The Third Cycle – The Monksville Chronicles (11/124)

A Tale of Giants

Sit and listen, small giants,
for the endtimes have found us,
and I’ve one final story to tell.

The Third Cycle

The winter of the third cycle marked the discovery of ice fishing. The giants quickly realized their primal method of busting the ice open with a pickaxe and fishing the waters as if the ice wasn’t there at all, though better than sitting in a toasty cabin with a finger up one’s bum all day, did not provide the kind of results the giants wanted (or needed). So, The Giant and Black Smith convened and melded their minds to produce tools for the new trade: rather than casting far with longpoles, ice fishers would use jiggin’ rigs, fishing poles no more than two feet in length, and rather than patrolling the waters via boat, ice fishers would use tip-ups, wooden contraptions equipped with a reel and a cloth flag dyed bright, to work multiple holes. And to make holes less than four feet in diameter? The auger: a spiral blade, a metal handle, a beechwood grip fastened to swivel as the handle twirls – only one such masterpiece was made, as a gift from Black Smith to The Giant.

“Though we’ve had our share of skiffs,” Black Smith told The Giant on the fateful day the latter traveled to the Minelands to receive the great auger, “I believe we make better friends than enemies. Go now, The Giant, go and feed your tribesfolk. I could think of none more deserving of this monumental tool than you.”

Of course, The Giant didn’t keep the great auger all to himself. Each new day he would set out with the Monks fishcatchers to their slice of the Wanaque Res’ between the waterfall and the North Floodgate and he would drill enough holes to last two days, then he’d make the steep hike up to Monksville and do the same for the Tribe of the Forge’s fishcatchers. Many fish were caught that winter, many lakebreathers indeed, and though none were of the muskellunge persuasion, no giant went hungry.

As for the rest of the denizens, the same can be said! No hawks had gone hungry yet, though the small game around the Wanaque River was decreasing thanks to the establishment of the squirrel hive in The Crater – that meant no hawks had come back to invade The Sticks, which was good fortune for all birds, of Prey and of Lake alike.

Springtime brought an influx of giants in boats to the Reservoir, but the fish population could handle it. The Giant set out from dawn until dusk every day that spring; he pulled many fish from Monksville’s maw, but never a muskellunge. One early morning he approached Black Smith, who was enjoying a solo powwow at the southern boat launch, and asked if he could craft a new kind of lure, a lure worthy of doing battle with the biggest and fiercest lakebreather to breathe in the lake. Before the spring was over, The Giant had it: his spoonplug, a beastly piece of work bent to make it swim as it’s pulled behind a moving boat and painted with vibrant oil-based dyes to attract the curious eyes of surface- and depthswimmers alike.

The summer brought both great triumph and horrific tragedy – The Giant had finally caught his muskellunge; the male of the pair he released, from the measure of the thing. It survived, by the Great Spirit it survived! As for the tragedy? Upon release, the king lakebreather went into a spastic frenzy and tried to attack The Giant’s watercraft, and when The Giant dropped his right oar back into the water, the blade collided with the muskellunge’s crown and shattered his skull, killing the massive finwhipper instantly. Leonidas, the final surviving heir of the mad king muskellunge, saw the gruesome duel transpire from deep in the depths of Muskellunge Cove, and when the lifeless body of Anaxandridas was pulled from the water a second time and not relinquished back to his kingdom, Leonidas understood very well what had gone down. He was now the last muskellunge to swim in Monksville, and with a body dwarfed by a giant’s jiggin’ rig, he did not a fearsome king make. Leonidas kept to Muskellunge Cove after that day. The Giant, awash in shame, swore to never cast a line into Monksville’s waters again.

Then, in the autumn, a peculiar incident occurred, one which relieved Leonidas of his many worries regarding the kingship forced upon him. A new king arrived in the waters of Monksville that night, but it was not introduced by the giants. It did not come from the Wanaque River, and surely it did not swim up the waterfall and through the beavers’ dam; some denizens claimed it fell from the sky, though the otter romp knew better. The otters were swimming in the stretch of water between the islands when it happened, and after seeing it with their own eyes, they left Monksville behind without even shaking her water from their dark fur. Yes, something very enigmatic happened that cool autumn night, the night which would have marked the birth of The Crater had it occurred in the second cycle after the filling of Monksville: in the open water above the strange, smooth boulder which stumbled into the Reservoir as the ground shook from the impact which birthed The Crater, a massive, brilliant sphere of yellow-green light opened like the eye of a puma under the moon’s glow, and the waters of Mother Monksville trembled like a dead leaf in the wind.

On that fateful autumn night, The Gleam opened wide, and from within it, The Beast howled forth.

This has been the tenth subchapter of the first chapter of The Monksville Chronicles. Here is everything you need to know about it:

The Monksville Chronicles

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~

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