Tuesday, November 04, 2008


I'm finally growing my winter coat. It took longer than usual this year - usually, the fur starts coming in soon after the first freeze. Maybe being in the Train confused it. It's warm inside, between the people and the salamanders, though I've had to wear three coats whenever I go out. I can see why so many reptiles hibernate through the Winter.

Unfortunately, this means I'll have to shed the scales I've had over the Summer. That's never fun. Anyone who thinks shedding fur is bad has never had scales. Actually, shedding skins normally is fine - it's a strange feeling when they're loose but not off yet, and the eyelids aren't much fun, but you get used to it after a while. I've done it three or four times already this year. Last year, I found out that shed skins - intact ones - are worth a good bit at the Cormilack cloth market. There are more reptiles in Cormilack than average; most mammals don't like having wet fur for half the year. As a result of that, and of Lady Xeredile's usual eye for opportunities, Cormilack is one of Hamjamser's main sources of shed skins (or "scale silk," as people prefer to call them). Scale silk raincoats are very popular among people who can afford them and don't mind wearing secondhand skin. They're completely waterproof, and the scale patterns make each one different. (Oddly enough, even people who like wearing leather often find the idea creepy. Don't ask me why.)

It seemed a bit strange at first to be selling my own skin (ex-skin?), but I wasn't about to turn down five gold Loundas because of that. I'm quite used to it by now. I've been keeping my shed skins since then, when I have room in my suitcases. There's no telling when I might pass through Cormilack again - or, for that matter, somewhere else where people are interested in scale silk. I'll have to see if anyone uses it in Tetravania. My scales this summer have been pale green with blue spots. I'll be rather sad to see them go.

Usually, though, I only shed the outer layer of whatever scales I have; they just sort of fade when something else replaces them. This time, for whatever reason, the scales are coming off whole, all at once - and the new fur has already started growing between them. This has happened once or twice before. It itches.

Most of the time, I enjoy the effects of having Shapeshifter ancestry, but I prefer the more gradual changes.

Oh well. With any luck, I'll find someone who's interested in buying an unusually thick shed skin covered with whole scales and lots of little holes from fur growing through it. It'll certainly be unusual.

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