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Dracadia Season: Spring 316AT
Applicant Group 21
Lesson 6 ~ Hatching Etiquette
Hatching: May 25th

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Lesson 4 ~ Ability Training
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Cadet Group 21
Lesson 1 ~ Extended Bonding
First Lesson: May 28th
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Obstacles; tag Strifefox
Topic Started: Oct 17 2017, 04:01 PM (226 Views)
Atara
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Axios stayed behind as his class of delinquents limped off. He'd run them hard, complaining only in his mind...His "minder" had punished him for even that much, making him touch his tongue with his nose and lean down to touch his toes. Ridiculous! An affront to Axios' proud dignity. Especially as he was doing all he could. It wasn't HIS fault some of these weaklings should never have been permitted to set foot in the Fort, let alone apply to be a dragon's partner.

He didn't entirely hate the task though. It gave him a challenge and an outlet for his energy. Once it had become clear shirking was not an option lest he wanted to spend the rest of his days dancing, he'd applied himself to it with the same competitive edge and focus he gave every task.

Today he'd had them running obstacles. It had been a pitiful showing, as they struggled to stumble over the sort of course he'd have easily managed as just a boy. They'd repeat it tomorrow, he thought, while carrying weights. Which would get heavier every time until they got it right. He grinned, satisfied with this plan, and started searching for burdens of the appropriate mass.

He'd do a few runs himself first, of course. He needed exercise too and gods forbid he tripped over something- it needed to be out of sight of the poor sods he was meant to be inspiring.
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Strifefox
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Briathos and Thric were enjoying a leisurely flight after wing practices. Since Bradley was off working on his latest magics, it left him with a bit of time to himself. So here he was, just clearing his head with Thric while Twix and Fey followed behind them. After all, Briathos had pushed his wing to exhaustion, but he knew they needed it to stay in top shape. There was no excuse that he felt would be worth it, for his wing to not constantly be in fighting condition.

They were making a return sweep over the Fort when he noticed some movement on the Training Grounds. A swift movement down below called his eyes to glance down. He looked young, and was likely an Applicant. Go down yes? Come down and we see who. See why they run. Briathos agreed with his Thric.

The group would spiral down, the unusualy bright green wyvern landed on the ground and shifted his weight to allow his rider to slip off and land on steady feet. Just behind them, the two standard sized Hydrakir would plop down on the ground and trot up to Briathos legs.

The practicing Axios would feel the eyes of the Keeper on him, observing his efforts like a panther on the prowl. Watching his prey moving along with a stoic and calm gaze. Along with him were three dragons of two different breeds. The Wyvern was much more.... energetic and shifted anxiously on his feet like he wanted to run with him. On the other hand, the two Hydrakir were peering from the legs of the dark haired Mesai like they might be up to something.
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Atara
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Axios' ear twitched at the sound of a dragon coming in for a landing, but he didn't stop his drill. He tried to minimize distraction and had been at Fort Zephyr long enough that dragons coming and going? Distraction. When the hairs at the back of his neck prickled with the sensation of being watched, he tried to ignore it. The sounds of dragons, small and large, kept his ears twitching. When he rolled under a low-set wire to the end of the course, however, he stopped to look over at his spectators with a frown and a raised eyebrow.

It had only been his first runthrough and he had six more sets of weights to test. He disliked pausing while drilling as it ruined his rhythm, but while he had no problem with awed spectators...This group wasn't being terribly polite about it. They ought to have identified themselves. And then at least tried to make themselves less...well...present. Distractions led to mistakes. Mistakes led to injury.

"May I help you?" Axios asked. After their uninvited gawking, he rather thought he deserved an explanation. Although he was somewhat surprised by who his a spectator was. A mesai, like him, with a glossy black tail, full tribal tattoos and three dragons. A wyvern and two smaller ones Axios was fairly sure were hydrakir. He dressed in the usual manner of his race, instead of trying to imitate the Thayer or Sigum. Overall, he was the sort of person who should have better things to do than watch even one as magnificent as Axios uninvited. Keepers had duties and if this mesai was shirking them, how could he expect to set an example for these soft thayer and sigum?
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Strifefox
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Briathos was content to just watch young Axios, but his presence had started to distract the Applicant, which only made him watch harder, looking for his mistakes and timing issues. So far, he was doing rather well for an Applicant, but there was a few things he had picked up on. Things that if this man was in his wing, he would be pressing into the late hours of the night to improve on them.

The group was content on being quiet observers, that is until Axios opened his mouth and talked. "I do not need help, we saw you working and thought it would behoove us to see the bodies that may one day occupy my wing." he stated flatly, his cool gaze of yellow eyes staring intently at Axios. Expression was calm and pressing into stoic emotionless.

Thric however, lifted his head and let his quills stand up tall with intrigue. He looks angry. Did you upset him? he said to his Keeper, tipping his head as gleaming orangish red eyes bore right into Axios, more curious and emotive than his bonded. Even more so, were the Hydrakir that also seemed to be bonded to him. They were a bit more..wiggly, the darker one was in a feline like crouch, looking like he wanted to pounce, while his sister, the pale one was tipping her head and tail swishing behind her.

This one means business. I bet I can get his tail. Twix had told his bonded and sister, though Fey did not seem as amused by it as her brother was. i don't think that it would be a good idea. He might bite you back. she warned as she sat back on her haunches.

Briathos tipped his head towards Axios. "You need to be more aware of your tail, you've almost clipped it twice during your run." he stated calmly, almost like he was informing him of a fault. For shame!
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Atara
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Axios met his eyes steadily, well aware he'd be a boon to any wing. He was a warrior already, in a way most of his classmates were not, and would accomplish great deeds with minimal training. But this obstacle course was no fitting demonstration for him. It had been composed for lesser applicants, in need of basic training still. He stood attentatively, one soldier before another and said, "You are free to observe. I'm preparing an exercise for a few classmates I'm helping with some remedial physical training." He did not mention that it was his punishment, although he would never have done such a thing voluntarily. He had better uses for his time.

A few distractions could increase the challenge though. And possibly be a good addition to his drills at a later date, once this lot stopped stripping over their own wings and feet.

He nodded calmly at the criticism, taking it surprisingly well. Axios always strove to improve, "My thanks for the tip. I will work on it." His usual supervisor in this exercise was too concerned about making him be NICE to comment on his own performance. Which completely eliminated any benefit Axios might get from the whole sordid affair.

Axios tilted his head and asked, "Do you have any suggestions as to how I might improve the course? I'm not usually called upon to train others, as my abilities are better spent on other tasks. But I do not like to fail. In anything. They ran this course today, with several...incidents. I plan to make them repeat it, with weights, until they get right. Maybe I should add bells to distract them...Overthinking is the cause of as many faults as carelessness."
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Strifefox
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Briathos for his part, was looking to Axios with an unreadable expression. Despite himself being a Reader in classification, Briathos was able to make his expressions stay level and fairly hard to tell what he was feeling. The only betrayal was his tail. A bane to Mesai in some aspect since it nearly always gave away a hint of emotional senses. Like right now, it was mostly still with it's tip idly flipping side to side. Indicating a level of enjoyment or intrigue. "Remedial? Ah yes, I heard about you. Master Arc has you tutoring some of the other Applicants. How is that going?" he asked, curiously tipping his head to one side which allowed the bundled ponytail of his dreadlocks to slip over his shoulder.

Unaware of Axios nature, he was not surprised when the other Mesai took his criticism well. If he had known him better he might have been very shocked at his ease of excepting it. So he continued. "Always be aware of your tail. It can tell you where the danger is to your back and how to best react, never ignore it's signs." he stated flatly, moving his own tail in a slow lashing motion.

The man looked up with gleaming golden eyes, observing the course that Axios had laid out. For the most part it was reminiscent of the obstacle course he had ran as an Applicant himself back in the day. A thing that he had ran many times over when ever it was set up; it was a good way to exercise multiple muscles and forms in one go. He clicked his tongue against his teeth before responding. "It's fine for those who aren't as apt at the physical skills yet, though I do not see it being a challenge for them either." he started, though when Axios went on was when he caught a hint of his true self. Briathos rose a brow.

"Your may think that, but you are very wrong Applicant. A perfect reflection of your skill as a warrior is your ability to impart that onto others. You are no better than those that you try to teach and you would do well to remember that." he said and placed a clasped fist over his chest. "I am no better than my wing and they are a reflection of me." Briathos moved his hand, pointing towards Axios. "Weights are not going to make them get any better, you need to train them how to overcome each part of your course, though the bells are a good idea. A real battlefield is not quiet. It is full of screams and cries, of roars and clashes." he responded.
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Atara
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Of course gossips had spoken. They surely enjoyed his fall from grace. He looked over the course and nodded at the older mesai's assessment, "Master Arc puts them through more challenging courses at lessons. In the beginning, I attempted something similar." Because if they couldn't keep up? Well they needed to KEEP WORKING HARDER. After being forced to jump rope while singing nursery songs under psion mind-control...Axios had switched strategies. He was really beginning to grow a bit irritated by psions. Psionics were a crutch for the weak who could not succeed through strength alone...but being subject to psionic control could be quite vexing.

"It rapidly became clear, however, that they needed additional drillings on the basics more than they needed a challenge," he explained, moving his tail in a few deliberate stretches as he spoke. If his tailwork wasn't adequate...He would fix it! And while running and talking was considered rude and disrespectful...he was obeying orders and improving himself! "Hence...well...this. Most will never reach the level of a Mesai warrior, but I hope to make them at least adequate. Failure of any sort is unacceptable."

He continued his explanation, "The idea of the weights was to give a motivated to the lazy and prepare the slightly-less-hopeless to someday bear weapons into battle. Maybe make them carry practice swords instead?"

Axios tilted his head at Briathos' assessment, trying to keep the skepticism from his eyes. He was a child of Mesai warriors, taught from his earliest days to respect the master fighters of his tribe. Something about Briathos remained him of his own elders, "In the Firebird tribe, it is the duty of the old and infirm to teach the young. Able warriors spar with them only once they have proved themselves worthy of the effort. As an only child and a young man, it was never a duty that fell to me. I was a hunter and a fighter. Not a teacher. But I will strive to excel at it, as I strive to excel at all things. It reflects poorly on a warrior to do any task poorly, even one as humble as cleaning his mount's stable."

Yes, Axios was still a bit perturbed about being forced into that particular duty. And yet no matter how often he called the other Mesai a slob, an ingrate and unworthy of his great tribal name...He still refused to see about cleaning it properly on a regular basis.
Edited by Atara, Oct 26 2017, 09:33 PM.
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Strifefox
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Briathos shrugged slightly, listening to Axios explain what he had tried and what he was doing now. The Mesai's tail moved ever so slightly again and he knew that Axios was onto something but he was clouding his own judgements. "What makes you so sure that they are not already better warriors than yourself." he said. Not a question he asked, Briathos stated it. "The truth, of a warrior worthy of being called one, is that they are willing to accept that there is and always will be, someone better than you." the man said with strength and honesty. "With out knowing that, with out realizing that all you will know is failure. That is not always a bad thing, to know failure. But you must recognize your own failures and learn from them so that you may improve yourself and become a better you." he said.

He couldn't help it. He was already a little put off by his attitude and clicked his tongue off the roof of his mouth as he listened to Axios brag with out bragging. "You are definitely missing the point of it aren't you Axios...You talk about your fellows as if they are as worth less than the Ternarium they and you seek to fight." he shook his head slightly, his calculating gaze staring deeply into Axios eyes. It was Thric who butted in next though, thrusting his nose directly at the young man and got a good sniff of him. This one smells funny. Smells like you now. Need bath. he told Briathos who just calmly patted his head and pushed his nose back to withdraw him from Axios.

Of course Twix and Fey were not with out there own words so to say. Firebird? Is that burning birds? That sounds unpleasant.And smelly, don't forget smelly. Fire...apple sounds nicer. Can he be Fireapple? they asked, turning eyes to Briathos who could not help it and broke expression for a moment and smiled. He spoke aloud, so that Axios would understand why he smiled. "Sorry my friends, A Mesai's name is his name. He can change it as easily as he can change spots to stripes. He is a Firebird as I am a Starfall."

He tipped his head and turned eyes onto the young man before him. "You are Firebird, are you the last or are there more of your people remaining?" Briathos asked him.
Edited by Strifefox, Oct 26 2017, 02:39 PM.
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Atara
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Axios snorted. Clearly this Mesai warrior had never SEEN them practice or he would not even contemplate such a question, "Because they are not warriors at all. That's how they ended up in this cadre. Because they are unsuccessful in lessons and require teaching if they are to make anything of themselves. My parents were great warriors, in their own time, perhaps better than me, and there are other Mesai hunters who are my equals or superiors but these novices? Some can barely throw a punch, let alone win a battle." Truthfully...Axios doubted there were many Mesai hunters who surpassed him. But saying something like that to an elder...It was the sort of thing that earned you a broken nose.

Axios shrugged at his complaint. At least the Ternarium were mighty warriors. Evil...but powerful and ambitious and dedicated to wreaking havoc. Unlike some of his fellows who seemed like they would rather nap than run laps, "Quite frankly, they are novices. I bear them no animosity but...I held my first sword when I was barely a child. How are soft civilians raised in comfort expected to hunt the most dangerous prey of our times?" And why was Axios expected to train amongst them? What could he possibly have to learn from someone who had never killed anything larger than a mouse?

Axios didn't flinch from the sniffing wyvern, standing proud with his head held high. If it attempted to kill him, it would find him a tougher meal than it expected, but it seemed to content to sniff. He would allow that, permit it to evaluate him for whatever it was it was searching for.

Axios nodded in response to the one-sided conversation he overheard and said, "It is my name and a proud one. One I am fortunate enough to still share with a large and prosperous tribe."

The fact Briathos had never heard of them well...it was almost insulting. He was clearly woefully uninformed about contemporary Mesai politics. Of course...Axios hadn't heard of the Starfall tribe either but...Clearly that was different.
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Briathos just shook his head a little at Axios. "You of all people I would expect to know what makes a warrior. Skill is only one half of everything that is there, required to make a true warrior out of someone. Master Arc did not put you in this position to make them better. He put you here and you continue to be in this position because you fail to see it." Briathos remarked to the younger Mesai. "You need to open your eyes and look into yourself, perhaps seek the guidance of Kelendra in your journey for truth and self." he stated.

Of course, he scoffed when Axios commented on the others being novices. "As are you Axios. You are nothing but a novice in the arts as much as your class is. The length of study and practice you have matters not. Before I even entered this Fort, before I became an Applicant like you, I had already been on the front lines against the Ternarium for five years. When I walked through those doors and put myself up for the sands, I had seen more real battle than any other Applicant ever had." he explained.

"The truth is that it still never made me anything more than a novice. Forts and the practices here are a different breed of battle. One that you need to start preparing yourself for if you ever hope to find your real skill. Your real calling." he stated. Briathos would not hold back, especially not when the person in question had a rude awakening coming for them and needed that proverbial slap in the face if they were ever to hope for what they were expecting.

His attitude as it stood, was likely to scare away any dragon that hatched for him even if he was chosen for the sands. They were fragile creatures when they first hatched and needed stablity and strength second to love and trust; the two most important developmental features for any budding dragon.

Briathos continued to stroke Thric's thick neck as he listened to Axios explain that his tribe was still around. "That's good to hear, my own people were slaughtered by the Ternarium... I only survived because I was hunting at the time of the attack." he placed his hand over his heart proudly. "I am the last of the Starfall and bear my name with the same pride you hold yours."
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Atara
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Axios knew himself perfectly well! He was a warrior and a hunter. Not a teacher. He asked, "And why couldn't they just tell me what I'm supposed to be learning? I don't have time for guessing games!" The Ternarium were retreating by the day and there still wasn't even a fetch yet. If he became a Keeper after the last of the monsters were dead, what was evening the point? KELENDRA didn't know what he was supposed to be learning either. She wasn't a mindreader! It wasn't the GODS who'd put him here. It was his teachers. Who at the very least owed him an explanation why.

"That's ridiculous. If you'd already killed Ternarium and won great victories, why were you expected to start at the same level as a civilian who'd never even held a weapon before coming here? It doesn't make SENSE. Obviously you know more than they do," Axios complained. If his class had been at all like Axios...it was both nonsensical and an insult to Mesai honor. A warrior who had earned his name in battle deserved more respect than some Sigum child who'd never left home, "And I know my calling. I'm a hunter and a soldier. That's what a Keeper is meant to be. Anyone who goes about peace and love or whatever they want to tell themselves...They're deceiving themselves. We're here to FIGHT. Not to cower in the shadows."

Axios nodded and said honestly, "I'm sorry. I'm sure they would be proud if they saw you. You bring their name honor, even after its people are gone."

His were still here but he hoped to do the same. To be the last Firebird...He couldn't imagine. Axios was a self-sufficient young man who needed little but himself...And yet even he liked belonging somewhere. To someone. Have a people to call his own. Wandering alone as an exile...He could hardly imagine.
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Strifefox
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Briathos shrugged, a calm and confident look on his face as he replied to Axios' question without hesitation. "Being a Keeper is about adaptability. If you cannot adapt and change yourself with whatever is thrown at you, than you will struggle to survive. It's about last second changes to your given path, about a battlefield that can change moment to moment. No one can tell you what will change, all they can hope to do is prepare you for adapting." his response, though maybe not what the young man wanted to hear, was what he felt was the truth.

A very tiny trace of a smile graced his lips as the younger man seemed astounded that he had to start all over again at the same level as everyone else. "It makes more sense than you think Axios. Fighting against Ternarium with an army at your side is one thing. In a Wing, you have but ten men and women there but you also have the biggest grace of all. A dragon, of any species really, changes the game entirely. It does not matter my past victories, because they are minuscule in the comparison of dragon combat." He clicked his tongue off the roof of his mouth when Axios rambled on about himself being a hunter and solider, and how that was what a Keeper was. "You could not be farther from the truth on that note young hunter. A fox is a hunter and does quiet well for itself, but you cannot possibly compare a foxes hunting skills and tactics to that of a wolf."

Noting Axios silence after learning of the fate of his people, he let him wallow in it for a moment before he spoke up. "It was here at this very Fort, that I found my tribe once more. My wing is my tribe and I value every member of it as if they were my true born brothers and sisters. You may be Firebird Axios, but you need to let that fade to your past life and adopt the new one that you have chosen for yourself. You Chose to be here didn't you? Maybe you should start acting like it and accept that these people around you, those other applicants, are your brothers and sisters now."
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Atara
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Axios was highly adaptable. He just didn't believe in adjusting to failure, "I am attempting to adapt. I'm training them. Not insulting them. I can't even THINK demeaning things about them any more or risk being forced to look the qwibus. What more do they want from me? And how am I supposed to achieve it if they do not TELL me what is expected? Training for adaptability generally involves marches through marshland or hunts in unknown forests not...Well...whatever this is."

So all their skills were useless? Maybe for foxes...But Axios was a tiger. He'd been trained too well by his own elders to tell Briathos that, however. That was the way one got knocked on one's butt. So instead he asked, "Were you not just speaking of adaptability? Why don't those of us who have skills to adapt have the advantages? It can not be harder to learn to fight by a dragon's side than to learn entirely from scratch."

Axios tail twitched at the implication in his question, "Of course I chose it! Nobody forces Axios Firebird to go anywhere against his will! That does not mean I wish to forsake my tribe for strangers. I will fight besides the ones who prove worthy. Not merely those who ended up sharing my class by pure chance. I can be Axios Firebird, Applicant Axios, Keeper Axios...They are all one in the same. I know who I am. Why by the gods would I wish to shatter my soul to become someone else?"
Edited by Atara, Nov 8 2017, 01:04 AM.
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Strifefox
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Briathos took a breath and just looked at him. He really did have a bullheaded personality; and to be fair, he once felt that way as well. Thought a little less of anyone not himself and had the ideals that physical actions were all that was required in training ones self. It took bonding to a dragon; his Thric, to have his mind changed and rather harshly. He wondered if the same would be held true for Axios or if he could start convincing him now, so that he wouldn't suffer the same fate. "You are an Applicant Axios, one destined to battle for your right to stand on the sands. It is up to you to uncover your own faults and strengths so you know what you must work on to improve yourself." he replied.

The Mesai man smirked a little and had to admit, this kid was smart but was also one tracked. "You do have the advantage when you already have a skill set to work with. However, you need to keep in mind that being a Keeper and having a dragon is never a singular thing. It starts as an Applicant. Why do you think there is plenty of effort put into teamwork? As a Cadet, it is even more so. Working with a team, because you will be in a wing, and you will be working with others." Briathos explained. "And the gods help you if you end up in my wing if you think that you can do anything with out your wingmates. You are to be in a team, whether you like the idea of it or not Axios and if you act out on your own and disobey your Wing Lead, you'll find that you will be left behind if you cannot accept it."

He wanted to face palm as he rejected the idea of the other Applicants being his new tribe mates. Briathos resisted the urge and just let out a long sigh that caused his Thric to headbutt his arm to cool him down. He reached down and scratched between his head quills; the green wyvern rumbled in delight at the affection of course and gave him a bit of a distraction...an opening for the other two to speak.

Don't be silly burning birdy.
He is not a burning birdy, he is a firebird. It is different.
Whatever Fey. But hey, birdy? Briathos is ours and we are his. Is that not like a tribe?
That is the point we are making with him. His soul is ours now.

He rose a brow as the two willingly talked to Axios like that...but they did have a point.
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Atara
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"Do I strike you as one afraid of competition?" Axios snorted. Although a competition it could hardly be called, "Send me into the battle hamstrung if you must. I will persevere! But does not it seem an unfair handicap that while those who struggle with swordsmanship or archery receive advice aplenty I am to stumble forth blindly into the wilderness?"

Not that Axios was ever truly blind. But well...There were few things he could not accomplish when given the chance. For he was Axios! It didn't exempt his elders from their duty to guide and teach. His own tribe's leaders would not have allowed to remain long in the darkness of ignorance. And here he'd thought the Fort coddled them...Well, if he was to be an exception to the rule, at least he was EXCEPTIONAL enough to find his own path.

Axios did not understand why he should have to work with others who would only be a hindrance, "Are there not duties that require stealth that might undertake alone? And are you not Keepers skilled fighters? Mayhaps it would not be as galling to work with those capable of keeping pace. I will of course obey my winglead's orders but are not they the elite of the elite? Surely they do not tolerate incompetence."

Axios tilted his head at the sounds of voices. Burning bird? He burned only with glory! But he acknowledged..."More like a family than a tribe, I would think. They are the ones you owe your love and bond closest too. It is to tribe you owe your allegiance and it is from them you derive your identity. I would imagine a fitting analogy would be...you four are a family, your wing is the tribe."

Strange they did not know this already being bonded to one of his own kind. Perhaps though he was reluctant to speak of tribes, having lost his own.
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