The Planet Orth – Story 1: Lyla & Bendle

blog-himmincatThey lived on a dying planet, named Orth. It was dying because one of its suns (it had three) was beginning to supernova.

The supernova would cause the sun to grow several thousand times its normal size. The intense heat and radiation would burn the planet to a crisp, killing all living things.

There wasn’t much time — less than a month. Orth was surely going to die.

So the great scientists and philosophers and leaders of Orth decided that they must do something. They could not let the planet die, without finding some way to let their race live on.

The Orthians were no ordinary people — they were “Himmincats.” Himmincats were fierce, proud, lion-like creatures that walked on their hind legs. Their speech was like a growl and adults stood 12 feet tall, with children 6 feet tall.

{NOTE: During your bedtime storytelling, imitate some growling noises to illustrate their speech; these creatures are kind of like the ones in the computer game Wing Commander 3, for those who ever saw or had the game.}

They refused to be beaten by the supernova, so they called a great meeting held in a huge hall in the central building of the capital city.

After much talk, finally the oldest of all elders stood slowly and growled “There is only one way! We must find another planet for the Himmincats to live on. We must build a rocket ship to travel there before the supernova destroys Orth.”

But who will go on the rocket ship? asked the other elders. “There must be a contest,” said the oldest again.

“There is not enough time to build enough rocket ships for all of us. So, we must choose the Himmincats that have the best chance of surviving and building a new generation in another galaxy. Our hope and spirits will live with them.”

POSTSCRIPT: It’s interesting to read these notes from a bedtime story series that I started telling my kids 20 years ago, in light of the huge success of The Hunger Games trilogy.  Kudos to Suzanne Collins, the author, for an exciting series that appealed to young kids.

But, the reality is that the meme of youthful, high risk competitions is as old as the battles between Cain & Abel, Jacob & Esau, and David & his brothers…just to name one source – the Old Testament of the Bible!

The Tale of Lyla and Bendle

blog-lyla-bendleThe tale of Lyla and Bendle is an epic one, in the sense that it can go on for months, if not years if you choose.

I started out with the two “children” because I had two young kids at the time (Lauren and Ben) — I eventually had a third kiddo, Andrew.

It’s common sense, but matching the characters closely to your kids helps them to really get involved in the story. But, let them do the personalizing – you don’t have to make it too obvious…that’s part of the fun and magic.

I borrowed heavily from other tales, especially when I was tired – Star Trek episodes, Star Wars, old Johnny Quest cartoons, whatever suits your fancy – using the ideas but not the actual characters.  For example, I wouldn’t insert Darth Vader by name in a story, but I might insert a hovercraft like Luke Skywalker’s “Land Speeder” in the first movie.

In subsequent blog posts, I’ll share some of the episode narratives and notes.  I only filled out the first 3 episodes of the story for you. Beyond that, I wrote some loose story notes for other episodes that I can remember doing.

The rest, you can make up as you go. That’s part of the fun, especially as you get into the characters.