Emine (pt 18)

On Emine’s eleventh birthday, she flew.

“Hold on as tight as you need, you can’t pull out my feathers.”

Those were the first words Norro had ever said to Emine. She had picked Emine right off of the ground and placed her at the base of her neck, a ways before the place where her wings met her torso. Emine had no fear of pulling too hard on the feathers, she had cleaned off Milwurl’s and Milwurl’s had been strong. Norro’s were stronger. These feathers could not be compared with a bird.

“Do not worry about falling. Even if you let go, you won’t.”

Whether that meant she would still be able to cling onto Norro’s back or if Norro meant that she wouldn’t let Emine hit the ground, Emine didn’t know. But from where she sat, holding onto Norro, she didn’t think she would be going anywhere that neither of them wanted.

“Have fun!” she hear Sanni shout.

Then Norro took off. Emine’s heart beat in her throat. She held where she was, before pulling herself forward with Norro’s feathers until she could see properly off the side of her neck. There was the Heights, becoming smaller and smaller as they ascended.

Everything was so small. Like from a dragon to a human. Dragons made more sense.

Emine began to laugh, unable to help herself. And as she did so she heard Norro, in such a foreign and draconian fashion, do the same.

Emine (pt 16)

As far as Emine knew, people didn’t ask that sort of thing of a dragon. Even if humans tended to ask more of dragons than she would have initially imagined. Sanni certainly hadn’t been expecting it. Emine wondered if she’d overstepped her bounds.

Sanni took her to Ramar’s nest. Why Ramar? Emine didn’t know. Sanni and Ramar just had some sort of connection that wasn’t a Bond, but something else. Emine wasn’t sure.

“Ramar? Is Arvid here?”

Ramar had to have known they came in, but she took her time in turning around to face them. “Why?”

“I’m here, Sanni,” came Arvid’s voice from the other side of the red dragon.

Sanni didn’t go over to Arvid though. She fixed her look onto wherever it was she had deemed it safest to stare at Ramar. Ramar stared back. “How dare you wait to ask something of me until making certain Arvid was here.”

Sanni remained unfazed. “It’s Emine’s birthday tomorrow.”

At first, Ramar said nothing. She was quiet for long enough that Arvid was able to walk around her and into view. “Why is this the first I’ve heard of this?”

“She wants to fly for her birthday.” Arvid stopped walking then. From Emine’s vantage point, she could see Ramar’s eyes focus in on Sanni. Then to Emine. Emine wondered if she should look away, but Sanni didn’t back off. “Which one of you would give her a flight?”

Ramar then acted very peculiar. Her feathers rustled, but because of a shift of her muscles underneath. Without a word, Ramar left.

Emine would have been concerned, except for the fact that Arvid began to laugh.

Emine (pt 15)

“What do you want for your birthday?”

Emine hadn’t known anyone here knew her birthday. She shouldn’t have been surprised Sanni did, but she felt it nonetheless. Her birthday. Eleven years old. A year since her parents cast her out.

Sanni’s expression went from a measured amount of excitement to some concern. “Emine? Is something wrong?”

She shook her head. “I… No, nothing is wrong. I wasn’t thinking about it. I don’t know.”

“Surely there is something you want.”

Sanni sat down on her bed and Emine, after a moment, went to sit next to her. Sanni did something her mother used to do, which was put her arm around her while she sat next to her. Emine barely remembered it though, because she had been very young when her mother had done so.

“Yes.” There were quite a few things she wanted. But a birthday was when you asked for something you didn’t think you could ask for during the rest of the year.

“Tell me about it.”

Emine’s mind raced. What did she want right now that she might not get the rest of the year? Surprisingly, her mind settled on something quickly. Something Sanni couldn’t give her. But Emine wanted it nonetheless.

“I want to fly on dragonback.”

Recieve

Leondra stood her ground and let her teacher consider the contents of her gift.

“Fairy bread.” Farhana held it up for Leondra to inspect. “Eat.”

Leondra took it, hesitating a few moments more to see exactly what it was. The colourful nature of the bread was due to the multicoloured sprinkles which littered its surface. She took a bite and forced herself to swallow.

“Sugar, sugar.”

They both ate their piece of bread, similarly methodical. Perhaps it was too sweet for either of them.

However, unlike Leondra, Farhana made a point to eat all of the fairy bread except for one. Then she determined their lesson for the day over. With only one piece inside of her, Leondra agreed. Perhaps it wasn’t that sugary, but she certainly didn’t eat that much sugar normally.

She could only imagine how Farhana had managed it.

Give

Farhana’s birthday came in the middle of the week. Leondra only knew about it because the woman’s wife had shown up to drop something off. Farhana was busy and her wife didn’t even call out to let her know she was here, simply leaving the package there for when she noticed.

Leondra didn’t even know it was her wife until she gave out the description of who had stopped by.

Farhana waved it off. “I knew it was Michèle. My wife.”

Nodding, Leondra tried not to be too interested in the contents of the package. Farhana didn’t seem to be in any hurry to open it. “Does she come by often?”

“Only on my birthday. Guns too loud for her.”

“Well wishes,” came out of her mouth immediately. Not to wish someone so on their birthday was an insult. It had made for a very interesting school year, especially around those who didn’t mention when their birthday was, for whatever reason they held.

And much like some of them, Farhana waved it off, taking the box to the shop counter. There it was opened.

Birthday letters

Apparently her sister had picked up a new habit from where she lived now.

You send a letter on someone’s birthday, even if you barely know them! People get mountains of cards on their birthday, it’s amazing!

Usually she called. There was the occasional gift that was sent. In fact, Leondra was used to cards being involved on birthdays as well. A few, from people she couldn’t see on the day, from those who weren’t sure if they could call, for those who wanted to make sure their packages had instructions.

Her sister had apparently asked everyone she knew to write someone they didn’t know a letter. Leondra rubbed her temple.

She had a lot of reading to do.

Twenty one

The Baroness of Castlehaven’s birthday was a grand event, whether she wanted it to be or not. Not that she minded too much, giving the people another excuse to celebrate was always welcome.

Their conversation was interrupted every other minute, from those who wished Nemissa well on her birthday, to those who wished to say hello to her son, or to Fletcher. Those who beckoned them to their stalls, for food, games, trinkets. There was barely a moment to speak, but when there was Fletcher tended to get to the point.

“You are twenty one?”

Fletcher sounded surprised, for a reason Nemissa could only attempt to guess at. “Yes. Do I seem younger?”

He laughed. “What a trap of a question!”

Schooling her face, Nemissa made sure not to smile as she continued. “Then I seem older.”

“You look like a young woman, where time stands still as to make one immortal. I guessed at a different age because of a different culture, not because of your appearances, my lady.”

“I accept that explanation,” Nemissa said. “What part of your culture does mine differ from?”

Fletcher stopped to look at the glass fish, colors reflecting off his eyes in a way which fascinated her. “Your son was born when you were seventeen. You seem older by way of mental maturity which isn’t apparent in the youth of other cultures.”

Nemissa reached out, plucking a blue fish from the selection as her son gestured at it. “That is the case here as well. My own youth was something I brought with me when I came here, I suppose.” A thought struck her and she gave a sidelong glance at the undead before beginning to pay for a large assortment of fish for her son’s friends who would be around somewhere. “How old are you?”

Fletcher laughed again. “Another trap? I should be embarrassed to answer.”

He didn’t seem embarrassed, but he also didn’t answer. She had the feeling it wasn’t something dramatic, but that would seem odd in comparison to the age of the living. Nemissa didn’t ask again.