Rumors about the Beasts
Beasts have become a source of debate as villagers among the lands have adopted the custom of planting flowers to feed the furry giants. Most people merely wish to keep the creatures from eating their children (or at least out of grain fields and hay meadows), but a handful argue that they can be controlled, even ridden and used for travel by providing the appropriate flowers.
Sanjo Kaku of Rozu says, “It was enormous. Head high at the shoulder, with soft fur as black as midnight… it had sweet breath that smelled of honey and hay. It liked my blue hair… I was hoping to ride him to the village of Danki, but I fell off just north of the Great River Gorge. Nonetheless, a marvelous trip!”
His fellow villager, Anji Kento, takes the traditional view: “The Beasts are nothing but trouble. They flatten our grain and devour our children. Even some adults have disappeared. Nothing but trouble, I say.”
“They are wildly fascinating, but they make a mess of Father’s hay-fields,” says a young boy named Albard. “I dug every dangle-dit plant from our meadow and put them all in one spot, by the pond. That way, their food and water doesn’t interfere with our farming.”
“They should be hunted,” posits Heldgi Norgl, of Kavsk. “A great Beast with a pelt like fresh new snow stole two of my children! My wife cannot eat or sleep from grief, and I am afraid for her life.” The matriarch Dumi Elkhi, of tiny Betuun just above the Great River Gorge, puts it this way: “The Beasts belong far away, in the wood and field. Certainly not near settlements like ours.”
In fairness, it must be said that they are rarely feared in the Southern land of Chenkor. “I have traveled the lands on the back of a ginger-striped tabby,” brags Vandi Dahn of Chenkor’s East Province. “It took many years, but I learned to wear colored hats, be patient, and wait among the flowers. They are very gentle… not frightening at all, once you get used to them. Most important thing is, they must get used to you.”
Fearsome monsters or gentle giants? You decide. Adventurous young Suki defies tradition and superstition with curiosity, pluck, and vision. She challenges each one of us, “Be brave enough to come with me—Ride the Beasts and travel the lands on a great Sudoku Odyssey!”