Excerpts: Part Four of the Ongoing Saga
Love is a heart that beats still, though it has been lanced upon a tusk. Mammothian Proverb
Shrew, you shrew, once conniving, shall be torn in twain and made to serve an evil master, acid-woolled and hard of reign. Mammothian Prophecy
The first great Mammoth lovers were famed among their sizable kin for unwilting devotion and their contributions to Mammothian Theatre as a roving duo of unmatched talent, cherished as gems among the community. These were Magra the Harlequin Queen and Kulgath Muil the Orator. Together, they traveled from the outskirts of the Kajik Mountains and the border towns along the River Braor (modern-day Turkey) to the metropolis of Kinski (our Alaska) located at the far end of the Ice Crossing. One hundred years after what came to be known as Glorm's Folly, they roamed unmolested through the snows putting on carnival shows.
Magra would adorn herself in strange masks, often resembling the many creatures that were beginning to encroach upon formerly exclusive Mammothian holdings. Children shrieked with glee and terror when she donned the visage of a Sloth, at this time a relatively new biological outcropping. Her tusks protruded from behind the mask and gave her a ferocious, otherworldly appearance as she loped slowly, trunk swaying and brushing up against the young ones who looked more frightened than the rest so that they would jump and crawl underneath their mothers.
All the while, Kulgath told fantastic stories of Highland Raids and the original Mammothian Lore, for before he had turned toward the rogue theatre, Kulgath had been well-respected as an Oral Historian and Loremaster. The tales he told in a deep, baritone voice that pitched and swelled, relaying images of great battles and hard-fought migrations made perilous by great Sea Monsters, one hundred feet long and boasting seven rows of razor teeth, pack hunters of newly-infested oceans. His descriptions were so rich that even Magra, from time to time, lost her place and missed a step or two. This was rarely noticed. During the oral crescendo of each story, all focus was upon Kulgath just as Magra commanded the most attention during her pantomimes of battles and other such spectacles. Here too, overcome by Magra's graceful stomping, Kulgath would trail off, and his heart would seize up momentarily. The feeling was referred to by Mammoths as the Lancing, a sensation beheld by those whose sentiments were pure. In this regard, the roaming thespians were rare.
For seventy years, Magra and Kulgath Muil wandered, being careful always to pay their yearly respects at Endrögen Flats. It was at this festival that they put on the largest performance, aided by younglings from Braormer's School of Theatre in Triph. Why the school had been named after a notorious inseminator, no one knew.
Before the performance, a camp was made, and spirits distributed among the festival-goers. Mammoths who refused to partake in the worship ceremonies were banished. There existed no form of death penalty in their culture, a tradition that remained intact until the Age of Peril. On the eve of their fifty-eighth production, Magra and Kulgath were sleeping peacefully with their trunks entwined. During the night, a battalion of Bandit Shrews snuck into the tent silently and drugged the lovers so as not to disturb their slumber. They proceed to gnaw feverishly at the Mammoths' tusks and tear the wool from their very skin. The Shrews even scarred their trunks so badly that, by morning, Magra and Kulgath were scabbed together and drenched in blood.
The day grew late, and as the Mammoths were making preparations for the festivities, a howl came from the Harlequin Queen's tent. A crowd gathered round, and the creatures that emerged from the tent were not recognized by their brethren.
The production was canceled. Magra and Kulgath Muil retreated into the wastes and were never heard from again, but word reached them by way of a Tundra Moa that Mammoths had since declared Shrews mortal enemies of Mammothkind and had bemoaned the loss of their beloved performers. A feast had been held in their honor, and there were rumblings that a party was to be sent forth by King Müth himself to find and bear hence the disgraced couple.
Magra and Kulgath sighed and said that they did not wish to return to their kin, that they were happy living in freakish solitude from the rest of the world and that Peace had been delivered unto them with great efficacy.