Can anyone suggest where they think it might be best for it (the plot) to go. I'm trying to show the impact of introduced mammals on the native fauna - but in a Furry sense.
The morning sun lazed above the tiny village of domed nest-huts, nestled against the narrow shores of the fjord. It illuminated the tawaki, a race of Penguins, as they went about their daily chores of smoking fish, cleaning out their nests or simply lazing in the sunshine. And it glanced down upon two young tawaki, little more then chicks, playing beside a creek. Or rather one was playing, the other jiggled about in excitement.
“Oh Rangi, come and see, come and see!” Rewi hopped about, yellow crest flapping in her eyes.
Rangi, her clutchmate, looked along his bill at her. “Can’t you see I’m busy?” He bemoaned, “whatever could be that exciting?” And back his attention turned to the bubbling brook and the stone wall he was attempting, without much success, to build across it.
“It’s a barge, only it’s really, really big and has wings like a toroa.” Her dark eyes sparkled with excitement. The tawaki specialised in fishing, using only their paddle-like wings and powerful beaks to capture their prey, but small flat boats, called barges, were used to transport the fish, dragged through the water by one of the tawaki in a special harness. It was not a barge that Rewi had seen, but no other term in her limited experience could possibly describe it.
“A flying barge,” Rangi abandoned his dam-building and focused his attention on her. “Now you’re pulling my feathers. You’re imagining things, chickadee.”
“I am not,” she stamped her flippered foot. “All the others are watching it. It flew on the water into the head of the fjord just a little while ago. You don’t wanna be the only one who doesn’t know what’s going on, do you?”
With a sigh her brother relented. The dam would wait – it wasn’t working anyway, a thin trail of water trickled through the stones, turning swiftly to a burble as the creek returned to its former, flowing status. He had to admit, he was curious. Big barges that flew on water? Technical stuff had always interested the young tawaki – hence why he was busily attempting to construct a dam whilst his age-mates practised their diving and underwater gliding in the calm waters of the fjord.
“Very well then.” Rewi was off before the last words had fallen, running through the beech trees, leaping over the fallen rimu and finally jumping down a slight cliff and into a jumble of rocks a short distance into the fiord. This position offered a clear view of the village and a slightly less clear one of the incoming barge.
Rangi had to admit, it did look like it had wings, although they weren’t like those of any bird he had seen – they were more like sheets really. It was an interesting concept, putting sheets on a barge. Although this was no normal barge. It rode much higher in the water, with the sides curving up and contracting to a point at the front end. Instantly his interest was roused. Such a craft would travel rather more smoothly through the water, and the sheets seemed to catch the wind and blow it along. Why, it was a self-propelled barge. “How fascinating,” he muttered, wishing he’d brought along his notebook and drawing stick.
“Isn’t it,” his sister commented, her beak parted in a penguin grin. “I knew you’d like it. I wonder what the people are like. They obviously can’t fly. Or swim like us.” Tawaki were justifiably proud of their swimming abilities. Other birds might be able to fly through the air, but only penguins could fly through the water.
“Maybe we should swim out and take a closer look?” Rangi suggested, he didn’t particularly care about whomever was aboard it – he just wanted to get a better look at the craft.
It took Rewi only a moment to agree. “Race you to it!” She shrieked, flinging herself into the water with easy grace. Rangi followed, forging swiftly after her. The two weaved and dived, startling a small shoal of fish into shimmering flight. A moment later they surfaced, side-by-side, and got their first decent view of the craft.
It was big, bigger then Rangi would have guessed, bigger then any tree he had ever seen, even the mighty kahikatea. Strange figures darted across the deck, clambering through the net-like rope structure between the sheets. Rewi gasped at the sight of them and Rangi had to agree – he had certainly never seen anything like them before. Beakless they were, with legs instead of wings, equipped with long, dextrous toes. Their bodies were long and supple – they moved more like fish then birds. Some of them had long pink tails that resembled worms. And they clambered up these immense nets with dexterity, chattering to each other like fantails.
One, much larger then the others and wearing an enormous, plumed hat, stood at the pointy end of the craft. He seemed to be the leader and he pointed at the tiny tawaki village, gibbering excitedly.
Rangi felt a cold chill then, like he had just passed through a southern current. These creatures were so alien, their craft so advanced. He could not help but feel a stab of apprehension. His race had never known true danger, save what the elements might throw up at them, but these invaders were so strange, he could not help but wonder their intent.
A large cylindrical device was wheeled across the deck, hauled by several of the creatures and pushed by a number of others. It was heaved into place at the front of the craft and Rangi caught sight of a spark. “Rewi,” he muttered, dragging his sister close to him, the two of them bobbing on the surf.
There was a flash, followed by a great rumbling BOOOOOOOMMMM that bounced off the sheer cliffs of the fiord and vibrated through the water. With a shriek, Rewi dived, Rangi not a heartbeat behind her. Fear replaced curiosity as they darted through the sea, concentrating on nothing but the desire to get as far from this strange and noisy craft as possible. Another boom, the sound muffled, vibrated around them. And then another, forcing them onwards, away, away. It was Rewi who surfaced first, needing to breathe. Rangi followed shortly after, concern for his clutchmate greater then his fear.
Even from this distance it was obvious that something very terrible indeed had struck the little village. Great plumes of grey smoke poured into the air and flames licked hungrily from several of the dwellings. Aboard the craft, little more then dark shapes now, the strange invaders cheered and clapped each other on the back.
They were pleased, Rangi thought, pleased to have partly destroyed his home. Why? What manner of monster were they? Did they not have homes or families of their own? At the thought of family, fear gripped his heart. His mother and father and siblings-of-previous-clutches – would they be all right?
“Rewi,” he whispered, ears still ringing in the aftermath of the boom, “what about our family?”
Rewi merely shook her head. “No,” she whispered, “no, no…” It took him a moment to realise she was not answering him, but speaking instead to the invaders, and turned his attention back to them. Smaller crafts were being lowered onto the water, and the supple creatures sprang down into them, wicked looking fishing spears were tossed down, blades glinting in the once-friendly sun.
Slowly but surely, and then more swiftly, the invaders steered their crafts towards the wounded village.
“They’re going to kill them,” Rewi exclaimed
Oh and if you know any other Furrs in the southern hemisphere with livejournals, can you point them in this direction?