The Echo of a Hummingbird’s Wings

January 3, 2008

On some worlds the strands of magic are strengthened at a certain time of day, powered by the passing of celestial bodies and the mortal drive to bask in the sun and shy from the gathering shadows. On one world midnight might be known as the Witching Hour, a time of dark magics and dark deeds, when ghosts are welcomed and strange things walk the night. In another realm the sun is welcomed, and prayers given beneath the watchful orb above, bringer of light and life and all things bright and good.

But not all worlds are the same.

In one small corner of reality, there is a world than might seem like many others. Men live there, a young race only just beginning to master the world around them. Wilderness claims much of the globe, though the wild things that live in the woods have begun to realize their time is growing short. Two small suns float through the sky, and there is no true darkness that comes to the land – only shades of dimness.

But there are still times of Power, when magic is potent and the world a far more dangerous place. The mortals of that land – those known as the Vera – know this well, and all things that call that world home have learned to fear one single sound… the echo of a hummingbird’s wings.

They were not the same sort of hummingbirds as are found on other worlds, though they resembled them in appearance. They were creatures born from the magic, and once had been known as faeries – slender, winged creatures that embodied magic and all its power.

But that had been in the early ages of the world, and that time had past. The faerie had lost their capacity for intelligence and empathy, and had descended into feral creatures that lived on instinct alone, birds with buzzing wings that hibernated for days or months or even years… and then came forth, seemingly at random, flitting through the world with their entire race flying as one, leaving in their wake nothing more than the echo of their passing and the remnant of the magic they still claimed.

It fell from their wings like dust, and to those caught in its passage it was both glorious… and deadly. It brought visions of wonder, but also changed them, altered them into things that were new and never before seen upon that world… but, often enough, not able to survive in their new states either. They felt a few moments of ecstasy and joy, and then perished as monstrous, twisted things.

For the trained among the Vera, however, it was a time of Power. The air was ripe with magic, the entire planet primed for them to perform rituals and workings that could fulfill hopes and dreams… or bring nightmares and despair.

The magic was not a picky thing – it did not care, either way.

For the Vera, magic does not wax and wane with the seasons, or with the passage of the moon and the hours of night and day. Magic’s time of plenty comes to them randomly, born of the chaotic impulses that rule the feral remnants of faeriekind, and carried with the echo of a hummingbird’s wings.

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