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Rose-Owlet

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Owls, not flowers, she thought, angrily pushing through the hindering tall grasses and curling vines. Petals drifted into her eyes, clouds of color obscuring her sight. Pollen-sticky stamens clung to her skin, making passage through the greenery even more annoying as the feathery tassels of grass stuck in turn to the pollen. Her hair fluttered, tendrils spiraling into runners that reached out to catch at leaves as she passed, tugging at bramble thorns. If she stopped, she would quickly be rooted fast in greenery, a bright mass of shifting hue and deceptive softness amidst the pale grass-stems. Her thorns would protect her, the ground and air and rain nourish her for the rooted season, but she would be stuck, fixed fast to one place, for as long as the green fit lasted. She wanted owls, and flight; moon, not sun, feathers, talons, wide-seeing eyes rather than petals, thorns and blindly seeking roots. Winter, not spring.

She had things to do. And her thorns and roots might not protect her. As they had not apparently protected her sisters, taken as rootlings, before they ever learned speech, or knew how to dance in the air, move swift over the earth. Not cut down - that would have been tragedy enough, but understandable if not necessarily forgivable. But to be cut out of the ground, roots and all, prisoned in green-form and stolen away from the land that knew them, kin and kind. That was neither comprehensible not forgivable. She would not be caught, but she would follow. She would find the heavy-footed, iron-wielding, fixed-form thieves and get her sisters back. They had no right. No right at all.

Grass gave way beneath her feet to bare and stony soil, and thence to rock. The rootlets pushing at her soles retreated, and her toes curled together, growing hard and sharp. The viney tendrils of hair straightened into sleek tresses, then stiffened into pinion and fanned out into feathers. Owl now, creature of air, wing, flight, to follow the reavers, find where they went, and stop them if she could. She wasn't going to sit, rooted and weeping, doing nothing. Not her.