So there I was, thinking about the black chicken and looking at the map and thinking about how far it is from the Library to the junkyard, more or less at the same time. I wondered if this, at last, was the chance I’d been waiting for to hang something major on the empty hook that is Rook’s Hill. Rook’s Hill, Corby, and the Wooden Tower all did not exist before I drew the map. The Wooden Tower is a real red herring: I have no idea what it may be. But Corby and Rook’s Hill are there to fill in the space between campus and the old cemetery and east of the off campus residential and shopping district called The Stroll.
Corby is a fairly well developed setting that hasn’t been used yet: an abandoned farming hamlet based loosely on the lost crossroads of Jaite, a real life model that haunted my high school experiences (and writings) back in Ohio. Rook’s Hill is geographically necessary, one of those typical small Midwestern hills that may or may not be Indian mounds. It’s the Mystery Hill of the southern half of the map, and the home of the ravens that hang out on campus, in the old cemetery, and on the courthouse lawn.
Mystery Hill to the North of the Old Fox Road. Rook’s Hill to the South. Lots of weirdness all around. What if the two hills were connected, not by a mundane (and very long and creepy) tunnel, but by a Gate, which transports people instantaneously between the two locations? Sometimes. Under certain circumstances. If you know where it is, and how use it. I knew right away that Gate was there. This is going to be fun.
And then I knew, just as surely, the Iowa was the first of the current characters to find this Gate, and she finds it when following a strange black chicken. Not a raven. There are too many Significant Ravens in fantasy already. There are even too many in Kekionga. This Gate, whatever it is, belongs to the black chicken.