It was the 4th of July yesterday! We had fun. It was great. Lots of explosions. Hung out with people.
Let’s talk about something I’ve been mildly obsessed with for, like, months. Nay, years.
That sounds stupid but please let me continue.
So like, winged people. Yes it sounds like it came out of a fanfiction. No I’m not talking about angels. Yes I understand it is not an original concept. No I’m not giving it up you can pry my Wingers out of my cold dead hands and even then I doubt you could do it.
I’m just gonna rant about my baby bird children okay.
So first of all you guys need a little context. Once upon a time in uhhhhh July 2019, I’m pretty sure, I was part of a Google Hangouts chat made up of girls from my choir that were almost as obsessed with writing as me. I think a couple of you are probably reading this, in that case, hlo, how do, please don’t be offended by any of this.
So there we were, I at my grandparents’ house to teach a CEF vacation Bible school, and I open my laptop and it is EXPLODING with Hangouts messages. There’s a whole new group chat. There are pictures being sent from all parties. I’m seeing dragon-people, werewolves, a ‘hot dude’ with a sword that I’m pretty sure was the My Chemical Romance guy considering who sent it, incredibly impractical but aesthetically pleasing armor, and underneath and behind it all, the scrambled beginnings of something confounding, something terrifying, something I still fear the thought of to this day.
A six-way co-authored novel.
Oh heck no.
To continue the story, I’m going to tell it the way that the lore of the world explains it, because I want to.
Once upon a time there were five creators. These creators were all unique in their imaginations, their skills, and their desire to create. But at some point they all decided to create something together, using all of their cumulative abilities to make something incredible.
The world began in a flurry of action. The elves came first, wise and creative. Then the draconic giants. Werewolves and kitsunes haunted the dark forests, forests already ancient and knowing in their first hours of existence. Dwarves found mountains, developing craft and the keeping of records. Humans came last, innovative and stubborn and adventurous. Creatures, too. Dragons and wolves and cows and horses and phoenix and catwings, many many more.
Only days after it had begun existing, the world began falling apart.
The creators began arguing, disagreeing on how their shared world should work. Plagues swept the land with their experiments. Entire races died out, the werewolves becoming extinct too quickly. Natural disasters rocked the very ground underfoot as entire continents were rearranged.
Then a sixth creator showed up. Older than the rest, more experienced in creation, awed and concerned at this undertaking and willing to stabilize it.
She quietly repaired the broken pieces, fitting them together in a new way. The elves grew more friendly, no longer arrogant and hermitlike from the other races. Dwarves left the mountains, broadening their skills and growing to a powerful nation. Dragons grew less aggressive, at last becoming more livestock than feral beasts. Plagues died out, the earth settled, and there was a sort of awkward, friendly harmony throughout.
Eventually, the original five grew tired with the world. No one knew why, perhaps they did not provide enough excitement, perhaps the creators were bored with each other, perhaps they found their personal projects more worth their time. So one by one, they abandoned this world.
Except for the sixth. She stayed. In fact, she took control, and the feeling of the next creations were almost giddy.
Wingers. The last-born, the favorites. Small in stature, friendly and curious, this race was like a younger sibling to the humans. They were bird-like in nature and almost in appearance, human but for their feathered wings.
After the Wingers arrived, the world quieted.
That’s the lore version, and I think you can see what happened in real life. After like a week of feverish planning, the younger girls abandoned the project and I was left with the only actual writing of it, the first chapter I’d written because I was given control of the main character, the villain, and the overarching plot.
I probably should not have been given that much power.
But even though the others abandoned it, I still had a story to tell! A story about a young man, a prince, suffering from a mysterious illness and searching for a cure so he can be with his family again. Also a story about a world with medieval vibes but cyberpunk technology. A story with maybe the best villain I’ve ever come up with.
And also Wingers.
Wingers were kind of a late addition to the party, only coming into the story maybe four months ago as opposed to the story starting almost exactly two years ago. They came about because of an entirely different story with Ariella. See, I was in a mood to mix things up a little. So I suggested that we put our OCs in a different universe, one where everyone is a fantasy character. So Aislinn became a halfling (like a hobbit but more generic) Ariella Newheart and Zaiden became elves, Jinx became a changeling fae (actually he was that already) and Mick became a Winger.
This story is literally longer than any of my books.
But about halfwayish through, the gang goes to Mick’s home town, a place full of Wingers, and I went just a little, a tiny bit nuts with the worldbuilding.
They’re cool okay!?
But then I had aaaaaaall this awesome culture and lore and backstory and character and nowhere permanent to put any of it. And boy did I want to have a permanent place to put it, because I was head over heels in love with my Wingers.
So I thought to myself, hm, what could I use for these guys? Maybe a half-developed story, one with minimal concrete geography and politics, where the addition of an entire group wouldn’t disrupt anything plot-wise.
The Healing Winds story.
I really want to tell you the plot, because I’m quite proud of it, but I don’t think I will because it might actually be a book one day and basically all I know is major spoilers.
But I CAN infodump you with Winger culture!
To start off with, Wingers are smol bois. The tallest of them are like, five foot max. Obviously it’s easier to fly when you’re small, but this is also because I want them to be small. And I’m the one in charge.
I should NOT EVER be given power.
A lot of their society is, predictably, based on their wings. They can be that of any kind of bird. Mick is a red-tailed hawk, by the way. The kind of wings you have effect what you do in the community, like raptors are generally warriors, songbirds are caretakers and creatives, corvids are businesspeople, things like that.
There’s also the appearance of wings, though.
Some Wingers have eyespots on their feathers. Wingers with eyespots are instinctively treated with deference and obeyed, and flaring wings to expose them is a show of authority. So many people with eyespots are leaders or teachers or healers, because those people need to be respected. But obviously, not everyone is born with the spots and that makes there be a little bit of a power shift. So, people in charge of things will often buy expensive feather dyes or jewelry to make it appear that they have eyespots, at least to the instincts.
So much emotion is conveyed through the wings, like SO MUCH. Minute movements, feather fluffing and smoothing, flares and tucks. Shielding one of your flock with your wings is something so innate to them that they do it to non-winger friends without thinking twice, either trying to protect them from direct danger or wrapping wings around them in a comforting embrace to keep them safe from their own emotions. Wings jerking around and flapping is the same as waving your hands around when you get excited about something you’re talking about. Which, actually, explains why Wingers don’t normally keep things like pottery or glass out as decoration.
Their cities are constructed in forests, houses built in the trees with bridges and platforms connecting them. Kind of like Ewoks. But cooler. Because Ewoks can’t fly. Older authority figures tend to live higher, while families with young children tend to live closer to the ground, for obvious reasons. Houses for non-winger visitors are at ground level or just above. Houses are built with large windows and balconies, as well as perching places on roofs. Normally they just fly everywhere, but there are hoverlifts and unnecessarily lovely staircases to get to places if you can’t fly for whatever reason.
(I mean look, if you’re going to have staircases everywhere, you’re going to make them as cool looking as possible)
Their government system is still in the works, but at a city level, they are ruled by a city council of sorts who collaborate to make decisions. There might be a king or official or something like that who oversees the entire country, but things are still being worked on in that department. In the story where I created them, this council was . . .making dodgy decisions. And honestly who can blame them when a tyrannical elf queen with magical powers and a pet assassin makes them an offer? Maybe they’ll keep making dodgy decisions in the Healing Winds universe, maybe they won’t.
It’s a book.
Nobody makes good decisions.
There’s a bunch of little, like, headcanon-y things like preening, how children learn to fly, nesting, feather collecting, and things like that, but they aren’t super developed yet as I haven’t had opportunity to test-write them yet. But oh boy. Will I stuff as much Winger fluff into this story as I possibly can? Absolutely. Is anybody going to want to read it?
. . . .
From what I’ve seen, probably yes, actually.
Tell me in the comments what you think, and if you’ve ever gone absolutely crazy with something like this. I’d like to know I’m not the only one?
And also, the other girls gave me permission to keep the story. Just so you know. I’m not stealing. It’s mine now.
See you next week!