My writing and art! Main @cjadewyton and polished work on @jade-wyton
Little avio, little avio, for your second mother you must behavio
‘Yes. I would appreciate it,’ he said sweetly, nipping Scaychie’s cheek. ‘It has been quite a few nights since Eish’lee and I were able to be alone together. Setani’Selina is asleep in her resting place, try not to wake her when Geoff’Selulu gets tired.’
‘No other girl is making milk,’ Tru’man replied with a shrug. ‘At least, none I trust with my children.... And I thought you would enjoy a night away from Linzor.’
Scaychie couldn’t argue. A night away from the Orange Beast sounded like a gift from the gods....
‘Milk!’ two voices cried out from Scaychie’s arms, and her gaze shot down to look at the wiggly little boy.
‘Oh, yes, he’s figuring out how to use his speaker,’ Tru’man chuckled, nipping his son on the nose. ‘You’re very talented, aren’t you? Behave for kekik Scaychie.’
‘Yalfit!’ Geoff’Selulu responded, his voice echoing as if he was speaking for two people as he tried to grab his father’s hair. ‘Kan!’
‘Yes, kekik Scaychie will let you kan,’ Tru’man dodged his son’s tiny hands and grinned at Scaychie. ‘He wants to eat.’
‘I’ll feed him,’ Scaychie reassured. ‘You go.’
Tru’man nodded and turned, putting his arm around Eish’lee as they wandered into the distance.
‘Kekik?’ Geoff’Selulu’s voice broke. ‘Kekik kan? Milk? Kekik going?’
Scaychie tapped the bump on his throat gently. ‘Scaychie gives you kan.’
‘Milk!’ he said, in his usual voice. Then he opened his mouth wide and a second voice, higher than before, escaped him. ‘Meelk!’
‘Yes, milk!’ Scaychie replied.
‘Milk!’ Geoff’Selulu cried out before nuzzling against Scaychie’s shawled-covered chest with enthusiasm. ‘Now!’
‘What was their name, Q?’ Coi’Lili lent heavier on the fence, leaning forward so he could look Jaisa in the eye. ‘You are smiling now.’
‘Its name is Batni.’
‘Yes, that’s its pronouns,’ Jaisa responded, a humoured snort escaping through xer gills. ‘We don’t all use xie and them, you know. The whole point is we’re not some sort of binary. He, she, fae, hir, sie, ve, its. … There’s hundreds of options. Xie and them are just common and easy to use in front of land-dwellers, that’s all.’
‘I see,’ Coi’Lili gave a nod and ruffled his feathers. ‘And xie is what you prefer, Q? There is nothing else, Q? Because if there is something else I am more than happy to use it for you.’
‘Yeah, nah,’ Jaisa shrugged. ‘Xie is fine. I don’t think you could pronounce my pronouns in Seces.’
‘I am part avio, my sweet lovely one,’ Coi’Lili responded. ‘And I have my speaker. I would be able to pronounce anything. Maybe even better than you.’
Jaisa let out another gill-snort before turning to Coi’Lili. ‘Alright,’ xie said. ‘Try this one, then.’
A short whistle came from xer gills, echoing like it was being whistled twice as xie opened and closed xer mouth. Then xie clamped xer gills gown down with a wet slapping noise and grinned.
‘That is your pronoun, Q?’ he opened his mouth and the noise echoed out of him, perfectly mimicked. ‘That is not to hard to say, my dear.’
‘Works as both personal and possessive,’ xie said. ‘But I doubt the wolvens around here could pronounce it without bordering on offencive, so I prefer to just use xie and xer on land.’
‘If that is your wish, I will respect it,’ Coi’Lili gave xer a gentle nod. ‘But if you change your mind do not hesitate to let me know. It is nothing hard for me and I am more than happy to do it.’
‘Thanks,’ Jaisa replied, resting xer chin on the fence and staring into the pond longingly. After a moment xie eyed Coi’Lili. ‘Do you think I would get in trouble?’
‘For your pronouns, Q?’ he gasped. ‘Oh, no no no! Queen Distro would never allow that!’
‘I meant if I jumped into the pond,’ Jaisa clarified. ‘Do you think I would get into trouble if I went for a swim?’
‘Hello! I am Keemi’Keemi! I am serving drinks today!’ the avio gave a happy flap of her wings.
‘I’m Stars!’ Stars’ face lit up. ‘And this is Koko, Baku, Lif, Trat, Sken, Annanyn, Coborn, and my best friend— Ka’harja!’
‘Oh best friend!’ Keemi’Keemi beamed. ‘I have seven those! They very fun have! Lots and lots of love!’
Stars nodded. ‘Is it okay if I ask what keemi means, Q?’
‘Oh, yes! Very okay!’ Keemi’Keemi nodded. ‘Keemi when you small, and parents give you three kisses on nose to make giggles!’
‘So your name is …’ Ka’harja hesitated.
‘Six giggle kisses!’ Keemi’Keemi beamed.
‘I did not do all that work to heal them just so you could make them hurt again!’ Geoff’Selulu snapped. ‘I was the one who disobeyed, not them. They did as I said, when I said, and respected me as the mala’kala katka-katka!’
Ali’ka frowned, ‘So you’re taking responsibility?’
Geoff’Selulu nodded. ‘All of it.’
For a minute, Ali’ka was quiet, and Scaychie feared what she’d do next. Would she hurt Geoff? How would she punish him?
Then, a smile formed at the corners of Ali’ka’s mouth. And she bent down and lovingly nipped Geoff’s cheek. ‘You are so much like your yalfit-yalfit, you know that? You would make him proud.’
Scaychie royally F’d up. Luckily Geoff’s there to help.
‘You’re wrong!’ Scaychie blurted.
‘What?’ Ali’ka growled.
‘You’re wrong,’ Scaychie repeated, quieter this time. ‘I think you’re wrong.’
There was a moment of quiet muttering as Ali’ka glared at Scaychie. Then she stood and approached. ‘How dare you—’
‘—YOU TOLD ME TO SPEAK MY MIND!’ Scaychie cried loudly. She was shocked at her own volume and knew that she’d made a mistake. ‘You told me to say what I meant!’
Ali’ka gripped Scaychie’s throat in a talon, forcing her to her knees.
‘Just because she has said it does not mean you have to listen to her,’ a quiet voice came from behind the Prophet.
Everyone turned and saw Geoff’Selulu kneeling by the throne; he was gently stroking the leaves of the cottonflower bush as he spoke, not meeting anyone’s gaze.
‘Geoff’Selulu, I did not ask your opinion,’ Ali’ka growled.
‘You never ask anyone for their opinion,’ he responded clearly, finally turning to his grandmother. ‘And I am not saying opinions; you do not have to listen to kekik Scaychie. That is a fact, not a made-up thought from my mind. You told kekik Scaychie to speak more clearly what she meant to say and then she did what you told her to do. You should not be mad at her for that— And that is another fact.’
For a moment, Ali’ka hesitated. Then she released Scaychie and approached her grandson. ‘You are a little kaka'li, you know that?’
Geoff’Selulu’s face split in a wide grin, and he nodded happily as he was lifted off the ground with a talon and thrown over Ali’ka’s shoulder.
‘Rai'Sefora, Gala’sha, Tru’man! Follow!’ Ali’ka called. Then she pet Geoff’Selulu’s hair and smiled back. ‘Come along, katka-katka, if you are old enough to sass me, you are old enough to hunt with me.’
Scaychie let out a long breath as Ali’ka calmly walked away. Exhausted relief was just starting to set in—
‘Scaychie!’ Ali’ka called over her shoulder.
‘Yes, mala’kala?’ Scaychie called back.
‘Care for my katka-zelkins while I am gone! If I come back to a single scratch on them, you will be punished!’
‘Of course, mala’kala.’
‘She to be happy when know more nurlak-kin here! You visit us, Q? It make mumma happy! We have house Below! Pink door at centre town fountain! Seven floor down, blue feather room door, black handle! Knock for sure!’
‘I’ll try and visit before we leave,’ Stars replied. ‘I promise.’
Ka’harja wasn’t sure how she’d do that, considering the directions the child had given. ‘Uh, do you have a map or something? I don’t know if we’ll be able to find it.’
‘Really? But it’s so simple,’ Stars blinked. ‘Their house is in the caves, and the building with the pink door near the town’s fountain is the closest entrance. Go seven floors down, find the door decorated with blue feathers and a black handle. Knock before going in.’
‘Oh,’ Ka’harja sighed. ‘Are you sure you’re not part avio?’
Stars shakes her head. ‘I’m very happy being nurlak, thank you.’
‘You are very rude foxen,’ Cor’Bala said, jumping out of the caravan and giving a wave. ‘I do not mind that you rude. But I ask that please do not be rude if visit, or mumma get mad with you! Hit with a broom, like with last one to visit! Not a fun.’