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Shadow's Rising {Wing 1) Chapter 10 (part 2)

by dragonight9


Part 2

After the introduction, Airel motioned to the door behind the desk.

“Let’s check out the training hall while I tell you a bit more about Black Squad.”

Inside was a short staircase leading down to the lacquered wooden floor of a long hallway that made up the bottom floor of the dorm. There were lampstands at intervals on the walls and lockers in between the doors on each side. Each door was made of thick wood and all of them were closed. Ariel walked to the end of the hall as she started talking.

“Black Squad is basically a misfit squad and always has the fewest members. It is made up of those who didn’t fit in with any other squad or attend this school for a purpose other than being an elite soldier of the kingdom, like Felicia.

The rest of us were all kicked out of our squads for different reasons. I was kicked out because I have weak magic and probably because I’m a girl. Ben tried to protest my exclusion and I guess he never really fit in with Brown Squad because they abandoned him too. Ethen tried to correct his flight leader one too many times.” Then she looked at Steven with a raised eyebrow.

“Grey Squad rejected me. I guess they just couldn’t handle my amazing personality,” he joked with a proud smile. Airel sighed and opened the door to the room at the far end of the hall.

The room looked like a shooting range, and even though it looked recently cleaned there were still scorch marks and cracked stone everywhere. The room itself seemed to have been tunneled deep into the mountain with only a bit of the nearer side made of brick and cement. There were many targets and even a few bows piled neatly in one corner of the room.

Steven fired off a small wind blade down range, but it barely made it halfway before it faded to nothing. He turned to Jarid with a proud smile and gestured to the room.

“This is the spell range. Most squads have spell ranges tailored to their element, but this squad was originally made for those that had more than one affinity, or no affinity for a particular element but there were rarely enough members to form a full squad, so they just kept throwing people in here or using it as an extra storage space. Even this year there were barely enough members.”

Airel nodded. “Usually when a squad leader is needed, they choose a rider who was in that squad during their training to be its leader, but since Black Squad rarely forms, they usually choose a retired rider to be its leader.”

“So, Gunther’s retired? Guess he must be positively ancient to have outlived his dragon huh.” Steven said, elbowing Jarid.

“He doesn’t need a dragon to throw you off this mountain.” Airel retorted.

“I just hope he doesn’t strain his back when he does.” Steven joked. Airel sighed.

“Come on. Let’s see the next room. Oh, the room on the other side of the hall is the same thing. The academy just doubled up most of the rooms in case we needed more room or wanted space to train separately.”

As they walked to the next room Jarid was a bit confused. From the memories of Shadow’s mother Jarid knew that dragons lived for at least 200 years. There was no way Gunther had outlived his dragon. Unless…

Jarid felt a pang of sorrow in his chest for Gunther. He wondered what kind of connection he once had with his dragon. Perhaps his dragon had saved his life on the battlefield. Or perhaps he had cruelly forced his dragon to battle until death. But Jarid didn’t think Gunther was that kind of man. At least, he hoped so.

As they entered the hallway Airel continued.

“Anyway, as I was saying Gunther is a retired rider and the Academy commander himself requested that he teach this year. Apparently, he was quite an amazing warrior during his time but refused to be a squad leader. He agreed this year on the condition that they would allow Felicia to study medicine here. This school’s healers are the best in the world, and he wanted her to learn their techniques.”

Jarid looked at Felicia to see if she was going to add anything, but she seemed content to let Airel do all the talking.

The next room was for practicing martial arts and strength training. There was an area with weights, punching bags, a gauntlet of wooden warriors, and a training mat.

“I’m sure some of the nobility arranged for him to be put in charge of this squad despite how great he is. Many noble families dislike him because he calls them out on their dragon scat. I’m sure they put him in charge of us to ruin his reputation because they think we’ll fail to become dragon riders,” Airel spat in disgust.

“Well, if they want us to fail, then I say we fail in the most spectacular way possible.” Steven said with a mischievous smile.

“No. Please, let’s not do that.” Felicia protested. “If we fail deliberately, it will stain my father’s reputation even worse. The Richnar and Delbont families already say so many horrible things about him that are not true at all. This would only add more fuel to their ridicule. If we can’t even make it through a single year at the academy, father will be very disappointed in m- in us. Let’s just try our best. Ok?”

“If the nobles who hate your father want us to fail so badly, I’m certain they won’t simply let us succeed,” Ethan commented somberly. “Is there even any point in trying? We were basically put in this squad because they wanted us to fail.”

“I’ve worked too hard to get here. I’m not going to let someone else decide that I’m going to fail.” Airel stated defiantly.

Jarid watched them all start arguing about their seemingly hopeless situation. It reminded him of his own worries every time he thought of going to dragon rider academy. He knew that commoners were looked down on and that some of the nobility would try to make him fail. A few might even directly sabotage him if they could.

Who knew that nobles had the same worries and doubts that he did. Jarid smiled to himself. It reminded him of a song that had always lifted his spirits when he was stuck in despair. ‘Legendary’ by a band called Skillet.

“Destiny is calling me, go down in history. Every day I’ll fight to be… Legendary.” He whispered.

“What was that?” Ben asked. Jarid was a little surprised someone was listening to him.

“Just a line from a song I heard. It always encouraged me to keep fighting,” he said with a slight smile.

“Any other good lines?” Steven asked. The others had stopped arguing for now and the sudden attention was a bit embarrassing.

“Um, yeah sure, here’s one.” Jarid said, closing his eyes. “Wings are made to fly, made to fly. Fears are born to die, born to die. Pushing through the pain, though the pain. Pushing through, breaking through. Whatever it takes, what I’ve got to do. I’ll give it my all. Give it all that I’ve got. And I’ll never stop till I get to the top.”

“That sounds awesome!” Steven said as he slapped Jarid on the back with a big grin. “Never stop till we get to the top. I like the sound of that. We won’t just make it through the academy. We’ll shove it in the faces of everyone who thought we would fail by being the best. Sounds more fun than what I had planned anyway.”

“Not the best rallying speech I’ve ever heard, but… Eh. Why not. The longer I get to stay here the more I get to learn.” Ethan agreed, shrugging his shoulders.

Jarid wasn’t sure why everyone thought he was giving a rallying speech, but Felicia was looking around excitedly and Airel nodded affirmatively.

“This is great that we’ve all decided not to give up, but we can’t get ahead of ourselves. We haven’t even chosen our flight leader yet.” Ben cautioned.

“What even is a flight leader?” Steven asked.

“Right, I was just about to get to that,” Airel started, but then Ethen cleared his throat.

“Ahem. A flight is a group of six to nine riders in the same year and squad that work together on the battlefield to cover all aspects of combat. Each member of a flight has a specific role that they will practice which is usually determined by their element. At the academy roles are typically rotated with the role associated with a squad’s element given special attention.

The flight leader’s role is to relay the orders of the squad leader and to assign tasks to the rest of the flight. They also give reports, represent the flight to superior officers and will assume the role of squad leader if needed. At the academy they help the other members of their flight stay on task and follow the orders of their superiors. They also speak for their flight during team exercises, projects, and events. In return, they get moderately better quarters, their choice of chores, the respect and obedience of members of their flight, and a slight increase in pay.”

Ariel sighed and shook her head slightly. “Yeah, that’s it. Normally second years like Ben, Ethan and I wouldn’t be in the same flight as you three but since Black Squad has so few members we’ll have to make do.”

Steven raised his eyebrows. “I didn’t need the dictionary definition, but thanks anyway.”

Then he turned to Jarid and grinned. His smile held a devilish mischievousness which made Jarid worried.

“I vote for Jarid to be our flight leader.” He said pointing at Jarid with a slight chuckle.

“What better way to rub it in the faces of those high-end nobles who think they get to decide what we do, than to choose a commoner as our squad leader? Just imagine the look on their faces when they hear about it. They’ll probably have no idea what to do!”

Jarid was surprised at Steven’s joke, but then his surprise turned to shock as the others actually seemed to be considering it!

“Well, up until now the rest of us didn’t really want the job, except for Airel, but we don’t really want her as flight leader,” Ben said as kindly as he could.

“Hmph. I still say I should be flight leader. I’m the hardest working out of all of us,” Airel grumbled.

“All you would do is boss us around while being too busy with your own training to do anything you’re actually supposed to do.” Ethen pointed out.

“Well, how else am I supposed to stay at the top of my class?” Airel said, throwing up her hands in exasperation.

“Exactly, you don’t need that extra workload, but they’ll probably go a little easier on Jarid considering he hasn’t been brought up as a noble. If he makes a few mistakes, they’ll probably excuse his error as inexperience.” Ben said reasonably.

Ben may have been trying to say it as kindly as possible, but it still hurt Jarid a bit that they assumed he would do worse than them. But then a much more worrying thought entered his head.

“Didn’t Gunther just say nobody would do me any favors because I’m a peasant?”

“Don’t worry about it. He was just trying to tell you not to be concerned about where you came from,” Felicia commented.

“Besides, if it comes down to it, I’ll cover for you.” Steven gave him a confident thumbs up.

“We’ll all help you out,” Airel agreed.

“So, let’s put it to a vote then. All those in favor of Jarid becoming flight leader raise your hand.” Ben said, raising his hand. Ethen and Steven immediately raised their hand.

“Um, I’m new here so I’ll just go along with what everyone else says.” Felicia said, raising her hand. Airel sighed and raised her hand as well. Jarid was stunned. He couldn’t believe what had just happened. Steven smiled.

“I couldn’t imagine a better man for the job. Congrats Jarid! You’ve been promoted! Don’t let it go to your head now.” He chuckled as he patted Jarid on the shoulder.

This was happening a bit too fast for Jarid.

Flight leader? Where’d that come from? Why me? Can I do all that? Isn’t there someone better?

All these thoughts were running through his head but all he could think to say was. “Um…Are you sure?”

Airel sighed. “Just accept the position dummy,” she said, letting her annoyed look soften a bit.

I guess there really is no point in arguing about it. Jarid thought.

“Well, ok. I’m honored to accept the position. I don’t really know much about all this so I’m going to be relying on your help.”

Jarid bowed respectfully to the rest of his squad. Ben stepped forward and put a hand on his shoulder.

“That’s what we’re here for. Flight leader.”

Then he leaned in and whispered. “Don’t worry about the position too much. Everyone else just didn’t want the extra responsibility. Simply ask for as much help as you need, and you’ll do fine.”

It was a little disappointing to hear that they were basically sticking him with the position, but Jarid decided that he was going to be the best flight leader he could.

Jarid smiled slightly. He wished he could tell Shadow about his new promotion.

Author's note

Hi guys, 

This chapter had what might have felt like a lot of info dumping. However I couldn't think of a way to integrate it any better. If you guys didn't notice this than that is great, but if it did feel like a lot I'd really appreciate some advice on anything that I may not need to mention or could integrate better. (I also want to shorten this chapter a bit if possible so if there were things that you felt could be omitted please let me know)

Thanks :]


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Fri Mar 22, 2024 5:51 pm
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RavenAkuma wrote a review...



Hello Again, My Friend!

It's me, Raven, and I'd like to review the next chapter in this great story using my Familiar method! Let's dive in, shall we? Heh heh heh...

What The Black Eyes See...

Finally here to continue learning about Black Squad, this chapter didn't disappoint in the slightest! There is so much awesome information given to us as we learn the general layout of the area, giving us at least one glimpse into each of these characters' motives, backstories, and dynamics in the squad. Then it's all capped off by a promotion for Jarid, proving that people are finally recognizing his potential! Let's get into the details though.

Where The Dagger Points...

No recommendations or corrections to make! Great writing job!

Why The Grin Widened...

Ah, so much to dissect, I want to highlight everything! lol

Okay, so first of all, big points for descriptions. You were thorough enough to give us an idea of where the characters are and what the place looks like, without detracting from the rich conversations at hand. On that line, your dialogue was also great; it kept me invested, eager to get everybody's opinion and how Jarid responds to them.

The information about what Black Squad is was awesome:

Black Squad is basically a misfit squad and always has the fewest members. It is made up of those who didn’t fit in with any other squad or attend this school for a purpose other than being an elite soldier of the kingdom, like Felicia.


The rest of us were all kicked out of our squads for different reasons.


Very interesting! It gives the impression that the characters here are either social pariahs who just didn't get accepted by the snobby nobles, as with Airel and Ben, or they have a hidden potential due to unorthodox magic. Maybe both, as Jarid seems to be. Either way, this clue alone says a lot about the characters in the squad, how they may perform, and how others may perceive them.

I love the characterization of Steven and Airel so far, like here:

“I just hope he doesn’t strain his back when he does.” Steven joked. Airel sighed.


With these quips, and the sort of rival dynamic between him and Airel, Steven brings a lot of humor to the story and I appreciate that. Though at the same time, I sense that there's something more to his character (his removal from Grey Squad being one potential clue), so the sort of layer-building you're doing with him is very good and comes through well. Same for Airel, of course.

‘Legendary’ by a band called Skillet.


Jarid has good taste ;)

Ethan and Ben are great in their own rights, but one character that really caught my attention is Felicia. For as timid as she seems, she seems to have a lot of determination and hidden potential, especially when it comes to defending the squad and Gunther's reputation. It makes me more curious about what her character will offer, and how it will play with Jarid's goals and motives.

Final note about characters, Gunther. What a mysterious yet awesome figure you're poising him to be! The idea that he prematurely lost his dragon adds a sense of empathy, though the speculation from Jarid -and knowledge that nobles aren't always very kind to dragons- instills a mild doubt. Likewise, the revelation that he doesn't play well with other nobles, and families like the Delbonts talk bad about him, was a cool way to set him apart from the other authorities in this academy. It also gives the impression that he really could be Jarid's inside friend -or perhaps an obstacle, as Felicia describes how their reputation could also affect his. Fascinating.

And yay, Jarid being flight leader sounds cool!

Our Mad Thoughts...

Overall, this chapter was awesome! As for your author's note, while there was a lot of information, it was paced very well and the points all tied together, so I didn't get the impression of an info-dump. This is meant to be an "introduction" chapter for Black Squad, and that's exactly what I would hope for; a full introduction. Members, counselor, dynamics, and any other crucial details. And that's exactly what you gave us. I think breaking the chapter into "part 1" and "part 2" also helped in that regard ~

Anyway, nicely done! :)

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dragonight9 says...


Thanks so much! You always seem to understand what I was trying to get across right way. I'm so glad my descriptions of Steven and Felicia have caused you intrigue. I'm excited to reveal more about them later.



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Thu Mar 21, 2024 7:28 pm
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PKMichelle wrote a review...



Hello, friend!
I'm back for more! Ready to explore the mysteries of the Black Squad!!

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Per my interpretation, this was a great way to show off the Black Squad while portraying what the academy entails!! I really enjoyed this chapter and am looking forward to exploring more of it!

Brief Summary:

Spoiler! :
We're continuing where we left off, with Airel showing Jarid around. They start in the spell range, where Jarid finds out that Gunther is a retired dragon rider. He questions how he retired, considering dragons can live for around 200 years, but he brushes it off, assuming Gunther had good intentions. The squad passes through more rooms when the idea of a flight leader is brought up, causing Jarid to question what that is. He is told what it is by one of his fellow members right before they decide to elect him to the position (not without any disagreement, however), and Jarid stands up to the challenge.

This was an interesting way to introduce all of this lovely new information!


If I could offer any sort of advice, I wouldn't be able to! I didn't notice any grammar errors or anything else of the sort anywhere (besides the quotation critique I made on Part 1).

With that being said, I'm going to respond to your author's note... You said,

This chapter had what might have felt like a lot of info dumping. However, I couldn't think of a way to integrate it any better. If you guys didn't notice this than that is great, but if it did feel like a lot, I'd really appreciate some advice on anything that I may not need to mention or could integrate better. (I also want to shorten this chapter a bit if possible so if there were things that you felt could be omitted, please let me know)


I'm not going to lie; this did feel a little info-dumpy, but that's not a bad thing! Actually, that's what I was sort of expecting, considering we're learning about something completely new. I wouldn't worry about it too much, but if you can shorten it up while maintaining the same overall message, that's always the way to go!

And if shortening this up is something you're really worried about, there is one thing that I think could be shortened a little... When they were all talking about the nobility setting them all up to fail, it kind of felt like they just kept rambling on about it in a sense. The way you expressed their fear of such a thing was completely valid, but it went on for longer than it maybe should have, in my opinion.

Other than that, I really liked the way all of this was structured, and I wouldn't change or omit too much information!!


If I had to pick my favorite part, there would, once again, be a couple!! You do great work with all of these chapters, and I really love everything about them, so I'm going to dive into a couple of things that I thought really popped while I was reading!

The first thing that stood out to me while I was reading was the way you showed Steven's personality! You can see just how quirky and eccentric he is through all of these lines, especially when he was somewhat mocking Gunther. You said,

“I just hope he doesn’t strain his back when he does.” Steven joked. Airel sighed.


Not only is this quite funny, but it also shows how much of a hassle Steven is for everyone else in the group. I mean, you can just feel Airel's sigh through the screen. I love the way he and every other character in this story have been portrayed, as you can really witness their distinct personalities in such a fun way! Good job here!

The other thing that genuinely seemed to catch my eye while reading was how hesitant yet honored Jarid was for the opportunity to be the flight leader! He didn't want the position, but when it was thrown at him, he became determined to do the best he could. You said,

Flight leader? Where’d that come from? Why me? Can I do all that? Isn’t there someone better?

All these thoughts were running through his head but all he could think to say was. “Um…Are you sure?”

Airel sighed. “Just accept the position dummy,” she said, letting her annoyed look soften a bit.

I guess there really is no point in arguing about it. Jarid thought.


He was worried, and he wasn't too excited about the position. But he didn't fight back, and he took it with grace, despite knowing they were just passing it off to him to take weight off their own shoulders. This is a wonderful showing of Jarid's character and how prideful he really is, so kudos to you for writing him so well!


Overall, this was a great insight into the future life Jarid has gotten himself into! I loved learning about everything and further exploring all of the characters! You did a great job with this one, and I'm looking forward to more!

Thank you for taking the time to write and post this, and I hope this review is of some use to you!


Goodbye for now! I hope you have a magnificent day (or night) wherever you are!




dragonight9 says...


Thanks for your comments and your advice. As always, they were very helpful.




One who sits between two chairs may easily fall down.
— Proverb from Romania and Russia