The Ordinary World
Tutu Puffleg lives in Croakville, a small village at the foot of the mountains, in the Land of Coo. The village is inhabited by humans only, a small population of 500 simple farmers, fishermen and shepherds. Tutu is a rug-maker, the only one around that she knows of. Growing up, it came natural to her to practice this craft, as if making rugs was in her DNA. But she was not born in Croakville, no. One day, an unknown bird dropped baby Tutu and a weird hat in the arms of a villager while flying by. She was raised by everybody, but the villagers weren’t very kind to her - they put her to hard work, treated her like a pariah and generally gave her a difficult time. She’s never had her own home; she’s always lived in the barn with the pigs and sheep. Since she was small, she’s worn the weird hat which, weirdly enough, never became too small for her but instead grew with her, as if it was an extension of herself. It is a raggedy hat, with a bird head at the end of it. Tutu has always wanted to leave the village, but hasn’t found the courage to do so yet. The comfort of the known has kept her in one place.
Call To Adventure
Close to the village, King Baldwinius has his hiding place in the mountains. He lives there, in a crater inside the mountains. King Baldwinius is a bird monster which terrorises and loots villages, including Croakville. He collects whatever he can get from people and stocks everything up in the mountains, creating piles on top of piles of stuff. He is a hoarder, an extreme one, especially for shiny things. He is known and feared all around the Land of Coo because of how ruthless he is if he doesn’t get what he wants on time. People from Croakville periodically gather a part of what they harvest, as well as Tutu’s rugs, and prepare it for when the King will come fly above the village and demand his payment. This is a kind of agreement that has been going on for ages between the people of Croakville and him, so he leaves them alone and alive. However, one day King Baldwinius asks for more and the people have nothing else to give to him. Hell ensues as the bird monster wrecks havoc on the village, starts eating people and destroying houses. Tutu is inside the barn when the chaos starts, which proves to be an incentive for her to decide to finally escape. She grabs the one rug she’s managed to keep hidden away in the hay, a dagger, water and coins. As she hurries to sneak outside and run away, she gets noticed by King Baldwinius; he aggressively swings his wing at her. Tutu dodges and continues running, but she’s still in danger. She decides to throw a coin in the air. The sun gets reflected in the shiny surface of the coin and distracts King Baldwinius and Tutu has time to run, jump over the fence of the village and hide in some bushes nearby.
Refusal Of The Call
Tutu is now outside of the village, for the first time in her life. Crouching in a bush, her head is now spinning with thoughts. Even though she’s been waiting for this moment her whole life, she is now scared and hesitant. What if she dies out there? She’s just a simple rug-maker who’s not good at anything else, at least that’s what she’s heard growing up. She gets up and starts pacing around. She can’t go back to the village; she can still hear screams and see fire in the distance. But she’s not daring enough to go forward.
Meeting The Mentor
All of a sudden, the rug Tutu took with her starts moving under her arm. It starts to shake softly but soon begins to twist and turn frantically until it escapes from under her arm. The rug stretches out like after a long sleep, lets out a short fart, and gets the zoomies. It takes a few big leaps around Tutu, up in the sky and back. Tutu starts running after it and manages to grab onto the side. She holds on for dear life, then uses all her strength to pull herself up on the rug. The rug toots again in response and Tutu realizes she is finally doing what she’s always wanted to do - escape. You could say I’m getting off to a flying start, Tutu thinks to herself.
Crossing The First Threshold
After traveling for a while, Tutu and the rug land on what seems to be a hill of some sort. It’s very foggy so she can’t see pretty much anything around her. After Tutu gets off it, the rug turns to ashes. She promises to herself she will pick up rug-making at one point in the future again, but now she needs to see what else is out there. She takes off her hat and looks at the sky. She’s still worried, but at least she’s alive.
Tests, Allies, Enemies
Having landed on a rocky kind of surface, Tutu tries to look around and identify where she is, but it’s very foggy around her. All she can hear is a lot of bird chirping. It sounds sweet, but sad.
“Chirp, chirp, chiiiiirp!” Tutu imitates the sound, secretly hoping this is the moment she will discover her bird whispering abilities. However, there is no reaction, the sad chirping continues in the same way. That’s slightly disappointing, oh well.
Tutu remembers about her hat and puts it back on her head. All of a sudden, she can now distinctly hear a faint cry and sobbing, accompanied by a nervous, stuttering voice, but no chirping anymore.
“M-m-m-maybe I should go l-l-left? B-b-but what if that is not r-r-right?”
That’s cause it ain’t. Tutu is quick to judge the misfortunate choice of words she just heard, but then stops and wonders: Where did that voice come from? She takes off her hat to scratch her head in wonder, only to hear the same chirping as the first time. Huh?! She proceeds to remove and put back on her hat multiple times until she realizes - her hat is somehow translating the bird creature’s chirping. As the fog slowly drifts away and Tutu understands the mechanics of her hat, she suddenly realizes she is on the head of an Insecure bird who’s in distress. The bird is sitting in the middle of the road and is doubting which way to go, not managing to make a decision. She hasn’t yet noticed Tutu’s presence. Tutu decides to help the bird by slowly climbing down the side of her head and whispering into her ear which way it should go. The bird understands, thinks it’s her own mind’s voice, loses the doubt, gets up, and follows the road she thinks she chose for herself. Tutu now comprehends the power of her hat - it allows her to understand and be understood by bird creatures. She jumps on a tree, slides down, and continues on her initial path. Ability to overcome doubt unlocked!
After a while, Tutu seems to have arrived in the Middle of Nowhere. There is nothing in sight; a fire seems to have ridden the land of any vegetation or inhabitants. She realises she is lost, when she suddenly sees three birds flying in a circle, making a lot of noise, and seeming very flustered. As Tutu gets closer, she notices the birds all look the same. They start talking to her at the same time. They introduce themselves as Bo, Bob, and Bobb. They ask for her help in order to build a scarecrow of some kind, so they have something to rest on. They can’t land on the floor because it’s very hot and there is nothing else to sit on. Their sensitive bird feet can’t take the heat emanating from the cracked ground. The birds suggest Tutu to mix dirt and water and create a clay-like substance. Tutu agrees to help them and models a crappy, crusty, funny-looking scarecrow from the dirt and water she has on her. The birds land on it and can finally take a rest. As a thank you, they call their older, mutant brother, a huge bird who goes by the name of Bobo and ask him to take Tutu out of the Middle of Nowhere. Bobo looks a bit wonky and uncoordinated, but kindly agrees to help Tutu. She jumps on him, holds on to his feathers and they fly away. 3D modeling skills unlocked!
Having flied for some time, Bobo finally lands at the entrance of a forest. After Tutu gets off Bobo’s back, the mutant bird gives her one of his eyes and tells her she can rub it whenever she needs him again and he’ll be there.
“Erm…Thank you. I imagine you must see amazingly well through your other eye if you fly using just the one?” Tutu inquires.
“This one’s even worse,” Bobo replies, laughing, “I can’t see much through it.”
“Wait what…I don’t even have that many. Are you serious?”
“How many fingers am I holding up then?”
“Oh, that’s too easy - 50!” shouts Bobo confidently.
Tutu is concerned. Before she can get an answer, Bobo takes off and she watches him fly away in the distance. His balance is definitely off, was his other eye also made out of glass? It’s a miracle they flew all the way here without crashing. She shrugs her shoulders, turns around, and enters the forest.
As she walks through the forest, she hears music and strange noise. She pushes some leaves and sees a whole dinner party happening in the woods, with lots of fancy food, weird bird creatures, a long table, and lots of movement. The bird guests cannot seem to stop eating. Oh man, now I’m hungry, Tutu thinks to herself. She sneaks away before she gets noticed. Then she hears running water and heads in its direction. As she gets closer to the sound, she arrives at the foot of a waterfall and witnesses a peculiar moment – a weird bird creature, seated at the bottom of the waterfall, is drinking all the water; it seems to not be able to satisfy its thirst. Oh man, now I’m hungry and thirsty, Tutu thinks to herself again. She sneaks away once again. Next, she sees a light between the bushes in front of her and getting closer, she discovers a magical bird creature, glowing and floating above the ground. Tutu is mesmerised at the sight of such a majestic creature so she takes off her hat as her eyes fill with tears of joy. The bird lets out a loud and high-pitched sound “WAOOOUW”’ Suddenly, the bird hat screams back “KARHAOOOUW!” Tutu is confused, but not that shocked, she’s seen and heard stuff by now. She puts her weird hat back on. Apparently, it can speak by itself as well, but Tutu will not be able to understand anything unless she wears it. The magical bird looks at her, unfazed at the sight of such an interesting visitor.
“Oh magical and almighty bird, who are you?” Tutu asks, her eyes shining with emotion.
“My name is Kok van der Rock, traveler. But you can call me Rock.” The bird creature proceeds to aggressively pick an air electric guitar. He is so effortlessly cool.
Tutu is completely starstruck.
“What are you looking for, traveler?” asks Rock, smiling nonchalantly.
“Oh Rock, I’m feeling very thirsty and hungry. Do you have anything for me? I’d even eat worms at this point.”
Rock looks her up and down, his composure changing and his face turning very serious.
“Worms are a delicacy around her, I unfortunately don’t have any right now.” Rock’s face goes back to its initial collected state. “I can only offer you knowledge, traveler. Is that enough to satisfy your needs?”
“I guess it’s better than nothing.” Tutu replies, hesitantly.
Kok van der Rock hands her a hot, steamy plate of knowledge. It kind of reminds her of chicken soup, it’s comforting. He also pours a plate of knowledge for himself. Tutu wonders whether that can be classified as cannibalism or not. Nevertheless, she drinks it and likes it a lot, it helps with her hunger and thirst at the same time. Huh! Who would’ve thought knowledge can be so good? And filling too! Tutu thanks Rock and continues her road through the forest. Thirst and hunger for knowledge unlocked!
While walking, Tutu sees smoke rising above the trees. It’s probably coming from a campfire nearby. She follows it and arrives at, indeed, a campfire. Here, Tutu meets Mrs. Buttonquail, a traveling bird merchant & entrepreneur. She is tiny, but seems fierce. Mrs. Buttonquail starts offering her all kinds of things and trinkets to buy, such as buttons, seeds, sticks, shiny trash, and oh? A rug! Tutu asks the merchant to show her the rug and much to her surprise, it is pretty similar to the ones she used to make. How is that possible? She’s never seen anybody make rugs, let alone rugs like hers. Could it be that there are other people out there just like her? Tutu has never met anybody who made rugs like her, or any rugs for that matter. She asks Mrs. Buttonquail where she got that from, but the merchant knows when she sees an opportunity for business and demands something in return for the piece of information.
“Do you know King Baldwinius? asks Mrs. Buttonquail, flashing a shiny, evil smile from under her moustache. “I’ve always wanted to ask him if I could be his personal assistant. With all that stuff he’s collecting, he must have a hard time keeping everything well organised.”
“Yes, I know that terrible monster.” Tutu replies in disgust. “I think you mean he’s stealing and looting, not collecting.”
“He is a great collector, I bet I could organize a hell of an exhibition for him.” the merchant continues as if she didn’t hear Tutu at all.
Tutu is now questioning Mrs. Buttonquail’s moral principles.
“So will you help me, traveler? Then I will also help you with that precious information you so much need.”
Tutu agrees. The merchant gives Tutu an employment contract and asks her to get King Baldwinius to sign it. She also hands Tutu an old, weird-looking camera and asks her to take photos of his collection, for archiving purposes. She adds that she'll be waiting for her there, at the campfire.
Approach To The Inmost Cave
With the contract under her arm and lightly whistling, Tutu is trying to find a way out of the forest in order to get to King Baldwinius. All of a sudden, she arrives at an area with very thick vegetation. She uses the dagger she took with her when she left Croakville and cuts through the plants. She pushes her way through and almost falls off the edge of a cliff. Huh, it appears I am on a cliff. Regaining her balance, she raises her head and what do you know - in front of her lay the tall, snowy mountains, home of the terrible bird monster. Huh, here they are, thinks Tutu, slightly unimpressed. She remembers about the glass eye, pulls it out, and rubs it. Bobo appears flying towards her, but because of his poor vision he doesn’t see Tutu and flies past her, even though she's waving her arms at him. Tutu screams for him to come back and on a second attempt, manages to jump on him. They fly towards the mountains. Very wobbly.
They land on top of the mountains, it’s pretty cold for both of them. They spot an entrance and head towards it. It’s pitch-black at first as they walk through a tunnel, but then they end up in a huge, spacious cave, made completely out of ice. They look around, speechless. They spot a huge pile of stuff, it looks like everything King Baldwinius has stolen over the years. It’s located underneath a huge hole in the wall of the cave, through which light comes in. No sign of the actual King Baldwinius. Suddenly, he enters the room, wrapped up in a towel, with a rubber duck in his hand, and a towel on his head. Tutu and Bobo are now staring at him and he’s staring back at them. Silence fills the cave.
“Hi.” says Tutu, her shy greeting echoing in the room.
“Hi.” responds the bird monster, equally as awkward. After all, he was caught at his most vulnerable - after a shower, in his fluffy towel and slippers.
“Are you…King Baldwinius?”
The monster suddenly throws the rubber duck at Tutu and Bobo, but they…duck. He then swings his wing at them, destroying whatever was in his way. They dodge that. He swings again, they dodge it again. Before managing a third strike, Bird King is stopped by the sound of Tutu screaming “Aaaaaaaaaa!” He is already on top of Bobo, with the camera held high in one hand and waving a few analog photos in the other.
“If I were you, I wouldn’t take another step! ’ Tutu screams menacingly.
Bird King raises his eyebrows.
“Unless you want people to know how much you enjoy bubble baths and rubber duckies!” continues Tutu. “I took quite a few compromising photos of you. That wouldn’t be very good for your reputation, right? Bird monsters don’t take bubble baths.”
The bird monster freezes. He takes a second to evaluate the situation and responds with a sigh:
“Yes, I am King Baldwinius. What do you want from me?”
Tutu explains to him about the contract, the conditions, and everything. The Monster hesitates a bit, but then thinks better about it.
“As a matter of fact, I have been feeling overwhelmed by all the stuff that keeps piling up here.” says King Baldwinius in a melodramatic way.
“You mean, the stuff YOU keep pilling up here.” adds Tutu.
“What did I say?”
King Baldwinius is clearly oblivious to his hoarding problem. If he wants to continue looting villages and be an efficient monster, he needs to find a better way to keep his cave organised. An organised cave is an organised mind, and an organised mind can plan better attacks on villages. He signs the contract, Tutu takes photos of the items, hops on Bobo, says bye to King Baldwinius, and flies away through the hole in the wall. Maybe she didn’t stop the villain, but she helped somebody today and that counts as a good deed, right?
The Road Back
Tutu and Bobo fly back to the campfire. They find Mrs. Buttonquail preparing snacks of some sort. They give her the contract, photos, and camera back. It’s already dark outside. Bobo flies away, after Tutu thanks him for his help. Mrs. Buttonquail respects her side of the deal and tells Tutu about Peligull, the small fishing village the rug comes from. She says it’s not far from here and offers to take Tutu there. Tutu is a bit suspicious of the merchant, but she also really wants to find out if there are other rug-makers like her out there - she agrees. Mrs. Buttonquail says it’s dangerous to travel during the night and suggests they sleep here by the fire, then leave early in the morning the next day.
“I even have some snacks prepared for us, we can toast them on the fire! We’ll drink some wine, I’ll tell you some wonderful stories and we’ll sleep like baby birds tonight. Then we’ll leave for the road first thing in the morning!”
Tutu agrees. They sit by the fire, eat snacks and talk. After a while, Tutu falls into a very deep sleep. However, Mrs. Buttonquail is perfectly wide awake, grinning. You fool, the snacks I gave you were S’nores. They could put an ostrich to sleep! The merchant laughs diabolically. She has been eyeing Tutu’s bird hat for a while. From the moment she saw it, she knew it could bring her a lot of money. And so she carefully takes Tutu’s bird hat away.
The merchant packs her stuff, puts the bird hat on, and leaves quietly. After a few hours, as the sun starts to come up, Tutu wakes up with a splitting headache. Ouch! I feel like my head is being run through a meat grinder. She looks around, dumbfounded. The fire is off and she’s alone. Where’s Mrs. Buttonquail? Tutu instinctively goes to rearrange her hat on her head, but SHOCK! There is nothing to be rearranged, the hat is missing! The headache is getting worse by the second. Tutu is slowly processing the information and making connections. She tries to get up, but can’t find her balance. The terrible headache makes her feel sick and wobbly. This pain is unbearable, what is happening with me? She remembers about the glass eye, takes it out, and rubs it. Bobo arrives, landing with a big thump.
“Bobo! Tutu lets out a desperate cry. “That Mrs. Buttonquail tricked me, stole my hat, and left with it! I have no idea where she went, but I suspect she might’ve gone to that village she told me about, Peligull! Can you help me get there?”
Bobo responds with a “WAAAAAK!” Oh yea, Tutu can’t understand bird creatures without her hat and they can’t understand her. However, Bobo and Tutu have a special connection by now. She slowly climbs on Bobo and he intuitively heads towards the eastern coast, the closest one to where they are at the moment, looking for the merchant. Tutu’s headache starts to diminish the moment they start flying towards the coast. She feels relieved and can think clearer, but not clear enough. There must be something I’m not seeing here, but what? They reach the coast and see it ends in a rocky area above the water. They land and look around, realising they have landed on a huge cliff. The cliff is long and seems to curve downwards, into the sea, so they cannot see where it ends. They start walking across it and Tutu’s headache is pretty much gone. Suddenly, they see a tiny figure with a strange hat on in the distance. It probably is Mrs. Buttonquail, but they’re not sure. She hasn’t noticed their presence yet; she is turned around, looking in the distance.
“Is that…her?” Tutu whispers, squinting her eyes. “I think it is, she’s even wearing a bird…”
“WAAAAK!” Bobo lets out a scream.
The figure turns around, startled by the sudden noise - it is Mrs. Buttonquail all right! In a panic, she takes the hat off and lifts it above the edge of the cliff, screaming:
Out of nowhere, the cliff starts shaking and moving, revealing it is actually a giant, stone bird who’s woken up to life. Mrs. Buttonquail is holding on to it as the Cliff Bird is raising up, causing rocks to roll everywhere and the whole ground to shake.
Tutu is also trying to hold on, but loses her grip and falls, letting out a scream:
Bobo comes to the rescue and catches her mid-fall. Mrs. Buttonquail tries to fly away as well but gets eaten up by the angry Cliff Bird. Just out of nowhere, the Cliff Bird calms down and looks at Tutu and Bobo, now face to face with him. He burps out the bird hat with such force, it travels straight into Tutu’s arms.
Return With The Elixir
“UNGHHH, UNGHHH!” Cliff Bird mumbles. Tutu puts her hat on, now she can understand him. “Welcome to Peligull!” Cliff Bird bends his neck down for Tutu and Bobo to use it as stairs. They climb down it and arrive in a hidden village by the sea, with small fishing docks, humans, and bird creatures roaming around. Tutu feels a feeling of belonging as she sees all humans wearing strange bird hats, just like her. At a closer look, she notices all hats are different from each other. She’s looking around; everything seems to be familiar even though she’s never been to this village. It’s very busy everywhere, full of people and bird creatures working together outside, catching fish, building boats, and making rugs. Are those rugs? They look exactly like the one Mrs. Buttonquail had and the ones Tutu made back in Croakville.
“Look, Bobo, there are people riding around on flying rugs,” Tutu begins, “just like the rug I had!”
Nobody has noticed Tutu yet. In the middle of the village, she suddenly slips on a fish and hits a bunch of yarn cones! That looked a lot like a strike in bowling! Why are there giant yarn cones outside? All locals turn around to see who or what caused the hullabaloo. Tutu is on the floor, tangled up in yarn and stunned from the fall. She can’t see anything except for stars because the yarn is covering her entire face. Bobo goes to help her. The locals are gathering around, curious to see what happened. A lanky bird creature appears from the crowd and walks towards Tutu. He’s wearing a stethoscope; he must be a doctor.
“Did somebody ask for a doctor?” the stranger lets out a short but healthy and deep laugh.
What a dad joke, Tutu thinks.
“I’m just woolin’ around, let me help you out of that mess, dear.” continues the now obvious doctor, laughing even harder.
Before Tutu or Bobo manage to say anything, he helps untangle her; she gets up, dusts off her dress, looks up to him and goes to thank him. As he gets to take a better look at her, his eyebrows shoot up to the sky in surprise.
“It’s you!” the doctor lets out a high-pitched scream “It’s really you!!”
Tutu is confused, but not shocked; it’s not her first rodeo.
“I yarn-derestimated the power of the bird hat, to think it will never guide you back to your village!”
Who is this man? And what’s with all the dad jokes? Tutu tries to say something, but to no avail.
“You’re all grown up now, what a lovely young lady you’ve become!” The doctor’s voice goes deep once again. “And I see you’ve found your bird companion as well. You both must be hungry after the long trip you’ve just had.” the doctor is speaking at the speed of light. “I didn’t even introduce myself, I am Stork, M.D Peligull’s doctor and midwife…well, midhusband.” the doctor lets out another short, deep laugh. “What are your names?"
Tutu and Bobo finally get to say a word so they introduce themselves. Stork, M.D then guides them to Peligull’s only fish bar - a bar which serves pints of beer with fish inside. They order three fish pints.
“So, how do you know me?” Tutu asks, slurping the fish-infused alcohol.
The doctor proceeds to tell her that he is the one who delivered her at birth, but he made a grave mistake, the only one is his lengthy medical career.
“You see, you were born in Peligull. When human babies are born in our village, they have to be brought to our hat-maker so he can give each of them a special bird hat. Bird hats are essential for a peaceful living between humans and birds. These hats are made in such a way that they fuse with the baby’s head and brain and become like a fifth limb. The hat will be the baby’s forever. Once the fusion is done, babies will be able to understand the language of birds while wearing it. Now, our hat-maker lives on the other side of the Land, so I am in charge of bringing each baby to him.” Stork, M.D stops to breathe and takes a sip of his fishy beer. “The night before having to bring you, I had too many of these bad boys over here,” Stork, M.D points at the beer, “and woke up feeling all dizzy. However, the fusion must be done the day after the baby is born, so I had no choice but to travel with you right away. Everything went well at first, I brought you to our hat-maker, he took your measurements and gave you a one-of-a-kind bird hat, then we left right away. However, you wool not believe your ears when you hear what happened next.”
That was actually…not that bad. Tutu is getting used to this textile humour. The doctor then explains how, on the way back from the hat-maker, while flying above Croakville, he fell asleep and dropped baby Tutu. He saw the villagers catching her and tried to take her back, but he was chased away with pitchforks. He tried a few other times to come and take Tutu back, but he was chased away each time. After a while, he gave up. He felt powerless and decided not to fly above the village anymore and changed his baby-delivery route. He also explains how he was able to recognise her now by her unique bird hat. Tutu takes a long look at him, Bobo is silent. She takes a long sip of her beer, slurps the fish and puts down the pint with a big THUMP!
“Feels good to be home, doc,” she begins “even if it took a while to get here.”
Stork, M.D and Tutu hug each other; Bobo joins in as well. They order another round of fish pints.
TO BE CONTINUED.