A Tale of Giants
Sit and listen, small giants,
for the endtimes have found us,
and I’ve one final story to tell.
The Second Cycle
The second cycle began with a deep freeze just as the first one did, but none realized just how deep that freeze was until spring came to thaw it out. The Submerged Jungle, once a dense sunken forest leafed indistinguishably from the trees sprouting from dry land, was now a petrified graveyard of barkless trunks with bent branches; from this cycle on it would be called The Sticks, as such was decreed by The Vultress.
This spring also saw the releasing of the muskellunge into Monksville, though such was not planned. The male muskellunge, a fearsome beast known as Anaxandridas, decided one early morning that life in the giants’ puny hatchery was no life for a muskellunge to live. The waters in the tank were found murkier than those of Monksville, but this was not a healthy murk, this water did not boast clouds of algae or sediment or whatever it is that floats up from the lakebed when air bubbles rise. The water was red, a sick crimson, and the room stank of cold copper. Anaxandridas had enacted a mad feeding frenzy; aside from his mate, not a single lakebreather survived the massacre. The Giant, who managed the fish hatchery, decided right then and there that a mere glass tank was not suitable to hold a lakebreather of the muskellunge’s magnitude. Suddenly, the waters of Mother Monksville had a monarch. A few weeks later Anaxandridas’s mate gave birth to a legion of musklings, giving the monarch a royal family and many’a prospective heir to choose from.
Unfortunately, this is no tale of princesses and castles with towers but a tale of denizens and deep water, and by the time summer came to the crescent moon valley, only one of Anaxandridas’s musklings lived to feel its warmth. Some were consumed before they hatched, but most were consumed after. Many were taken by pike – the pike are now extinct in the waters of Mother Monksville; many were taken by trout – the trout now keep to the Wanaque River; one foolhearted muskling who fancied himself a surfaceswimmer was taken by a gull – the dipper ducks watched in fear as their unsuspecting white-feathered friend was pulled violently beneath the water’s surface… a powerful lesson was learned that day; a few were even taken by the king’s own mate – he’ll not leave a widow when the long curtain is drawn.
By the time the grim muskellunge infanticide finally subsided, Anaxandridas had gone properly and fully mad, and any denizen who dared be foolish enough to tread water in Muskellunge Cove was as good as dead.
With the summer came a flock of red-tailed hawks to The Sticks. Their flock is an especially culty one and does not often commune with outsiders, and because of this, they arrived at Monksville a cycle too late. Even with the trespassing goose flock gone from The Basin, there was no room in The Sticks for them to roost, nor enough small game to fill their bellies, as hawks eat land rodents, not fish; their flock had no place in The Sticks, and the osprey tried to tell them nicely. In turn, the hawks tried to ask for mercy as they were chased off by that osprey with a pair eagles on his tail and the mighty turkey vulture flock not too far behind. For this show of bravery, the osprey was crowned Lord of The Sticks by The Vultress, and with the departure of all unwelcomed parties, the power struggle was over.
Or, at least, a temporary armistice was reached.
Through this cycle the giants still did not pierce the waters of Monksville, as the shamans decided the lake needed more time to settle after the introduction of the pair muskellunge. However, this all changed in a single night when a burning red flare was cast down from the starpool, birthing a massive hole in both the canopy of the forest sprouting from the mountain range behind the two islands and in the mountain range itself. This hole would be known as The Crater, and when the smoke cleared and the Earth no longer singed the paws of any denizen who trekked there, the squirrelhorde made its claim.
The calamitous birth of The Crater was interpreted by the shamans of both tribes as a sign from the Great Spirit that Mother Monksville was properly settled, and that giants may now pull fish from her waters, and pull fish they did. This second cycle ended in much the same way as it started: with a thick sheet of ice capping the waters of Monksville.
This has been the ninth subchapter of the first chapter of The Monksville Chronicles. Here is everything you need to know about it:
I’ve written a few other books, too. Click here to see the list.
The Hillside Commons has a Facebook page. Here’s that.
If you’re there, hypothetical reader, thank you for being there. From this day on, we move forever forward~