"What are you doing to your wings?" demanded Joshua.
"Dyeing them black," replied Erys, her voice strangely distant as it always was when she fell into one of her moods. Her older brother looked in disbelief at the mess all over the back yard, especially the floor, Erys' dress, her arms up to the elbows and her face as well as the relatively small amount of dye that actually ended up on her wings.
"You really are clumsy," he sighed, reaching to take the brush off her. She recoiled, her eyes wide, shielding herself and the brush with her wings.
"No, you can't touch me yet! Nobody can!" she insisted, "I'm not safe until I warn people!"
"Of what? If it affects wings and other people can catch it, go and see a doctor."
"I'm being serious, brother! Don't you know the legend of the black-winged ones?"
"That if you don't eat your vegetables, your feathers will turn black? People usually grow out of that one by five years old."
"No, it's only for truly evil deeds that you get the curse. But... but it looks like Tria messed up and didn't do my wings, so I have to do it myself," she muttered, downcast, "To warn people. In case..."
"In case the symbological and mental triggers that Ashlay and I already said several times that we removed?" he supplied.
"But I can still feel it in me. The darkness. The potential to kill, to hate, to have evil thoughts."
"That's just growing up," he said, "Do you really think your brother is a saint? You know how many my magic could kill if I wanted it to, how many monsters I've already killed, even people I had to defend us from. The only real evil is what's still not quite gone from the world, and what's been done to you, what's still haunting your memories. You won't heal from that for a long time. But I'll always be there to help. Your other friends, too, even the ones who are light years away."
"But... I could hurt them..."
"They can protect themselves. And besides," he snapped his fingers and a single water rune on the back of one hand glowed slightly, summoning a small jet of water out of a nearby pail. His sister spluttered as it landed on her, then immediately shook her wings, sending droplets of dirty water everywhere. Expecting such a reaction, he immediately had an arcane shield up, then followed the water with very minor wind and heat spells to dry her out properly, "There we go. Nice and fluffy. Your golden wings are beautiful when you actually bother to clean them properly. Just like your mother. Not like me, who ended up with these grey things."
"They're blue," she told him.
"You really do argue just for the sake of arguing, sometimes, don't you?" he sighed, "I've only managed to get most of it off. Hold still while I get a cloth. I can wash your wings like I used to. Do you remember that your mother did it before I was old enough?"
She blushed, "I'm not a kid any more!"
"Don't act like one by believing such silly tales, then."
"You can't discount any possibility when your adventures are as weird as ours!" Erys called out, but her brother had already wandered off to find the cloth.