4th Ahsan, Arc 721
There was no time to waste, so Larksong had Shl'drei housed away from the chaos and ordered that he get some rest for the trip ahead. For a few breaks, he laid in the cot exhausted but unable to sleep. Replaying the events of the trial. Once the suns rose, Shl'drei would meet up with Larksong at the ranch. At that point she'd give him pointers on how to ride whatever the fastest thing she could secure was. The bugs were being gathered by others in jars, Shl'drei wasn't sure how much he'd be packing. He had no personal effects aside from the salvaged ring and his companions, he had no extra clothes or baubles. He turned over and heaved a sigh- he lost his home and people lost theirs. All in one day. And because of some stupid insect that was most likely planted.
A fee breaks before Larksong sent an Order member- a doctor, if he remembered right - to look at his hands. It was slightly uncomfortable, being worried over by the older woman. She had removed the splinters with little to no issue, cleaned the pricks and blood away, and bandaged his hands. He remembered being told that he could remove the bandages after a day or two.
He wasn't sure when he fell asleep, he was too worried and tired and angry to tell. What he did know is that he heard a knock on the door of the room he'd been loaned. What had Larksong said yestertrial? She'd have everything ready? He swiped the sleep from his eyes, still tired. But now that he was up he could feel the insistent buzz of activity outside of the building... He rose from the bed and threw off the covers, grabbed his shoes and slipped them on along with his shirt. "I'm on my way out,"
He called, just to be sure no one barged into the room. Definitely still tired, but he was determined to do this and get it done. The bugs - he had heard they were being called sucklesoids - were a threat. It could affect more than just Scalvoris if they multiplied too much.
They ate wood, it was only a matter of time before trees disappeared and more houses were gone. He combed a hand through his hair with irritation, but he forced himself to move either way. If Larksong was the leader he thought she was, the men had gathered enough samples and she'd made the letter copies as legible and clean as can be. Shl'drei was averse to the idea of riding a mount- he'd never done it and had no experience. However, his bleeding heart had been his downfall. He'd agreed in the heat of the moment assuming himself to be taking a boat. It was silly he realized, as he opened the door and made his trek to the ranch.
Luckily the man from yesterday, the dirty blonde Daz, was going to lead the way. He wasn't so arrogant to think he was going to get everywhere- at best he could cover three places, maybe four. He hadn't said it out loud, but he was hoping someone else could help. There was a lot of land to cover, and the faster the better. "Shl'drei, you need to focus, aye?" He refocused on Daz, an apology on his lips but was interrupted. "I wouldn't be getting in the clouds, mm? You'll never learn to ride like that. But moreover, what's on your mind?"
"It's.. it's nothing. Just jitters, I guess."
He lied, smiling despite his raging thoughts. Daz raised a skeptical brow, but didn't press the issue. Leading the trainer around was easy, as was reading his body language. He was tense, fidgety. But Daz couldn't force the trainer to talk, and he wouldn't try. "Did Larksong tell you what she got for a ride?"
"..Aye," Daz paused, but let the topic change without resistance. "You'll either be flying or going by land, though I 'magine Larksong'll push for flight. That woman's a real diamond, even if she is a little rough. It's sink or swim time, aye, and I can only hope for the best." Shl'drei wanted to point out that he hadn't answered the question, but he let it go and just nodded.
"Whoa, easy boy! Hey!"
The scalvwing reared on it's back legs, Shl'drei desperately clinging to its reins on the saddle. He squeezed the mounts torso between his legs, keeping it firm so as not to slide off or be bucked into oblivion. He tried his best to calm the beast, but his growing panic fueled it's panic and within a few trills he was bucked to his backside. The scalvwing snorted, kicked the ground, and trotted towards Larksong for reassurance. That was the third time he'd been bucked off, and honestly Shl'drei was getting frustrated. Not with the animal of course, he knew he wasn't making it easy for the poor mount - no, he was frustrated with himself. He got up on the horse and immediately his mind traveled to the boats he'd ridden on. He became queasy and the scalvwing began to buck as if sensing his discomfort. The saddle was comfortable, the reigns were perfect, he had a foothold, and Larksong had walked him through the basics.
The only problem was he couldn't stay calm enough for take off. He had no problem with heights, but being off land did something to his insides. Every time he thought of the boat, he imagined flying the same way. Being tossed around by the wind didn't seem like a pleasant experience. "Shl'drei, I'm gon' level with ya. Fa everything you've done, all of darby thanks ya. But if we need anotha man on this job I need ya to level with me too, awraght?"
He steamed, firm in his stance that he could do it. He could, he just needed time. Time he didn't have,
but he had to do it because no one else could leave without having consequences. He slapped his cheeks and shook out his nerves the best he could. He could do this. He had to. Approach slowly and calmly. Reaffirm peace by stroking the mane of the scalvwing. They have soft hair,
he noted as he combed a hand through the mane of the black scalvwing. Slowly tap the torso as you move back, breath evenly. He put his foot in one of the holds and swung himself up as gently as possible. Once he was atop the saddle, he hooked his other foot into the hold and grabbed the reins. The scalvwing snorted, kicked the ground, but otherwise remained calm.
He continued to comb the mane with a hand as Daz and Larksong loaded a stack of letters on one side and the jars that contained the suckelesoids on the other. There were five jars, each with wood in them to keep the critter alive, each will holes drilled so that if the critter needed air it could breath. Once that and his loaned backpack were on his back, he inhaled deeply, praising the scalvwing for it's patience.
"Now rememba, yer gonna need to whip the reins up at the end of the sprint. Once she takes of fa the skies, keep her above house level but low enough tha ya can see things, got it?" Larksong reminded as she and Daz stepped back to give the sclavwing a room to run. Shl'drei nodded and clicked his tongue as he was taught, signaling the scalvwing to take off in a sprint. Once they'd gained some speed, he snapped the reins up, and the wings of the scalv spread and began to flutter. He clicked twice, the scalvwing jumped and- with a powerful push of its mighty wings, they were in the air.
Exhilarating. Freeing. Jittery. With his goggles on, Shl'drei felt the need to lean into the scalvwing to reduce the push back of the wind. He was in the air, laughing a bit as he got a bit higher, but eventually he evened out the pace to a cruise so as to not overexert the creature. Above the buildings, he could see people moving in their hurried manner- he saw some wrecked homes and a few piles of something he couldn't quite make up from the height. But before he knew it Darbyton was behind him and in front of him was the expanse of open air. Flying brought a giddy sort of excitement, but he followed the waters edge as he was told.
He whooped and hollered, heart hammering in his chest as he held fast to the reigns like a vice, keeping a firm clutch on the torso and saddle footholds. He could see everything! He laughed, drunk with excitement. He wondered if the scalvwing could do tricks... No, no, he should focus on the task at hand. He shivered as the cooler air of ashan whipped against him, deciding that his next flight would include a jacket. He slowed a bit to a good pace, just enough so he could reach his destination swiftly and enjoy the sights above land. The butterflies in his stomach fluttered around, and he smiled as he kept his eyes open. The Scalvwing snorted and trotted, even as there was no land beneath its feet.