NEW πŸ“—Story: Canteen Wine ❌

The Puffling

Wednesday, Jan 27, 2021

She joined the Puffin Scouts to make friends. Tzipora was not especially rugged or outdoorsy, but she was a fresh patriot, and the idea of collecting awards for conservation, in her mind, was much like Baron collecting medals for killing reds in the War.

The green and gold of the Puffin Scouts represent nature and living blood respectively. Entwined, as here on her scarf, they mean the chaos and inhumanity of nature in Vekllei Semaphore. Puffin Scout troops are based out of a region with a Kronaismioudelfia (Crown Land), which are abandoned wild areas the Vekllei state has relinquished to the natural spirits worshiped in Upen. Hikes aren’t done in Crown Lands because if someone gets hurt or goes missing it can be very difficult to get them out.

These wildernesses captured Tzipora’s imagination, since they are often the site of gods and extranatural features. The animals you saw out there seemed deeply disturbed by the presence of people, as though they were the vessels of spirits, irritated that a human girl had made her way in.

School-aged Puffin Scouts are called Pufflings. In Vekllei, puffin birds are as common as gulls, and nest in cliffs where they raise their young in burrows. Tzipora, despite being a Puffling, never had much luck with puffins. They seemed to exempt her from their natural friendliness and curiosity β€” they flew away whenever she came close, and when they didn’t fly away they attacked her. She joined the Puffin Scouts to make friends, and yet here she was, cast out from both the Human and Animal Kingdoms.

In this picture, Tzipora watches a puffin in full scout regalia, wary of its intent. The birds make cute novelties for some, but Tzipora knows better. Just like Baron in the war, she sits still and watches closely, listening for movement on the wind. They are locked in a battle of the wits, waiting to see who will make the first move.