Short Story: Fire and Flight


Fire and Flight

By Marilag Angway

The wind does not teach Fae-girls how to fly. That is the job of the firebirds.

So Sina was told.

It must have been a grand thing, to have wings the bright colors of autumn leaves, to unfurl them wide enough to block the sun, to beat them upon the air until feet no longer touch the ground. It must have been a grand thing to take flight, to see nothing below but soft, swirling clouds above hints of green and blue.

Fae-girls were not taught to fly. The wind would not teach them, and even if it did, teaching would do no good. Sina was true-born of the woods, and no true-born woods-Fae ever ventured far from her forest. The outside world was not kind to the Fae. They were hunted and persecuted, taken advantage of when it comes to their gifts. It was best to stay in their circle of protection. Nobody bothered Fae-girls within the expanse of the forest.

Confinement did not stop Sina from dreaming of flight, of tasting the fire in her tongue. It was something she could not tell her tree-mother or friends. To hope for fire in the woods was to hope for death, and signs of flame and smoke created panic of great proportions.

Fire was wild.

Fire was danger.

Fire was doom.

So it was that Sina dreamed. At night, she sang to the stars, hoping to lure one down, for stars were often the homes of firebirds. At daybreak, she gazed at the sky, searching, always searching for the beat of mighty fire-wings. In the mornings she basked with the rest of her woodland friends, letting the air and water cool them as the heat climbed up into the trees. Her friends were content in this way, and Sina should have been, too. Days passed and even her dreaming began to wane.

That is, until the firebird alighted.

It was warmth at the hearth on a wintry morning. It was a lover’s passionate embrace. It was sight and sound and heat and light.

Fire was power.

Fire was beauty.

Fire was life.

The firebird alighted and Sina touched its body and was set aflame.

But she did not burn.

Author’s note: I’m trying this writing exercise where I write about different characters within my fantasy world. It might–eventually–help me write the actual story I want to tell. Which, let’s be honest, I’ve tried doing many times, with at least two different novels (one finished, the other half-finished) taking place in the same damn universe. Maybe at some point I’ll eventually smooth the stories out and send them out again for querying purposes.

I may have cooked this short up while staring at the sky on my plane flight to Moscow, Russia (which then took me to Berlin, Germany–don’t ask). When we passed by Iceland, there was this magnificent view of the moon hovering brightly above the clouds, half the sky a pale lavender. It was pretty, and it got me thinking about firebirds. “Fire and Flight” is pretty much some excerpt of a longer tale I’ve cooked up about mythical Sina and her Firebird lover. Maybe at some point I’ll write a longer story about these two. Maybe.

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