What? What’s that you’re saying? You’d like to hear a fairy tale — a tale of strange worlds, and of heroes and of love?
Well, I don’t know if I can help you with all that, but I can tell you about King Ero and his queen Asaia, and how together they brought peace to and united all the people of the valley.
You see, once upon a time a great spaceship came to the planet from a dim star, far away. You know which one I mean: that dim one next to the bright stinger in the nutterlings tail. They called the bright star Sirius and the dim one Sol. Eventually, the stinger got so bright that the people of Sol had to move.
They found themselves here, Snowball, where they managed to crash-land in the snow close to the edge of the Great Valley. The survivors were split into two groups: those that set up in the safety of the Ice Caves, and those that went into the valley in search of game and berries. Eventually after much ado and many generations, the “pickers” became slaves to the Ice People, and a loss of a picker here or there was worth survival of the clan.
Now that Old King Jona was dead, it would be up to Ero now to lead his people. He believed as the pickers did: that all men were created equal. The pickers often said that back on Sol we were the UNITED states.
Perhaps it had something to do with that day he had fallen head over heals in love with a picker carrying her day’s labors on her back. Who knows.
Anyway, Ero felt an intense urge to do something, so he went to the ruins of the Spirits of the Ancients to pray for guidance. When he knelt on the snow, he felt something hard under one knee. Digging down, he pulled out a strange, metallic object, a gun of sorts, if history serves. He brushed it off, and hung it from his belt like in the old pictures.
He took it as a good omen, and was quite pleasantly surprised when a little green light suddenly came on on the handle. Curious, he pulled it out and aimed it at a tree stump. The trigger seemed to slide back when — WHAM!– a blinding flash of blue light exploded and the stump was turned to a smoking cinder!
Before he could get over it, he heard a girl scream ahead. He plunged down the ravine and found two naupies attacking a young picker girl. When she looked up, he could see it was Asaia. He went completely mad, and with two blinding strokes of blue light, cleanly decapitated the naupies.
He held her, and told her of his mission, his duty to his people and how the Ancients had blessed him.
“Maybe so,” she countered, “but no one can survive down there with those nutterlings, anyway.”
Ero pushed back his long black hair. “Yea, that kinda puts a plug in it.” His bright blue eyes looked pale.
As they sat there, a silver nutterling clung to a nearby tree, rhythmically undulating it’s gossamer wings in an attempt to attract a mate.
“I’ve got it!” Asaia suddenly blurted, “with your knife of light you can cut some naupie hide, and I can sew it on our exposed skin. The cloaks will do the rest.”
You see, naupies and nutterlings had evolved side by side in the miniature eco-system of a fertile valley surrounded by thousands of miles of snow. The naupies had developed a thick hide, too thick for the nutterlings to penetrate, and as payback, when a naupie died, he was put on the Slab and sliced open from top to bottom for the funeral gorge. Then, when the nutterlings were so bloated on the soft gut they could hardly fly, they’d make their way back to their individual hives to produce the precious gremmenon, the naupie’s sole sustenance.
With Asaia’s quick sewing skills and Ero’s “blade”, they were incognito in no time, and began descending into the valley.
“King Ero.” Asaia said at length, “Your magic, there, will it help us? It looks upon me with a green eye.”
“There’s no magic here, I found this under the snow. Here, let me show you.” He handed her the gun, but she only stared in disbelief. There was writing on it, in the old language that some of the pickers still used. “What’s it say?” he asked.
“Property of the United States of America.”
“I knew it! I knew it!” he laughed, “We’re all just one!” At that moment he could no longer fight the incredible urge to hug her and then to kiss her. Passionately.
” He stood behind her, now, inhaling her fragrant hair. “Now slowly…slowly pull back on the –Wham!– Just as the blue light flashed, two naupies jumped them from behind. Ero finally fought one off, but the other was gone — with Asaia and the gun!
Now, all was lost, so Ero kept going down into the valley. What other option was there?
Suddenly, the entire valley echoed to the low moan of the funeral horn. Immediately, the sky was buzzing with the sound of nutterlings converging on the Temple. Dressed in the naupie’s robes, he blended in with the others, all heading for the temple. At the bottom of the valley, there was a small lake with the Temple on an island in the middle, and a raised walkway to get there.
Once inside, he could see the many walls of hives and the buzzing was deafening. Suddenly, an old crone dressed in white raised her hand and all was quiet.”I, Cicessa, The Guide of Souls, Do hereby commend your Spirit, Matthew, to the nutterlings, so they might give life back to us to complete the chain.” With that she raised a ceremonial dagger, and plunged it into the corpse, slashing it wide open from one end to the other.
The air exploded and filled with the smacking and slurping of nutterlings as they gorged on the soft flesh. Finally sated, they swerved drunkenly back to their respective hives; the gremmenon would flow.
Just then, Ero happened to come face to face with one of the attackers. “Intruder! Intruder!” he began to shout, and in no time they had Ero uncloaked and strapped down to the slab. The nutterlings were starting to buzz excitedly again.
Cicessa lifted the sacred dagger again, and was just about to plunge it into Ero, when a blinding blue flash rippled through the room. “Asaia!” She had escaped (it helps to have a laser gun) and found her way to the Temple.
The naupies were so worried about losing the gremmenon, that they hardly noticed Araia cut Ero free and head out the door. Once outside, they laid the huge cross-beam across the door, and then turned the laser on the wood.
With the naupies and nutterlings now gone for good, Ero knelt down on that same knee that felt the laser, and proposed.