Chapter 1: Daius Prompt Endurance
Darkstar (Nickname - Dark)
Ashen Knight (Nickname - Ash)
Sugar Frosting (Nickname - Sugar)
Overseer (Nickname - Seer)
Light began filtering through the windows of the tree branches, the leaves wavering on the limbs, being pushed gently by the wind. The low light seemed to dance on the fall down to the jungle floor, creating a slight glittering dance floor for the creatures of the jungle to enjoy. It was a disco ball of nature! At least, that was what Sugar Frosting - a horned gryph with flamingo pink hints on their coat - was chattering on and on about. The gryph was leading a trio of stryx behind them, on the way to their destination for the first Tribute training. Ashen Knight was the harpia stryx right behind Sugar, Ash’s dark base coat covered by maroon brindle and tabby blending in quite well, as it was still very early morning. Yet despite the early time the harpia seemed to have an exuberant amount of energy, which seemed to peeve the third tribute participant. Darkstar was a cara with a deep black base coat and what almost looked like swirling galaxies were just tabby markings with frost markings patterned into the twists and turns.
Bringing up the rear was a solid black harpia with the only other marking on their body being a tribal-like minimal white on their wing. Overseer was their name, and they were trying to get the trio ahead of them to move faster. Their destination was the large walls of a maze that were rising above the tops of the trees, glimpses seen between the towering tops of the giants of nature.
Finally reaching the start of the maze, the three participants gathered around the witness. With a clearing of their throat, Overseer bobbed their head up and down with a robotic static movement, eyeing the lone gryph who was dancing on their feet and looking around excitedly. “Sugar Frosting. Stand still. It is impolite to not look at the one speaking.” Dark snickered at this, but was silenced with a swat on the head by Ash, who shrugged off the glare sent by the cara and focused on the witness. Who by now was stock solid and glaring with a gaze that was cold as ice.
“I do not appreciate being interrupted. Now, choose one of the bags of rock that lie along the entrance of the maze, and make your way through the structure. Remember, no cheating - you can not fly to see where you are going nor are you to fly above the maze to the exit. You will immediately fail. And lastly, a hint everyone gets for this particular maze - candy. Now, begin.”
Without another word, they spread their wings and took off to breach the treetops, and made their way to glide and hover above the maze, watching the progress. As soon as they took off, Ashen Knight chose a random bag, shrugged the loop around their body, and took off with steady flaps of their wings, hovering above the ground as they entered the maze. Darkstar stumbled while trying to get the loop around their chest, and when they finally managed to not trip over their talons again, Sugar Frosting had already picked their bag up in their beak and bolted after Dash.
The cara cursed under their breath, but quickly followed with jerky movements, almost crashing into the walls a good few times on their way to the other two. Seer watched from above, wondering how they would play this, with three very different personality types grouped together. They figured there would be a bit of chaos, and in fact, there was.
“Ash! Ash! Do we go this way?” Sugar was flying all over the place, as they found their group at a four way crossing. Fluttering in one direction, only to ponder and chatter about going another way. Dark just grumbled and landed, trying to fiddle with the pack so as not to strangle him. By this time, Ash was already fed up. “Sugar, stop. Help Dark get his pack on properly.” As the bubbly gryph went to help the cara, the hapria of the trio flew a bit higher - not enough to be close to breach the walls, as they were like titans - but enough to sniff the air, scenting which way that sweet scent was coming from. They had remembered the hint that was given, though gathering by the obliviousness of Dark and Sugar, they had not even paid attention. Rolling their eyes, Ash thought - of course they didn’t. But, not wanting to fail and knowing this was also a test on how one would encounter any situation, with or without company, they screeched.
This startled the gryph and cara apart, but thankfully they had fixed the problem with Dark’s bag, though they did falter under the sharp and keen eyes of the harpia. Sugar in particular was a bit intimidated and shuffled behind Dark, blinking. The cara puffed up their chest feathers, but even so were intimidated themselves. Though it did not matter as Ash instantly nodded, and gestured with their head upwards, stating “Smell that?” Up above, Seer was a tiny bit impressed, considering others was a good trait to have.
Instantly, the gryph choked and started to squawk. “SUGAR, candy, I hate that! Why is that smell here?! Obviously we go the opposite way!” While they hollered and carried on, Dark squinted at Ash. “You know something…” Ash smirked, and shrugged and then took off. Seer blinked, and sighed. Well, there went that thought about consideration.
As the gryph and cara were left behind in the metaphorical dust, the harpia was on their way to the entrance. They were tired, what with the rocks weighing down a considerable amount. Of course they were not the only tired ones, Sugar and Dark were exhausted, not quite willing or wanting to complete this as they had no clue what next, but they persevered all the same. Seer could acknowledge that at least, as they finally met the full trio at the exit, of which Ash had been waiting for a while when the other two ahd come out bickering and fussing, as usual.
Sighing, they just gestured for the three to put their bags back on the ground, then just blinked, and took off to the next spot for the tributes, as Dark had - of course - fallen face first when the bag had caught on a wing, sending Sugar into a tizzy about if he broke his neck. Ash just about followed, but stayed to help. Who knew how long it might be until they could start the next trial, if these two were left alone.