April 4, 2018

F is for Fethilis

        It was not a bundle of leaves at all, but a strange animal.  Svarnil knew it was alive because she could feel its small, frightened heartbeat thrumming against her fingers.  It was the size of a squirrel, and what the elf had thought were leaves were soft leathery wings, like a large bat’s, but dull green.  The creature lay in Svarnil’s two palms with its wings huddled around it, so that at first only the top of its head and the tips of its curled toes showed.  But after a while a wing twitched and a round emerald eye peeked out.
        “Don’t be afraid, little one,” Svarnil crooned.  The green creature opened its wings a little further.  Svarnil could now see that the rest of its body was covered in short, soft silvery fur, tinged with pale green the color of lichen.  Its head was round, with round ears on either side and round eyes above its flat round nose.  The wings had little three-fingered monkey hands at the second joint.  It gazed about warily, and now Oru and Nulif leaned in close to see what Svarnil held.
        “Goodness!” exclaimed Nulif, “It’s a leaf baby!”
        “What is it?” asked Svarnil.
        “A leaf baby!  They are also called lylits.  The Bachut think they’re sacred to the oracle they call the Third Aspect.  But they don’t come from here.  They live deep in the jungle near the Afula.  I wonder how this one could have gotten here.”
        Suddenly the creature stretched out its green-winged arms and yawned, revealing tiny pointed teeth and a narrow fluffy tail curled up as tightly as a snail.  Then it rubbed one ear and looked around alertly.  It seemed to Svarnil that the wings, which had been dull, were now a green much deeper and richer.  She found herself picturing the jungle she had never seen.
        “It will need a name.  How can I tell whether it’s a boy or a girl?”
        Nulif laughed and called, “Jadogwa, come here!  Do you know about leaf babies?  How can we tell if this one is male or female?”
        The young assistant came over and glanced at the animal Svarnil held toward him.  “Female,” he said, “Males have greener tails.  Never saw one around here before.”  He shot Svarnil a sharp look, then returned to the fire where he had been preparing lunch.
        “Well, then, little sister,” said Svarnil, “What is your name?”  Oddly, Svarnil found herself picturing the delicate green fiddlehead of a fern just starting to unfurl.  “Maybe your name should be fern frond.  May I call you Fethilis?  It is the Tungoldroleth word for a fern frond, but I trust a Minarian creature won’t mind.”  The silvery-green animal climbed quite nimbly up Svarnil’s arm to her shoulder and sat there, holding onto the cloth of her tunic with both hands and toes.  Her wings were now almost as silvery as her fur, as if they had borrowed some of the grey of the elf’s tunic.
        “It looks like she’s happy with that,” said Nulif.

        Fethilis from Vision Revealed, fourth book in a high fantasy series for middle school-or-so through adult (excerpt from Chapter 3: Svarnil begins a new quest).  More information here, or “Look inside” at Amazon.

[Picture: Fethilis, faux block print by AEGN.]

A-Z Challenge, all blogs with posts for the letter F.


Kristin said...

Nice to meet Svarnil again.

Unknown said...

Wow,I loved this tale. I am a fan of fantasy tales in general but this one just wowed me. A leaf baby and an elf? Nicely done.

A Tarkabarka Hölgy said...

That sounds incredibly adorable :D I want one.

The Multicolored Diary: Weird Things in Hungarian Folktales

Anne E.G. Nydam said...

You'll be seeing plenty more of her as she's the common thread among all the other characters in the six-book series.

Anne E.G. Nydam said...

Thanks! =)

Deborah Weber said...

What a delight to find my way here today. Who wouldn't want to meet a leaf baby?

Anne E.G. Nydam said...

Yeah, definitely some fantasy wishing for me as I wrote it! =D