Posts Tagged wolves

[scrap] Isaac.

Rumble, rumble.

Is this what being old feels like?

I tried to find a comfortable place to sit… but everything ached, nothing was comfortable.

Rumble, rumble.

The sound of little things settling as a giant moves around.  A tiny sound in itself, I always thought, but the guys say it makes them worried about avalanches.

Rumble, rumble, they say it sounds like.

Whenever I move, they can tell.

I gave up and took a few steps to the other end of my canyon, where there was room enough to lie down—where I usually slept.

I lay down.

Rumble, rumble.

Don’t feel too bad for me.  I’m just having one of those days.

I don’t have to live like this.  I’m a grown wolf, allowed to make my own decisions now. Heck, I’m already ten—about 18 on the Earth calendar.

Where was I?

Right—I don’t have to live like this.  When it became obvious I was a giant and I was outgrowing my family’s home, everyone offered to help build us a new one.

My parents said yes.

And when it turned out they’d underestimated my final size, they accepted everyone’s help and expanded the house.

And when I turned eight and reached the age of self-determination, they asked me if I wanted to see a specialist.  Because I didn’t have to be a giant if I didn’t want to be.

By this point, I was over forty feet tall.

The house was reinforced for sound but when I went outside I had to tread lightly.

By this time I’d gotten used to hand signs and network messaging in lieu of speaking.

By this point I’d given up any hope of, well, ever being with a girl.

I knew it was always going to be an option to change.

And I believed then, as I do now, that it wouldn’t be the right thing to do.

I told my parents that I loved them and I would never change.

I told them they could move back to the old home; they didn’t need to be a dollhouse in my corner anymore.

And I told myself I’m not going to be a small person.  And I don’t have to live like the small people do.

I left the house myself.

It’s still there, but I’m not going back.

I left town and started seeing Mars.  And studying.  And learning to live the best giant’s life I can.

[partim] Silk Rail.

Previous | First

I spent rather more time than I’d like to admit determining the name ‘Somessa’ (Σωμεσσα), considering he’s not a major character or anything.

I was not a little worried at what the Aiolan priest might want to ask me. His avian face was hard to read—I tried to marshal my story in my head and hoped to Artamid that he didn’t have any religious mumbo-jumbo on his side—after all, what kind of defense could I have against that?

Luckily, he seemed to have been chosen more for his suspicious nature rather than any thaumaturgy on his part—I guessed if they had any soothsayers, they’d be reading people back at Tars. That was a blessing, at least.

But here I am interrupting him.

He came up to me, his beak very close to my face, and started immediately with “So where were you last night when the bridge was destroyed?”

“Asleep in bed, I hope!” I said. “Long trip ahead of me and all, you know.”

He moved on to his next question, and I could see he was plainly reading them from a tablet he was carrying. The ibis had no talent at all; I wagered that the guard was half there to keep him from going off-script and offending anyone.

“Have you ever,” he said, “been in the pay of the rulers of Iberie, Karkedon, Liboue, Gallie, Alamannie, Illourie, Skoutie, or Arabie?”

“No king ever gave me any money!” I said. “For most of us, you know, it’s the other way around.”

The priest looked down at his tablet, possibly trying to determine if having paid taxes was something he had questions about. The rat put a hand on the ibis’ shoulder. “Give it up, Somessa. He’s got nothing.” To me he said, “Go, catch your boat.”

Thank Artamid for small-town wholesomeness! I bid them farewell, headed for the port, sold my horse, and got on the boat for Karkedon. It was a massive relief when we finally got underway.

Kaido no Yume II

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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] Silk Rail.

Previous | First

The rat shook his head. “No, no holdup on the boats, just the people. Some fool destroyed a railroad bridge.”

“A bridge?” I said. “Don’t they have to be pretty sturdy for the trains to go over them?”

“Never mind that,” he said. “The priest here will just have a few questions for you and you can be on your way.”

[partim] Silk Rail.

Previous | First

It was a bit more crowded than I’d hoped, but about as much as I’d expected. I started to have doubts about my story. What possible reason could anyone have to come to Sepouri, of all places, for a ship to Karkedon?

A rat soldier in a Tarsan crest and an ibis priest of Aiol approached, and I got off my horse to show appropriate deference.

What did people normally come here for anyway?

Small town with a harbor. Not exactly a hub of commerce, so… Things don’t come here, things come from here.

“And what brings you to town today, young wolf?”

What comes from Sepouri?

“I’m a… freedman,” I said, answering the soldier with only a bit of hesitation. “On my way home to Karkedon.”

“A freedman with a horse?” said the priest.

“Must have been a favorite slave,” said the soldier. I tried not to blush.

“Well, he doesn’t look like he’s been working in the galena mines.”

Galena, right. Who could have remembered that?

“Are the boats being held up today?” I asked.

[partim] Kaido no Yume I

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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.

[partim] Kaido no Yume I

First draft

One of my projects is working on a rewrite of this old story—the first draft was ten years ago, incomplete, and I’m told a bit clunky. Also, it was all in the third person, which I find feels unnatural to write in these days. The second draft will also need to be updating some facts that are contradicted by later continuity…

I lay in bed and shivered under my sheets, which were no match for the blizzard roaring outside, harassing the housing unit and driving cold through the boarded-up windows. I wanted to get up and relight the fire, but I’d been sick with something chronic over the past couple of months and I could tell today it’d be difficult to get out of bed at all. Loukas had already gone home to bed, so I was on my own till tomorrow. I took a drink from my water bottle—ice-cold by now, of course—and burrowed under the blanket to give sleep another try.

[WIP] December 10, 2494.

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Did some more work on this. Realized Isaac’s position was entirely untenable, so adjusted it a bit. (He was half leaning on his side, but now he’ll be prone.) Also redrew his face some—I never could get the hang of drawing long muzzles.

[WIP] Frostbite.

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Started some work on shading this guy… still got a ways to go, though, and definitely need to even out those legs…