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As told in "The Nature of Poetry" by Fenmere, the Worm (yet to be published)
Before humanity. Before the dreams that haunt humanity at two thirty in the morning, we walked TheEarth. We whom you might call the DragonPeople. Back then, we didn’t have a name for ourselves. There wasn’t much point. There was the Earth, and then there was us. If anything, we were the children of the Earth. We were the birds and the animals, the fish and the worms. We were the people and the plants, the storms and the dreams. And we took turns.
It is true that I was born first, and that I was there when each of my siblings was born. I saw my world fill with others like me. What was once mine must now be shared with the countless. Jackdaw was the last, he came upon a world already full. Jackdaw has never been alone... You know what? I’ve been calling him by the nickname Jackdaw ever since I can remember. It’s not correct. He is not the epitome of all jackdaws, and not like a totem or spirit animal. He is BoneJackdaw, Story Teller of the Dragon People. So from here on out, I’m going to call him BJ. It will piss him off to no end.
Imagine that, though. Imagine having 899,999 older brothers and sisters. That’s how many of us there are, 900,000. Or at least, that’s what BJ says. So, we’re not exactly countless, but it’d take a long time to count that many and I’ve never tried it.
Now, I have been around long enough to know that being the elder doesn’t make you better, nor does it really give you that much authority. But from BJ’s perspective, this isn’t true at all. Oh, he’ll agree with the statement all right, but he won’t ever really believe it. He can’t! He’s seen too much proof that it’s false. So at a very early age, he took up telling stories, probably to impress the rest of us.
OK, I’m going to contradict myself again, here. You see, it’s nice to come up with reasons for why people grow up the way they do, reasons they make the decisions they do. But the truth is, some things are determined. None of us really know the mechanism for this, but it has been clearly observed that each of the Dragon People has an Art, and that that Art is unique. JadeCrow, for instance, is the Warlord or Diplomat, there’s no good English word for her actually. She’s the master of resolving disputes, no matter by what means. GrassDog is the Artist. BloodSparrow is the Vintner. AshMonkey the Warrior. IronTortoise the Mathematician. And AkaileaTheWitch is the Mother. 900,000 of us, and 900,000 Arts. It’s a long list. And while some of us didn’t find our Art until centuries later, for one reason or other, we were each born with a clear and distinct predilection for that Art. Some believe that there is no difference between the Dragon People and the Arts. We are one and the same, they say. Maybe.
I personally believe I am the single personification of every poet that ever lived or will live, but I’ll get back to that later.
So, either BJ was born the Story Teller, or he acquired the role to entertain and thus gain power over his siblings. Either way, the effect is the same. He’s good at what he does. And, at first, he could tell any story he wanted to. There wasn’t much history to the world anyway, so the best stories were made up stories. Or maybe he was just retelling our dreams, it’s hard to say. A dream actually happens, so it fits into his curse. And I say curse because that’s what it is.
You see, he has been cursed for his pride.
Before humanity. Before the dreams that haunt humanity at two thirty in the morning, Bone Jackdaw was friends with GhostOwl, the Hunter, and they spent a great deal of time together. In fact, it was one of their favorite pastimes to wander the Earth and make cracks about what they saw together. And on occasion, BJ would point at something and say that Ghost Owl couldn’t possibly hit it with her arrow. And of course, without word, she’d knock her bow and skewer it. No matter how far away, because Ghost Owl’s art was Hunting and she never missed. Except once.
One morning, after a long night of pointing at things, shooting them with arrows, and telling stupid stories, Bone Jackdaw pointed at the MorningStar, which is said to have been the great jewel on the forehead of our Mother, the Earth, when she had been a sky serpent so long ago. And, you know, the sun is supposed to be her right eye, and the moon her left. Anyway, Ghost Owl took a shot at it. And missed.
And the arrow tore this huge gash in the sky, and let evil into the world, tiny little specks of light falling to the Earth, like a transformer exploding on a telephone pole, with sparks forever showering down upon the pavement below. And each spark an Outsider, a demon, a spirit of chaos, someone who doesn’t belong here.
Now, the world wouldn’t be what it is today, if not for this event. TheHoleintheSky would not be forever beckoning us to explore the rest of the universe. The Children of Akailea would not be overpopulating the continents. And many of us may not have found our Arts. And some of the Outsiders who have made this place their home have been great people, contributing much wealth of knowledge and craft to our history.
But the Earth shook, and the moon cried, Ghost Owl withdrew into herself with guilt and disappeared into the mountains never to be seen again, and Bone Jackdaw, for his careless bet, was cursed to know the history of all the consequences for all the actions that have been taken upon the world ever. In short, his memory contains every story ever enacted, up to and including the very second you might mistakenly ask him about it.
Because of this, he does not have any room in his head for anything but facts. And because of this, he spends much of his time drunk and trying his damnedest to lie. And because of this, he is the most intolerable person to be around.
Everything from the beginning of the world to the end of it, and all the fiddly messy bits in between.
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