The Crown of Alinor
Before Alinor was Alinor, at the beginning of the world, there were only six animals. Eagle, Boar, Wolf, Sea Lion, Mountain Cat, and Bear.
They all thought themselves the fiercest and strongest, and should therefore be the ruler of the land. Eagle claimed he was the best because he alone could soar the skies above. Sea Lion proudly declared she alone could swim to the deepest depths. Boar thought none could match his dagger tusks and Mountain Cat claimed herself to be the most agile. Wolf could outrun all while Bear claimed his strength and size should win him the crown.
Many years they spent bickering amongst themselves, trying to prove to each other their superiority. Many years they wasted in pursuit of a crown without regards to their kingdom. The woods grew thick and tangled, the seas full of silt and sand. The mountains filled with impassable rock slides and the plains burned from drought. Unbeknownst to the six animals, the land was dying because none had taken the time to care for it.
And then the Stone Men came from beyond the mountains in the West. Only a few at first, scouting the land and reporting back to their king. And all the while the animals fought among themselves, oblivious.
And then more Stone Men came. Their king brought an army, eager to take their kingdom for himself, before it was destroyed.
Too late, the six animals noticed the Stone Men’s arrival. Eagle, Boar, Wolf, Sea Lion, Mountain Cat, and Bear were swiftly captured and caged in iron, and taken before the king of the Stone Men.
This land belongs to me now, he said to them. You will choose to serve me, or die.
The animals turned to one another, broken and sorrowful. How could they have allowed such tragedy to befall their lands? How could they have been so short-sighted?
The king of the Stone Men demanded they bow before him, and acknowledge him as the rightful king.
Boar fell to his knees first, tusks scraping the bars of his cage. Then Sea Lion bowed, and Mountain Cat. Wolf and Eagle reluctantly followed.
But Bear would not bow to the king of the Stone Men.
The other animals were released from their cages while Bear was brought before the king, to be sentenced to death. Bear did not cower as the king took up his axe. He stood tall and strong as he had always claimed to be.
The other animals saw Bear’s bravery, and were reminded of their own strength. Mountain Cat swiftly snatched the king’s axe before it could fall while Boar cut through Bear’s chains. Wolf and Sea Lion fended off the Stone Men and Eagle seized the king in his talons and carried him high into the air. Bear took up the king’s fallen crown and reclaimed their kingdom.
Those Stone Men who survived were banished from the animals’ lands forevermore. And the crown was melted down and reforged into six circlets, for each animal had proven their worth. One king alone could not take care of these lands, and so they all would work together, each with a portion of the kingdom to steward. A kingdom which they called Alinor, which means “strength in many” in the Old Tongue.
And so Alinor again grew fertile and green, and where once was strife now bloomed peace.
At least, for now.
This fable was written to be part of a longer work of fiction in my list of Too Many Unfinished Projects. It's a fantasy story possibly geared for Middle-Grade Readers, filled with adventurous story-telling girls and noble, fierce animals. Hopefully one day I can share with you the rest of the tale!