Chapter 1: Forgotten Spear New Saddle
Fern was no stranger to travel, having spent most of his life on the road alongside his mentor selling his crafts far and wide. This journey was one he had traveled so many times he would have known the roads blind however this trip would be different. He looked over to his stryx Nyra with concern, this would be her first journey outside the safety of their forest home and he worried that she wouldn't be ready. He had wanted to wait till she had grown a bit more before leaving, but it seemed fate had other plans in mind. The large game they hunted had moved on for the season and the fish in the river and lake had started to dwindle, there simply wasn't enough food left in his pantry to sustain both of them through the next winter. They would have to leave the forest, trade his crafts for much-needed supplies, and fish at the coast to fill their food stores before the next winter arrived. Nyra as if feeling his concerned thoughts woke from her nap and turned to look at him, letting out a questioning coo while tilting her head as her way to ask what was wrong. She hadn't seen him so worried and lost in thought in a long time. " Ah you're up," he said, changing his expression to a smile trying to comfort and reassure the bird that everything was fine, gently scratching her head. " I have an important job for you today, I need you to find as many of these herbs as you can today and bring them back to me. Can you do that ?" He asked, showing her a small plant with yellow flowers.
Nyra turned her head inspecting the plant closer before giving a happy chirp, feathers fluffed up in excitement at a new challenge before happily running away into the forest in search of the herb. She briskly walked through the Forest turning her head in all directions trying to find more of the herb until she stumbled into a small clearing full of them not too far from the house. she gave a small chirp in excitement at finding so many so fast as she carefully walked throughout the clearing picking as many of the herbs as she could carry and rushed back home.
While what he had tasked her to find was an important item they'd need for their journey he also sent her out so he could pack in peace and not have her try to steal anything shiny to stash it back in her nest or sneak an extra snack from their already low provisions.
He'd managed to get most of their necessities packed before nyra had burst from the trees, feathers unruly and covered in petals and leaves. Her tail slightly wagging as she showed off her beak full of the herb he had sent her to find. "Nyraaa" fern sighed in annoyance knowing he'd have to deal with the mess later. "Just put them on the floor over there and bring me around two more piles just like that one ok? " With a swift nod, she dropped the herbs and ran back into the woods.
By the time she had returned with the last of the herbs needed, Fern had finished packing everything they'd need next to her new saddle. As soon as she saw the saddle she let out an impressed coo excitedly circling it inspecting every buckle and the large embedded stone putting extra attention to the shiny parts. She turned to look at Fern, her expression excited and ecstatic, feathers fluffed up doing a little dance looking back and forth at him and the saddle asking if it was hers. " yep Nyra this one is for you you didn't think we'd go on such a long journey with your training harness did ya? " he chuckled. She gave little hops in excitement cooing loudly, eyes wide and happy at finally having her own saddle and it being so beautiful returning her attention to the saddle staring at it again in aw. She had seen him make saddles for other stryx and creatures many times before, his work was always detailed and intricate. When she was a small chick able to fit in his workshop he had shown her all the different crafts he was working on telling her how his leatherwork was renowned and sought after by many. That one day when she was ready he'd make her a saddle as beautiful as her that she could wear with pride, a symbol of their bond and the promise that they'd travel the world together.
After her excitement about the new saddle wore off she took a look at a strange contraption fern was messing with a questioning expression and chirp. Fern turned to her "This," he said pointing at the thing," is an oil press nyra -and I'm going to need you to help me with it. step here slowly," he said, demonstrating by putting his foot on the top block and then taking it off. Nyra stepped forward-looking it over cautiously before stepping on it gently, slowly adding more weight until a liquid started to pour from the press, her feathers fluffed up anxious and quizzically worried she had somehow broken it but fern just patted her neck telling her she was doing great and that she could stop now. The bunches of herbs were now completely flattened and the bowl below had been filled with liquid. Fern lifted the bowl and poured the liquid into bottles, working carefully not to spill while he explained. " This is a special oil that will help keep your feathers dry while we go fishing in the ocean nyra, that way when we're done you won't be covered in salt", nyra listened intently letting out a small interested coo as she carefully watched the oil move in the bottle as it was being packed away. " That was the last thing we needed for our trip, girl we'll be able to leave tomorrow," he said with excitement in his voice as he finished bringing everything in for the night.
Early the next morning, Fern finished buckling her saddle after brushing away all the debris from her feathers, everything he had packed for the trip secured to the back of her saddle, he climbed on after double-checking everything one last time. " Ok girl, time to go," he told Nyra, patting her neck, thankful she hadn't caused any issues while putting on her saddle. Nyra had begun to worry as she noticed Fern had not packed the most important thing with them. She turned and squawked at him, irritation obvious in her eyes and when he responded with confusion she huffed in annoyance and decided to get it herself despite his protests.
Fern had told her stories of adventures he had on his travels when he was young, speaking once of catching a huge fish with his spear that now hung above the fireplace in the house as decoration. While fern hadn't spoken to many others, their woods being mostly isolated. She had recently heard a story of a monster in the waters near the village they'd be flying to. While most of what she heard was gossip carried by the wind and other birds who passed through their Forest, she didn't want to risk fern being hurt; she wanted him to be prepared just in case the rumors were true.
Despite his protests yanking on the reins, she continued her short march right back home. She turned to him and then the house pointing at the door trying to get the point across. When he only returned her a look of confusion she attempted to draw his spear in the dirt with her claws stepping back and pointing to the drawing with her head huffing in frustration. It took him a moment but he finally understood what she meant as he dropped down from her back and stepped inside retrieving the spear from the house and bringing it out. " is 'this' what you're looking for?'' he asked, his voice rising slightly as he presenting the spear to her. She smiled and nodded before lowering down to let him climb back up the saddle. He grumbled in annoyance, being careful when adding the spear to the rest of their gear so that it wouldn't poke her or fall during the flight. " Ok, now can we go you crazy bird?" he asked, frustrated at her antics having wasted precious time, she nodded again letting out a pleased coo as she started to head to their take-off point with a small smug smile on her face and excitement in her step. "If you keep acting like this the entire time this is going I'm going to have grey hair by the end of our journey" fern stated.