Sunday, January 6, 2013

The King and the Child

This week...I ran with the King's appearance in the prologue. I first started writing based on the sentence fragment I posted last week, and then returned to the original for further guidance on January 3rd. It's not really turning out into the short story, best-shared-orally tale I thought I would aim for...but I'm letting it go and we'll see how it turns out in the end. Feel free to comment on the []s! It's not really necessary to comment on the prose, I know it's terrible but it's not what I'm concerned about at this stage ^^; Here is the day-by-day development of the writing and my thoughts:

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JAN 1ST

As the King emerged from the forest, the men grew silent. The killing of the sorcerers did not assuage their fear. As rational thought returned the soldiers realized they would know have the fury of the King to deal with, and that fury was well-known by many of them to be something worthy of fear. All knew the King hard ordered the family to be taken alive, to be captured upon his arrival, but out of fear they slew the father, the mother and the son. The King, in his rage, in his anger, drew a breath to shout curses down on his men - but then he caught sight of a boy crouched amongst the shrubbery and the King realized that the situation may yet end in his favour. [have the King display anger?]

The child did not stir as the King watched him. The boy's eyes darted around the scene, as though overwhelmed, and the King noted the plain look of wonder and curiosity upon the boy's face. At last the child's eye inquisitive gaze fell upon the King and remained there.

To the bewilderment of his men, who were not as observant as the King in all their fear, the King slipped from his horse and walked slowly towards the forest. No one spoke. The boy did not move, not even as the King knelt down to the boy's level only a few feet away. Following the King's movement, the men finally saw the hidden child. Some stirred, reaching for their weapons, but they recognized now that it was too late to act if this child was one of the family. A few dared to hope that the survival of a young member of the family would be enough to alleviate their King's rage.

"And how are you, son?" The King's voice took on a quality none of the men had ever before heard. He spoke softly, calmly, gently, creating a tone of comfort. The sincerity of the King's voice frightened the men more than his rage. [something about the child's fate]

[to be followed with dialogue]

JAN 2ND

...But now, their fear was not of the child but for him, as they knew from this moment the boy would fully belong to the King.

 "Okay," answered the child. His voice betrayed no particular emotion. There was a pause, and then the boy jumped up. "Who are you? Why are there so many? I've never seen other people before. Why are you here?" He reached out and touched the King's armour, then stepped back and stared at the King.

Before the King could settle upon a suitable response, the boy asked another question.

“Where are Mother and Father? Where’s Marcus?”

And then the boy darted past the King even as he reached to catch the child. The men, too stunned to move, watched the child enter the cabin.

[not sure how the king reacts but here’s a placeholder ]The King sprung to his feet and glared at his soldiers. “Fools!” he hissed. He paused at the cabin's door and composed himself before stepping in to the darkness.

OH I KNOW MAYBE THE KING DOESN’T KNOW YET THAT THEY’VE KILLED THE FAMILY

The King glanced over his shoulder, a fearful look of regret blossoming on his face. The men, observing now ever so carefully, felt their faces adopt the same expression and they turned their faces to their boots. The change in atmosphere did not escape the boy. He peered over the King's shoulder and began to make for the cabin but the King's hand caught his shoulder. The boy would have fallen back if he had not jumped back at the King's touch.

"I'm sorry, lad. We were tracking evil men through this forest. We tried, but you know these lands. We could not arrive in time." The King bowed his head. 

JAN 3RD (precedes JAN 1ST)

These were a dozen of the King's best men, whom he valued most for their obedience. They gathered in front of the tiny cottage and dismounted their horses. They had arrived early, and this made some of the men anxious.

"I saw we just go in there and get the job done with!" one of the men hissed to the leader of the group.

"No." the leader stated, "We have no orders from His Highness to do such a thing." He did not look at his comrade and instead stared at the cottage. His expression did not betray any fear, unlike some of the other men's.

"Then why do not we not just enter the cabin and gather them up?" another man suggested, his voice high pitched with anxiety. "Have them ready for when he arrives, you know."

"Do you not realize what these people are capable?" the first man nearly shouted. He was perhaps the most frightened of them all.

"I hear they can melt insides from wherever they stand," voiced one of the other men.

"They have fearsome powers, they can summon devils!" suggested another, "A family that can perform magic? They are capable of anything! We should be rid of them as soon as possible. What does the King know? You cannot take creatures like these. They will destroy you and everything else before you can take them alive." No one responded to the soldier's argument, but some were nodding. "Let us go in. We can assess just what kind of situation the King is placing us in. If we must, then we kill them. the King cannot deny us self-defence. Agreed?"

[man who rallies the other killed by the King later. OH THE KING BRIBED HIM TO RALLY THE OTHERS? hrrm.]

[minimize leader figure. this is a single group, they are all equal, they all choose this.]

No one had to speak. The men drew their swords as one and advanced on the cabin door. The man and woman inside had time only to jump to their feet before the they were slaughtered. For the King's soldiers had no intention of assessing the situation. Their fear had overcome them as they rode through the forest. By the time they arrived in the clearing, it was beyond their control. For a few moments after the deaths, the men were calmed. But then someone asked - Where was the child?

[oh wait do they know their are children?]

JAN 4TH (combines the first three parts with minor changes/additions)

One clear summer day, a dozen men in glinting armour rode on horseback through a dense forest. They searched for a cottage buried deep within the woods, a cottage that had been left in peace for seven years.

These were a dozen of the King's best men. All were equal in cunning, strength and obedience, the trait which the King valued most. The better part of the day passed them by before they arrived at the cabin and dismounted. They were early, and they grew anxious.

"I saw we just go in there and get the job done with!" one of them hissed to the others.

"No," another responded sharply, "We have no orders from His Highness to do such a thing." He did not look at his comrade and instead stared at the cottage. An expression of unease was upon his face, and he did not want the others to notice. Of course, he did not notice that all the men now bore the same expression.

"Then why don’t we enter the cabin and gather them up?" another man suggested, "Have them ready for when he arrives, you know." His heightened voice betrayed the fear that he tried to cover with his words.

"Do you not realize what these people are capable?" the first man nearly shouted. He was perhaps the most frightened of them all.

"I hear they can melt insides from wherever they stand," whispered another man.

[more debating?]

 "They have fearsome powers, they can summon devils!" offered another, who had been listening patiently til this moment, "A family that can perform magic? They are capable of anything! We should be rid of them as soon as possible. What does the King know? You cannot take creatures like these. They will destroy you and the world before being taken alive." No one responded to the soldier's argument, but some nodded. "Let us go in. We can assess just what kind of situation the King is placing us in. If we must, then we kill them. The King cannot deny us self-defence. Agreed?"

[man who rallies the other killed by the King later. OH THE KING BRIBED HIM TO RALLY THE OTHERS? hrrm. Need to work on King’s charrie a little more]

 No one had to speak. The men drew their swords as one and advanced on the cabin. The man and woman inside had time only to stand before the they were slaughtered. For the King's soldiers not intended to assess the situation. Their fear had overcame them as they rode through the forest. By the time they arrived in the clearing, it was beyond their control. The man who rallied them only provided an excuse. For a few moments after the deaths, the men were calmed. But then someone asked - Where was the child?

 [oh wait do they know there are children? I’m still undecided on this point arrrgggh...but I think it would be easier to write /without/ knowing there is a child so for now I’m going with they know there’s a child]

 There was a frantic search of the cottage, but it ended in seconds. The cottage, little more than a shack, had no hiding place for a child. Once again, the men felt the fear growing inside them. Fuelled by a different reason, it was still as potent as it had been when the wizard and witch still breathed. The men exited the cottage and stood outside, no longer sure what to do. The sound of a horse drew nearer.

As the King emerged from the forest, the men grew silent. The killing of the sorcerers did not assuage their fear. As rational thought returned, the soldiers were realizing they would now have the fury of the King to deal with, and that fury was well-known by many of them to be something worthy of fear. All knew the King hard ordered the family to be taken alive, to be captured upon his arrival, but out of fear they slew the father and the mother and now could not account for the child. The King, in his rage, in his anger, drew a breath to shout curses down on his men - but then he caught sight of a boy crouched amongst the shrubbery and the King realized that the situation may yet end in his favour. [have the King display anger? Needs easier shift to King’s perspective]

 The child did not stir as the King watched him. The boy's eyes darted around the scene, as though overwhelmed, and the King noted the plain look of wonder and curiosity upon the boy's face. At last the child's eye inquisitive gaze fell upon the King and remained there.

To the bewilderment of his men, who were not as observant as the King in all their fear, the King slipped from his horse and walked slowly towards the forest. No one spoke. The boy did not move, not even as the King knelt down to the boy's level only a few feet away. Following the King's movement, the men finally saw the hidden child. Some stirred, reaching for their weapons, but they recognized now that it was too late to act if this child was one of the family. A few dared to hope that the survival of a young member of the family would be enough to alleviate their King's rage.

 "And how are you, son?" The King's voice took on a quality none of the men had ever before heard. He spoke softly, calmly, gently, creating a tone of comfort. The sincerity of the King's voice frightened the men more than his rage. But now, their fear was not of the child but for him, as they knew from this moment the boy would fully belong to the King. [this does not work, their fear was too strong earlier]

"Okay," answered the child. His voice betrayed no particular emotion. There was a pause, and then the boy jumped up. "Who are you? Why are there so many? I've never seen other people before. Why are you here?" He reached out and touched the King's armour, then stepped back and stared at the King.

 Before the King could settle upon a suitable response, the boy asked another question.

“Where are Mother and Father?”

 And then the boy darted past the King even as he reached to catch the child.

The men, too stunned to move, watched the child enter the cabin.

 [not sure how the king reacts but here’s a placeholder]The King sprung to his feet and glared at his soldiers. “Fools!” he hissed. He paused at the cabin's door and composed himself before stepping in to the darkness.

[OH I KNOW MAYBE THE KING DOESN’T KNOW YET THAT THEY’VE KILLED THE FAMILY]

 The King glanced over his shoulder, a fearful look of regret blossoming on his face. The men, observing now ever so carefully, felt their faces adopt the same expression and they turned their faces to their boots. The change in atmosphere did not escape the boy. He peered over the King's shoulder and began to make for the cabin but the King's hand caught his shoulder. The boy would have fallen back if he had not jumped back at the King's touch.

 "I'm sorry, lad. We were tracking evil men through this forest. We tried, but you know these lands. We could not arrive in time." The King bowed his head.

[Although I've just had this idea that I like better, the boy runs into the cabin and then the King speaks to him (how about the King suspect but doesn't know the family has been killed until he follows the boy into the cabin, yeah, sounds good) and then the boy passes out. Because I need the kid to pass out and it's not very tense or dramatic if it's just the King's words that knock him out. I will try it out next time]

No writing Jan 5 or 6 due to extroardinary circumstances (moving to house sit for three months ;))
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So! A good little chunk to start off. Obviously needs a lot of work (cliches, inaccuracies, awkwardness, augh!...also tenses probably. And I have this issue where I write too much around dialogue [January thirdddddd], need to keep that in check.), but I'm pleased I have something to go off. 

Interestingly, the much drawn out version of this I wrote for NaNo had the boy leading the soldiers into the house, where they kill his parents in front of them and then the King arrives, stops them from killing the boy, and 'rescues' him. Not sure which version is better at this time, but I decided to write the new one (the one above) from the top of my head just to get something different out.

So why was the family safe for so long? Not so long, really. Hiding in the woods for the last five years. King grows impatient. Ta.

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