The Corway Chronicles
By James Corbett
Children used to believe in things, whether true or not, real or not, children still used to believe. Many who's words once held meaning now say, those times are over. The time of color is over, only black and white remain. Things must be seen for what they are. There is no good left in this world. These men and women have, in short, given up.
But that is why The Elders have decided on there own path, a path they are sure is the only true way to remake this world of evil. There path is to start from the beginning, not of Good, but of life. For if you say to a child "The world has lost its color, for only black and white remain." Most children, with a furrowed brow and all would respond, "but black and white are colors, so not all is lost yet!" This is the path the Elders have set to follow. This is the path the children will walk.
Small children; nine years old at the most, six at the least, make up over sixty six percent of the total population of a small town hidden far in the darkness of Deep Maple Wood. The Town only had about three hundred people in it, at most. Nikki Town it was called. No one could quite remember when it was given this name, or why, or for that matter, who this "Nikki" was and why the last scrapes of good in the world lived on in a town named after him.
Thankfully, over sixty six percent of the towns inhabitants did not worry their small and still growing minds on that line of thinking. They had much more important things to think about. Like food, or perhaps where to lay there head to sleep that night.
All of these children were the same from what they could tell. All with a mother, everyone had chores, and from what they were told, all the same ages. The only things that were not the same, were how they looked; some taller or smaller. Busy hair or sleek, gray skinned or maybe pink. To the children... how could any of these small details matter?
They all even had to listen to the Elders, but all of their mothers had to listen to them as well so the children thought that was ok too. Besides, the Elders were very nice! Always trying to find ways to give the children more time to play, or more time for their mothers to teach them all sorts of neat tricks. The elders were the only dads the village had, but they did their best to make all of their children happy.
On some nights, when the children with "Fire maker" chore were told to make a big fire in the middle of the town, the Elders would come out and tell some great bedtime stories! On those nights, all the children would go to their favorite hide-away sleeping spot and fall asleep with the story fresh in their minds. and if they were lucky, they would "Dream." Dreams weren't like sleep. When you woke up from sleep, you wake up well rested, but you didn't learn anything. When you "Dream" Its almost like being awake, but cooler! You were in the story told by the elders, a hero or adventurer and sometimes something even better. You would re-live the story from beginning to end, learning and growing all the time. The only downside was when you woke from a dream, you always felt as if you never slept at all. Thankfully the power of youth made the children bounce back from the restless night with amazing stories to compare with their friends.
This wonderful town did still have its disagreements. Being so close to one another, many children would have a scuffle or two at some point, but very few times was the fighting anything more then pushing, and when it was more, there was always an exchange of "I'm sorry's" and a fair bit of scolding by the offenders mothers.
This mainly came about because of the children's dreams, often filled with knights and warriors, or the "stories of old" which also had a lot to do with some bad ol' shadow being defeated by sword or bow or something called "magic."
There were only a few rules in Nikki Town. Only the elders could leave into the east forest. Do your chores. Listen to your mother. And the most important rule of all. If you have watch chore, don't ever, never ever ever... fall asleep.
Watch chore was easy, the two hundred or so children all had a fair share of the time that they must take watch, the only hard part was that the chore was held in twelve hour shifts. For the whole twelve hours of the watch chore, the children had to stand in the hollowed out core of the Elder Tree, and watch over The Elder Tree's Heart. The Heart was a bright blue stone, smooth and round, about the size of a large apple. It stood on a pedestal three feet off the ground, and it was the only thing held in the tree. Sitting down was strictly forbidden in the Elder Tree, as was touching the Heart apart from brushing it with your fingers as your shift ended, to say the Blessing of the Elders; "Elders watch over the Children, The Children Live for the Elders"
For that was the way of things in Nikki Town, The Elders took care of the children and the mothers with everything they did in there day to day lives. They would be the ones to gather or hunt for most of the food, although there was still Hunting chore and Gathering chore. They too were the ones who had built all the buildings in the town, and so were the ones to keep them up and fix them when they started to wear down or break. When this would happen however, now that all of the children were getting older, the Elder who was doing the fixing would bring along some children for Carpentry chore, or Thatching chore. The name would change depending on the job in question, The boy Tikreece had been the one to invent the catch all term for these, calling them the "fix what's broke, chores"
Every day, the list of what chores each child had was written out and tacked to the large board near the center of town. It was assumed that one of the elders created this list, for the dictation of who was to do what on any given day and then writing it all out was quite a list with almost two hundred children living here, all of whom never had the same chore twice in a row. For a wile it was a rumor, (most likely started by one or more of the mothers) that it was really a chore that was only given out to misbehaving children.
All around however, such punishments were not given out, for the plain and simple fact that very rarely did any child misbehave, and when they did it was never something to series. The worst punishments were scolding's and every so often, a tanned rear. Living in Nikki Town was thought of as a very nice place to live by both the children and mothers alike. Everyone in Nikki Town had nothing but kind words, admiration and even love, for the elders. They are the fathers of every child that lives there, and would put anything aside to help and teach any one of the children. Each Child may be different, but I the eyes of the elders; nothing is more important then the growth, development and happiness of each and every child.