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Fireborn: Wakey Wakey, with Water

Here is another installment in the story that begins here.


Orchid woke to the sound of splashing, and unfamiliar voices, and cracked an eye open to see her mother sitting up, yawning, with a tall lakeborn man with bright-colored scales tattooed along his sides standing next to her. She started to sit up, but realized Mud was curled up on top of the trailing part of her left wing, still sleeping soundly. No wonder her shoulder felt cramped. "Hey, Mud."

The girl mumbled in her sleep, and wiggled a bit, but didn't wake.

Then, suddenly, there were two small sets of webbed feet next to her, and cold drops of water hitting her face. She looked up. Two lakeborn kids, not old enough to tell if they were boys or girls, stood there, dripping. The younger reached out and spilled a surprising amount of water from a cupped hand onto Mud's face and Orchids' wing.

"Wake up, sleepy Muddy!"

Mud sat up and yawned, and Orchid surged to her feet, staring the obviously younger child in the eye. "It's rude to splash people you haven't even met."

"I was splashing Mud!"

"Um, hello." The older child, taller than Orchid, was probably about her age. "I'm Fin. This is Pebble."

Fin's voice was high, and Orchid decided she and Pebble were probably girls. She had a tiny blue fish with a fanciful, high top fin and swirly long tail tatooed in the center of her chest. Pebble had no skin art yet, but her skin was a darker blue than Fin's, which was almost silvery-pale. Otherwise, they looked enough alike to be sisters.

"I'm Orchid." She pointedly shook water off her wing. "And it's still not nice to splash people."

"But water feels good!" Pebble looked perplexed. "Dry skin is bad."

Mud scowled up from where she was still sitting. "Dry fur is good."

Fin leaned down to look closely at Mud. "We heard your Mom is sick. Are you sick too?"

"I'm fine. And I was asleep."

"But it's not sleep time."

Frog sat up and blinked. "What's going on?"

"We heard Coral was sick, and we," Fin gestured toward the water, where more people were arriving, some towing rafts piled with chests and nets full of things, "The mayor and the school and everybody, came to help."

The lake and the shore were full of people. Several young men had pulled a raft up to the shoreline, and were lifting long poles off of it. Neat piles of oiled cloth lay on the raft on one side of the poles, lidded barrels and boxes on the other.

Mud looked out toward the lake. “Everybody came?”

“Mayor Eel made us all wake up early. We had to hurry!” Pebble smiled. “We swam really fast. It was fun.”

Mud made a face, and Orchid reflected that, with proper claws for hands and feet instead of those—water cups—Mud probably did not find it fun when the school was swimming fast.

By the shore, her mother continued to sit calmly on the ground, though the big man was practically dripping on her. That was rude! She took a couple of steps forward, but her mother spread her wings wide in a landborn welcoming gesture, as the Mayor of Riverbend did every time they visited. Orchid stopped. Her mother was acting like a Mayor? “Who’s that guy by my Mom?” she asked, nudging Mud with one toe.

Mud made another face. “That’s Mayor Eel. It looks like your Mom’s making him mad.”

Fin glanced over. “Sure is. Look at his toes curl in the sand. I’m hungry, but I don’t think we should go over there right now.”

Frog said, “I’m hungry too.” She shook Cirrus with one foot. “Cirrus, wake up. People are here. And you’re using the fruit as a pillow!”

Cirrus sat up and yawned as several more lakeborn children walked up, dripping and giggling.

Orchid and Fin were quickly drawn in to making introductions and supervising the division of the remaining, somewhat bruised fruit in the bag Cirrus had been sleeping on. There wasn’t nearly enough, so it was an easy decision to head inland a bit to pick berries, to tide them over until the grownups made lunch.

Orchid stole one last look at her mother; Mist was checking on her patient and the Mayor had moved to supervise the men setting up colorful sun-shades. It didn’t look like her mother needed her, and besides, the fruit was all gone. As she followed the other children, Orchid tied the now-empty bag around her waist, planning to bring Mist some berries for breakfast.

If you are new to my journal, you may not realize that one of the things that pushed me into sharing my work online is that I was laid off in January. My thought was that this would be a way to get some feedback on my writing, to keep me motivated to write on a very regular basis, and to generate a little income along the way. Over the next few days, I'm going to be evaluating the various writing things I've been doing, both publicly and writing for traditional publication, and considering whether I'm allocating my time between projects well.

If you want to weigh in on this question, or are simply enjoying this story, now's a good time to let me know!

I painted new art for the Paypal sponsor button--this is it's "opening day". You folks are the first to see it. What do you think--should it also say "Click Here" or is it sufficiently obvious as is?

The story continues here.


( 24 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 12th, 2009 07:26 pm (UTC)
Very lovely. And your paypal button is very awesome. :D
Aug. 12th, 2009 09:05 pm (UTC)
Thank you.

I'm in awe of haikujaguar's new button art (see her profile page) that also debuted today. (Gosh, "debuted" looks ugly. It doesn't sound that bad!)
Aug. 13th, 2009 03:45 pm (UTC)
Oooh! I must go see! *runs off*
Aug. 13th, 2009 05:24 pm (UTC)
Feel free to run back again! (-:
Aug. 13th, 2009 06:19 pm (UTC)
*g* :D I do like your story. And your graphic fits your journal, if that makes sense.
Aug. 13th, 2009 07:04 pm (UTC)
I'm glad it suits. That always seems to help.

And I'm very glad you're enjoying the story.
Aug. 12th, 2009 07:36 pm (UTC)
I like the button, think it's obvious enough as is. Are those old pennies?
Aug. 12th, 2009 09:08 pm (UTC)
Re: Button
That's the front of the Sacajawea dollar and the back of the Susan B Anthony dollar (though I'd started it thinking it was also the Sacajawea, and decided it wasn't worth it to try to redo it from gold to silver). Besides, gold coins have a certain richness to them, which I think is a hopeful bit of symbolism.

And I am particularly fond of the Eagle landing on the Moon. (Go figure.)

Good to see you here!
Aug. 12th, 2009 07:59 pm (UTC)
The paypal button is beautiful, but not obviously a button. And it doesn't seem to be a donate button -- at least, when I tried, it didn't know that I was sending money to you. (I'd like to, but I'm too lazy to try to hunt down your paypal ID anywhere else.)

I am enjoying the story though!
Aug. 12th, 2009 09:10 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the feedback on the button. I had that problem generating the first paypal button too... More tedious fixing to do, now! (I just went through and fixed all the links in the story so you can link forward directly from each post.)

I'm not complaining, really. But I want to get back to that big guy who's practically dripping on my healer!
Aug. 12th, 2009 10:02 pm (UTC)
I did try testing the buttons; the ones I knew worked before and these both sent me to my own account, with no chance to make a donation; it makes sense that Paypal would know I didn't want to pay them to give myself money. Hmm...I figured there HAD TO be a way I could test...yeah, make a second paypal account! So I did that, replaced the language, and tested it, and did indeed get the correct form. Victory!

Thanks again for letting me know the button wasn't working, and thanks even more for letting me know you are enjoying the story.
Aug. 13th, 2009 12:21 am (UTC)
Yay! I just tested it too, though it'll probably come under my real name (Bard, as in, "Mom is an English professor").

And I understand very well indeed about letting you know I'm enjoying the story. I periodically beg people to tell me ... and sometimes they do. Actually I let them argue with my characters, which is kind of fun.
Aug. 13th, 2009 01:12 am (UTC)
Thank you!

Do you have any suggestions for what I should post as sponsors' extras?
Aug. 13th, 2009 01:17 am (UTC)
I offer cameos (which works nicely in Sythyry's Vacation, especially for furries), or, for the person who gave me an insanely large donation, a copy of my book. My partner makes incense and other whatnots, so sometimes I toss those around too.
Aug. 13th, 2009 01:33 am (UTC)
I'm thinking of web content rather than stuff I have to mail, though I won't rule that possibility out. Is there anything you'd particularly like to see or read or hear about related to Fireborn?
Aug. 13th, 2009 01:40 am (UTC)
[Bard's heads peer at each other perplexedly.] Not in particular. I'm generally interested in history and sociology, especially the history and sociology of a polyspecific setting (like yours and like mine). But learning that by seeing it in stories is fine.
Aug. 13th, 2009 03:16 am (UTC)
It worked for me. Some kind of a button-like border might make it a little more obvious.
Aug. 13th, 2009 03:25 am (UTC)
Thank you! I had to fix it between Sythry's comment and yours. Somehow the code didn't copy right, or someting.

I'll watch to see how things go, and consider whether a border is needed.
Aug. 12th, 2009 10:15 pm (UTC)
I like your button:) And I am following the story with enjoyment. I probably already told you that the lake born, air born, etc. people is as far as I know, unique and quite interesting.
Aug. 12th, 2009 10:49 pm (UTC)
Thank you!

Did you get a chance to read the wizard story, in the filter?
Aug. 12th, 2009 10:42 pm (UTC)
I like the repartee between the children. :)
Aug. 12th, 2009 10:52 pm (UTC)
Thank you!

I suspect you'd like the start of this story, the chapter (now) titled Wings on His Fingers too.
Aug. 13th, 2009 08:34 am (UTC)
I've just started reading this story and I really like it. And I love the new Paypal donation button! :) Very cool, very clever. :)
Aug. 13th, 2009 08:54 am (UTC)
Thank you!
( 24 comments — Leave a comment )


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