STRENGTH (Stryx 10010)
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Dracostryx Training entry Dracostryx (Inferno) 10010 [ 4/5 ]
In three months time, Inferno, my adolescent fire breathing Harpia has grown increasingly stronger everyday. Ever since we switched our nightly hunts to the mountain side path it has done wonders both mentally and physically for him.
Throughout the month we continued to climb the mountain together and had reached the summit. Every trip I would add a little weight tied around him to help Inferno gain muscle. Tonight however we were going to try something a little different.
I arrived home as per my usual time in the evening; just as the sun had set and the temperature dropped without the warmth of the sun. The moon's rays were hidden behind thick fluffy clouds that moved ever so slowly; blocking the light on the bleak landscape below. Every so often a cluster of stars would appear from a gap in the clouds above; as I watched the clouds roll by.
I was wearing my usual attire, a woolen hat and jacket. Tonight however I had opted to add a thin windproof jacket to my ensamble under my woolen wear. As well as thicker windproof pants to keep my legs nice and warm. My thick black curls were tied in a low ponytail tonight. A woolen neck warmer is snuggly around my neck and covering most of my hair. Blood red lipstick is the only source of colour on my pale pasty face.
The leaves were mostly on the ground now as the temperature dropped low even in the day signaling to the trees to drop their precious foliage. The trees looked naked as I scanned the backyard for any sign of my Stryx. As I proceeded further into my backyard the leaves below my feet crunched under my boots. Looking towards the back corner of my lot I noticed broken pumpkins were scattered about.
I sighed and wondered where Inferno had gotten them from before I realized he was not here. It did not take long before I was rudely made aware of his presence. A large pumpkin fell out of the sky and landed a few feet away from me. I yelled in surprise as I jumped back.
Inferno swooped low to the ground bringing the cold fall air trailing after him. The red Harpia flapped his wings as he raised back up into the air before coming to land down in front of me.
The gust from his wings pelted me with leaves and dirt with each mighty thrust. When he was done he tucked his wings back into their resting position at his sides before he came to nuzzle me with his beak. I let out a huff and brushed myself off before turning my attention to him.
“You are lucky I like you” I teased him. Inferno clacked his beak at me as if to say “I love you too.” I laughed before moving towards the house to grab his supper, beckoning him to follow me.
While he tore into his meal I reentered the house. I had purchased him a saddle earlier in the week and snuck it inside the house while he was out exploring. I smiled as I ran my hand over the smooth leather before picking it up and bringing it outside.
Inferno was cleaning his beak when he looked quizzically at the saddle I carried in my arms. His fire flecked yellow orbs watched me close the distance between us. “Something a little different for our hunt tonight. Would you mind staying still as I see if it fits?” I questioned him.
Inferno bowed his head slightly as if agreeing. I took this as a sign to proceed. Carefully I raised the saddle onto his back as he watched me closely. I was thankful for asking the shop owner how to use all the straps to attach it properly.
Once I was certain I had everything correctly fitting and nothing rubbed or caused harm to Inferno I called out to him. “Hey” I grabbed his attention once more. When I did, I then raised my foot to the stirrup. Not so much that it was in all the way in case he spooked and bolted but enough to get what I wanted to do across.
Inferno eyed me before he nudged me with his beak closer. “Alrighty, I will take that as a yes” I readied myself as I grabbed the upper strap around his neck. I hauled myself upward so my full weight was on the stirrup before cocking my other leg over his back and sitting upright in the saddle.
Inferno rotated his head to look backwards at me as if asking if everything was okay. I have laid across his back before while we relaxed together so I knew this was not going to be a problem entirely. Thankfully he did not stand up right away and waited for my command.
“Slowly” I coaxed before Inferno got up. “Baby steps” I told him as he somewhat purred at me. He was in a playful mood which terrified me but also amused me. He was enjoying this.
Before long I was used to him walking so I nudged him slightly with my foot. “A little faster if you do not mind” I asked politely. Which he rudely ignored; Inferno broke out into a full run before he unfolded his wings and jumped into the night air flapping his wings for lift off.
I was breathless as I tried to hold onto anything within reach; which was not much. My eyes were closed and my body was hugging Inferno’s neck. He let out a loud squawk before I attempted to open one eye.
His brilliant red feathers tickled my exposed face as the wind ruffled them against my skin. I could hear his heart beating strong in his chest, hear and feel every inhale and exhale, every beat of his wings cutting through the air. It was exhilarating.
Slowly I began to relax and gain confidence to rise in the saddle. I could tell Inferno was being patient with me as I was with him when we first met. We were high enough to catch a thermal soon enough as he glided through the air and over the ground below us. The street lamps before us were diminishing quickly as we drew closer to the mountain. It stood tall and proud over the surroundings below it, rising high in the sky towards the clouds and stars above.
We glided to a cliff face which I had deemed to be Inferno’s favourite place to rest. A small waterfall trickled fresh water down into a small spring. I prepared myself as we came in for a landing. There was not much to hold onto though as he landed heavily on the outcrop. I was jolted into the feathers on the back of his neck as he landed. Inferno raised his neck upward to help scoot me back into my saddle. “Might have to work on our landings” I breathed out and Inferno agreed as he let out a huff type of noise.
He made his way over to the spring before dipping his beak into the icy looking water before raising his head and gulping the contents inside. Once satisfied he walked over to the cliff face. One fire flecked orb peered at me to make sure I was holding on before he lept off the edge.
I had a death grip on the leather straps I had attached to the saddle. My stomach fluttered with butterflies everytime we descended from each outcrop as he flew down. I was getting used to flying with him as much as he was getting used to having a moving object on his back. Sure the weights helped strengthen him but it was completely different having something that could potentially fall off.
By the end of our adventure down the mountainside I was definitely more comfortable in the saddle than I had been when we landed the first time. Inferno seemed pleased as well as he turned his head towards me and nuzzled me. “Love you too” I whispered to him as I stroked his feathers above his beak. I yawned and he nuzzled closer. “Time to go home?” I questioned him.
Inferno purred in agreement before pulling away. “Ready” I told him as I gripped the straps. He unfurled his wings and beat them strongly as he hopped forward a few times; each higher and more into the air before he was not touching the ground any more. We flew higher until we were above the treetops before Inferno glided over them effortlessly. “Looks like we are taking the scenic route home then?” I chuckled. Inferno purring in agreement as we flew home.
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