I held back my fear as I double checked what I would be bringing on this scouting mission. I was double and triple checking that I had enough herbs and food for my journey to and from the Starwood Strand.
Maybe I was being overly cautious as the mission wouldn't last that long and I had more than enough items to last. Shade, if I wanted to I could stay a couple more weeks than was needed. These were all things that Rachel had pointed out to me.
"It's a simple mission," I said, my voice cracking. "Even a hatchling could do it."
"Better a hatchling than you." Rachel said, crossing her arms. "How did you even become a Yun-Harla? No insult to Vergere, but she made a really bad decision."
I avoided Rachel's gaze as I didn't like her judgemental stare. Sometimes I did like her gaze, in an odd way, as she was so certain of herself. She would rush into battle and do what needed to be done. Her exploits were legendary, especially what had happened with her and the Icewarden, so much so that she was more Wildclaw than I was.
Those facts both pained me and brought me joy.
Me, I was a Wildclaw that preferred to run rather than fight. I didn't blame her for asking how I had become a Yun-Harla as I didn't know either. I was so much less than either Vergere or Gabar.
As I started to try and say something back, words got stuck in my throat. I had a whole speech prepared for her and yet nothing came out. None of the long words I had planned for a moment such as this.
Rachel smirked as she seemed able to read my mind. She seemed able to understand my fear and take great joy in mocking me with a simple smirk. Maybe she was right and I should just go to a different clan, it wasn't like I was half as strong as even the weakest member in this one.
"Good luck, Tobias." She said and flew off.
As I watched her fly off into the distance I realized I was being watched by my department head.
"Vergere," I said, bowing to the strange Coatl.
She looked at me and, as always, seemed to be able to see beyond the simple flesh and blood vessel I was to my very essence. It made me extremely nervous when she first trained me, but now it was normal. Unnerving but far from strange.
"You are strong, Tobias," Vergere finally said. "There is a reason I chose you to become a Yun-Harla and you will find out one day. You have strength in you that is great and strong. A strength that you need to find before your years are done."
"I am doing my best, Vergere." I replied.
"Your best needs to improve greatly, then. You will be able to complete this mission and more in the future. Do not let anyone bring your opinion of yourself down, especially Rachel. I see how you trust her opinion to a fault."
I bowed again and she put a claw on my tail.
"You have my blessings and the blessings of the Shadowbinder," Vergere said. "Now go so that you can more quickly return with the report."
I didn't reply, but flapped my wings and left the ground far below me. As easily as I wish I could leave my fears.
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