Sunday, December 19, 2010

NaNoWriMo - The Carving Part Three

NaNoWriMo - The Carving Part Two | Part One | The Carving Part One
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And then she and the panther noticed the man. He was still aways off in the distance, standing at the far side of the meadow. She instinctively tilted her head to the right, as though that would help her see better. The panther slowly rose to his feet, preparing himself for whatever threats the man could pose. Now that winter had entered and the world was awakening, he would have to start playing his role properly once again. The girl stayed on the ground but she clutched the fur on the panther’s back. She had never seen another human before, as far as she could recall. She did not know what to think but panther seemed to be readying for trouble and that made her nervous.

The pair did not move as the man approached. The animals he walked by did not move either, it was as though he was not actually there. He raised his hands when he got closer.

“Don’t worry!” he called out, “I’m not a threat!”

He kept his hands up and slowed his pace as he continued towards them. He was close enough that the girl and the panther could see he was unarmed. He wore plain clothes: black pants and boots, a white cotton shirt and overtop everything a long black coat. He was taller than the girl by roughly two feet. He had bright blue eyes and a clean-shaven face. A mop of scraggly dark hair grew on his head. On top of his hair a crown sat crookedly. It was gold at one time but now it just looked like rust. Most of the jewels inlaid in the crown had fallen out, the only two still visible were a ruby on the left side and a sapphire nearer to the right. The expression on his face was friendly and welcoming.

“He looks alright,” the girl whispered to the panther. She unsure of what a person who was not alright would look like, but she felt like this man meant them no harm.

“Well, stay close to me for now...” the panther muttered back. He raised his voice and commanded, “Stop where you are.”

The man stopped abruptly, just on the other side of the stream. The panther straightened up.

“What business have you over here?” the panther asked, his voice as strong and solid as ever.

“Just a traveller passing by, I thought I could share a meal with you.” And that was when the girl noticed the pack the man held in his hands. She could not remember if he had been holding it all along.

The panther stared at the man, trying to judge him. Four minutes passed in silence. The man did not grow upset at the panther’s inquisitive stare. Indeed, he stood in place quite patiently.

“I think he is alright, Panther,” the girl whispered into her cat’s ear. The panther’s whiskers twitched.

“Well, then. Fine, you may approach.” The panther settled back into his place on the ground, but the girl could feel he was still tense. She stroked his fur and smiled at the man. The man returned the smile and stepped through the stream. The fish continued to jump up and swim around him. He sat across from the girl and the panther.

"Thank-you for letting me join you on this fine day,” the man said cheerfully. He began to pull things from his pack.

“Not at all,” the girl replied, happy to be talking to someone who liked her. “Would it be safe for me to assume that you are also glad winter is over?”

The man laid a cloth on the ground between him and the girl and the panther and placed a brick of cheese, a bunch of grapes and a loaf of bread on the cloth. The panther continued to observe the man closely, but he became less tense. There really was no reason for him to suspect this man of any less than noble intentions.

“Indeed it would! I cannot travel in the winter, you see, and so it is a terrible season for me. I quite enjoy travelling.”

He broke off a piece of the bread and handed it to the girl, who accepted with an eager thank-you. She had never had bread before and this felt so soft and warm in her hands. She did not question how the bread could possibly still be warm; she immediately began to nibble on it.

“Do you eat, panther?” The man held out a piece of the loaf to the big cat.
“No, thank-you. I hunt my own food.”

The man nodded and took a bite from the piece he had just offered to the panther. The girl had already finished eating hers and was eyeing the cheese.

“Go ahead, help yourself,” the man said when he noticed where the girl’s gaze lay. “Just break a piece off like I did with the bread.”

She did not hesitate to follow his instructions and soon she was munching away happily on a chunk of sharp orange cheese. She finished it almost instantly.

“So you are a traveller?” she inquired politely. “Have you seen the Black of the East? I am sure you must have already seen the White of the West if you are here.”

The man laughed.

“So, you know a bit of this world! Good, good for you. To answer your question, yes, I have seen both. Many times.” He picked up a handful of grapes and popped them into his mouth one at a time. The girl copied him.

“Many times? You must be quite old then!”

The panther fought to hide his grin. Quite astute, that master of his. The man’s smile only widened.

“Yes, I indeed I am!” He leaned towards the girl and beckoned her to do the same. He stage whispered, “I am as old as this world and I will live forever.” The girl’s eyes widened as the man sat up again. The panther’s eyes narrowed. What was this man talking about? The girl opened her mouth to speak but evidently though better of it. The two continued to munch on their grapes and the panther begrudgingly let the man’s comment slide.

“Well, traveller, here we are, sharing a meal, and you have yet to introduce yourself,” the panther said after a moment. The man swallowed his last grape.

“Of course, forgive my rudeness. My name is [I will come up with some meaningful name later XP I’m also going to change Damien’s name to something meaningful. This’ll be the first time I have character names with meaning XD]. And who might you be, little miss?” He was quite courteous, this stranger, the panther noted. The panther also noted the air of familiarity in the way the stranger without no name said ‘little miss.’ He was shaping out to be a person of interest, this stranger without no name.

The girl frowned. This time the question did not distraught her like it had when the panther had first posed it.

“I cannot really remember...but I am sure I have one, I am sure of that,” she admitted eventually.

**nano happening here from now on**
The panther stared at the grass, pretending not to pay any attention to the exchange that was going on between the two humans next to him.

“Oh, I see, I am sorry to have touched on a sore subject,” the stranger with no name said, choosing his words carefully. He watched the girl intently for a moment, more intently than the panther would have liked. The panther began to growl, a sound so low no human could hear it but the stranger with no name got the message. He blinked and his expression resumed a more relaxed facade. “You look rather familiar, you would not happen to be...oh!” And the stranger with no name’s eyes widened.

“What, what is it?” the girl asked eagerly. “Who do you think I am?”
She seemed quite happy to believe that the stranger with no name could give her some clue to her identity. The panther was annoyed by this, but he could not figure out why and so he vanquished the feeling of annoyance for he did not allow himself to experience feelings he could not rationally explain.

“You like quite a bit like...” the stranger with no name was hesitant to speak now. His gaze drifted up above the girl’s head, towards the clouds.

“Well, come on now, stranger with no name, we have not got all day.” The panther was annoyed with the stranger with no name’s dillydallying, he had no patience for that sort of thing.

“Yes, I apologize,” the stranger with no name spoke quickly and frankly now, “but you look quite a bit like the goddess of the world.”
The panther turned his gaze back to the grass and shook his head ever so slightly. He was struggling not to let his reaction to the stranger with no name’s words show. The girl, however, was delighted.

“You’re the second person to say that to me!” she exclaimed, sitting up straight. The panther stopped shaking his head and immediately looked up at the girl. She gasped, realizing what the panther had just realized: she had remembered something.

“Am I?” the stranger with no name said. He did not seem quite as surprised as the girl did.

“Yes, I just...cannot remember who it was.” She slumped downwards again.

“I am sure you’re not the first one to say that to me, though...” She stared at her hands, embarrassed about what she was unable to recall.

“Ah, I think I might be able to help you with that,” the stranger with no name said softly as he patted the girl’s shoulder in a gesture of comforting.

The panther glared at the stranger with no name. What did he think he was doing now (what did he think he was playing at?)?

“Really?” the girl asked, unconvinced. She continued to stare at her hands.

“Yes, yes. Let me tell you a story...” The stranger with no name leaned back on his elbows and gazed up at the clouds. Then he began to speak.
He wove a beautiful tale of a girl who woke up one day to find herself in a castle, with no memory of her life before then. The prince of the castle told her that he was so thankful to the gods for sending this girl to him. The prince told the girl that she must be goddess of the world and that she had been sent to name of the world to help the prince recollect his sacred treasures. The girl, having no reason to doubt the prince, set out on an incredible journey to accomplish her seemingly god-given task.
The panther, who knew everything about the girl there was to know, already knew the stranger with no name’s story quite well. He waited to see how long it would take the girl to figure it out [too many it’s and this is a weird sentence of an idea...]. The panther rested his head on his paws.

“Does this story sound at all familiar to you?” the stranger with no name inquired of the girl when he had concluded the story [no, he stops just before the winter and the girl says go on but he says, no, wait, does this, etc, etc].

“It does, it does! Why is that?” The girl looked at the stranger with no name with such a longing that the panther had previously thought she was incapable of.

“Perhaps it is because you are the girl in the story I just told? Her name is Marie.”

In the instant the stranger without a name spoke the word Marie, the world began to change. A wind picked up and that wind seemed to carry with it the changes that were happening right before their eyes. The panther lept to his feet and snarled, placing his body between the girl’s and the stranger with no name, but the two humans seemed far more entranced by what was happening around them.

The world they had grown accustomed to, so bland and void of colour, was becoming reinvigorated. The tree leaves deepened into rich jewel tones of emerald and plum instead of pea green and [ugly purple]. Flowers blossomed where they had never blossomed before. The grasses glowing the meadow turned into such a bright and cheerful yellow they seemed to give off more light than the sun. [This scene will need a bit of expanding and clarifying. Expanding upon what the world looked before (gray with smudges of colour, perhaps) will help make this paragraph more meaningful].

These extreme effects last only a few minutes. Eventually the colours lightened, but the world remained brighter than it was before. The panther was still snarling at the stranger with no name when the girl suddenly spoke.

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