"I'm going to destroy you."
"Darrow, please." Jing waved the runner away with a flick of her wing. "You're, first of all, taking this way too seriously. Secondly, you're being way too dramatic."
"It's for Daius!" Darrow has been crouched in front of the starting line for about 15 minutes. Everyone was still getting ready - including Izumo, her rider - but she seemed entirely willing to go through the race without her. Izumo gently slapped her flank as she adjusted Darrow's saddle. The brilliant sun was beginning to rise into the cloudless blue sky, shining off the buckles of their saddles and stinging their eyes. Daius was watching them. Not even the gentlest of breezes blew. The air was hot and stagnant, the beginning of a blazing day in the desert. Each of them - but especially the tytos - found themselves wincing under the harsh rays of the sun.
"Settle down, you." Izumo said as she tightened a buckle, "It's just us out here. You don't have to get so ornery."
"Yeah, settle down, you