Ares awoke instantly to Garrith's movements, but he knew there was no danger. An Ogebi's third eye never sleeps - Garrith had never had to test him on that. He'd never actually been able to sneak out of bed without Ares noticing, despite his efforts. But then again, stealth had never been his strongest suit.
His master climbed out of his bedroll slowly but purposefully, taking the time to roll it up. He glanced at Ares and smiled, knowing that even with his eyes closed, Ares would catch it. "Did you sleep?"
Ares slitted an eye at him. "Meditation calms the mind, Master. I managed." He lets out a sheepish smile, radiant in it's youth at 15 years. Today was to be the day he'd been waiting for. If he had it his way, he would have been practicing constantly with those pistols. But Garrith knew better, or at least thought he did and was bigger and stronger than Ares for the time being. More than that, they were friends, and Ares knew undermining his authority would do nothing for his training.
Until now, Ares had been trained almost exclusively in the martial arts. He had been taught the ways of Ki, self defense, meditation, and control. They were constantly traveling, stopping at various towns to try to find more information on these guns and how they operate. Once they learned more of them, Ares was allowed to practice with them - but only maintenance. He was taught to dissassemble, reassemble, regularly oil, and quickly load the chambers, but never allowed to fire. He knew at this point, he could - holding the pistols in his hands, it would feel so right. But Garrith was a friend. He couldn't.
But starting today, he could. He slipped out from his bedroll easily, bending over to roll it up in the short tent they'd pitched once they were at the edge of the forest. The two silently went about packing up camp as they had been doing for the past year, very methodically, and Ares hardly showed his excitement.
Only when the equipment was up, each mounted with backpacks, did Garrith turn to Ares. "You know what today is. But you have know idea what today holds for you." He silently stepped towards the underbrush of the forest, and Ares waited patiently. "Life," Garrith said, gesturing to the forest. "This is what we fight to preserve." An overdramatic pause. "But these," he unholstered the pistols, letting them rest in his face-up hands. "These cause death. Every shot you fire might destroy a life. Are you ready to take that responsibility?"
Ares all but mocked the man inwardly, being fifteen, but he understood the implications. He understood the responsibility, and while he felt almost insulted that Garrith had to try to tell him, he also understood that it was worth making clear. He nodded, and Garrith reholstered them, unbuckling the belt containing the ammunition pouch full of homemade ammunition and holding it out. Ares took the belt with restraint and buckled it on slowly, resting his hands on the holsters with a soft smile. This felt right. He fell naturally into his stance as he drew them simultaneously, pointing them at a mock enemy in the forest and grinning. He checked the chambers and looked surprised. "I really get to shoot them today, don't I?" he asked, staring at the twelve live bullets, the revolvers cold in his grip.
Garrith nodded. "But you don't get out so easy. We're going hunting." Ares blinked, then frowned. "You did say Death, I suppose" he said morbidly. He had never killed before - Garrith had done the hunting. With the pistols in his hand, it was obvious that this responsbility fell on Ares, now. Power and responsibility - this was only the beginning, and he knew it, without his Master having to say a word.
Ares signaled his readiness, one of many hand signals they'd worked out for convenience. Garrith nodded, creeping absolutely silently into the forest, without the rustle of a leaf. Ares was less graceful, but managed well enough, sounding like nothing more than a rather strong breeze or small rodent every now and then. This was absurd, as far as hunting goes - neither was wearing camouflage and both had bulky packs that they didn't need, but they both knew the ways of stealth well, and Ares had pistols as well as supernatural senses. They moved slowly and purposefully, before finding a small tree to camp in. They left their packs at the bottom, quietly climbing into the tree and waiting as Ares drew a single pistol. He was a little disappointed to only fire one today, but he knew the lesson. Bullets bring death, that was the lesson, and it had to be learned. He couldn't really hunt with two pistols at once, though he gave it thought. They waited quietly, and Ares meditated, trying to extend his supernatural senses.
At the edge of his senses, he felt a tingle. Something sharp, spiky, hard, moving closer slowly until he could see the head as well. The buck slowly emerged into sight, supernatural and otherwise, grazing on the grasses. Garrith saw, but made no motion - it was Ares' job, now. Besides, he knew nothing escaped Ares. He had picked a tree close to the grove because pistols don't have much in the way of range, but that meant they were both within plain sight of the creature. The slightest movement would scare it off, which made aiming difficult.
Ares silently eyed the creature, and wondered briefly at the death of it, but was mostly unphased. Garrith had killed many before, and such was the cycle of life. He'd been taught that, and it was a part of him, now.
In one swift motion, he raised the pistol and fired his first shot - had he taken the time to aim, the creature would have fled too quickly. The shot rang out through the meadow, a harsh crack bouncing off trees as birds scattered. A buck of that size could easily survive a single shot, and Ares kept his gun trained on the creature, but immediately saw that it was done. A good portion of it's head head had exploded in a fine mist, and it stumbled, standing for a few more moments before collapsing, blood spurting from the top of it's head.
Ares was shaking, but already started the breathing patterns he'd been taught. These things were loud. And the buck... the blood. Ares took a calming breath, lowering the pistol. He looked to Garrith, his face a notably whiter color, and Garrith jumped down silently with the 'follow me' signal, heading to the downed buck. Ares quelled the desire to vomit and followed, determined to be strong.
The creature had no left eye. The bullet had exploded through it's skull, tearing off half of it and it's eye on that side. The brain was exposed, leaking reddish fluids that didn't quite seem the color he thought blood should be. The creature was spasming slightly, but that calmed quickly, and Ares continued his meditation routines to stay calm.
"I hope you see," Garrith said, looking down at the beast, "that this is no clean death. It's not just pointing at something and pulling a trigger and it's gone. There will be blood, and pain. Do not take your weapons lightly."
Ares nodded, half-numb as he was supposed to be. It was only dinner, he supposed. A very bloody, messy dinner, but he'd always had to skin the creatures - he was no stranger to blood. This was different, somehow, though. Ares had just made his first kill, and there was no glory, no pride. If anything, there was shame - he longed for something that would fight back, a challenge. Something that deserved death.