Ecco discovers a fish with a very unusual home.
Many of the stories are long enough that I am comfortable with giving them their own entry on an archive, and they can be found via my profile, but others are either too short in wordcount or in focus to be given their own entry. They are the vignettes and drabbles of the challenge; obviously I like them enough to count them as stories, but I don't feel they are strong enough to stand on their own at an archive. So, they are collected here and presented in the order I wrote them; consequently, this collection skips all over the Ecco timeline.
With all that out of the way, I hope you enjoy these pods and ends.
Disclaimer: Ecco and his world belong to Appaloosa Interactive.
Title: The Sting-flower Fish
Summary: Ecco discovers a fish with a very unusual home.
Characters: Ecco, a random clownfish, and a random sea anemone
Prompt: Number 12, Orange
Word Count: 445
Ecco had stopped his journey to the Big Blue to feed and rest. He had accomplished the first task as easily as ever, and he was floating at the surface to complete the second, dozing in the half-sleep of the Singers. He was singing his Song of Sight to watch for the Hungry Ones; his song saw none, but it did see something neither it nor his eyes had ever seen. A fish was swimming among the tentacles of a sting-flower, unharmed and uneaten. Ecco began to wake up at this oddity, instincts wondering at first if the strangeness was dangerous, intellect wanting to know more once he was completely conscious. He took a diving breath and went to investigate.
As he dove, he saw a flash of orange among the green-blue of the sting-flower as the strange fish darted in among the tentacles. Ecco circled the sting-flower, singing the Song of Sight as he went, curious and hungry for the fish - hungry more in his brain than in his stomach.
"How can such a thing be?" he said, singing to no one but himself. "Why does the sting-flower not eat the fish, but let it swim freely inside it? Is the sting-flower sick, perhaps?" He completed another circle. "Yes... perhaps that is the thing. I wonder what sort of fish is so bold to swim among the tentacles of even a sick sting-flower." Ecco swam slowly up to the sting-flower and poked at it with his snout, not quite sure what to expect from it. With a squeak, he pulled back again as his snout touched the sting-flower - the tingling at the end of his jaws said the sting-flower was quite healthy.
He circled the fish's fortress again, half looking at it with his song and half singing a frustrated but somewhat respectful song at the fish. "Clever and tricky fish, to fool a sting-flower; very clever indeed, to fool a thing with no thought. What trick do you use? A stranger home there never was, little orange fish. But I suppose never a safer, either; if Singers could fool the sting-flowers, we would not need to fight the Hungry Ones."
He completed another circle, singing only the Song of Sight, before adding to his song to the fish.
"...But would the sting-flower save you from the Winds of Water? It took even the Shelled Ones."
At this Ecco abruptly surfaced, shooting into the Dry Side with a spin, landing again in the water to return to dozing, muttering quietly in the middle of his Song of Sight as he returned to a Singer's half-sleep.
"No sting-flower would save anything from the Storm..."