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Run, run, you try in vain,

As the jaws rip your veins,

From your tiny brain.

 

And as you lie

In great inert hood

They come, the Conscious Beasts

Of the Northern wood

 

They peck at your eyes

They peck at your skin

They peck at your thighs

They peck at your shins

 

Now, Concious Beast of the Southern Plain

Bend down in a bow

For as you die, you’re tried and tested

Before the Kingdom of Crows.

 

Jeremiah flew across his kingdom, pulled by his chariot of eagles. The chariot of eagles is simply a twig, tied with string onto one or two eagles, with the rider (in this case a crow) having to hang tight onto the twig. Jeremiah was flying so incredibly high, much higher than a crow could naturally fly. He was stretching his wings out to reduce drag, and when he gave the order, the eagles stopped in mid-air, giving him a massive expanse of momentum. He then started gliding (at very fast speeds) down from the clouds to survey his kingdom. It was an island, somewhere in the recently formed Inner Hebrides, which his subjects had settled in after the flood. As he came closer, he noticed the walls being built, simply by placing twigs and stones in alternating directions on top of each other, secured with the odd drop of mud; they were built in between the trees. As he came closer still, he saw the activities of the different nations of this island. There were the Jackdaws, tending to their oat crops between the trees, there were the Rooks, hooking out grubs from the rotting trees with their selection of thorns and oak and stone knives, there were the Ravens, hunting down rabbits and squirrels with their wooden spears, and there was his Kingdom of Crows, who could do all of these things but weren’t particularly good at any of them. He also noticed the Magpies; they lived as itinerants for the Ravens and Crows, although they seemed more like those monkeys who climb trees for coconuts in some coconut farms amongst humanity, to those who employed them. He then centred towards the Royal platform, to await his subjects.

In the evening, when all the Crows came back from their days work, and were in their nests, they all looked towards the Royal platform, and waited for Jeremiah to speak. He said to them.

“My fellow Crows, we have lived on this Island for a time longer than anyone can remember. But it wasn’t always like this, it is said that in ancient times, all crows were solitary, and that if you go to lands distant from here, that is supposedly still the case. In our case, long ago, in a periodic gathering of crows around a scrap of meat, my ancestor learnt how to communicate with the other crows, and encouraged them to stay together for protection. From that point our kingdom was in existence. Then later, on the very cusp of living memory a massive flood came, and we had to fly away from our homeland and come to this island. There we came across lots of other races of bird, very similar but very different. This isn’t the difference between White Crows* and Black crows I’m talking about. There language is so difficult to understand that some have said they cannot speak, and according to the few that have tried, Sir Gainsborough, that it is inpossible for a male of our race to have chicks with any of the others, vice versa. On top of this, we were and are in dire competition for the natural resources on this island. My predecessor told me to avoid violent conflict whenever possible, and this is what the Kingdom has always done, sometimes against many Crows’ wishes. This fact has changed our way of life immensely, as with the other races, we have had to learn to extract food and materials from the land in ways that had never been done before, and accomplished building feats that were once seen as impossible i.e. the walls. Now I feel that we must change again. It is time that we try to learn how to speak with these races, that we build passages through these walls and travel freely across this island. Yes they may be different, but they share fundamental anatomical and behavioural similarities. There is so much we can learn from each other. Maybe one day we will no longer be the Kingdom of Crows, but the Empire of Corves.”

There was much cawing as they settled to sleep, some in favour, some in opposition.

The next day, Jeremiah was talking to his Mandarins, one of whom exclaimed.

“You cannot be serious about this, are you mad, diplomacy with animals, what will posterity say!”

“We and the Jackdaws have already taken grasses and selectively bred oats. Also my predecessor oversaw the taming of the local eagle population, hence my transport.”

“But this is not selective breeding or taming, this is diplomacy, and how are we going to communicate!”

“My ancestors found a way; we’ll just have to work hard at it.”

“Hugh.... I have often wondered whether we could try and conquer one of these animals, I mean, we could probably overrun the Jackdaws in a matter of days, they have no weapons.”

“Don’t underestimate the other races, Jackdaws beaks are designed to pickup seeds, not break grass stems, so it seems logical that they will be working on some sought of grass stem cutting device.”

“Bu...”

Suddenly the messenger came in and cried “there is a living thing marooned on the beach!”

Jeremiah and his Mandarins flew towards the beach, what they saw was weird. At a distance it just looked like a dead pile of skin, no hair or feathers. Closer, they could make out the bones, whatever it was it was starving. Further still they could make out the structure, it’s hind legs were longer than its front legs, it had no tail whatsoever and it had a very round head, too round they thought, were does it keep its jaws they thought? Jeremiah inspected its front paws, they looked eerily like a squirrels paws, but longer and wider and with much shorter claws. He pecked it, and suddenly it started moving, and they all jumped back a bit. The creature than began to heave itself onto its rear end, they could see its face. It had eyes like an eagle, large and forward facing, and a dry, bony nose, and a thin mouth with a strange lining. Then it did something amazing, it spoke, in perfect insular Crow.

“I am Wagimizer of the Tharrysampians, and I am at your service.”

The Crows were beak smacked, Jeremiah exclaimed.

“How do you do it?”

“That’s just what the folks back home said.... I just can, don’t know why.”

Jeremiah and his Mandarins turned to each other. Jeremiah started.

“I think this alien could be the key to my plans.”

“Come on, look at it, it’s massive and starving, if we keep it here we’ll also be starving.”

“If it can speak to us without having ever met us, it can almost certainly be a translator.”

“Well, your king, but I still don’t think this is a good idea.”

“Maybe, but I predict that with Wagimizer on our side, our lives will change, for better or for worst.”

Jeremiah then turned to Wagimizer, “Okay, Wagimizer, you’re in.”

You know what; their lives did change, both ways.

 

*There are some Crows, particularly in the Highlands of Scotland, who have a white "hood" of feathers around their head, and like with skin colour in Humans if they have chicks with Crows with totally black feathers, there offsprings head feathers are a mid point between their parents (in this case grey). I imagine then that they'd be considerd "white" crows amongst that species.

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