The History of the Habrigale (Needs a Better Name)

The true history of Australia, and the ancient history of the world. Read this book at your own risk, as discovering how joyous life once was may bring your grief.

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3. Chapter Two: In which I struggle to find a plot

 

Kaiyar was more than a little disturbed when the teacher did not read his name, as such a thing had only happened once in the history of his people. The only other person who did not have their name read out on their last day of school was Justar Ayar, and he was their oppressive protector, who grew more and more unpopular every day. Perhaps Kaiyar had been chosen to take over from their old ruler, but this thought did not cheer him at all.

                The children (adults, Kaiyar reminded himself) filed past him, and he hid his face in shame as they sneered scornfully at him. At least they did not hit him anymore, for they figured that was not a very mature way to behave.

                Finally, the classroom was empty, and Kaiyar looked up nervously. The teacher smiled at him at once.

                ‘Kaiyar!’ He cried, and the boy (for he was still a boy) felt anger well up within him.

How dare the teacher act as if nothing bad had happened! Kaiyar’s life was nothing now, he was a complete and utter failure, or – otherwise – he was going to be turned into a protector of the people, which was an even more frightening prospect.

‘Kaiyar,’ the teacher continued, walking over to the small boy.

Yes, he didn’t even look like an adult. He was still waiting to grow, and his hair was still blond. Honestly, all the other Habrigale children his age had lost their blond hair and had dark locks, but he was still blond. Just like a baby.

‘I did not read your name off the list because you have been given two job suggestions. And I did not think it would be wise to publicise either.’

Oh, dear, Kaiyar thought. This was getting worse and worse. Things were not going to improve. He would always be a hated outcast, just like his father. Though at least his father had a wife and family. Kaiyar would never have anybody. Anybody!

‘What were they?’ He asked, intending to reject both offers and plead for something else. Perhaps they would let him become a hunter. Then at least he could die with dignity.

‘Well,’ the teacher began, smiling curiously, ‘the first one is a request from Justar Ayar himself.’

‘The man who cannot keep peace? What does he want?’

‘He wants you to unite all people. People have been quarrelling with one another lately. He wants you to remind them that the threat from Lurear is a very real, very dangerous one.’

‘They won’t believe it. Our people haven’t been attacked for years, and the elves protect those in the east. What was the other offer?’

The teacher chuckled. ‘The complete opposite, actually.’

Kaiyar was listening now.

                ‘This is a request from the people. They want a representative. They want some-one who can win the approval of all people and overthrow Justar Ayar. They are tired of his dictatorial ways, and would like a little more… democracy.’       

                Kaiyar chewed the end of his pencil thoughtfully. ‘But no-one’s ever done that successfully, have they? Hence Europe is in such trauma.’

                ‘Yes, our king – or rather, dictator – has been thrown out of every country but this one. And now our people also wish to dispose of him.’

                ‘You mean kill him?’

                ‘Do whatever it is that can possibly get rid of him. Some say he is impossible to kill, but I am not so sure that is true.’

                Kaiyar frowned. ‘I can’t say I like either job opportunity. Both are likely to get me killed one way or another.’

                ‘That is true,’ the teacher agreed, ‘but the offer from Justar Ayar is probably the safer one. After all, the only people who know you are in this very city, and foreigners will surely not kill you. I would choose that job if I were you.’

                ‘Yes, I think that is the wisest option.’

                ‘However,’ the teacher suddenly said, standing up, and Kaiyar filled with even more worry. ‘I would very much appreciate it if you chose the second job.’

                There was a very deafening silence then, as Kaiyar simply stared at his instructor. This was treason! But, at the same time, such treason would certainly make Kaiyar far more popular than he had ever been… perhaps it was worth the risk.

                But he was not entirely convinced Justar Ayar deserved to be overthrown.

                ‘No.’ He finally said at last. ‘I will take the first option. I will work for Justar Ayar, even though I shall be hated for it.’

                ‘All right then.’ The teacher answered him, shrugging, completely unconcerned, which surprised the young boy (though he supposed he was a man after all. He wasn’t too sure now). ‘As part of your job you will have to travel very much. But I want you to do something as you travel.’

                Kaiyar raised an eyebrow, sure that what the teacher would say next had something to do with treason. He was one hundred percent right.

                ‘Observe things, Kaiyar. Pay attention to how hard it is to get everyone to pledge allegiance to our oppressor. Then, when you come back, tell me if you still wish to work for him.’

                Kaiyar supposed that was a reasonable enough request (after all, why wouldn’t he try to please two parties?), and so he nodded. ‘All right, then. I will do exactly that. When do I begin?’             

                The teacher made a strange face then, widening his eyes and giving a sort of half-shrug, and sort of chuckled. ‘That,’ he answered at last, tucking his large book under his arm, ‘all depends on our ‘fair’ ruler’s wishes. He will call you when he’s ready, though these days he seems to have such a poor sense of time that he may never call you.’

                ‘Oh dear. So I shall seem like a good for nothing street urchin in the meantime?’

                The teacher laughed before walking out the door. ‘Basically, Kaiyar, basically.’

                Then he swam out into the lake, holding his massive, waterproof book.

*

When Kaiyar returned to his home behind the waterfall, he was terribly surprised to find that no-one was home. He checked every room in the house, but each was empty. The reason for his complete shock was the fact that he had 25 brother and sisters. That is, 25 brothers, and 25 sisters. He was thirty-first child, so a great deal of responsibility fell on his shoulders. The eldest 30 children were all adults and married now, but they lived in adjacent caves, which the entered through their parents’ home. Kaiyar was sure to check these adjacent caves, but found he was still very much alone.

                You may be slightly confused, however, as I said Kaiyar lived behind a waterfall and then switched to speaking of caves. Well, his great, great, great, great, great grandfather had found the waterfall, and (seeing as the carnivores hated water) decided it was a marvellous place to reside. So he promptly carved a nice, human-sized house out of the rock. When he married and had children he added several more rooms, each of which he built sturdy, oak-wood doors for, and the renovations continued until – finally – there was a whole maze of cave homes behind the waterfall.

                But enough of Kaiyar’s cave home. He decided that – seeing as being at home was going to be so terribly boring – that he would go outside and play with the talking animals; that is, the animals that could speak his language of Da’affoien. If they could not speak his language, Kaiyar did not like playing with them at all.

                Kaiyar ran outside excitedly, eager to make – perhaps for the first time ever – some friends. He had never had the opportunity to play with the animals during the day time before, as he had school, and when he came home, only the nocturnal animals were awake. And the majority of the nocturnal animals were either carnivores or scavengers, so they had no time to speak to him.

                Kaiyar ran further and further into the deep jungle, until he could no longer see his waterfall-house or the tops of Da’affoie’s skyscrapers. This initially frightened him, but then he felt such a thrill that he continued running anyway. He ran faster and faster, until – finally – he tripped and fell into a puddle of water.

                The jungle had been deathly quiet, but now that he had tripped it filled with the sound of laughter. All the creatures thought it was so funny that he had fallen over. Probably because they had guessed he was a man now, and therefore meant to be a mighty hunter. He did not feel very mighty right now.

                ‘Run away, run away!’ One of the howler monkeys mocked him (for do not suppose that such animals always lived exclusively in South America). ‘The man, the mighty hunter, has come to kill us all!’

                Then all the hyenas crept out of their hiding spots (where they had been waiting patiently to eat one of the howler monkeys) to laugh in perfect unison. This made Kaiyar stand up and scowl.

                ‘Don’t laugh at me!’ He cried. ‘I’m not even a hunter, so it’s not fair.’

                The ugliest hyena, which had one very large blue eye and one very small squinty one, snarled. ‘Then what are you doing out here, young man? Shouldn’t you be at work?’

                Kaiyar nodded and then said (very importantly, trying to stretch a little to make himself look taller than he really was), ‘yes. I am waiting for a summons from Justar Ayar.’

                The animals all gasped at once, as if they knew exactly what such a thing meant.

                ‘Justar Ayar?!’ The howler monkey howled. ‘What business does he have with you?’

                Kaiyar only shrugged, deciding that the conversation bored him, and tried to introduce himself. ‘Enough with that. My name is Kaiyar. What are your names?’

                All the animals promptly scurried away, either too scared to talk or (in the case of the howler monkeys) aware that they now had an opportunity to run away from the hyenas. But the hyenas weren’t stupid enough to let them run off and followed them. The ugliest one, however, felt no need to hunt for his own food, so answered Kaiyar’s question.

                ‘My name is Heooeeoonar.’

                Kaiyar tried not to laugh. ‘Isn’t that simply ‘hyena’ in Meeseyn?’

                The howler monkey gasped so hard he feel out of his tree. Heeooeeoonar glanced at him, as if wondering whether to devour him or not, and the poor creature scrambled up to Kaiyar’s shoulder in desperation.

                ‘How can one such as you speak Meeseyn?’ The hyena asked. ‘That language is limited to the elves.’

                ‘Well, a couple of others have learned it too.’ Kaiyar answered. ‘Myself included. It fascinates me, primarily because it is called the language of moose, but moose can’t even speak.’

                ‘Meese.’ The howler monkey corrected, trying to whisper in Kaiyar’s ear but failing. ‘If you know Meeseyn you must use the correct plural form of moose.’

                ‘I don’t care about grammar.’ Kaiyar returned. ‘And besides, you did not tell me your name. What is it?’

                The howler monkey shook a little before saying, ‘Awoolerar. It’s a variation of the term ‘howler monkey.’

                ‘Your name is Meeseyn too.’ Kaiyar pointed out. ‘As is my name. You know, I feel very special having a Meeseyn name, because my parents can’t even speak the language, and all my brothers and sisters have Da’affoie names.’

                The hyena’s squinty eye widened. ‘Why, no wonder Justar Ayar is summoning you! You are a special one!’

                ‘Whatever.’ Kaiyar replied. ‘I’m friendless, that’s what I am.’

                ‘Me too!’ The hyena cried, showing his sharp teeth, and Kaiyar thought he could tell why.

                ‘I also do not have any friends!’ The howler monkey screamed, right in Kaiyar’s ear. ‘I do not know why!’

                Kaiyar winced and tried not to shout back at the monkey angrily.

                ‘Why don’t we all be friends?’ Heeooeeoonar suggested. ‘Come, I’ll take you to my marvellous city.’

                ‘You have a city?’ Awoolerar asked.

                Kaiyar frowned. ‘I don’t think that’s a good idea. What if you eat me?’

                ‘I’m not going to eat you!’ Awoolerar replied, whereas the hyena just laughed.

                ‘You have my solemn vow that neither I nor any of my fellow hyenas will eat you. You have been summoned by Justar Ayar, we would be fools to touch you. If we did, we may be wiped out by our protector.’

                ‘That doesn’t make any sense.’ Awoolerar mused.

                Kaiyar supposed that promise was as good as any, and he was completely bored, so he simply nodded. ‘All right then. I’ll come with you.’

                But please, if you ever happen to have a hyena ask you to visit their home city, do not accept. Kaiyar was extremely fortunate to have found the only trustworthy hyena in all of Asootrayoolah, which is why he had no friends.

                And don’t say that makes no sense. 

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