(Yeah we can skip)
Sage petted her horse soothingly after the long ride. She had the confidence not to bother tying it. Her horse was loyal, having been with her for years. "So do we both hunt or just you?" She asked, glancing at Thresh.
"I don't mind hunting, I'm just...not very talented in it." She mumbled. She was a good hunter, it'd just been a while and she wasn't sure she still had the skill she used to have.
Thresh thought for a moment. He enjoyed, and preferred, hunting alone. However, if Sage got better at hunting it would make both their jobs much easier. As he lashed his bow across his back he said, "You can come if you wish. Hunting in these foothills is difficult." Thresh's best bet was to head to high ground and search for some hill-dwelling sheep and goat. Checking to make sure he had all of his necessary gear, he stood.
"We're probably going to have climb a ways up to find anything. Are you prepared?" Thresh asked, flipping his hood up and starting to walk.
Sage sighed. She really needed to get back her strength and skill. "Teach me, oh assassin." She said, rolling her eyes. "I don't have a bow with me." She mumbled. "And it's been forever since Blood Rose and I were throwing knives on the ranch."
Thresh sighed. Without a weapon to hunt with, Sage was useless hunting big game. However, as they were walking and cresting a hill away from their camp, Thresh spotted prairie dog mounds. Motioning her forward, Thresh knelt next to a mound and showed Sage how to rig it for a trap. The trap was simple, yet effective. The dog would emerge from the mound and immediately get snared and hung.
"Trap as many holes as you can. I'm going higher up into the hills. If I'm not back in three hours, I'm carrying something heavy." Thresh said with a nod. He stood up and started towards the larger hills in the distance. Already, he could feel the thrill of a hunt begin to heighten his senses. Already, he felt like a predator.
Sage rolled her eyes, watching him go. Of course she got put with a pitiful job that required hardly any skill whatsoever. She set the traps and went back to camp, picking a tree and beginning to practice her knife-throwing.
The climb to the crest if the hill was difficult. More than once, Thresh had to turn around and reroute himself. Once he reached the summit, he could see the next valley before the mountains. Villages dotted the landscape, and a small river snaked its way downwards from the mountains. Looking down on the hill, Thresh saw his prize. A wild elk, just a small child, grazing the grass not fifty feet from him. However, the child was not Thresh's target. Its mother was, and she was sure to be nearby. Scanning left and right, he spotted her. Crouching low, he moved very slowly in the tall grass. Thresh could feel his heartbeat accelerate, his senses heighten. The adrenaline was coursing potently through his veins as he drew close enough to use the bow. Slowing knocked a barbed arrow, he pulled the string back. "Shoot straight, Vengeance." He whispered to his bow. The elk snapped its head up, having heard him. Thresh stood rapidly, and let his arrow fly. The world seemed to slow down as he watched the arrow travel. It sunk itself into the elk's neck. The animal tensed momentarily before flailing violent for a few seconds. Once it had bled out, it sunk to the ground and the life faded from it. Thresh felt the adrenaline edge, and his senses dulled as he looked upon the kill. The hunt was a success, but Thresh had expected no different.
Sage wasn't very far out of game. A few throws and all her knives always hit target, never missing a mark. She sighed, really missing the job. But she'd sworn off of killing. She was only going back on that for the one man, and maybe to kill for the sake of the land.
She heard a rustling nearby and a hare caught her eye. She was silent and still, waiting for the oportunity to strike. In a flash, she threw her knife and it struck farget, killin the hare in that one blow. She smiled at herself and collected it, starting to dress her kills. She wasn't so out of practice after all.
Looking down on the elk, he whispered something quickly before drawing a skinning knife. The elk was much too heavy to carry on its own. Thresh had to take what he could and leave the rest to the earth. Going to work with the knife, Thresh first removed the small antlers the doe had. Then, he skinned enough of the fur to sell or trade with. Next, he took meat from the thigh and ribs. Finally, Thresh removed a good amount of fat and a few organs. He planned to use all of it in some way, that was how he was brought up. Stuffing the meat, organs, and fat into the sack he brought; he stood. He then draped the fur over the sack and tied the antlers down. Once he was sure the entire thing was secure, he started back down the hill.
About an hour later, Thresh arrived back at the camp. Along the way, he had collected the trapped prairie dogs. When he came into view of Sage, he flopped the sack of elk goods on the ground and placed the prairie dogs next to them
Sage had already made their camp pretty well set up. She was cooking the meat of the hare over a fire when he came back. "Back so soon?" She asked, not serious. "I see you had a good hunt." She gestured to the hare. "I got lucky. He wandered nto the clearing."
"A master hunter, you are. Soon you'll be tracking wolves in the Dark Forest." Thresh joked as he sat down next to the fire. Taking the fat he gathered from the elk, he began to set up a broth. Thresh never ate meat right before the kill, he was fine with a vegetable and fat broth. Once it was done, he took it off the fire and sipped it. Nodding in approval, he poured himself a bowl before offering Sage the pot.
Sage shook her head. "I'll pass." She mumbled. She sat back. "I did hunt a little for myself back a couple years ago. I liked the meat fresh and free, it just became too much work. I got tired of it. I've never had the patience for it. I'm a swift type of person." She sighed.
"Funny type of personality," Thresh said, between sips of broth, "For a seamstress."
Some things about Sage didn't make sense. Why would the Blood Rose divulge so much to her? Who exactly grows up on a horse ranch to be a seamstress? Thresh couldn't figure it out. He knew eventually she would slip up and he'd discover who she really was. But for now, he could wait. With a full belly, Thresh stood. "I'm going to go to bed. Feel free to use the antlers I took from the elk for anything you need." He said, and then rolled out his blanket. Putting his weapons and pack next to him, Thresh laid down and gazed up at the stars.
Sage sighed. "I haven't always been a seamstress. I've done a wide variety of things, even blacksmithing. I just...I've liked exploring the different professions." She cleaned up, having some of the broth after all.
"Ah. A jack of all trades. I never fancied being one. Do what you do best," Thresh replied, "And what I do best? Kill. I suppose its an acquired thing."
Thresh watched her sip the broth before continuing to stare upwards. He wondered whether this girl loved the Blood Rose as a child. At the very least, it would make for an interesting story.
"Well sometimes what you're best at isn't the best for you..." Sage mumbled, sighing. She was best at killing, but she didn't want to waste her life away doing it.
"I always say, 'suffering is temporary, but greatness lasts forever. It might not be best for you, but it's what writes your story." Thresh said, now looking at the dying fire. As it faded, the surrounding landscape around them faded. Thresh was no stranger to the darkness, he had made friends with it over the years. It had, and still does, serve him well.
Sage felt oddly at home in the dark. She laid out on a blanket, sighing. "How long have you been an assassin?" She asked softly. "Is it any...fun? Is it hard? Do you guys disapprove of female assassins?" They were uncommon, after all.
"I've been hunting since I could walk, but the League of Shadows recruited me at twelve. It's been eight years since then. The League is very diverse, and it welcomes anyone who passes the qualifications. Tall or small, black or white, man or woman. If you are able, you are eligible." Thresh said, idly tapping his blanket.
"So what does it take to qualify?" Sage asked curiously. What kind of material did this Guild take in?
"It's a long story, so I'll tell it from the beginning of the process.There is a sort of harvest season where the League of Shadows recruits. Usually, a League informant will pursue rumors of an extraordinary individual. He or she will seek out this individual, and bring them to the League's headquarters. All of these individuals are placed in an arena, there are usually about forty per harvest season. All of them are forced to fight to the death until only one remains standing. This one is taken in and given years of training before he is sent on his first mission. So really, the League looks for absolute ruthlessness, the ability to maintain yourself in great chaos, and skill in battle before you can be harvested. If you survive that first battle, and if you survive training, you can be considered an initiate. Only by proving yourself in actual missions can you become a true member." Thresh said. The process almost killed him at least a dozen times, but he emerged a stronger hunter.