I perhaps have no business relating this story to you, and in so doing may be violating an oath of secrecy I took in relation to some highly classified work I did for the government. Let me just say that this is an account taken from the history of two races poised on the edge of an ethnic conflict that had the potential to destroy them both. It is a tale of hope and a quest for peace. This is a story about a game given by God to an intelligent race of non-
It is with considerable difficulty that I relate this story to you at all. Many of the words used by both races have their roots in a third language once spoken by a long-
There are considerable differences in the way both of these races named things; consequently, the translational difficulties which I had to overcome in order to relate this story to you, the reader, were enormous. To give a quick example: the creature that I call a “stalker” might be called a deathallowinayite by the People of the Trees. It means: the death that follows in the daylight. The Brachyura word for the same creature is conadray. Because there are six clans among the Brachyura, there are also six variations for the name of this creature, conadray, condraya, canodray, cronday, canorday, and condayra. The ancient race that bred the creatures called them draconan, after the scientist who was directly responsible for their creation. While the Brachyura simply assigned names to things, the People of the Trees tended to describe the attributes of a given animal, person, or thing and then shorten that description into a single word. That word then became the name for whatever it was they were describing. Of course, none of this was in English to begin with.
I hope you begin to get a feel for the difficulty I had in rendering this story into English. If not for a promise I made to a dying friend long ago, I would not have made the attempt. This is the work of many long nights listening to some tapes that I acquired before I left my job with the government. I do not pass judgment on the story. I simply relate it to you as it was related to me long ago during the course of several months. The time I spent with my friend changed my understanding of life in ways that I never dreamed possible. In the end, I came to know that we are all players in the Game of God – a game that is dangerous, beautiful and, ultimately – one we all play.
R. B. Chandler
Translator Notes and Other References
The trees grow to an average height of 400 meters. They were engineered by an ancient race of humanoids in order to increase lumber production. An unexpected genetic defect caused the trees to cover all of the oceans of the world except at the polar ice caps and all the land except the more mountainous and arctic regions of the world.
Very old trees are referred to by the tree people as grandfather trees and could reach nearly 500 meters tall. Often the centers of these trees would rot out, making them ideal homes for the tree people. The indoor game courts of the Brachyura were also built inside these trees.
The tree sap is a lot like liquid plastic, super hard when dry but still extremely flammable when exposed to very high temperatures over a prolonged period of time. Tree sap is the base material of the tree people’s technology.
People of the Trees -
The People of the Trees, sometimes called tree people, have a very simple tribal society. Their customs developed out of their struggle to survive in the forest. Primarily hunters, they live high in the trees on platforms that encircle the tree in which they live.
Long Necks -
Floaters or Floater on the Wind -
Translator’s note: I have employed very few of the actual creatures’ names. This is due to the number of different names that might be applied to any given creature, not only by the different clans of the Brachyura, but by the People of the Trees as well. A healer among the tree people might give two names for the same creature, one of which might be understood only by another healer. The names of things might also vary from tribe to tribe depending on how the people of that tribe combined the descriptive term condensed to form the word they used to name any given creature.
I am trying to avoid using familiar names for the creatures. For instance, some of the floaters could be described as birds, but the mental image produced by the English word would be many times smaller than any of the actual creatures. Also, there are many creatures that look like butterflies. Most, however, are as large as or many times larger than the largest butterfly you can imagine, and a significant number of them are very dangerous. Besides, using some of the creatures’ indigenous (translated) names helps to convey the beauty and mystery of their native world – one that is vastly different from our own.
The Brachyura measure time in units. One unit of time is equal to eighty minutes. There are twenty units to a day (about 26.6 hours). A time part is one one-
The Brachyuran week is called a seven-
Linear Measurements -
The Brachyura measure distances and heights in terms of average lengths of their shells which is actually the width of their shells: about two meters long. This breaks down to lengths and half-
The Brachyura base their units of weight on a cubic length of 00 grit sand -
Translator’s note: Rather than convert all the units of measurements to our standards of measurement I have kept to a more literal translation again trying to conveying a sense of their unique culture.
Leadership among the People of the Trees is generally passed from father to son. Healers act as advisors to the tribal leader. On occasion, the tribe’s leader may ask for input from the rest of the men of the tribe. A wise leader will ask advice from the healer and the other men of the tribe often.
Leadership of the Brachyura is vested in clan leaders over individual clans. They form the Grand Council that is the ruling body of the Brachyura clans or brotherhoods. Each clan leader has twelve councilors that act as his advisors. These councilors are picked from brothers or sisters that have distinguished themselves in some way among the brotherhood. Councilors are generally economic leaders among the individual clans. The clan leader generally names his successor. If a successor is not named then the position falls to the councilor that has been on the clan leader’s council the longest. If there is any question, the matter is presented to all the brothers and sisters of the clan for a sustaining vote.
The only other leaders among the Brachyura are the dwelling clan leaders. They lead the small village-
Translator’s note: Healers among the people are in a class all by themselves. They are not truly subject to the leader of their tribe and in the government of the People of the Trees provide a system of checks and balances. For instance, a leader that might prove to be a danger to his people might be killed by the tribe’s healer for the good of all concerned. The healer would then suggest a new leader for the tribe. Anyone (or thing) that would upset the balance in the world or endanger the tribe would force the healer to restore balance to the world or protect the tribe. The healer more often than not simply removes the problem permanently.
All things are held in common by the People of the Trees. Food and all other necessities of life are shared equally by the people. Anything that cannot be shared equally is held in trust by the leader of the tribe to be used for the benefit of the tribe as a whole.
The clan leadership taxes the businesses and brothers of their respective clans based on the profits of a given cycle of the sun (about ten percent). The dwelling and dwelling clan leader also receives up to ten percent of the profits from any businesses based out of his dwelling. The figure is determined by the amount of services rendered by the dwelling to that business. A business that involves the whole dwelling will share the profits based on the amount of work each brother or sister does to contribute to the business minus dwelling expenses. Any business shares the profits with its employees the same as the dwelling does. The proportions are determined by the owner of that business or by the dwelling clan leader in the case of a dwelling-
Translator’s note: The economic system of the Brachyura is far more complicated than I have described above. Even given the complexity of their system it is still very simple compared to our own system and a great deal more fair in some respects. I suspect this is due to the great sense of honor that the Brachyura possess as a race. I deal a little more with the economics of the Brachyura in greater detail within the story.
Brachyura Clans or Brotherhoods
The Blue Brotherhood
The Green Brotherhood
The Black Brotherhood
Hal Pron -
Dar Noth -
Tal Mare -
The Brown Brotherhood
The Yellow Brotherhood
The Red Brotherhood
Robert Anderson -
David Dracon -
People of the Trees