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Careful there stranger, don't want to see ya fallin' off the edge now do we? Our little patch of dirt is situated at the edge of a nest, you see. We all live in great nests, bowls of dirt and stone. Our nest is one a many sittin' in this great tree, Umqwam we calls it. Sit down a spell, I'll tell ya all 'bout it.
  Take a seat and lis'n.
Once, there was a cowpoke. Now, this ain't just any ol' cowpoke— no siree, this here was the great Mawkiq, tendin' to his herd in the stars. Now, Mawqik's herd wandered through a great void 'tween the stars they ate. Nothin' 'round 'em but darkness. A man's gotta eat, right? And so, tired of that hunger in his belly, he planted a seed along the path he knew he'd come again. This seed, ya see, was what was left of a star. A tree sprouted, reachin' upwards faster and larger than he ever'd thought, and whenever he'd come by he'd have a snack to pluck from its branches— fresh, young stars.
  As his herd began going farther and farther for their food, there was more and more time 'tween his visits. A great crow came by, made 'er nest in the branches, laid eggs— and left when Mawqik shooed 'er off his tree. She was a stubborn one though, and Mawqik had ta' shoo 'er 'way a number of times. But, the times changed. The cattle wouldn' come 'round no more, the crow spooked 'em. Mawkiq never did come back after then, just left 'is hat hangin' from a branch. More birds showed after then. A jay, a hawk, and an eagle...lotsa birds found their way to this tree. They all made their own nests n' left one day, too.
  We ain't seen any of them birds nor Mawqik in thousan's a' years. 'Least, that's what I'm tellin' ya. If you're lookin' to explore the other nests round this tree you're gonna want t' git you some wings, I sure ain't gonna recommend walkin', a friend of mine died that way long ago. Yous can find lotsa different places and kinds of folk out there, all jus' tryin' ta make it ta the next day. Here, the Church keeps us hopeful. A beacon like the star 'bove you and I. There are a buncha others out there though, preachin' 'bout their own great birds. Some of 'em don't have wings, they's stuck in their own nests— and they ain't mighty kind to outsiders. Magicians run 'round helpin' folk, 'least they do 'round here. I hears some of 'em outright enslaved their nests, tales 'bout onea them's livin' in a giant flyin' castle of sorts haunted my childhood. The wilderness ain't pretty either, ya got vicious critters, gunslingers, outlaws, bandit-magicians— you'd best keep a gun handy, learn a spell or two, jus' ta be careful. Stay 'way from the hollows, too— folk livin' in them don't git no sun, they ain't like us— they'd kill you jus' ta pick at your bones.
  Chin up, stranger, jus' join me for a lil' prayer 'fore ya leave and I'm sure you'll do jus' fine.
An Introduction to Umqwam
Generic article | Dec 20, 2019
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