"Hey, Lachesis, don't you think you might have just a bit of a problem?" Lorelei asked from the doorway to her friend's room.
Lachesis glanced up from where she was writing at her desk. "Oh hey, Lorelei," she said, waving for her friend to come in. "I have no idea what you're talking about." A male adult quail amagnae had been sleeping nestled in her hair; it woke now, chirping indignantly and pecking her.
"Oh hush," Lachesis said. "I'm almost done with this essay. Besides, it would be rude to ignore Lorelei. Go back to sleep." She reached up, fondly scritching the bird's head, and rose up from her seat.
Lorelei watched all this happen, not having moved from her spot in the doorway. A bird nesting in Lachesis's hair was far from an uncommon occurrence, but that was hardly the only quail in the room. In one corner, a female adult dozed, a half-dozen or so quail hatchlings nestled in her feathers. In the next corner, a flock of at least twenty hatchlings were playing an elaborate game of hide-and-seek crossed with tag, running in and out from under Lachesis's furniture. On the windowsill above the bed, another ten or so were snuggling with Lachesis's cinersi Calida. Two adults and five hatchlings were splashing around happily in a small washbasin. A multitude of hatchlings were simply milling about every which way, chasing specks of dust and each other. Lorelei wasn't sure she could set foot in her friend's room without accidentally stepping on one.
Lachesis made her way over to Lorelei, sending adorable fluffballs scattering every which way around her. "What's up, Lorelei?"
Lorelei glanced around the room at the huge abundance of quails and simply raised an eyebrow.
Lachesis grinned. "Aren't they the cutest?"
Lorelei groaned. Clearly this was one of those cases where having birds overrode her friend's good sense. "But don't you think having this many is, you know, just a little bit excessive? Especially if they're all going to live in your room?"
Lachesis considered for a brief moment, then shook her head. "They're so cute! Besides, they all cuddle with me at night and it's so warm, and the instant an insect steps inside my room it becomes a birdie snack. They've also found 30 gold and several pieces of jewelry I thought I'd lost forever."
Lorelei shook her head. "You're crazy." She paused, thinking. "How did you get this many, anyway?"
"I uh, may or may not have sold all the things I was holding onto as winter solstice presents," Lachesis said, shrugging. A few quail chicks ran up to her, begging for treats, and Lachesis bent to scoop them up, holding them on the crook of one arm as she reached into her robes to produce a packet of berries. "Wanna feed them?" she asked, holding the packet out to Lorelei. Lorelei nodded and took the packet. The quail chicks chirped eagerly, extending their necks and gaping beaks toward her as she shook some berries out.
"It's not fair that Aderyn gets all the fun," Lachesis said as Lorelei dropped berries into the chicks' waiting mouths. Suddenly most of the hatchlings in the room noticed that treats were being handed out and ran over, all chirping and demanding to be fed. Lachesis put the chicks she'd been holding down, producing more berries out of her robes. "When I get my alchemist robes, I'm going to start my own amagnae farm on the side," she continued.
"You can't just run an amagnae farm as a side thing," Lorelei pointed out, but Lachesis ignored her. Lorelei sighed. Her friend was clearly beyond help at the moment. It was probably best to hope that her cuteness-fogged brain would clear up in a week. Well, more likely a month. Possibly close to a year. Lorelei sighed again, remembering Lachesis's similar situation with wild amagnae hatchlings many years ago, pygmy phoenixes a few years ago, and dismots the year after that. The wild amagnae, thank the gods, had left to nest in the forest and didn't visit. Most of the pygmy phoenix army had eventually decided to wander out to explore the world on their own, much to Lachesis's sorrow, but they came back from time to time. The dismots eventually decided they liked the Keep's dedicated area for them more, but they also occasionally wandered back into her room. Visiting Lachesis at the wrong time still sometimes meant instant rainbow-colored death by voracious chickens.
Lorelei shuddered at that particular memory. Well, at least quail were cute. Definitely better-natured than wild amagnae. She supposed that was probably the best thing she could hope for, considering, and returned to feeding cute hatchlings.