Chapter of the Duck: Flight

This is a companion piece to Princess Tutu: Chapter of the Duck by Moon Shadow Magic. It deals with practically nothing that can be recognized from the anime, only from my story. Notes, Etude, and Disclaimer at end.


Almost here....

The hollow in the bare bedrock could no longer hold the Sun's heat through the lengthening nights; not at this height, where the clear, dry air was too thin to insulate the ground. As the Sun shortened its journey with the changing of the season, however, the inhabitants were preparing to leave.

The fledgling had been flying for some time now, learning how to use her new and unsullied wings. She was ready for the journey to the south, away from the cold and dark, away from the snow that now covered the ground outside the nest.

A few seconds more....

Uncurling from the warm ball into which she had settled during the dark hours, the young bird stretched. She stood on spindly legs, shivering a little.

The light came.

The fledgling raised her wings, holding them above her head.

The Sun returned.

The young bird faced it, gathering all of the light she could reach into herself. It was food and drink, it was strength and energy and warmth and growth. It was sight and, in its way, sound; splendid music, that a Firebird could only attempt to approach in song, and would spend a lifetime trying to express.

Behind the fledgling the other bird had stirred and risen, adopting the same pose, letting itself bathe and feed in the light. After a few moments, when the Sun in its glory had broken their fast, the older bird began to sing. The song reached out from the mountain peak; it could not carry over half a world, as the young phoenix's would someday do, yet its joy spread far. Then the little one began to sing too. She wove her music through and around her guardian's, never seeking to disrupt or overpower, but to complement.

The strange thoughts that had come to the young bird over the past weeks paraded themselves once more. Endless forests, a good place to be despite the snow. The ruined castle below, an unpleasant and sad place despite the people who were now coming regularly. People: two- legged, unable to fly; some were bad, thoughtless and evil... but many had kind words and did wise things and were worthy of service and instruction.

For the harsh winter they would fly south, where nothing interfered with the light of the Sun; but after she had grown, there would be those miles upon miles of forests and mountains with pure white snow, or long hours of summer light, where their kind belonged.

Somewhere that way, much closer than the forests, there were people, good people; swan and raven and duck, and another, who bore a phoenix's quill. How she knew, she could not remember, but that wasn't important.

The larger bird was still singing. Wings still raised above her head, the young Firebird began to move to the older one's song. She tried to pirouette today, the rough stone slowing her before she could finish one revolution; she balanced on each leg in turn, moving the other out or back, in rhythm but in no particular pattern; raising and pointing wings and tail. The elder bird observed its young charge indulgently.

Eventually, when the Sun was well above the mountains, they allowed their song to fade out for the moment. This was the day. They both stretched their wings. The younger took off first, dropping down to see what went on today at the castle. No one was there yet, but above the head of the valley, on a rock a mile away, she could see a few people pointing to her. She did not fly too close, but she began the song again.

Above her the elder Firebird also sang to them, a bittersweet tune for the ending of the autumn. The younger ascended to join it, and they winged south through the steep valley, into the next, then beyond into the higher mountains. They chased the Sun each day until they came to places where it could not hide, and there she would swiftly grow to adulthood. Her guardian and mentor would stay with her, taking human form when it wished, to teach its charge how to speak with those not privileged to bear wings.

She would wonder, though, why one should move so to a song. The elder could do so in her other shape, but had indicated that Firebirds had never done such a thing, and that the younger was the first known to try to dance. It had something to do with the elusive faces in her memory that carried with them a pleasant feeling.

Perhaps some day she would seek out the source of the memory, but not yet. There was so much to learn, and to see, and so far to go.


Notes: This is for LunaSphere, who suggested the idea. I agree, there's room for it; with all the words, and all her lines, I never did quite get to the bottom of the character before she started over, except that she wasn't at all happy with her job or her boss. Thanks!

By the way, when reading the main body of Chapter of the Duck, see how many duck- and- bird jokes or sayings you can find. I'm still counting. I don't think I put in "lame duck" but somehow a good many others wormed their way in.

Etude: Maybe "Round Dance of the Princesses" from Stravinsky's Firebird would be appropriate.

Disclaimer: Princess Tutu and all related characters and elements are the property, copyright and trademark of HAL– GANSIS/TUTU and Ikukoh Itoh and no ownership or claim on said property, copyright or trademark is made or implied by their use in the work(s) of fan fiction presented here. This fan fiction constitutes a personal comment on the aforesaid properties pursuant to doctrines of fair use and fair comment. This fan fiction is non-commercial, not for sale or profit, and may not be sold or reproduced for commercial purposes.