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Little Teyla

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Little Teyla turns, strikes and slides away. Her sister-cousin bends back, but Teyla hears her hiss and puff, breath coming hard now, but still steady. Blindfolded, barefoot, with a banto stick in each hand, she dances to the steady thump, thump, thump of her heart, and the wild crack of wood on wood.

She feels fallen leaves beneath her feet as she circles, sticks spinning and ready. Some are still so fresh as to rustle and crackle with careless step. She must move lightly, Father said: float like fog, flow like water. Never make a sound, never let them find you.

Today Teyla thinks she feels it. Finally. These moons past, she's sprouted like a tarrok tree, all angles and awkwardness, forever tripping and bruising. Now, unseeing, she feels the wind and the waves in her arms, hips and heart. In this careless moment, she flies.