Niaâ€™s Adventures by: Theo Harsham
Once upon a time, the coyotes ruled the world. They hunted in packs of 1000 or more, attacking everything, and eating their catch. No others were safe, even in trees! The coyote packs could knock a tree down, so great was their power. Powerful animals all over the world were dying. They sent leaders to meet to try to break the power of the coyotes; the leaders met in a secret, sacred cave to discuss the coyotes. “They must be exterminated!” roared Lion King. “I agree! We must create a creature that we can control to fight the coyotes!!!!” bellowed Tiger Prince. “With giant claws, super-speed, and extreme agility!” chimed in Cheetah Duke. “A sturdy frame!” Elephant Monarch droned. “Super strong, squeezing muscles” King cobra added. “Don’t forget horns and armor!” requested the Komodo Dragon Warrior. “Venom! The warrior must have a venomous bite!” Diamondback Cobra spat. “I will give the formula for my teeth,” the saber-tooth tiger Volunteered dubiously. “I will chip in my speed!” Cheetah Duke started.
Soon, everyone was giving their secrets to the engineer, who in turn added some small modifications before asking the Owl-of-Athena - a wise and noble great horned owl - for her blessing. She foretold that great evil would come of the creation and that it would destroy and capture all of its creators. The only one who would be able stop it would be the chosen one. The animals pondered the prophecy, but they were more worried about the Threat of the coyotes. The Owl-of-Athena flew away, saddened that they had not listened to her. The life-breather gave the massive, horned, armored, fanged, thing life, and it sat up quickly. It yelled stupidly and started to run aimlessly and ram things with its body. The lion king commanded it to exterminate the coyotes, but it only stared blankly at him. The life-breather ran away. The assembled rulers started sweating or preparing for a fight when the thing started wailing. It madly waved its chubby little fists and fell flat on its back. After a few minutes, it started snoring and slobbering all over the cave. When it got up, it crawled through the opening and rampaged. It headed off in the direction of the home of the coyotes. THUMP THUMP Thump Thump! The coyotes heard it coming and planned an ambush, but the ambush failed. The animals were out of the
frying-pan, and into the fire. It attacked all the animals. In their haste they hadn’t given it a brain! It knew not what its mandate was, and the only word it understood was “A††ack!”
The massive creation sunk its teeth into the rock but the rock split in half. The split revealed the sacred cave where the leaders were hiding. The lion king extended his claws and swung at the leg of the giant, but it just scratched
the armor. The giant creation stepped on the lion king, killing him instantly. All the animals in the cave met the same fate, except for the king cobra who slunk off to hide. The Owl-of-Athena flew to the farthest corners of the land spreading the word that the animal kings had been killed by a new ferocious creature they had created. â€œThe creature killed millions of coyotes-though some escapedbefore it returned to the cave where it was born. It attacked everyone in the cave, and when it finished, it left in search of new things to destroy. Every animal must fight this creation. A Chosen One will come, and we must all help that One destroy that creation.â€? Decades later, a single ray of magical sunlight fell on a newborn, human baby. She was abandoned for fear that her blessing was a curse. When the puppies of the rock - for that is what they called themselves - found an unconscious human in their territory, they decided to make her a warrior. She woke up and remembered only one thing. Her name was Nia.
When she woke up, she was in a rocky dome with a tunnel leading off. A puppy led Nia into the tunnel. She entered a large space filled with light. The tunnel widened and although she had to crawl to enter, she could walk out.
The puppies had made a home there. They all rushed her, licking her face. Eventually she came to know them all by different names and to speak mostly in “Riririri” --the language of the dogs-- but that first day, she just was welcomed and brought food. Every morning, she and the puppies went to a nearby spring to get water. She was trained quickly. For the evil creature was near, and the human Nia showed the prophesied signs of the chosen one: Strength and Kindness. The Owl-of-Athena came to visit, and the puppies greeted her with joyful yips. Nia was a little bit scared by the great horned owl, but the puppies introduced her as a friend. The Owl-of-Athena looked her up and down and said, “She had the strength of the Chosen One, but I knew not it would be a human.” Nia wondered it this was actually true. She asked the Owl-of-Athena if it was truth. “Am I really the Chosen One, or are you joking?” The Owl-of-Athena replied, “Yes, you are the Chosen One.” Nia said shakily, “I need to g-g-go to the spring.” She ran away from the cave. But halfway there, she heard a giant crashing in the trees. She dove into a nearby ravine and peered out cautiously. Trees were crashing to the
ground. She heard huge stomping. She dove into a ravine to hide. â€œThe creature!â€? she thought. She started running through the ravine, towards the spring. She looked back at the creature. It was mostly made of mud and clay. She thought if she could wash away the mud and clay, it would just become a pile of useless bones. She quickened her pace, and reached the spring ahead of the creature. It started sniffing with its very acute nose, a gift of Dog King. It found her tracks and started chasing her. She was ready when it reached the spring. She had made several suction tubes out of vines that sprayed water. She attached them to the trees and started them up when the creature came through. The creature yelled as water washed some of its armor off. She picked up a wooden spear and started smashing it. The creature howled with pain. It turned to run away, but she was ready for that, too. She kicked on some more suction vines hidden under bushes. The creature was knocked over and started disintegrating. It reached up with its claws for Nia, but she was too fast and eluded it. Then the creature slid into the spring, thrashed around and disappeared.
All it left were the secrets that the engineer had used to create it. She took those back to the puppies and told them her story. The Owl-of-Athena was overjoyed, and flew around in circles, shooting for joy. The puppies ran
around chasing each other, licking Nia and tackling her with joy. Nia was so tired she passed out cold. When I woke up, she felt heavier. She lifted her arm and saw claws coming out of the end. She looked down at herself. She was fully armored. She exclaimed, “What’s happening to me! This isn’t right!” The Owl-of-Athena landed carefully on her newly spiky shoulder. “You received the secrets of the animal king’s creation.” Nia was distressed. “I don’t want to turn evil! I don’t want to hurt the puppies.” “You are not evil. The only reason it turned evil was because it had no brain, no heart, or soul. It was made to destroy, and that was all it knows.” The Owl-of-Athena told her. “You have a brain, and you can use it. You are not just built to destroy. You are built to protect. You are built to help those in need. You will help us.” Then with her acute hearing, Nia heard a rustling far off in the woods. It sounded like a new creature. It did not sound like a jaguar, which was common in those woods. She counted the puppies, and they were all in the cave. It could not be a puppy. She guessed it was a coyote or a wolf. She told the puppies, and they were very scared. They did not want her to go alone.
“You are too little, and I don’t want you to get hurt.” Nia said.Then she went out to see what it was. She went toward the sounds, which were moving toward the spring. She knew the vines would not hurt her since she was not made of mud and clay. She got to the spring before the sounds. The sounds spread out around the spring. She spun around. Coyotes surrounded her. She was glad she had left the puppies behind. They couldn’t fight coyotes. The coyotes circled in, jumping at her one after the other . She tried not to kill them, just to convince them not to mess with her. The wounded ones limped off, but more came. She was growing aggravated that they were not leaving her alone. She held the next coyote up, too far in front of her for it to scratch or bite her.
“Now you stop that!” she yelled at the coyotes. “Why do you destroy everything? Is there no sense in you? Do you have no heart. I bet if you found nothing else, you’d even eat yourselves.” She heard a gunshot, and the coyote in her hands went limp. A bunch of big black dogs rushed the coyotes, and killed as many as they could, chasing away the rest. Several hunters emerged from the woods, and started shooting her. It did nothing except anger her. “Why are you shooting me? Do you have any reason?” Nia demanded. The hunters were taken aback, and one of them fell down. They didn’t think an animal could talk. “Oh heavily armored goddess of the forest, we come to hunt. We just wish to sell the animal skins and meat to pay our debts. The time of famine is almost over. The signs are favorable. But we are heavily in debt and must work it off by hunting.” “Why not grow a cash crop?” Nia asked. “We did not think of that. We will go.” The hunters then left, taking the dead coyotes with them. Nia returned to the puppy pack and told them that many coyotes had died that day, but they had gotten the message that you should only hunt for things that you need and not for pleasure.
The coyotes never were seen in that part of the jungle again. Nia was very happy staying with the puppies and lived out the rest of her years in peace.