Chapter 22 – Strength From Weakness
The last endeavor; that phrase filled me with excitement, but at the same time there was also a blemish of dread. As I continued debating how to give them wings, in my uncertainty the blemish became a stain, and soon began to infect the resolve I had finally managed to attain.
I began to puzzle the warning I was given. It had been building up for some time, and while I inherently understood what the warning entailed now, I couldn’t help but be mystified at how I knew and why it had come only now. It made me feel as though there was something out there, something greater than the sum of myself, watching me. Did I myself have an Overseer? It was certainly not impossible. Perhaps it was the same entity that granted me visions of my own memories. Perhaps it was from that part of me that kept memories hidden until I needed them. There was no way to verify the truth. All I could do was ponder many what-ifs.
What I did know was that this endeavor, this major change to allow flight, would be the final one. No longer would I be able to make large-scale changes to their anatomy. That was the feeling I came to know from it. As for what would happen after it was complete, that was still the realm of the unknown.
There was a sudden pressure hanging over me. What if I didn’t get it right? What if I took too long and it wasn’t complete? The fear of unknown consequences was frightening indeed. I had finally found my resolve only to run into a new obstacle. The more I thought about it, the more I agonized, my resolve slowly slipping. I didn’t want to doom them to some strange half-state incapable of flight, I wanted to empower them. I wanted them to take the sky in their hands.
As I suffered from my own internal turmoil, I felt from my family heart a sense of soothing. They attempted to calm me when my doubt was running rampant. I let it wash over me, erasing all my thoughts. I was thinking too much, and it felt good to revel in the unthinking calm of my family heart. The issue wasn’t what could go wrong, but overthinking things; looking at all the worst outcomes and trying to see too far into the future. Although I should retain some caution, it would do me no good to fear a future I could not see. I needed to let go of my irrational fears, lest they overwhelm me again.
I thanked all my lizards for helping me regain myself, sending a wave of gratitude through them. How lost I would have been without them, with only my uncontrolled and raging thoughts. They always seemed to save me from myself.
My thoughts once again under control, I set forth with my mission. The hands I had worked so hard to give them, I was bound and determined to keep them. That meant I must look for another way to give them wings. I kept on a lookout for even the smallest thing that could help me towards that goal.
There were no bright lights among the unborn to save me in my time of need. I instead looked to the dimmer lights, those that were weak. There were always many of them, and I had left them alone for their inability to survive on their own. But as my thoughts broadened from being unburdened, I felt I had the power to turn that weakness into a strength. Surely if this was the my last major change to them, I could sink all of my power into it. Tens of thousands of tiny lights in many mothers raced to be born and I waded through all of them, waiting for that spark.
When it did come, it was not where I had expected. It was an unborn that had already begun growing, or rather two unborns inside one egg. Twins inside eggs were rare, and there were very few instances where they were able to hatch; nearly all of them died within the first few weeks of development. This particular one was on its way to death. One of the twins was already malformed inside the egg, and when it died, the rot inside the egg would cause the other to perish. An all too common occurrence.
The spark came to me then, not from the twins I could not save, but from a memory triggered by them. The memory did not come from a personal experience, but from previously known knowledge. In my people, when a twin died while developing, they sometimes did not die completely. They could be kept alive by the other twin, feeding off its nutrients, and continuing to grow inside it. A parasitic twin. It was not the parasitic twin itself that gave me the idea, but rather remembered images of mutations, deformities, and birth defects. Like most of the weak lights, these things made the body strange, brittle, feeble, sometimes unrecognizable. There were even such things among lizards as periodically those weak lights would fertilize eggs and be strong enough to hatch. Most died young; others lived with the invalids, unable to care for themselves. But there were yet some that did not let their birth differences slow them down. Their bodies might have been weakened, but their hearts were strong. So long as they did not give up, they could make a future for themselves. Such individuals were rare, but they were all the more inspiring for it. A small and frail light could become a bright shining beacon of hope.
It was a deformity I now looked for, a strange mutation. They needed another set of arms to mature into wings. They would be small and weak at first, but they would grow strong, and with time, I knew I could shape them to carry my lizards into the sky. That was the future I could make for them.