Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Land of Rabbits

In the western most reaches of the Lodoga lay the Durns of Laskemma, a charmed land of pleasant vales and blue-green pines.  Despite its natural beauty, therein lay one of the greatest perils of the west, the Kammarissa, and the raging battles therein.  It is here where no men dwell and the animals rise up with unwholesome demeanor.

The Durns of Laskemma were long ago settled by a man rejected by hell who called himself Kammarissa.  It was he who built a great mill call Voane, to grind mundane things such as corn, grain and even money into strange and unfathomable vile things in contempt of the world.  Kammarissa had indiscernible goals and the great mill ran for decades ceaselessly by using the wildlife to power the mill while he sang.  Kammarissa was an eternally malign above all else, and it is here that he played the ten thousand verses of spite that enabled men to betray one another. He played his vile music while the mill ran, most of which was lost to the winds thankfully. The animals which powered the mill however listened and learned - and so many gained unwholesome comprehensions beyond thier peers breed elsewhere.

Kammarissa is still thought to be in the Durns, and it is well known that many of the descendants of the animals he enslaved exist still in prolific numbers. They collectively call themselves the Laskemma, the first name they have known. The rollings hills of the Durns are the home to the Bode Warrens. A group of burrows which are dug by the Usu, semi-intelligent and large rabbits which migrate from warren to warren.  They are semi-intelligent, like all creatures in the Durns, and form tight-knit bands for mutual protection. Usu females called does are the prime commodity among their race, and their go to great lengths to protect or gain new ones.

Within the patches of forests dwell the Meerswetch, or pig-coneys, which vie with the Usu in brutal and vicious battles over territory.  The Meerswetch warrens are almost always in the pined woodlands, and these are static hole-dwellings rather than the migratory ones of the Usu.  As such they are better built with deadfalls, snares and other fortifications to deter intruders.  The Meerswetch jealously guard the Voane in the deep reaches of the ancient woods, and treat it as a holy site.  They desire things unknown to them as to feed through the Voane, and so they will often stalk interlopers in hopes of stealing unknown objects - or perhaps to feed the interlopers themselves through the mill.

Tormenting both races are long-billed and multi-colored birds who dwell in the deep waters of the few lakes.  It is they who cruelly and indiscriminately punish  any who are so foolish as to be out of their burrows alone or be caught near the water's edge unprotected.  Very few sources of fresh water exist in the Durns and those that do exist are likewise home to the great birds.  Collecting water is perhaps one of the most dangerous but nessesary tasks in the Durns.

All of the races in the Durns operate with an intuitive and very clever intelligence.  They can use rudimentary tools, but prefer their natural capabilities.  They can speak with one another, but no man has ever learned what language they know.  Most of the inhabitants are spiteful and vindictive creatures.  By in large, they are extremely territorial, superstitious, and xenophobic.  Their are some exceptions, but these are rare and usually short lived.

All of these races take their dead to a cork-screw hole in the ground that is a mile across and drills so deep into the earth that one can not see the bottom.  It is here, a place unnamed, that Kammarissa himself is thought to dwell.  All things which die in the Durns are dropped in to the deeps to a fate unknown.

The Durns are widely avoided by all civilized races.  Intruders are beset by one or more of the prime races therein, and ceaselessly assaulted until they perish or flee.  Indeed many of the battles from inside the Durns spill over into neighboring lands, causing great strife.  It appears that the animosity of the races is at least contained within the Durns, and has not spread to other areas. 

- - - -

When I was just out of High school I worked at a local software store and house-watched for one of my neighbors, who happened to be Roy Thomas.  Besides being an absurdly brilliant individual, his house was eclectic to say the least.  Every wall had scores of original art work from the silver age on up, a library of thousands upon thousands of book, and many many pets.

Indoors lived 6-7 birds, Toucans which tried to maul me at every opportunity, and wicked parrots as well.  All ill-tempered and loyal only to their dark master. In fact I think he liked them vicious.  The backyard was a landscape of two burrows, a trench around them both, with areas filled with water.  One barrow was for rabbits, the other for guinea pigs.  Geese patrolled outside of this area with a few ducks too.  All of whom absolutely loathed one another.

I watched his house for a few weeks while Roy and his wife went on his many road trips.  I had to bribe the Toucans with grapes to even get in the door and the parrots I simply had to keep caged for my own safety.  The outdoor animals were quite curious of me at first - but when they got comfortable they when about their own routine - all out war.  The rabbits and guinea pigs were the main aggressors.  They would group up in large numbers and attack stragglers of the other side; the young, old and weak being the primary targets.  Occasionally they would form small groups, running into the other's burrows and dragging out a lone victim, and proceed to chew the hell out of them.  The high pitched squeal is something I will never forget, and this noise called for aid from their kin.  Soon it broke out into an all-out melee, rabbits and guinea pigs running about all over the place in a brutal free for all.  Sometimes one would be unfortunate enough to be dragged outside of the burrows and past the trenches, and that is where the geese would lay into them with unrelenting beaks that apparently never let go. The ducks were smart enough to stay the hell away from all of this and usually sat in the middle of the small ponds.  As the only source of drinking water, they viciously protected it and would not hesitate to drag a bunny by the ear to a watery grave.

In all Roy must have had 25 or 30 of each rabbits and guinea pigs.  They did breed but the population size stayed the same for the few years that I lived near him.  Many perished in the great burrow wars but oddly enough I never saw a body.  Even the ones that I knew drowned in the water were apparently retrieved and placed.. somewhere.  Maybe eaten, maybe placed in some dark and deep burrow for the lost, who knows.

He will ~jack~ you up unless you have grapes
This was all rather traumatic for a kid who previously had the most loving pets possible.  I admit I would be lying if I did not think it was also morbidly fascinating. More so because Roy would go onto his back porch in the morning, sit in a lounge chair and drink his coffee while reading some Lovecraftian book that no one ever heard of.  All the while this bloody and vicious war was occurring as a trifle for his unnoticed pleasure.

Obviously Roys's personal little ecosystem is a trove of ideas to plunder.  Considering how strange real-life is in this case, I feel that no fantasy write up can really do it justice.


  1. Wow.

    That was beautiful and incredibly sinister.

    And the backstory is just completely awesome.


  2. What everyone else, what cool story. Thanks for sharing.

    Where's that Iron Claw RPG...
    ; )

  3. I should mention that the entire Sword and Sorcery genera should give a tip of the hat to Roy Thomas. It likely would not exist in its current form without his numerous contributions.. Although I will always know him as the Dark Lord of the Toucans.

  4. I love this - Watership Down meets weird fantasy. You have a rare gift for the weird.

  5. Weirdest thing I have ever read. Weirder than anything Lovecraft.


  6. This was all rather traumatic for a kid who previously had the most loving pets possible. I admit I would be lying if I did not think it was also morbidly fascinating. More so because Roy would go onto his back porch in the morning, sit in a lounge chair and drink his coffee while reading some Lovecraftian book that no one ever heard of.

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