Sunday, December 11, 2011

Introducing the RAWK universe...

Old William bent forward on his smooth rock seat and peered at the ring of faces. His cheek feathers puffed in a blue cloud around his fat beak. A circle of wide eyes regarded him from the cave floor. Multi-colored crests lifted in anticipation of his next words. He let them stew for a second, tapped one talloned foot against the dusty floor, and stared at each chick in turn.
“Time was,” he said and sat back abruptly. The children shivered. “Time was when the whole surface of the world was choked with plants.” He nodded as his audience twitched in horror. “Our flocks lived in small pockets, high in the rock cliffs, and always in fear of the encroaching plants.” William paused, and nodded at the group.
The older chicks, the one’s who had heard the tale before, leaned forward. The little ones hugged themselves and clicked their beaks softly.
“Before the wide plains were cleared, we cowered in small groups and prayed for safety. A brave few ventured forth to collect the things we needed. Some never returned. Many were taken to the Plant pens and never seen again.”
A few of the chicks looked to be in danger of crying. Old William changed his pitch, let awe and hope enter his words.
“Then the Rocs came,” he said. “From where, we’ll never know, but one morning, they flew out of the East, on wings as wide as this cave mouth. Their feathers gleamed in the light of the sun. And hope flew with them.”

* * * *

Welcome to the RAWK universe. A few years ago, a group of inspired authors belonging to the Moses Lake Muses writing group undertook an exercise in world building. Through the chat that ensued, the planet, Rawk, orbited into existence. Here was a world overrun by insidious and highly intelligent plant life, by giant Venus Flytraps who used their root system and 'nodes' to control the rest of the vegetation--and who had an insatiable appetite for flesh.

The shy, but tenacious denizens of Rawk, the great flocks of birds who lived in constant fear of the Plants, told us their tales. They spoke of the time when the grasses butted right up to their cliff aeries and the Plants nearly held dominion. They whispered of the ones who went missing, who now, possibly, lived imprisoned by the Plants, providing a constant, domestic food source for Rawk's wicked masters. They told us of the mushroom growers, the healers and chemists, and the brave milkers who venture into the wild jungles, risking their lives to procure the juices needed to make medicine. The showed us the mighty herds of insects that roamed their deserts.

They shared their festivals with us, the great annual gatherings for trade, games and mating.

In short, they enchanted us with the wonders and possibilities of their world. Each of us left that discussion with a mind full of stories to be told. This one, Much Ado About Bluebottles, is mine. I hope you find it entertaining, and I hope you seek out other stories, or help me encourage more to be written, by the talented authors that shared RAWK's creation with me.

~ Frances Pauli

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