Usta Training: Tier I - A Long Day

Published Jan 11, 2023, 1:05:42 AM UTC | Last updated Jan 11, 2023, 1:05:42 AM | Total Chapters 1

Story Summary

Training prompts for Usta 12289.  Will have three parts when completed, 1/3 finished.

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Usta Dracostryx 🧑🏽 #ds12289
94 total points
27 approved points


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Chapter 1: Tier I - A Long Day

Training I - A Long Day

Tier I training prompt for Usta from around 2020-2021 ish.  It's old and it doesn't read well, at least in my opinion, but it's finished so I'm not scrapping it haha.

1038 words long.


Usta came into Ozan’s life on his sixteenth birthday.

She was not unexpected; it was custom for their family to raise and train stryx of their own, and he knew that his father was ever fond of customs.  And that was not to say he wasn’t grateful, but… standing in front of the entire court while his father talked of how Marcen had achieved its status in Krissa thanks to its dominance of the skies was not his favourite way to spend the afternoon.

Thankfully, his only responsibility was to stand below his father’s throne and wear the itchiest formal clothes that he owned and wait.  He was good at that; so far most of his responsibilities as prince had been ‘stand beside me and stay quiet’ which, while boring, was much better than having to speak in front of the dozen scowling old men and women of Marcen’s council.

Ozan kept himself occupied by examining the formal hall for perhaps the hundredth time.  The floors were the same, expensive tile that his great-grandmother had brought from faraway mountains, grey-brown and polished to a bright shine.  Enormous windows along the walls let in the sunlight and he could see the rooftops of nearby buildings through them.

“And, to honour our past and ensure we remain strong in the future, I have arranged for my own son to receive a stryx.”  His father nodded, his formal robes making his movements stiff, and gestured at the door.  When nothing happened, the King sighed and nodded at the Rookerymaster, Marie.

Marie scowled at the hall’s massive door and opened the smaller one inlaid into the wood; a moment later, a nervous-looking young woman dashed in, ears red with embarrassment.  Held in her arms was a large harpia chick, little more than a bundle of fluff, which seemed quite content being carried around like luggage.

The young woman looked around at the court and gave the stryx a tiny squeeze before speaking, “uh, hello, I’m June.  I… I run the Silverspot Rookery in the Rushrock Peaks.  This little fellow here is Usta, one of the finest things to come out of the mountains.”

Marie leaned in and whispered something to June; the woman flinched and trotted towards Ozan at a brisk pace.  “Here you go,” she said and handed him the stryx.  He only barely had time to thank her before she then turned towards his father and bowed, speaking in a rehearsed tone, “thank you for this honour, your Majesty; I promise that I shall always remember this and that little Usta will serve your family well.”

The ‘little’ Usta was only small by comparison to the adults he had seen, although she was quite light, and did little more than shift to rest her head on his shoulder and fall back asleep.  He could barely see his father nod pleasantly past the thick layers of downy feathers covering her.

The rest of the evening passed in a blur.  He spoke a few words in the formal thank-you to June, but all he could focus on was the growing ache in his shoulders as the initially light stryx grew heavier as the hour passed.

Should I put her down?  He stared at the fluffy, sleeping hatchling and shifted her so she was resting on his shoulder.  She opened one eye and grumbled sleepily at him before tucking her head in against his neck.

He bit back a laugh and raised one hand to pet her.  It was hard to find the actual stryx under all those downy feathers.

“Ozan.”  Marie's voice called his attention back to what was going on in the hall around him.  “Come to the Rookery.  We'll get Usta settled in.”

He glanced at his father; the man was busy talking to a particularly elderly-looking council member, and then quickly followed Marie out of the hall.

He knew better than to say anything about the growing weight of the young harpia; the Rookerymaster had little patience for complainers.

They walked along through the many winding halls of his father's home, briefly out into the blinding sunlight of a courtyard, and then they vanished into the human-sized entrance of the Rookery.  He had been there before, many times, in the previous year; it was a spacious, warm place with high wooden ceilings, straw-covered floors that crunched under your feet, and space enough even for the largest of stryx.

He took a breath; the air was heavy with the scent of dust, cedar and something a great deal less pleasant.  He looked up after a moment to find Marie smiling at him; it was the first time he’d seen such an expression on the Rookerymaster’s face.

“Come on,” she said, shaking her head, “we don’t have all day.”

Well, that was much more like her.  Ozan followed her up the stairs; by the time they reached the top floor his legs ached.  He did not look forward to climbing it again every day.

Marie gestured at one of the immense doors to a stryx-nest, “this one.”

He unlatched it awkwardly, one hand holding Usta and the other maneuvering it open.  Inside was just as immense as he’d expected, sized for a fully-grown stryx rather than a little hatchling.  “Isn’t it a little… too big?”

She shrugged, “she’ll grow into it.”

Then she spent the next hour showing him around the Rookery; where to find supplies, how much to feed the hatchling, and all the details of Usta’s care and keeping, “we won’t be doing this for you, Prince.  You’ll have to raise her yourself.”

He swallowed and nodded; he wouldn’t have expected anything else from Marie.  “I understand.”

“Good,” she watched him, somewhat clumsily, go through the steps she had shown him; feeding Usta, cleaning her and her space for a few minutes.  Then, apparently satisfied, Marie left to her other duties.

After he had finished and the hatchling was laying on his stomach, fast asleep, he sighed and closed his eyes.  He was tired and a little sore, but this beat standing in front of the Council for hours any day.  He drifted off into sleep and woke a few hours later with straw stuck in his hair.

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