TRUST (Stryx 10010) - Chapter 1

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TRUST (Stryx 10010)

by mischievous-akuma

Libraries: Adventure, Fantasy, Original Fiction, Series

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Dracostryx Training entry for Dracostryx (Inferno) 10010 [ 1/5 ]

I had heard about a new stryx market in the classifieds of the local Wyvera newspaper the night before it was opening and decided to check it out the next day. I had gotten up early in the morning to make sure I had a head start to look over the stryx up for sale before the rest of the town piled in after having their coffee and toast. Looking outside it was a typical bleak fall day as far as I was concerned. I decided to walk to the location the sale was being held at as it was a short distance away from where I lived.

Before leaving the house I looked myself over in the mirror by the door. Blue eyes looked back at me in the reflection of the mirror. My long black curled hair framed my pale face. Deciding I needed some colour I turned and rummaged through the table drawer in front of me searching for my signature shade of lipstick: blood red. Satisfied with how I looked I grabbed my house key, wallet and a last minute decision a thick wool sweater.

As I exited my house the sun was hidden behind the thick clouds which looked heavy with rain. The weather report did not call for rain so I quickly locked the door behind me.  It was definitely fall now; you could smell the rot and decay of flowering plants passed their prime. Crinkled leaves danced on the branches of nearby trees as a chilled gust of wind blew passed me. A few of the dead ones falling off and dancing pasted me as they glided in the wind. I huddled into my thick sweater that I threw on at the last moment, grateful for its warmth. The cold made me unconsciously walk a little faster.

As I continued on I watched as songbirds flew by me. They trilled and chirped before they quickly hid themselves in the safety of a nearby shrub. When I looked up as to why a wild hawk type stryx flew overhead. I watched in amazement as it glided silently on the thermals before needing to flap its wings again to gain altitude. I was going to adopt a stryx today but I was not sure which kind yet. I smiled as I thought about it and without realizing it; I had already arrived at the building where the market was being held.

I approached, opening the doors and was hit with a blast of hot air. I did not realize just how chilled I was until I was inside. I could not help myself as my body betrayed me and did a whole body shudder. I stood there in the doorway for a moment before I continued through the next set of doors. As I entered a young man greeted me and gave me a wrist bracelet; like the kind you get at a fair. He smiled and explained to me that it was for safety reasons to both sign in with the number on it and when done to sign out. Of course the rules were: look but do not touch and do not go near the cage by at least 10 meters. Also known as do not be stupid and get eaten I thought to myself. I thanked him and was left to my own devices to browse the many stryx.

As I passed by the various stryx cages there were staff members to keep people in check. Most greeted me as I passed by until I came to one of the last caged stryx. “You do not want that one” stated a gruff voice beside me. I turned to look at the haggard looking older man sitting back on his chair. He balanced it on its back two legs as he peeled an apple with a knife. “Excuse me?” I questioned in disbelief. “Move along” he cut me off, ignoring me and continued peeling his fruit.

I admit I was in the wrong when I kicked his chair leg and sent him flying to his feet. The apple went flying out of his hands but he managed to land on his feet and kept the knife in hand. I was slightly impressed until he looked at my short stature and snorted dismissing me as a threat. “That one there would have you for a snack, girl” came out his huffed reply. I watched as he ignored me and searched for the apple. Once he spotted it he waddled over, bent down and picked it up. Straightening up he quickly turned around and threw it at me. “Think fast!” he called out as quickly as his throw.

I caught it in quick succession. It must have impressed him because there was a slight quirk to his thin lips. “Not bad” he admitted. “You want him? You can have him” he stated. Before I could get a word in edgewise he shouted about getting the papers for that beast behind me and off he went into the crowd. It was not until I realized there was no one near the stryxs cage except for me. I turned around slowly and my blue eyes met bright yellow orbs flecked with red as bright as fire.

I sucked in a breath and let it out slowly trying to calm my racing heart. In front of me was an adolescent Harpia Stryx who looked like he was furious because he was woken from his nap from our commotion. This Harpia looked full grown even though the advertisement said they were all young stryxs. I gawked at him before remembering: one it was rude to stare, and two that they were intelligent beings who demanded respect.

My body recovered some movement and I leaned into a low bow towards him. This seemed to please him as he let out a low clicking sound that meant he accepted my presence. Did he forgive me for waking him up? Probably not so I moved slowly down to be seated cross legged on the floor in front of the cage a good 10 meters. I hugged my legs up close to my body as I studied him and he studied me.

His whole body is a brilliant gradient of red shades until one reaches his tail feathers. They faded to white the closer they got to the tips. Some smaller black tips were located on his primary wing feathers, tail tips, lower legs and splotch on his chest. He tilted his head slightly to watch me and I realized not only did he have a black mask and bib but his face was eclipsed by darker feathers which then ran down his back. He was a beautiful sight to behold.

It was not until he let out a sound similar to a chick begging its parents for food that I remembered I still held the apple in my hands. I smiled as I asked “are you hungry?” which made him promptly stand up. Before I could even react he reared up hitting the cages bars with his wings and blew flames into the air. The fire burned bright, illuminating the whole building in a brilliant light.

Thankfully the building had a sprinkler system installed. As soon as the flames' heat reached the sensor they detonated releasing a spray of water coating everyone and everything. People were panicking and running away in terror as I sat in my spot. It was not fear that ran through me but adrenaline. The harpia was thrashing about clearly upset that it could not get away from the water. Without even thinking I whistled at him.

This caught his attention as I proceeded to try communicating that he will be okay. I kept repeating calming reassurances that it was all going to be okay. Tentatively I took a step closer each time and got closer to the cage. It was to the point where he nudged my hand with his beak that I realized how close we were to one another. He nudged me again, opening his beak slightly, cooing at me. Eventually my brain registered he wanted the apple still in my grasp. “Only if you agree to behave” I whispered to him, holding it out in the palm of my hand.

For something as big as a Hapria stryx he took the apple so gently out of my hand that you would not believe that this was the same bird that just caused all this chaos. I was amazed at how he could hold such a tiny object in his foot and careful enough to eat the apple in his grasp. He ate it in three nibbles before looking back at me. He blinked and then turned around and curled up at the back of his cage watching.

It was then that the fire crew came to collect me and drag me out of the building until it was safe. It took most of the afternoon to clear all of the stryx’s out to their new owners. The fire crew brought them out as one by one as the people who stayed came to claim their new family members. Since I was inside the building still I was handed over to the paramedics who wrapped me in an emergency blanket. It took them forever to clear me after badgering me with questions. Then it was the police’s turn.

They questioned me for hours as to what caused the incident with the Stryx. The manager who hosted the sale of course was questioned as well beside me. I could hear him deny over and over again not knowing it could breathe fire which was specifically prohibited at these types of sale. When I was released from their questioning I ran into the gruff old man.

The first thing he did was shove the damp papers into my hands. “Here” he grunted “that devil is all yours. You can go up to the idiots over there and claim him.” Without another word I watched as he walked over to his pickup truck and started the engine. He reversed and left just like that to which I was astounded. Did I really want this Stryx?

Sighing I made my way over to the booth to collect him. The guy was the same one I met when I first entered the building. I greeted him and handed him my papers. He took one glance down at the page before he paled. “Are you sure you want this stryx?” he questioned me with a worried tone in his voice and plastered clearly on his face. “Yes, sir. I do not have a choice really, now do I” I replied deadpan. He nodded slowly and scurried off to hand the notice to the firemen to collect my stryx.

I watched as a few more firemen came out of the building with stryx to meet their new riders when I realized I was the last person left standing at the booth. A fireman waved me over with brows knit together. “Ma’am are you the one whom purchased the adolescent stryx?” he questioned. “Yes, I am” I replied tentatively “why?” He did not give me an answer before beckoned me to follow him into the building. I followed him silently until we reached the group of firefighters and police grouped together.

They were busy discussing what seemed to be like a strategy until they realized our presence. The group parted and it was not until I saw the burnt lead rope that I realized what the issue was. I dared to glance at the Stryx still in his cage. He was a mass of fluffed up feathers, swaying slightly back and forth ready to strike anyone within range. His pupils were pin pricks focused on the group of men.

“Ma’am” the head firefighter greeted but before he could continue he was cut off by the police chief. “Young lady, I would like to recommend allowing us to humanely euthanize this beast. He is clearly a danger to yourself and society by today’s recent events.” You could tell he did not like Stryx’s in general by his tone. A few police and all of the firefighters grimaced. “However the choice is yours, of course. If you choose to bring this Stryx home you will need to provide rigorous training and follow up with his progress to the police department” he stated matter-of fact-like tone.

“As a matter of fact I do. I agree to your terms, sir.” I responded in a polite yet firm approach. He seemed pleased with my reply as he turned to the fire chief and said “Have at it, then.” He promptly called for his men and off they went without so much as a backward glance towards us. I stood their dumbfounded before I recovered. The fire chief laughed wholeheartedly, startling me. “Sorry!” he wheezed “He is a bit of a stick in the mud when it comes to Stryx but he is a good man.” His men nodded in agreement. “Right! Let’s get this bird out of its cage!” he hollered and his men shouted “Yes, sir!” I could not help but shout “Yes, sir” as well.

It took us half an hour to coax the Stryx out of his cage. He was on defense until one of the firefighters ran to the truck, returning with an apple after I told him about the apple incident. Upon seeing the apple the Harpia came halfway out of the cage to claim his treat which gave us the opportunity to get close to him. I held out my hand raised upright to him mindful of keeping my fingers straight so he does not think they are a treat. He allowed the contact as I stroked his brow. I ran my hand slowly across his head and neck. The harpia tilted his head so he could watch me yet still have contact.

The fire chief slowly approached me with the rope. “He seems to trust you, want to try and get it over his head? We got plenty of rope” he smiled crookedly at me. I grinned back in reply taking the rope from his outstretched hand. It took three attempts and the Harpia stood still for all three so he must have known he was leaving this place for him to patiently stand still. Once the knot was secure everyone stood back as the Stryx crawled out of the cage.

He wobbled at first trying to get his footing. He was always crouching in his cage as he was too tall to stand upright. He stretched his wings out to their full length before neatly tucking them back into place at his side. Now it was just his neck that was bent slightly down. “Looks like he is ready to go to his new home” smiled the chief. “Let’s go home, love” I cooed at him. He seemed pleased enough to listen and follow me so I took a few steps and he followed as best he could wobbling. The firefighting crew led us over to the loading dock in the back where one of them pressed a button and the doors automatically started to rise.

This startled him and he reared slightly, but then calmed down just as fast. “That is a good sign” one of the fire fighters nudged me slightly with his elbow “means he trusts you.” I smiled in reply as I thought to myself that this was it; the moment of truth. The men piled out first who lined up on one side of the doors to be out of the way. “Your turn” the chief called. Taking a shaky breath I moved forward while holding onto the lead rope. It was not until I was jerked backwards that I realized the Harpia did not move.  Confused, my brows knit together as I looked back at the Stryx. He was waiting for me to tell him it was okay to move forward. “Well come on” I coaxed him like I would a dog.

He just looked back at me and ruffled his feathers before he started to follow me outside of the building. I sighed in relief that he did not decide to take flight once he was under the open dusk sky. Chasing after him in the dark would not be fun. I had enough excitement for one day. I think the Stryx agreed with me. The fire chief, having finished closing the door and locking up, came over to me. “Would you like us to escort you home?” he asked politely. I thought about it for a moment before I declined. “No, thank you, I think we should bond by walking home. I do not live far from here” I replied sincerely looking up at the Stryx. The chief smiled, nodded, and walked off. “Alright boys! Time to go home!” he shouted and they all cheered.

The Harpia looked around at all the excitement and he too looked excited now. “Come on, love, this way is home” I tugged gently on the lead rope. I waved at the men as they drove by and took off back to the fire station to put away their gear for the night. I was pleased that the harpia although having trouble walking straight followed without complaint. Along our walk I had to giggle, truly stryx were never meant to walk, as he waddled after me in the middle of the road. As we walked I chatted to him about my home: how he would have a narrow but long back yard lot that led into the forest where he could hunt for deer. I quickly realized I have not decided on a name for him.

“We need a name for you. Something to do with fire I think! How about Smaug?” I questioned him. He let out a screech which I assumed was a hard no. “Hmm” I hummed to myself “Crimson?” which received another screech. “Falkor?” he just gave me a look that said “really?” I huffed and continued on in silence. After thinking about it for a while I was about to say another name that came to mind when a bunny ran out from under a shrub across the road. The Harpia caught sight of it and flames ignited from his beak torching after the poor creature but missing it completely. “Inferno” I said quietly to which the Harpia looked back at me with interest. “How about Inferno?” I asked him.

The Harpia tilted his head again then back upright before jerking his head back almost like a shrug. “Inferno it is!” I smiled up at him. He let out a “bawk” type sound which I assumed was an agreement sound. “Almost home Inferno” I told him as we were nearing my street. When we reached my house the neighbours had gone inside for the evening. This was probably a good thing as Inferno trampled their favourite flowering shrubs. I would have to offer to replace them sometime in the morning, or sooner if they noticed before then.

Until then making Inferno comfortable was the first thing on my priority list. I tied him to a nearby tree and told him to stay. He looked around the yard for a bit before I gained his attention. “Stay here” I commanded him “I have some more food inside” I pointed to myself then the house. I walked backwards to my back door to make sure he stayed. Quickly unlocking the door I gave him one last glance before I disappeared inside. Quickly I headed to the fridge where I had purchased some cuts of deer meat from the local butcher. As an afterthought I grabbed an apple for myself since I had not eaten all day.  

When I came back out I was pleased to see he was still in the backyard but he had burnt the rope and freed himself. He came rushing up to me stopping just before he would crash into me. He grabbed the chunk of meat out of my hands throwing it to the ground before holding it down with his talons as he tore into it. He is food aggressive I thought to myself as I moved myself away and sat on the garden bench.

I bit into my apple in thought before I realized he was finished and had just crawled over and put his beak up on my knee. He peered at me before making content-like noises. I sighed “we will have to work on that” I told him. Inferno looked at me questioningly before I scolded him. “You need not worry about food ever again Inferno, not with me. Do not rush towards me again”. I had made my tone stern yet light enough to let him know I meant no harm. He stayed next to me with his beak still in place. His tummy must be full as he did not try for my apple. As I continued to eat it I stroked the spot just above his beak and his eyes started to droop. I could not help but smile “Welcome home Inferno.”

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