Hunting forms the basis of life in Zenith, but that doesn't mean it's easy. It is arguably one of the riskiest careers possible due to the massive amounts of training, coordination, and demeanor it requires to simply survive. Injuries are common and death is always a possibility, even with mounts. Training is extremely rigorous and the main hunting organization sets extremely high standards. This is to ensure that hunters have the highest possible chance of survival out in the field. Most hunters own a Silver permit while training hunters receive bronze permits. Gold permits are typically only own by extremely accomplished hunters and/or leaders, making them desireable and something most hunters strive for. It is a unique way of life in Zenith and has an entire district dedicated to it. Below is all relevant information to hunting and for those desiring a hunting career on Zenith it is important to make sure they know it.
It is worth noting that hunting and training is more than just sport; it is a requirement for hunting animals. Typically these are predators used to wandering vast distances and being in social environments. Hunting and training is enrichment for their animals and promotes their mental and physical health. Failure to probably maintain and exercise your animals results in very restless and frustrated creatures who are also very likely bored and anxious. Anxious, bored, frustrated, and/or restless animals can become major hazards to their handlers, other hunters and their animals, as well as any one else they come into contact with.
Training, however, is no walk in the part. Hunting is extremely dangerous work and training is meant to introduce real life scenarios and risks to those involved. Injuries are extremely common during training, but it's mostly agreed that it's better to get wounded on the training arena where medical care is nearby than in the field where a small injury could result in extremely dire consequences. Hunting training is run by Alire Aravello, head of the Hunting Organization, and she's a very tough teacher. At the very least, a basic hunter must be able to move with their animals and have basic survival skills.
The basic aspects of a hunter are as follows:
- Good bond with their mount/partner(s).
- Excellent balance on their feet or on their mount’s back.
- Trained to go to extreme feats such as scaling obstacles (may not be possible for larger mounts), leaping rocks and large logs, increased physical endurace, ability to keep pace with swifter hunting partners, etc.
- Exuding an aura of calmness around their teammates and their partners.
- Able to work in a team of 3-4, good teamwork and leadership skills should they be scouted to take a leader position.
- Able to use some sort of weapon whether it’s a bow, lance, javeline, spear, sword, etc.
- Able to follow orders and hand signals.
- Learn the signs of when their target is weakening.
- Making sure to take care of their mount after every hunt and check for/treat any possible wounds or injuries.
- A healthy dose of fear. Something every hunter must have, as sometimes hunts can go wrong, and you may end up dying or losing a limb.
These are the basic fundamentals all hunters must be able to follow. If a hunter can't follow any of them, they're going to get killed on a hunt or lose an arm. Plain and simple. Being a hunter requires a level head and common sense. While fear is disliked because many see it as a weakness, hunters use this fear to strengthen their resolves to finish the hunt and go home with their partners and team.
Hunters will go through rigorous tests overseen by Alire. Usually Bronze hunters and new Silvers are the hardest pushed, but that doesn't necessarily mean established Silvers or even Golds aren't pushed as well. Most go home sore and tired, but a sense of fulfillment will overcome them from the long training sessions.
Some of the training aspects include the following:
- Leaping obstacles in the closed air arena, and the outside arena.
- Learning to go through certain terrain which is done in the outside arena; usually swampy muddy areas, rivers and dense forests.
- Prepping in the early mornings before training sessions.
- Learning to fight with their weapons against opponents (sparring mates), in the indoor arena.
- Running their mounts and partners through the indoor and outdoor arena. This is the most important aspect of a hunter;s life. Their mount and/or partners must be able to traverse the terrain with them, and the hunter must learn to balance themselves and see through their partner's eyes.
- Learn hand signals and basic body motions from other trainers so that talking isn't required on a hunt.
- Learning basic first aid. It's necessary on a hunt if you get hurt.
- Doing team training with your assigned teammates.
- Making sure your partner(s) knows its own teammates and doesn't try to kill them.
Individuals may have separate routines for training sessions, but almost all participate in basic training sessions intermittently to keep skills honed and sharp.
Being placed in a team is also another aspect of a hunter's life. Most hunters, even established ones, will have a team they've been placed in once they became a Silver rank. Bronze hunters are not placed in teams until they become Silvers, instead they focus on training with their partners until they've been placed in one, or training on their own. Hunters will usually not hunt on their own, as it is a recipe for disaster. On your own you have no one to rely on but yourself and your mount/partners. If you end up hurt your partner may end up seeing you as food and you wouldn't want to end up eaten by your best friend.
Team placement is usually based off of the following aspects:
- Skill level
- Mount/Partner's Personality and Skill
- Ability to take orders
- How much you've trained.
Notice several things are the same. Skill level is very different from how much you've trained. Some people have natural talent, while others have to work harder for it. Once you have a team, they will be your teammates until you or they die. This placement is usually permanent. However sometimes people need to be adjusted because of their animals or disagreements. Despite how much it's overlooked and checked, sometimes teams won't work together proper. The members may request replacements from the hunting HQ if this happens. Also sometimes if a member falls ill, your team will receive a temporary member which will hunt with you. It may be a newbie Silver, but Bronzes almost never hunt on teams.
Gender is not a deciding factor in any team. All genders are equal, though usually there will be an even distribution of gender in each team IE: two girls, two boys for a four member team or one girl and two boys for a three person team, two girls and one boy for a three person team, etc.
Most Silver Ranks have a designated "Squad Leader" that they look to for guidance. It's usually a much more established Silver Rank that leads a team unless a Gold has been placed in their group. These will be designated by the Hunting Organization and taken note of.
Most of the time after a hunt, hunters will want to converse with each other. The Black Raptor, a bar usually exclusively open to Hunters, is the best way to do this. It's encouraged that hunters get along with their teammates but also other hunters as well, as sometimes they will be paired up with someone they don't know if one of their teammates falls ill. It's also a good way to get some socializing in.
There's also the option of going into the Hunting Courtyard to chat with other hunters, discuss hunting strategies, trade secrets of the hunt, etc. It's a good idea to get used to being around other hunters, and while sometimes personalities clash, arguments break out and fights even can happen, usually no one is harmed during them.
Any questions about hunting can b directed at one of the Admins. Don't be afraid to ask a question even if you feel like it's stupid. Just let us know if you're confused and we'll help!