It is impossible to distinguish between male and female Morrigi at birth, and female Morrigi place equal parenting effort into all infants until the period of fledging, which occurs roughly three years after the female's leathery eggs are laid and hatched. At fledging, the bright colors and highly contrasting scales of the male are usually immediately obvious, and other sexual characteristics linked to the sixty–third chromosome also appear. At this point, the males are separated from their sister clutchmates to await Ascension.
On the arrival of the next stellar fleet, the Morrigi mothers who have given birth to males will offer their fledged sons to be carried aloft. The ritual of Ascension is generally a tense moment for all parties concerned, as male tribal leaders can be quite ruthless in negotiation before they accept new fledgling males aboard their ships. The atmosphere is somewhat more relaxed if the fleet believes that the fledglings under review are their own sons, but if they have not mated before with the females in question, they may demand heavy payment or promises of future support as a dowry of sorts. Accepting an infant into their ranks as a tribesman confers a parental responsibility on the group. The boy must be nurtured, educated, and allowed to advance within the ranks — this can apparently be more difficult if the infant does not show characteristic plumage of the tribe.
Once accepted into the flock, a male Morrigi begins training immediately for his responsibilities as an adult. Education includes rigorous training as a pilot and a combat specialist, as well as a traditional review of the liberal arts. Upon passage through adolescence and an extended series of proving rituals, a fully–fledged Morrigi tribesman achieves a minimal competence in personal and armed combat and spacemanship, and will be expected to acquit himself well at his station aboard any ship, whether he works in the galley, the guns or commands the fleet. More importantly, from the Morrigi perspective, he will learn calligraphy, languages, astronavigation and familiarize himself with the philosophy, songs and literature of his people. Achieving this state of education and decorum is necessary in order to be considered a civilized person, and perhaps worthy to Descend once as an adult into the company of females — once he has something of worth to offer them.
The desire to Descend in the Morrigi male is a complex one, comprised of equal parts sexual desire, ego and will to power. It is through Descent that males develop economic and strategic relationships with their female counterparts, and it is how they maintain their own genetic heritage, through sons and daughters who form a legacy of blood. In order to Descend, however, a male must have a ritual offering in hand. This ritual tribute is called a Token, and seeking and crafting his Token is often an exercise in personal creativity, personal expression and personal courage.
The archaeological evidence unearthed on Wiira is perhaps the most dramatic evidence of the danger and personal risk which an individual Morrigi might be willing to undergo in order to acquire a valuable Token. The pilot of the crashed vessel recovered from a deeply buried strata had clearly been collecting early Liirian artifacts from the surface of Muur — the ivory weapons, ornaments and playthings recovered from the hold of his single–man starship were of a type common in the Liirian Neolithic. Carbon dating of the startlingly well–preserved remains of the pilot confirm that he had become the victim of a stellar mishap over four thousand years ago.