Klaxenglot - By Rosy

   She sat looking north from her tower. Her husband had created a small forest on her building's top, where her tower sits, so she couldn't be sure if he was down there. He's very good at mimicking humans, styling his beard and combing his hair like he does, so he could be out gadding about. Liking the rhyme she began to hum, 'he's gone out, gadding about,' and returned to her word machine.

   She'd been thinking about the Dinosaur Planet and about how it really doesn't have a name, just a description. Like earth would be Elf Planet by that method. Pretty sure. Anyway the dinosaur planet required a proper name. It was such a beautiful place, after all, and Tonker loved the view from his perch in the early mornings.

   He saw the river through the morning mist, magical and haunting in its forest meander. Some fish for breakfast would be nice, he thought as he stretched lazily in his nest. Tendril, his wife, was still asleep as was little Ergrot, his young son, as Father Sun has just now shown his face. They will be up soon, though, and he stretched again.

   There was a fluttering and his neighbor Philban landed nearby.

   "Morning, Tonker," he said joyfully. "Lovely day, eh?"

   "Yes, lovely Philban, but the missus and kid are still asleep."

   Philban lowered his voice. "Sorry. So, uh you going to the big kerfuffle down in lower meadow?"

   "Dunno, what's cookin'?"

   "Our name, Tonker, our name, that's what's cooking."

   "Honey, who you talking to?" Tendril asked from inside the nest. He could hear Ergrot's voice but not what he said.

   "It's Philban. He's wondering if we're going to the naming thing today."

   "Oh. I dunno, you decide."   

   "It's a pretty big deal, naming the planet," Philban put in.

   "Yeah, I heard the Sasquatch's got it all sewed up," Tonker replied.

   "You heard wrong," Philban told him. "In fact they's gonna try and get a name candidate from every species that wants to put one up."

   Tonker looked dreamy-eyed. "What would you call our planet, Philban?"

   "Why, I'd call it Pteranodonia!"

   Tonker smiled warmly at his friend. "Yes, I suppose you would. But what of the Sasquatches? This is their planet as well."

   "Hmm, well you know they have all those portals to the human world, right? Why don't they, I mean they could, with the portals and all, well, why don't they all just go there?"

   "And leave Pteranodonia?" Tonker smiled at his friend's confusion. "This is their home. No, Philban, we need a name to suit everyone. There's also the T-Rexes, the fishes and those curious apes, the Magnons. The name needs to include all of these and everything else that is our planet." 

   "Wow," Philban muttered. "What name could hold all that?"

   "It's the name we need."

   Meanwhile, Tyle, the head Sasquatch, was calling his naming contingent together. Curiously Tyle is also her husband's name, but that, of course, is in another world. So far Tyle had Jobob, the hillbilly Sasquatch, Fleetfoot, the mountain man Sasquatch, Melvin, the Mothman Sasquatch and Figgura Ta, the delusional Sasquatch since he was actually a faerie. Now there's a story, but maybe for later. Used to be a lawyer, you know. Worked for the notorious Mad Doctor Snarkey, in fact, along with Sassy Fat before she became the Queen of Police over in Elvenstead. Anyway Figgura Ta, was the fourth Sasquatch that Tyle had called upon to provide the name they'd submit at the today's naming convention.

   "Okay, guys," Tyle started, "today's the day. Today's the day we submit the name that most perfectly represents our planet, heretofore known as the Dinosaur Planet."

   Figgura Ta started clapping and the others uncertainly joined in. Tyle raised is hand to stop them. "So, good then, you're rarin' to go! What name we given 'em?" 

   Figgura Ta stepped back and Jobob was left in front. "Oh! Well, uh, I was thinkin' that perhaps we could just call it Sasquatch!"

   "Take a flight to Sasquatch!" Figgura Ta yelped with a laugh.

   "And what would you call it, Figgura Ta?" Tyle asked.

   "Me?" He looked around to be sure, then looked back at Tyle. "Well, I suppose I'd probably call it Haven. You know, close to heaven as well as being a swell place to hide out." His eyes went round. "Not that I have anything to hide from, I mean we don't, we all of us don't have to hide at all, but it just sort seems cozy and nice, you know, being out of sight." He looked blank, his lawyer mind at work. Tyle often wondered why Figgura Ta was here in Sasquatch country but quit questioning when Figgura Ta became a respected member of the community. Not for me to know, I guess, he thought with a shrug. 

   "Okay, Haven. Sounds good Figgura Ta, thanks! Anyone else? Melvin?"

   "Yessir," Melvin stood. In some sort of way he did resemble a moth but if he shifted, he'd be something else, something . . . ? He cleared his throat. "Well, I was thinkin' of Squatchy. Think of it! This entire place is perfect for Sasquatches, except maybe over around the T-Rex country, but who cares what they think, right?" There were grunts and oomphs but no actual agreement.

  Okay, so now we have Haven and Squatchy. Any others?" Tyle asked.

   Jobob stood. "I got a name, Tyle," he said quietly. The room seemed to hush in order to hear him better. "How about Holler?" he asked.

   "You want to call the planet, our planet, Holler?" Tyle asked.

   "Yessir. That there's where the best stuff happens, up in them hollers. Lotta Squatches vacation there. Why I go ever' year."

   "Yes, I've heard of your hollers," Tyle replied. "Lovely places indeed. So, now we have Holler, Squatchy and Haven. Whatya say guys? One a these sound good?"

   After arguments and some raised voices they finally chose Holler. There were certainly a lot of diverse creatures in a holler so everyone was represented. What finally clinched it was when Figgura Ta pointed out that Holler might have unpleasant connotations to some, which is perfect, a subtle deterrent to would be homesteaders. He seemed to regard newcomers as dangerous, and when Tyle asked, he smiled and told us, "Not at all. It’s the ones we connect with that make the best neighbors, and they'll be the ones who get Holler."   

   It gave us a warm fuzzy feeling and we lolled in the sound and sway of Holler.

   Meanwhile the T-Rexes were having their own conference. No one was in charge and the self-appointed delegates all eagerly joined in the fracas. At the end of their discussion it was the one left standing, Grak'm, who gave them Niceplace, as their choice, hoping to attract more game, er, workers, or, well it was difficult to determine what exactly Grak'm hoped to attract, but it was clear he wanted something. The T-Rexes seem a lean and hungry lot.

   Back with the pteranodons the debate was down to Wing, but it was not yet the final choice for their submission. Philban's choice of Pteranodonia, while appreciated, was quickly voted down. 

   "Wing? But what about the fishes and Sasquatches?" Tonker asked. "None of them fly so I don't think this name includes them." He paused and looking at the lush horizon and hearing the far distant roars of the fighting T-Rexes, he continued, "Maybe Paradise, or better perhaps, Jungle."

   "What about the ocean people?" Hyflier, a prominent pteranodon, asked.

   Tonker stopped and looked blank for a moment. "Well, then how about Greenwater? Jungle and ocean together." That ended being their choice.

   That afternoon, after much debating, fencing and squirreling about, the big 'Name the Planet Conference' had it down to Holler, Niceplace and Greenwater.  When the voting began the choices were clear. When the voting ended nothing was clear except that somehow, without even being on the ballot, Klaxenglot won as the most popular name. In some ineffable way everyone, ninety percent at least, voted for Klaxenglot.

   "What's that even mean?" Tonker asked afterward. He too had voted for it and was now wondering why.

   "It's a really loud horn. Klaxon that is, Glot could mean anything," Philban told him.

   "Why did we vote for that?"

   "Dunno. It's like we all were hypnotized."

   "Yes, it was just like that." Tonker knew something was amiss.

   Everyone was dazed and confused so it was easy for Tonker and Philban to halt the election results from being finalized. Most of the people, confused about what they had done, agreed. There will be a new vote next week. Now Tonker and Philban had to find out what the heck was going on.

   They wondered who on the Dinosaur Planet had the power to mesmerize everyone to vote for a name that no one had even heard of before? They hadn't developed a strong tourist trade on the planet and likely never would. The T-Rexes were the problem and everybody knew it. Everyone also knew that the T-Rexes couldn't have done this mesmerizing. Thankfully there are no wizard T-Rexes. In fact they aren't known for any subtleties at all, just brute force.       

   Tonker wondered about the mysterious ape-like beings called the Magnons. They hadn't submitted a name, at least not openly. They lived a long ways from Pteran, the pteranodon lands, at least a couple days flight.

   "Philban, what do you know about the magnons?"

   "I've never actually seen one, but what I heard at a lecture once was that they are very primitive with limited language skills."

   "Yeah, I've heard that too. I also heard that in a few thousand years they might evolve into human beings."

   "Whoa, that's amazing. Do you think they could do it? The mesmerizing, I mean."

   "I dunno," Tonker said with a worried look. "I heard they have shamans and priests of some sort or the other. I think we need to make a trip to the magnon country."

   It was mid-afternoon when they began the trip. Tonker, Philban and Ace Da'ca, from the Pteran Constabulary. They flew through the night, taking brief breaks and rested for several hours at sunrise. They continued and arrived at the magnon lands, or at least what they believed were the magnon lands, by mid-day. They stopped to reconnoiter and determine their next move. As they moved about they came upon a couple magnons who were beating the ground with large sticks that were recently cut and still had leaves. They were raising dust and tiny debris, creating a cloud around them. They stopped, first one then the other when they became aware of the three Pterans watching them. 

   The one that was nearest to Tonker and Philban asked, "What?"

   "I'm sorry, we didn't mean to interrupt, "Tonker said. "We're new here, looking for the leader or something like that, when we spotted you two smacking the ground with branches, so we stopped."

   "It's a curious thing, hitting the ground like that," Philban added. A moment of silence. "At least where we're from it's curious," he amended.

   "We beatin' in some good sense," the first one answered.

   "Good common sense," the second one added.

   "Good common sense?" Tonker asked. "Beatin' into what?"

   "Why Klaxenglot that's what," the first one replied.

   "Klaxenglot!" Tonker, Philban and Da'ca all exclaimed at the same time.

   "What is Klaxenglot?" Tonker asked.

   "Huh?" the first one said with a perplexed look. "Klaxenglot. You know. It's like everything, the ground, the trees, the waters and just everything, it's all Klaxenglot."

   "You mean the planet?" Tonker asked.

   "Yeah sure, plus the air and the clouds, even the stars, all Klaxenglot."

   "Wow," Tonker said, impressed with the concept. "So why does Klaxenglot need to have common sense beat into it?"

   They looked at each other with a confused look. "So everything can go okay, of course," said the first one.

   "We don't want no stupid things, like storms or quakes or floods or, well there's just a whole lotta stupid that Klaxenglot can do," said the second.

   "It's what the Big-Feathered Wumper sang for us that day, when common sense failed," added the first.

   "No common sense in a big quake and flooding rains. Nossir, none at all," said the second. "It's clearly bad sense to hurt things. So ya gotta smack it in, like the BF Wumper does. Smack! Smack! Smack!" They resumed their thumping.

   "It's called Wumping," the first informed us.

   As we continued our meandering walk, we saw more Wumpers, usually two or three with one large group of a dozen or so, all Wumping away, giving Klaxenglot some good common sense. 

   "So how did Klaxenglot end up winning the name vote?" Tonker asked as they walked.

   "That's the question, isn't it?" Philban replied. "I mean, these magnons don't seem very sophisticated, at least not enough to manage a giant spell like mesmerizing a planet's inhabitants."

   "I agree, I . . ." Tonker stopped. They had just crested a small hillock and there, spread out before them were thousands of magnons, all Wumping sense into Klaxenglot. They stared in shocked disbelief. There was a stand nearby offering fresh sticks to the worshipers so they walked over to that.

   "Needa stick?" the young magnon inside asked as they approached.

   "No thanks," Tonker said with a smile. "We're looking for someone in charge." The magnon looked blank.         

   "We want to find out about you all," Philban added.

   "And about Klaxenglot. We've never heard of it in our country," Tonker explained.

   "Dang, ain't that something?" the magnon replied. "Here, take a stick and do some Wumping. You'll feel better." They each took a stick but just stood there, uncertain what to do. "You are ferriners, no doubt," the magnon snorted. "Here, go over there, to that clear spot." He pointed to a place where no one was currently Wumping and they walked over to it. "Now Wump!"

   They began a rather desultory Wumping but as soon as they started, they began to feel a curious energy and were soon Wumping as enthusiastically as any magnon. It was exhilarating!

   Later things began to slow down and they followed some magnons to a food cart where they ate, then they settled around the communal fire and sang strange, to Tonker, Philban and Da'ca, songs. Despite not knowing the songs they were able to hum along.

   Then a speaker stood and told the assemblage, "Here is some stuff to know. At the bottom of it all, or perhaps the top, is Hexlexl the zombie god. This god is not actually a zombie, he was just sort of dead once so it seemed appropriate. Anyway, Hexlexl did his astonishing magic by Wumping, teaching the Big-Feathered Wumper who just naturally began Wumping, together they taught it to all of Hexlexl's people, the magnons. Most magnons, like Hexlexl, are not actually zombies. This ends tonight's good stuff to know." The speaker sat. Soon everyone went somewhere to sleep.

   When Tonker, Phil and Da'ca had found a good spot to rest Tonker said, "It looks like this Hexlexl fellow is where we need to go to find answers." The other two agreed.

   The next morning as the Wumpers were getting started they left, Da'ca returning to Pteran to share what they had learned, while Tonker and Philban began the Hexlexl Quest.


Next: The Hexlexl Quest

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