The wind hissed through the brittle grass, as displeased to carry the chill as those who had to suffer it. The Takano River followed behind. Resistant to freezing, it snickered naked around the many shoals that broke it. Together they gave voice to the otherwise silent winter, ambiance to the egret court preparing to move to its winter palace.
The tall egret kings snapped orders from their rocky thrones and delighted to watch the lesser birds scatter at their command. First left, then right. Stand in pairs and then in threes. Order by age, and then by height and then by order of who could fetch them the most fish from the sluggish river. Cormorant acrobats darted between the white birds, spreading their black wings wide to designate the line boundaries as the kings dictated them. Before long, the entire court was…
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