Thursday, April 18, 2013

Mataoka's and Navimie's Beasts of Pandaria Fables





Dornaa’s tummy rumbled. There just never seemed to be enough food: the forests were filled with beasts and birds, and the rivers teeming with fish, but somehow the plates of hot food never made it to the orphanage. The forests were dangerous, and many hunters didn’t return. The fish were foul and oily. Even the matron looked drawn and tired. But when it was story time, the matron always seemed to magically find a treat—small cup of honeyed tea and a sweet biscuit, and the blanket was always clean, and smelled of crisp wind’s kisses. It was one of those spring days that one would imagine is perfect for future shamans: all kinds of weather paraded through the sidewalks. Dollops of sunshine, wind-torn white flower petals, and flung peaks of obnoxious raindrops. It was the kind of day that made Dornaa think the gods were in a bored mood, and couldn’t make up their minds. She was glad to see the sun at sunset today at least; it was colder than it seemed, and the wind was just getting started.

“Dornaa, are you warm enough?” asked the matron. She slipped her another cookie. Sometimes she worked in the kitchens of the larger inns, and the cooks knew she needed food for the refugees and orphans, and made a little extra. The warchief wouldn’t notice, and certainly not the king. Dornaa was growing like a weed, in spite of the fact there never was enough food. The matron did the best she could, often going without, because she never wanted the children to know they were forgotten. She believed they would be the ones to save the wreck of their world, should such a time come.

And such a time always came.

Once upon a time the gods of creatures made a flying one, called a moth.  The moths were in charge of change, and mystery. They were the creatures of great potential and hope. Oftentimes their hope could be misguided, futile: they contained one fatal flaw, and that was if they saw a light they were bound to fly to it, even if it killed them. They would fly to lanterns, candles, and one even tried to fly to the moon! Sadly, it died in exhaustion, but hope never dies. Moths are exquisite creatures, strong like kites, just as brave, and mixed with moonlight, and sensitive. Moths did not just pop into existence because the gods said so. In order to gain their luminosity, feathery beauty, and elegance of light, they must first go through a metamorphosis, a great change.

It takes a lot of energy to make something so beautiful and hopeful. Like all things of hope, it starts off small. One green morning, a cluster of the tiniest white eggs secured their potential to the underside of a spring leaf. The gods made all the little eggs the same, and hid them under leaves so birds would not eat them. The eggs hatched, and crawled, inching along, eating anything in their paths. This was another reason the gods put the eggs on leaves: they were born on their breakfasts! (Dornaa giggled at this: the thought of waking up on her porridge was funny!) The eggs were now hundreds of caterpillars, each eating to his heart’s content, all day, and all night. They needed all the food they could chew to grow. They ate the leaves, they ate more leaves, and they gnawed, and chewed, and swallowed. And they grew plump and plush. The caterpillars’ force of will drove them forward, and that something spectacular was in their future. Unnamed hope pushed them. Each knew his or her purpose, and that the hunger that never seemed to be satisfied someday would be. They felt like fat promises.

One caterpillar, however, Ka’Wi, was never content. If he saw his brother or sister eating a tasty leaf, he chewed his way over there as fast as he could crawl to snatch it from their mandibles. If he met a friendly ladybug or singing cricket, he growled unnecessarily to ward them away from his food. The ladybug was just looking for aphids (who had problems of their own) and the crickets are omnivorous, so if anyone was in danger it was Ka’Wi. Crickets have other songs to sing, and paid Ka’Wi no attention.

His birth branch stripped bare meant Ka’Wi needed to go look for other food. Green tea leaves, and silkweed were his favorites, but he also loved fool’s cap and rain poppies. Rain poppies made him feel sleepy, so he tried to stay away from them; they just slowed him down. He wanted to stay awake to eat. And eat. And eat some more. Insatiable and Irritable were his two allies. Insatiable kept him eating, and Irritable kept others away from him.

By this time, all his brothers and sisters were covered in their own bodies, attached to branches and twigs, becoming whatever it was they were to become. Ka’Wi couldn’t care less. All he knew was they were not in his way anymore, taking what was rightfully his food, out of his abyss of a maw. What he did not see what that he had grown so large, so ponderous of bulk, he could barely move to the next cabbage patch. He moved so slowly with all the extra weight, so laboriously, he became mired in routine.

One day, he found a golden lotus.  He didn’t so much find it as it rolled over on it. Its sharp leaves and pointy petals belied its glorious beauty, its fragrance, and oh—the taste. He wasted no time but to chew it down. He…he had never tasted anything like this before. His taste buds exploded in ecstasy. His mind soothed, and rapturous joy surrounded every spiracle, into his very soul. He must have more. He lumbered his massive bulk over the meadow, hunkering each segment, as he never had before.

Off in the distance he caught the glimmer of a golden-white flower. Another one! Just as he approached it, a gathering druid swooped down and snatched it. As much as this angered him, he decided he should remain calm, there would be another. A day and a night went by before he found the next one. As he humped over to the lotus, a vermin leapt up and stabbed it with his atrocious front fangs of incisors, laughing hysterically when he saw Ka’Wi begin to scream and sob. Another day, and another night went by, and one more day: Ka’Wi went back to the place where he found the first one, and by that time another had grown! As far as he could see, (which was usually just straight ahead to the next meal), no one was in the skies above, and nothing popped out of a root-hewn hole: it was his!

In the skies above his myopic obsessive bulk, the light of the full moon became hazy and dimmed simultaneously while something shimmered the light and air around him, a lenticular dream-like dance. He went in a trance...the lotus...the lotus was his, nothing or no one was in his way. He did not see above him was one of his many sisters, a transcendent moth. 

“Ka-Wi! What has become of you, my brother?” asked his sister. “You have not changed, except that you are just bigger—we all become what we were meant to be, and fly in the night and dance with the stars. Oh, Ka-Wi, what happened?”

He looked up at his lovely sister, her antennae feathery and graceful, her wings singing to the wind. She landed on the golden lotus, and gently used her long, straw-like tongue to sip its nectar, waiting for Ka’Wi’s response. Infuriated, Ka’Wi lunged toward the flower, barely missing his sister. In horror she escaped to the skies. The story of Ka’Wi’s unremitting greed spread through the whole valley. The gods heard of it, and decided to punish Ka’Wi: they gave him the name “the Gorger,” and made him keep guard forever in one spot. He could not move, nor could he change, or learn to fly with his brothers and sisters. Their lives were shorter than his, but by far more interesting. To remind him of his greed, just out of his reach, forever and a day, they planted a golden lotus on the mountainside, where the sun and the moonlight would strike it day and night, so all he could feast on was the desire.

The moral of the story is:
It is not wrong to wish and want for more in our lives, as long as the more we seek is for more joy, beauty, and hope. 

Dornaa broke her cookie in half and gave it to the matron, with the biggest, sweetest smile. The matron smiled back, then pretended to yawn so the water in her eyes looked like a reaction to sleepiness.



And for more great storytelling, please check out Kallixta's Tale of Skitterer Xi'a.
Navimie's Tale: Dos-Ryga

8 comments:

  1. *snifs* I'm not crying, just a little tired...

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    1. Here's a tissue Hasteur....wait...are you a warlock? Did I just make a warlock sniffle? My work is done.

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  2. That was wonderful Matty! Your best one yet!

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    1. Thank you Navimie! Yours are always superlative --this has been a fun project!

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  3. Dahakha18.4.13

    These are great stories Matty! You and Navi are fantastic fable-spinners, this is a brilliant project!

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    1. Thank you --that means so much to me. Can't ask for a better friend than Navi!

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  4. These fables were such a great idea, Blizzard should hire you two!

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    1. They'll never hire me: I'd give away all of the sha-touched weapons! Like a dog watching a butcher shop...

      Thank you Tome - (((Hug)))!

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