we built this city on broken glass
The grass was weedy, tough and thickened at the base. The blades were long and near tasteless at the tip, each blade near permanently angled from being so constantly at the mercy of the nightly winds that swept those Mongolian plains and yet the base of the grass was sweeter. Frost had learned by the second day to sheer to top of that grass off with his teeth in an effort to reach the tastier lower part of the plant. The stallion having watched those Mongolian native horses until he had mastered the art in turn. It would do him well, Alex had said, to become used to eating that local forage if it was all that would be available to them for those next ten days. Frost, this time, unable to truly find fault with such sound advice. That first day spent in the base camp on the plains outside Ulaanbaatar had been a rush of activity. Frost and Alexander, with Matteo in tow, had been one of the first teams to arrive. Several native people had directed them toward that large yurt that would serve as their home for the five days of training before the beginning of the race. Frost, in that guise of a real horse, relegated to spend the vast majority of his time outside lest any of those locals became aware of his distinctly supernatural status. Alexander and Matteo had, in the least, seen to building him something of a makeshift stable and yard beside that large yurt. Frost, for once, so hardly having minded spending his time outside and beneath that shelter. Those open plains that surrounded them were....fascinating to him. Those equine instincts distinctly and powerfully potent. The Werehorse more then content to busy himself with watching the arrival of those other teams and horses as they came until that camp was a near bustling hub of activity. Forty riders and forty horses from all over the world assembled for that singular ten day race.
Alexander had disappeared early on that second day along with the other riders to be assigned that necessary equipment. Saddles, birdles, vests, helmets, competition numbers and GPS systems and maps handed out to each of those competitors along with that mandatory training on how to use that navigation system and maps. Frost, that day, so left in the care of that curious Frenchman. He had met Matteo before, numerous times, at those nightly training sessions back within their city home. Darius' rider having proven to be a good horseman if nothing else and yet he had spent truly little time in the company of the man alone. Alexander seeming to...favour the Fae more then he had truly seen Alexander favour any being before, though why his companion seemed to do as such remained something of a mystery. Frost curious of that relationship between that pair of old friends. Frost had staunchly refused to move that second day. No matter how Matteo tugged at that halter or rope. The equine merely content to....watch the Fae in his struggle. That string of what Frost could only presume were French cuss words had amused the stallion significantly. Matteo disappearing for some fifteen minutes into that yurt before emerging with bucket in hand. Whatever was in that bucket having held a distinctly sweet scent. Frost had managed, for some time, to act as if he held no interest in that scent at all and yet curiosity had finally won the often irritable man over. Frost having wandered from that yard the moment Matteo had left that bucket unattended, the stallion largely oblivious to that ruse or the notion that it had been left unattended on purpose. Frost realising perhaps a moment to late that he had fallen for that very ploy as Matteo suddenly appeared and picked up that trailing lead rope. Frost having wandered right to where that Fae had desired him to be all along. Ah, Mon Amie, you will have to be smarter than that. I have looked after Alexander's horses for a very long time. I know all the tricks.
He had considered biting that Fae for several long moments, if only to teach him a lesson and yet that bucket had proven to be filled with molasses and oats. Frost unwilling to turn down that unexpected treat. Matteo having spent the rest of that afternoon with brush in hand, grooming every inch of dust or dirt or sore muscle gained on that flight over from his coat. Frost having decided to permit the man's presence. The stallion once more having failed to consider such a thing might well have been a ruse to earn his co-operation all along. The pair having steadily continued to coexist for those following days. Frost inclined to find the stories Alexander and Matteo spoke of at night, around that fire, distinctly enjoyable to listen too. The WereHorse listening keenly to those plans for that race Alexander went over each night in turn before that race day had finally arrived.
Matteo came early that morning. Frost allowed himself to be tied to that hitching post at the front of their yurt if only for the view of the camp it provided. The stallion eyed those other competitors curiously as they readied themselves in turn. That air of anticipation almost palpable. A singular, soft sound of someone snickering readily saw his ears lay back into the wealth of that snowy man. Frost having become distinctly used to that look of skepticism he was given. Far more than one of those other competitors seeming to find amusment in his size. Several of them having told outright told Alexander that he could not win with that horse. How curious it was to see the very....offense Alexander seemed to take in being told he could not do something. His often stoic companion muttering beneath his breath before storming back into that tent to stare at those maps again. Matteo moved about him as efficiently and quietly as always. The Frenchman smoothly lifted that saddle blanket up and onto his back, that lightweight, specially made racing saddle following a moment later. Frost barely inclined to feel it at all upon his back at all as Matteo organised those chest and girth straps with the same simple efficiency. Matteo's voice prompting his ears to twist toward the Fae. I have told this to Alexander but, mon Amie, I will tell it to you too. The first aid kit is in the front left saddle bag, the maps and GPS are in the front right, there is food and water in the back left and spare supplies like rope are in the back right. They are packed as they should be, do not let Alexander disorganised them. The emergency flares ar in the back right too. I do not foresee you will need them- but just in case.You understand?
Frost angled his singular good eye toward the Frenchman, Matteo's own silver gaze obscured behind a pair of dark sunglasses as Frost offered him a simple nod of his own head. The stallion holding little concern for the management of those supplies. Alexander had proven himself...a capable companion. Frost shifted his weight once more, the feel of that saddle surprisingly...comfortable upon his back before Matteo stepped forward with that bridle. Frosts ears inclined to slide backwards in disdain. His mind pressing those words towards the Fae now.
"What is that?"
It is your bridle, Cher Cheval.
"No one informed me about a bridle."
It is standard issue, all horses must wear it. It is the rules of the race.
"If I end up with a dental bill, Alexander is paying it."
Ah, I would not worry, Alexander has excellent hands.
I have never yet heard anyone complain- man or woman.
That near impish grin danced tormentingly upon that wretched Frenchmans features. Matteo abruptly teleporting clear of that nip of Frosts teeth, his tail slashing irritably at his flanks for several moments before Matteo appeared beside him again. Frost, this time, allowing him to fit that bit and bridle in place. His violet gaze shifted back toward that yurt, his ears sliding forward once more to capture the sounds of Alexander moving about inside as he dressed himself and undoubtedly muttered irritably about modern GPS systems again. Matteo reached for his mane then, the Frenchman beginning to plait that long hair into a singular large braid that ran the length of his neck. It was a curious scent, a mixture of smoke and horse and something almost bitter that prompted Frost's attention sideways to eye the pair of men walking down that line of tents and horses. Both were short, dark and dressed in furs. One man led an already saddled dun coloured mongolian horse, the other strode slightly ahead, eyeing those other competitors. The sight of Frost prompted both men to pause, the first nudging his groom only to point at the towering pale stallion before uttering something in Mongolian that seemed to coax the other into laughing. Frost's own head turned away once more, the man uninclined to waste his time on fools. Whatever the men had said however, seemed to ensnare Matteo's attention as the Fae turned, his hands stilled against Frost's mane.
Alex Why was Matteo calling for Alexander? Frost's attention shifted from the Fae to the tent and back again, Alex muttering from within about being out in a moment. The Mongolian man, by now, having spotted Matteo in turn. Both men staring intently toward one another. Alexander! Matteo's gaze hardly shifted away from the other man as he shouted again. The Mongolian beginning to walk towards them then as he weaved his way in and out of the crowd.
"Who is that?"
That, I think, is a story better told by Alexander if he will come out here!
"I think he is still getting ready. Does it matter if that man comes over to us?"
Mon Amie, I am about to teach you the most powerful word in all the world when it comes to summoning Alexander. I fear though, it is one you cannot use.
Frost allowed one eye to lift as best he was able within that equine form, curiosity finding him all at once. That Mongolian man was still heading toward them and yet why Matteo seemed so determined to summon Alex he hardly knew. The Frenchman so suddenly taking a decidedly deep breath.
That shout saw Frost's own head jerk in surprise, the Mongol man abruptly halting in his tracks as several other people turned too look curiously towards them. Alexander appeared near instantly outside that yurt with a look of alarm. Matteo, for his part, appearing nothing short of satisfied before gesturing toward that Mongolian fellow. That man seeming to have re-considered his approach at Alex's arrival as he turned away to snap something at his groom. The pair of them heading back toward that starting line. Dad? Frosts gaze shifted from Alexander to Matteo and back again. That singular word so effortlessly explaining that ...favour Alexander seemed to have for the Fae. Frost assured he could see several family resemblances now that he looked more closely. How he had missed that very thing before he hardly knew. His words, this time, reached for Alexander alone.
"Who was that man? Do you intend to stand here all morning staring after him or are we going to warm-up with the others?"
Patience, it seemed, was hardly Frosts forte this morning. The stallion desiring to stretch his legs and join those other horses. Alexander having taken far too long for his liking already. That race due to start within the next hour.
Be careful out there, Old Man, especially with our friend around. You are getting too old for this, I am sure.
The teasing words of the Frenchman hardly seemed to thrill Alexander, the hunter reaching for that bridle then only for Frost to abruptly lift his head up and out of the Hunters reach. Frost eyeing his companion judgmentally now. His nose reached abruptly down to press at Alexanders pocket before lifting again.
"Where is my apple?"