The question got Cat talking about papers and essays other folklore scholars had written on the subject of divine aspects. Apparently many of his peers concluded that either the Firebird was a bird, and thus it was its own aspect, or that its aspect was “greater” and “incomprehensible” due to its reality-altering powers.

But Cat was the only one of them who had actually seen the creature—noting with annoyance that he had to keep that fact hidden, which hindered debate—and when he finally gave his own answer, he said, “I’m not actually sure. It was too bright to tell.”

The conversation moved along, and Phoebe lost track of it until she heard her name.

“What about you, Phoebe?” Julia asked.


“Why do you think human aspects are so different from other animals’?”

She knew there were conflicting ideas about it. Was her aspect a symbol of mankind’s power over nature, or a reminder of their ties to it? It was never something she had a strong opinion about.

Image: Phoebe from the neck-up, looking contemplative. End description.

“Dunno. I’ve always kinda liked the idea that your aspect says something about who you are.”

“Really?” Cat said. “What do you think yours says about you?”

“I’m an eagle because I’m brave, then.” Julia puffed up her feathers in satisfaction.

The more Phoebe thought about it, the more she regretted her answer. “I’m quiet,” she started, and she was going to follow up with her preference for being in a “herd”- but was that true? She’d never been good at groups. Always going off by herself. And now deer had another meaning, one that brought back her anger and the weight which sat at the base of her throat. Deer was a resource, a prize. Deer was prey.

Image: The car driving away, still surrounded by woodlands. In the foreground, a doe walks out onto the road. End description.


What are aspects? Are they souls? Nah. Well they can be if you want.
Want a cameo in Katabasis? See here.

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