A coming of age ceremony.
-Dimi & Janet
Ravens (males) and Swallows (females) are spies who specialize in collecting information and accomplishing tasks by faking a romantic relationship with their subjects. Using seduction, psychology, and play on emotions, they convince their subjects to trust them and let their guards down.
When new Ravens and Swallows are recruited, they are considered Eggs. Like eggs, they are very fragile and should be treated with care. Many of them are young and know not what lies ahead of them. It is up to the W.I.L.L.O.W.I.S.P.
trainers and experienced agents who are already in the position to answer any questions they may have and teach them of what their job will entail. They are also warned of the end result. The Egg days are usually full of info-dumps, classes, homework, and study with very little hands-on experience.
The Eggs have now matured and studied enough to understand the nature of their job and how to do it. For obvious reasons, one may not be deemed a Hatchling until they are at least considered legal age in the country they have trained to work in. Countries are often determined by the Hatchling's most proficient spoken language, although sometimes exceptions will be made depending upon the areas of necessity. These Hatchlings will be tested and given hands-on scenarios so that W.I.L.L.O.W.I.S.P.
can observe their behavior and strategies, making sure they've comprehended the information from the previous stage and adapted it to fit their own style.
The knowledge tests are over at this point. Most of the Nestling stage is about helping each Swallow and Raven to come into their own. To encourage them to abandon robotic and memorized behaviors and acquire natural, convincing personas. This is also the stage to discourage them from developing personal attachment to their subjects. They are told to display the emotion but not to feel it.
Fledglings finally separate from the group. They are put into intense test scenarios with trained actor agents that could last anywhere from a couple of weeks to a few months. This is the ultimate test to see if the students have grasped what they have learned and can apply it. Though the teaching stages are over at this point, when opportunities for improvement are observed, the Fledgeling will be coached and the scenario will be extended (or a new scenario will be given).
After the Fledglings have been deemed ready by the trainers, they are transported to a medical facility to undergo sterilization procedure. They are then held in a recovery resort for six to twelve weeks to rest and reflect, mentally and physically preparing themselves for the journey ahead.
When they return to their W.I.L.L.O.W.I.S.P.
bases, congratulations are in order and the new official Ravens and Swallows are celebrated before being sent off on their first missions.