Thane Becomes a War Horse
After reporting in at Kythros and getting approval from the commander, Kaval rode to the nearby estate of Lord Lance Mestrode, retired Gray Ranger. As soon as he passed the stone marker on the edge of the estate, Kaval amazed at the lush grasses and far-off herd of horses he saw running across the top of some hills. The manor house itself was impressive, though smaller than the extensive stables. It was all a flurry of activity with soldiers training with their mounts, horses being broken, the blacksmith working on a seemingly endless pile of iron horseshoes, and civilians just riding. Kaval patted Thane’s neck.
“We’re in the right place.”
“You’re kidding, right?” said the cigar-chomping Alakar. “Too small. Can’t handle the strain.”
Kaval was standing next to Thane, talking to the first person of authority he’d been able to get the attention of. This elf appeared to be in charge of the training grounds.
“Oh, I think Thane will surprise you, sir,” responded Kaval coolly. “I just need to know how to work with him. We’re deployed in the Atracia region of the Wild Lands and I need a mount that can help me fight.”
Bestros, the elf, eyes both Kaval and Thane. “Fine, you can try it, but if your horse breaks a leg, he won’t be fit for any service even after healing.”
Kaval patted Thane’s neck with more confidence than he actually felt. “Not to worry, sir.”
So began four weeks of intense training. A surprising amount of it was in Kaval’s hands, learning how to lead and direct a horse in the throes of combat. As others worked with Thane to build up his strength, Kaval rode a mount called Hastelion, a trained war horse, through mock combats, charging, and maneuvers. Once Kaval knew what he needed to do, and how the horse was supposed to respond, he rejoined Thane and started over again.
It was bone-tiring work, but Kaval also enjoyed the evenings with the other soldiers bunked at the estate either permanently or during training like Kaval. He flirted with Bassia, a woman from the Mestrode family, even finding time to go riding with her. They exchanged some kisses but there was no time for more.
Nearly two months after leaving Ashton, Kaval left the Mestrode estate riding Thane, both with new skill and confidence. He just hoped everything was alright back in the unlucky little town…