When the world was new-made, xie and I wandered across it, seeking to learn what we could from what grew. We took whatever forms suited us then, and had not yet taken the forms of dragon and firebird as they’re known.
Sometimes I was the sun and xie the moon, shining down on dew-flecked fields of wildflowers. Sometimes we took the shapes of the plants and trees, and sometimes the animals. We both liked the forms of the clever, feathered lizards that seemed to be everywhere and learning new things all the time, and then they became less common and there were mammals everywhere, curious and crawling.
I still favored feathers, though, and xie favored claws and scales, and so we found the forms the mammals would know us by later. We were not the only powers that were taking shapes, and the mammals were just learning to call us by name when everything changed.