Today I feel inspired to offer something a little different for the Young Titan Zone.
It’s going to be a short serial, maybe two or three episodes. Maybe more, but I will find that out as I write.
This piece was in part inspired by a great blue heron I see around town quite frequently. And since I have been enjoying so much my writing of Epic Adventures, I wanted to continue to try my hand at this kind of story.
(What follows is a fictional account.)
The Birds of the Basin, Part 1: The Orders
The Great Blue Heron stretched his wings wide.
“Where are they?” demanded the large bird who stood tall like a person. He wore regal garb and an ornate crown.
“Your Greatcrest,” buzzed the Hummingbird Aide, whose small robed form constantly stayed in flight. “They should be here any moment. Ah, here they are.”
Two other bird-like people walked in, talons clacking across the marble floor of the attendance chamber. They both were suited in shining plate mail.
“Apologies, Greatcrest,” said the one to the left, a Saddlebill Stork who removed his helm and knelt in respect. “We were held up.”
“Greatcrest,” the Demoiselle Crane urged, also coming to kneel. “We must report what we have learned.”
“Please, go on,” said the heron Greatcrest.
“The Basin is in turmoil,” began the Saddlebill. “The bull men and tiger people are at odds again.”
“That is to put it mildly,” the Demoiselle picked up. “I saw the mobs, I heard the shouting. They are planning another Rage Fest. Bigger than ever.”
The Greatcrest looked quizzically at her, and muttered to his aide, “What is a Rage Fest?”
“It’s a competition the bull men and tiger people put on to contest some issue between them,” the Hummingbird busily answered. “Or to claim some prize. It may be territory, resources, or just to let out some steam… It is a highly contested region, with two of the most fearsome races in the known world. Bloody wars have been waged in the past, and the peace is kept precariously these days.”
“But there hasn’t been a Tarfor War, or any war in that region for decades,” delcared the Great Blue Heron.
“Well, word is the Rage Fests are happening more frequently,” the female warrior bird named Demoiselle added. “Our southern allies are asking for some assistance in reclaiming the peace of the territory.”
“Who sent this message?” inquired the Great Blue Heron. “Why wasn’t it sent through the usual channels?”
“Begging your pardon, Greatcrest,” the Stork said, coming back to his feet. “We were meeting the High Claw’s Council in the Mogran mountains when the distress call was received. The State Advisor urged us to leave with haste. There was no time to find a messenger bird, so we got the first flight back to Oshinora.”
The Greatcrest shuffled his long, thin legs and adjusted his robe.
“Why such haste?” he asked. “And what’s this about a distress call?”
“Well, you see,” Demoiselle the Crane answered, “The mountain cows were voicing concern about all of their bulls running off again. There has been too much conflict and men are getting injured. Farms cannot be tended by wounded bulls. Several cows came up the mountain to beg for our assistance.”
“That’s not all, Greatcrest,” said Saddlebill the Stork. “The tigresses from the eastern forest towns were also concerned with similar issues and sent their own message to us for help.”
“It seems to me,” the Greatcrest devised, “that the menfolk of the Basin have gotten carried away in their competition. What do these Rage Fests involve, anyways? Must be quite the contest to cause such a stir.”
His Hummingbird Aide quickly explained, “The Forram bullfok and Targen tiger men compete in many games to see who has the most strength. Contestants must overcome challenges in each match. The best athletes of the bull men compete against the best of the tigers until two final contestants vie off against each other. Whoever wins the last competition claims victory for that side and the prize that has been decided on during the games.”
“Ahahahaha,” the Great Blue Heron suddenly chortled. “A sporting contest! Why didn’t anybird say that before? I was beginning to think this was actually a big deal.”
The others were quiet and not sure what to say.
“I suppose the point of all this is becoming lost on me,” the royal bird droned.
“Well, if I may say so, Greatcrest,” the Demoiselle tried, “I believe it is quite a big deal. The peace of the Basin region is at stake. The women just want the menfolk home, healthy, and taking care of their communities and families.”
”Do we really believe that a sporting event will break out in war? What sore losers they must be…” the Greatcrest curled his beak. “But if it is as you say, I suppose it’s worth investigating further.”
The two warriors waited patiently.
“Very well, I will send my assistance in this matter.” The Heron Greatcrest grinned with his whole beak. “You two.”
“Excuse me?” asked the Saddlebill Stork. “We were just there. We came back here for help, not to be sent back empty-winged.”
“Mind your manners in speaking to me, Saddlebill. This hardly seems a problem needing more attention than two of my best Guard. Maybe this is your ticket back to Alpha Wing.” The Greatcrest clucked thoughtfully for a moment.
“Still, I suppose you have flown a long way for help. Very well, I will send Shoebill and Bluefoot with you.”
The Demoiselle Crane’s voice rose dangerously close to shouting “What?”
“Careful to mind your formalities, that is not how you speak to me,” the Greatcrest scolded. But he smiled a bemused, mischievous smile.
“You have your orders, now go tend to this dreadful sports event in the Basin.”
So the Saddlebill Stork and the Demoiselle Crane knelt a final bow before their Greatcrest, then turned and left the audience chamber. Their taloned feet echoed loudly across the hall, rebounding off the pearl-white marble throughout the room.
“This is ridiculous,” cursed Saddlebill after they were out of earshot and outside the chamber. “Those two?”
“I heard,” said Demoiselle, incredulous. “Certainly nothing like the help that we were hoping for. This should be interesting.”
“Fine, let’s just grab the two of them quick and get on our way back to the Basin. The sooner this is done, the better.”
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Thank you for reading.
Blessings to you,