon enough a lilting tune can be heard dancing in the wind, starting out soft and low, before rising into a shrill crescendo. For whatever reason, the bird seems to take notice of the chirpish melody and lingers for a moment longer before flying off. Some of what Kazimir has said is lost completely in her distraction, but she does return focus to the conversation when she asks, a look of surprise on her face, "I'm not allowed to pet them?"

"They are wild animals, and even the grass-eaters can be dangerous when startled. So I wouldn't try to pet them." Sometimes, Kazimir looks at Brianny almost like one might a child, when she says such strange things that seem as though they should be plainly obvious. "And you know that I am here to go hunting. Yes? I have talked about how I enjoy it, and you have begged me to come along." Again, he lectures as if the whole thing should be obvious. "So, I will be shooting them, not petting them." And finally, as if to demonstrate his intent, he reaches down to hoist the light crossbow hanging from one of the loops on his saddle. Slowing the pace of his horse to a more cautious walk, he starts to load the bow. "We will be coming up on the creek soon."

"Oh, I know that much." Brianny says with a furrowing of her brow when she feels as if she's being lectured. That gentle brow soon smooths out, when she adds in, "Every living thing can be considered dangerous. Even the little ones." The petite young maiden's dark eyes flitter to look upon her husband in a sly manner, but if he does decide to look in her direction, he will only find the pleasantest of smile on her lips. "Why, I've gone hunting many a times with my brothers and sisters. Though, they usually leave me alone to my own devices and while they went about slaughtering animals, I spent most of my time wandering the fields and forests. I used to find the whole thing quite relaxing, really." Once her husband brings his horse to a slower pace, she does the same with her own. Her small frame stretches out as she attempts to lift herself in her saddle, wanting to get a better view of the creek now. "In this weather, I'm sure we will see a lot of lovely animals taking in water there as we speak."

Kazimir doens't seem to catch the 'point' in her comment, and obliviously he continues on without glancing back. But he does vaguely agree with her sentiment, even if he doesn't decipher the subtler implications. "Yes, small creatures can be dangerous. Even a little bite can get infected, or even deliver some poison. The veldt has quite a few kinds of snakes." Which leads him to glance back, long after her sly look has passed, "So, it is best to keep to clear ground and avoid the tall grasses. Not that I really want you wandering, like you did with them." While he doesn't seem the most… interested or loving husband, he is a bit protective. And indeed, as they come up on the creek, there is a variety of wildlife clustered around it. The antelope are there in a small group, clustered near each other for strength in numbers. However, Kazimir seems more worried about scanning the area around them, including some thick brush on the far side of the creek. "The water here is too shallow for anything dangerous to hide in it, but that grass is a good place for the wild cats to hide. They often come here for the same reason that I do."

"To look all grumpy and menacing?" Brianny quickly retorts when Kazimir compares the wild cat's actions to his own. Rather than trying to be mean, she cannot help but laugh gently at her own joke, one hand placed at her lips in an attempt to hide the wide smile that can be found there. The rest of what he has said is taken much more seriously that she does have not backtrack in the conversation to note, "And yes, snakes are very frightening. Unlike many of the other animals that I've encountered, snakes always try to sneak up on you. At this very moment, Brianny isn't interested in the tall brush; her eyes completely taken by the view of all of the animals drinking their fill or cooling themselves off at the creek. Lifting her old school binoculars, she even leans forward a bit in her seat to get a better look, "5, 6, 7. I see 7 of those antelope all clustered together on the other side of the creek. Among other interesting creatures as well."

Kazimir's brow furrows a bit at the joke. This one isn't quite so subtle and it doesn't go over his head the way her more subtle suggestion did. "Well, I bet the antelope find the cats menacing enough. But, no. They also come here to hunt." He continues forward, guiding the horse at a slow walk. "Because so many creatures gather around the creek, it's easier to get close. The animals are used to being in closer proximity to one another than normal, even to predators. So the horses won't scare them so easily." If there's one thing he does know well, it's hunting. "I could probably get close enough to make a shot; but there's a bit more sport in flushing them out and trying to ride one down, separating it out from the herd."

Brianny responds to Kazimir's furrowed brow with a bright smile now, but trying to make herself look all mature, she allows the smile to fade and she sits as tall as she possibly can within her saddle. Spying on the animals by the creek, she off-handedly comments in a sing-song tone, almost as if she were about to burst into song, "If I could keep any of those antelope… which one would it be. The one with square bent horns or the the white spots on its side. Or maybe the antelope with the spiraling horns will be the one to catch my eye~" She then asks with a touch of morbid curiosity in her voice, those binoculars now turned in Kazimir's direction, oddly, despite his being so close by, "Which one, which one, has caught your eyes?~"

Sometimes, Kazimir wonders about this girl. So strange! As she peers over at him with the binoculars, he does the same in her direction, his face no doubt distorted strangely when magnified thusly. "If you really want some sort of pet so badly, I'm sure we can find you something. You know, a cat or a dog or some birds." But not an antelope! It is a mild gesture toward appeasing her interests, although it also dismisses once more the notion of capturing his prey. "I think, the smaller buck on the left. The others will probably cluster with the large one, I assume it's their…" he makes a vague gesture "… leader? The younger one will still be swift, but more easily peeled from the herd."

"That would be wonderful! I had a menagerie of pets back home." Brianny chirps up and yet oddly, the only animal of hers that did make the transition from Castle Leonnida to Drakholt was the horse she sits on now. "Though.. they may feel lonely at Drakholt." Her expression saddens at this idea, "At Castle Leonnida, there was a lovely lake and meadows and a forest nearby. No. I would need to get a raven of sorts. Or a vulture. Or falcon. Those seem as they would thrive in such a treacherous environment… even though Kazimir may have expected more of an indoor pet when he made the offer and the interior of Drakholt is nothing near treacherous. The binoculars then turn once more towards the antelope as she tries to figure out which is the antelope that her husband speaks of. "Oh… the one with the white spots on its side, such a short life you shall live." These words are said quietly and she practically holds her breath now to await everything that Kazimir said would happen begin to unfold.

Kazimir goes from nodding slightly to looking somewhat increasingly baffled as her list of pets is given. "I don't know that I've ever heard of someone keeping a vulture. But if you liked, I think a raven or falcon would be alright. But that is something we can speak on when we return." With this decided, his attention returns to the herd, and when she whispers of his target's impending doom, a thin smile does crack the man's lips. This is clearly what he loves in life, what he revels in, and to see her show some appreciation or even that hint of anticipation seems to thrill him even more. "Keep a short distance behind, I neither want to lose you or let you too near the stampeding herd." And with that last instruction given, he takes up the reins tightly in one hand and spurs his mount forward in a sudden burst. The disturbance immediately alerts the drinking animals, who begin to scatter in a panic, heading in many directions.

As she was merely listing off animals that she felt would be able to survive in the Drake Mountains, Brianny doesn't look overly put out when Kazimir doesn't add vulture to his list. Instead, she continue to view the antelope from her distance, before the binoculars are lowered and she prepares to ride out into what will probably be a chaos of animals, not just the antelope, scattering in panic after a while. For the briefest of moments, she lifts those binoculars once more, to get a better look at her husband, perhaps expecting to see him downing the young antelope by now, but as instructed, she quickly hurries her own horse forward. The stampede of migrating panicked animals is still further into the distance, so at the moment, she is safe as she keeps herself slightly behind Kazimir's own steed. Both hands holding tightly upon the reins, she maneuvers her horse this way and that as she continues to trail behind. Her dark eyes widen in excitement as she draws nearer to where the antelope are as they begin to dart away as quickly as they can. The skirts of her gown billow in the wind and the feathers and lace upon her hat waver violently as she continues to speed forward.

Kazimir does much as he promised he would, riding into the antelopes at an angle that sends the bulk of them running one way but separates the young male from the others, scampering off in a different direction rather than risking crossing back in front of the path of the charging horse. The sprinting speed of the antelopes is actually swifter than the horses, but before it can break away, still close from the surprise of his sudden charge, Kazimir looses a single shot from the hand crossbow, holding his horse's reins in the other. The shot is true, catching the animal in the upper portion of its hindquarters, and while the bolt of the lighter weapon does not fell it immediately, it staggers as it tries to run. Now there is no chance of escape, and it takes little for the man to ride the creature down, chasing it until its wobbling steps give out and it collapses in the grass. At this point, Kazimir brings his own mount to a stop and glances back over his shoulder, to be sure Brianny is close, before dismounting. He pulls his trusty axe from another loop on the saddle as he hops down, and seems just ready to finish it off as Brianny catches up with him. "Ah, my lady. You may wish to look away for this part."

Brianny speeds off on her horse, traveling in a mostly straight line though she quickly diverts the steed in another direction once of the fleeing animals happens to cross right in front of her. All the while now, she holds the reins to her horse in one hand, while the other is lifted to keep her hat pressed against her head for she would not wish to lose it and have it trampled by animals or soaked beneath the waters of the creek. As a Valen native, this is not the first time that she's ridden a horse in something akin to a fast paced chase, so she does rather well with maneuvering the beast despite the speed of travel. Once she feels that her hat is secure, she carefully and quickly lifts the binoculars again and through its lens she clearly sees that the chosen prey has been struck. The binoculars are dropped to hang down her neck once more and she urges her horse on faster almost as if she did not wish to miss anything. Soon enough, she and her horse catch up to her husband and just as he dismounts, though it may be unwise to do so, Brianny clamors down her horse, which looks so tall compared to her diminutive size. While Kazimir might think of her as a child at times, she very much looks like a child right now, so tiny in her pretty dress standing beside such a tall mount. To Kazimir's warning, all she offers him is silence and she slowly takes steps to close the distance between herself and the struggling young antelope.

There's no doubt, that if Kazamir saw her riding like that, holding her hat… he would surely at least laugh at her! Fortunately, he is at first a little distracted with his pursuit, and soon after with the poor, dying animal, flailing so helplessly in the grass. Although she is spared a look and that warning, if she does not heed it… well, he is not the sort of man to give warnings twice, and with a splatter of blood, the axe comes down upon the struggling antelope, ending its life much more decisively than the crossbow bolt's slow bleeding might have done. There is a spasm, and then it is gone, and the man can at last risk crouching down closer without fear of a stray hoof kicking him. "One of the key things to hunting is field butchery," he explains. "Although an animal is properly butchered by the cooks in the kitchen, there are important steps you must take when it is first killed, so that the ill humors and biles of the body do not spoil the edible flesh." A knife is produced and a few cuts made, with the aim of letting certain of those fluids drain safely. And then, looking back with just a little bit of blood on him, he wonders, "Did you happen to get to pet one, my lady?"

Gracefully, she dusts the lengths of her skirts off as she makes her approach, as if needing to look completely presentable for this. She doesn't waltz on over to stand directly beside Kazimir as he finishes what he had told her he would do. No, she keeps to a 'safe' distance, her big brown eyes watching the antelope now, unblinkingly. Then as Kazimir's hoists his heavy axe upward, the young Valen maiden hums a lulling tune and it's more than likely that the soothing melody is meant to calm the pained creature. It certainly would make a terrible soundtrack for what is to come. And then the deed is over in one swift fell of the axe. At her distance, she is safe from any blood splatter. The look on her face is pleasantly serene and she smiles fondly towards the animal corpse, only hearing some of which Kazimir now says. The one thing that does get through to her is his question: Did you happen to get to pet one, my lady? And only then does she blink out of her trance, her head turning, eyes lifted to look upon her husband. "May I pet this one?" Her booted feet step forward once again.

Again, Kazimir seems to give the young woman a strangely scrutinizing look at this request of hers. There was a day when he thought her nothing but a pretty girl and pleasing hostage, and a desirable wife for those reasons alone, knowing nothing about her personality. Now that he is learning more about her, there are times he wonders! Yet after a few moments staring at her, he simply shrugs off the oddity of the request. "Well, there is no danger of it goring you with its horns, now, or kicking you. So, if you wish… I suppose you may do so. Though, be cautious if you care for your gown. There is quite a bit of blood still."

Oh so carefully, Brianny pulls back the lengths of her bell sleeves so that none of it ends up in the antelope's blood when she pets it. The floor around the creature is already saturated in some of its blood, so she does not dare kneel besides it, even though the very ends of her skirts have already brushed against the blood stained grass. Just as carefully, the young maiden leans over, taking the poor antelope's head in her hands; one hand positioned on top of it while the the caresses the area near the cut in the animal's throat. Her own gaze looks into the animal's eyes and as the hand ontop of its head pets at it gently, her roaming fingers find the horns on its head and continue with their exploration, feeling the odd texture there. "If only you were fast enough. Smart enough. You may be alive today, little one." Having spent enough time with the carcass, she soon straightens out, taking a few steps back now as she pivots on her heels so that she now faces her horse once again. "It has very beautiful horns, My Lord Husband. You have chosen well." Then she moves on to try her best to scramble up and back into her saddle.

"I would not count a creatures such as this worthy of being kept as a trophy." She has by now surely become acquainted with the trophy Kazimir does wear, for it never leaves him, that chain ever present. Indeed, he sleeps and bathes with it on! But it would seem the poor antelope is not worthy of such a long term honor. "But they are fine horns. If you'd like, I could have them made into something," he suggests, hearing her express that fondness. "You could have buttons carved from them or perhaps a dagger handle made?" All men, even those as crude as he know that women like presents, and if he can turn the hunt into something productive in that fashion, well, all the better! The man spends a few more moments with the carcass, cutting it to drain and then taking out some twine to bind its hind legs, so he can hang the whole thing from his saddle. When this is done, he too climbs back aboard his steed. "A good outing. Let us set back for the Ways."

Once Kazimir goes on about trophies, Brianny's brown eyes immediately seek out the claw which he wears around his neck; a topic which she more than likely asked him about on several occasions, including the night of their wedding. Oh how curious a thing it is. "This poor antelope died so young. I believe that it would be best to honor him in some way." The mention of jewelry and the like made, she consider this for a long time, not ever having needed to make this sort of decision, because it's not always that someone offers up parts of their kill to her — aside from the occasional fur. "I will think further on this. Maybe a brooch. Or even goblets of sorts for holding wine." It takes her a while to climb up her stirrups and onto her saddle, but once there, she whistles a merry tune while her husband goes on with his work.. whistling while he worked. When he returns to his mount with his kill and joins her, she is quiet for a good few minutes into their ride, before she asks, "Were you really concerned that something would happen to me out there? Or that the antelope, if not already killed, would try to gore me?"

The goblet idea seems to strike him. "Oh, yes, turned upside down they might serve that way. Although these are a little… hmm, long and thin?" While Kazimir doesn't seem inclined to think too long upon the exact use of the horns just now, and he reassures Brianny when she seems concerned for honoring the poor dead critter. "Our house always honor our kills. The meat, we will eat. The fur and sinews will go for clothing. And the bones and the rest for whatever minor tools might be needed." Once they are riding, he seems equally content to do so in silence, until she breaks it with her question, which seems to strike him oddly, as he glances aside. "Even when you were but our hostage, it was our duty to keep you safe. And it is doubly so, for my wife. That is the knight's role, to defend his maiden, is it not?"

Brianny seems pleased as punch to know that this antelope will find its way into her home and her life from this point on. "Oh, beautiful antelope. You will love your new home as much as I do." She says as she guides her horse closer to Kazimir's, so that she may get a better look at the carcass. Then to the discussion about his protectiveness of her, the former Leonnida maiden nods oh so slowly, though when their eyes to meet, she quickly looks away, her cheeks flushed with color. And while she has other things on her mind, like the fact that Kazimir didn't seem the overly chivalrous sort, the only thing she says in response is, "Your words hold so much truth, Lord Husband." From there, she falls into a thoughtful silence as they continue their journey home.

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