Skylee crept into the room, carefully avoiding the open suitcases, shoeboxes and clothing scattered on the floor. Dressing for the wedding had created quite a mess. She had wanted to clean it up, but her almost stepsister insisted that her father had hired people to do such things.
As she approached the package, her pulse raced. Skylee normally opened a present slowly and carefully like a doctor performing surgery, but her excitement made her eagerly tear through the wrapping.
Inside, cushioned on a bed of crumpled paper, was a brown leather book bound with four gold rings. A diamond shape was carved into the front cover. She held the book close to her heart realizing that it could be her father’s journal, a look into his soul. Turning it over, she examined it more closely and tried to imagine him holding it in his hands. Despite her feeling of excitement, a deep sadness washed over her.
Skylee reached up and pushed back the heavy curtains, flooding the room with sunlight. As she opened the book, a musty odor filled the room even though the cover looked new. She thumbed through the crisp white pages to find page after page of strange hand written lettering, which appeared to be an ancient language. Skylee squinted at the lettering and tried to make out the words.
Holding the book closer to her face, she decided it was a language she had never seen before. Her heart sank in disappointment. It wasn’t her father’s journal. Why…she wondered…why did my dad want me to have a book that I can’t read?
Why are we talking about Weta bugs? Because in Book One of The Primortus Chronicles we encounter one of these amazing insects. So let’s find out a “little” more about a “big” bug.
The following is from AsianScientist:Source Animal Planet (Dec. 7, 2011) – An American researcher at the Smithsonian Institution says he has found the world’s biggest bug on New Zealand’s Little Barrier Island.
The insect has a wing span of around 18 centimeters (7 inches) and weighs three times as much as a mouse. It was thought to be extinct after European settlers brought rats to New Zealand.
“Three of us walked the trails of this small island for two nights scanning the vegetation for a giant weta. We spent many hours with no luck finding any at all, before we saw her up in a tree,” he said.
However, Moffett did what a responsible explorer would do – he returned the bug right where he found it.
Did you know that Weta Digital (visual effects studio for The Lord of the Rings Trilogy and The Hobbit films) is named after these creatures?
Warning this part is totally disgusting!!!
Don’t worry there are about 70 species of bug that go by the name weta. And I’m told Bear didn’t eat one of the endangered types. Well, let’s hope so!!
The following is an excerpt from Eleventh Elemetum:
Chrism let out a loud gasp, pointed at Will and yelled, “BUG!”
Everyone froze. There, sitting on his shoulder, was the largest bug Skylee had seen in her entire life. The brown creature resembled a giant cricket with long hairy looking legs. It was so big in fact, that if Skylee could have mustered up the courage to pick it up it would have barely fit on her palm. Usually Skylee wasn’t afraid of insects but she found herself taking a small step back as chill bumps rushed over her arms.
Will slowly craned his neck around and was eye to eye with the enormous insect. He closed his eyes for a split second and when he reopened them, they were as wide as saucers. He looked straight ahead and didn’t dare move an inch.
“KILL IT! KILL IT!” screeched Chrism.
“NO, don’t! Don’t hurt it,” ordered Nika, holding her hands up.
“Maybe it will jump off,” Skylee quickly said as she considered how she might use the power of the Elementum to control the huge creature.
“What should I do?” whispered Will trying not to disturb it.
“Hold still mate,” said Airon with a bewildered look on his face. “Crikey, what is the bloody thing?”
“It’s a weta bug. I haven’t seen one in years,” said Hera in a hushed voice. “They—they almost went extinct after The Day. So, we should try not to harm it.”
“Weta-bug? Well, do they bite?” asked Airon curiously.
“I don’t think so, unless they’re feeling threatened,” said Heather. “Stay still. Let’s think, what can we do to keep from harming it?”
“WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE? SOMEBODY, JUST SMACK THAT UGLY THING!” screamed Chrism frantically shaking her hands in front of her.
“Hey, I’ve read about these,” said Skylee, leaning in for a better look. “There are lots of different species. They’re flightless so, I don’t think it will jump off. It must have crawled on your shoulder when we were under the trees. Oh, do you think it is a tree weta?”
“Possible, yes,” answered Heather.
“They’re nocturnal, normally. Will, you must have woke him up,” Skylee said smiling at the bug.
“Hopefully, he’s a good sport about it,” he replied as he glanced at her.
“He seems okay, he hasn’t raised his back legs in defense, so you should be okay.”
She placed her hand over her necklace, hoping she could use her power without having to pull it out for everyone to see. She might be able to control the weta. Skylee searched her mind for the right thoughts to concentrate on.
Almost at the same time, Zane bounded up to Will. He smiled broadly and bent forward looking closely at the bug. Then to everyone’s amazement, he calmly picked the gigantic insect up and looked admiringly at it.
“Well, take a gawk at that!” he exclaimed. “I thought I’d never see a weta bug again. Little fella, you better find somewhere else to sit. I’m afraid you’re not welcome here.” He walked over to a tree and carefully placed the bug on a branch.
“Little,” gasped Chrism. “You call that terrible monstrosity little?”
Zane started to speak but Will reached out and placed his hand on his shoulder. “Thanks, mate. I wasn’t scarred of it or anything but I just, well I didn‘t…”
“Of course,” he said as he patted Will on the back then turned his attention to Chrism. “Let me clue you in on a secret, little lady. What you call a terrible monstrosity is a survivor and we should all consider ourselves lucky to have seen it.”
“That’s right,” said Hera nodding her head. “It’s a sign…a cause for hope.”
Chrism’s eyes got big. “I don’t get it! You’re saying that awful looking thing is some sort of special sign?”
“Don’t you see?” said Skylee. “The weta bug means the natural world is continuing to recover—the planet is healing.”
Her stepsister rolled her eyes and said, “Okay, okay you don’t have to go all environmentalist wacko on me. I get it, that gross, horrid bug is mankind’s link to utopia, yeah, whatever.
“No, it’s not like that,” said Skylee, frowning. “You don’t understand.”
“Yeah, I do, ” Chrism shot back. “But what I’m trying to comprehend is why Weta Studios is named after something that hideous. Go figure.”
Before Skylee could respond, Hera and Nika chimed in and tried to get through to her, explaining the significance of protecting the fragile environment. Skylee’s heart sank for she could see from Chrism’s bored expression that their words fell on deaf ears.
“If nothing ever changed, there’d be no butterflies.”
Butterfly Video Blog
The following is an excerpt from Chapter four of Eleventh Elementum
Book One of The Primortus Chronicles
Skylee rushed out of the memorial hall toward the wedding arch with the card from her mother clutched tightly in her hand. A huge cluster of butterflies flew along right behind her.
“I must bloody well be seeing things,” said Will, rubbing his eyes as he headed toward her.
Meanwhile Skylee’s eyes were so intently focused on the envelope, that she didn’t notice the colorful insects or Will. She scampered down the sidewalk toward him.
He gently reached out, clutched her arm and said, “Sky, what’s wrong?”
“Oh, Will, there you are!” she said in a distressed voice.
“What’s going on, eh?” he asked, staring up at the butterflies.
Skylee smiled when she heard his voice. His normally slight Australian accent was much stronger after being in Sydney. Actually, since Airon had come to live with them, Will had picked up more and more of his cousin’s Aussie ways. And Skylee noticed something else was different about Will. He had returned from his trip with blonde highlights in his wavy brown hair. She wouldn’t be surprised if the new surfer-boy look had turned many an Aussie girl’s head.
For some reason she didn’t like dwelling on that thought, so she turned her attention to giving Will a detailed answer about the stranger, the book, the necklace, and the words that had appeared and disappeared. During her little speech the butterflies, still hovering around her, continued to distract him.
“Uh-huh,” he grunted.
“Will?” Skylee called a little louder.
“Eh?” Will replied, with his eyes still glued to the butterflies.
“What are you looking at?” Skylee questioned grabbing his jacket.
Will finally turned his attention to Skylee and motioned with his eyes toward the fluttering creatures. He gently placed his hands on her shoulders and turned her around.
“That,” he said in a matter of fact tone.
Skylee cocked her head to the side in bewilderment. A mixture of shock and awe possessed her as she gazed at dozens of colorful butterflies flying above her head. She raised an eyebrow and said, “Eastern Tailed Blues, well…their real name is Cupido Comyntas—what are they doing here so early in the spring? Okay, that’s a little weird.”
“Cripes, Sky! It’s more than a little weird, by the look of it, they’re following you.” Will pointed out.
“All right, it’s really weird,” said Skylee, waving her hands in the air to shoo the butterflies away.
As she watched the purplish-blue butterflies floating into the sky she wondered if her mind was scattering with them. I must be going crazy. Why are all these bizarre things happening today? She shook her head, trying to clear her thoughts.
“Will, did you hear what I told you?”
He nodded but continued watching the butterflies, now tiny specks, as they faded away. Then she softly tapped him on the shoulder, which caused him to jump and look over at her.
“Sorry, I’m a bit distracted,” he said with a crooked grin.
She smiled forgivingly at him. Over the last few months, there had been a change in their friendship. It was subtle, but she could sense awkwardness between them. So what…he’s still your best friend, she told herself. In fact they had been BFFs for as long as she could remember. Her mind drifted back to when she was about seven or eight. Those were the days when she spent much of her time with Will and Gracie. They had called themselves the three musketeers, one for all and all for one. That had been their motto. Those were blissful times even though the skies were gray and even after Gracie’s illness prevented them from going outside to play. They still had fun building forts out of blankets and dressing up like their favorite characters out of the books Gracie read to them. Then it all changed. Skylee wished things didn’t always have to change.