Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Carving, Part Eight

I've noticed that the titling of these posts has been getting kinda out of hand, but they should be back on track now. Everything from here on out will be nine, ten, eleven, etc. To find all the posts linked in proper reading order, not publication order, click here. This is the final bit from NaNo.

“Yes, yes, that’s it!” shouted the girl, “Marie is my name! I am Marie! Marie...” She continued to murmur her name under her breath, testing it out, making it her own. The stranger with no name smiled cheerfully [fix that adverb >.<]. The panther did not know how to react. Only time would tell what role this new revelation would play in the girl’s destiny [definitely fix this sentence so it does not sound so pretentious or whatever >.<]. [Some sort of transition thing here or casual banter or the like]

“You wear a crown, are you a prince like Damien?” the girl asked. The panther could not help but smile. An astute observation. Indeed, are you a prince, stranger with no name?

“My, my, full of questions, aren’t we?” The girl did not notice, but the smile on the man’s face had begun to look fixed. The panther, however, took notice. “I am sorry to inform you that I am no prince.” The stranger with no name paused, and at first it seemed like he was going to elaborate on his statement, but he did not.

 “Oh,” Marie said, no emotion to be captured in that single syllable. The panther yawned and shut his eyes. This encounter was no longer able to hold his attention. “Just a traveller?”

“Yes, a traveller,” the stranger with no name agreed. They ate for a little while longer in silence. When the food was gone, the stranger with no name packed away his belongings and stood up.

“It was nice meeting you, Marie, panther. I am glad I was of assistance in helping you recall some memories,” the stranger with no name said casually, as if he restored memories on a regular basis.

Marie leapt to her feet.

“Thank-you very much! Will you be on your way now?” she asked eagerly. She seemed to have a thirst for information now that she had regained some of her memory.

“Yes, I have to start moving again.” As he spoke the stranger with no name stared down at the panther. The panther stared back, his expression blank (and how does one read the expression of a panther, anyhow?). It was then that the panther realized that the stranger with no name knew the panther was far more than he seemed, and that the stranger with no name knew the panther knew that he, the stranger with no name, was far more than what he seemed as well [this sentence is a little confusing, please fix to make the idea clearer >.<]. The stranger with no name reached down and stroked the panther’s fur. The panther resisted the urge to snap off the stranger with no name’s fingers and instead settled on a menacing growl. The stranger gave no noticeable reaction to the warning but he did take his hand away from the panther’s head.

“You take care of this cat of yours, alright?” the stranger with no name said seriously to the girl.

“Oh, I will!” the girl replied eagerly.

The panther rolled his eyes but bit his tongue [cat got his own tongue, haha >.<].

“Good luck on your quest. I am off now,” and with that the stranger with no name turned back towards the stream and crossed it, heading in the same direction he had come from.

“Wait...” the girl whispered just moments after the stranger with no name started to walk away,” Wait!” she cried out, reaching her hand after him as though she could catch him in her fingers. The stranger with no name stopped, but he did not turn around. “Will I see you again?” The panther’s nose twitched. Did the girl really have to make further connections to the stranger without no name [terrible sentence, fix to convey the idea better >.<].

The stranger with no name still did not turn around. He raised his right hand and gaze a half wave, and then continued walking away from the girl and the panther. They watched the man intently until he seemed to become one with the tall grasses of the meadow. The girl stamped her foot once he had disappeared.

“That isn’t fair, why didn’t he answer me?” she pouted.

“Come now, stop your whining,” the panther snapped at her. He wanted to make it clear that he would not tolerate any sort of sulking. In a slightly kinder tone, he continued, “I would be very surprised if we do not see the stranger without a name. Do not fret. He still has a role to play in this story [prob remove this sentences, har har >.<].”

The girl gazed down at her panther and he could see the clear longing in her eyes. The stranger with no name was the only other human she had encountered in her short life. Damien did not count, he was only a restored memory for her, little more than a shadowy object illuminated by rays of light [what a crappy metaphor, please think of a better one >.>].

“Well, do not we also have a job to do?” The panther resumed his brusque tone. “We should get a move on if you want to make any progress with your quest.” The girl looked away from the panther back to the meadow where the stranger with no name had disappeared into. She nodded slowly.

“Which way shall we go?” the panther prompted.

“Umm...” She gazed across the land, sweeping the landscape. Her eyes widened ever so slightly as she looked. It seemed to the panther that she was just realizing how the world had changed and become more revitalized [hrrm, not so elegant that sentence >.<]. Then she turned back to the panther, her eyes not wide any more with wonder, but with panic. The panther returned her gaze with a [what’s that term? Not cold...] look. She was a difficult one, always expecting him to take the lead. Why could not she get it through her thick skull that he – no, this is not the direction I want this paragraph to take. Scrap that last sentence.

“Well, do not look at me like that! I have told you once, I have told you a hundred times. I am not the leader here. You are my master, whether we like this arrangement or not is not important, but you need to take charge. I cannot make your choices for you,” the panther said, his voice droning on. What could he do to make it get through her thick skull that she had to do things on her own? [tidy that up a bit, then it’ll be good, thanks].

“Right...” she said. The word was filled with doubt.

“I want to go see Damien,” the girl said suddenly. [merge with previous line]

“Well!” the panther said. It was the closest his reaction could ever get showing surprise [fix up the wording there, thanks >.>]. Oh noes D: “Well, we can do that. Any particular reason as to why?”

“I have some questions I want to ask him,” the girl said.

“Well, there is a surprise...” the panther muttered dryly. [this exchange is not up to par >.<] “You do realize we are three months away from him?”

“Yes,” the girl replied stubbornly, “I want to go.”

The panther could not even protest her choice, because had he not just pressed her into making a decision and had she not just done what he had pressed her to?

“Well, let us go, then,” and the panther began to walk briskily away from the meadow. The girl ran to catch up after him.

“It will not be all that bad, Panther,” the girl said cheerfully, walking on tiptoe beside the great cat. “We can still work on our mission while we travel.”

“Well, your mission, I believe you mean. You forget our positions far too often. I am one of those objects you seek on your mission. You are the master and leader here. I do” - and here the panther sighed – “what you say.”

The girl dropped down from her toes and walked flat on her bare feet. “Why do you say that all the time? I want you to be my equal. You can help me on this mission!”

Hmm, he had suspected he had said too much. Now it turned out that indeed he had. [this is worded inappropriately. Please rewrite >.>]

“Never mind,” the panther muttered as he stared at his paws, somewhat embarrassed that the girl had already begun to question his motives. He cleared his throat. “Well, remember, you were assigned this task. You must complete it.” He wondered if he was still saying too much. Well, whatever. He was too old for this. He padded along, his eyes still glued to the ground, for a few minutes before he realized the girl was no longer beside him. He turned around. She was knelt about a fifty yards [oh good, no, not the numerical measurements! >.<] behind him, her hands down near the ground and obscured by the grass. She picked something up, what, the panther could not see and began carefully to approach the panther. [dun like this paragraph, please fix kthxbai >.>]

“Well, what is it?” the panther said, the usual impatient tone creeping back into his voice. The girl halted about ten yards away from the panther [oh good, no, not again with the numerical measurements!! >.<].

“Promise you won’t eat him?” the girl called out. The panther raised an eye brow.

“Well, I cannot guarantee anything...” The girl’s eyes widened in horror. “Well, of course I will not eat him, what a stupid question! Why would I want to eat something you have picked up off the ground?” the panther snorted.

The girl did not seem very satisfied with the panther’s response, but she approached him anyhow.

“Shhh, I think he is sleeping...” she whispered now, even though she had no problem yelling at the panther moments before. The girl knelt down on her knees and showed the panther what she had picked up.

Cupped in her hands was a tiny mouse, small enough to fit comfortable in the palm of the girl’s hand. The mouse was curled up and indeed, it did appear to be asleep. The creature’s fold was a deep yellow hue, almost precisely the same colour as the grasses that filled the meadow. The only reason the girl could have noticed the mouse, the panther decided, was because of the wings sprouting out of its back. The wings were paper thin and resembled [what kind of wings did they resemble?]. The wings were open and crumpled. This was no ordinary field mouse. The creature was clearly one of the things that Damien wanted retrieved.

“Well, good for you, you have found one of Damien’s little treasures,” the panther said, his voice abnormally full of approval.

“Do you think it talks?” the girl asked, her voice still little more than a hushed whisper.

“Well, I am not too sure about that...” the panther admitted, speaking the truth. He was not certain as to what form Damien’s ‘little treasures’ would take when found. [hrrm, this idea needs some clarification and perhaps some rewording probably >.<]. Jumping tracks.

“I am not an it, I should have you know. I quite resent the use of a pronoun intended for inanimate objects being used to describe myself!” came a small but proud voice from the girl’s palm. The mouse had woken up and was now standing on his (he is a he as far as we can tell from his voice [work this in better please >.<]) hind legs. He ruffled his wings and they settled into one another, folding neatly on his back. The girl and the panther stared at the little mouse, both more than a little surprised to hear such a strong voice come from such a tiny animal [tiny and little are now being far over used >.<].

"I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to offend you,” the girl said quickly, adding, “I thought you were asleep.”

The mouse patted his fur down, taking care to make sure all the hairs were pointed in the same direction [make more elegant].

“Just because you believe the subject of your gossip to be asleep, does not mean that you should speak down to him when he is still within earshot [clarify please],” the mouse punctuated his statement with a sharp nod. “But that is not the important issue at the moment. The important issue is, who are you to have disturbed my hibernation?” The mouse looked up expectantly at Marie.

The girl looked around at the blooming spring setting appearing around her and then looked back at the mouse.

“Winter is over, little mouse,” she said gently, not wanting to offend the small creature further, “Spring has started! Time for you to wake up!” [what has the panther been doing? Perhaps clarify in a small statement or two. Not too much, this scene is not about the panther].

“That is not your decision to make!” The mouse squeaked out the word ‘your’ and it sounded so out of place with the rest of his [seriously spoken words] that the girl had to stifle a laugh. “Now tell me, who are you and what business have you with me?” The girl chewed on her lip for a moment to keep from laughing, then did her best to explain the scenario to the mouse in a serious manner [scenario then serious, not good, change ‘scenario’].

“My name is Marie. I am presumably [presumably vs. supposedly vs. something else?] the goddess of the world. I have been called to this world to assist Prince Damien of Castle Orlegro in collecting his lost treasures. I believe you, little mouse, to be one of them.”

“Little mouse!” he exclaimed with a stamp of his foot. The girl barely felt him move, he weighed so little. “Enough of this little mouse business, you will address me as Reepicheep [whooo for Narnian mice, will rename later]!” The girl had to bite her lip again to keep from smiling. Perhaps this Reepicheep would not have been so amusing if he had not been so small. “Wait a moment...pardon me, but did you say Damien sent you?” The mouse’s tone was suddenly full of courteousness [what kind of adjective is that, I have no idea, change it >.<].

“Yes, I am working for him,” the girl clarified. The mouse’s tiny mouth fell open but he quickly shut it again.

“Forgive me, m’lady, I had no idea!” The mouse bent over in a deep bow, his head nearly touching his feet. When he straightened, the expression on his face was much more relaxed than it had been previously. “I thank-you, then, for awakening me from my slumber. I am more than happy to accompany you on your journey.”

Marie’s face broke into a smile and she turned to the panther so suddenly that the mouse fell over in her palm. “

See that, Panther, that wasn’t so hard!” she proclaimed. [The panther was not so enthusiastic].

“Well, indeed. How do you propose you will take care of this...Reepicheep?” the panther did not like the mouse’s name at all. The panther thought it [include appropriate adjective once real name is found]. [The traveller left her a bag! Jumping tracks.]

The girl placed the mouse on the ground and swung the bag she was carrying off her pack.

“I don’t’d want to travel in here?” she asked, her voice full of uncertainty. The bag was large and bulky and did not have any pockets.

“I am afraid I would not. I would not last very long in there,” the mouse replied, his voice full of regret [take these out. Except maybe keep this one XP].

“Hmm...well, it is no longer winter. You won’t be cold just sitting on my shoulder, would you? I’ll be very careful,” the girl said seriously, “I don’t want to lose you any more than you want to fall!”

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