There that word was again- fledgling.

“What’s a-”

“Oh, right,” Cat said, “the term isn’t too well known outside of academia. A fledgling is someone who has obtained a feather from the Firebird and used it to make a wish.”

“Okay, but that stuff’s not actually real,” she said.

Cat exchanged a look with Bluebell. “I thought you’d know firsthand how real it is.”

Image: Cat and Bluebell viewed from the chest-up. Cat is on the left and Bluebell is on the right. They’re glancing at each-other. End description.

When Phoebe was a young child, before her parents died, her mother would read her fairy tales about the Firebird. The golden bird whose feathers granted any wish you could imagine, and which was coveted beyond belief. The mysterious creature that circled the globe and landed before those in need- or those in need of a lesson. A fairy tale was all it ever was to Phoebe. Like dragons, the Firebird had ingrained itself into the mythologies of cultures all around the world- but it would be just as insane to say that dragons existed. Even so, over the years those bedtime stories had become intermixed with sightings and urban legends, and to many the Firebird was now more of a cryptid than a mythical beast.

Image: Part of a page from a book, featuring an illustration of the Firebird. This depiction has a white face,  with a more defined orange-and-white crest. Its body is orange save for a yellow breast and white under its wings. Its tail feathers are multi-colored and stream behind it. It is flying in front of a thicket of trees. There is an intricate blue border around the illustration, decorated with Firebird feathers. Part of Phoebe’s thumb is touching the page. End description.

Surely this “Quill” was just a group of fanatics.

“Sorry, but I’ve never seen the Firebird in my life.”

“Well… forgetting can be part of the wish,” Cat said.



I really slacked off on Kata work today because I got stuck on a particular story beat that's consistently been giving me trouble. Earlier this evening I took a shower, hoping that it'd help me feel at least a little better- and of course that's when I figured out what to do for the scene.

Also, here's a bit of trivia: The image of the Firebird above is based off of this illustration by Ivan Bilibin, for the fairy tale "Tsarevitch Ivan, the Firebird and the Gray Wolf". The design of the Firebird in the prologue was also inspired by this.