Lia collected feathers.

Operating outside the fine delimitations of social conduct had the advantage of freedom for spontaneity. A deeply imbedded impulse told her that feathers were nice and she wanted to keep them close. She squatted to the ground and carefully analysed each feather, debating if to take it or leave it be. Debating if it was pretty enough. For other people, after a while, the purpose of a collection was no longer the object, but the quantity. Lia, however, did not consider it a collection, hence her fascination with the object itself. She'd never counted her feathers once.

Sometimes they made jokes, the other apprentices. They said she was preparing her wings for when she'd want to become a little flying deity. Merna ru-Danji wasn't amused by this. As she'd said to her cousin Dainee once, "If she does fly, I hope she does so soon. And I mean well before parasites find the feathers..."

Even so, Merna was not sure WHERE Lia kept her feather collection. This was alarming in and of itself, because the old woman did not want to have any unpleasant surprises involving lice and insect-eating birds.

People took her in stride, though, and one student from Amenore even taught Lia how to use the feathers to tie her hair up in a bun. This, she'd said, was an old forgotten tradition in Amenore-Under-Forest, where she was from.

Lia accepted this with a smile, internally wishing she could visit Amenore one day. They must have beautiful feathers if they were used to decorate. Beautiful birds, too, probably.

The attachments Lia formed to objects instead of people was perhaps a bit unsettling and a little sad. It also surprised those who had gotten used to her. For many, the overall impression was that Lia would end up living like a monk, in solitude, giving no regard to the outside world, but only to their internal microcosmos. Most honestly believed Lia would end that way and this was her only reason for being there in the first place.

---

At times, you would see a crippled man begging at the corner, missing a leg or an arm. Those deeply upset by this would, perhaps, become instantaneously fascinated by their own functional limbs. Perhaps they'd hold their hands in front of their eyes and stare are the moving fingers, fascinated by the intricacies underneath the skin that made, through a thought, movement possible.

Lia's fascination to feathers was similar to this. She often paid attention only to her own thoughts, letting the world around her be covered by a dull pelicule of disinterest until the point she'd suddenly notice it again, noticed it and its vibrant colours. Things that were there and she'd taken for granted. Small, insignificant details.

Lia collected feathers much in the same way some people made mental notes. To remind herself.