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Frell patted her brother’s head. He was a bright orange color with pink spots on his body and red cheeks.

Vuss was a brave little boy, but he needed to learn to walk on land. He was unsteady on his new legs, all wobbly. She held onto his hand. He was only a single orbit old and it was time to transition by metamorphosis. The water of the swamp lapped at the shore gently and the trees and thick vine coverage kept it from getting too hot.

Vuss extended his newly-grown leg, the muscle flexing.

“That’s it, keep going.”


Frell nodded.

He took another step. She released his hand. Two more steps and he teetered again. She grabbed under his shoulder and held him before he fell over.

“Nuh! Wanna swim! Cen’t breef.”

Well, Vuss was typically brave. In this, he wasn’t. Pretty much the complete opposite.

“You need to walk… come on… you can do it!”

Vuss pouted and squirmed away from her to dive back into the water. Frell sighed. Landbound nothkin would never understand the frustration of trying to teach a formerly-aquatic child how to walk… she wondered if the usual Mistseek dwellers teaching their children to swim was as frustrating at this. She always saw clusters of kids screaming and jumping into the ocean, but she hadn’t seen one yet that didn’t know how.

Frell tensed up, bent her legs and vaulted through the air after Vuss. She swam after him quickly and her powerful limbs quickly outpaced his slower speed. She wrestled with him and carried him back to the shallows. They argued underwater. Koltese word delivery in water was more truncated, mostly consonants only. Highly dependent on context.

“Dn wnn! N! Nnn!”

“Km n!”

Frell lifted Vuss out of the water and he struggled.

“Wa-wa! Want wa-wa! No step! Wawer!”

Annoyed, she put him down as his weight grew heavier and he fled back to the water. She groaned. Flopped down in the mud.

Her female parent, Kurdra, has tasked her with teaching her little brother to swim today but it wasn’t going to happen. She’d have to explain why and get a lecture on her inability to properly make her siblings mind.


Frell had to face the fact she was terrible at this. She just stared out across the green swamp, lost in her thoughts. Ripples as Vuss swam deeper into the muck traced across the surface. She could catch him again, but what was the point? It wasn’t like it was going to get any easier now that he’d already given up.

She wished her brothers and sisters had half the determination she had.

It just didn’t seem to come as easily to them as it did her.


Published by Watercolorheart

Artist, animator, painter, writer, aspiring musician. Working on short stories for an animated series called Sparse. Pen name Lyn Mitre.

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