Wild Born, Chapter 5: Training

Last time on Wild Born, Rollan bonded with a gyrfalcon. Why did this attract the attention of the leader of the Greencloaks and a possibly sinister man from foreign lands? Find out after the cut.

Abeke sat on the edge of a feather bed. Her room had a carved desk, an elaborate sofa, cushioned chairs, and a mirror framed in what she thought might be real gold — all for her personal use. Everyone she encountered treated her respectfully and a servant delivered tasty meals. Her leopard had turned her into royalty.

Abeke’s on a boat! (EDIT: video is NSFW.)

So, you know that part at the beginning of almost every video game where you get tutorials on the game mechanics? Well, it’s time for Abeke to go through that BS.

And here to escort Abeke to Tutorial Land is Shane, a young boy who’s been assigned to the task of explaining how spirit animals work. Why him, and not Zerif, you may ask? Well, Zerif had stuff to do elsewhere. Also, Shane is in a similar situation as Abeke: he was taken from his family at a young age, probably because he summoned a spirit animal.

Anyway, down in the ship’s hold, Shane gives Abeke the basic rundown on spirit animals:

  • Spirit animals are more intelligent than the average animal: they can understand what people say, for instance.
  • Spirit animals are always mature animals. So no puppies or kittens.
  • Humans can borrow their spirit animal’s abilities. This improves as their bond grows.
  • Spirit animals can assume a dormant state as a tattoo on their human. This only occurs after the human gains their spirit animal’s trust. The human chooses where the tattoo goes.

Now it’s time for combat training! Shane wants Abeke to attack him head-on with a pretend knife. Of course, Abeke thinks it would be better to sneak up on Shane, but she follows the rules of the tutorial anyway. Shane quickly realizes that sneaking would be a better tactic for Abeke, so he makes her practice that instead.

And guess what? Abeke sneaks up on Shane, Uraza starts to respond to the tutorial … AND THEN THEY’RE WAYLAID BY AN ASSASSIN.

It’s time for a surprise tutorial battle! Abeke suddenly gets enhanced senses and agility, and easily defeats the assassin. She prepares to strike the killing blow, but Shane stops her. Apparently the surprise attack was all part of the tutorial. Abeke feels betrayed, but Shane apologizes and promises never to pull a stunt like this again.

The good news: Abeke gained Uraza’s trust, so now she can recall Uraza into her dormant form. She gets a leopard tattoo on her arm.


Stuff I Forgot to Mention Above:
Zerif smuggled Abeke out of her village a week ago. Apparently Pojalo was very quick to agree to this.

You know, I kinda wish there was more stuff with Abeke leaving her village and being at sea. Maybe I’d like to see how she reacts to being on a ship for the first time, or being away from home. Instead, all we get is a brief mention of her being homesick. This is a problem I have with the series in general: there’s plenty of opportunities for character development, but they’re all glossed over for “more exciting” stuff. (I will admit that other books in the series handle the character development better, though.)

Abeke feels like she’s shirking her duties as her village’s new Rain Dancer by leaving home.

Abeke’s mother has been dead for four years.

Shane’s spirit animal, Renneg, is a wolverine. Great — so in addition to all the Falcon references, I get to make Wolverine jokes as well.

Great Beasts can supposedly talk. Don’t expect Briggan, Jhi, Uraza, and Essix to do much of that outside of Trippy Dream Sequences, though.

Status Update!
* Abeke learned: Summon Spirit Animal! (Additional abilities: enhanced agility and senses.)

Title Drop!

Shane had prepared the hold for use as a training area. Crates, bales, and barrels had been shoved aside to form a long open space. Nobody disturbed them there.


Next time: The other protagonists form a party. One of them considers leaving.



    1. Imagine taking notes for these recaps. At least for this book, it’s really painful. (I predict that Book 4 will be almost as bad. I have so many issues with that one.)

        1. Yeah, the second and third book, in comparison, are quite awesome. And then suddenly the writing quality just goes downhill.

          Major spoiler for anyone who hasn’t read ahead: why introduce one character in the fourth book and give her absolutely no development? She’s just there to be a freaking magic nuke for the protagonists during the battle at the end of the book. That’s still pissing me off.

          Another major spoiler: also, why does the party suck at finding McGuffins?

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