Friday, February 6, 2015

An Odd True Story from Moonsword: The Tale of the Quarrel

There are a lot of things that are shockingly true in my fantasy novel Moonsword, however, all the people and places are fictitious, blah, blah, blah...of course. ;)  Many of my reactions are in there, some mirrored, some as they were, but one story is completely true:  the tale of the Quarrel or Bird War.  I witnessed this event in mid-April in the late eighties right in my father's house in the very room I type this now, in fact.  I woke in the morning to the sound of bird calls, lots of birds outside my window in the large ancient oak in the backyard.  Here's the account from Moonsword (just change Tolian to me):

Finally they approached the scene.  It was amongst the most unusual sights that Tolian had ever seen.   There stood an oak tree of great age and size.  It was taller than sixty feet and its branches stretched out wide.  It was bare of leaves, of course, but its branches were far from empty.  More than a hundred birds filled its mighty boughs.  Tolian quickly realized that half of the birds were blackbirds and the other half were bluejays.  The combined calls produced quite a ruckus, as they screeched and shouted at each other in clear antagonism.  They did not, however  engage in combat with each other, although from the attitude of the feathered creatures they would have welcomed the opportunity to pounce upon each other.  Instead, they took turns, one bird at a time repositioning themselves in the branches.  A bluejay would move to a branch just above a blackbird, and then begin anew cries of intimidation.  Another blackbird flew next to that blackbird, and together they barked fiercely at the threatening bluejay.
To Tolian it had the appearance of two armies squaring off against each other without yet striking blows.  Two bluejays took off together and landed above another of the blackbird army.  This action provoked a new bird call, different altogether than the war cries of the blackbirds and bluejays.
“Peet!” repeated the call.
Tolian then saw that there was another bird there in the tree.  A solitary Cardinal was watching the proceedings from the center of the great oak.  The rest of the birds fell silent astonishingly immediately.
“Peet!” called the red bird once again.
Both of the two jays that had just moved flew out of the tree and alighted in the boughs of a nearby cedar.  To Tolian it seemed (though impossibly) that the two birds had broken the rules of the Quarrel and had been expelled from the contest by the red-crested bird.  Once the two interlopers had departed the two armies once again renewed their war cries with vigor.  The cardinal watched every move with amazing intent.  Was it possible that these winged-animals had devised a bloodless way to settle territorial disputes, refereed, as it were, by the dignified cardinal?

True story...believe it or not!

Sorry I was just editing and adding chapters to the Moonsword Trilogy Online blog next door and I ran into this story and thought it might be interesting.

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