My dear readers.
I would like to express my gratitude for your recent assistance in the Quiddlebog search. I do think it was unfortunate that none of you were able to catch up to him quite in the nick of time. Nevertheless, your efforts have not gone unrecognized.
Through your generous benefaction, you have won my trust--and, more importantly, that of Sir Cluckles. As a thank you, we hereby bequeath to your care the never before released, the epic, the momentous tale of woe and heartbreak that marks the beginning of our glorious companionship.
This particular anecdote is a matter of great personal import to my fine feathered friend. In fact, telling the whole of this story requires Sir Cluckles to do something he has never yet done in public. But I have permission to do so on his behalf. Sir Cluckles, step thy way forth out of the narrow storage repository and clothes container! Let your true identity be known to the world as it lets out a collective sigh of wonder!
Sir Cluckles is not, as many have thus far surmised, merely a chicken. Sir Cluckles is the product of extensive experimentation in inter-species breeding. His father was a rooster. His mother was a carrier pigeon. And that makes him the very first, the progenitor, the patriarch, of that great new avian species Pigicken!
I will give my readers time to process this news, and to practice the correct pronunciation of Sir Cluckles’ species. “Pih-JIH-kun.” No porcine references, if you please.
Immerse your senses into the following scene. It is the hatching room at the Muellings Center for Avian Human Studies. The soft squawks and cackles of hens provide a soothing undertone of motherly concern. A symphony of odors plays through the air, from the musty bouquet of old straw to the subtle tang of bird droppings. This is the world where Sir Cluckles was born.
As the founder of the Muellings Center for Avian Human Studies (MCAHS), I took it upon myself to visit the center every few years to keep abreast of new research developments. I was especially excited on this occasion to witness the first results of the cutting edge experimental inter-species breeding program, overseen on my behalf by my dear friend Halcyon Archimedes.
In the hatching room, Halcyon led me past the rows of hens cozily nestled on their clutches of eggs, past the junior scholar taking meticulous notes on egg size and length of gestation, and past the variety of thermoscopes that the experimenters used to monitor even the most minute changes in temperature.
At last we reached the back corner, and there it was. Tucked away in a niche in the droppings-encrusted wall were three eggs. The only three pigicken eggs in the entire world. They had no attending avian mother, since no living pigicken existed to do the honors. Halcyon had wanted to use an ordinary chicken, but I instructed him sharply over correspondence that a chicken would not do at all. I had him instead engineer an artificial pigicken emulator to keep the eggs warm during their 19.5 days of gestation. The emulator consisted of a man-made doll, a small fire, a metal heat-carrying tube, and a bellows to maintain constant temperature.
Everything was going well, and on the day of my visit, the eggs had already been flourishing for 12.5 days. But then the unthinkable happened.
I was incredibly eager to observe this fascinating mechanism that my friend Halcyon had constructed--and even more impatient to witness the first eggs of a species the world tree had heretofore never seen. But passion nearly proved all of our undoing. As I moved towards the nest, a stray hen happened to step into my path. My foot came down directly on the poor bird’s back. I staggered forward, and if Halcyon had not redirected my fall, I would have come down face first in the fire. Instead, I knocked over the nest and its trifold precious contents.
Two young unhatched pigickens crashed to the floor. I saw as if in slow motion the crack of their shells and the impact of their young, still unformed bodies on the wooden boards. I know not what instinct prompted my reaction even as I watched their untimely deaths, but I reached out desperate fingers towards the last egg teetering on the edge of the nest. And hope beyond hope, the next thing I knew, smooth shell was cradled safe within my hands.
The artificial pigicken emulator was out of commission. Halcyon believed it to be still capable of performing its necessary function, but I would have none of it. Now aware of the dangers of such a contraption, I was not about to leave the one remaining pigicken egg to its care.
We held a memorial service for Buck Buck and Peep. I brought the last egg along, that it might pay its respects to its siblings. Actually, I could not have left it behind. For the whole last week before its hatching, I did not allow it to leave my hands for any reason whatsoever.
Over the remaining seven days, I used my own appendages to provide the tensile pressure and body warmth necessary for keeping the egg at a constant temperature. I never let it go. Not even to eat, not even to bathe. I had junior scholars assist me with the above activities, as well as at the latrine.
I fear said junior scholars proved themselves unworthy of the opportunity given to them. They begged me to set the egg down. They offered their own hands as substitutes. They were distinctly unscientific in their objections to aiding me with routine personal hygiene, and I defied them all.
My dedication was rewarded. On the fifth day of the first month of spring, the very first pigicken pushed his tiny body out into the wide world. His life could have been so easily snuffed out. But by pure chance he was preserved. Fate brought us together, and we have been inseparable ever since.
As the founder of the MCAHS, I cannot sufficiently express my pride that Sir Cluckles and I have become the Center’s ideal subject of study. This was an avian human relationship that went beyond the bounds of farmer and pheasant. It was partnership, mutual encouragement, and--dare I use that most subjective of words?--love.
Now, some Lords of the less scientifically noble and more practically driven mindset might be asking themselves, “Morrow, what does this story concerning Sir Cluckles and the emergence of the pigicken species mean for me in my campaign to conquer all the known worlds on the world tree?”
If you are asking such a question, then I say, “Fie on you!” for thinking that your own personal aspirations are more important than Paladin-kind’s communal pursuit of Knowledge. Still, it may interest you to know: my avian companion and I will be featured on one or two Titles available for you to earn during the upcoming Trial by Sword. We thought, if Sir Cluckles’ face is going to grace your profile with its presence, then it would be better that you know the significance of his being.
But please try to temper your inevitable adoration of my plumed compatriot. Sir Cluckles worries that all this fame might go to his head. He doesn’t want his celebrity status to change him. I try to tell him that world-renown isn’t so different, that I have survived with my personality intact. But he won’t listen. Just between us, he can still be incredibly naive at times. I think he gets it from his mother.
Sir Cluckles: The Origin Story
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