What object to be held was not randomized, as was the series of sounds that would precede offering whatever item Haix held to the Karzik. To grab at the wrong time was met with a bark of annoyance, the item dropping from Hopper's claws the instant she realized it was the wrong sound. To grab at the right time and hold it, holding whatever item lay in between the forefinger and thumb of the lizard until the correct command to drop it was given, was rewarded with praise that Hopper now found herself basking in.
At first, the only items she was asked to hold were the gems and the stick, all now familiar enough that she would grab and hold them the second the command was given. The small scrolls tied with twine were eyed oddly as they entered the rotation of things to hold, but Hopper soon was holding them the same as the rest. She almost preferred the paper over the gems, for it was easier to hold her tiring leg up with the lighter paper.
It was time for another trick, although Haix was not sure how much use it would see outside of being another way to tell the Karzik to come to her. She was not sure if there was even a handful of soft-skins scampering around the labs that might know what she called herself, much less expect them to send one back using Hopper. If she were the only one to command the messenger, it would be more like a glorified version of the come command. It would be an amusing trick nonetheless if she ever encountered any who understood what haix meant, and that was enough to make her want it trained.
Of course, the first thing she had to do was untie the tether that had, up until this point, kept Hopper from buzzing around freely. She untied it only from the anchor, leaving the small length of rope dangling from Hopper's leg as she took to the air.
The Karzik was left to stretch her wings while Haix gathered up more treats and some untanned hide she had saved from her gift to the mines. It had been mostly cleaned earlier, only a small chunk of flesh clinging to the inside that was quickly scraped off and added to the handful of treats. This piece had been trimmed off from the rest due to the lack of marks upon it, only a shallowly-cut sigil in the middle marring it. The bit of blood still crusted in it would hopefully bring her some luck with training so that Hopper would finish learning what was expected of her quicker.
Without gems to catch the Karzik's attention as it flitted about the curved ceiling of he cave, Haix began waving around the not so fresh piece of flesh she had taken from the hide. As the Karzik buzzed past her, not quite seeming to notice the meat, she called out to it, and was happy to see it halt in midair, hovering before her.
"Haix." The Karzik's entire head swayed in time with the meat, the blurred form of her beating wings carrying her to Haix in the blink of an eye. The hide was stretched out over the arm not waving the treat around the air, the arm that was thrown out between the Karzik and her face to halt the eager Hopper's dive. Unable to catch herself in time, or perhaps refusing to so long as their was decaying meat offered to her, Hopper's beating wings slowed her only enough so that she did not slam into the arm with full force. Half force perhaps, with enough speed that the sudden increase in weight on the Ssashirk's arm made her stumble, the fresh hide nearly splitting as it was squeezed between powerful claws.
The treat was given without hesitation even as Hopper hopped back into the air, snagging a reeking piece of the chunk with easy grace. Haix rubbed at her arm, glad of the hide's thickness and the bluntness of the Karzik's claws.
The Karzik did not necessarily need to land on her, did it? But the cage offered no place for the Karzik to easily perch nearby, and she most certainly did not want to test its weight on the spines jutting out from her head and back. Haix tore slits into the edges of the hide, savoring the not-yet-rotten taste as she bit into them. Then she was feeding two short pieces of rope through the new tears at either end before placing it back on her arm and tying it in place. She did not want the Karzik to obey this command only for the hide to slide off with her. Nor was she keen on the idea of the hide sliding off before the Karzik attempted to land.
Another piece of meat was held out, the word escaping her mouth in a hiss as Hopper swooped for it once again. This time there was no landing, and Haix neatly turned to the side to keep the treat away from the Karzik's questing claws.
It took several more tries before Hopper landed on her arm again, this time just as heavily as the first. She had managed to do so only by holding the meat close to the hide, the distance between hovering Karzik and the hide-bound arm narrow enough that Hopper chose to perch there. The praise and a a gentle head pat kept Hopper from springing away the instant the treat was consumed, which was met with even more praise and another pat.
Then the arm was thrown out, shaking Hopper from her perch to return to the air. She came back a few seconds later, but there was no arm for her to perch upon, no word said or treat offered for her prompt return. She buzzed around Haix in short, irregular circles until the Ssashirk shooed her away with a careless swat and a growl. It was a full minute later that the word was said again, along with another sound she was beginning to recognize though she would not know to be her name, and she looked up to see the arm outstretched. She buzzed over so quickly that Haix barely had a second to brace herself.
It was almost amazing how quickly the Karzik had learned to come to her when she said haix, picking up on the correct sound even faster than she had the other two commands. Hopper was even resorting to buzzing just in front of her when she did not raise her arm as to ensure the Karzik was not just responding to that tell. It was just too bad that haix did not mean come, nor was that what the trick was meant to be.
Without another being to call out the word, or even a pet that could mimic the sound, Haix was stuck. So she left the Karzik trapped inside the cage, darting out while Hopper drank from the bowl, and went to see if she could find someone or something to repeat the word for her. What she returned with was neither living nor hers, a small metallic box she had 'borrowed' from an empty lot. A device not unlike the defunct radio the labs had given out to all residents years ago, but this one would not render soundless voices audible. No, this one she had that contained the voices of others inside it, and she had added her own to it.
She hit a button on it, stopping it by the door of the cage after slamming it shut. She silently hop-skipped her way to the opposite end, ignoring the happy chirp of the Karzik as the tinny voice of some assumed soft-skin sputtered and escaped through the box. Then there was a resulting sound, the voice cutting out as suddenly as if it had never been there, and then a hesitant hiss of "Haix". Her own voice, recognizable though just as tinny as the former owner's, and she could barely suppress the shudder of disgust as it spoke.
She would reclaim what she had lent it later, for Hopper's head twisted to look at the box. She hopped and shuffled and took off, flitting over to the box and not Haix. A screech of some young soft-skin at play erupted from the box as Hopper descended onto it, the Karzik shooting back into the air with a loud squawk of fear. Then, as Hopper turned in increasingly wider circles in the air, Haix's voice rasped out through the box again.
To Hopper's credit, she only visited the box one last time when it called out to her, Haix's snarling-bark enough of a clue that she had done the wrong thing that she did not linger near it. She perched on the lip of the bowl again, without treats or praise, head tucked into her chest as she sulked and the box made some more pointless noise. Haix's voice came through again, interrupting some song, and this time Hopper glared at the box for a second as movement from her other side caught her eye.
Haix raised her hide-bound arm, willing the Karzik to come to her, to figure out that haix did not mean come anymore than it was her actual name. And come to Haix she did after only a moment of hesitation, buzzing through the air to be rewarded with the pat and praise. From that point on the Karzik sought her out whenever the word "haix" crackled through the speakers, regardless of where the Ssashirk moved to or where the box was placed.
And once she was sure that Hopper knew that haix meant to go specifically to her, Haix took great pleasure in smashing apart the voice-trapping box, muttering about the foolish soft-skins that had willingly placed so much of their own voices in it. When she was sure it held nothing anymore, even the flimsy tape-like intestines of the thing pulled out and torn, she returned it to a lot near the one she found it at. Let the soft-skin think some beast destroyed their folly.
Now it was time for what Haix reckoned would be the most difficult part of the training. She could have skipped over it for now, instead risking the fury of the beak and blunted claws as she tied on the make-shift rope harness, but considering that this particular trick used much of what the Karzik had just learned, she wanted it over with. She returned to the scrolls and the unrolled flat pieces of paper next to them, and began to mark them. Two of them, crusted with blobs of soft wax, took the longest as she carved into the wax with her claws, carefully forming a distinctly different symbol on both of them. For the papers and the scrolls, she marked them with ink, some of they symbols varying wildly into a jumble of meaningless squiggles, only one of which was accidental, and several with the same symbol that had been cared into one of the mounds of wax.
Hopper was shooed away after an inquisitive peck at the wax, buzzing off in a huff back to her bowl. She began to pick at the tether still knotted on her leg, having little success in loosening it.
Haix gathered up the papers, leaving only one unmarked, and walked over to where Hopper was pulling at the noose on her leg. The fluttering fall of papers that rained down beside her was enough to startle the Karzik out of her match of tug-o-war, though she found herself unable to fly away far as Haix snagged the tether twisting through the air. The tether was retied to its anchor, and Haix selected two miniature scrolls from the pile, one with the repeated symbol and the other with a wavy bunch of crossing lines that seemed to wiggle and shift as the scroll moved.
A sound was made, one that did not quite mean message but was close enough, tapping the correct symbol with her claw. Then she told Hopper to hold it, to go to her, and drop it, all of which the Karzik did easily, though the new sound was repeated as the paper fell into her outstretched hand.
They repeat the process several times, the new sound interspersed with the other three known ones but never on its own, nor does Haix ever call for the Karzik to pick up any of the pieces of paper, rolled or not, that do not have upon them the repeating symbol. She even moves the incorrect ones out of the way so that only the ones bearing the correct symbol are near enough to be grabbed by Hopper, carefully turning each one so that it remained visible despite the wind of Hopper's wings.
The first change came after the routine had been established, in which Haix stopped tapping the paper as she called out the new order or the old ones, repeating the hold command as Hopper buzzed in confusion. It took another repeated command for the Karzik to snatch up the nearest marked paper, the wax one, and thus the routine continued from there.
The next change was the omission of the old commands. It started well, the new command having barely left her mouth as Hopper grabbed a flat piece of paper with the symbol scrawled on it, crumbling it so that it fit in her claws. The Karzik then faltered, as if she had frozen while waiting for the next command. Haix repeated only the new command, slapping her hide-bound arm in emphasis, and Hopper took a shuffling leap towards her. Haix kept up a steady stream of praise from that moment, encouraging Hopper to approach but unwilling to use the command that she already knew.
Then Hopper was there, the paper still tightly held, and Haix gently tugged it free as she offered the Karzik a treat. It was not bad for a first try, certainly not as good as it might have been with how many times they had repeated it, but not bad at all.
This section took longer than the first, Haix resorting to calling out known commands only when it became apparent that Hopper was too unsure of what to do, then dispensing of them entirely. She started calling out the command even as she tossed the most recent scrap of paper back with the rest, sending Hopper off in a jerky flutter with a wave of her arm to, as much as the tether would let her, fly back and grab one of the papers. Unfortunately, the goal was not merely to grab at any scrap of paper the Karzik might find, so once she showed she was able to do just that, Haix removed all of the papers sporting copies of the symbol.
The two wax-sealed scrolls were left in place of the original small pile. One, a little cracked and worn but still visibly spotting the same symbol they had been training with, the other with something completely new. And naturally, as Haix called out the command, the latter was what Hopper grabbed and presented her with.
There was no praise, no treats or even a single pat from Haix as she tossed the paper back to lie with the other, repeating the command again. And again Hopper went to the wrong one, talons resting on the cream colored surface as a snarl brought her up short. It happened a few more times before Hopper cautiously grabbed the other paper, Haix watching silently until the paper had been brought to her and Hopper was rewarded. Then that was repeated, snarls and repeated orders for when Hopper so much as touched the wrong paper, praise for when the right one fell from Hopper's talons into her hands.
More papers were introduced as Hopper grew more confident, the wax-sealed ones hidden away behind Haix. There were more failures, more warnings in the form of snarls as Hopper hopped through the papers, twisting her head side to side as she tried to pick out which paper was the one she was meant to grab. The amount of praise given was nothing compared to the hissing and snarled commands at first, the Karzik rarely picking the correct paper.
Fiera Ferella: I picked mine because ive always wanted to write an amphadron tbh. :0 I'm eager to see how it'll turn out!
Jul 11, 2020 22:00:43 GMT -6
Riku: Oh, I see what you mean now, Nerius. Dang...that’s a good point. How do we get around it? Naturally we will look at the opponent’s stats - which can’t be done IC. Hm.
Jul 11, 2020 14:30:04 GMT -6
Èdan: Not necessarily, there's stuff that can affect a foe's aim in the same turn
Jul 11, 2020 8:51:23 GMT -6
Nerius: The lack of suspense. I slogged through them all for the points, but it got super tedious to write. (This isn't specific to mosca, just a general 'why I'm eh on this tourny'.)
Jul 11, 2020 6:40:13 GMT -6
Nerius: And it's not about "winning", rather I was referring to the disaster that was my attempt at the petite tournament. And how one glance at the stats made me go 'yep, gonna loose this one', and be proven right in every single round. It's not the loss, but..
Jul 11, 2020 6:39:31 GMT -6
Nerius: Yes, the dreaded auto-hit or auto-miss can strike at any time, but what I mean is the only way a mosca is loosing is if there's a un/lucky dice roll.
Jul 11, 2020 6:36:02 GMT -6
Èdan: Don't forget there's moves and abilities that halve dex or affect the opponent's aim. Not to mention, never underestimate the cruelty of a natural 1
Jul 11, 2020 6:16:47 GMT -6
Riku: High dex can miss. I had an unbroken brown who won like three fights by sheer luck of the enemy missing over and over. Lol Besides, not to be cliche, but...it’s not all about winning. You can come in second place and still get 23 pit points.
Jul 11, 2020 0:48:50 GMT -6
Jack: Don't forget to PM me your intent if you're entering! I need to know before training!
Jul 10, 2020 17:29:29 GMT -6
Fanged: I'll be going with a huntress mosca build I have in mind.
Jul 10, 2020 17:12:28 GMT -6
Xentus: I'm the one who's entering fully intending to utilize the 9 dex flighty mosca. Curious to find what might beat it
Jul 10, 2020 17:07:55 GMT -6
Flare: In opinion, I have a kakum baakir set aside for Flare's usage, but I've never worked with it. It'll be a new species to work with. Just because soemone enters a 9 dex creature doesn't 100% mean they'll win.
Jul 10, 2020 17:04:42 GMT -6
Nerius: Would use one myself, but I don't want to waste a re-growth on something I'll never do anything with outside this tournament, especially since there's no guarantee there will be enough people for it to run.
Jul 10, 2020 15:53:52 GMT -6
Nerius: I was looking at the stats of the creatures that could be entered, when it was first announced. Someone enters a flighty mosca? They're going to win. There's nothing that can move faster, and nothing that can survive a hit from wing buff while in flight
Jul 10, 2020 15:52:37 GMT -6
Nerius: I've considered it, as I do want the pit points, but I dunno. My last attempt at tournament rush training uh, did not go well *coughwhiptailcough*. Plus I suspect someone's going to enter a mosca and basically auto-win.
Jul 10, 2020 15:49:29 GMT -6
Riku: Hopefully more people do. Counting myself, I think there’s only 4 right now. 🤔
Jul 9, 2020 17:21:27 GMT -6
Flare: I'm gonna enter
Jul 9, 2020 14:48:47 GMT -6