Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Writing Wednesdays: The Absurdly Epic Tragedy of Oscambria 1.9

Here’s Canto X for the story.  Once again, if you’ve missed any previous Cantos, click here to catch up.  Enjoy.
From Oscambria’s viewpoint,
Which was well outside of the city,
Tucked away from the world and in the nearby woods,
He could just make out the returning wagon.
Once again he’d had to spend the day castrated from society,
Unable to venture into the metropolis of Bransustoples
Lest he wished certain death.

The tall chimneys of the Great Temple blocked much of the setting sun,
An impressive eclipse with visible smoke rising from their tips,
And the Hero was thankful for the brief respite.
Most of the day he’d spent up in a tree,
Uncomfortably propped on some branches,
Squinting at the city,
And his eyes were weary from the sun’s light.

He made his way carefully down the mighty oak
And leaned casually against it,
Watching and waiting for the wagon to arrive.
He whistled a shrill, strange melody,
Consisting of five off-beat notes,
Which stood for MOSS-O-SOPP-EE-A,
And a few moments later the galleyrat appeared at his feet.

The planets were glowing bright in the darkening sky as the wagon pulled to a stop.
“How was the city?” he asked conversationally,
receiving a grunt, a blank stare, and a smile back for an answer.
“It was perfectly fine,” spat Koesan,
red rising to her exposed upper cheeks.
“I think I would rather jump from a cliff
than go through another day like today.”

Oscambria jumped at her outburst,
As did Mossossopia,
And Koesan blushed,
Sending her already red cheeks into a deeper flush.
She started, stopped,
Began again, stumbled,
And spat out her rage in one long spill.

“It’s those wretched traders of the city,
always looking down on our caravan like we’re cursed or something.
Wait, I don’t mean it like that,
And I mean no offense,
But they treat us differently,
Hiking up their prices and sneering at us,
All the while smug about their own success.

“I swear by watchful Lawes that they judge us,
that they treat us unjustly.
It’s beyond me why Tapeios would bless them.
Why do they deserve the fortune they have,
In their high houses filled with gold and luxury,
In their large markets stuffed with merchandise,
When they act as if they were gods themselves?  It’s blasphemy!”

The Hero was at a loss for words,
Uncertain how to console the furious woman,
So he simply said what came first to his mind:
“I’m sorry, Koesan.”
This, apparently, was the wrong thing to say,
And Koesan burst again,
this time turning her wrath on Oscambria.

“You’re sorry?  It’s not your fault that those crooks,
those filthy dealers,
act the way they do.  Unless you’re apologizing for your curse,
which again isn’t your fault,
but still there’ve been a steady increase of problems since you’ve joined up.
You’ve turned us into a sickly smelling sweet bag for bad luck,
Attracting all the wrong sorts of flies.”

Her words stung him,
They beat against his heart with vigor,
Clawed at his brain,
Whispered that what she said was true,
That he was a foul being,
That he should never have joined them,
That she inwardly hated him.

Was it more than coincidence that unfortunate events happened
While he was around?
In his heart he had already fallen in love with this woman,
A woman he’d only known for a few handful of days,
And he couldn’t help himself.
It was the knowledge that he was the cause of her problems
That finally put a plan into his head.

“Oh, bother!” she hissed,
throwing her arms up in the air
a bit too overdramatically.
“She would make an excellent actor back at the Round,”
thought he, but the thought quickly vanished.
“Koesan, leave the boy alone,”
the weathered words of Columbus spoke.

The blind trader was still seated on the wagon,
And the bright lights of the planets above
Caused his eyes to shine out white.
“Have you forgotten that he saved us from those vagabonds?
That without his help we’d all likely be dead?
Or worse for you, I’d wager,
You being as beautiful as you are.” 

Oscambria saw her eyes twitch,
Saw her face fall slightly,
(which was evident only around the eyes,
as the bottom half of the face was covered with the exotic cloth mask she wore),
and once again his heart plummeted.
“This love is such a strange thing,”
thought he, frowning compassionately at Koesan.

“You are right, Columbus,” she said,
looking back up and into the Hero’s eyes,
“He did rescue us, and for that I owe him my gratitude.
I did not mean to burn against you, Oscambria,
But my anger was kindled by the city
And it ignited when it shouldn’t have.
I hope you accept my apology.”

“Of course,” he said immediately,
offering a very slight smile.
“Good.  Good.  I have a headache and we’ve got a long way until Sparka.
I think I’ll rest in the wagon.” 
She turned and vanished into the covered home,
Leaving Oscambria and Mossossopia staring after her,
Deeply conflicted.

“Don’t let it worry ya, son,” consoled Columbus later.
They had ridden in mostly silence for the past few hours,
Oscambria handling the reins on the bumpy wooded paths.
Columbus stroked through Mossossopia’s thick fur as he talked.
“She’s a woman, and she’s always been headstrong and quick tongued.
As it is, with women you care about,
They always break your heart.”

Oscambria nodded in silence,
Comfortable in letting the old man talk.
“And I know you care about her.
I can see it plain as day.
It’s in your voice, and in the absence of its presence.
You don’t want to hurt her, so you stay quiet.
I can see it in her voice, too.”

Oscambria looked out onto the reflective surface of the Long Leg,
The calm and serene waters, surrounded by the thick forest.
He tried not to let the words of Columbus get in,
Tried not to notice what he’d said about Koesan.
He’d already made up his mind, and the man was making it harder on him.
When daybreak came and they stopped to let the horses rest,
Oscambria took Mossy and some food and disappeared into the surrounding woods.


Crystal said...

Poor Oscambria!! Thanks for leaving us hanging!

Great post! I'm looking forward to what happens next.

logankstewart said...

@Crystal: It ain't called a tragedy for nothing. ;) I think you'll be excited at what happens next. I am.

Crystal said...

Ugh, I hate suspense!!! Now I have a whole week to find out :)

chelsea rebecca said...

thanks so much for your comment! and for the mention! it is so encouraging to hear! hope {if you make the muffins} they turn out delectable! i really enjoyed Canto! very interesting!

logankstewart said...

@Crystal: Muhahahahaha!

@Chelsea: You're welcome. Thanks for the recipe. They turned out amazing. Check back tomorrow for pictures and stuff. And thanks for liking the story.

marky said...

In his heart he had already fallen in love with this woman,
A woman he’d only known for a few handful of days,
And he couldn’t help himself.
The story of my life!

Great stuff Logan. I need to read this from the start when I get home tonight. Keep on keeping on bud.;-)

logankstewart said...

@Marky: Thanks, friend. If you read through and get caught up, I hope you enjoy.