Even those glorious wings could not distract horse or rider from the soaking rain and chilling wind that had well and truly settled upon the Mongolian Steppes. This race, as a whole, would be miserable if the rain intended to last for days on end. The sky above, for now, seemed to indicate nothing short of that. Those clouds were thick, dark and heavy. The air held little save for the scent of the rain and the ground beneath Frost's hooves had never given up any effort to soak that rain in. How quickly his hooves were becoming muddied and yet, for now, Frost paid it little heed. The stallion instead was far more intrigued in questioning Alexander- a man whom had shaped the modern world- on why he had chosen....whatever Matteo was, as his son. Frost, for all his....reluctance to admit to Alexander's veritable greatness was hardly a fool of a man. He knew just entirely how coveted Matteo's position would be to any number of men, or even women, within the world and yet, despite it all, the French Fae was the one Alexander had somehow chosen all those years ago. Frost's very question of why so seemed to provoke at least some consideration in the Hunter in turn. Hmm. Perhaps their meeting and relationship was simply one of chance, rather then a purposeful act by the Macedonian to take in some orphaned boy- if Matteo ever had been such a thing. Alexander was silent for several moments before the Hunter spoke. Matteo's lacking warriors heart was hardly surprising. Even Frost himself had come to deduce such a thing from the mere week he had spent with the Frenchman at that training camp. Matteo, while undoubtedly skillful on that battlefield was not....like Alexander and himself. He was not made for war. That very notion that Alexander perceived within him the heart of a king however was perhaps far more surprising. Even if Alexander hardly intended to let him off the hook for allowing them to fall off a mountain.
Frost's sodden tail flicked in disdain as his pace increased. The stallion determined to make up as much ground as possible. His mind, for now, still content to consider Alexanders insistence that Matteo was King material. The light of day, however, had quickly begun to fade. The unforgiving Mongolian Steppes were even more so within the dark. Frost's own night vision so hardly enough to allow the pair to traverse that uneven, slippery, rocky ground without light. The stallion unwilling to break a limb in an endeavour as foolhardy as that. There was little by way of shelter to be offered to the pair. The trees were sparse,the cliffs and mountains still several hours ride into the distance. A single, lone boulder, for tonight, the only shelter from the wind the pair seemed destined to receive. Frost's hooves shifted upon the earth, the stallion loping towards that boulder before stopping beside it. That solid rock did offer some relief from the wind, if nothing else. Alexander was quick to slip from his back. The Macedonians shoulder seeming to have already healed to some extent. Frost's own figure shifted to allow Alexander to remove that pack saddle and bridle. To be finally free of that equipment was nothing short of a relief. The towering war horse shook his body agianst the rain, that very gesture flinging the water from his coat and too- the sensation left behind from that tack. The stallion hardly used to wearing any sort of saddle beyond the occasional riding pad- a bridle near entirely unheard off.
Alexander set to work constructing that tent. The unfortunate Hunter was forced to battle agianst the onslaught of the elements as he struggled to hold those poles and tarps in place. Hmm- and this was the man whom had conquered all of Asia-Minor? Frost's very comment was met with a scowl from the hunter before Alexander tossed a bag of tent poles in his direction. The canvas bag thumped harmlessly agianst his leg, Frost offering it a snort of displeasure before he made a determined effort to reach for his newest affinity. It was...difficult to summon his wings once more, especially when he had no intention of flying and yet, wordlessly, Frost allowed one wing to extend and prodive a decidedly notable shelter for his companion. That rain, finally, out of Alexander's eyes as it hammered instead down upon Frost's wing. The Hunter, wisely, chose to avoid offering any sort of thanks. Frost so eternally seemed to disdain any 'good deed' he committed so being pointed out to him. The stallion content to stand as a silent shelter over his rider- at least until Alexander was finished.
The Hunters efforts to crawl into that newly constructed tent were halted by Frost's own insistence he required his raincoat. Alexander, as he had antiquated, was quick to oblige that notion. Frost, for the first time, even inclined to stand still as the elder man fastened that blue coat and matching hood in place. That jacket was warm, comfortable and provided an excellent shield agianst the rain. It was, perhaps, hardly the most...fashionable thing he had ever worn and yet the equine was hardly inclined to complain tonight. Alexander moved deftly to see it fastened in place before stepping back to inquire if it was right.
"Yes. Thank you."
That, it seemed, was all the conversation Frost was content to have. The stallion wandered away from that tent then to find his own food amongst the tussock grass. It was a good hour later before the equine returned. The scent of Alexander's food far more appealing then the sodden, muddied grass that surrounded them. Frost's nose and muzzle alone managed to appear within the bottom of Alexander's tent. The stallion inquired after just what the Hunter had. Those green beans and pilaf sounded far more enticing tonight.
"Push them over this way."
Frost waited only so long as it took Alexander to push that forward towards him, those malleable equine lips effortlessly grasping at the bowl before tugging it out of the tent entirely. Such a meal was hardly large enough for the war horse to feel full upon and yet it was decidedly pleasing all the same. Frost's tongue swept across the bowl in an effort to catch every grain of rice or garlic morsel before abandoning it to the rain. The stallion, for now, was content to make his way towards the nearest strand of skinny, leafless trees. His rump was turned into the wind, shielding him from the rain before his violet gaze at last closed agianst that storm. It was hours later when Frost finally awoke, the first rays of sun only just beginning to lighten the sky. That grass, while still damp, was hardly as sodden as it had been the night before. That early morning promising an end to the rain and a truly bright, sunny day.
His large, feathered hooves at last carried him down from those trees. The rustling within Alexander's tent assuring him the Hunter was awake in turn. Frost, without that rain to entirely saturate him, was content to pick at the grass as he waited. Alexander at last emerged from the tent some twenty minutes later before beginning to disassemble it.
"No one passed us in the night or in the early hours of the morning. There may still be some riders behind us- forced to go around the flooded river- but there will be a lot ahead of us. We need to make up a lot of ground today if we are going to actually reach a base camp tonight."
Alexander, he suspected, was well aware of that very thing and yet Frost's words pressed to his mind all the same. The equine stood obediently once more as Alex removed that rain jacket, the saddle and bridle fitted back into place before, at last, swinging up and into the saddle. The Hunter's shoulder was notably more healed than it had been yesterday. Alexander's heels so barely had to touch his sides. Frost's own competitive nature having prompted the equine to swing into a near immediate canter, his long strides eating away at the ground as the first light of dawn finally began to spill over the plains. Without that god forsaken rain the steppes were almost....striking. It hardly took long for that ground to flatten out completely, both horse and rider provided with a view in all directions for miles upon miles. Little save for the sound of Frost's hooves echoed across the ground and yet it was that vast open....emptiness that prompted Frost's thoughts to find his companions' minds once more.
"We haven't seen anyone in hours, Alex. There are not even hoof prints out here. Are we going the right way?"
If he had cantered miles in the wrong question he would be nothing short of displeased and yet, he supposed, it was unlikely anyone would follow exactly the same path. The rain, perhaps, having washed away the traces of anyone who had come before them. It was very near an hour later that Frost finally slowed back to a loping trot, the slower gate allowing the war horse to rest to some degree while continuing to move. The large, round yurts ahead of them signalling their arrival at a...village of some kind. Alexander's hands at the reins prompted Frost to slow further into that walk as they approached that village, several people so rushing out to meet them. That race, after all, was akin to a holiday for the nomadic people. The chance to see one of the contestants decidedly exciting. A horse the size of Frost so apparently an utter spectacle that near the entire village (all 20 of them) had turned out to see.
"Do you speak Mongolian? Can you ask them if they have seen anyone else today? What are they all pointing at?"
Frost, for now, allowed Alexander to guide him along that line of people as they passed, several of them offering Alexander wrapped food of....some kind. A small group of children reached out to brush their hands agianst Frost's pale coat. Their voices rose into the open air. That language lost upon the war horse entirely. Yet their pointing was indication enough that it was him they spoke off. "Mash targan mori! Mash targan mori!" (That horse is very fat!)" It was almost a relief to leave that village behind. Alexander, at last, allowing him to return to that loping trot. Whatever food and drink they had given the hunter was....decidedly strong smelling. One scent in particular however, was distinctly familiar to the stallion.
"One of those skins they gave you has mare's milk in it. I can smell it from here."
That drink, he supposed, was a national drink of Mongolia and yet the taste was...an acquired one. Those flat open plains continued on for miles. Little save the wind seemed to echo around the pair as they moved- at least not until a whimpering sound, of sorts, managed to echo upon that open air. Frost's ears swiveled in place and yet the stallion hardly slowed.
"What on earth is that noise?"