Rubi-Ka Fables

I played Funcom’s Anarchy Online from 2001 through 2006. For most of that time, my main character was Katpaws. While her profession was  a martial artist, she was probably better known for her Rubi-Ka fables. The concept was to re-imagine Aesop’s Fables within the world of Anarchy Online.

I told these stories using text and emote animations in-game. Reading just the text here won’t have the same impact as the live performance did, but I didn’t want that work to be lost.

Morning dawns in Athen Shire.

A Leet pokes her head from her hole.

She sniffs the air expectantly, then waddles out to start her day.

She knows that to survive this day, she needs to run faster than the fastest Malle.

Morning dawns in Cobal Sands.

An old Malle cracks his eyes open in the pale early light.

He stretches his muscles, warming in the suns’ first rays.

He knows that if he is going to eat today, he needs to run faster than the slowest Leet.

The moral of the story…

Whether you’re the chaser or the chased, you need to start the day running.

“Meep mep meeper meep” chirped the small Leet to his mother.

(Which is Leet for “Please tell us the story of the first Leet, Mamma”)

“Alright, my son, I will” his mother replied.

A long time ago, when Rubi-Ka was first being born, the first Leet was a beautiful bird. She had strong wings, and could fly very fast. Her feathers were brilliant shades of blue and red. She had a strong beak and a beautiful long tail which she could fan out and make a stunning display of plumage. She had a wonderful singing voice. The sound of her song made Rollerats stop and weep from the hearing of it.

One day, the Leet was flying over the desert. She was singing and laughing to her heart’s content. Below her, a Scab Hyena saw the beautiful bird. He became jealous of her beauty and decided that he must possess the creature for himself.

The hyena came up with a plan. He would lure the bird from the sky with her favorite food (chocolate) and capture her when she landed. The plan worked flawlessly.

“Please sir, let me go. I’ll give you anything you desire.” the Leet pleaded. She could not stand being confined by the Hyena and was about to go mad with worry.

The Hyena thought a moment. He decided he was not satisfied with merely possessing the creature, he wanted to take her beauty for himself.

“Okay, Leet” he said, slobbering with anticipation. “I want your voice. I want to be able to sing as you do.”

The Leet was frightened, but agreed. “Meep meeep MEEEP!” she squaeled, suddenly unable to sing.

But the Hyena still would not let her go. “I want your tail too! Mine is so pitiful compared to yours.”

Again the Leet, panicking at her confinement, agreed. And suddenly the beautiful feathers on her tail dried up and fell off. Leaving a limp, ugly tail behind.

The Hyena laughed at the Leet’s plight. “I want your wings! I must be able to fly above all other creatures.”

Reluctantly, the Leet agreed again, hoping that this would satisfy her captor. Her wings shrivled away.

“I want your beak and feathers too!” the Hyena cackled. And those left the Leet as well.

Finally, since the Leet had nothing else to give, the Hyena let her go.

What she could see, but he could not, however, was that he had not changed into a beautiful bird, he had become a horrid Vulture.

The Leet waddled away slowly. She missed her beautiful wings and tail and song. But she was free!

The moral of the story…

When you take everything away from someone, you are no longer their oppressor,  you have set them free.

[Alexander Solzhenitsyn]

An Emerald Viper slithered through the Varmit woods. He was long and sleek and very confident, but he was also very hungry. He had been searching for a morsel to eat for a very long time. He was beginning to despair that he would ever find food.

The suns were sinking low into the sky and he feared he would have to go to bed without his snack. Suddenly, he spied ahead of him a fat old Leetas.

She didn’t seem to see him, so he slithered slowly forward. To his surprise, when he was almost in striking distance, she laughed.

“Meep-meep-meep!” she squealed.

The viper stopped short. His prey had never laughed at him before. He was intrigued, so he asked the Leetas a question. “What do you find so funny, oh you who are about to become a snack?”

The Leetas looked up at him and smiled. “Life is amusing to those who know its little secrets, Sir Viper.”

“Really?” the Viper asked. “And what secrets are those?”

“I can’t tell you that, I’m afraid each must find out for themselves.”

“Well, tell me then, my succulent little morsel. What is your secret?”

The Leetas considered him for a moment, then nodded. “You are very strong Sir Viper,” she said. “And very fast.”

“This is true,” said the Viper.

“Your scales are sleek and your eyes are bright,” the Leetas continued. The Viper smiled at the compliments.

“And I can see that your fangs are very sharp and doubtless deadly as well.” The Viper puffed himself up with pride at her words.

“All this is true, my juicy tidbit of tasty flesh,” the Viper said. “But it still does not tell me why you laughed when I approached.”

The Leetas nodded and continued. “I laughed because despite all your power, grace, and beauty…you will not win the contest today.”

The Viper bared his fangs and prepared to strike. “And why is that, oh you who are about to sate my hunger?” he hissed.

“Because of this!” she said. And with that she spun and dove into her hole behind her.

With the suns set, and the coolness of the evening, the Viper was too slow to catch the Leetas. He sadly slithered away into the underbrush, still hungry.

The moral of the story…
If the mouse laughs at the cat (or the Leetas at the Viper) there is a hole nearby.

“Meeper-meep-meep,” said the mother Leet (Which is Leet for “Goodnight my children”)

“Goodnight mama,” the pups said.

The older of the two, the brother, fell asleep right away. He quickly fell into a dream world But unlike a normal dream, he could control it!

He quickly realized that with his imagination and the power of the dream world he could do anything!

He changed himself into a Malle so he could feel strong and powerful.

He changed himself into a Reet so he could fly over the forest.

Then he started changing other things…
…a tree became a Scorpiod
…a rock he changed into a Nightcrawler

But soon, he became bored with these things. Although he could create them, they were lifeless. He sought out other living beings.

Finally, he heard a sound. A “meep-meep” of another Leet squealing with joy

He crept up slowly on the sound and peered through the bushes. There, in a clearing in the woods, a small Leet was chasing a butterfly. She would hop and jump around, trying to give the butterfly kisses.

The older Leet saw his chance.

This would not be boring, this would be exciting! So, he changed the butterfly into a Vulture, which swooped down on the little Leet and ripped her limb from limb.

Suddenly the Leet was awakened from his dream by a scream. He ran out into the central chamber of his burrow to find his sister cowering with their mother. She was muttering on and on about the butterfly that had tried to kill her.

The boy realized what he had done. Seeing his sister still quivering with fear made him very ashamed. He walked slowly back to his bed to lie down again, and prayed that he would never dream again

The moral of the story…
When all we see is the dream, it is too easy to forget about the dreamer

Two Leets were walking along Corbyte Beach one afternoon. The younger, a female by the name of Preem, was basking in the attention of the older male, Meer.

Meer had been pursuing Preem for quite some time. He had showered her with gifts and attention …
Kappa Berries, Pollen Spores, Lubdub nuts … all the gifts that a young Leet could ask for.

As they walked along the sand, near the water’s edge a Malle suddenly rose from the beach in front of them. He was an adult, prime in his strength and as he shook himself, the sand fell from his back like an avalanche.
The two Leets stopped in fear. Meer stepped in front of Preem and inhaled deeply trying to make himself look as big as he could.

The Malle smiled at the two and said, “Peace. I mean you no harm. I love all Leetkind and would never harm any of you”

The two Leets tittered at the obvious lie

“Sure you love us,” Meer replied. “As an appetizer.”

The Malle sighed heavily “No, no. You misunderstand. But I can appreciate your concern. My kind have often preyed on you.”

The Malle stepped aside and bowed his head. “Please continue on your walk.” he said sadly.

The Leets walked a little further down the beach. Suddenly, a storm arose. The lightning was striking all around. Heavy rains poured on the sand making it wet and slippery. And the wind rose to a howling gale.

The Malle called out, “Come here my little friends, take shelter at my side! I will protect you from the storm’s wrath!”

But they didn’t believe him; so they fought alone. Preem was smaller than Meer and was having trouble resisting the wind. She started to slide along the sand, toward the river’s edge. Meer stood silently watching as she went.

Preem called out for help, but he did nothing.

The wind tumbled the little Leet into the river. The current of the river and the waves from the storm were too much for her to fight against. She went down and resurfaced…
the third time she went under, it didn’t look like she would make it back up

Suddenly, the green form of the Malle sprinted past Meer. He crashed into the river and dove under water. Even his strength was almost not enough to save them both, but he was able to make it back to shore gently carrying Preem in his mouth

He laid the limp form on the beach and pressed gently on her. She sputtered once, coughed, then started breathing again.

Preem looked at Meer with pain and questioning as the storm abated as quickly as it had risen.

Meer knew that he had been found out. That his truly selfish nature had been uncovered. He hung his head in shame and turned his back on the Malle and Preem and waddled slowly away.

The moral of the story…
The cruelest lies are often told without a word
the kindest truths are often spoken, never heard
[“The Last Polka” – Ben Folds Five]

One bright spring morning in Tir County, a young Leet left his burrow on his way to breakfast. As he strolled through a field of Kappa bushes, he noticed a beautiful Soleet browsing through the berries.

He was immediately entranced by the lovely creature, but he was terribly shy; so he did nothing but smile and move on.

For the next several days, he kept seeing her. Slowly, seeing the Soleet became more important to him
than eating his breakfast.

But she was a Soleet and he was only a Leet. Certainly she wouldn’t be interested in him.

Finally, one day, it happened. They we both looking for just the right berry and bumped into one another behind the bush.

“Excuse me,” said the Leet, blushing and bobbing his head

“No, no. Not at all”, said the Soleet, “I should have paid more attention to where I was walking. Please forgive me.”

The Leet smiled and said, “You are very kind.”

The Soleet smiled back and said, “Finding the right berries is very hard this time of year.”

“Yes, it is,” agreed the Leet. “I like the ones that are just a little bitter yet.”

“Yes!” agreed the Soleet, “So do I, but nobody understands why.”

“I know,” said the Leet. “I just don’t get it.”

They continued to talk about the Kappa berries and other places to find them. When they had said about all that there was to say about Kappa berries, the Leet summoned up his courage and spoke.

“I think you are the prettiest creature on this planet.” he said, blushing madly as he did so.

The Soleet blushed as well and replied, “I’ve noticed you too. Here every morning, browsing the bushes, someone who knows what he likes and takes his time finding it.”

The Leet, his heart bursting with her kind words, continued “Would you like to walk with me today? Anything I might have done can wait. I’d rather spend time with you.”

The Soleet smiled warmly at the Leet and said, “Yes, I would like that very much. Please lead the way.”

And the two of them strolled off through the county. Together.

The moral of the story…
Destiny is no matter of chance. It is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.
[WJ Bryan]

“Meer Mep Meepn Meep!” scolded the mother Leet. (Which is leet for “Stop being so mean to your brother!”)
“But mother,” complained the older Leet, “He ALWAYS tags along when I don’t want him there. And, besides, I’m older. He should listen to what I say!”

The mother leet scowled at her eldest son. “Haven’t you ever heard the story of Loctra?”

The boy furrowed his brow and said cautiously, “No, mama, I don’t think so.”

“Well, then sit down, both of you and let me tell you.”

The two leets settled to the ground to listen to their mother’s story

Loctra was a Leetas. He was pretty big for his age, but mostly kept to himself.

One day, a gang of Rollerats attacked the burrows. Rollerats aren’t very smart, but they are stronger than Leets. They were causing a lot of havoc in the village. Several of the younger Leets died in the attack. Many of the stronger Leets were trying to figure out how to get the Rollerats out of the tunnels.

Loctra moved into one of the central chambers, and started taunting the Rats. He was very strong, and when they attacked him, he kept winning. But, it was taking a toll on him. He was starting to slow down and his attacks were getting clumsy.

Just as the last Rollerat fell to his attacks, Loctra fell as well.

The other Leets rushed to his side and started first aid. After several weeks of rehabilitation, Loctra was able to walk on his own again. But he had vision problems in one eye and scars that would never heal.

The Burrows treated him like a hero. Everyone wanted to help him however they could.

After some time, the village council decided to make Loctra the head of security for the Burrows. It seemed a fitting reward for all that he had done.

At first, everything seemed to go well. He was pretty good at helping the other Leets understand how to fight. But slowly, as his influence over the security forces grew, Loctra changed.

He started implementing new policies in the name of “Burrow Safety”. But those policies were really giving security more and more power. The council didn’t know what to do.

They had praised Loctra for his sacrifices. And now, they were in a position where he was becoming dangerous.

Finally, they met with him in a private session.

Loctra looked at the councillors in scorn. “You sit here all fat and happy,” he sneered. “You are alive today becuase *I* stood up and did something. Look at my eye, look at my scars, I sacrificed SO much for you. And now you are complaining because I am claiming some of the benefits that are due to me.”

“You OWE me this. The whole burrow OWES me this.”

The council shook their heads sadly. Suddenly, in burst three of the larger Leets in the Burrow. They gathered Loctra up and forced him out of the hole. He was banished from the village forever and was never seen again.

The moral of the story is…
Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.
[Abraham Lincoln]

“MEER MEEP MEP MEEEEP!” squealed one of the little Leets. (Which is Leet for “But, I want it NOW!”)

Their mother scurried into the burrow. “Children!” she scolded.

“Momma,” complained the youngest Leet.”Brother said I could play with the Kappa husk ball when he was done, but he’s not giving me a chance!”

The Older Leet piped up, “I just started!”

Their mother had heard enough. “Both of you, sit down and listen to me! I am going to tell you the story of the three brothers.”

Scowling at each other, the two leets sat down and listened to their mom.

Many years ago, there were three brothers. They competed at everything. All three of them tried to be first at everything they did. Eating, playing, working, even sleeping became something they hurried to do.

One day, an old Leetas came by. He joined the three for dinner. Seeing the competition and fighting among the boys he offered to tell them a story.

He told them about this beautiful bird, the Tejalia. The bird only went to one tree in the forest. Legend said that whoever spoke to the Tejalia would be granted happiness for the rest of their lives.

But there was a catch.

Only one Leet could wait at the tree at a time. If more than one was there, she wouldn’t land and speak with the Leet.

The brothers decided to try this out. After much bickering, they decided to go in order of age. So, the next morning, the oldest brother went out to the tree.

Later that evening, after the suns went down, he returned. “I waited all day for that bird! I give up. Its not coming. Besides, my feet hurt from standing for so long.”

The next morning, the middle Leet went out to the tree. He was there all day, and most of the next. Finally, just before dinner, he returned. “I can’t wait for that bird anymore! I was bored silly. And I’m SO HUNGRY!”

The next morning, the youngest Leet went to the tree. One day passed, another, a third, the brothers started getting worried. Finally, the fourth day, just before sunset, the youngest leet came skipping back.

He was smiling broadly and whistling a happy tune.

The other two brothers pestered him with questions. “Did you see her?” “What did she say?” “How did you wait so long?” “Weren’t you bored or hungry or tired?”

The youngest Leet smiled. “Yes, I saw her” he replied. “She is so beautiful, and kind and pleasant. And her voice is like an angel’s. We talked for a while, and she shared things with me that made me feel warm inside. I will never be sad again!”

The other brothers sputtered, “BUT HOW!?!?”

The youngest smiled again, and nodded. “Sure, I was bored. And I got hungry. And my feet hurt after a while. But, I decided that being happy forever would be worth those little things. So, I waited.” The youngest Leet skipped off into the forest, leaving his brothers to ponder his reply.

The moral of the story…
Patience is a matter of will, not ability.
It is a decision you make, not a skill that you have.

“Prem mepper per meep meer”, the little girl Leet said to her mother. (Which is Leet for, “What will I be when I grow up, momma?”)

The mother Leet smiled down at her daughter. “Let me tell you the story of Meerka.”

The little girl settled down eagerly. She loved her momma’s stories.

There once was a young Leet by the name of Meerka. Meerka wasn’t pretty or smart or graceful. She couldn’t sing or write or cook. She was getting to an age where she needed to start being a productive member of the colony.

Everyone despaired of finding something that she could do. But, she was such a kind soul that nobody had the hard to kick her out either.

One by one, friends and family tried to talk to Meerka about her future.

The conversations always went the same…
Relative: Meerka, I want to talk to you about your future.
Meerka: Okay! I want to be a…
Relative: I think you should try being a digger.
Meerka: (sadly) Okay, I’ll try that.
Meerka tried digging…
…her tunnels collapsed.
Meerka tried gathering food…
…she dropped and trampled most of what she gathered.
Meerka tried watching the children…
…her mind would wander and they’d spend all day gathering them back up.

Finally, her mother sat down with Meerka. “Meerka, sugar, we just don’t know what to do with you.”

Meerka was just as frustrated as the adults. “Well I DO!” she shouted. “Just nobody would listen to me.”

Meerka’s mom was surprised. “Oh?” she asked.

“I want to be a dancer!” Meerka stated firmly.

Her mom smiled warmly, “That’s a lovely idea, sugar, but…”

Before she could continue, Meerka jumped to her feet. She leaped into the air, pirouetting beautifully. She landed, and danced lightly across the lawn. All of her awkwardness was gone.

Her mother was amazed. She had no idea that Meerka had this sort of talent.

Meerka went on to be the greatest dancer the colony had ever seen.

The moral of the story…
Never let anyone tell you who you are. That is something for you to decide. Then, be that person the best that you can.

“Mereeep meep,” said the little Leet. (which is Leet for “I’m bored, Mama”)

His mother smiled at him and replied “Why don’t I tell you the story of Druub?”

“Oh yes,” the boy exclaimed and settled down to listen.

Long ago, there was a large prison named Druub. It was a dark, frightening place. Made in the hollow of a an old mountain. Guarded by Rollerats, nobody had ever escaped.

One Leet, named Boald, though was different. He inspired a group of Leets to form an Escape Committee. Their plan was to dig a deep tunnel, and find a natural passage out of the mountain.

Finally, after months of digging, it was time. Boald told the others, “Let me go first and test it. If I don’t come back in 3 hours, you’ll know its safe.”

He turned the a large Soleet and said, “Brud, you’re in charge. Get them out safely.”

After three hours, Brud went down the hole to check the safety. He returned to be greated by a circle of rollerat gaurds. They took him to the warden.

“You fools,” the warden said. “We’ve known about your tunnel all along.”

“But, I don’t understand.” Brud replied. “Why let us dig then?”

“Come to the window,” said the warden.

Brud looked down on the yard. All the leetkind were staring blankly at the ground.

“This prison needs an official Escape Committee.” the warden told Brud.

For the next several days, the warden and Brud met, making plans for the committee. In time, the Escape Committee started forming sub-committees and focus groups. Everyone joined the committee. Even some of the guards. Gardens were planted in the yard. People would laugh and sing while they did their chores.
Each new member of the Escape Committee was shown the tunnel. And told the story about Boald making it through.

Everyone had hope.

A couple of times, leets would recommend using the tunnel. When they did, they were shunned by the other prisoners. Nobody would talk to them, eat with them, or even touch them. The treatment worked so well, that eventually nobody thought of really escaping.

And…(as all such stories should end)…they lived happily ever after.

The young leet looked puzzled at his mother. “But mom,” he asked. “Weren’t they still in prison?”
“Ah,” his mother said smiling, “You didn’t wait for the moral.”

The moral of the story is…
Are you escaping your prison?
Or simply making yourself believe you want to live there?

Maupe stormed into her burrow and threw herself down on the floor.

Her mother came in, concerned. “What is wrong, my daughter?” she asked.

“Bock said he doesn’t like me any more.” Maupe said sadly.

“Ah,” her mother replied, nodding slowly.

“He used to be my best friend. Why would he say that?”

Maupe’s mother helped her daughter up. “Let me tell you the story of Corin,” she said.

Corin was a young Leetas in Athen Shire. She was kind and gentle, and curious about the world. One day she decided to go on a quest. “I will find the language of Love,” she announced. And she set off.

First, she came to an old female Leet. “Can you teach me the language of Love?” she asked.

“Yes, child,” the Leet replied. “Please sit.”

For hours, then days, the old woman spoke. But, Corin noticed that although she spoke eloquently of love, her eyes and heart seemed unmoved by the words. Finally, realizing the woman knew nothing of Love, she continued her journey.

Next, she found a young male Soleet. “Can you teach me the language of Love?” she asked.

“Yes, pretty one,” the Soleet replied. “I can. Come, let me show you.” For hours, then days, the man labored to show her his love. He spoke flowery words and showered her with gifts and affection. But, one day, Corin found him giving the same gifts to another girl. Realizing his love was full of deceit, she continued her journey.

Finally, she came to a kind looking male Eleet. “Can you teach me the language of Love?” she asked him.

Looking deep into her eyes, he said, “Yes. Sit if you will.” Corin sat with him. For hours, then days, they sat there. Saying very little.

At first Corin was confused. But, she started to feel something; so she stayed.

They sat there, looking at one another, being close, even dozing off now and then. Finally, Corin realized that she loved this man, and she knew how to speak to him.

The moral of the story…
Don’t put your trust in words…
…some speak truth.
…some speak things they do not understand.
…some deceive and lie.
But, when the heart speaks, then you will know love.

That’s all. Eleven Rubi-Ka Fables. I think some are cute. I hope some of them made you think. I wish you could have seen Katpaws and Dooley telling their stories in the game, though.

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