And the kids are lined up on the wall and they're ready to die.
jacqueline & maixent
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Posted: Sep 3 2015, 02:48 AM
Aria Monique Judd
But you can't look me in the eye and say you don't feel like a little destruction
And the kids are lined up on the wall and they're ready to die.
fierce — suspicious — proud — devoted — lonely
She heard The Beatles' music once. It's the only thing from London she (secretly) likes.
The call of a Jubjub bird is a horrifying sound.
It is not a melody-- it is a screech, a scream, made worse by each successive echo. The sound of it fills every living creature with dread. One only hears a Jubjub Bird when it is on the hunt and, by then, it is too late to hide. They are large but swift, with deadly talons and sharp vision. They are fearsome creatures.
Were. They were.
If only it was known at the hatching that you would be the last.
Family is not a thing of blood to your species. It is a thing found and forged. So you never knew what some would call a "mother." Jubjub birds lay their eggs and then leave them to nature. When they hatch, it is up to the bird to find their own flock.
Which, in retrospect, is perhaps not the best for the propagation of one's species. But you know what they say about hindsight.
Thus, you are thrust into the world alone. An uncoordinated little mass of feathers with a tiny, sharp beak. You can't know that, even then, the Jubjub Bird's numbers have dwindled from what they once were. At the time, it didn't matter. All that mattered was survival. The forests of Wonderland are not kind, and you never expect them to be. Some nights you roost in the tree tops with a gnawing in your stomach, begging you for the food you can't seem to catch. Other days you feast, because you learned to be a bit quicker, a bit smarter, a bit sharper. It is a trial by fire in your first years, and not all Jubjub Birds live. But you survive. You always survive.
It is not by accident. You are a clever hatchling. Some lead to their own downfall by squawking and letting dangerous things know where they are. But you are quiet. You like to watch the other creatures, and you learn from them. You remember how the fox lies in wait before it strikes, how the squirrel plans and stores, how the spider uses beauty to ensnare. You see these things and you learn. Of course, you think you improve on what they do, because you are a Jubjub Bird.
You find your flock on the other side of being a fledgling. They are not many-- Jubjub Birds rarely go in large flocks-- but they are your family. More brother and sister than any bloodline could offer. Though there is no real concept of family in your kind, a Jubjub Bird's loyalty is undying. It is not given out lightly, but, once earned, is unwavering until the end. This is only the beginning of what you learn from them. Your flock hones your skills, teaches you new tricks. In a small way, you also begin to understand the world of Wonderland (or at least as much as it can be understood.) You are a part of Wonderland, after all, but removed from it all the same. So you all watch from afar, much like when you were a baby, and in the same way you remember what you see. But this time, there are others to share it with, which makes it strangely exciting. You like learning, after all. It is how you got so far in your life. But learning is exponentially better when there are others to experience it with you.
Your flock knows of the portals, but they don't matter to any of you. Who cares about this other world, ruled by the two-legged sort of things that live in the Queen's domain? The people of Wonderland are ridiculous enough; you hardly have any desire to watch more un-feathered fools mince about. In theory, that should have been the end of it. It shouldn't have affected you at all.
However, the Wonderlanders who crossed over came back with strange ideas. They had found strange new weapons, discovered strange new games, invented strange new fashions. Things that involved hunting previously untouchable creatures and claiming them as trophies. Using feathers and claws and beaks to make their clothing look more exotic. No one dared to challenge a Jubjub Bird before the portals. You were untouchable-- all of you were. But the numbers had all ready started to dwindle when you were born, and a flock such as yours could not remain immune forever. After all, when one can leap into an entirely different world, why would they respect one legendary beast?
They were slaughtered. They all were.
The flocks never intermingled much. Each kept mostly to their own. But you still notice when you stop seeing other flocks completely. The others notice, but they are not as concerned as you are. You are the youngest, after all, so they think you just don't understand. This is how things have always been. As time stretches on, you know it can't be so. By the time you are proven right, it is too late.
One of your brothers is the first to fall. Shot out of the sky like something common; a death not worthy of him. Then a sister is caught in a trap. After that, another is lost, then another. They all succumbed, and you can't protect them. You can't save them.
The last of your sisters is lost to a knife against her gullet. You barely escape as her final call-- the piercing scream of a Jubjub Bird-- is cut short.
Just like that, your flock is gone. You are alone.
Your natural instincts say that you shouldn't find another flock. Loyalty is so deeply ingrained in you that every fiber protests to finding a new family. But these times are desperate, so you search anyway. You listen at every evening for your kind's call, you fly the length of Wonderland more times than you can count searching for them. You dodge a thousand weapons, escape death a hundred times. But you can't find them. You think that perhaps some of them went to London. Perhaps they will come back. They never do.
You are the last of the Jubjub Birds.
But you survive. You've always survived.
There is nothing so consuming as anger, and there is no anger greater than what you feel as the last of your kind. It seems like all you can feel, sucking out joy and sadness and leaving only fury in their place. You hate both Wonderlanders and those from that forsaken other world for what they have done. The anger gnaws at you; it becomes you. Yet, in the end, you are powerless to do anything about it. You are a fearsome creature, yes, but you cannot give in to the reckless desire for destruction. You owe it to your kind to keep surviving.
You are not sure how much time passes once your flock is gone. Perhaps it is years, perhaps it is a blink. Eventually, people stop trying to hunt you because they do not think you exist, and those who spot you are hardly believed. Your future looks to be one of solitude, with only the outrage to keep you company.
Then, in an instant, everything changes. You go to sleep one night, overcome with the strangest exhaustion. When you wake up, you are not the same. Your beautiful feathers are gone; your fearsome talons have vanished. You are all unfamiliar limbs and pale skin and dark hair. You have been sucked dry of your muchness and, in its place, is nothing but a human.
It happens to everyone, all around Wonderland. A wide variety of creatures have been transformed into those London monsters. There are some who retain their former shape, able to switch between that and their human form at will. You don't know what makes them different from you, but obviously they are, because no matter how hard you try you cannot change. You try, you try with all of your might, to summon feathers on your awful skin. To make your fingers grow long and sharp. To find a shape that will let you fly one last time. But it never manifests, and there is nothing you can do to change that.
It is the cruelest of fate you can imagine. You are the last Jubjub Bird, and now, you aren't even that.
You have a beautiful singing voice.
There has never been a Jubjub Bird who could sing. They possess only the one terrifying call. However, as a human, you can sing. It is almost an additional mockery, reminding you how far you have fallen from what you are. But you sing anyway, because there is something about music that helps to ease the ache of not knowing who you are. You take to calling yourself "Aria," though it still feels strange to be called such. Jubjub Birds have no name, so being called anything would feel ill-fitting and wrong.
Eventually, you are able to ingratiate yourself into Wonderland as a mercenary of sorts. You will fight or protect or even kill if it is requested of you, and you are paid the right amount. Outwardly, you proclaim allegiance to the Queen, but you feel no loyalty to her. She is merely someone who appeared to have the better provisions; she was the quickest means to the better end.
You have lived as a human for years now, but it is no less painful than when it started.
People notice that you are not natural. Your manners are too rough and strange to pass for a born human. You are quiet, speaking only when it suits you. And when you speak, you do not lie or flatter as so many were taught to do. You say exactly what is on your mind, no matter how unpleasant it might be to hear. You lack basic empathy, and the reactions of the people of Wonderland often baffle you.
Anger is simply a part of who you are now; it has sunk into your human bones. You have a fiery temper which can be triggered by a single word or action. And you do not forget an offense once slighted. To you, every person you pass might be a Jubjub Bird killer. So you regard people with suspicion; earning your trust is a path of fire and brimstone.
You present yourself as ice because the world has made you cold. However, underneath it all, you feel shattered. You have watched your family die and now, you might be the very last of your kind. There is a loneliness in that which you are not immune to, no matter how you try and fill yourself with hate. No one can see the overwhelming insecurity of not knowing what you are, and you are scared of what might happen if you let them know. So you hide behind sharp words and dark looks to keep anyone from finding out how fragile your little soul might be.
With each passing year, you feel the Jubjub Bird slip farther and farther away. Even if you were to sprout wings tomorrow, you are not sure that you remember how to fly. Nothing terrifies you more than that.
raeni — 23 — CST — skype (pm for info) — none
Posted: Sep 6 2015, 04:48 AM
welcome to the site! i freaking love aria! i think choosing kaya for a face was a brilliant move and i think you've done a great job shaping the jub jub into who she is today and why. i also really feel for aria's struggles (but that may be the sad, slow music in the background right now...). i'm excited to see what you do with her. get your claims done and you'll be all set!