Oceandusk trotted up to the front of the group of pegasi that had elected to become sky herders. Her gaze swept over them, assessing them. There were a relatively small number--only about forty-- but that was because sky herders were founded in the belief that a small but highly disciplined group of steeds is much more effective than a large and unwieldy mob of them. Thinking about the pegasi again, she figured there were about thirty or thirty-five mares and five or ten stallions. The majority of them were relatively small, but she was glad to see a nice range of sizes. Larger steeds had different roles that were equally important as the smaller steeds.
Her inspection over, she came the rest of the way up to the front of the small crowd, joining Morningleaf at the head of it.
Morningleaf watched approvingly as her partner joined her up in the front of the small crowd. Oceandusk really was beautiful, with her autumn wheat-color coat and damp-dirt-color mane and tail. (Yes, I am aware that “damp-dirt-color” isn’t exactly flattering, but pegasi don’t know what chocolate is.) What set off her dark gold coat beautifully was her glossy dark blue wings, the color of the ocean on a sunny day. Her feathers were edged in a thin trim of pale minty green, like sea foam. She had a wave-shaped snip on her nose and one small front sock.
“Sky herders!” Morningleaf called out. They all looked towards her, so she continued. “This is the first day of sky herder training, so we need to assign everyone roles! Fifteen steeds, the stallions and the most powerful mares, will go for a short course with Foxfire to learn how to engage in combat in the air. The rest of you will stay here learning how to heckle the enemy and the secret whistling language of the sky herders!”
A cheer met this news. She let it pass, then continued. “And in a week or so, Star will come to give a course on starfire protection.”
That news silenced them. The realization that they were about to go into war against supernatural forces sunk in suddenly, each steed with a full view of the consequences. Morningleaf didn’t want their thoughts to get too deep into that subject, so she tried to change it. “But that isn’t for a while, so everyone get into a line up here and tell us what you want to do first.”
The crowd of forty pegasi slowly regained its spirits and moved up into a line.