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In the sundered times, the Srunai were farmers.Author's Notes
Their cousins, the Vlunai, were hunters and fishers.
The Empire, typically clueless, called us all Slunai.
But we, my child, are of the line of Yaimav of the Vlunai,
And where the Srunai appease their ancestors' ghosts
With blinkbird feathers set into a shaman's harp,
We use the bright plumes of the wary wary bird.
As a girl, Yaimav loved the birds' blue feathers.
Despite the creatures' harsh, raucous cries,
She climbed a rough cliff and stole an egg,
Carried it down nestled between her breasts,
And guarded it from the cold until it hatched.
The chick was scrawny and grey, but it loved her.
It sang, "woo, woo," and she fed it bait and love.
As it grew, the chick followed her everywhere.
It crooned her to sleep, its warble like a purr;
The Vlunai were amazed at the gentle sound.
In time, the bird developed shiny blue plumage
But Yaimav no longer cared about its feathers.
The bird was her constant companion.
It sang, "woo, woo," where the fishing was good.
Fully grown, it followed her onto the ocean,
Riding the prow of the ship or flying overhead.
When it flew, Yaimav followed, and caught many fish.
One stormy year, the Srunai farmers' crops grew sparse.
Yaimav brought in enough fish to feed many;
Famine averted, the sleepy farming village rejoiced.
The bird sang, "woo, woo," and tucked its head for a nap.
One day that year, the bird screamed alarm, "wary! wary!"
A harsh sound it had never made before.
Yaimav looked where it flew and saw a shaggy brown form.
She abandoned her best fishnet and raised sail.
Trimming the lines to drive the boat hard onto the sand.
A huge whalebear close behind, teeth flashing.
A passing hunter slew the monster and saved her life.
The whalebear fed many people that night;
The Srunai and Vlunai danced late under the moons.
Yaimav and her hunter danced latest of all
While the bards sang the praises of the bright blue bird
Who tucked his head down, crooning, "woo, woo."
And so Vlunai children learned to climb the cliffs
So they could claim wary wary eggs of their own.
I sketched this bird over during Sketchfest, but it took a while to learn more about it. This is dedicated to the people who asked me to tell them a bit more about the Slunai.
Please note: This tale is told of an event that happened during the sundered times, before the brown whalebear became extinct in Shard 3. Being a tale handed down through the generations verbally, Empire scientists have classed it as "folklore" rather than "history".