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Started by Alex.

The people of the Western Reach had always been plagued by occasional
encounters with rocs.  Rocs preyed mainly on livestock, but all too
often on citizens.  Even when a crowd rushed to a victim's aid and
managed to quickly drive the bird off, the initial set of talon wounds
would often prove fatal.  They were not unstealthy, not that you could
outrun a swooping one once you saw it.  You could hardly shoot them --
not with ordinary magic arrows at any rate -- and when their bloodlust
ran highest they would even crash through thin walls.  It seemed there
was nothing to be done.

The people's fortunes first began to change when one prince had some
pygmy sheep from foreign lands brought to his grounds as a curiosity.
As it turned out the rocs seemed to find pygmy sheep the ideal prey:
defenseless, bite-sized, and one presumes tasty.  The prince drove his
flock away, but it became apparent that roc attacks on other targets
had fallen off, to a level like nothing in living memory.  Before
long, every village had its flock of pygmy sheep, and life was as good
as roc-attack-free.

However, during the same years, increasing demand for wood was leading
to an intensification of logging in the mountains.  Western Rocs only
nest on wooded mountain slopes.  Within a century or two their range
of possible nesting sites had been greatly reduced, and they teetered
on and soon fell over the brink of extinction in the Western Reach.
With the threat eliminated, the keeping of pygmy sheep gradually fell
by the wayside -- not keeping them was just as effective as keeping
them, and they're hardly fashionable.  And that's where things stood
for many centuries more.

But then the rocs reappeared, a different subspecies with different
nesting habits.  (Some rumours had it that enemies of the nation
introduced them.)  When they first claimed a human life, chaos reigned
for weeks; here were terrible monsters, arrived in the flesh from the
land of old stories, come to hunt us down.  And, short of somehow
hunting them all down, it seemed there was nothing to be done.  There
were apotropaic episodes among the stories, but no-one believed them:
and anyway, if you followed them all, eating only lemons, wearing only
sackcloth, living among tiny sheep, chanting a warding spell every
midnight, you'd be taken for a lunatic.  So the people lived in fear
for many years, until the fear faded into the background, and life was
back as it had always been.




Started by Alex.
Edited by John Q.
Edited by Sai
Edited by Padraic
Edited by Jim Henry

Long ago, in the lands of the Western Reach there arose a powerful
race of giant flying predators called rocs.  Like elephant-sized
vultures they appeared, vicious and cunning, and ever hungry.  They
preyed on living flesh, especially human, and were the bane of many a
poor lone traveller or small child sitting by an open window.  Alas,
for the people of the land!  How they gnashed their teeth and wailed
in their misery.  Valiantly they fought the rocs as best they could,
occasionally bringing one down with a blunderbuss, or a carefully laid
snare between two trees.  Yet despite these few victories against this
powerful foe, it seemed that things would never change, and it was the
people’s lot in life to live in fear of the great and terrible rocs.

Tales spread of one farmer of pygmy sheep whose flock had not once
been picked off, despite regular devastation of his neighbors' flocks
of emu, goats, cattle, and swine. Although the pygmy sheep were
expensive to raise in comparison to the poor harvest of meat and wool,
his seeming immunity to roc attacks made him prosper in a time of
scarcity. Soon, other farmers began to copy this, and pygmy
cultivation spread far and wide. Even those who raised them alongside
other animals found at least some boon; it seemed that rocs were put
off not merely by their taste, but by their smell as well.  Though
they still lost some of their flock, the damage was reduced to the
same level as done by wolves, and pygmies grew to be regarded almost
as sheepdogs for rocs - expensive to keep, but worthwhile.

Many years passed in peace and as those years passed one by one into
history, the horror of the rocs was forgotten and even the memory of
the rocs was dimmed. Eventually, even the young children who only
scarcely recalled the Last Battle of the Rocs and whose fathers had
fought (and sometimes died) in those fights, had long since grown into
white haired gammers and gaffers and one by one went to their Rest.
History passed into legend, and as legends grew in the retelling,
passed into myth. Anymore, young children hear the Old Stories about
how gallant warriors drove the rocs away. Generations of selecive
breeding have blunted the odor and sweetened the meat of the pygmy
sheep; and life went on.

Many centuries later, a symposium was held at the Great Western
University on the causes of the extinction of rocs.  The two chief
factions among the scholars argued for their destruction by
overhunting, and for simple destruction of their habitat and hunting
grounds by the growing human civilization, respectively.  However, one
young scholar presented a novel theory: that the rocs were not
destroyed by valiant hunters killing them outright, nor by persistent
farmers clearing the lands roved by their former prey and thus
starving them, but by being poisoned: some new breed of domestic
animal was developed, or more likely a new cultivar of breed of plant,
which gave off a noxious emission deadly to rocs, or a pheremone which
confounded their mating cycle.  This scholar could scarcely get a
hearing, however; those in favor of the overhunting theory could point
to the many epic poems on famous roc hunts, and those in favor of the
overdevelopment theory could point to a mass of archaeological
evidence, but the young scholar had only a few scattered references to
a new breed of sheep and two new cultivars of corn which were
introduced a few decades before before the last roc was sighted.  It
was not until the invention of time travel, fourteen years after he
died of old age, that his theory was vindicated; the new Imperial
Menagerie of Formerly Extinct Animals was named in his honor.




Started by Alex.
Edited by John Q.
Edited by Sai
Edited by Padraic
Edited by Jim Henry
Edited by Lars Finsen


In a land far, far away, so many years ago that no man can reckon
them, there lived a tribe, or a nation, in a land of beauty, with
tall, wild mountains, lush, fertile valleys and long, sandy beaches
bordering an ocean teeming with fish. The tribe, who called themselves
the Strine, which means the Blessed Ones, and were referred to as the
Marandinglong, which means the Dirty Drunken Bastards, by their
neighbours and everyone else who knew about them, prospered, grew in
numbers and their villages spread into the remotest valley,
cultivating barley, rye, canola, sugarcane as well as any other crop
conceivable and raising sheep, swine, cattle, sheep, emu, goats, sheep
and any other animal you can imagine. One fateful day their bliss came
to a halt, however, as they expanded into the valley of Tibbar and
disturbed something better left alone: a lair of sleeping rocs. The
giant birds rose in frenzy, killed everyone in sight, and starved
after their long sleep proceeded to feast on the plentiful flocks and
crops of the Strine. These rapidly grew less plentiful, as the rocs
thrived on them, lay eggs and multiplied, and had great appetites. An
ox a day was minimum fare for a roc. The Strine wrung their hands and
got silly drunk in bars, as nothing they could come up with against
the rocs had any effect. The big birds could do pretty much as they
pleased. Until one memorable day.

Tales spread of one farmer of pygmy sheep whose flock had not once
been picked off, despite regular devastation of his neighbors' flocks
of emu, goats, cattle, and swine. Although the pygmy sheep were
expensive to raise in comparison to the poor harvest of meat and wool,
his seeming immunity to roc attacks made him prosper in a time of
scarcity. Soon, other farmers began to copy this, and pygmy
cultivation spread far and wide. Even those who raised them alongside
other animals found at least some boon; it seemed that rocs were put
off not merely by their taste, but by their smell as well.  Though
they still lost some of their flock, the damage was reduced to the
same level as done by wolves, and pygmies grew to be regarded almost
as sheepdogs for rocs - expensive to keep, but worthwhile.

Many years passed in peace and as those years passed one by one into
history, the horror of the rocs was forgotten and even the memory of
the rocs was dimmed. Eventually, even the young children who only
scarcely recalled the Last Battle of the Rocs and whose fathers had
fought (and sometimes died) in those fights, had long since grown into
white haired gammers and gaffers and one by one went to their Rest.
History passed into legend, and as legends grew in the retelling,
passed into myth. Anymore, young children hear the Old Stories about
how gallant warriors drove the rocs away. Generations of selecive
breeding have blunted the odor and sweetened the meat of the pygmy
sheep; and life went on.

Many centuries later, a symposium was held at the Great Western
University on the causes of the extinction of rocs.  The two chief
factions among the scholars argued for their destruction by
overhunting, and for simple destruction of their habitat and hunting
grounds by the growing human civilization, respectively.  However, one
young scholar presented a novel theory: that the rocs were not
destroyed by valiant hunters killing them outright, nor by persistent
farmers clearing the lands roved by their former prey and thus
starving them, but by being poisoned: some new breed of domestic
animal was developed, or more likely a new cultivar of breed of plant,
which gave off a noxious emission deadly to rocs, or a pheremone which
confounded their mating cycle.  This scholar could scarcely get a
hearing, however; those in favor of the overhunting theory could point
to the many epic poems on famous roc hunts, and those in favor of the
overdevelopment theory could point to a mass of archaeological
evidence, but the young scholar had only a few scattered references to
a new breed of sheep and two new cultivars of corn which were
introduced a few decades before before the last roc was sighted.  It
was not until the invention of time travel, fourteen years after he
died of old age, that his theory was vindicated; the new Imperial
Menagerie of Formerly Extinct Animals was named in his honor.