Nine Varieties. It’s release eve! Suuzu and the Nine Nippets of Legend was a lot of fun to write. I’ve been making up nippet lore and dealing with a “moody chicken.” And then the other Smythe brother showed up, and … well, things got interesting-er! Recently, it occurred to me that not everyone may realize just how PERVASIVE nippets are in the Amaranthing Saga & Songs. So … a montage of sorts!
Nippets first appear in Bk3: Tamiko and the Two Janitors:
Joe sighed and lifted his hand. A tiny bird, no bigger than a walnut and just as deep a brown, alighted briefly on his fingertips. Its speckled throat puffed out, and it warbled three notes, like liquid crystal, piercingly sweet.
They were one of his favorites.
He’d always wondered why no one else seemed to be able to see them.
Joe nicknamed them “flutter nuggets,” and that line may have cemented their place as recurring Ephemera in the remainder of the books/stories. They turned up next in Hemmed in Silver (Songs of the Amaranthine, #5):
Thrussel spoke up. “Dun nippets are wild, but I’ve heard of people keeping coral nippets as pets. They have showier plumage.”
“I had a friend who kept azure nippets by the dozen.” Uncle Wyn chuckled at the memory. “He was in so much trouble when the mares found his flock.”
I added a new color of nippets in Fumiko and the Finicky Nestmate:
Although Portia’s wards were an impenetrable barrier to problems, big and small, she’d made allowances for many species, including migrating avians. Hummingbirds darted amidst the branches, which bore clusters of fragrant purple flowers all year round. Tiny birds, bright as jewels. Most people thought of them as the smallest of birdkind. But only because they’d never seen a nippet.
“Vert nippets.” Fumiko hadn’t seen one in a while.
And there was a passing mention in Captured on Film (Songs of the Amaranthine, #6), since nippets were among the ranks of Caleb Dare’s figments:
Eyes crossing as he looked down, Josheb mock-whispered, “Tell me I don’t have one of those baby krakens on me.”
Josheb had taken exception to the tiny airborne figments with tentacles. Caleb was fairly sure the miniature jellyfish were harmless, but they gave Josheb a case of the shudders.
“Birds,” he quickly assured, wanting to put him at ease.
Josheb glanced around. There were birds everywhere. “How do you know they’re figments?”
“You can’t see them,” Caleb reasoned. “And they’re too tiny to be anything but figments.”
He made a circle with his thumb and forefinger. “And they’re purple.”
Caleb rolled his eyes. Then checked his phone. With a crooked smile, he said, “See for yourself.”
Josheb squinted at the display, zoomed in, and muttered, “What in …? How are those birds? They look like tiny pom-poms.”
“Easier to tell when they’re flying.” It was silly, defending the goofy little puffballs. But they were one kind he didn’t mind so much, possibly because they weren’t an amalgam of anything.
Nine as the final tally was locked in when Akira received a courting gift for Suuzu from Rafter near the end of Bk5: Fumiko and the Finicky Nestmate.
Akira quietly suggested, “And you can hold onto my ankle bracelet for me. So we each still have a part.”
Without hesitation, Suuzu dropped to his knees and lifted Akira’s pantleg. And stilled.
“I thought it’d be good to have something of each other’s. In case the trip gets long.”
Very gently, Suuzu slipped the knot and claimed the length of braid that held a small, tuned stone … and the pretty bit of jewelry Rafter had found.
Best Akira could tell, it was some kind of scarf pin, the sort of thing favored by dragons, phoenixes, and any other clan whose traditional wardrobe involved an excess of draping cloth. The craftsmanship was definitely Amaranthine, because the ornament was comprised of a ring of nine tiny eggs, each a different color.
When Suuzu finally looked up at him, his eyes were enormous, and his lips were trembling.
“Nippet eggs,” Akira managed.
Suuzu stood and swayed closer.
“Did you know I can see nippets now? It’s something really small, but … it’s something.” Akira was supposed to be letting the gift speak for him, but he couldn’t help adding, “It’s a start.”
I think it’s cute that neither of the boys truly understood the significance of the gift at that time. (By the same token, *I* didn’t realize I’d be creating and spinning out that significant in an upcoming story. But I’m glad it worked out that way.)
Suuzu and the Nine Nippets of Legend picks up right after the events of Bk5 … and before the ending of Bk6: Pimiko and the Uncharted Island. So just like our other Amaranthine Interlude story (LMM), you’ll be catching a glimpse of what’s going on behind the scenes & between the books.
Anyone care to guess what the other varieties of nippets are called? No harm, no foul. (Or … fowl? Heh.)
You can still pre-order Suuzu and the Nine Nippets of Legend (Amaranthine Interludes, #2). So far, it’s only showing up on Amazon. Release Day is tomorrow: May 4. I’ll be setting up the Release Day post (and attendant squee post) to post at midnight in my time zone.
I can’t wait!! And hmmm…
We’ve got dun, azure, vert, coral…
I feel like the purple ones mentioned are called violet, and I feel like indigo has to be indigo… same with orange…
Yellow…. Ugh, I can only think gold for the German geld or maybe sun or lemon or something.
And if coral doesn’t count as red (I’m not counting it in my head) maybe crimson? Or vermillion? Rouge for the French??? Rouge nippets…. Sounds like a product Jacques would use 😂
Of course now I’m coming up with other names, hahaha… thistle nippets for purple? Fire nippets for orange? The possibilities are endless…
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How about Rose nippets? Amethyst nippets? Flame nippets? The possibilities are indeed endless!!
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