Alexander's fingers tightened upon the reins. That subtle gesture so worlessly conveying the Hunter's expectations as the two older children inched forward before daring to press their hands to Frost's chest and side. Both boys were clearly in awe of the white stallion. Frost several times the size of their tallest Mongolian pony. The other children, amazed by the braveness of their companions, watched on eagerly- clearly impressed. Just what any of those people were saying however Frost hardly knew. That Mongolian tongue was foreign to him. Frost unable to deduce any of the words. Rather, it was the children (and even the adults) excitale pointing toward him that readily offered him some indication of just what they were talking about. It was only once those cigarettes and candy had been exchanged for information that Alexander pressed his heels to his side once more in that indication he was ready to move on. Frost, eager to continue that race, was quick to pick up that loping, easy trot once more. They had more ground to cover and the war horse was more than willing to make sure they were firmly back in that race after their detour. Frost's mind pressed upon Alexander's once more as that tiny collection of huts disappeared behind them. The stallion was keen to know just what those people had been saying. The majority of them were, apparently, awed by his size. That very notion prompted a sort from the horse as his hooves beat evenly agianst the dry earth.
"That would hardly be difficult. Have you seen their ponies? There are dogs larger. They are an ancient breed of horse though. The old breeds tend to be smaller. How tall was that Bucephalus of yours?"
Frost was, usually, near loath to mention Alexander's previous riding companion. The war horse found little but disdain in any comparison made between himself and the ebony steed that had carried Alexander to victory after victory. It was foolish, perhaps, to be....jealous of a horse long since dead and yet any mention of the other stallion remained rare all the same. Still, he found himself near curious as to the size of those ancient horses in Alexander's own time. The Macedonian began to shift through those parcels of food they had been given, the vast majority seemed to be some sort of dried or salted meat. Such a thing was hardly surprising given the lack of vegetable matter that grew anywhere on those Mongolian Steppes. It was the liquid within that skin bag however that readily drew Frost's attention. That smell was sharp and distinctive. A scent he had known near all his life and a distinctly popular drink within those Mongolian communities. Mare's Milk. It was, Frost supposed, a sensible drink to give them. It was high in calories and fats, it quenched thirst while offering energy and would keep for days once fermented as it was. Whether or not Alexander would find the taste enjoyable however remained to be seen. Perhaps he could convince the man to let him have it instead. It was the very notion of what else he might like from his companion however that prompted Frost to question the candy Alexander had so wilfully given away to the children. Surely he had thought of Frost's own needs!
Alexander's insistence that he could have something when they next stopped prompted the stallion's ears to lay backward momentarily and yet, he supposed, Alexander was hardly....denying him that treat. Merely delaying it. Fine. he would remember to ask for it when they stopped next. Frost's pace picked up once more. With the assurance that others had passed this way not too long ago the stallion was, finally, inclined to feel as if there was something to chase. An added incentive perhaps. Tonight, in the very least, they would surely make it to a base camp and be afforded that chance to camp amongst the other horses and riders- before making a move to over take them the moment they were allowed to ride again. That first check point was reached in good time. Frost, for now, willingly allowed that veterinary examination. Alexander offered much the same by that doctor before the pair were deemed fit and well enough to continue. Frost, this time, given several fresh hoofprints to chase as his speed picked up once again. Alexander hardly seemed inclined to lessen that speed, Frost, for several miles, keeping up that swift canter to make up for lost time as the plains stretched onward and onward. It was almost...calming, in a way. The space, the openness, the simple sound of his own hooves and Alexander's occasional breath.
At least until something began to scream. Frost's pace slowed near instantly as his ears pricked sharply atop his head. His violet gaze shifted out and toward the right as his nostrils flared. Those equine senses on high alert. What on earth was that? Alexander's heels pressed to his side once more in an effort to send him towards that sound. Frost, reluctantly, moved to do as asked even if he was certain that race was more important than whatever....this was. Those sounds seemed to increase in frequency as the pair approached. Frost felt Alexander lean forward in the saddle as the stallion himself moved to peer down the bank. The sodden, mud-caked puppy seemed to spot them at the same time, the canine froze for a single moment before its cries escalated as if sensing that this was its single and only chance for help. What a perfectly....wretched creature. Frost's snort of disdain surely matched the apathy of his words. The stallion was so apparently unmoved by the ridiculous animal's plight- even as Alexander swung from the saddle. They would not, he supposed, lose much time by pulling the creature out and going on their way. Alexander offered him no response, the age-old hunter instead attempting to make his own way down that slippery, mud-slick bank, his shoes slipped on several occasions as Frost merely scowled.
"Do not break your goddamned leg, Alexander."
That was all they needed. The puppie's whimpers rose to a near fever pitch at Alexander's voice. Frost's ears layered back once more in response to the sound as the Macedonian at least reached to scoop up the sodden, mud-coated animal. It's entire body seemed to wriggle in utter delight and pure, blissful joy at having been plucked from its muddied fate. It's large paws attempted to nearly climb Alexander in an effort to smother his face in those wet, dog kisses. Frost, for now, was merely content to look on in distaste as Alexander became as mud covered as the dog. Peritas? What was a Peritas?
"What is a Peritas? Is that a Greek word for dog?"
Alexander, to Frost's own knowledge, did not own a dog. Then again, he supposed, it was possible that the Macedonian had, at some stage in his exceptionally long life, owned a canine or a Peritas or whatever they were called. Alexander continued toward him then, that bundle of fur within his arms, its tongue lolling out as if it were pleased with itself for having managed to become as dirty as it had. The hunter's insistence they would bring it with them however readily prompted Frost's ears to pin back once more, the stallion shifting abruptly to swing his back away from his rider. The equine facing his companion head on.
"That thing reeks of wet dog. It is sodden and dirty. Frankly I would make you walk if it wouldn't slow us down so much. I am not carrying that....animal, Alex."
That the puppy could, surely, fit into one of the saddle bags had readily occurred to the equine and yet Frost was content to remain belligerent about it all the same. They hardly had time to go asking around a village to see if someone owned the wretched creature. Alex's efforts to step forward readily saw the stallion step back and out of reach. Frost's tail flicked up to lash at his sides in growing irritation as that ball of fur excitedly wagged its tails- the puppy apparently thrilled with this game as Alexander reached for him a second time. Frost once more dodging out of reach. They had, it seemed, reached an impasse. Frost so refused to carry that puppy. Alexander refused to leave it to the fate the stallion was sure it deserved. Alexander's third lunge was far faster than Frost had anticipated, that stallion swinging clear a third time only to find his head near abruptly jerked backward. The metal bit between his teeth pulling his head down. The reins. He'd forgotten the reins. Alexander afforded a distinctly unfair advantage. Frost so normally capable of lifting his head higher than his rider could reach in those moments in which he chose to be....confrontational. Yet....it was hardly Alexander's fingers that wrapped around the rein. Instead, that puppy so excitedly held the reins between his teeth. The little wretch evidently believing this to be a game. The animal having grabbed that flailing rein mid-air as it excitedly continued to tug on it now. At least until Alexander moved to gently take the rein from it and hold it himself.
"I dislike you intensely."
Frost's eyes narrowed distinctly on that ball of fur, his ears remaining pinned back into the thick white of his mane. Those words broadcast to Alexander and the puppy in turn. Frost, for now, resigned to his fate of having been 'caught'. His nose extended forward and toward the canine, his nostrils flaring slightly in an effort to inhale its scent in a vague effort to inspect it. The puppies own nose reached forward then, both stallion and canine touching their noses together before the puppy barked excitedly. Frost's head pulled back abruptly in surprise, caught once more by Alexander's grip on the reins (those damn reins).
"It's aggressive! It's going to eat us in our sleep."
Frost remained determined to scowl as best he was able as Alexander saw to lifting himself and the puppy up and onto Frost's back once more. The equine willing to admit that small defeat for now if only because he was certain that, come nightfall, the puppy would attempt to consume them both and prove the stallion right. Frost swung back towards the path they had been following. The equine was quick to break into a canter without being asked. That gesture offered both man and canine a decided jolt (Frost apparently content to make his displeasure thoroughly known) as they returned to that race.
"What is it going to eat? We didn't ration for an extra mouth."