A Note of the Author

Greetings, everyone! Fortunately, I am still alive and active in the Rio fandom, and as I continue to work on a particularly important project for this archive, it's my hope that I can satiate some readers with a slightly edited version of this one-shot that I wrote for a competition back in October. If it feels incomplete, that is in large part because it is (I only had two hours or so to write it from start to finish), though I may update and extend it in the future if popular demand warrants it. And yes, I happen to be publishing this on the 6th anniversary of my membership on FFN. Let's fly!

Obscured in the present hour by all but the candlelight of a rectangular drawing room, the last Spix's macaws had discovered neither the luminescent computer displays nor the automatically receding window blinds that the male had promised. Such of him had indeed been a presumption, for nothing of the ancestral Monteiro manor in Petrópolis had appeared in his readings of decorative arts nor those of Brazilian art history.

Silently, Blu's comparative inattention to the latter had left his mind with a ring of scolding indictments, turning continuously amongst the wonder to which Jewel and himself had been beheld. Neither Linda, nor Tulio, nor even his brother Diogo had strided into their sight for what had seemed to be the last half hour, permitting the two macaws an absence of any dues to their caretakers for the two hours that were yet to pass. To Blu and more so to Jewel, such was the month's delight.

At the end of the drawing room remarked for the violet enamels of its furniture and the Rococo gilded wall panels which culminated at the ceiling into a painted allegory of Cabral's seminal voyage over half a millennia before, the lower half of Blu's beak had collapsed to the depths of his throat. Never amongst the fifteen years in which man's achievements had surrounded him had his eyes been led in person to such elegant and tasteful craftsmanship, whether in paint or in the Belgian marble floors below it.

Just beside him, Jewel could not help but release a scoff of envy towards the parrots that accompanied the allegory of Brazil herself, depicted in the strokes and the colors that her elders had never mastered along her hollow's forward walls. Glancing again into the depths of the room and consciously accounting for every object of furniture that the mounted fire could reveal, she could not name most of the materials that they comprised, nor could she fathom their origins. With a deliberative cough to retrieve her mate's attention, the female blinked steadily as she spoke.

"Is this why humans came here?" Traversing his focus to Jewel, the male did not feel content to respond to such ambiguity, though her presence could hardly incentivize him further to answer. To Blu, his lady and her majesty deserved nothing short of everything that she had earned with him in the heart of the aviary, including his every courtesy in conversation or in spoken passing.

"Uh, I don't know. It shows how they came here – you can see the caravels and the –"

"I did not mean that in a…" Jewel began to correct, "A… Lita-rul sense? Is that right? What I just said?"

"Yeah, but not in a literal sense? What do you mean?"

"Around us, Blu. Is all this why humans are with us? Like… Someone put them here?"

"Selva? I, um, I dunno. I never read theology, I never had you tell me about your pantheon, but –"

"But what? Do some digging, just somewhere up there."

"Let's see, uh… There was Rubens! His work was devoted to the Counter-Reformation, and he said that his "passion comes from the Heavens," or at least, that's what his Wikipedia article –"

"That reminds me of what we used to paint, or I did, anyway. Daddy had me meet with a tutor in her hollow every week for a while and we dipped our talons in hollowed-out Brazil nuts with all kinds of dyes inside. We were trying to symbolize freedom and our – our… Thankfulness to the gods. All the good they had given us in our lives just built and built, and I had so much vision, Blu! It was incredible what we could do compared to the other Tribes, but… Now, I'm looking back, and… Maybe the humans were meant to do this. Maybe we flew too far from our grove, as we used to say back home."

"But humans don't worship Selva or anyone else in your pantheon."

"I know, but… You can't see good from one place, Blu. That's what you drilled into me, and now, I really get it. Not from the surgery, not from the checkups, but… This."