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 Glacien Dogs

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Bjorn Holt

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Posts : 9
Total Experience Points : 9
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OOC: Wicked
Classification: Consular
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PostSubject: Glacien Dogs   Fri Apr 19, 2013 10:24 am

Bjorn usually beat the sun to rise. The winter solstice long passed, Bjorn believed he had enough daylight to run a long hunt once again. A quick venture required only a note on the door. A longer journey, like the one Bjorn was planning, required more planning. A few days were spent acquiring 'baby-sitters' for his dogs, inspecting his sled and tack, packing appropriate rations for himself and roughly two dozen dogs. Extra spears. Firestarters. Furs. He did not bother packing his tent - he could prepare a hollow in the ice and line it with his spare furs, and save his dogs some energy.

The morning of his departure, Bjorn wrote a quick note to the boys who would be checking in on his dogs, harnessed several dogs to his sled, and allowed several others to follow alongside him. Just as he prepared to send his dogs away, he noticed a pup crawling around in his basket. Arlan. The little rascal.

"No place for little pups," Bjorn snorted. The pup snorted back, shaking off and returning to the sled basket. Bjorn shrugged it off - if he was careful, if he kept an eye on the pup, it wouldn't be any trouble.

He double checked his dogs, made sure the kennel gate was shut, and with remarkable mobility for a man his size and age, he strode to his sled and hopped on. "Hike!"

Instantly the dogs snapped to attention; an instant later Bjorn felt the bite of arctic winds on his cheeks and in his beard, he heard excited yips of dogs - the red Morrharr, heading the sled, often cried out with the first few strides. He glanced over his shoulder to be sure the others were following - Jagare followed with apparent difficulty, much to Bjorn's dismay. That 'dog' was getting old. Dreki, by contrast, darted far ahead of the team of dogs, returned, and headed them off again.

For the first few hours of their journey, Bjorn was relaxed. Nothing felt better than soaring over the tundra and feeling the wind in his face - not to him. And, as it seemed, nothing else felt better to his dogs either. Only the elderly Jagare tired, and when he did, Bjorn stopped the sled and commanded him into the basket. Arlan nipped playfully at the wolf's ears, and the elder ignored him for the most.

By the time Bjorn had needed to stop, he was already close to his destination. The pines of North Glacies were impressive indeed, often tall, and often hundreds of years old. Some of the trees were believed to be even older, and Bjorn had a healthy respect for anything that could survive so long. He was not envious, though. The years he had lived felt long enough as it stood.

He turned up the collar of his coat so it shielded his neck, and part of his face, before ordering his dogs on. Once they entered the woods, the pace slowed. Morrharr had never been particularly patient, and despite her training she began to whine softly and nip back at her harness.

"No," he said. "Hike."

He pulled on a little while longer before they came across a clearing, and an open lake. The old man quirked his unscarred brow at this. Most of the lakes were frozen over, completely and utterly. Someone had been nearby, and recently. The old man called for his dogs to stop, and they did. He removed each harness one by one, mechanical, practiced movements guiding him. Most of his dogs waiting in line, although some moved aside to relieve themselves, or began to pad across the ice towards the lake. It was as good a place as any to look for tracks, although Bjorn suspected bears would be further off - humans, after all, wielded more dangerous tools than spears.

Speaking of spears, he reached into the basket and scooped out his own. Jagare vacated as he did, Arlan following as a child might follow his grandfather. "Dreki," Bjorn called. He waited a moment. The wolf-like dog bounded over a fallen tree, charged at Bjorn, and moved aside at the last second. He nearly skidded to his stop before padding over to Bjorn. The old man waited - he wanted the dog to calm down before he gave any commands. For all his training, Dreki still acted like an inattentive pup. "Live a long life, Dreki," Bjorn muttered, ruffling the fur between his ears. "Scent."

Dreki perked up at this, and returned to exploring. Bjorn called a few other dogs and repeated this - Gran, Verloren, Suchen, Winter, all dogs with a penchant for tracking. As they started off, he called the rest to the sled. From the sun, he supposed he had a few more hours left of sunlight. That was ample time to find a nearby creature; more than enough for his dogs to find snow hares, and arctic birds, if he forwent setting up camp. It was a risk, but Bjorn decided to take it.

A low whine signaled Bjorn that one of his dogs had found a scent, and he lumbered to see. Sure enough, his dog had found a large set of prints on the ground, a stained tree. It did not take a genius to realize it was a bear - and a large one at that.

For several hours he lumbered down the track, his spear at his side and his dogs ordered low. Arlan and Jagare stayed towards the middle, the youngest pup boxed in by older, better-trained dogs. Light shushing noises ordered them quiet, even the pup. He would likely not return to his sled until dark - dangerous work. Not that Bjorn cared. He could work the bear back to his sled before killing it. That was even riskier work.

And then, as he walked, he glanced down to the lake. There, opposite him, was a great brown bear. Like him, it lumbered, and snorted. It dined on fish, and something Bjorn could not identify. He crouched behind a log, watching the beast. Bears like that could swim - he could break off the ice and let it float, but it would more than likely swim to safety. It might not even be worth the energy - and his dogs would not be able to flush it out.

"Dreki, Valdnad, Stark," he whispered, turning his head to the bear. He could not snap his fingers in his gloves. "Flush."

And it may have been an epic battle too, for all the bear growled and all the dogs snarled. They darted around, and under him, agitating the beast. It stood up high, on its back legs, and Bjorn stepped out and slammed his foot into the ground. Ice rose up beneath the bear, smashing into its jaw and flipping it onto its back. Bjorn slid down the hill, grunting as something twinged in his ankle. He drove his spear into the bear's throat. He tore it out and plunged it in again, twice more, thrice more, just to be certain the damn thing was dead.

Blood ran through the ice. The old man crouched before his kill, inspecting it. It would be quite the task to bring that back to his sled - more so if he could not freeze over the lake and haul it back. But he needed time, time to rest before he tried. And his ankle ached - he did not know why. Maybe it was the hours of hiking over the ice and snow.

His dogs, ten in all, began to gather around him. Jagare approached the bear, and Bjorn glared over at him. He used to eat his fill before allowing Bjorn near - and Bjorn believed to have trained him out of it. Instead of going for the bear, he gathered the bear's kill. Almost meekly. "You're getting old too," Bjorn muttered, watching the old beast eat.

And there went another hour - he waited with his dogs, hoped his ankle would stop throbbing. But it did not. Perhaps he needed sleep - and for that he needed to return to his sled. Bjorn was nothing if not stubborn. And besides - he'd found game on the first day of a hunt. He was feeling lucky.

So as the old man stood, using his spear as a crutch, he willed the lake to freeze. It took several minutes for a clear path to form - a single bridge over the open lake. With some maneuvering, he fed a rope around the bear and tied it - it gave him, and his dogs, something to hold when they pulled. Some more maneuvering had his dogs in line, like they had been on the sled, and ready to pull. Bjorn grabbed a hold as well. "Hike."

The bear felt deceptively light, once the weight was shared between him and some very powerful animals. But his ankle ached all the way across the lake, and by the time he was nearly at his sled - Spirits, he thought, I can see the damn thing - it was unbearable.

He could not send his dogs to fetch the sled - they would not understand that order. He would have to find his own way up. But he could no longer climb, and it would get no easier in the dark. He tried using his spear as a crutch, digging it into the ice, but by this point both of his knees were nearly locked, and the ice was so slick he could not find purchase on it. He growled, put his hand on it, and tried to crack it. But he was too tired, and weak, and spirits did Glacies have a way of punishing the weak.
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Martyn Bohdan

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PostSubject: Re: Glacien Dogs   Fri Apr 19, 2013 5:52 pm

Morning in Glacies. It was cold, but only relatively so Spring had arrived, and with it, the requisite temperature bump. Even with the sun still couched low on the horizon, it was only a handful of degrees below freezing. With such warmth awaiting him, Martyn only pulled on three layers today, and left his head wrap loose around his shoulders. Kajsa was awake of course, he could hear her moving about in the common area, but paid her no mind aside from a brief stab of anxious guilt that she should not have moved on to her own home by now. Pushing that worry aside for another time, he slipped out from behind the curtain which divided his room from she and Catrin's, and then through the low lintel doorway into the the public space of the house. Kajsa was there of course, and she had both fires going. Martyn noticed that he would need to bring in more wood soon.

“Good morning Marty.” Kajsa greeted him in a neutral tone while she worked on finishing his breakfast, and on preparing the one she would share with Catrine.

“You are the only one who still calls me that Kajsa.” He groused as he crossed to where his fox-fur boots were kept. “Everyone else calls me..” She cut him off.

“I know what everyone else calls you.” She said flatly. “But it is a sisters place to keep her brother in line you know.” Martyn sighed in his head, his face impassive as he stomped into his boots. He even managed to keep his frustration from showing with that. Almost.

“I'm a grown man Kajsa.” He said, not looking back at her as he got his feet settled, already pulling on his fur coat. “I don't need 'keeping in line.” Abruptly, Martyn opened the door and stepped out into the early morning light, ignoring Kajsa's response before the final click of the door cut saved him from having to hear it. Resolutely he climbed the three short steps up to ground level and then headed through the perpetual haze of fog and woodsmoke that characterized life amongst the great trees in Grahn-ville, bound for the communal woodpile. At the top of the stairs he grabbed the pull rope for the small sledge which would allow him to bring back a larger load and in grim silence he went about his business, mulling Kajsa's painfully obvious need for a husband. Perhaps it was his painfully obvious need for her to have a husband, but that didn't change the fact of it's reality.

*~*~*~*~*

Unfortunately, by the time that he had gotten the wood and brought it back, stacking it inside where the girls could get to it, no solution had presented itself to him, and Martyn's mood was darkening. Kajsa at least had the good sense to not press the matter upon his return. Once the wood was all inside and the sledge again tucked against the side of the house, Martyn slipped back inside, intending only to leave.

“I'm going back out.” He said before the door had properly closed, to forestall Kajsa from getting up to warm his breakfast.

“Where are you going?” She asked him neutrally, after chewing and swallowing a bite of food taken precisely to give her a moment.

“Out.” Was the only answer Martyn gave as moved about, gathering the accoutrement he'd take with him. A length of hemp rope for dragging anything large he might manage, a belt with it's own twine follower so that small game could be hung from it, and most importantly, the oilskin sling which held his bow. The bow was the only weapon he used which he could not manufacture with his elemental control. It was 45” of sinewed hickory with musk ox horn tips and more sinew for the string. It was a beautiful weapon, and had taken he and old Tollock a long time to make. Bow-making was not one of Martyn's strong suits, but this one had turned out perfectly with the blessing of the spirits. Short, quick to draw yet still powerful, he hadn't met the creature yet he couldn't kill with it. A brief test of the string and he slung the weapon and it's sheath onto his back. Martyn had his hand on the door before Kajsa stopped him, a polite, even reticent little cough.

“You're breakfast.” She said, offering a small wrapped package. Though he was still cross with her, and wanted to be harsh, he saw Catrine watching, and swallowed it with effort.

“Thank you.” He managed, retrieving the offered food with one hand before tucking it into his pouch. Then, he pulled the door open and disappeared without a goodbye or a word on when he might return. Sighing heavily, nerves jangling like alarm bells, Kajsa let her brother go, instead stretching a smile across her face and returning to where Catrine sat, still picking at the remnants of breakfast.

*~*~*~*~*

The woods were quiet, fresh and inviting beyond the circle of Grahn-ville's influence. And Martyn allowed himself to simply walk for a while. As he went he wove his way through the trees in a broad slow zig-zag, essentially combining a security patrol on this western side of the village with his hunt. There was no wolf sign, at least not within the first two hundred yards of the town, and for that Martyn was grateful. It was a sign that hunting was good elsewhere, and there was at present at least, no danger to the animals or children of the town. He ate his breakfast casually as he walked, pondering.

Likewise, and not as good was the fact that there were no ungulate tracks either. No deer caribou had been near town lately either. Which meant that they had adapted their patterns to further avoid it. It was unfortunate but not unexpected. Still it likely meant a longer walk to find anything of substance. But within an hour he had three hares hanging off his trailing belt, and had let several others pass. Three was plenty, truth be told, but he felt a desire to get something of a bit more substance, allow a stock to be built.

Stopping for lunch in the roots of a familiar dead-fall which served as a convenient camp if the weather should turn, he built a small fire and skinned and roasted one of the rabbits, reasonably sure that he would find more as the day wore on. The walk had thus far been pleasant, not terrible arduous. The early hunting successes had soothed Martyn's mood somewhat, and allowed him to assume a benevolent even permissive air towards some of the small creatures he was seeing. It was a heady feeling and by the time that the rabbit was reduced to it's bones and the fire smothered, the consular found his mood greatly improved.

He had pondered while he had eaten, the possibility of turning back now, harvesting a few more rabbits on the return trip, and being home by dusk. And yet he found that idea unpleasant. Not because he was still cross with Kajsa, but because he was enjoying the sojourn out of Grahn-ville so much. That his mood had improved wasn't remarkable, but that it had needed improving in the first place was. He struggled to remember exactly why he had been cross with his twin in the first place, and was unable to satisfy himself as to the motivation for it. Frustration with himself again threatening his mood, Martyn put it aside for later consideration and set off once more into the woods, now wandering as much as hunting.

The remainder of the afternoon passed swiftly in this fashion, and as dusk came on, whilst looking for another place to camp, Martyn first heard the sound of canines somewhere ahead. Stopping, Martyn took a moment to work up a clutch of arrows, and an extra one to lay against the string, ready to draw. The barking told him it was dogs, not wolves, but there were other sounds as well, a bear, and he felt someone working ice ahead. It was likely someone hunting, but Grahn-ville was miles behind, and he wasn't aware of any other settlements within an easy walk, so where had this person come from? Uncertainty made him cautious, that and the knowledge that there were still a fair number of ice controllers who followed the Undan banner.

The sounds of battle continued for several moments then the bear's bellows cut off abruptly. Fair play to whomever was ahead, but still Martyn did not hurry, instead he continued a steady advance, his bow held before him at half cant, just enough tension on the string to get him started. After another half hour or so, he approached a clearing in the forest in a semi-shallow bowl. The bottom of which held a small lake, an old man, his dogs, and one dead bear whose blood stained an ice bridge that was obviously the work of the controller. Martyn stayed out of sight for a while, observing the man and his dogs. It didn't appear that there was anyone else with them, and a solitary man with hounds could well be on a hunt.

Ultimately it was the failing of the light which decided his course of action. Though outnumbered (if one counted the dogs, and hunting hounds were never to be discounted), Martyn still had the element of surprise and range on his side, and so he stepped from hiding, the bow now half drawn and pointed about two feet to the left of the man below him.

“ 'lo down there.” He called in a quiet shout. “No sudden movements friend,” He continued when the fellow's face lifted from his own thoughts to track his voice. “Are you alone?” he asked then, and with barely a pause he added, “Are you Undan?” His arm flexing reflexively at the mention of his hated enemy, the string on his bow stretching a bit more under the pressure, nearly at full draw now. If the old man knew anything, he'd know that was not a posture Martyn could hold long, and yet the young man waited the elders answer with seeming infinite patience.
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Bjorn Holt

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PostSubject: Re: Glacien Dogs   Fri Apr 19, 2013 6:58 pm

The old man submitted to the possibility that he would spend the night exposed - it had been his own fault. That much he could acknowledge. Deciding it would do him good to wait, and rest, rather than struggle and expend more of his waning energy, Bjorn sat down against the ice. At least his coat kept the wind off, and at least his hat kept the heat from seeping out of his thinning hair. And, with him sitting, his dogs rested their heads on his lap, over his feet.

If it would be the end of him, Bjorn could not say he was free of regrets. Oddly enough, dying out in the cold would not be one of them. Perhaps it would be his treatment of his wife and children, perhaps it would be the still vast Undan navies plaguing the ports like Ledas-Hafn. One of them would be Arlan's presence. The pup had crawled into Bjorn's jacket, and with some manuevering he had reached the collar of Bjorn's coat. It was not comfortable, but not unpleasant either. It calmed him, knowing that at least the pup would not be making a nuisance of himself elsewhere.

And any sense of calm Bjorn had vanished at a young man's voice. "'Lo down there," it called softly. "No sudden movements, friend."

Bjorn snorted - the sound, of course, was coming from his left: his blind spot. He twisted his head to see, and caught a glimpse of a much younger man drawing a bow. His good eye narrowed, and half of his brow furrowed. The mangled left side was dead, and mostly unresponsive. "You threaten all your 'friends,' boy?"

"Are you alone? Are you Undan?"

His lips curled in disgust, and Bjorn pressed his spear into the ground. "Put the bow down, boy, or I'll set my dogs on you." He paused - he did not really want a confrontation. A light click of his tongue, and his dogs were off of him, sitting at attention. Jagare and Dreki hesitated, padding away. Both bristled at the unfamiliar face, but Bjorn did not set them on the boy as he had promised. "I'm no more Undan than that bear," he answered. "I come alone, but those in my village know where I am."

That meant little - Bjorn was not well-liked in his village. Some villagers at least respected him; training as many dogs as he did was quite a feat for one old man, and he had survived quite a bit. Most villagers, however, could not get past the many (ludicrous) rumors about the old bear of a man. That he could not be slain by any man or beast, that he was a beast turned man.

"You should watch who you call Undan, boy, that's an insult where I'm from." He used his spear like a crutch, and leaned on it as he stood. His legs would barely obey him - he was exhausted. But he strove not to wince in front of what he believed was a common hoodlum. A bandit - not a soldier. As far as Bjorn knew, the boy was after money, or perhaps was a lost Undan himself. Whoever the boy was, he did not know Bjorn, was likely unfamiliar with Ledas-Hafn. Perhaps he himself was avoiding the dreaded military drafts - many young men fled to the woods in terror upon hearing them. He did not wish to inform the boy that he was injured It did not matter - if the boy had two working eyes and a functioning mind, he would be able to see how Bjorn leaned on his spear, and how the wood groaned under his weight.

Deciding it would be best to introduce himself, if he were to avoid an arrow through the throat (or, worse, his good eye), Bjorn opted to introduce himself: "Bjorn Holt, kennel master of the Glacien Navy. And just who are you?"
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Martyn Bohdan

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PostSubject: Re: Glacien Dogs   Sat Apr 20, 2013 12:12 am

The older man's face, the details that he could see at this distance at least, was a ruin of old wounds. He had turned his head it seemed because he was blind on the side from which Martyn had initially approached, at least he wore an eye patch.

“You threaten all your 'friends' boy?” The man began, a series of emotions twisting his face as they passed, "Put the bow down, boy, or I'll set my dogs on you." The animals in question, which had moments ago been laying on their master's legs moved away, two of them moving apart, their heads dropping and hackles going up in a sign of distrust of the new comer. Martyn watched them warily, noting that they appeared more wolfish than the others, and might even have been tame wolves. He wondered absently if he could kill one or both before they closed on him. As he was considering this, the stranger told him the thing he wanted to know, and so he relaxed his arms, letting the bow go slack.

“It's a tactical choice.” Martyn said, in explanation of his calling a stranger 'friend'. “It makes idiots feel safer. Apparently you aren't as stupid as you would appear, sitting on the ice with night coming on and no fire.” Watching the old man struggle to his feet, his spear clutched like a crutch, the haft quivering beneath the man's weight as it bore him upright.

“It's an insult to anyone, even the Undans.” He responded flatly, and despite the fact that the next thing the man did was introduce himself, Martyn's attitude was not noticeably softened.

“The Glacian Navy?” He scoffed openly. “I didn't know we still had one, do they use you're dogs to paddle the dingy's about?” Not the most subtle or appropriate thing to say perhaps, but then not many of the Glacians who remained in the North could have a very positive attitude of a Navy who had never engaged the Undan's once, much less garnered a victory. However, the man's obvious infirmity called upon the ethos that his mother had supplied, and Martyn allowed his arrows to dissipate, re-slinging the bow. “Still,” He said when that was done. “Whats happened to your leg Bjorn?” He asked. “My name is Martyn Bohdan, and i'm, well, i'm a soldier in what you might call a volunteer unit.” Slowly he raised his hands to show that he was unarmed he slowly began to descend the hill toward the the injured man and his dogs. “Is there anything I can do to help you?” He nodded back the way he had come. “My settlement is back that way about thirty miles, or i've got a camp about fifteen miles if you don't think we can make it that far.”
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OOC: Wicked
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PostSubject: Re: Glacien Dogs   Sat Apr 20, 2013 9:14 am

The old man watched as the bow slackened. At least he was no longer being threatened by some hideaway boy. But then the boy patronized him, citing his resting on the ice. Bjorn scowled deeply. "My sled's just over this slope, boy. And show some respect, I didn't get this old without knowing how to survive."

Bjorn could not claim that he had come prepared, however. If he had indeed come prepared, scaling the hill would not have been such a daunting task. He would have taken into account his age, had he truly cared.

The boy too seemed to loathe Undans. Good. But then he continued to scoff at the Glacien Navy. Bjorn himself was not particularly fond, as most of the captains and admirals and such were sycophants, playing social politics for greater compensation, and pay. But to say that Bjorn's work in particular was meaningless was insulting. Perhaps his work did mean little - Bjorn did not enjoy sending so many dogs off only to never see them again - but the Navy provided him funding to keep his dogs fed, and himself fed, so he could train his dogs for military work."No, boy. They search for lost children, or rip out Undan throats."

He glanced to Dreki, and Jagare, and made a harsh shushing noise. The wolfish pair hesitated, but ultimately sat down. They were not calm, but they were no longer snarling, or preparing to run at the boy.

The boy questioned Bjorn's injury. He had a simple answer for that: "I'm old, boy."

And then the boy introduced himself, confirming what Bjorn had originally thought. The boy was not in the military at all - had never answered the drafts. He was a vigilante. At least he was not a coward. Bjorn himself had initially resisted the drafts. Clearly that had not played out the way he originally hoped. The boy began to approach, and Bjorn held up a hand. "Stop, boy, come slower," he ordered. "I can't have you startling my dogs."

Speaking of dogs, he was thinking to remove the pup from his coat. But he could not bend down to let the pup away.

"Is there anything I can do to help you?"

Bjorn's first thought was to slip the pup out of his coat and hand him to the boy. "Hold this."

A moment later, he had glanced back to the bear. The dogs like Morrharr were already tied to its carcass, and it was a wonder that none had tried to eat it yet. He could get the bear to his sled, but he was exhausted. He did not even know if he would be able to make camp. "Like I said, my sled is just past this hill. If you get me to it, I'll drive you home."

Though, for all Bjorn talked, he did not believe he would have the energy to steer the sled as he usually did. He could not even bend the ice to his will - and that was hardly a physical activity. Perhaps he would let the boy take the reigns - it was not such a difficult skill to learn, if he was unfamiliar with dogs.
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Martyn Bohdan

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PostSubject: Re: Glacien Dogs   Mon Apr 22, 2013 3:55 pm

In response to his question, Bjorn produced from somewhere, a puppy, which he promptly and without preamble handed over. Martyn was, to put it politely, startled, and his hands supported the animal by it's front legs, his fingers splayed across it's chest. It panted at him with happy vapidness. He stared back with utter dumbfounded contempt.

“Bjorn,” He asked softly, “Why do you have a dog in your shirt?” Irregardless of the man's response to that, Martyn's follow up was “And what am I supposed to do with it?”

"Like I said, my sled is just past this hill. If you get me to it, I'll drive you home." Following Bjorn's gesture, Martyn was able to locate the sled which was tantalizingly close, and instantly he felt a flash of empathy for the older man. He would have frozen to death within sight of his own sled. An ultimate irony for an ice controller.

“Alright.” He said softly as he turned from whatever the older man was doing, still carrying the dog before him like it might do something unsavory, and began the reverse trek up to where the sled waited. It was more difficult that going down had been, for a number of reasons. Not least among them was the pup who even at it's young age with it's light weight was still hanging off the end of his arms like a perverse wiggling growth. It began to whine as soon as Martyn turned away from Bjorn, a high pitched piercing sound which made the younger man's teeth hurt.

“Hush up.” He admonished as he went. “We're not leaving him.” When the dog wouldn't stop squirming Martyn stopped what he was doing. “HEY.” He continued. “We'll be right back.” Then, having nothing better to do, he felt down his coat to the large pass through pocket which kept his hands warm when he was sitting immobile on a stalk and pushed the pup into that before continuing his climb. The sensation of the animal moving back and forth was awkward at best, and yet a very faint smile ghosted Martyn's face as he continued the climb, and when he slipped, his hand instinctively went to ensure the pup did not fall out.

A half hour later, Martyn returned with Bjorn's sled. The climb had been harder than he had had expected, and only served to reinforce that the old man would never have made it. The pup had settled down after a while and gone to sleep against his stomach which had made the work easier, although the added weight and mass had been unfamiliar. The passage of time had lowered the sun and the ambient air temperature to the point where a fiteful snow began to fall.

“Come on Old Man.” He said when the sled eased to a stop near the lake basin. “Let's get out of here before we all freeze.”




OOC: Sorry for the delay Wicked. Last couple days have been rough. After work tonight, i've got the next two off though, so we should be able to squeeze a few more posts in. Hope you're doing well, and that you enjoy the post.
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Bjorn Holt

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PostSubject: Re: Glacien Dogs   Mon Apr 22, 2013 6:35 pm

Bemused, Martyn took the pup, questioning why Bjorn had a dog in his shirt, and what he was supposed to do with it.

"That's Arlan. I suppose he likes it better under my coat than out in the cold," Bjorn replied, amused. From time to time, the old man would forget to clarify what he considered mundane (and inane) bits of information. This time, he forgot to clarify that the pup had simply slipped under his coat and climbed up to his chest. "Just hold him for a bit. Little hard to breathe with a dog pressing against your throat, you know."

Although Bjorn had not expected the boy to actually walk off with his dog, he did not stop him. There was no reason for the boy to steal a whiny little pup - Bjorn was certain that Arlan just wouldn't have it. As the boy began his ascent, Bjorn sat back down. Again, Bjorn's dogs rested beside him, although initially Morrharr howled mournfully at the loss of the pup.

"They'll be back, girl," Bjorn murmured, closing his eyes and trying to relax. There was a possibility that the boy would simply leave him, but Bjorn was feeling rather optimistic. After all, he might have frozen within reach of his own sled.

It was not too long before the boy returned, with a puppy-shaped bulge in his pocket. Dreki postured and growled again, but Bjorn waved him off.

"Come on Old Man. Let's get out of here before we all freeze."

Bjorn nodded. Using his spear as a walking stick, he rose once more. He directed the dogs to the sled, and began to slip them into their proper tack. Only Dreki, Jagare, and Arlan remained unharnessed. Once finished, he took a seat beside his game, trying once again to work the ice. A grown bear was quite a boon, and he did not intend to waste it. Raising a deterring, jagged wall of ice around the creature, he asked Martyn, "Have you ever driven a dogsled?"

Then, regardless of the answer, he asked, "Think you could manage?"

[OOC: Don't worry about it.]
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Martyn Bohdan

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PostSubject: Re: Glacien Dogs   Wed Apr 24, 2013 1:15 pm

Though Martyn never had driven a dogsled, he knew that he had no choice now but to try. “Afraid not,” He replied to Bjorn's question. “But under the circumstances, I believe i'll have to make an effort.” After watching the older controller shield his kill from other predators, Martyn waited for the older man to lift himself weakly onto the sled.

“You do this verbally or do you have a whip?” He asked once Bjorn had gotten settled, handing the man back his pup at the same time.

“Verbal,” Bjorn, mumbled sleepily as the pup tucked himself back into his owners coat with gleeful abandon. “Hike.” This was followed almost immediately by the sound of snoring. Stupidly, the younger Glacian repeated the word without thinking, and then had to make a mad scrambling dash to catch the sled as the dogs took off. By the time that he caught it, he was panting and cursing the other man who slept on blissful of the vituperation that his young companion rained on him. Once he was on the sled however, Martyn focused on staying on (which is more difficult than it sounds) and settled into a sullen thoughtfulness. The trees raced by, as the dogs yiffed and snuffled as they wended their way through the forest with an ease and speed that Martyn held in awe and envy.

He pondered as he went, Bjorns priorities. He would not or could work work the ice to either help himself climb the hillside or to bring his sled down, but he could arrange a retaining wall to discourage wolves and various other predators from scavenging his kill. And then there was the kill itself, the bear, for all that it doubtless had been formidable, had been savaged, it's neck ripped nearly completely out. Why? He resolved to ask once they had made camp...

CAMP Abruptly, the tree which sheltered the dead fall which Martyn had intended to camp at whizzed past on the left. They'd passed it.

“Bjorn!” Martyn called, attempting to reach the man over the top of the sled to wake him. “Bjorn! Wake up!” Trying everything he could think of did not let him hit on the approriate phrase,. “BJORN! How do I stop this thing?” Unconciouslly, Martyn's legs coiled. If he couldn't get an answer from the old man he decided, wondering idly if he was dead, he was going to have to jump....
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Bjorn Holt

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PostSubject: Re: Glacien Dogs   Wed Apr 24, 2013 2:50 pm

"Don't worry, boy, the dogs won't run you into a tree," Bjorn assured Martyn as he shifted onto the sled. The wall was weaker than what Bjorn could do under fair conditions, but would suffice for a night or two. It was more than he should have done - he should have reserved his energy for the ride back. He brought Arlan onto the sled, and let Jagare rest at his feet. He did not worry about Dreki - the mutt would follow its pack.

The boy asked, and Bjorn began to doze. Martyn would be quite alone on his journey back to camp - that wasn't good. Hopefully he wouldn't get them lost. "Verbal," he answered, laying in the sled basket. "Hike."

At the first word, the dogs shot upright, ready to run. By the second word, Bjorn had closed his good eye - too exhausted to stay awake. Spirits guide you, he thought bitterly. Or at least the dogs.

By the time Bjorn awoke, it was to a terrified howling. He twitched and shifted - damn, he was thirsty.

"BJORN! How do I stop this thing?!"

Glancing back at his young companion, Bjorn snorted. In a gruff, authoritative voice, he boomed, "Woah!"

The dogs began to slow at this, shifting to the side so the sled would not crash into them. The sled skidded - perhaps, in their excitement, the dogs had misinterpretated Martyn's shouting as encouragement. His voice was rather high compared to Bjorn's.

"How far are we?" Bjorn muttered, propping himself up on his elbows. It was much darker now than it had been when Bjorn dozed off, and the old man regarded the boy almost suspiciously for a moment. Then he snorted. He made a sound that sounded a tad too close to crying. He was laughing, pinching the bridge of his nose. For a moment, and it had been a terrible, brief moment, Bjorn had wondered if the boy had gotten them in some sort of mortal danger. The notion was so ridiculous - he had sounded so flustered. The image of the boy aiming his bow, like a warrior, just didn't fit with such exasperation.
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Martyn Bohdan

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PostSubject: Re: Glacien Dogs   Wed Apr 24, 2013 10:29 pm

After the dogs slowed, tending to the side so that the whole rig arced to a stop. Martyn exhaled heavily. While he had not doubted that the dogs would have kept them out of most of the danger, he had not relished the idea of riding back to Grahn-ville on a runaway sled. Martyn was an incumbent fellow and neither prone nor keen to relinquish control, regardless of the situation.

"About fifteen miles from the lake," Martyn answered his companion. "My camp's just back that way a bit. We uh, we passed it. " Dismounting the sled, Martryn eyed the older man warily. "Do you want me to wait and walk you to the camp or should I go ahead and get a fire going then come back?" He scuffed the snow pack irritably with the toe of one boot. There was nothing about this situation he was comfortable with. He wondered, not for the first or last time, why he had seen fit to get involved at all. Looking up from his boot mark in the snow, the young man awaited his elders whim impatiently.

“Look,” he began hesitantly, “I'm sorry about how I approached you back there.” he didn't clarify that he was sorry for approaching at all. “And if you're dogs do in fact take Undan throats, then they do more for our country than the navy does.” It was an awkward, backhanded thing to say, and barely worked out to being a compliment, but, it was the best that he had.
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Bjorn Holt

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PostSubject: Re: Glacien Dogs   Wed Apr 24, 2013 11:28 pm

It seemed to Bjorn that the young man was uncomfortable, and though he found the disconnect humorous, he found it in him to stop chuckling. He sat upright, and glanced about for Dreki. Sure enough, the wolfish dog was prowling just a ways away from the sled. Then the boy answered him, and Bjorn saw fit to look at him.

"My camp's just back that way a bit," he explained. Perhaps, a little abashed, the man added, "We uh, we passed it."

Bjorn watched as the man stepped off of the sled, toeing at the ground. The old man himself straightened out - thankfully his legs responded, but they still groaned under the lightest commands. Walking would be a challenge. He almost swore, but instead he removed the puppy from his coat and set it on the basket. As the boy put it, they had two options. Bjorn snorted. "It won't do to leave the sled behind; this is the best way to take it with."

The old man paused, pushing himself backwards so he leaned against the seat's frame.

"I won't doze a second time. Get back on the sled, point me to your camp. I'll handle the dogs."

Big words from a large man who could not even stand. His voice was low, surly. Yet it carried a confidence honed from experience. Bjorn had accomplished similar feats before, in what he considered to be worse circumstances. After all, he did not often have another man along with him.

But the boy had other things on his mind - he appologized in a way that made Bjorn feel uneasy himself. First impressions lasted, but a drawn bow was not an entirely uncommon greeting in Glacies. Especially not in the heavily forested areas, where bears and wolves roamed. Bjorn had encountered other hunters before - though he had not been mistaken for an Undan in years. The old man wondered why the boy had, so suddenly, apologized.

"I'm sorry for dozing off without telling you how to steer a sled," Bjorn answered dryly. "We're losing light. Would you mind?" He tapped the handle of the sled.

Bjorn did not want to think about his military days. It had been a quick response to a pessimistic quip, and though it had irritated Bjorn at the time, he was willing to forget. Temporarily, at least.
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Martyn Bohdan

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PostSubject: Re: Glacien Dogs   Wed May 01, 2013 1:46 pm

Despite Bjorn's efforts to disguise the fact, Martyn could tell that the older man was still tired to the point of weakness. Still, whatever infirmities he was or was not feeling, his voice was gruff and steady, and there was no doubting that the will of the man was as strong as ever. After yet another mumbled apology, an act which baffled the youth even as he performed it, he stepped back onto the sled.

“Turn us around, the tree we're looking for is about three hundred yards back the way we came. Look for the large deadfall.” Bjorn answered wordlessly, then commanded the dogs into motion, then in a brusque but not unkind voice, he taught his young passenger the rudiments of his job. It was unbeknownst to Martyn, and perhaps even to Bjorn, the same attitude and tone that he used when training his dogs.

The journey, if you could be generous enough to call it that, back to the deadfall was brief, but with Bjorn's instruciton, Martyn began to comprehend what he would need to do the next time. He wondered absently when there would be a next time, but all the same the thought had been and remained. When Martyn indicated that they were close to the campsite, Bjorn pulled the dogs up and the sled coasted to a near ideal stop.

“Here we are.” Martyn said obviously, gesturing towards the large oak and the impenetrable appearing tangle of detritus around it's roots. After unhitching the team per Bjorn's instruction and helping the old man off the sled, Martyn led motley crew to the well disguised entrance to the camp, turning and slipping into the entryway before offering a hand back to his companion, the dogs following warily. Once inside, Martyn laid a fire on the ashes of his earlier one, and then set about retrieving bits of kitchen kit from his slung bag.

“There will be tea in a minute,” He advised, already boiling snow melt over the fire. “I hope you don't mind poached eggs or rewarmed bacon.” He continued, somewhat apologetically, his fare was poor and thin, having only been intended for himself, but he had never been called stingy. Once dinner as it was had been served, Martyn sat down and ate quietly, watching Bjorn absently as he did.

“You'll head back to your village in the morning?” He asked at one point, between bites.
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PostSubject: Re: Glacien Dogs   Fri May 03, 2013 8:47 am

Bjorn watched to be sure that Martyn got onto the sled before setting the dogs out. "Come Gee," he said, watching as Morrharr and her dogs began to line up. Surely Dreki was around nearby - Jagare remained at his feet. Bjorn was surprised that the younger man had not inquired about why Bjorn raised 'wolves of all things!' as exclaimed by some very exasperated villagers. But it did not matter; he pittied the young man for having no experience with dogs. Bjorn had taken his boys out sledding several times - before his wife hid them away on the other end of the world. He took it upon himself to explain commands as they rode, "That means turn around."

By the time they reached the deadfall, Bjorn had stuffed several more explanations than were needed into his commands, and once again Bjorn stopped the sled with an even, "Whoa."

Once the dogs were loose and the old man off of his sled, and all safely in camp, Martyn offered tea, as well as eggs and bacon. The old man snorted at the way the boy offered. "I wouldn't mind, no."

Bjorn had learned not to mind much of what he ate at all. When he was younger he lived in Unda, and when he was slightly older he had to make a transition from a balanced diet to one composed almost entirely of meat and stale bread. Working for the navy he had eaten far worse than that. Once he had his dinner in hand, Bjorn removed his gloves and began to eat.

His dogs, predictably, swarmed around him. Several looked to Martyn, quirking their heads and lolling their tongues excitedly. Bjorn ignored them for the most; they were sitting and not whining or reaching to get his food. In a moment, he would lumber back to his sled and fetch what he had brought for them.

"You'll head back to your village in the morning?"

Bjorn glanced up at the boy, considering. "Maybe. Depends on how much I can strip from the bear," he answered, not looking up from his meal. "Otherwise I'll stay in the woods a while longer."

He glanced up at the boy, wondering if he still mistrusted Bjorn. He took another bite of bacon and, in attempt to clear some of the mistrust said, "I'm from Ledas-Hafn. You?"

It was a village well-known for being flooded with refugees and scant military camps; Bjorn almost expected some quip about that when he offered the information.
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