Completed Training a Trickster [Job]

Can a bird be taught to fetch?

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Syka is a new settlement of primarily humans on the east coast of Falyndar opposite of Riverfall on The Suvan Sea. [Syka Codex]

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Training a Trickster [Job]

Postby Tailyn on May 19th, 2018, 7:39 pm

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Tailyn’s Parrot Preserve
Spring 50, 518
Early Afternoon

There were many things that could be said about Tailyn, but at the very least she wasn’t lacking in ambition or optimism. Now, as Tai stared up at a fruit tree heavy with mangos high out of reach and contemplated the ambitious plan that had been whirring in her skull the past three days, she couldn’t help but wonder how much of that was a good thing.

“Do you think it’ll work?”

Tai glanced at Abanath, perched in his usual spot in the hammock facing the seaside. Atypically for him, the verusk was watching Tai with a keen interest. Abanath didn’t often take much interest in Tai’s day to day tasks and chores, preferring to keep himself occupied with his mechanical toys when he wasn’t helping out his parrot taming friend. Tai had a sneaking suspicion that his interest today had to do with the anticipation of Tai’s impending failure. Typical.

Tai squinted at her verusk friend, expression flitted with mock offense. “Are you doubting my parrot training abilities Ab? I’ll have you know I’m the best bird trainer in Syka! If anyone can teach Blue to fetch fruit from tree tops, it’ll be me!”

“Yes, the best out of a community of less than fifty,” Abanath said gravely. “I have every ounce of faith in you.”

On one hand, Tai was enjoying the newfound comfort between herself and Abanath that had bloomed into a healthy friendship. On the other hand, that comfort was leading to a heavy dose of sass from her adolescent prodigy.

“Oh shut up,” Tai grumbled, and ignored his smirk as she turned her back on him and looked back up towards the tree.

Blue watched the scene, as she usually did, with a cat-like curiosity disguised as disinterest. Tai’s parrot companion sat on her driftwood perch near Sisi and Nobody, occasionally ruffling her feathers with her beak and attempting to look bored. The bird knew Tai well enough to know something interesting was going on, but hadn’t quite worked out what the new thing was yet.

“Alright lady. You know the drill. Over here Blue.”

Tai raised up her arm, covered in the heavy leather of her falconry glove, and Blue shed her disinterest like a shroud. The bird came to Tai’s hand in an instant, clicking her beak in excitement.

“Okay girl. You think you can fetch some mangos for me?”

Blue clipped her beak together once. The bond Tai shared with her bird at times seemed to be almost telepathic. If Tai were a romantic person, she might compare it to the bond an endal shared with their wind eagle. It seemed Blue just simply understood her sometimes. That said, Blue was, in a word, capricious. Tai couldn’t necessarily count on her to do what she wanted, even if Blue did understand. Still, it was worth a try.

Tai pointed to the upper branches of the tree, hanging heavy with fruit.

“Up, Blue!” Tai said, throwing her arm towards the tree. As she had been trained, Blue launched herself off the glove, and after a few brief wingbeats, landed in the tree. The bird turned around to face Tai from high above and tilted her head.

“Alright,” Tai said purposefully. “Bring me a mango!”

(Words 541, Total 541)
Last edited by Tailyn on June 7th, 2018, 3:34 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Tailyn
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Posts: 95
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Training a Trickster [Job]

Postby Tailyn on May 20th, 2018, 11:57 pm

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Blue simply stared at Tai, tilting her head first one way, then the other. From her beak came an inquisitive croak. Tai’s shoulders sagged a bit. She hadn’t thought it would be quite that easy, but the woman had secretly hoped she wouldn’t have to leap any hurdles to get this done. Of course, nothing was ever that simple.

“Maaango, “ Tai said, pointing at the tree. “Fruuuuit.” Blue immediately perked up at the second word. The parrot knew that word very well. Tai usually said it to her at feeding time.

“Fruit,” Blue croaked. The bird followed Tai’s pointed finger to the nest of dangling deliciousness. She tilted her head, then shuffled over on the branch till her head was closer.

“Good girl!” Tai said eagerly. “Fruit! Go ahead, grab one!”

Slowly, Blue edged her face closer and closer until her giant dark beak was a mere inch away from the piece of fruit. Then with a quiet squawk of pleasure, Blue sunk her beak into the side of the mango and yanked it off the branch. Before Tai had a chance to respond, Blue had seized the object into her talons and dropped it. Tai morosely watched the fruit’s casual decent downwards until it splattered against the ground with a squish.

Tai half expected to see a torrent of ants surge forward to take the ruined fruit away. Tai glanced up at Blue, who had a cocky look in her eye.

“So close,” Tai muttered. “But so far.”

Abanath coughed politely from somewhere behind her.

“Okay, let’s try this again,” Tai said, attempting to pull her tattered determination back to bear. “Blue! Fetch the fruit.”

The next few attempts at mango wrangling were depressingly unsuccessful. Blue seemed to have figured out that Tai wanted her to do something with the fruit, but wasn’t quite sure what it was exactly that she wanted done or if she actually wanted to do it. So Blue, being a parrot, began experimenting and playing. She would yank the fruit out of the tree, squish it with her beak a little bit, then drop it. Sometimes she would pluck the fruit from the tree without incident, then she would begin playing with it, ignoring Tai’s frantic calls back to her fist, before losing interest and dropping it. A small pile of smashed fruit had begun growing underneath the tree, and with a grumble Tai began collecting the ruined fruit into one of her baskets. It wouldn’t keep if it was ruined, but she could at least feed the parrots with it for a little while, if she could keep the bugs off of them.

“Why isn’t she eating them?” Abanath asked. The verusk had been barely unable to contain his amusement at the situation, which was souring Tai’s mood even further.

“She’s not hungry for mango,” Tai grumbled. “This whole thing is a game to her.”

With a sigh, the woman tapped a small bag around her waist. “The thing is, if she could actually bring me a damned mango, I’ll give her a treat she never gets sick of, and we can expedite this whole thing. But she’s being too distracted. I’m not sure what to do.”

“Don’t you usually give the birds a half-way point when you’re training them for something?” Abanath asked. “Is there any way you can do that?”

“Hmm.”

Tai stared up at the tree, eyes narrowing as a small idea began to form in the back of her mind.

(Words 582, Total 1123)
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Tailyn
Crazy Parrot Lady
 
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Joined roleplay: January 22nd, 2018, 10:28 pm
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Training a Trickster [Job]

Postby Tailyn on May 24th, 2018, 4:00 pm

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So, naturally, she began climbing the petching tree. Tai had been trying to avoid climbing to gather fruit by training Blue but, she reasoned to herself, this was only a temporary measure and once Blue was properly trained she wouldn’t have to climb anymore. Or at least for gathering fruit. Or as much. It was a step in the right direction anyways. A great journey starts with a single step, right? If her birds could help her with her tasks, not only would it be less work for her but they would be a lot more valuable to sell as well. Tai daydreamed about a flock of parrots flying around her land and doing chores for her as she got out her grappling hook, looped it onto one of the tree’s branches, and began to climb upwards.

One of the nice things about the mango trees was that they were easy to climb. They had lots of branches that were splayed out in a way that made them easy to grab onto and had plenty of places to brace her feet. They were certainly much easier than the palm tree that had been Tai’s rude awakening to the wonders of climbing. Tai scrambled up through the branches of the tree with little effort, finally pausing once she had reached about the middle of the tree. Tai settled herself into a crook in the branches that was almost comfortable to lean against. She pushed her feet against the branches, then nodded in satisfaction as they held. A moment later she looked for Blue.

The bird had been watching Tai’s progression up the tree with her usual keen curiosity. When Tai spotted the bird, Blue caught her gaze and immediately fluttered over to her.

“Atta girl. Good girl,” Tai cooed, and stretched out a hand to stroke Blue’s head feathers. Blue clipped her beak together cheerfully, and grabbed and tousled a piece of Tai’s hair.

“Okay, can you try fetching a mango again?” Tai asked the bird. “This time you don’t have to fly as far.”

Tai punctuated her request with a point up towards a nearby cluster of mangos. Blue followed Tai’s finger, and obediently launched herself towards the fruit. Her blue feathers contrasted prettily against the mango’s orange as the majestic macaw carefully examined the objects before her. After a long, thoughtful moment, she neatly plucked a mango off the branch.

“Good girl Blue!” Tai practically shouted, causing the bird to jump and stare at Tai for a moment of wide-eyed dismay. “Bring it here!” Tai said, extending her arm. “To me Blue!”

It was almost as if Blue had forgotten that she carried the mango in her mouth. At this distance, the pull of her training was too strong to be ignored. The years of positive reinforcement from coming to Tai’s fist was like a siren song to the bird. Blue launched herself off the branch and landed on Tai’s arm. The sudden weight of the bird nearly unbalanced Tai, and she wobbled for a long, disastrous moment before regaining her footing.

Tai exhaled with relief. “Good girl Blue!” Tai said, and with her free hand she fished a slice of coconut out from her satchel. At the sight of her favorite food, Blue croaked with delight and dropped the mango. Tai sighed as it splattered against the ground, and ignored Abanath’s unsubtle chortling as she fed her bird the coconut. One more step in the right direction at least.

(Words 581, Total 1704)
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Tailyn
Crazy Parrot Lady
 
Posts: 95
Words: 87326
Joined roleplay: January 22nd, 2018, 10:28 pm
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Training a Trickster [Job]

Postby Tailyn on May 24th, 2018, 4:49 pm

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A single instance of positive reinforcement wasn’t enough for Tai to have cemented the behavior into Blue’s birdy brain quite yet. Parrots were smart, but they were ultimately selfish and capricious creatures and Blue would have to be convinced that the job’s reward was worth the effort. Coconut, which Blue loved and could not gather herself, was an ideal bribe. And fortunately Tai had stockpiled a bunch in preparation for such a moment as this.

Tai didn’t like the idea of leaving the mango on the ground. Blue had to see that the object was important to Blue getting her treat, so Tai reluctantly sidled down the tree, gathered the single mango into the basket filled with broken fruit, then returned back into the tree to repeat the training all over again. After a few repetitions, it was clear from Blue’s inattention that she was getting bored. You could only bribe a bird for so long before you needed a break. They were like children after all. In addition, syna was riding high in the sky, and all the climbing trees meant that Tai’s clothing was sticking to her like an overly affectionate jellyfish. Tai stripped herself naked and cleaned her clothes in a nearby stream she used for washing, then set them out to dry, which she knew from experience wouldn’t take more than an hour in direct sun. Tai fed Sisi, Nobody and Lucky their lunch, then went for a swim in the ocean.

Blue, accompanied Tai of course. The bird couldn’t swim, but she happily sat on the low tide rocks poking from the sea, and croaked and chattered at Tai as the woman swam a few casual laps around the rocks. Abanath joined the pair after a little while, and both Tai and Abanath took turns splashing at Blue with sea water, and teasing her with their hands. Blue was so delighted by this, she launched herself off the rock and made a few fly by dive-bombs at the top of their heads. The beach was filled with the sound of laughter and happy bird squawks.

Rest and play was just as important to the birds work actual training was. Play allowed their minds a chance to recharge, while still keeping them stimulated. After a swim and play session with Blue, Tai and Abanath retired to their hammocks and the trio took a well-deserved nap. Blue perched herself on one of the trees holding the hammock on which Tai rested, and dozed while Tai slept.

A few hours later, Tai had a rude awakening as she found herself unceremoniously crashing to the ground. Blearily, Tai glanced up to see what had happened to her hammock, and her glance hardened into an irritated glare. Blue sat where the hammock was normally tied, picking innocently at her feet.

Abanath, who had woken at the crash, grinned cheekily at Tai. “Sounds like she’s ready to get back to it.”

“Mm, yeah,” Tai agreed. The inarta got dressed again in her clean and dry clothes, then returned to the mango tree. Blue was ready waiting for her, a glint in her bright yellow eyes. “Back to the grindstone,” Tai grinned, and moved forward to climb back into the tree.

( Words 539, Total 2243)
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Tailyn
Crazy Parrot Lady
 
Posts: 95
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Joined roleplay: January 22nd, 2018, 10:28 pm
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Training a Trickster [Job]

Postby Tailyn on May 30th, 2018, 9:37 pm

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Ignoring her twinging back, Tai moved back into her position in the tree. Blue was already perched near a cluster of mangos, eyes bright and ready to get started. When Tai gestured at the cluster, the bird effortlessly plucked a single ripe fruit and fluttered over to Tai. Before her bird could lose interest, Tai snatched the mango out of the bird’s mouth and rewarded her with a treat of coconut. Blue croaked in surprise, but accepted the treat, and in the bird’s eyes Tai saw a flicker of understanding. Repeated attempts brought three more mangos into Tai’s arms. The woman had to hold herself back to keep from cheering with relief and startling Blue.

Tai dropped down the ground with arms full of mangos and returned them to their basket. Now was the real moment of truth.

“Blue,” Tai told her bird friend from the ground. “Go get fruit!” Tai punctuated her command with a point.

It was like magic. Beautiful, tasty, mango flavored magic. Blue fluttered to the cluster of mangos, plucked a single fruit from the group, then fluttered to Tai’s shoulder. Simple. Quick. Easy. Done.

Tai gave Blue a lot of coconut for the retrieval, and a half an hour later the basket was full of ripe, unbroken, delicious mangos. Tai upended her entire satchel of coconut pieces and smugly cut the ripest of the mangos in half and shared in with Abanath.

“Told you I could do it,” Tai told him.

“Never said you couldn’t,” Abanath replied. “You are the greatest parrot trainer in Syka, after all.”

Tai considered this for a moment as she bit into the mango. “You know what? I am aren’t I.”

(Words 281, Total 2524)
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Tailyn
Crazy Parrot Lady
 
Posts: 95
Words: 87326
Joined roleplay: January 22nd, 2018, 10:28 pm
Race: Human, Inarta
Character sheet
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Training a Trickster [Job]

Postby Tailyn on May 30th, 2018, 9:49 pm

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Grades are here!


Tailyn

XP Award:
  • +4 Socialization
  • +5 Birdkeeping
  • +5 Foraging
  • +1 Climbing
  • +1 Swimming

Lore:
  • Foraging: Mangos are Delicious for Humans and Parrots
  • Birdkeeping: Teaching a Parrot to Fetch Fruit
  • Climbing: How to Climb a Mango Tree
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User avatar
Tailyn
Crazy Parrot Lady
 
Posts: 95
Words: 87326
Joined roleplay: January 22nd, 2018, 10:28 pm
Race: Human, Inarta
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets


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