Nik, Took, Kat, Kuz, and Lur were all from the same mother. There used to be Ziik and Tut and Mij as well, but they were all dead
now - foolish siblings. Kaa was also their sibling directly, but he was quite a bit older, and an esteemed master of the
pyrotechnics, he made flame-machines. Nik didn't quite understand them, but Nik sure liked watching the fire! Oh, how it danced in
front of his eyes!
Every day was the same since he was old enough to leave the warrens. Dig in rocks, give rocks to smelters, smelters smelt,
smiths smith, foilers foil, tinkers tink, jewlers jewel, steamers work the steam engines, alchemists work the chemicals, pyros work
the fire, and plasmites work the coils... All these things ended up working together to whirl, bob, whistle, kahoot, and steam. It
made the tunnels "safe", the doors open and close, the pistols work, the lights come on, and the elevators go and down. All things
for the great machine known as the "tunnel", the gut of the world.
And it was BORING. Boring and hard. Nik didn't like picking through rocks, not one bit. Nik wanted to so something fun, like a steamer! At least steamers got burned alive, but all Nik got was blisters on his fingers. His siblings agreed. Well, at least Took,
Kat, Kuz, and Lur did. The rest couldn't, or wouldn't. And as for Lur, she was almost old enough to make Kits of her own, and was
so tired of seeing just the stone and her siblings. She needed to get out! And who was Nik, but not a good brother to help his sister
get what she needed? Together, the four of them would escape, and see the world - bring back a fortune of finds, and earn their
place in something other than the mines! Yes, yes they would.
They just... they just needed help, that's all.. I mean, there's only four of them, and there's not a weapon among them... unless you
counted the lazer-drill, the diamond tipped pick-axe, or the shovel... or his pet albino scorpion. He loved that thing, kept it in a glass
jar though, ever since it stung Ziik.... poor Ziik. Oh well, he still had three other siblings. Today however, it was time for his plans to
go into effect! Well, his and Took's plans - they planned together you see, they were almost like twins! Well, okay, they were all kits
together, but he and Took had the same father, he was sure of it!
Nik and Took skittered through the bronze hallways - an almost golden contrast compared to the pitch blackness of the walls,
most of which was coal in this part of the tunnels. The copper wiring above hummed with blue plasma, and steam vented from
pipes just out of burning-reach. They reached the door to one of the many warrens, and turned the dial the right way to open the
door. It clanged, ground, and clattered - grinding on it's wheels as the door itself rotated and rolled out fo the way, presenting the
opening to the dimly lit space beyond.
Mushrooms, slimes, and lichen lined the cavern walls in here - glowing softly to provide the only light in the warren. Grass and fur
muffled most sound, protecting one's feet from being hurt as compared to metal or stone. The mothers were sleeping now,
sleeping soundly on their backs or sides to expose themselves to whichever kits felt the need to feed. Good thing they were so
drowzy too - it would make this job that much easier with them asleep...
They split up, each choosing a different direction, it would be faster that way. He passed by kits clinging to the bodies of their
mothers. Passed by kits cradled in the mothers' arms. Passed by clumps of kits all sleeping soundly together, their tails wrapped
around each other. He tripped over a few brightly colored toys, barely catching himself before his face hit the ground. And that's
about the time he saw what he was seeking.
Before him, sprawled out on the floor, on the miniature stone tables and chairs, clinging to their toys and snacks of gruel, were the
slightly older kits. They no longer felt the need to cling to their mothers, and like he was just a year or two ago, most likely anxious
to leave the warrens. Very anxious, if they were anything like him or HIS siblings.
He leaned down to the nearest one, a male from the smell of him, little tusks sticking out from his face, his horns curving back
from his otherwise barren skull. He wore no clothing (few kapper did), and one could even see his wings - that was a fairly rare
trait. He chuckled to himself at the fact that they were clearly not the same size. He gave him a little shake, and the younger Kapp
stirred. He gave him a mischievious grin, and the younger Kapp blinked at him, confused. He continued to three of four more kits,
waking them as he went - he picked the oldest looking, or as the case may be, the largest.
Once he had stirred enough, he smirked at them all, and turned to leave, pattering off toward the exit from which he and his brother
came. Some of them stayed there, confused - others, the more curious, followed. Once they were all outside, his brother and his
followers met up. They closed the door behind them, and introduced each other in hushed tones;
Nik (himself) the murky, Took (his brother) the snaggle-toothed one. Pip the off-wing, Kat the red (different from Kat his sister), Zal
the black-footed, Boot the yellow, Gar with the horns (whom he later found out was a female), and Tiz the long-tailed. None of these
titles were important of course, but one does tend to forget names.. He glanced at his timepiece, ah, just in time! Kat (his sister)
the fluffy, Kuz (his brother) mangle-hand, and Lur (his better sister) gold-eye finally showed up. With Nik, Took, Pip, Kat, Zal, Boot,
Gar, Tiz, Kat, Kuz, and Lur - they were all ready to go!
"Quick, we go!" Nik shouted out, and they all shouted in turn their own joys! It was time to GO! Leaping over one another, shouting,
cheering, slapping the walls with their open palms, bouncing off the walls, swinging from the pipes overhead (where Kuz burned
his hand and whimpered), they darted their way toward the exit of the great tunnels! They passed by the workshops, the
home-dens, the quarries, the Mum farms (oh how he loved those), and even a couple (dozen) adults busy making more kits.
Finally, FINALLY! They made it to the light, and they all screeched and covered their eyes with their clawed hands when it struck
What a horrible thing is this?! Such a thing that would sting their eyes and make them water like the dust of coal! Squinting and
blinking, they became used to the light, and wondered at the things they found there. Rocks of different color, the open sky, shrubs
and grasses, and... something very large moving about on the ground. Oh, that was scary! Let's see if we can eat it's knees! Haha!
If only the pronghorn knew what terrible fate awaited it...
Kaa heard about the commotion later on, and scoffed. He adjusted his spectacles, and shifted in his chair, adding a little more of
that flamable powder to the copper tubing he had been working on. These charges would do nicely indeed...
He grumbled to himself at the antics of his younger siblings - heard they had stolen away some kits from the warrens, the mothers
were furious! But no point in chasing them - they were a large group now, and most likely half of them would come back. Good
enough numbers, really... HE came back when he was younger, and his time outside did him good - look at where he is now. HE
was quite happy to help make the sentries - giving them their explosive charges that made them so deadly. No more would those
tunnel worms cause them troubles! Not with his assistance on the inventions, anyway.
He sighed again, thinking about which of the youngsters would actually come back alive, and what sort of descruction their games
would cause above... "war party" they would call it... if only they knew it was a couple of kits having fun... how uneducated the
barbarians of the upperlands could be. Disgusting creatures, so huge and dull-minded.
His sighing caused his 'assistant' to become curious, and scamper his way over to him, looking up with his blue slitted eyes,
swishing his lion-tufted tail back and forth. He smiled down at him and patted her head, "It's nothing, go back to work." He
frowned, but nodded, and sighing himself, walked back over to his own miniature-sized worktable to grind up the powder.
It was a rare thing he did, but it was not unheard of. He could see himself in him - he had his eyes for sure. He must be his. He
and one other were the only two from the litter that might have been his, and he chose him because he was smaller - the larger
could easily find work in the mines when she grew up. It was a rare thing he did, taking him for himself - he would learn good work,
he would - and he would most certainly not participate in the foolish antics as the other kits did - he would learn from his own
mistakes, without making them herself. He was HIS kit, and he would benefit from his years... and even if he wasn't his kit
(which was likely as well), he was lucky enough that he considered him to be his own.
Oh, how her mother was furious for his theft of him!
It had been almost two years of their antics on the upperworld. Took, Kat (not his sister), and Boot had died. Gar "got smart" as she
said, and went home to the tunnels. Kat (his sister) dissapeared entirely. Kuz's foot also became mangled, but this time from
injury, not from birth. It was just Nik, Pip, Zal, Boot, Tiz, Kuz, and his one remaining sister, Lur.
They had a nice collection, which they'd been hiding together in a little cave-hole they found and had been sleeping in. Trees
surrounded them now, and there were plenty of fluffy things to eat - "Ray-Bits" as they heard the tall things call them, and "Shiip"
were the larger flavor. They even got an occasional ear or finger from the tall things, those were wonderful treats, but dangerous to
aquire - after all, that's how Took died - and Took was his favorite brother.
Lur had even had her own litter of kits finally, he was so happy for her! Six kits in total, but only five survived. One had three little
wings, they were sure it was Pip's, so they named it Lurp. One was yellow, but had black feet so it was either Zal's or Boot's, but
most likely Zal's because Boot was dead before Lur wanted kits, so they named it Zoot. One was the ugliest of colors, and covered
in lumps - he was sure that was his own, and Lur named it Tii. One he hoped was Took's, for he participated before he died, and
that little girl had snaggle-teeth, so they named it Took. Even Kuz managed to get one, they knew this because it was born with a
mangled arm, he was quite lucky, becuase he had a hard time at those games - they named her Brok. Tiz was dissapointed.
Nik looked over thier little hoard... He thought of all the bones they found, of all the yummy berries and nuts they learned to eat. He
stared at the various shiny things, the rings, necklaces, coins, hats, and socks they had gathered. They had succeeded in many
things, and learned a lot. Mostly they learned because of Took, Kat, and Boot. Poor Took. He scratched his head, and thought
about the kits. He thought about their recent adventure, the one where they found the ring with the red stone in it. It was his favorite.
And because of this thought, he became afraid.
It was time perhaps... time for him to go.
When they were all alseep, he pocketed the ring, a few nuts, and socks for both feet they found on a helpless and wiggly miniature
tall-thing - found it in a cage they did - a cage with no top, for it couldn't even walk. What an ugly creature, but the socks fit him.
Lastly, he picked up new-Took. He decided to choose her over Tii because he wanted to honor old-Took, and because new-Took
was a female (as a male, Tii would have to just fight for himself). She barely even wiggled in protest, but he put a root in her mouth anyway, just to keep her quiet. And away he went
in the night another sound. They would be furious - but they would never find him - they had not learned (as he had) how to read
The next morning - that's when the men came.
They sought to rid the world of the terrible nest of Kappers that they had tracked to their den. The woodsman sought vengance for
his wife's finger, which they had gnawed off to steal her ring - she was sick from infection. The shepherd sought to protect his flock.
And the carpenter sought to protect his daughter, who had been attacked in his own home - in her own crib! Those vermin had to
And they did. All the vermin died.
Every last one.
Pip, Zal, Boot, Tiz, Kuz, Lur, Lurp, Zoot, and even Tii. Only Brok survived. She was taken by the shepherd, most likely because of her
mangled arm. She would be fattened on sheep's milk, and taught to clean the house - a poor life for sure, she would never know
anything else but servitude.
Of course, Nik and Took survived, for they weren't even there that day... And Took learned from his mistakes (especially after he
came back to visit, and found only bones) - and he taught his mistakes to Took, and they survived well. They even went so far as to
learn the tall-things language, a complicated thing with many words making single words, "Huu-mans" they were called. He and
Took were good friends, and they were working hard in a land where there were rolling hills, helping out their "Huu-man fren"
named "Bett-ty" at the inn of the trade-roads there.
Life was good for Nik and Took, for his child's games were no longer strong in his blood. And the ring he kept on his tail, as a