Finish That Thought: Drums of War (Pangaea)

“I thought pegasi were tough to ride until the Army got their first shipment of wyverns,” Flaxx groused while swallowing his braised nightworm. It wiggled down his throat in a pleasant manner.

“Tell me about it,” Anteraxx commiserated. “We’ve been using the damnable things in the Flotilla for a while now. ‘They’re better armored’ the pols caw at us. ‘Greater survivability when facing the featherless demon-fire.'” His throat-feathers rose in disgust. “Bah. I don’t see them diving into a clutch of humans while trying to bank a beast with the maneuverability of an out-nest.”

Flaxx tweeted his agreement around the regurgitated remains of his meal. The nest-brothers strode the streets of Teryx, capitol of the Aviar Empire. Merchants hawked their wares while bright-plumed citizens bustled about their business, many harrying their dull-feathered slaves.

Anteraxx chirped as one such slave, smaller than he by half and blinded by her master’s purchases, bumped into him. His talons clenched and his fist lashed out, sending her sprawling. “Mind your betters!”

“My apologies,” she screeched. “I abase myself before you and beg forgiveness!”

Flaxx shot his sibling a quelling glare. “Easy, brother. Act befitting your station.” He knelt and gathered up some of the scattered packages. “We serve to protect all the Aviar Empire, even the slave-caste.” He handed the fledgling’s burden back to her. “Run along, little one, but mind where you’re going.”

She bowed and backed away four paces before stepping aside to let them pass. Anteraxx waited until she was out of listening distance, then turned to Flaxx. “What was that all about? Helping one of them! Have you taken leave of your senses, brother?”

Flaxx craned his head to and fro before answering. “There are rumors, Anteraxx,” he began quietly.

“What rumors?”

Flaxx nodded at a slave auction occurring in the park nearby. “That some of the slaves are leaving the nest to join with the human interlopers. I hear there was a riot down in Alandra not two weeks ago.”

Anteraxx spat on the ground. “Bah. They can have the worthless seed-eaters.”

Flaxx fell silent as they neared a flock gathered around a raised platform holding an orating senator. “…the human interlopers profess to want peace, but their actions brand them as liars! They take our lands, our slaves, our very livelihood!” The senator twisted his neck to gaze at those behind him. “We must resolve ourselves to fight this barbarian menace ’til the last feather falls! Our very way of life depends on it!” His neck snapped back to its normal position. “Are you with me!”

A chorus of chirps and tweets greeted his pronouncement. The senator shook his head as if dismayed. “I asked you, people of Teryx, height of civilization, ARE YOU WITH ME?”

The cheeps turned to a cacophony of screeches, none louder than Anteraxx’s cry. Flaxx bowed his head. “I guess it is to be a full war then,” he muttered.

Word Count: 487

My entry for Finish That Thought #26 over at the Musings of Alissa Leonard blog. The challenge: Use the sentence provided as your first sentence and create a 500 word or less story out of it. She also has extra challenges she throws in: This week’s Special Challenge is to make the protagonist non-human. The “Festive” Challenge is to use the words “resolution” or “resolve” anywhere within the story. Check it out and enter your own. The challenge closes at midnight Eastern time.

This particular story takes place on Pangaea, the world I created for the Daily Post’s “Interplanet Janet” prompt. You can see the world creation process here and the introductory story to the world, from the human side, here.

Looks like it’s time for another folder.

Hope you enjoy.

Happy Reading and Writing!

J. Milburn

Daily Prompt – Interplanet Janet: Pangaea

Daily Prompt: You get to design your own planet: tell us all about your planet — the weather, the seasons, the inhabitants. Go.

I’m going, I’m going! Sheesh!
 
So I get to design my own planet? You  couldn’t make this a weekly challenge where I could focus on one or two aspects a day? Ugh. Okay, settle in folks and let’s do some planet building.
 
Type of planet: Gaseous giant? Post-apocalyptic style blasted landscape? Ice world? Forest world? Earth-like with various temperate zones, geography and geology? Tatooine? Swamp World? Each has possibilities for stories told.
 
So what’s the focus? Do we delve deep into what it means to grow and evolve on a single biome planet, exploring the challenges inherent in surviving any single climate and creating a society? Or do we want a hosting environment that lends itself to a multitude of stories, that can encompass a range of environments and cultures? Maybe a fantasy world, the square Earth of Bizarro, that defies physics and we can make our own rules?
 
I prefer the multitude of story possibilities inherent on an Earth-like world, where where you live shapes who you are. Various cultures can arise, leading to clashes, shocks, and lessons.
 
English: Hypothetical "super earth" ...
English: Hypothetical “super earth” next to Earth for comparison. (Earth texture courtesy of NASA’s The Blue Marble: Land Surface, Ocean Color, Sea Ice and Clouds) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Earth-like it is.
Geologic features: Do we want a planet that is geologically stable? No earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic activity, etc? Is this Earth-like world still in its Pangaea stage, one super-continent? If so, is it still stable, or on the cusp of separating? Mineral rich or mineral poor?
 
I’m thinking I like the Pangaea stage idea. One relatively geologically stable super-continent. There are volcanoes, earthquakes, and the like, but Pangaea (I’m keeping the name for the continent and world) is in no danger of breaking into various smaller continents anytime soon. I’m making it extremely mineral rich.
The supercontinent Pangaea surrounded by the s...
The supercontinent Pangaea surrounded by the superocean Panthalassa. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Geographic (physical) features: For this I’m just defining a starting point, for what is a world without exploration? Boring is what it is.
 
Do we want a rainforest? A less-densely populated wooded area, clear-cut for habitation? What about something near the equator? A desert area? A Siberia-type area? Are there rivers, lakes, and other water sources?
 
I picture an extremely mineral rich world makes arable soil for farming a scarcity, but let’s make that our starting point. The wooded area, clear-cut serves that purpose. Let’s put a river nearby to open up various travel possibilities. The flora and fauna will have adapted, and I’m picturing trees with small veins of metal, their leaves covering the metallic color spectrum. The local fauna I’m picturing with a denser bone structure, their digestive systems designed to funnel the high mineral content into useful adaptations.
 
Weather Patterns: With our geography defined, I’m going to base the weather patterns on what is conducive for that environment, although I’m going to throw in mild winters because I really don’t like snow. So, varying seasons, but only three: spring, summer, and fall.
 
Inhabitants: What kind of inhabitants populate this world? Are they humanoid? If not, what do they look like? Is there more than one species considered “intelligent”? If so, what are the relationships between the two species? Does our species fall into a narrow phenotype, with little variation among their characteristics? Or are they diverse, the various environmental factors shaping adaptations? Do they share a common language, or do various dialects crop up? How do they reproduce, sexually or asexually? Are there differing genders? Do they cycle through genders based on need?
 
What about culture, same or varying? Do we want an advanced society, something more in line with what we know, or maybe something along the historical axis? Do they have nations? Can they conceptualize an entity such as the “State”?
 
I’m intrigued by the notion of two “intelligent” species forced to coexist. Let’s make one humans, genetically adapted to survive and thrive on such a mineral-rich world. That sticks them firmly in the “advanced” category, but who says they have to follow what we would consider a linear progression forward? Let’s incorporate a little medieval flavor, with kingdoms and feudalism. They’ve been adapted, but still need Earth-like crops, also modified, to survive. The available arable land that will support these crops is scarce, lending itself to the feudalism idea.
 
So, medieval with high-tech trappings. The leaders of the first settlements became the royalty of future generations.
picture found at: crunchyroll.com
The second species is a native species, evolved from avian stock instead of mammalian. The humans call them Aviars. They attained a society on par with Rome in our own history. They are expansionist and relations, formally cordial with the human colonists, have turned hostile. Early diplomatic exchanges of culture and information have let the Aviars integrate human technology into their culture, and engineer their own designs.
 
The Aviars are not quite as diverse as humans, but they are by no means homogeneous. They keep slaves and are ruled by an oligarchy. They are gendered, but the females hold most of the political and economical power.
 
Finished Result (Pangaea): Mineral rich Earth-like world dominated by a super-continent. Varying geographical features, but our story starts in a kingdom built around a river near a wooded area with only three seasons. Humans rule this kingdom, clashing with their Aviar neighbors, while battling the local flora and fauna for supremacy. Knights and Rangers, armed with plasma rifles and monomolecular blades, patrol the borders against Aviar Centurion incursion.
 
I created this world as one I could tell stories about, not where I would want to live. These few questions I asked barely scratch the surface in world-building. This is just a basic outline, and I’m sure others could come up with other questions they feel should be answered before starting. For me, this is enough. I’ll fill in the details through story.