Our excavators are unearthing the historical documents in as rapid a manner as possible concomitant with treating them with the reverence they deserve, but there has been significant damage to the repository in which they were stored. These documents have been carefully restored using only delicate applications of the finest disinfectants and revivificatives. *hic*
As always, any donations to our restorations efforts will be appreciated. Contact your local scribe for information. Small, nonsequential, unmarked bills only please.
With regards to this installment of our Mutual History, I have this to say: The records contained herein are a work of fiction with some few facts thrown in for verisimilitude. Any resemblance to actual events or people, is unintentional. Any resemblance to actual places, well, that’s verisimilitude.
The history of the War of the Wings is a violent one. Numerous sites around the world still bear the scars of this tremendous, never-ending struggle. Places where the Phoenix has triumphed over the Kittyhawk, and vice versa. Men still tell tales of the titanic conflicts that have taken place, and those warriors that survived those conflicts are revered beyond the ken of men. So gather round, if ye would hear of these wars.
Many eons ago the Phoenix had the power of flight which the Kitty lacked. As deities went, the Kitty was fair to look upon, but lacked that certain je ne sais quoi (1) without which no deity was complete. That certain aura which struck fear into her enemies, and awed her worshipers. The Kitty’s white fur crackled with energy, which was impressive, but little else. Meanwhile, the Phoenix soared, just out of reach, and jeered and japed at the Kitty’s inability to strike back while the Phoenix flew majestically overhead. This went on for some time while the Kitty cast about for a means to correct the situation.
Finally the day came when a small creature, blue in color with a white cap, crawled out of the woods and approached the Kitty. It sang a strange song and was joined by hundreds of its fellows. The Kitty disliked these strange blue creatures and ate them without a second thought. (2)
Some time later a small yet different creature, light blue in color, crawled out of the woodwork and approached the Kitty. It called itself a Tarhil and sang a different song but still a strange song, so the Kitty ate it and thought no more of the matter. (3)
Time passed, as time does. Then one day a small Devil of a darker blue color crawled out of the woods and approached the Kitty. It uttered high-pitched cries of adoration to the Kitty, which was intriguing. The Kitty left the Devil alone since it was not quite the irritant that the first had been, nor was it the useless-seeming creature the second had been. (4) Time passed.
Then one day a veritable horde of the small darker blue Devils came from the woodwork and approached the Kitty. The Kitty had been unable to understand much of what the single blue Devil said, but the horde of blue Devils produced a sound that the Kitty could actually hear and interpret as language. They introduced themselves as being from a Clan Cameron. (5) The Kitty batted a few of them around but her heart wasn’t in it. Then the Devils motioned to the woods, and an equally sized horde of the lighter blue Tarhils scampered out. This made no sense to the Kitty, since the Tarhils irritated her previously, and so she prepared to eat them. Suddenly the Tarhils began to mutter something that grabbed the Kitty’s attention. In unison, they chanted…
“I believe I can Fly / I believe I can Touch the Sky / I dream about it every night and Day / Spread my Wings and Fly away / I believe I can Soar / ….” (6)
Then the blue Devils and the Tarhils did something astonishing – they flew away!
Finally something clicked in the Kitty’s head – smoke erupted from her ears – and she followed the horde of flying blue Devils and Tarhils far, far to the east, for days (I-40 being a distant dream). Finally, they approached the ocean. The Kitty wasn’t too wild about water, but she was so intrigued by the song she followed nonetheless. At the very shoreline, the creatures landed and faced the Kitty. They began to chant in a voice she found soothing, and so she fell asleep on the grass.
When she awoke the creatures were all camped out around her asleep. As she staggered to her feet, the Devils and Tarhils woke up and apparently began arguing with each other over who was at the front of the (completely nonexistent and imaginary) line. (7) To avoid the squabbling the Kitty leapt to the top of the highest hill she could see and looked down on the riot. At the same time, there came a sound like thunder, and far to the West, the Phoenix heard the sound, and wondered.
Then the Kitty realized that that single leap was farther than she’d ever been able to leap before, and looked behind her and saw the most excellent wings ever attached to a Kitty that she’d ever seen. (Also the first, but who’s counting?) Experimentally she opened her wings and flapped them, and the thunder grew louder. And the Kitty was mightily pleased.
Far to the West, the Phoenix heard the sound, and her heart grew cold with fear. She leapt into the air and streaked across the sky as fast as she could fly, hoping that her fears were groundless. (8)
The Kitty looked down at the rioting and roared “STOP THIS NONSENSE!!!”
As one, the hordes laid off their squabbling and gazed adoringly up at the Kitty. “WE LOVE YOU KITTY!” they squealed. “WE HAVE GIVEN YOU WINGS!!!”
“NO LONGER AM I TO BE KNOWN AS KITTY.” She flapped her wings, and thundered. “I AM….[say it with me…]
“THUNDERCAT! THUNDERCAT! THUNDERCAT! HO!!!!” (9)
And from somewhere far, far away, a jazzy little theme song began playing.
“WE DON’T LIKE THAT NAME!” The Devils and Tarhils chorused. And the jazzy little theme song was abruptly cut off.
“WHAT? WHY, ER…OH FINE. I AM…[say it with me…]”
KITTYHAWK!” And her wings opened and caught the air, and she powered her way into the skies for the first time.
Far, far to the west, the Phoenix heard the sound, and came streaking across the skies in anger and fear. As she arrived, the Kittyhawk roared at her in defiance. The hordes of Devils and Tarhils were scrambling to the top of the hill to get a better view of the imminent violence. This did not sit well with the Phoenix, who snarled “DIE!” and immolated the entire hill in one shocking explosion.
When the smoke cleared it was apparent that the entire hill along with the vast majority of the Devils and Tarhils had been annihilated. No longer was there any grass or growing thing to be found on it; it was merely a massive pile of sand. The few surviving Devils and Tarhils crept back into the woodwork to restore their respective races. But the damage was done; the land was destroyed, and the Kittyhawk had her wings. Men named the place where the battle had occurred, and they gave it the name Kill Devils Hill, in memory of the hordes of Devils and Tarhils that had died to give the Kittyhawk her wings. And the Kittyhawk landed and bathed herself in the blue blood of the Devils and Tarhils, that the world might ever remember their sacrifice. But only against a white background. On blue backgrounds she retained her original stunning white coat. (Magic, OK? Shut up and read.)
Many such places dot the landscape of the Known World, my eager listeners. Far to the North, in a place called Centralia, a battle of such magnitude took place between the Phoenix and the Kittyhawk that the land burns to this day, even into the earth itself. (10) To the West, in retribution for Kill Devils Hill, on the very hilltop where Phillipus originally communed with the Phoenix and the eternal fire was first lit, the Kittyhawk summoned the winds and blew out the supposedly-eternal fire in spite of all the Phoenix could do, and since the winds howl around the place to this day, men now call the place Blowing Rock.
Thus the Phoenix and the Kittyhawk agreed to confine their struggle to the fortified lands surrounding Elchenburg, lest the world be split asunder.
Far, far to the West, a tribe of people who had greatly benefited from both the tribes of the Phoenix and the Kittyhawk had raised themselves up, and in honor of both combatants they called themselves HawkWood; Hawk for obvious reasons, and Wood since it was the Phoenix’ favorite fuel (next to pizza and beer). They were in torment at the approaching conflict since they praised both sides equally.
But that is another story.
- je ne sais quois – French, “I don’t know what.”
- aka Smurfs.
- aka Tarheel (University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill)
- aka Blue Devil (Duke University). The author apparently is not a fan of UNC-CH.
- aka Cameron Indoor Stadium where Duke plays its home games.
- the song I Believe I Can Fly comes from the movie Space Jam which starred Michael Jordan, who attended UNC-CH.
- Duke fans (and Carolina fans, it must be admitted) frequently camp out in lines to purchase tickets for home games.
- “hoping that her fears were groundless” is a play on words related to the fact that the Kittyhawk now had wings and, therefore, was now “groundless”.
- "Thundercats" [TV-Series 1985-1987] [animated cartoon]
- Centralia, PA: Coal mining town where an accidental fire has been burning underground in a coal mine since 1962.