Author's Note:

Hello, everyone! As of now, I would simply like to provide to you an announcement of sorts (which a few of my readers have already received via PM) that pertains to this story: a number of early chapters of "Don't Go" will undergo revisions, though none of the events that occur within these revised chapters will be altered. Updating the dialogue to my current continuity is the primary focus, while any spelling or grammatical errors that had bypassed me will be corrected. Other than that, the first chapter will be the only one in which the descriptions will be changed to an extensive degree, while in the rest of the chapters, only redundant detail will be removed for the most part. Let's fly!

Now tightly concentrated in each and every hollow that stood within a close proximity to the Torres Tree, the air had over the past hour or so, become so stiflingly hot as to swiftly drive entire families of birds out of their natural abodes. As of now, the early morning sky was largely absent of clouds, the time now standing at approximately 6:30 AM.

Some fifteen minutes prior, Eduardo had awoken and had arisen from his bed of stone, before having promptly made his way towards a relatively small tree that had collapsed a great many years ago, as a result of drastic precipitation that had come about during that time. Now lying along the forest floor for use as a perch on its rightward side, it was positioned some three minutes west of the Torres Tree, and was constantly used by the hundreds of macaws that resided within the trees located relatively close by.

For a brief while, Eduardo had also searched for fruit and had subsequently found an araçá tree, eating two fruits that he had selected due to their sound condition. After that, he had made his way back to the fell tree and had begun using it as a perch as he had intended. Ironically, he now stood upright in a posture that unintentionally conveyed a sense of confidence, despite Eduardo not feeling confident in the slightest, due to the news that had been brought to him the night before.

For the next several moments, his focus was all but completely fixated upon the faint, yet wondrous colors of orange, pink, and blue, all of which were borne by the morning sky, accompanied by the white and silky blanket of cirrostratus clouds that concealed much of the sky from view. Whilst his attention could hardly part at all with the sky that ran its course as it did every day, he could not help but relive the recent memory of the sunset that he, his sister, Alberto, Costa, and Verde had all shared together the previous day.

His memory of the breathtaking view of the sunset that he and his companions had all obtained was subsequently accompanied by the sharp whistles that were used by the many screaming pihas that inhabited the Tribal territory, as part of their efforts to garner the attention of potential mates. As the somewhat smaller birds constantly adjusted their pitches whilst maintaining their positions along several assortments of branches from afar, Eduardo cherished the mere sound of their calls.

In fact, he cherished not only their calls, but the entire moment that he was now living through. Now that war had officially been declared, he knew that his attempts to soothe himself by staring at the colors of the sunrise, twilight, and sunset would distract him from the reality of the world that he lived in, of which he prayed would not be as cruel to his Tribe as he expected it to be.

With this realization in mind, he abandoned any thoughts of his own that concerned any sort of dispelling of his sorrows that would eventually come. Still, Eduardo did desire to find a sense of joy, whether it would be spent with his friends and family or not. In order to bring to himself any essence of joy whilst still refraining from any sort of attempt at assuring himself that his past optimism would hold true, he looked at the colors of the natural phenomena. He now directed his focus towards not a thing but the sky, as to appreciate the display of beauty as much as he possibly could, in case he could never focus his eyes upon such a sight ever again.

After all, Eduardo had finally come to accept the fact that it would be almost certain that if the Scarlet Macaw Tribe were to proceed with an offensive against the Spix's Macaw Tribe as they had threatened the night before, their forces would quickly annihilate any defensive on the part of César's Spix's Macaw Army. He also knew that in all probability that during such an offensive, he would be considered a high-priority target by both Caetano and his generals, which he assumed were now in the middle of plotting their legion's flight courses for the opening offensive that was soon to come.

Eduardo then went on to abandon his confident posture that he had held along the fell tree not long before, now shivering in terror at even pondering about the manner in which he would be killed at the behest of Caetano. Not long afterward, both his shivering and his grotesque predictions fortunately came to a halt, after the sound of wing beats had reached his ears. Almost instantaneously, Eduardo's position along the tree transitioned from one in which his body and beak drooped over the edge of its surface area to one in which he stood completely upright, his feathered head jolting into the empty air in fear. Before he even turned around to see who was flying behind him, he sighed in embarrassment, after having reacted in such a fearful manner at the mere sound of wingbeats.

Reckoning that his mind had associated the sound with the wingbeats that had been produced by the Scarlet messenger Erasmo, Eduardo flapped his own wings multiple times whilst his feet still retained contact with the tree, as a measure to ease his mind over such a commonplace sound. Only seconds later, he turned in the opposite direction to visually pinpoint the bird that was the source of the wing beats, though by the time he had turned around, the sound of the wing beats had ceased. César immediately came into his son's view, who now seemed to be gliding towards him at a relatively slow pace, though he would occasionally flap his wings some two or three times consecutively, in order to keep himself aloft.

At the sight of his father flying and gliding about at such an early hour, Eduardo came to bear a look expressing a great amount of not only surprise, but also relief, as he felt that speaking with one of his parents would at least alleviate a number of his concerns for a short time. Once César surpassed a small collection of thin branches and twigs as he elegantly descended within the air, he quickly began to ascend as he flapped his wings several more times, eventually reaching the fell tree.

As César proceeded to land some two feet to the left of where Eduardo stood, his body turned upwards whilst he continued flapping his wings, then using his talons to penetrate the rotted bark of the fell tree as his feet wrapped around its surface area, all the while his son's eyes constantly followed him. Only a moment later, Eduardo greeted his father in a friendly manner, coughing into his wing upon the first word of his sentence.

"Dad! How are you awake at a time such as this? I can only reckon that you entered your bed about an hour after I had entered mine."

"Well, your assumption is more accurate than what I expected you to say," César answered in an uplifting tone. "I fell asleep some three hours after you did. Speaking to Mar about an extremely rapid mobilization of our legions was the primary subject concerning those three more hours I spent awake. To the adverse of that, I had to aid one of my healers in finding his medical leaves whilst I was in the middle of conversing with Mar, though we thankfully continued the conversation. Thenceforth, we discussed a number of other matters, concerning a couple of council members who have recently fallen ill, though I assured him that they would both recover. After that, I made my way home and spoke with your mother for a brief while, until I was finally overcome by the need for sleep."

"What sort of assumption on my part were you expecting, then?" Eduardo questioned, bearing a rather suspicious look on his beak.

"One which would have involved you assuming that I had entered my bed only a few minutes after you had entered yours," César laughed in an unusually merry fashion. "I am quite surprised that you did not immediately respond to my information with a question regarding the conversation I held with Mar."

"Actually, I was planning on doing so right -" Eduardo began, before being interrupted by César.

"As you are my son, I shall adhere to your request, and apart from that, I would have informed you about the subject regardless. Anyway, Mar predicts that since Caetano has already declared war upon us, it is likely that my planned offensive must be executed swiftly. Now, we can only muster the very best who are actively on patrol, as there is little time for training new recruits. It is indeed a massive risk, as there are only some three-hundred macaws inhabiting this Tribe who have been deemed fit for battle by both Mar and his dozen or so messengers. There is a chance that if we carry out the offensive immediately, we risk losing our finest warriors, provided that the Scarlet Tribe has already prepared their defenses at the Amazon River. However, our Tribe will almost certainly be conquered if we dare wait at all."

"And when is '"immediately,"' exactly?" Eduardo asked in a tone that bore within it a great amount of concern. For the next several odd seconds, César stood contemplating in utter silence, while Eduardo's racing heart could be clearly heard by both of the birds as it pounded within his feathery chest in fear.

"Tomorrow, I am afraid," César finally answered, simultaneously predicting that his son would not respond all that well to his words. To his surprise however, Eduardo did not respond to his words with any discernible reaction at all. He did not descend into madness, nor did the lower portion of his beak drop near his throat, and most astounding of all, a full smile almost came to appear on his beak. At this, César could simply not manage to conceal his astonishment, as his eyes widened whilst his beak displayed a look of utter bewilderment. Seconds later, Eduardo provided his enthusiastic reasoning for appearing to have been affected in a positive manner by the news that his father had bestowed upon him.

"Let the both of us be thankful that such an event will not occur on this day."

"Certainly," César chuckled following his recovery from his astonishment. Afterward, he turned his focus away from his son and directed it towards the vast jungle that stood before him. Upon doing so, he turned towards Eduardo and began to address him, the tone of his voice conveying great seriousness. "I advise that you use the time provided by this day in a wise manner, and that you spend the morning with either your mother or your sister. Unfortunately, I must carry on with my other duties as the Patriarch of a Tribe that is officially at war. However, you must hasten your flight to the hollow. Another messenger who recently returned from Manacapuru informed me yesterday that a substantial amount of rain is to come in the afternoon of today. Go! Part with me quickly!"

Then nodding in compliance, Eduardo obeyed his father's command, taking flight and subsequently turning around some few seconds afterward, now traveling via wing accordingly to the linear flight path that would be required for his return to the hollow. Following the turn that had been made on his part, Eduardo eventually surpassed both the fell tree and his father that both stood approximately ten odd feet below him, dramatically increasing his speed upon doing so.

Once Eduardo had flown far beyond where his father's eyesight could still pinpoint his aerial location, (as he had already disappeared behind the trees and the more dense areas of the rainforest) César let out a heavy sigh that conveyed a sense of disappointment, despite the fact that he had been the bird that had ordered his son's hasty departure. A further minute then came to pass, which had been used in its entirety by César to reflect on the decision that he had made only moments prior.

He certainly felt a small amount of regret within himself as of now, as he truly desired to speak with his son for an extended period and nothing more. However, César also recognized that if victory was to be achieved in the recently-declared war that had finally come to beset his Tribe, he would have to wait until after the battle took place, scheduled for the following day. With that, he sighed once more in the same manner that he had done not long before, until deeming the moment as an appropriate time to make haste for Mar's hollow.

César followed on this decision about a moment afterward, by spreading out his wings, ripping his talons out of the inside of the rotted bark with great force, and finally making a leap of some two feet forward, arising from his position within the air as he began flying about. He continued flying straight ahead for a brief period before turning around and heading west in a similar manner to how Eduardo had done.

Unlike his son however, he had flown in a circular pattern around the fell tree instead of simply making a swift turn within the air. Much more similar to what Eduardo had done moments before however, was when César then began to rapidly accelerate the pace at which he flew, surpassing dozens of feet of foliage-covered terrain within a matter of seconds.

Approximately three short hours had gone by since Eduardo had once again returned to the Torres Tree as his father had instructed him to, then having subsequently spoken with Eduarda and Mimi for a long while. A great many topics that were largely merry in nature had been touched upon, though the mother, her son, and her daughter had all made their departure from their hollow the following hour, in order to satisfy their morning appetites with a great many berries of several varieties. Once this task had been accomplished on their part, they had made their way back to the Torres Tree yet again, then heading north for the Great Mouth, in order to properly discuss more serious topics in a setting that was seen in macaw etiquette as proper to do so.

As of now, Eduarda was sitting upon the same seat that she usually occupied during a typical meeting in the Great Mouth. She now adjusted the position of her long tail feathers along the edge of her seat, then raising her head and focusing her attention leftward. Thus, she made eye contact with her son that had been named after her, now sitting in the seat that stood beside hers.

Eduardo subsequently went on to maintain the eye contact that he shared with his mother for a little while upon receiving it, before his attention eventually transitioned to Mimi, who now sat upon the seat that stood to the right of Eduarda. All three birds then began clearing their throats, preparing to converse with one another. The mother of the Torres siblings then directed her attention towards the stone pedestal that her mate usually stood upon, before subsequently initiating the conversation, speaking in a very formal tone as her words left her beak.

"War is upon all of us as we now speak, I am afraid," she began, before looking towards Mimi and then to Eduardo. "I know that the two of you have had your senses of hope all but evaporated, though I -"

"Well, not exactly," Eduardo interjected. "Dad said that his offensive is to take place tomorrow. Thank Selva that our call to battle is not on this day."

"Your cheerfulness is granted," Eduarda then responded. "But it is not advised on my part."

"And why would you not advise one to be bear a sense of optimism?" Mimi objected.

"Because you as adults must learn that if you blind yourself with hope, you cannot see anything beyond it," their mother somberly answered. "Simply hoping that we survive is perfectly healthy in my view, but as I said earlier, ignoring the possibilities of Scarlet spies watching our every move is something that I would urge both of you to not continue. They may be taking our words into account and carry out the invasion in a few hours from now. Although there is no evidence that the Scarlet Macaws are surveilling every word that leaves our beaks, they are much craftier than one would assume. If any bird came to me at this moment and attempted to affirm their stance that not one bird from that Tribe is conducting clandestine work here, I would simply scoff at them."

"Then how is it so that not a single spy or informant has yet been caught?" Eduardo argued.

"None of our many spies operating within their territory have been caught either," Eduarda rebutted, these words causing Eduardo to swallow hard in nervousness. After that, he did not at all hesitate to admit the fact that his argument against his mother's seemingly-paranoid attitude had only proven her words nothing short of utterly rational.

"I suppose you are right. Yet again, I am only a mere son of yours."

"That is very true. However, your son or daughter that will be borne upon you by your previously-gravid mate will one day repeat those words to you, once he or she gains the ability to speak in our tongue. Do not forget the sacred position that you will eventually inherit."

"Yes, Mom, I know, but I can only call myself a mere son at the moment. As all of us are under threat, my life may falter as a son, and only as a son, not as a Patriarch."

"You need not speak of such things, Eddy!" Mimi scolded. "If anyone is to pass at the wings of a wave of red, it shall be anyone but you and those that will become your most loyal subjects!"

"Excuse me, Mimi, but that is simply not how fate is decided!" Eduardo retorted. "If I shan't die within this war, then that is the choice of not one bird amongst us!"

"Well then, I would give my life for yours if need be!" Mimi protested. "I voluntarily refused the future position of Matriarch, and with that, I think that I bear the will to allow myself to perish if it means continuing this Tribe in the name of its rightful heir!"

"Sorry, but if it is so that the Scarlets have in their possession a weapon that was crafted by the humans, those who encounter such a weapon shall almost certainly die. I cannot see where the weapon lies, nor can I see where the Scarlets plan to implement its power, whatever that power may be! If you were seen by the weapon's bearer, your fate would be sealed. My fate would be no different if I was seen by the weapon's bearer! There is simply no choice between whose body is to lie still on the forest floor and whose body is to remain lively! Both of us must remain cautious no matter the circumstances!"

"ENOUGH!" Eduarda suddenly intervened. "Your attitudes would almost warrant my hesitation as to call you adults! For God's sake, shut your beaks, both of you!" In response to their mother's outburst, the two siblings blushed, before both of them simultaneously attempted to excuse their unacceptable behavior, whilst they both stammered over their words as they could find no excuses within their minds. After Eduarda stared daggers at both of them whilst bearing a dirty look upon her beak for a very brief period, her offspring exchanged glances that conveyed feelings of guilt to one another, then hanging their heads in shame.

Soon thereafter, both the siblings and their mother resumed their banter, though the tones in which they spoke had reverted to those that they had borne within their voices at the start of the conversation. Mimi began the reversion to the friendlier manner in which the family had spoken to one another. In the hopes of perhaps returning her mother to her renowned vivaciousness and loving nature, she deliberately strayed away from the topic of the war that had been declared upon their Tribe.

"Now apologizing for my recent wrongdoings on my own behalf to you, Mom, I would like transition this conversation to one bearing much pleasantness within -"

"Do not blind yourself with whimsical distractions!" Eduarda cut in, now speaking in a tone of frustration that was unrecognizable as to how she typically spoke to her offspring. "What did I say only moments prior, Mimi? Provided that your hopes consist of the abrupt end to inevitable events that will occur, you will not at all help yourself. As I said before, the only hopes of yours that you can bear at the moment that do not simultaneously serve as a denial of reality itself are those that compose of your precious life not being claimed by the Scarlet legions! All three of us must prepare for what is about to take place, and that is what I advise! If you do not learn to differentiate events in which there is hope for a peaceful end to a declared conflict, you will meet a fool's end like Luís did many years ago!"

"Negotiations are still in the matter of consideration!" Mimi shot back. "One day remains between us and them, engaging one another's forces on the field of battle. That single day can indeed be spent with an act of diplomacy of some sort." At his sister's words, Eduardo came to bear an expression conveying a great amount of pain, as he used his wingtips to protect his ears from their mother's eventual response.

"QUIET!" Eduarda snapped once again in an exasperated manner, her entire array of facial feathers now so red as to resemble the predominant color of feathers borne by the Scarlet Macaws. "Negotiating with an individual such as Caetano is just as foolish as trying to do so with the jaguars over the matter of our many unborn chicks that they have killed. Caetano deliberately manipulated his own subjects out of personal gain and nothing more. He would only reason with us in a diplomatic fashion if his life absolutely depended on such a thing. Even if we ceded to him vast territories, he would still find offense in the mere existence of our Tribe and try to find some sort of nonsensical excuse to invade it."

"Well then, perhaps we can provide to him a concession in one of our Brazil Nut Groves as to prevent him from claiming starvation of his subjects as an act on our part?"

"What did I just say, Mimi?" Eduarda uttered, now undoubtedly furious. As a matter of fact, the manner in which she had spoken those words had been so frightening as to leave Eduardo trembling wildly within his seat, whilst his pale-green eyes now shrunk within their sockets as he gulped once more. His mother then continued, though not before her beak's nostrils provided vent to her fury. "Attempting to negotiate with a determined enemy and hoping that peace will be bestowed upon us by the heavens will accomplish nothing apart from the annexation of our territory into theirs! It is truly a pity that my own daughter seems to have been overcome by utter stupidity, is it not?"

Eduardo became almost petrified at his mother's last sentence, the two portions of his beak now quivering as he hastily pondered about any sort of word that he felt could at least ease tensions between Eduarda and Mimi. A number of extremely tense moments then came to pass, and by now, Eduardo had contemplated long enough to where he decided that he would once again mention that a full day of peace still existed. It was indeed a day which could be used by the Torres Family to cherish the final moments of peace together, as they prepared themselves for the uncertain events that would eventually play out in a relatively short while.

"STOP!" he then pleaded in desperation, his throat subsequently throbbing as he repeated that word several more times. "STOP! STOP! JUST PLEASE, STOP!" At these pleas, the scowls that had been present on both the beaks of Eduarda and Mimi then suddenly faded at a gradual pace, until they no longer appeared to hold any sort of negative emotions within themselves towards one another.

The latter of the two birds sighed in defeat, as she had finally come to agree with her mother's position pertaining to the issue that they had discussed, though Eduarda looked utterly horrified, despite the victory that she had just achieved in her simmering argument with her daughter. For a brief period, she could not find any words within her extensive vocabulary that she could use to express her apologies for not only the hostile manner in which she had argued with Mimi, but also the sheer amount of emotional stress that the argument had inflicted upon Eduardo.

However, much to Eduarda's surprise, not a single tear ever came to pass in a downward direction along her son's cerulean feathered cheeks. He completely recovered only some forty or so seconds after he had made his pleas for a halt to the argument, his heart no longer racing at all. Soon afterward, he spoke once again, this time conveying his thoughts pertaining to the argument itself in a tone that could only be described as one bearing within it a great amount of serenity.

"Please, do not lament over the pain that is ongoing within my mind, for you are indeed correct. Still, as our armies are not supposed to be engaged in combat until tomorrow, I advise that we appreciate the valuable time that we have been given to spend with one another. That was the only reason that Dad sent me to the hollow so early to start with. I know now that trying to soothe ourselves would prove not only futile, but dangerous. Nonetheless, there is no reason that we cannot discuss subjects of lesser importance with the time we have been provided."

Upon her beak, Eduarda could not help but bear an astonished look, bearing great resemblance to the similar expression that had been on the part of César some three hours earlier, particularly when Eduardo had reacted positively upon receiving his father's word of an immediate mobilization. In spite of her son's friendly decline of her apology, she was still overwhelmed with guilt for the scene that she had been solely responsible for intensifying. It was truly the first time in her view that she had betrayed her role as a loving mother, a duty that was sacred in nature to her Tribe. As a result of her guilt, her eyes gradually grew ever the more wet, whilst the sclerae of eyes simultaneously transitioned from a solid white (that was akin to that which was borne by the clouds) to a faint shade of crimson.

By the time that Eduardo decided to speak once more, his thoughts concerning the topic that he planned to speak of were visually interrupted upon catching sight of his mother using her wingtips to dab her glistening tears across her feathery cheeks, in a vain attempt to conceal her tears. In fact, rather than hiding her tears from view, Eduarda's efforts had resulted in her tears being rendered far more visible, as most of her face was now soaked in them. Eduardo then provided to her a look of utmost sympathy, and not long afterward, Mimi followed suite. Following the passing of several more moments, Eduarda brought herself to speak again, now simply asking about the nature of the pleasant banter that her son had in mind.

"Very well then. Your wish on my part is both granted and advised. Now, concerning the subjects that you wish to discuss, you may begin."

"Thank you," Eduardo responded appreciatively, whilst he bowed his head to his mother. After that, he finally opened his beak in preparation to provide a wish to his mother, then doing so after a further three seconds passed. "Although I am seven years of age and an adult, I would find such a thing as music to the ears in such unpleasant times if you told the both of us a story."

"Is that what you want?" Eduarda asked, somewhat befuddled at the unusual request. "Well… You and I have both stated that we should not attempt to hide ourselves from the real world, but… Perhaps I can bear to tell you what might be the last story any of us will ever hear."

"Can it be one of those archaic stories from the era of Federico the First?" Mimi promptly begged.

"No," Eduarda sighed. "On the contrary, it is one that I recently wrote myself for specific events, provided that I am ever called upon by my friends to temporarily safeguard their chicks."

"Can it please be something along the lines of A Rite of the Humans?" Eduardo implored, which in turn left his mother's eyes rolling within their sockets in slight frustration. After that, Eduarda provided her reasoning for refusing the requests that had been forwarded to her by her offspring, though she tactfully spoke in a tone that conveyed positivity, garnering the attention of both Eduardo and Mimi.

"My current understanding is that the both of you desire to ease the stress that is being projected upon your minds by the world around you. For I am your mother, I see it as my duty upon observing your emotional states to provide such a story that will ease your minds."

"Fine," Mimi groaned, then engaging in awry thought concerning her friends for a brief period.

"Alright, carry on," Eduardo added. After that, the two siblings' mother inhaled and exhaled for a moment before clearing her throat once again, subsequently releasing the words that composed the story's entirety from her beak. Whilst she recited her own story, she intentionally kept her eyes shut, as a means for her to vividly capture what she now described before her son and daughter.

"On the seventh night of April, Selva provided a gleaming rainbow of many colors that suddenly hovered over the Tribal Territory and its subjects on the hour of midnight. Jacinto the First exhaled with joy as he set his focus upon the wondrous starlight that illuminated all that lied below the canopy, before administering a warm kiss on the cheek of his mate Carolina, whom of which stood beside him. After that, the starlight was followed by moonbeams, whose dazzling light reflected upon the surface of the dark and uncertain Amazonian waters. A gentle, calming rainfall then passed over the canopy of the rainforest, the many water droplets elegantly trickling down its light-green leaves. Until the balmy twilight set in, stars of numerous varieties were present, all glimmering as the macaws now slept within their hollows."

After Eduarda finally opened her eyes upon saying the last word of the concluding sentence, she looked to her offspring, both of whom now bearing loving smiles on their beaks. Even Mimi, who had intentionally ignored the first sentence or so of the story out of protest to her mother's denial to adhere to her request, now bore a look on her beak conveying the very thing that she had argued so intensely with her mother over - hope. Eduardo could not help but sport the exact same expression, and finally, the siblings' mother eventually went on to convey the same look as well.

Eduarda then sighed in relief, before initiating more banter between the two macaws that sat beside her shortly thereafter, of which concerned many subjects pertaining to moments that the three birds had all shared together, as well as with those that they had also shared with César.

From the view that was provided by the very large tree that belonged to one of César's trusted military commanders named Augusto, a storm seemed to be brewing on the horizon, with much of the sky being obstructed from sight by a single cloud that was utterly enormous in size. The cloud itself was almost certainly one which would bring a sizable amount of rainfall, as it now bore a similar hue of gray to that shared by the beaks of the Spix's Macaws themselves.

César himself now stood along the tree's largest and broadest branch, of which reached out into the air by some four feet, positioned somewhat offset to the right of the hollow entrance. To his right along the same branch stood Mar, and to his left stood arguably his most zealously-loyal bodyguard, named Jeremias Benito. However, he was almost always referred to by both his cadets and César alike as "Jeto," a portmanteau of both his given name and surname.

A relatively young macaw that was somewhat tall in stature and featured light-azure plumage, he was quite slim, far more so than either Mar or César, though this was largely due to his often-restricted eating habits. His shoulders were rather rounded, and his long tail feathers (whose shape resembled the blades of knives) sloped upward in the air by a slight degree. The most striking features concerning his appearance were his unusually narrow beak (of which was light-gray in color) and the three horizontal rows of very small and neatly-arranged feathers that arose an inch or two in the air, located at the back of his head.

His light-brown eyes blinked frequently as he patiently whistled to himself, waiting for César to conclude his meteorological observations. Mar did the same, albeit his occasional yawning that would occur at least once per minute, due to the very negligible amount of sleep that he had obtained over the past few days.

To the slight dismay of both Mar and Jeto, César then went beyond simply observing the clouds that lied far ahead, now peering at the slightest details, including the hints of darker gray within them that would appear, disappear, and reappear in rapid succession. Though he did not usually take human observations as undeniable fact, he could not help but agree with what their meteorological reports had predicted days earlier. Finally, after some three odd minutes of further observation of the looming storm clouds, César coughed, then calmly addressing his companions.

"I reckon that the weather will be quite unpleasant. Because of this, Jeto, I order you to proceed with all intensive combat and camouflage training sessions immediately. If we postpone them any further, the weather will almost certainly interrupt them; and Mar, I require that if our offensive is to be in any way fruitful, you must summon almost all of our warriors and patrolmen to our southeastern border at Ilha de Araponga, beyond our own concession to the Amazon River. Remain there until the following day, which is when I will arrive and order for our forces to press onward into the jungle. After that, we shall infiltrate the Scarlet border on the island and conduct minor reconnaissance, before carrying out the assault on the Scarlet's end of the Amazon River. If severe casualties beset us, we shall retreat from the island."

"With all due respect, My Patriarch, if we make use of our entire army at the southeastern border, our central and northern borders may succumb to invasion on the part of the enemy," Mar objected. "We must maintain at least some form of security in those areas. If not, the Scarlets are almost guaranteed to bestow upon us what we will have bestowed upon them. Any offensive of theirs would be extremely difficult to ward off, considering that their mere population alone dwarfs ours by a significant margin."

"I understand the factors for which you voice your rational concerns," César politely responded. "As a matter of fact, I simply ordered for you to summon almost all of our men to Ilha de Araponga, not all of them. I need a force of approximately fifty men to patrol our other borders."

"Very well then," Mar sighed. "As such, I now sincerely express my utmost apologies. Are there any other orders pertaining to my duties as of now, My Patriarch?"

"Yes, and ones that are important no less. Although not directly relating to my offensive, I also need as many birds in our legions as possible in order to guarantee its effectiveness, along with a great amount of careful planning and coordination. Because of this, I request that you recall every one of our spies that are currently operating in Scarlet territory. If any spies of ours fail to report back to our territory, presume that they have either been killed or captured by the enemy. I will only authorize rescue missions if another spy happens to bear witness of a comrade's injury that prevented him from returning. Am I understood?"

"Indeed, you are, My Patriarch!" Jeto answered for Mar, who then shot Jeto a look conveying a sense of frustration from across the length of the branch. Immediately after that, César continued observing the weather, though as he did not give an order for dismissal to the two other birds, it was clear that he still intended to speak about other matters. As a result, Mar began contemplating, his thoughts pertaining to a subject concerning the battle that was equally, if not more important than the battle's preparations - the order of the battle itself. Seconds later, he decided to forward his question about the subject to César.

"My Patriar -" he began.

"Please, Mar, refer to me by my given name," the Tribal leader then interrupted.

"I am sorry then," Mar apologized, before reverting to the subject that he had desired to speak of. "Now, I advise that we discuss our overall tactical strategy, as well as the manner in which this ingenious plan of yours will be executed."

"Of course!" César exclaimed, promptly making eye contact with Mar. "It would be rather foolish to assume that I would not have touched upon that subject; as I mentioned before, we shall position all of our offensive forces at Ilha de Araponga, divided into three separate attack units, with the first two comprised of one-hundred birds each, while the latter will consist of only half that number. Two hours past dawn, we shall overrun the Scarlet Tribe's concession to the island, thus establishing a strong defensive position within the Amazon River. The first division will then charge across the Amazon River and overcome any defenses present at the Scarlet edge of the Amazon Basin, which is the primary target of the assault, as you already know."

"And what are the assigned roles to the second and third divisions, My Patriarch?" Jeto asked. "Are they supposed to complement our main offensive force?"

"In a way," César answered. "Whilst our first division will carry out the main offensive, the second division shall then divide into two subdivisions of fifty birds each and make their way both east and west, also overcoming Scarlet defenses in those areas in the same fashion as the first division. In addition to that, the third division will remain at the island during the duration of the initial assault, provided that the first division does not sustain very high casualties. Once all of the Scarlet defensive positions succumb to our offensive, all of the divisions will push forward into the jungle and eventually reunite as a single offensive unit. Then, we will keep on luring in Scarlet defenses and whittle their numbers down whilst camouflaged, until we reach the center of the Tribe and finally reinstate the reign of José Vermelho."

"That is utterly brilliant, My Patriarch!" Jeto remarked with great enthusiasm.

"Your praise is utmost appreciated," César thanked, before transitioning to another subject. "I can only assume that the two of you would like to provide me an inquiry, one which concerns our roles in this offensive. As for myself, I will lead the first division; Mar, you shall lead the second division, and when it eventually divides, I will have you lead the offensive to the east, and Augusto will lead the offensive to the west; and Jeto, you will command the third division. As for our defensive patrol forces that will safeguard our borders whilst the battle is taking place, I will have Alberto command them, as it does not carry all that much risk. After all, Eduardo would be nothing short of devastated of the loss of his greatest friend on the field of battle. Only I would be at fault if such an event was to occur."

"And why is that so?" Mar queried.

"Because I was a complete and utter fool when I had decided not to intervene in this upheaval to peace when it began," César expressed in a manner that conveyed a strong amount of guilt. "Had I sent our legions to rid the Scarlet Tribe of Caetano's nightmarish terror, he would have never gained the strength required to threaten the existence of this centuries-old civilization. If the Spix's Macaw Tribe capitulates to an illegitimate ruler, tell the young to not look upon me fondly; do not erect any monument that graces my name, nor should you hold any debates in the Great Mouth concerning the matter; I would hesitate to say that I would deserve even a mere grave or funeral if such a thing were to happen."

"You need not worry, My Patriarch, our forces receive the finest training in the Amazon," Jeto attempted to assure.

"That statement may bear much truth to it," César replied. "However, we must be careful, and everything must be coordinated correctly. If not, it simply cannot be stated just how disastrous this situation might become."

"I understand, My Patriarch. Shall my training sessions commence?"

"Indeed, they shall. You are both dismissed." After César provided this last order, the three birds standing along the branch then gradually dispersed via wing, all of them now flying to other locations that were seen as important for them to carry out their duties within the Spix's Macaw Tribe.

Author's Fact of the Day:

Portuguese is an official language in Portugal, Brazil, Angola, Mozambique, Guinea-Bissau, Cape Verde, São Tomé e Príncipe, East Timor, and Macau. It is also spoken to a limited extent in certain areas of Uruguay and India, while creole forms of the language are spoken in small regions of Sri Lanka, Indonesia, and Malaysia.