Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Writing Wednesdays: The Absurdly Epic Tragedy of Oscambria 1.10

Today is my wonderful wife’s birthday.  Happy Birthday Keisha.  I love you.

We’re up to Canto XI with Oscambria’s journey, where a new character pokes his head in, a bargain is offered, and a Hero struggles with his curse.  If you’ve missed any of the previous Cantos, click here to catch up.  As always, enjoy.
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XI.
No one saw him leave.
Arca and Koesan were busy with the horses,
Columbus had already climbed into the wagon to sleep,
and so his departure was a simple and easy matter.
He snatched a few carrots and figs and a jar of olives,
All recently acquired from the Bransustopoles traders,
And quietly walked into the forest.

He watched the wagon roll away,
Clanking and bumping on the uneven pathways,
And forced down a stab of pain in his heart.
“Look at ‘em, Mossy,” said he, pointing a finger.
The galleyrat stared off and the Hero continued.
“They think we’re back there with Columbus.
Surely they’ll notice the lack of smell at some point, eh?”

Galleyrats don’t talk, so Mossossopia did not respond.
She did tilt her head at an angle and blink a few times at him,
As if to say, “Eh, indeed.”
They waited for the wagon to disappear over a hill before moving.
“We’ll follow them from afar,
keeping a distant eye on them,
just to make sure they make it safely to Sparka.”

They walked through the woods,
Staying off the path and sticking near the banks of the Long Leg.
The day was cloudy and cool,
Perfect weather for a brooding heart,
And Oscambria dwelled on his internal aching.
“She’s smitten me, Mossy,
but for the life of me I’m unsure why.

“I can’t help but wonder if Viis had not revealed her to me,
if I had not seen her in my vision,
if I would have the same feelings I do now.
She’s beautiful, certainly,
As beautiful as Biaut herself,
But the disdain in her voice and the contempt in her eyes
Is more than I can bare.”

Mossossopia sniffed the air,
Oblivious to the soul bearing,
And her quick, purple tongue flicked out.
“What is it girl?” asked the Hero,
stooping to scratch the galleyrat behind the ear.
Mossossopia growled and suddenly took off,
Vanishing into the next valley.

Oscambria thought about cursing,
Then he thought about the irony of cursing,
And decided instead to growl his frustration, too.
He chased after the small animal,
Pulling up to a quick stop when he came down into the valley.
Mossossopia was in the hands of a traveler,
Standing near the waters of the Long Leg.

“Greetings, friend,” said the strange man,
smiling broadly and waving with his free hand.
Long, blond hair fell from the man’s head,
Contrasting heavily against his deep blue and purple garments,
Which were obviously very expensive and well crafted.
Suddenly self-conscious of his curse,
Oscambria took several steps backwards.

“It’s okay, friend.  I smelled your curse long ago.
Much like your galleyrat must’ve smelled my sweet aroma, I daresay.
What an exceptional creature.”
Despite the man’s friendliness,
The Hero stayed put.
“What is her name, if I may ask?”
The man’s voice was smooth and perfect.

“Her name is Mossossopia, sir,” answered the Hero.
“After the island from which she came.”
“Ah, yes, Mossossopo.  It’s fitting, I suppose.
She is beautiful.”  He sat the creature down and pulled something from a pocket,
Flicking it on the ground.
The galleyrat sniffed briefly,
And then gobbled up the snack.

“Alas, I am not here to discuss your pet galleyrat, though.”
He motioned for Oscambria to come close to him.
“Don’t worry, child, I won’t cause you any problems.
I’m here because I’m here, and I’m here to offer you something.
What is woven is woven, right?
But come, sit, rest with me and comp with me.
You’ve nothing to fear from me.”

Hesitantly, but dutifully, he approached the strange man.
Looking back, I wonder how things would have played out
If the Hero did not happen upon this man.
Of course, past speculation is always pointless,
So there’s no reason to think on it.
The man plopped down next to the low banks,
Sitting cross-legged and staring out at the flowing river.

“I know who you are, Oscambria,”
began the man, keeping his eyes on the water.
“And you know of me, but you don’t know me.
I am with the new pantheon of other gods and goddesses,
But I choose to spend most of my time away from Gastron
And in the presence of more… interesting creatures.
The gods are a bit too tiresome for my liking.”

The Hero looked up at the familiar Planet of the Gods,
Running through the vast list of deities in his head.
“Who is this man?” he wondered.
The stranger offered another bit of food to Mossossopia
And began picking at his fingers.
“Like gods often do, I am here to make a bargain with you,
if you are interested, that is.”

He flashed a deceptive smile at the Hero.
“I can see it in your eyes,” he continued,
staring at the Hero,
“and you’ve figured it out, I’d say.
Who am I, Oscambria?  Who am I?”
A brief moment of silence filled the air
And a dramatic burst of wind gusted strong.

“You’re Lahk, the god of deception and lies.”
The blond man laughed, full and heartily,
White teeth gleaming in the cloudy afternoon light.
“Indeed, I am the very god,
if you can believe what I tell you.
It is completely up to you to weigh my words,
Only I hope that you do so quickly.”

Had the meeting happened a few weeks before,
Oscambria would scarcely believe it.
It was common lore that Lahk roamed Orthe,
Making deals and stealing souls into his service,
But they were always legends,
Not actual, informal gods
Happened upon by mere chance.

“For an actor, you’re rather quiet.
Aren’t your type typically bursting with words?
Lovers of the Muses,
Enraptured by all of this world’s art and beauty?
Verse spewing from your mouth with no plug to stop it?
You, my friend, are too quiet.
Of course, I may have a certain, affect, on people.”

Lahk held up a hand in front of the Hero’s eyes,
Letting the pupils focus on the god’s hand,
And snapped loudly.
Oscambria blinked in surprise,
Shaking his head.
“There.  Now.  Things should be a bit better.
I tend to forget myself.”

“You,” began the Hero, slowly,
“mentioned a bargain?  Why would I bargain with you?
I’m no fool, Lahk.”
The god nodded absently, ignoring the insolence.
“You are no fool, child, but you’ve much to learn, too.
News spreads fast among my kind,
And I know of your fate.

“I am no fool, either, fleshling,
nor have I called you one,
But I will if you refuse my offer.”
Lahk’s cool words felt icy and forceful,
But there was a hint of possible warmth, too.
“Very well, Lahk, perhaps I spoke too soon,
though you did say I spoke not enough.

“Tell me of your bargain.”
The bright smile flashed again,
And the god spoke.
“I have need of a certain item.
It was taken by one of those new age believers,
Those that say the gods no longer exist,
From my altar in the temple at Tor El.

“I believe this man fled to Feoga with the item,
intent on selling it to a collector’s house for a tremendous sum.
I would like you, Oscambria, to return the item to me.”
The Hero scratched his head
And pulled Mossossopia up into his lap.
“What sort of item was taken?”
“A anachronistic item of uncertain origins.”

“Well that was vague,” mouthed the Hero, as if he understood what that meant.
Lahk chuckled merrily, adding,
“Aye.  We gods have a tendency to be vague.
I cannot begin to describe to you what the item is,
Only that you will recognize it when you see it.
In return for your service I will give you a similar item,
Another piece of anachronos.  Something like this.”

Lahk reached within his satchel and pulled out a wad of cloth.
He stood and let the material unroll,
Revealing a strange and very odd piece of attire.
Black, slack breeches,
An ebony jacket,
A silver (and so very small vest),
And a white, collared shirt.

“It reminds me of a sand penguin,
especially with those two black tails.
What is it?”
“It is what you will be wearing as you travel the lands.
It is called a tuxedo suit, though I’m not sure why.
I won this from Gastron in a game of dice,
And it seems to have certain magical properties about it.

“Wearing it will, I believe, negate your curse, so to speak.
It won’t heal you, but as long as you wear it
Your odor should stay in check,
Allowing you entry to cities and such.
Oh,” he added, pulling out a strip of black material from a pocket,
“this also ties around the neck in some sort of fashion.”
He handed the outfit to Oscambria.

“Something like this is what was stolen from you?”
“Mercy, no.  Well, sort of.  Not a tuxedo suit, but related to it.
It wasn’t a piece of clothing.”
The Hero looked carefully at the material,
Smooth and soft,
Not a type of clothing for traveling,
And shrugged his shoulders.

Coming from a god,
Particularly this one,
There had to be a secret agenda.
“So you’ll give me this outfit if I retrieve your stolen object?”
“Yes,” answered Lahk, nodding.  “It’s that simple.
But try on the thing first.  Make sure it works.
I want to see how it looks on you.  And be quick about it, would you?”

9 comments:

Crystal said...

The absurd parts totally crack me up! I can't wait to see how Oscambra attempts to recover the stolen item. I wonder what it is?

Great addition to your growing story!

logankstewart said...

A mystery, I say! It's a mystery. The absurd parts crack me up, too. I think that's why I'm having so much fun with this tale. I'm glad you're liking/reading it.

marky said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
marky said...

Great stuff Logan!

It looks like we're not the only ones's who like your work!

http://en.tackfilm.se/?id=1263408402046RA77

logankstewart said...

Marky: He haw harruum huff. That film captivated me, and brought at least but no more than three tears to my eyes. I'm glad you like it, too, friend.

marky said...

I did it again! I deleted my first comment because of the spelling, then pasted the same comment! Doh!

I nicked it from Joe Abercrombie's blog. Glad you liked it.:-)

logankstewart said...

That rascally Abercrombie. Always staying one step ahead of the rest of the world.

Kristopher A. Denby said...

OKay, I know I've said it once before, but I'm going to have to carve out some time and get up to snuff on this. Maybe this weekend I'll get there.

logankstewart said...

@Denby: Hey hey, if you get some time, I hope you enjoy. I've got big ideas and hopes and dreams for this tale.