Ranara and her little daughter Azabel move to Urtho's Tower when the latter can say six words ("up", "mama", "milk", "no", "now", and "please") and hasn't started to walk yet. Ranara sets up to teach little children to read, ones who don't have evident Gifts yet - Ranara herself has Mindspeech, is all, with about a classroom's worth of range. Azabel sits in on classes, worn on her mother's back or later plopped in a corner with toys or, when she's only four, plopped in a corner with a book, younger than the other kids in the class. When Azabel has in fact sat through her mother's curriculum she is turned somewhat loose, to walk very carefully up and down and around the Tower, exploring.
"Oh, months at least, it's a huge thing to have on top of school. And then I don't know anything about the publication process!"
"It'ss very impresssive!" Skan agrees. "I don't know how you do it at all."
"It's fun! It's just a lot of stuff, and I want it to be really good so people are like 'wow, the person who wrote that book was fourteen' and not 'yeah it makes sense the person who wrote that book was only fourteen'."
"...Ssure, but I already know it'ss going to be amazing because you're the ssmartesst."
"I can make it amazing! It's just a lot of steps."
"I guesss part of you being the ssmartesst iss you can take lotss of sstepss! I couldn't do it, I'm not ssmart enough to know what sstepss." Skan wraps a wing affectionately around her.
"I bet if you wanted to write a book you could figure it out. I mean, you'd need help to physically write it. But if you were writing a book about something you cared about enough, like - like how to do aerial acrobatics or something, I bet you could figure it out."
Skan looks very dubious. "I am not ssure you could teach aerial acrobaticss in a book! ...Maybe if you had a lot of picturess. I wissh it were eassier for gryphonss to draw."
"Yeah... can you not move your claws precisely enough at all, or is it just hard to hold pens made for humans?"
"- Oh, no, I can be very precisse if I want! For fighting. I - guesss I haven't tried finding a pen I could usse better."
"...I'm going to get a big wad of clay, and stick a pen in it, and you can hold the wad of clay and it'll become a good shape and dry that way," she decides.
"Ooh!" Bounce bounce bounce. "You think that'd work?"
"I don't know it wouldn't work and if it doesn't we can see why!" She strides off to find the nearest hertasi to ask if there's clay to be had.
They can get her clay! There's a potter's workshop in the Tower (there's at least one of most kinds of workshop there). There are different sorts of clay that are most suitable for different uses, though, what does she want it for?
"My gryphon friend can't hold a regular pen so I want to put a pen in some clay and have him hold that so it dries in the shape of his hand."
"Is that - sculpting clay, do you think, or building or caulking clay?"
"I'm not really sure! Maybe caulking?"
"Well, I'll go ask them, and maybe get samples of a few kinds, is that all right?"
"Yes, and spare pens please!"
"Of course!" The hertasi runs off.
And when there are several wads of clay and several pens, Skan can experiment. Aza has paper on her, of course, so he can try different writing positions and see what's comfortable before the clay is committed.
Skan is so excited! This is such an amazing idea and he would feel kind of silly for never thinking of it before, except that even Azabel, who is the SMARTEST, didn't think of it until now.
He finds a clay shape that feels comfortable to grip, with indentations for his claws to rest in so it doesn't slip around. "I'm worried it'll be lesss comfortable when it'ss hardened," he confesses.
"Maybe you can put fabric around it?"
"That'ss a good idea. I might need your help though."
"I know how to sew a little! You might wind up needing to squish one a little smaller with bigger clawholes if it turns out to pad it too much but we can go through a few versions."