Location - Ambrosius's Cothold | Outskirts of Atricis, East of the Main Weyr near the old Campsite
@Kate | Devyn
Leaving Devyn's company had pained the dragonless man when he first moved into the cothold, but Ambrosius recognised the necessity of it. He required distance and time, enough to rediscover himself and what his life without Bowith meant to him. In the weeks to follow, he busied himself with his new home, finding a pace that agreed with him. Day by day he awoke at the crack of dawn. Shortly after dressing himself, he would step out of the cothold to fetch a bucket of water that he burned over the hearth. With that water, he made porridge every morning and a accompanying cup of tea. With food and drink in hand, he always made his way out to the porch, if only to take in the portrait of nature framed around him, from the towering trees that sheltered his home, to the thick under brush where small wherries often rummaged for food.
Once the sun light painted the skies blue, Ambrosius finished his breakfast and stepped back into his home to wash off for the start of the day. He used the remainder of the water on the hearth, pouring it into a small basin before he sponged the water over his shoulders and across his form, and gave an extra wash to Duesso who watched the man knelt upon the floor with a towel folded beneath him. Once dressed, he left for the stables to care for Purefoy, and then to his cutting stump where he cut wood and kindling. When he finished, to his cellar he ventured, collecting flour to start a loaf of bread. He tended to his bread twice a week, making enough to last as required. As the yeast activated, he fed Duesso from his storage, bits of dried meat to satiate the fancy flit's appetite. And then to the dough he returned, adding flour and needing the mass until satisfied it would rise properly during the proving. As the dough rose in the warmth of his home, he returned to Purefoy, riding the runner about his home to familiarise himself with the terrain where he resided. Duesso always flew ahead, keeping track of any wild felines in the area. At this hour, however, Ambrosius normally only saw wild herds of runners, bovine, goats, sheep, and boar.
When he did not need to concern himself with bread baking, Ambrosius rode longer, venturing all the way to the lake. There, he swam for a candlemark until his arms tired. Normally, he made sure to return to shore before his body began to protest.
On those darker days, however, he stayed out longer than he should, hoping the exhaustion would overcome him, and allow him to finally drown.
Yet always did Ambrosius manage to return to shore. Worn by his efforts, he lay on the stones, letting the sun dry off lithe his form. Once dried and dressed, he would ride back to the cothold for the latter half of his day.
After several weeks, the man managed to obtain a small brood of wherries so he could collect eggs every afternoon and secure the coop. After two more weeks passed, he found himself with several sheep who wandered across the pasture, guarded by his new herd canine, Jacqueline. The flock soon became the centre of his life. Ambrosius constantly guarded the sheep from predators who might attack. A bovine eventually added itself to the mix, leading Ambrosius to milk her every morning and afternoon. He tended to his gardens every other day. The man uprooted tubers, plucked what remained of his tomatoes and beans, and trimmed lettuce and kale for a salad. What he did not use, he dried. Sometimes he caught fish in the lake, or ensnared an unsuspecting beast in a trap. And always, what he did not use, he smoked to preserve it for later. Down in the cellar, he placed his stock with a few bottles of wine and port. Winter would soon be upon him, and while not nearly as intense as the north, he suspected it would not be entirely easy.
By the evening, with the herd beasts secured in the stables and the wherries locked in their coop, dinner consumed, and a port fetched from the cellar, Ambrosius settled into his chair on the porch, and watched as the skies turned orange. Duesso always found a place at his shoulder, Jacqueline curled at his feet... and eventually his pest hunting canine, Kirkcaldy, joined them, jumping on Ambrosius's lap for warmth. Together, they always watched the sun's final rays of the day disappeared from the sky.
In these late hours that Ambrosius always saw him emerge from the brush; a copper daywher as bright as the sun that faded.
The beast always stood along the outskirts of the clearing, and always alone. Tall, stocky, curious, the beast watched as the dying sunlight caught his hide, illuminating the stream of gold that cut across the his flanks. When clouds billowed in the skies, he seemed like a reflection of the sky itself when the sun cut through the misty forms.
Kirkcaldy always sounded the alarm, his obnoxious barks cracking through the air in an act of intimidation towards the daywher. It caused Ambrosius to wonder of the beast was feral, standing there alone, stalking, and without a handler. Jacqueline was always silent with her caution towards the beast, but never did he show any form of hostility or aggression. From a distance he watched them for a half candlemark, sometimes a full candlemark, and then he would leave, disappearing into the grove. A huff always escaped Kirkcaldy as the daywher left, and Jacqueline always settled, eventually resting her head back on the porch.
Once the last of the light disappeared from the skies, Ambrosius brought his small family back into the cothold where they might find safety for the duration of the night when the felines came out to prowl. Never did Ambrosius sleep upstairs, not when there were nights when he heard the large predators roam near by. He kept a loaded crossbow by the door and a torch ready to by lit by the fires of his hearth. Often did the fire burn through the night, into the early morning. Most nights, Ambrosius eventually found sleep. Other nights, he remained on guard, ready to go on the offence against the felines. He dreaded those moments when he ventured outside in the pitch black of night with a torch at hand, a hatchet on his belt, and crossbow at hand. When he looked to the outskirts of the clearing, he saw the glowing eyes by the brush, of beasts biding their time. Other nights, the hair stood at end along the nape of his neck. He could not see them, but he smelled them, catching the sound of their massive paws crack a twig.
One night, he was charged. He was fortunate to have the crossbow at hand, and fired in a panic, sprouting a bold into the beast's skull. The dogs barked fiercely as Ambrosius inspected the kill he made on his own porch. Just in case, he made sure to cut the beast's throat, draining it of the blood that might sustain it. Quickly he worked, roping up the animal so he could gut it before the rest of its pride arrived. During his dressing, he spotted a pack of nightwhers from the weyr pass by.
"You all right here?" one of the men asked.
"Yes, I'm fine" Ambrosius assured them as he tossed the last of the organs into a pail.
"You sure? You know it's dangerous to be out here alone."
"I know, but I have no choice," Ambrosius answered. "This is my home."
The handlers stayed near by as Ambrosius cleaned his kill, and even offered a hand to help the man drag the carcass back into the stables. He found an empty stable to hang the kill up. In the morning, he would skin the beast and dry the meat, while the gizzards would be minced and dried for Duesso and the canines.
Some days, Ambrosius rode Purefoy to the weyr with Jacqueline in tow and Duesso overhead. During these days, he paid a visit to his daughter, Alyss, spending what time he could before the sight of dragons got the better of him. He also used the time to trade, offering what he could to the weyr in trade for supplies. With the feline fur he stripped from his kill and cured, he gained several sacks of flour, a peck of carrots, a peck of greens, two jars of yeast, a bottle of port, and three skins of a Nabol wine.
It was on one of these days that Ambrosius found himself run into Devyn. Two thirds of the season had passed since he last saw the man, for Ambrosius had kept to himself, thus it was a bit of a surprise to suddenly come face to face with the handler once again. After a short conversation that allowed both men to catch up, Ambrosius found himself offer his home to Devyn on the next rest day. It was meant to be a gesture of gratitude towards the handler, thanking him for everything he had done for Ambrosius. In truth, however, Ambrosius missed the man's company after months of withholding himself from it. Though even in absence, he often thought of the handler and the place he occupied in his heart.
"You could come this rest day if you'd like. I could meet you by the weyryards and I can show you my home."
Three days later, Ambrosius kept his word. His heart pounded at the thought of seeing Devyn once again. In their time together, Ambrosius found a peace in the handler's company, and was loathe to leave it for all he knew he must. Now, after all this time, Ambrosius would be able to enjoy Devyn's company once again. He dressed in a tunic and vest, with a matching pair of wherhide for the occasion, something cleaner, finer, than he normally wore day to day. When he appeared in the weyryards by the trail, he did so on Purefoy, whom he had made sure to brush until he shined.
After all this time, everything needed to be perfect.
Duesso sat upon his shoulder, watching the distance steadily for that telling pale hide.
Would he show?
Ambrosius knew it was a silly question to ask, for Devyn had always been a man of his word. Still, he asked it nonetheless, if only because life had shown him just how uncertain it could be. Yet patiently he awaited the man, thinking all the while on what he would say once face to face with Devyn.