Saturday, August 4, 2012

Birthday Goals & Mux the Goblin

I didn't do this week's Flash Fiction Challenge (writing a situation from the PoV of both the antagonist & protagonist). I may save it for another day, though I am well beyond the usual Friday @ Noon deadline to play. (Who says you can't save your play for later?)

Yesterday was my birthday. I'm officially an old spinster at 31. I got two lovely cards from small humans (a friend's children), a little bit of birthday swag (including a copy of "Preludes & Nocturnes" the first volume of the 12 volume set "The Complete Sandman Library"), and an outing to some botanic gardens at the foot of the foothills of the Rocky Mountains here in Colorado.

My birthday present to me, however, was writing a new and complete story. The complete draft isn't finished, though I've written a summary of events and am working my way through those events. This way, I felt like I reached my goal ("finishing a new and complete story on my birthday") even though I did not finish writing the fleshed out story by midnight. With all of my other plans and a much needed nap, I didn't start writing until after 9pm. 1500 words later I'm not quite halfway through the tale and time was up.

 I'm still very pleased with my progress. I have a beginning, a middle, and an idea of an ending.

A little preview, from the first draft (trust me when I say this is VERY rough - there are places where I opted to just get the ideas down and worry about form later):

Sozeg called after her youngest son, "Stay away from the main cavern today." The nest was small, not as proper as a hut on the surface of the valley, but it sufficed with just one of her sons still at home. It clung to the wall of a small cavern, part of a cluster of several other homes, built like the nests of the weaver birds of the shrublands.

Mux stuck his head back inside and smiled a crooked-toothed grin at his mother. “Of course, mother." He ducked out of the nest, climbed carefully to the cavern floor and set out directly toward the main cavern. He learned long ago that to argue with his mother meant boxed ears and no progress. There was no convincing her that he’d be safe enough on his own.

When he was born, the elders wanted to sacrifice him to the war gods. His mother told him it was because he was born under particular auspices, but he knew it was because of his hands and feet. Between each of his four fingers and toes stretched a thick span of skin. Because of his deformity, he could never perform any of the tasks usually given to a grown male. Most jobs required a level of manual dexterity he couldn’t quite manage. A man who couldn’t work, who couldn’t contribute the whole, was not a man at all.

As a result, Mux – two years an adult – still lived with his mother, was still looked down upon as less than a person, if he was even noticed at all, and was allowed to do whatever he liked so long as he stayed out of trouble, which really meant “out of the way.”  His status as a nonentity but allowed to live was also a favor to his mother, one of the grand matriarchs of their tribe, having birthed many sons – among them Warleader Nor. 

Mux could hear the clamor of the amassing army from the main chamber long before it came into sight.

The Warrens were hot and crowded, the heat and stink of hundreds of bodies pressed together in a relatively small space, rose to meet Mux as he descended a rough-hewn stairway down into the cavern. Shafts of light from the surface stabbed into the darkness, but the heart of illumination came from the glowing fire pits and lit torches. Ash from the forges moved on flows of air over the gathering warriors.  Mux dodged and squirmed his way through the crowd. Plates of mismatched armor were passed from hand to hand; weapons traveled the crowd overhead to find an empty hand to fill. No weapons came to Mux's hands, ill-fitted as they were. The warleaders would not take him into battle if he were the last man standing.

After crawling through a sea of flesh, Mux reached the opposite side of the chamber. Familiar handholds in the stone brought him up into a shallow nook in the stoneface and he crawled inside. From here he could see the sprawl of his kin across the great cave. On the ground it seemed like chaos, with the jostling, shoving, and minor fights, but from up here it was something different. From up here, it was the goblin horde.
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