personal relationship with his hawk, getting involved in the raptor’s taming and training, flying with it in spirit as it left his arm and soured, free and independent, swiftly and deftly bringing down its prey. Hawks were used to hunt small game such as rabbits and hares, low-flying land birds such as partridges and pheasant, as well as aquatic birds such as ducks and herons. Dogs might also be brought along to retrieve the larger game.
The stable yard was a confusion of noise and movement when Aurelia emerged from the house in the early morning light of a warm summer day. Restless horses stomped backwards and forwards, turning on themselves, their masters pulling at the reins to keep them in check. Dogs bayed, straining at their leashes, held in packs by their keepers who pulled them back, shouting at them to heel. Peasants conscripted as hunters and beaters stood in groups, talking and laughing, leaning on staffs or long bows. Loud voices shouted out orders and warnings. Servants ran hither and thither with flasks of wine to serve drinks to riders and huntsmen alike. Confounded, Aurelia looked around for her own horse.