Ravyn vs. Paranormal Romance: The Were-Kiwi

When my paranormal romance class assigned me the description of a supernatural creature, I had a bit of an advantage already; the combination of being in that class, and going home on the trolley one day having just finished Discount Armageddon, had already put me in the mood to come up with a supernatural protagonist of a somewhat odd stripe, fleshed out from my boyfriend’s old comment that sometime he wanted to see a were-kiwi. (You may remember this tidbit from when I posted the pigeon picture.) I’d even freewritten most of it already. So it wasn’t that hard to take the original idea, edit it up, remove some of the speculation I’d done that might spoil the story later (let me put it this way: I know where the mass goes), and send it in. The main thing I needed to add was the name—and I will note that its similarity to my name was accidental. I flipped to a page, it sounded cool, I used it. The result was as follows:

My name is Eira. I’m nineteen years old and currently enrolled at UCSD. I am also–please restrain yourself to three minutes of laughter–a were-kiwi. Yes, kiwi. The one with the tiny vestigial wings, the long beak, and the hairlike feathers. I hide it. A lot.

Before we go on, you are not to call me a lycan. No, capitalization does not matter; the term is still offensive. Lycanthropes are werewolves. Do the etymology. Even the werepanthers are offended by the term. So I am a therianthrope, and the short term is therian. If we run into shapeshifters who aren’t solely attuned to one animal species, we will call them something else. We clear? Good.

So. I’m about five foot six, plus or minus. They call me overweight now, but a couple decades ago I would’ve been perfectly normal. My kiwi form is nothing special. And no, I can’t take furry form, and I haven’t even tried. Sure, the beak would be useful when I’m mixing perfumes, but I have a bad feeling that the base species having vestigial wings would translate to any hybrid forms lacking hands. My species doesn’t have very good vision, and neither do I–I tried contacts, but glasses work better in case I do need to shift. I don’t generally dress up, and I’ve considered giving up on getting my hair to resemble anything but Medusa at the end of a long day, but I always wear perfume, home-made, and rarely the same exact scent twice. Most of my mixes have just enough manuka in them that I can smell it; that way, I don’t have to worry about turning into a bird when startled. The variation–well, ever since the Internet drove therians out from under the bushes, it’s been well known that perfume is a therian thing. Every species has a scent that keeps them stable. Mine just happens to be leptospermum scoparium. Either way, since people know to sniff for one distinctive scent, I vary it up. It’s not that being therian is that bad a thing in this day and age, but then I’d have to explain my species, and the invasive species jokes and dodo references will never end.

Fortunately, the rest of my life goes pretty well with making perfumes in my spare time. I’m majoring in biology, so it’s been good practice–I’ve mastered the chemistry labs on isolating essential oils, and I plan someday on creating cloaking scents for traveling biologists. I’m intrigued by animals, a dab hand with Punnett squares, and as an added bonus, I’m at the forefront of arcanobiological research, helping the new department at UCSD figure out what determines which scents ground us and where all the mass goes when we shapeshift. Let’s just say the scholarship is impressive.

My other species gives me a number of interesting qualities. Makes me a night owl, only without the predatory tendencies. I recognize people’s voices before I do their faces, and I have a passion for escargot. You’ve probably heard of therian kinks, the porn industry has a field day with us and our species-influenced oddities, but mine are more like anti-kinks, practically a pre-zygotic barrier in and of themselves. Side effect of shifting into most bird species, particularly mine, is that external genitalia stop being quite so hot. (Yes, I know, most birds. Were-ducks have their own issues.)

My politics–well, as you’ve guessed, social activism is a bit of a Thing for me. I suppose I technically lean liberal, though I’m not near as concerned with party as with detectable quantities of human or therian decency and proper funding for research programs. Knowledge, like snails, is a pain to crack into but delicious when acquired.

5 comments

  1. Sean Holland says:

    Delightful! I would read more of this.

  2. Ravyn says:

    Thanks!

    For the most part, Eira’s on the back burner due to difficulties with the real world (read: I would among other things need to find time to go wander around UCSD for a while), but I’ve got a few scenes involving her lying around, one of which is going to be part of this series. I’ll definitely keep it high on my list of potential topics!

  3. UZ says:

    Breaking the law of Conservation of Mass always looked very difficult, judging by the grunting and straining involved. But everyone loves a grunting, straiing therian!

  4. Ravyn says:

    UZ: I’m letting Eira take this one.

    “You’d think that, wouldn’t you? For some reason we don’t work that way. When we first discovered what I was, before we figured out I was stabilized by manuka, it was because someone’d started me and next thing I knew I was a bit smaller than a chicken and my nostrils were the length of my head away from the rest of my face. No straining on the way back, either, just a little vertigo from the abrupt chance in perspectives. My cousin Anna’s the same way–you’d blink and she’d be a pigeon. Both of us think the feather sheaths are a bear, though.”


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