June 26th, 2009

Creative Joyous Cat

Fireborn: Wings on His Fingers

Welcome to one of my worlds, where humans have been adapted to fit the different ecosystems of the world:

There was something odd, colorfully shimmery, in the small lake far below them, right at the shoreline. The three children circled, then dove downward toward it. Orchid arrived first, as always, her tiny size and restless drive had already built up her wings to the point where she could nearly keep up with an adult in a long-distance fly. She hovered over the contraption, waiting for Cirrus and Frog to catch up. The thing in the water was a soft, fine-weave net, snagged carefully between some rocks, with more rocks on the bottom edge. It defined an area about the size of a playpen. And swimming happily inside, completely submerged in the water, was—

“What’s that?” Frog landed carefully at the water’s edge.

“A baby.” Orchid’s mother was a healer, and a traveler. So Orchid knew things.

“But it has no wings!” Cirrus landed and stuck her finger into the water, and the baby swam right over and grabbed it. The hand was tiny, with long, webbed fingers. Cirrus touched the webbing with her other hand. “Unless you count between the fingers.”

“And toes,” said Frog. “It won’t fly far with those tiny wings.”

“It’s not a Windborn baby,” Orchid said scornfully. “It’s a Lakeborn baby. Or maybe a Seaborn—my Ma would know.” She hated admitting she wasn’t sure of something, and quickly added something she was certain of. “Those aren’t for flying, they’re for swimming.”

Cirrus reached down and lifted the baby up into her wings, giving them a clear view of his naked body. He let out a shuddery wail that stopped abruptly and didn’t start again.

“Put him down!” Orchid yelled. “He’ll drown out here!”

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