Marshfoot is an original character from The Four Flamingos of the Apocalypse. It represents war and is keenly confrontational and tribalistic in its outlook, far more so than the average flamingo. Just like the other Four it hatched with a vague awareness that it was born for something more than just feeding and producing the next generation, but was not sure for a long time what this would be.
Marshfoot hatched in a Caribbean lagoon within a population of perfectly ordinary wild Caribbean flamingos. From the time it hatched it had an eager will to live, but at first, this simply seemed to its parents like an encouraging enthusiasm to eat, to interact with them, and to look beyond the lip of their nest.
This chick's capacity to trust its parents appeared to be consistent with the fact that they fed and protected it well, although this was a false positive. Marshfoot felt certain that it would be safe when dealing with others, but this had more to do with being War. The expert parenting it received certainly contributed towards its certainty that other flamingos (and later, all birds and animals) would play fair and could therefore be trusted, but its certainty in its ability to prevail had its origins in something more celestial.
Its trust in itself followed a similar pattern: this chick was the warmonger to end all warmongers, or would be one day. For now, it simply felt certain that it had the ability to have faith in itself.
Given Marshfoot's faith in the honesty and genuineness of others, and its unshakeable trust in itself, it ventured forth from its nest happily to explore its immediate surroundings. Its parents were proud of its confidence so saw no alarm bells in this bold behaviour.
When Marshfoot met with other chicks it assumed that it would be the one in control of what games to play. Many chicks accepted this although once in a while, Marshfoot would find another, strong-willed chick and would fight.
This was the first time its parents thought that something was up, although for now they simply believed that their chick was over-confident and needed to be socialised to be more community-spirited. They talked with it to discourage more aggression.
This didn't get them very far. Marshfoot was adamant that it was in the right, although it wasn't big enough to be put into time out, and this happened more than a few times.
As Marshfoot grew a little bigger and more mobile it ventured further and got to know more chicks. Its insistence that it was right and that other flamingos should either fall in line with its ideas of play or face its wrath continued to cause some discord. With that said, with a larger pool of chicks to play with it also invented the concept of tribal games: games where two tribes of chicks would play against one another. This worked for all but the most tender-spirited chicks and for a while, Marshfoot made quite the little general.
The chicks who enjoyed these battle games either liked Marshfoot, or tolerated it in varying degrees. Even Marshfoot's parents tried to see their chick's potent spirit as nothing but that, and encouraged its play with a vague sense of unease. As they (and the other flamingo parents) saw it, something was quite different about Marshfoot. It was more individualistic than a flamingo ought to be, but for the most part it seemed to be using this individualism well.
Marshfoot's flock of chicks began to disperse as their parents started teaching them the skills necessary for living as an adult flamingo. This meant less war-game time. Most were happy enough with this as they were interested to learning the things their parents wanted to teach them, and lesson time wouldn't last forever, allowing them to rejoin their games as soon as they'd learned how to filter-feed, build a nest, fly, or dance.
Marshfoot however, felt that this disrupted the power it had amassed. It had built up quite the league of chick tribes, all of whom had been listening to it and doing its bidding. As those chicks began to take an interest in other pursuits, their investment in following their tribal chieftains, and by extension their warlord Marshfoot, diminished.
This left Marshfoot feeling sullen, and it attended its own lessons grudgingly. It learned the skills it needed to, but they didn't seem to represent power to command other flamingos. The closest it could see to power in those new skills was the formation of a territory that really meant something: a nest, and the ability to get a literal bird's eye view of the battlefield.
Except, that the battlefield was dispersing, no longer interested in the flurry of grey fluff and spread winglets and pattering webbed feet that was tribal warfare.
Adolescence only deepened the challenge to Marshfoot's preferred way of life. The other chicks had enjoyed occasionally coming by to play on their muddy battlefield, but the tribes were falling apart - no one tribe was ever fully there at a time. This only got worse with adolescence as many of the birds began to grow more interested in hanging out in small groups, learning how to dance from one another, or flying above the lagoon.
Marshfoot's parents tried to convince it to enjoy the fact that it too was growing up. It embraced and rejected that in equal measure. As far as Marshfoot was concerned the act of growing up was one of becoming more capable, and a warlord always liked to be capable. On the other hand, the tribes it had cultured fluctuated between being small groups of birds that mostly got along well, and the larger whole of the entire tribe that (again, mostly) got along well.
For a while, Marshfoot entertained the idea that the overall flock might be interested in entering a battle game with some other tribe, but when it argued in favour of this to its parents they admonished it - quite firmly, in fact.
From then on Marshfoot did its best to join in and do the same as its flock-mates were doing, but it could never quite lose the dream for warfare in its heart. To an extent, this inhibited its ability to develop good friendships, but it did not behave badly or strangely enough for the other flamingos to reject it and it simply developed a reputation as 'that flamingo who used to do the group games'.
Adulthood dawned and Marshfoot joined the mating dances. It paired off with another flamingo, and they built a nest and had a chick together.
Marshfoot took to defending its nest with gusto, to the point that its mate sometimes observed that it seemed more interested in fighting their neighbours than in loving its family. Whenever this conversation happened Marshfoot did its best to relent. It didn't want to be unkind to its family. After all, neglecting its family would mean rendering its attempts to keep them safe from their neighbours redundant. What was it doing all of this for if not to protect that which it held dear? And yet, Marshfoot's focus always returned to its need to protect that little circle of space around its nest, and it usually became frustrated when its mate initiated a bonding dance.
One day, an unusually large, strange-looking flamingo flew in and landed with their flock. Marshfoot was not the first to see this but news reached it quickly. It went to investigate.
What it encountered was strange. The other flamingos were not entirely welcoming, but neither were they aggressive. They seemed uneasy, yet Marshfoot couldn't see any reason for them to be. Marshfoot approached, keen to learn what was so strange about this bird and to see it off. And yet, when it got close enough, it suddenly felt as if it had come home.
It didn't fall in love with this new bird, that wasn't it. It was as if it had met a sibling it had never known it had.
The bigger flamingo seemed to feel this too, and the pair got to talking.
This other flamingo had always felt as if it had a bigger purpose, so it had left its birth place. Marshfoot could relate to that. This other flamingo felt as if somehow it was more than a flamingo, as if just being a bird wasn't quite right somehow. Marshfoot admitted it could relate to that too.
This other flamingo couldn't quite articulate what it had to do with its life, except that there were some other birds that it needed to find. Marshfoot was one of them.
This other flamingo also said that its name was Pinion.
After a few days of discussion they decided to seek the other birds that Pinion felt it needed to meet. Marshfoot left its mate and chick, and left with Pinion in search of their destiny.
Pinion had an uncanny sense of which way to go, which it admitted it had followed to find Marshfoot. It led them all the way to Lake Nakuru.
At times they had disagreements, mostly fuelled by Marshfoot's resentment of Pinion's leadership, however, Pinion had a talent for managing Marshfoot's posturing and arguments and even added to its skill at doing so on the way. In time Marshfoot came to respect Pinion's ability.
Not yet specified.
Not yet specified.
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★ Marshfoot ★ OC ★ Undisclosed gender ★ No Frills ★
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Marshfoot is © me
Artwork by //TBC// and used with their kind permission
Based on theory by:
Erikson, E., (1951) 'Childhood and Society', W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. chapter 7.
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