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Fireborn: Seeking Skimmer

Here is another installment in the story that begins with Wings on His Fingers.


Orchid circled above the school, seeing the three women rushing toward the cook-tent, scattering sand under their feet.  Other people were doing various things, though a few obviously took note of the small, angry procession. 

But they were no longer her problem.  She remembered that Skimmer had silvery skin, like sun on a still pool, which set off his tattoos nicely.  Frog had admired what she thought were imaginary insects, earning her an animated lecture about the different types of insects that could walk across the top of the water.  Orchid had been glad she was sitting with Lily at the time, and didn’t have to pretend to pay attention to the whole thing.  Though the insects were interesting, they weren’t anywhere near as fascinating as he thought they were. 

Sitting on the sand to eat with the other kids, he had seemed almost impossibly tall and skinny.  She didn’t see anyone like that in the area around the sunshades.

Well, if he was in one of them, she wouldn’t be able to get him away before those women made a ruckus anyway.  Best to assume he was somewhere else.  But where?  She headed back to where the boys were cutting grass.

Dragon looked up and smiled, “Hey, couldn’t resist coming back to talk with me?”

She laughed then remembered she wanted his help, and smiled at him.  “I’ve got some new information.  Where can I find Skimmer?”

“Skimmer’s old!  You don’t want him.”  He struck a dramatic pose, and the handful of grass he’d just cut scattered over him, and Orchid giggled.

“Come on, Dragon.”

“I’m heartbroken!”  Dragon wiped a pretend tear from his face.  “She laughs at me.”

“Would you stop goofing off?  I need to find Skimmer, right away.” 


“Willow’s mother thinks he’s the fireborn, and she’s going for the Mayor.  I’ve got to get him to safety.”

“Skimmer?  Fireborn?  No way!” 

“Look, you said you would help me.”

“He’s no more fireborn than I am.”  He cut some more grass.  “Skimmer’s all about bugs, anyway.  He wouldn’t waste time playing with fish even if he could.”

“Dragon, if you won’t help me–“

“Ok, ok, I said I’d help.  Skimmer is out fishing with the other young men.”


Dragon waved.  “They headed that way, though they may have changed directions, of course.  But it won’t do you any good, even if you find them above-water.”

Orchid had started to fly off, but circled back.  “What do you mean, it won’t do any good?”

“Mayor Eel is out with them.”

Orchid landed.  “Oh.”  Like she had earlier, she helped Dragon tie off a bundle of grass.  “So, what could I tell him that would get the Mayor to let him leave the hunting party?”

“They’re probably underwater anyway.  Why don’t you stick around for a while?”  He smiled brightly at her.

Orchid frowned, and tapped her toes on the ground.

“Ok, ok!  Um.  You could say Lotus wants him.  But you’ll be in really big trouble with Lotus if you lie about her.”

“Great.  Thanks!”  Orchid leapt into the air and started flying.

“It’s a bad idea!  I’m just telling you–”

Whatever else he said was lost in the distance as Orchid sprinted away. 

She rose into the air, and looked out over the water, but didn’t see anyone out there.  She set to flying in the direction Dragon had indicated.

It was a beautiful day for flying.  Orchid kept being distracted by thoughts of fun things she could be doing.    Drizzle would be better, she thought, then changed her mind.  At least, with good weather, they might be fishing, or taking a break, above the water. 

At first she flew high, looking broadly over the land and water, but she didn’t see anyone.  She dropped lower, flying close to the water, trying to look through it.  That wasn’t successful either.  Finally, she found a very tall tree with a good view, and settled down to rest and watch.

Sooner or later they had to come back; she would just have to hope she could spot them before they were all the way back to the cove.

Sitting there gave her lots of time to consider Dragon’s parting comment, that Skimmer was all about insects.  If he was the fireborn, why was he making fish swim in formation, instead of insects?  Maybe he respected insects more than that?  Nah–he was a boy, after all.  But he might be smart enough to try to throw people off.  Or, considering how many rolled eyes she’d seen while he’d been animatedly lecturing Frog, maybe no one else paid attention to bugs.

The longer she sat there, the more she doubted Skimmer was the fireborn.  But she had to be sure; if she let him just swim back to town and he was the fireborn, she would have failed.  And she was determined not to fail.

(The story continues here.)
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( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 18th, 2009 08:40 am (UTC)
I like the way you've captured Orchid and Dragon, both are very kid-ish. And I like that Orchid kept getting distracted while she was flying. :) That sounds like me!

Thank you for posting this. I'm looking forward to next week's! I had a hard afternoon and was glad to have this to look forward to read to make it a bit better.
Oct. 18th, 2009 10:10 am (UTC)
Oh, I'm glad!
Oct. 23rd, 2009 07:14 pm (UTC)
Typo, m'dear:

“Great. Thanks!” Lotus leapt into the air, and started flying.
Oct. 23rd, 2009 08:28 pm (UTC)
Stupid dyslexic wordos!!!! Thanks for catching it.

And good to see you're having time to catch up with your reading.
Oct. 23rd, 2009 09:06 pm (UTC)
Only way I can really justify OVFF is if I do other stuff at the same time.

Oct. 23rd, 2009 09:15 pm (UTC)
As a musician, my mind boggles at trying to do other stuff and music at OVFF. But at least you're there!
Oct. 24th, 2009 04:04 pm (UTC)
Well, of course, I'm just a listener. So I can read, paper or screen, and I usually am knitting or crocheting -- but I don't have any important craft projects...
Oct. 24th, 2009 05:20 pm (UTC)
Well, I do do stuff like needlework. It doesn't engage same parts of the brain as music. I can still listen to lyrics, for instance, which I tend to lose track of if writing or reading at the same time.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )


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