Posts Tagged Maro

[WIP] Kaido no Yume.

Maro’s family didn’t normally get much in the way of visitors, so today was a special day, one of the kits having caught sight of the long, low canoe approaching the island.

Sometimes, they said, there would be many who arrived, to offer their trade and services, but today it was only a rather short alligator.

Though he wore a sort of beige robe that went down to his knees, he didn’t seem to be perturbed by my hosts’ nakedness as we greeted him on the shore.

“This is our man of justice,” Maro said.  The alligator raised a hand in greeting.  “And this is K’haiso, a traveler who has come to us.”

The alligator lowered his hand.  “A traveler from far off, it seems.  You are not of any of the people of our islands.  How did you come to Narya unregistered?”

That I was an alien on this world, I had guessed; that I might be an illegal one, I had not considered.  And of course the ‘man of justice’ would be concerned with this.  “I didn’t—I came here unknowing, and I didn’t see how I came.  Is it wrong for me to be here?”

The gator registered surprise as I started speaking.  He grabbed my arm even before I’d done speaking and pulled me away from the others, waving Maro back.

[WIP] Kaido no Yume.

I woke up again, covered in tigers.

Maro’s arm was over my back, and he was sleeping with his cheek pressed against mine.  Or rather—the absence of feline snores from his direction suggested maybe he was still awake.

I pulled in closer to him, and softly murmured his name into his ear.

“K’haiso, you should be sleeping.”  His voice was full of sleep itself; I wondered if maybe I had woken him up after all.

“Maro, who was Kaido?”

His arm gripped me tighter to him, pulling me into his stripy warmth.  “Our brother,” he said.

I nuzzled into his powerful arm and didn’t say anything.

He leaned in closer and I could feel his breath on the fur of my ear.

“Our brother who was lost to the sea.”

It was sad enough to hear the words.  It was worse to feel the tiger shaking against me, eyes shut, entirely unafraid of showing his tears.

“Our brother who never came home…”

And he only held me tighter, and kissed my forehead, still trembling with the emotion.

“Sleep, wuafo,” he said, and I knew it ought to be impossible, because my tears were wetting his fur and I couldn’t make them stop.  But sleep came anyway and soon enough it was morning.

Kaido no Yume II

Previous | First

The tiger was a colossus seated at my feet. By my guess he’d be well past six if not seven feet tall standing, and solidly built—I imagined ancient sculptors might have used him as a model for statues of gods and heroes. I was a bit on the lanky side myself, especially after my long illness, and I felt entirely dwarfed in his presence.

I looked up into the tiger’s face and was so captivated by his dark eyes that I didn’t even notice he’d started talking.

“I am Maro. My sister Nyaiya and the kits found you on the beach. You are very sick; please accept our care.”

A tigress who had been sitting nearby got up and came closer, carrying a clay bowl. It finally dawned on me that I was outdoors—in a clearing surrounded by jungle.

“Where am I?”

“This is our island, Iisera. My youngest one said the Present have brought you here; we think they mean to have you made well again. Drink this,” she said, offering the bowl. “It is rak’aisa and it will make you stronger.”

I looked into the bowl. The drink, which was rather a stew, was dark red, like blood, but it smelled—it smelled strong, like mint, but there was nothing cool about it. I took a little taste and nearly choked, dropping the bowl and spilling the stew on the ground.

It burnt my tongue, like hot pepper, like acid even; the taste lingered on, sharp and hot.

Nyaiya yelped, hugging me and apologizing into my shoulder. I felt even more awkward as I noticed both tigers were naked. I tried to extricate myself from her, but she was built nearly as powerfully as Maro was, and she was too busy apologizing to notice.

“The rak’aisa is too strong for you. And my sister is too, I think. Nyaiya! Let him go, you will strangle him.”

[partim] Kaido no Yume I

Previous | First

I was still half asleep when I felt someone washing me with warm water. It must have been more than one person, really—it felt like a lot more than just one or two hands scrubbing my fur.

I was vigorously rubbed dry with a rough cloth, which irritated my still-tender nose, but being clean now I felt better than I had in a long time. The heat of the air was fading to wonderful coolness, but I was startled into full wakefulness as I felt someone running a brush through my tailfur, pulling out knots.

I looked up at my mysterious groomer. As my eyes focused I could see it was a tiger, but such a tiger as I’d never met before.

“Ah, you are awake…”

[partim] Kaido no Yume I

Previous / First

It wasn’t the warmth that woke me—it was that kind of sheltering heat that makes you want to stay in bed all day—it was the shouting, the small voices yelling.

“Maro, Maro!”

I tried to get up, but my limbs gave way and I landed on my face—into loose sand, not the cot I’d been sleeping on.

I felt strong arms lift me up, and I fell asleep again as I was carried off.

Kaido no Yume XI

Previous | First

This is the old, old, old bit of story I mentioned earlier. Kaido no Yume was a story I started about a decade ago but which never saw completion. I found this chapter—which is the next after what I’d written so far—in one of my old notebooks. I believe the only other chapter written so far is the ending, and I don’t know where that is. Forgive the writing; I’d number this among my juvenilia—besides the style, some of the facts contradict later continuity. Hopefully the second draft, whenever I get around to it, will fix everything up.

After their audience, Kohath and the tigers went out again through the long tunnels, which were no longer dark now but glowed with an eerie, reflective radiance.

When they came out again into the moonlight, Kohath saw it was not the walls that were lit, but that they themselves were glowing with a subtle radiance.

Nyaiya cried out, “Ai, wuafo, your fur shines with rainbows!”

Kohath looked over himself. Sure enough, his pale blue fur divided the light that shone through it, surrounding him with a spectral aura. Nyaiya insisted on keeping a piece of it. — “The light will fade from us, but we can preserve a little” — so he let her cut a few strands of fur from his arm with a sharp claw.

“Before we leave this place,” Maro said, “it is customary to sing. Will you honor us?”

Kohath looked up at the moon, enormous in the sky, and suddenly felt homesick again. Somewhere, terribly distant, his home on a moon much like that was empty. He found he had already begun singing:

“My paws ache for the earth of my homeland,
and to walk on the roads I once knew,
So much time I have spent from my homeland,
and the ones that I love.  Haru—”

The song had a slow beat, which the tigers found and clapped to.

“My nose thirsts for the smell of my homeland…”

The kits joined in, and Kohath realized the music was not being translated for them, as they sang nonsense happily with the tune, and the gusto with which they went for the ending howl. Nevertheless, he went on through the final verse—

“My tail waves for the friends of my homeland,
and my brave brothers, fallen but true,
I’ll remember the love of my homeland,
For as long as I’m traveling, haru—”

On the final howl, hundreds of fireflies rose from the forest beneath them. Maro gathered up the kino cloth, he and Nyaiya both kissed Kohath, and they all went down the hill and back home.