There was little good, Frost was certain, that would come from investigating that particular sound. Alexander's heels agianst his sides was enough to prompt the war horse to wander away from their prescribed path and towards the river bank that seemed to conceal the source of those high pitched wails. Frost smelled the sodden puppy several moments before he spotted it. The mud-streaked, soaking creature had somehow fallen down that river bank and- with the natural ebb and flow of the river- had been left stranded in the shallow water unable to climb the high, muddy sides. What a perfectly stupid thing to do. Then again, it was hardly surprising for a dog. The Icelandic equine had never found himself fond of canines in any fashion. Smelling, drooling, needy creatures that they were. He was mistrustful of them in his human form and wary of them in his equine skin. After all, more than one dog over the years had been foolish enough to come baying at his hooves. Alexander, however, hardly seemed to hold the same qualms as the Hunter effortlessly dismounted only to make his way over to that river and down the slippery banks. It would serve him right if he fell trying to rescue that sad creature and yet Alexander sustaining any sort of injury would hamper their efforts to win a race they were already behind in. It would be better for the Hunter to remain intact. Frost's uttered insistence that Alexander be careful was met with the warlords pointed assurance he was fine.
Frost allowed a soft snort to erupt from his nostrils as he watched the Hunter pick his way over to the puppy. The small canine, realising its chance for rescue had finally come, only seemed to become more vocal. The creature practically screaming in what Frost could only presume was some mixture of excitement and relief. Frost's ears flattened back agianst his skull and into the white of his mane. The look of disdain upon his features hardly lessened as Alexander scooped up that giant ball of fur only to allow its paws to paint him in mud as it's tongue swept across his cheek in a flurry of canine kisses. Charming. It was the Macedonian's utterance of 'Peritas' however, that prompted Frost's ears to prick forward once more. He was nothing if not astute to Alexander's use of language, even if he so often pretended otherwise. Peritas was not a word he had heard before. Perhaps it was the Greek word for dog? That query was met with a soft shake of Alexander's head as the Hunter stepped up and out of that river and back onto the safety of solid ground. Kyon, it seemed, was the word for dog. Peritas so apparently the name of the festival the age-old Hunter had once received his first dog at. Frost merely allowed one eye to raise (as much as was possible) the equine content to eye the puppy further and with a distinct wariness.
"You had a curious method for naming your pets all those years ago. You named your dog for a festival and your horse after an ox. I'm pleased I came with a name already."
Alexander, he knew, was unlikely to pay any attention to his grumbling. The Hunter far too taken with inspecting their newest, temporary, acquisition. It was the Macedonian's declaration that they would bring the puppy with them however that quickly prompted the war horses ears to pin backward once more. That disdain surely blatantly clear. Alexander was equally quick to meet that rebellion head on. Both horse and rider so momentarily left facing one another in that stand-off of sorts. Frost's refusal to carry that sodden creature was met with Alexander's insistence he was muddy already and that the puppy would hardly roll on him. One large, feathered hoofed stamped solidly into the ground. Frost's irritation became all the more notable.
"No, Alexander. I will not carry that thing."
The equine was nothing short of adamant. Alexander's efforts to reach for him promptly saw Frost's head swing clear of his companions hand in a fashion he had not done in well over a year since the early days of their training. The puppy wiggled near excitedly, as if this was nothing short of a game as Alexander reached for those reins again. Frost, a second time, swinging his head clear of his riders reach. The soft sigh that left Alexander's lips was hardly missed, nor the curse he muttered beneath his breath. It had been....months since Frost had prompted the Hunter to curse, the equine having become inclined to be rather...biddable toward Alexander alone. After all, the age old Hunter had proven himself over and over to be a capable leader. One the equally dominant stallion was inclined to work with on most occasions and yet, here and now, Frost so refused to yield to the Hunter's desires. That sudden rush of supernatural speed from his companion was unexpected. Frost only barely managed to avoid his riders lunge- at least temporarily. He had forgotten those hanging reins. The puppy, in its excitement, had lunged forward in turn, capturing those leather reins in its tiny, sharp teeth- Frost's head jerked back downward the moment the little creature did so.
Frost's teeth ground agianst that steel bit between them as Alexander praised his newest pet. The animal apparently making a fine Peritas- if only for its horse wrangling skills. A grunt of clear irritation rose from within the stallion. Frost inclined to find nothing but disdain for that tiny creature. The war horse,having resigned himself to his capture, allowed his muzzle to extend forward in a vague display of curiosity. That puppy, equally curious, allowed his own nose to reach out until the horse and dog so briefly touched. The puppy's sheer delight at this interaction prompted the creature to let out that high-pitched bark of delight. One that saw Frost's head swing sharply backward in alarm- only to be caught again by the reins in Alexander's hand. God damn those infernal reins! Alexander's grip on that leather near forced the stallion to face that puppy once more as the Hunter insisted it was only saying hi.
"That was not hi. That was a declaration of war. It's going to chase me, I know it is. If you're determined to keep that thing then you teach it to stay away from me- or I will."
Frost's violet gaze narrowed upon that creature all the more. His insistence the animal was aggressive only seemed to amuse the Hunter as Alexander sought to assure him the puppy could hardly eat him if he wanted to. The Macedonian was quick to lift himself and the dog up and into the saddle- Frost affording neither the chance to get comfortable before he launched forward into a perfectly jarring canter. That gait one so designed to perfectly display his feelings on the matter before he fell into than usual, smooth stride. The puppy, for its part, had settled comfortably on that saddle, its front paws rested upon the pommel, its head lifted high as if he adored the feeling of the wind in his fur. Frost, for now, was content to assure himself with the notion they would only need to keep the wretched creature until the next base camp before they could surely off load it to some local. Any further thoughts of that dog were, perhaps mercifully, pushed aside by the sudden announcement of another rider.
Frost's violet gaze shifted to glance toward the left. That other rider was little more than a dot opon the horizon and yet they were both so clearly heading for that base camp. Frost's own speed increased once more, his gait quickening.
"How far are we from the base camp?"
They had ridden for miles today, their pace even and consistent throughout and yet they had travelled mostly at that swinging trot with the occasional loping canter and short walking break in between. Alexander, so far, having hardly permitted any galloping upon that insistence they needed to conserve Frost's energy as much as possible. Yet, surely, here and now was reason enough to run and finish ahead of at least one rider for the day. Frost was capable of keeping up a hard gallop for just over two miles. Enough to put them well in front even if they slowed afterwards. The base camp was hardly far. Frost's speed quickened all the more, the stallion near testing that pace to see whether or not Alexander intended to pull him up. The lack of any resistance from his rider readily saw Frost launch abruptly into that full, hard gallop. The trio very near flying over that ground. The wide open space so, finally, allowing the stallion to stretch his legs in their entirety. His enormous stride ate away at the ground as his hooves thundered across that plain. Their breakneck pace so evidently prompted their opponent to urge his mount to match their speed. Finally- someone who wanted to race.
That other rider drew closer and closer as both horses galloped forward. The other horse was far smaller, barely more than a pony, it's far shorter stride forced the smaller animal to race harder to keep up with Frost's far more lengthy reach and yet the small creature was lighter and more swift across that ground. The little bay was mare equally as determined to draw even with the far bigger draft horse. Both riders eventually pulled level as that base camp came into view. The other rider lent forward, urging his mare on all the more as Frost's own ears pinned back, the stallion digging his heels in all the more. That sweat rolled freely from both horses. Peritas, thrilled with that gallop, leaned all the more forward to feel that wind in his fur again. That base camp was fast approaching and yet neither horse showed any inclination to slow. The thundering of those hooves readily drew forward those competitors already within the camp, several people lined the hillside as both horses hit the base of the hill in unison before Frost, with his far longer stride, began to power ahead. The smaller mare, under the weight of her rider, struggled far more up that incline. Much to her riders dismay. It took barely a moment for Frost to ascend that hill, the draft galloping into that base camp several strides ahead of his competitor before the stallion finally slowed- his sides heaving with the effort of that run and yet- for several long moments he had forgotten anything but that race.
That was quite the race, Alex, isn't it?
The man atop the bay mare urged her closer, his hand reaching up to shake Alexander's own as he did. I didn't think that heavy horse of yours had the speed to keep up- I didn't account for how far its stride is. We'll get you next time. The man's words were nothing short of polite, a warm grin found his features as he urged the mare away and towards the nearest water station. Frost, decidedly smug with his own victory, took several deep, long breaths. His tail flicked up and agianst his wet flanks, his violet gaze searched for the nearest bucket of water amidst those tents already set up. Peritas, excited by that commotion, gave several more barks as Frost all but plunged his head into that nearest water trough. The stallion gulping that water- in exactly the fashion he surely shouldn't before his body had cooled. One ear rotated backwards as Alexander began to swing from that saddle. Frost kept a watchful eye on the puppy as Alexander clutched it to him. Alex! Do you want to camp with us? One of those other competitors waved towards the Hunter. Frost's head finally lifted from that trough. His violet gaze captured the sight of Khan across that campsite. The Mongolian having spotted them as well. Frost's head turned to near roughly shove his companion, forcing Alexander's attention back upon him. The stallion attempted to make that gesture appear decidedly....horse-like, as if his head merely required rubbing from that drying sweat. Frost, for several moments, was content to use Alexander as a rubbing post. His words uttered as he rubbed his head agianst the Hunter's shoulder. The Macedonian nearly knocked down with every rub.
"He is here, Alex. Your Khan. He knows we didn't die. We might be better camping on the outskirts- it makes for a quicker getaway if we need it."