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An idea I'm working on. If blame is to be apportioned, it goes to [personal profile] ravurian.

Sometimes I think she's a little bit mad. But then I'm hardly one to talk, am I? It's just that, in Nora, our mother's witchiness and our father's mathematical precision seem to have been spun together into a thread made up of spider silk, nearly unbreakable, but strange and a little sinister.

I, on the other hand, seem to have been spun of bulkier stuff: I am practical, like father's careful engineering and mother's herbal concoctions. I am just wool--and none too finely spun, either. Mother said that my magic was of earth, and Father would say, "That's just ingenuity, Lorna. Just plain human ingenuity. Our Jamie has a lot of it."

When I came into the shed that day, Nora was elbows-deep in a bucket of dye--a kind of brownish violet. Three other buckets were lined up on the trestle table. She was just lifting a hank of yarn, dripping darkly, and muttering to herself.

"Is it more blue or more green?" she asked. Then she turned her face toward the dusty window and said, "Why won't you tell me?"

It was a moment before I realized that she was speaking to a crow, whose hoarse call came in from the yard. "Why won't he tell you what?" I asked. Nora started, then turned, careless of the dye dripping onto her apron.

She sighed. "What color his wings are."

"They're black," I suggested.

Nora looked at me steadily for a long moment, very little expression in her eyes. Finally she said, "No. They are not black." The "you idiot" was silent. "They are blue, and green, and purple, and brown. But the colors are all black."

I supposed she was right. Very little in the animal kingdom is really black. Even a black cat will show ruddy and golden in strong sunlight. Lots of birds have an iridescence to their feathers. I had never thought of a crow as being other than black, but of course, Nora was right.

"Why do you need to know?" I asked.

"Because I want to make a wing."

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