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I’m currently typing up my handwritten pages of the nanoduck and just reached this bit, a conversation between Our Hero Tom and Hooper, the bodyguard of Leda, an American Swan Princess whose father is powerful in both human and Were politics.
Leda is something of a hot wreck.
Hooper, on the other hand, is a calm, collected swan who could probably bench press a Chevy.
“It’s almost too bad you don’t like Leda,” Hooper said. “You’re not such a bad guy.”
“Gosh, thanks,” I said. “What about you? You like her—and you can’t tell me Swanson’s crap doesn’t rub you the wrong way; why not swoop down and save her from all this mess?”
“She likes it messy,” he said, shrugging. “She needs drama or she gets bored—and I want a mate, not a sparring partner, y’know?”
Hooper isn’t an oxymoron, if you were wondering.
The very few male wereswans I’ve read about in fiction—there are fewer in legends—are mostly these otherworldly artistic types, as if Odette had a fraternal twin who was too physically delicate to make in it professional ballet, even after taking classes with his sister and her friends since he was five, so he becomes a high-strung college professor with turned out toes and an interesting translucent pallor.
But Real Life™ swans are actually these enormous birds with incredible upper body strength and powerful legs who could snap your arm with a single wing wallop. And they may look like they’ve been designed solely to droop in an artistic way, but they’re actually pretty savvy guys who are protective of their territories and bevies like whoa.
Some of the male swans in Tom’s world are still pretty droopy, possibly because they believe their own press. Or maybe just ’cause the chicks dig it. Or maybe because of my narrative needs.
But Hooper went to college on a football scholarship.
I’m just sayin’.
Image of a Whooper Swan was taken by Pascal Aleixandre, located on WikimediaCommon, and shared under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.