when I walk into the room there's nothing you can do
To stop me from making moves
I'm coming for you
Alexander had known from the very beginning the sort of horses they were likely to go up against within this race. Mongolia was nothing if not terribly inclined to their traditions, not that Alexander could terribly blame them. Their shorter ponies had fulfilled their needs flawlessly for millennia, surviving upon the vast plains where little else did. Frost, by comparison, was near gigantic in every way. That awe was something he had been expecting, along with the doubt the pair often were on the receiving end of. He was equally as unsurprised by the way the Mongolians had gossiped loudly about them, their comments so vaguely summarized for his inquisitive steed. The ivory stallion beneath him commented idly upon his own observations of the ancient breeds and their generally smaller heights, only to inquire after his own beloved stallion. Bucephalus. The very mention of the steed's name was often enough to make his heart tighten, some griefs still too great for the Macedonian even after thousands of years. Thankfully, mentions of the stallion were often rare and few in between, Frost himself near disdaining the name. "Bucephalus was fourteen hands." He responded, the Dark Hunter short and to the point, the Dark Hunter equally as aware of how....small such might have seemed to current standards where once the dark ebony horse hand been a wonder to behold.
The Dark Hunter hardly lingered upon the topic of the days of old, the Greek instead sifting through the parcels of food they'd been given if only to take stock of their current previsions. He was content to nibble on several pieces of dried meat, they certainly provided far more protein than the dehydrated bags of vegetables that had been their meal the previous evening. It was the liquid within the bag, however, that drew Frost's attention, the stallion insisting he knew precisely what it was by scent alone. A soft, near inquisitive sound left Alexander's lips but he made no move to taste it, the bag of liquid stashed away with the majority of their pilfered goods. The Monarch had anticipated his steed's inquiry for sweets, a small bag of sugar cubes were hidden amongst his things, Alexander entirely prepared for the fit that Frost might throw if every ounce of candy was given away without a single piece being given for the Draft's enjoyment. His insistence that the steed merely needed to wait was enough to make Frost's ears pin and yet...for all his discontent, the Draft hadn't ceased his cantar, his pace only further increasing.
Silence befell the pair once again as those miles stretched on in silence, the arrival of their first checkpoint made in distinctly good time. The pair were, regrettably, forced to stop for a brief interlude, Frost and himself both checked over by doctors before Alexander refreshed their water, gained some level of information as to where they were in the race and, finally, provided his horse a singular sugar cube as a bribe before they were, once again, off and out into the vast plains. The very presence of hoofprints within the sodden earth was an incentive alone for Frost to pick up his speed, the stallion finally given something to chase after. The Dark Hunter hardly made an effort to slow the Draft, certain they'd pass one of their fellow riders within the next few hours. His gaze remained focused upon the horizon as they traveled within the open plains for several long miles. The sound of Frost's hooves was accompanied only by the lilting tone of the wind as it rushed occasionally across the neverending fields. It was...peaceful, in a way. Or at least, it had been before something broke the tranquility with an all out wail.
The very sound immediately caused the Dark Hunter to scan their surroundings, just as Frost's ears pricked upwards on top of his skull. Whatever made that noise, Alexander was certain it was coming from their right and yet - he could see nothing but miles upon miles of waving grasslands. His heel pressed against the Draft's side as he suggested investigating that very noise, the river banks surely holding some answer, even if the pair did little more than look. The noises only seemed to increase with every step they took towards the trickling water. Hesitantly Frost paused at the edge of the muddy banks, both equine and rider peered over the edge. It took Alexander a moment to spot the puppy, it's fur so mud-caked he seemed to blend into the bank he was struggling to climb. For a singular moment, the canine seemed to freeze, startled by their presence. The moment, however, was fleeting before the puppy's cries only increased in fervor, it seemed to realize that this might be it's only chance to escape the river it had tumbled into. Alexander ignored the snort and blatant apathy within Frost's voice as he swung from the saddle, landing upon the ground with a soft thud. Despite all appearances, the Macedonian hardly held the same chilled heart as his mount. He was entirely aware that to simply abandon the creature after he plucked it from the banks was akin to the same death sentence the puppy would receive if they did nothing at all.
He said little of his own considerations as the Dark Hunter attempted to make his way down the muddy banks. He slipped in several places, his shoes so quickly becoming as muddy as the puppy itself. "I'm fine, Frost." The Warlord insisted at his mount's grumbling thoughts. The very sound of the puppy's whimpers only further seemed to increase, in spite of Alexander's efforts to calm it. Finally, he reached down to scoop up the sopping wet canine, his presence alone seemed to calm the dog as it wiggled in excitement within his arms. Quickly, his shirt began to become near as muddy as the dog itself as the puppy tried to climb his chest and shower his face in those wet kisses. How very alike his beloved Peritas this puppy was, at least what coloring he could see beneath the layers of mud that had mattened it's fur. His very mention of that ancient name brought ready confusion from Frost as Alexander climbed slowly back up the banks with the bundle of fluff in hand. "No, kyon is the greek word for dog, Peritas was the festival I got my first dog at." The Dark Hunter informed his companion as he made it to the top of the muddy bank. His sudden insistence that they would bring the dog with them, however, seemed enough to prompt the stallion into rebellion - the likes of which Frost had not done since the pair had first begun to work together.
A distinctly unimpressed look crossed the conqueror's features as he faced the Draft head on, Frost insisting he was hardly going to carry the puppy. "He's not going to be rolling all over you Frost and your legs are already caked with mud as it from yesterday." Alexander pointed out - all three of them some level of dirty from the ride thus far. Frankly, a night at a base camp could do them all some good. The Dark Hunter was hardly keen with arguing with his mount - this precisely why he had avoided were-horses thus far. He made little effort to further placate the steed as he stepped forward, Frost so abruptly stepping back and out of his reach. He was well aware of the little puppy wiggling excitedly within his arms as he pressed forward again, Frost again dodging out of his reach. An audible sigh left Alexander's lips. The Dark Hunter muttered a soft Greecian curse under his breath - this something he hardly had time for. His third lunge was far faster, the Macedonian utilizing at least a vague level of his own otherworldly speed as he reached for the reins, only to have Frost pull his head out of reach - at least, temporarily. Abruptly, the horse's head was jerked backwards, the puppy so quickly catching and gnawing upon the leather of the reins. A warm chuckle left Alexander's lips as he reached down to gingerly pat the puppy on the head, only to take them from the dog himself. "You will make a fine Peritas, already wrangling horses." He insisted to the puppy.
Alexander was entirely unphased by that stare he was presented with, Frost, he knew, would get over his own little temper tantrum in the way the horse so often did when given time. Nevertheless, the Dark Hunter remained still as the draft's head reached forward and towards the little puppy that had captured him. He watched as Frost's nostrils flared, only for the puppy to reach his own head forward, the animals momentarily bumping together their noses before, in his excitement, Peritas barked with glee. The sound alone seemed to catch Frost by surprise, the Were-Horse abruptly jerked back, pulling against the reins in Alexander's hand. "Woah Frost, he's just say hi." The Dark Hunter insisted, his hand lightly patting the steed's neck (reins and all) before he made his way towards Frost's side. The equine's declaration that the dog was aggressive brought a soft snort of bemusement to Alexander's nose, his eyes rolled briefly at his horse's dramatic nonsense. "He could hardly eat all of you if he wanted, Frost." The Dark Hunter pointed out as he lifted both himself and the puppy onto the stallion's back.
The large stallion swung back towards the path they were following and away from the river's edge, only to break out into a quick canter without instruction from Alexander himself. That jolt only managed to slightly jostle the Warlord and slowly his head shook at his steed's antics. This level of...pettiness...was something he had come to anticipate. He was hardly perturbed by Frost's inquiry, Alexander merely focusing on comfortably positioning the puppy on the saddle in front of him. "We just got a bunch of meat from the village and when we arrive at the next base camp, I can get something for him for the night, if necessary." Alexander answered easily, the Dark Hunter quickly becoming used to the idea that, perhaps instead of returning the puppy to his home, if he had one, the Macedonian might just keep the dog. Such a consideration was one he hardly wished to voice to Frost lest the steed refuse to continue and so, for now, it was merely pushed in the back of his mind as he sought some sort of distraction. "Look, Frost, there's a rider to our left." The Dark Hunter purposefully refocused his stallion's attention, thankful for the moving dot upon the horizon. Their first bit of true competition.