For Xori had in fact dined on the flesh of another bird, in direct contravention of Iurra’s word.

The striders had prepared the bird’s flesh so artfully, and so flavorfully breaded it with crumbs and spices, that Xori had simply not noticed. But Echyda, with her father’s prowling eye, had noticed the subtle bones, the secret sinews, and had reported them to Oesoeddi, who still possessed his father’s keen mind and impressive memory for the word of Iurra, the Mother.

Despite Xori’s protests of ignorance, the remedy was clear. Xori was stripped of his title of riau, leader, and declared to be faethwr, a bird of prey, along with all his followers who had joined him in the forbidden repast. They were cast out, shunned for their cannibalism. All but his daughter Xoria, of course, who had been the first to sound the alarm and now stood to become the new riau, clear of suspicion.

After all, what daughter would report her father who did not have the best interests of the flock at heart?

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