Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Songspinners, 417 words

In the farthest regions of the Nowheres, where the howling wind cuts like a knife, there are places where even the sound of the wind is overwhelmed. There, strange haunting melodies twist and weave amongst the rocky pillars in the abject darkness, confusing all sense of direction for anyone not born to these songs. There, creatures made of horrid song and razor edges tend the skeins of music that define their realm. There, the Songspinners live.

Left alone, Songspinners are some of the more passive denizens of the Nowheres. They tend to the well-being of their home, harvesting living song out of the air and using it to create silken webs of incredible complexity and beauty. The webs can be difficult for an outsider to comprehend, as they do not conform to the mere four dimensions of normal reality. The rare few visitors to their realm invariably come away with headaches, and the occasional waking hallucination as their minds attempt to come to grips with the unreal geometry of the spiders' webs. Navigation through these webs is all but impossible for a normal human mind, and difficult even for the unhinged.

Most Songspinners have a passing resemblance to humans, at least on first glance. They stand almost six feet tall and are skeletally thin, with humanoid legs and arms. However, they also possess two extra sets of segmented, chitinous arms that terminate in razor-sharp claws. When they travel beyond their homes, they tend to cover up and hide the extra limbs folded against their bodies. Their faces are a feral melding of the human skull with a spider's mandibles, though they can force the shape into that of a normal (if lean and angular) human face. They still have to hide their compound eyes behind sunglasses. When angered, their claws can tear through flesh like butter.

In place of a normal thorax, a Songspinner instead has a pair of harp-like arrangements mounted along a spinal column. Thick metallic strings pluck and play in a constant melody, though an individual's song is incomplete. Instead, each Songspinner is born in a small group called a clutch, composed of at least three hatched from the same batch of eggs. The clutch play their songs together in a complete piece, and it is also how they communicate with one another. Technically speaking, any given clutch is a single mind distributed in multiple bodies. The death of one is a harsh blow to the others, one from which they never quite recover.

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