Monday, November 30, 2015
Mikro Meets His Word Count Goal & Wins Nanowrimo Again!
For the fifth year in a row, Mikro made word count and "won" Nanowrimo. Which is more than his mother can say! (Although he does benefit from a shorter, age appropriate word count goal-- he does not write 50,000 words (what he does is more like a short story really).)
This year he chose to write another installment of Enewan's Quest. It may take a few more Nanowrimos, but eventually he will have an honest to goodness full length fantasy novel. It's really coming along. His mama, queen of half finished manuscripts, is proud of him!
Read the earlier installments here.
Enewan's Quest, Installment 3: Copyright 2015, Mikro Coyne.
“What did you eat for breakfast today, Rotanaka?” I asked, almost dropping the litter. “You weigh more than a murkotos!”
“Same thing as you did, and be careful. If you talk to me like that you will reveal yourself. You are supposed to be a servant, not a shaman,” he whispered.
I bit my tongue as we approached the Kuru of the Tinao clan. As we came nearer, I could see two huge statues of their Tree Spirit, Tinarii. They were clothed in grey robes and flanked the main gates. They had the head and feet of birds. From beneath them, a long line of wagons pulled by skraels filed towards the main gate.
“It must be market day,” Retenotar said.
After several hours of waiting for our turn to enter, we finally reached the main gate. We put down the litter and Rotanaka handed me a scroll. I unrolled it and read it to the soldiers at the gate: “The Elder Rotanaka of the Netarpa Clan requests a council with the Tinao Elerastapok. He also requests that his escorts be quartered with the Tinao shaman until the council is concluded. As this is a diplomatic mission, we will leave our weapons with the gate garrison and enter the Kuru unarmed.”
Without looking back, I knew that Beneret was scowling at the thought of leaving her sword behind, and Retenotar did not seem happy at the prospect either, but they both handed over their weapons. One of the Tinao soldiers ran into the tree city and disappeared from view for a good ten or twenty minutes, leaving us waiting for a response. When he finally returned, he announced: “Your council shall be granted, but you must speak with the Chief as well.” This was one of the reasons our clan hates the Tinao. They added an Elerastapok, but their chief still retains most of the power over their clan.
The soldier continued, “As for the rest of you, you will stay with the shaman until your Elder’s council is completed. None of you may go into public areas or into the homes of any of our Nobles. If you wish to visit our Temples, then the Shaman must escort you.” With that, he nodded his head to one of the guards, who used a winch to open the gate and allow us entry.
Two of the soldiers escorted Rotanaka to the Palace, while we were brought under guard to the Shaman’s house. The guard bowed his head to the Shaman and then left.
“Thank you, oh Great Shaman Eifos, for your hospitality.” I said. “I am Enewan, appretince Shaman to Sedenka of the Netarpa Clan. My master has told me of your great powers. While we await our Elder’s return, I would like to learn more of TInao culture and beliefs. Will you be my guide so I may understand your people better?”
“You understand that because you are outsiders I cannot reveal to you the greatest of our mysteries, but I will be happy to show you the Great Temple of Tinarii.”
“I am honored, oh wise one.”
Eifos called his servants and haughtily commanded that food and drink be brought for Beneret and Retenotar. This is another thing we Netarpans dislike about the Tinao—they treat their Chief and Nobles like they are so much better than ordinary folk, whom they treat with disrespect. I did not like the tone that Eifos took with his servants, but I said nothing. My plan called for flattering the Shaman in hopes that he would reveal something that would lead me to the next unknown ingredient for my potion.
I followed Eifos to the Great Temple of Tinarii, the Tree Spirit of the Tinao Clan. The building was carved out of the huge roots of the Tinao Kuru Ta’Rashkin. It was an impressive work of architecture, but I worry for the structural stability of the tree. At the main entrance, there were golden statues of Tinarii as well as all the great chieftans of the Tinao clan, including one that was under construction. All the statues had been enchanted so that it seemed like their eyes followed you as you moved around the Temple. Eifos noticed my staring at them and announced, “I am quite proud of them. They are a work of my own design.”
“Quite impressive! I have never seen anything like them! You are clearly a talented shaman.” I flattered.
“Why, thank you,” Eifos purred, puffing out his chest. He ate up the compliments.
We entered the main chamber of the Temple. It had a domed ceiling covered in a huge painting that showed Tinarii carrying the souls of dead warriors to the Upper Realm. She wore earthy colored robes and had a head like a bird, and wings to go with it. She was armed with a sword, a dagger and a sling. The landscape was a jungle, lush with foliage, and in the background, a small creature with six limbs, two of which were wings, crouched in a tree above a flowing fountain. It had gleaming white fur and long ears. I had never seen anything like it before, and had no idea what to call it.
I had to leave off studying it when Eifos called my attention to the Altar. It was surrounded by pillars, from which artifacts were hung. I will only mention a few here, because there were many. One was the sword which the Great Chief Tinar used to cut off the head of the dragon Ithros. Another was the helm which the great general Athakaroi wore during the Ten Winters War. It was said to be enchanted to protect its wearer by causing arrows to miss their mark. There was the rope which the Great Chief Tamaskaru used to hang the rebel Anterrisi. Many lesser artifacts also decorated the columns, but these were the most impressive.
It took several hours to tour the Grand Temple, and Eifos was happy to tell me the legends of his people while we walked through it. I heard the tales of Tinar and Athakaroi, and then Eifos reached farther back to the of the Tinao clan, and told me the tales of Tinarii.
Tinarii and the Kuru Ta’Rashkin
In the early days of the world, when Hanuapi and Anazuli created everything we know, Anazuli created the Tree People, and Hanuapi in his rage sent his power into the Seven Chosen Ones, creating the Tree Spirits of the Seven Clans, the newly powerful Tree Spirits wandered the jungle, seeking the perfect home for their people. But they were lost. The jungle covered the Realm of the Living, and they did not know where the people should settle. Anazuli sent a messenger from the Upper Realm to guide Tinarii to the Home Tree, and to guide the Tinao in praising Anazuli as the Creator. Yllor the Messenger taught Tinarii the Song of Worship and Tinarii taught the people. It is said that the Kuru Ta’Rashkin will never die so long as the song is remembered.
“Tell me more of Yllor,” I asked. But Eifos refused, because it was not a matter for outsiders to know. I let it go, hoping to learn more later.
Back at Eifos’ house, the Shaman ordered a grand banquet for his guests. Rotanaka returned, having spent an entire afternoon haranguing the Chief and Tinao Elerastapok about the sad state of trade relations between our clans. Rotanaka, who is no merchant, and not much of a diplomat, was doomed to fail, which was the plan. His request for council was a distraction that allowed me to gain access to Eifos. The banquet featured Tinao delicacies like roast tagu and illyra nectar. As Eifos was about to serve dessert, I asked for a moment.
“In order to thank you for your gracious hospitality today, Great Shaman Eifos, we poor travelers would like to gift you with a special treat from our own land. You may have heard of telna fruit. It is sweeter than even illyra nectar and we are pleased to offer it to you as a fit conclusion to this wonderful meal.”
I nodded to Beneret, who retrieved a tray of telna fruit from our baggage and set it before Eifos. Eifos was only too happy to sample this rare luxury. He carved the fruit and had his servants distribute it, keeping the largest portion for himself. What is little known among the Tinao, who almost never encounter Telna fruit, is that, while it does not affect the Netarpa, who are quite used to it, it can have an effect like strong wine on those who are not accustomed to it. The large portion that Eifos consumed was enough to relax him and get him talking, perhaps more freely than he otherwise would have. As we compared the best delicacies of Netarpan and Tinaorite cuisine, he let slip the fact that there was a special treat, reserved only for the Tinao noble classes, which had marvelous properties. Anyone who ate it was restored to health.
“What is this amazing substance?” I asked.
“You will never taste it, as you are not Tinao, but it is made from the breath of the Messenger Yllor Whitefur.”
That had to be it! Our missing ingredient. But where was I to find this Yllor Whitefur? As Eifos began serenading us with Tinao folk songs, I sat, thinking.
I had just remembered the painting at the temple when I caught a verse of Eifos’ song:
Sent by Anazuli
Her Messenger spoke truly
Yllor Whitefur of the Mountain
Perched above the sacred fountain
Sent Tinarii to the Home Tree
All praise to Anazuli be!
Yes! The winged creature with white fur in the temple painting must be Yllor the Mesenger, and his breath must be our missing ingredient. How do you collect breath, I wondered, as Eifos slumped forward and began to snore.
I yawned, pretending to be as tired as our host. “Excuse me, but it seems your Master and I are quite exhausted. Perhaps it is time for us all to retire to our beds.” I suggested to Eifos’ servants. They assisted their Master to his bedchamber and our party climbed the stairs to the guest room we were to share for the night.
Rotanaka wanted to discuss the day’s events, and find out what I had learned, but knowing the servants were still awake and might be listening, I refused to tell him. Whether the servants were loyal to Eifos or not, they would certainly be more loyal to their clan than a bunch of strangers. Better to wait until we left the city to discuss our plans.
“Go to sleep, Rotanaka, and we will discuss it in the morning. We have a long hike ahead of us, so better to rest while we can.”
Oof! Last night’s banquet has made Rotanaka even heavier. We were all happy to leave the Tinao city behind, and even more happy to dislodge our heavy burden. We hid the litter in the dense jungle and headed toward the mountains, where we hoped to find Yllor the Messenger and the Sacred Fountain.
Onward we hiked for several hours until we reached the foothills of the mountains. Rotanaka grumbled, as usual. We stopped for a drink of water from a mountain stream. I filled Retenotar and Beneret in on the plan. It seemed to make sense to follow the stream, in hopes that it would lead to the Sacred Fountain. I expected it to be under guard, so I told our warriors to go ahead of us and try to circle around and approach the guards from behind. “Don’t kill them. We don’t want to start a war.”
“We can use the blow gun and fire sleeper darts. That will just knock them out for awhile.”
“Good. Do it.”
Retenotar and Beneret disappeared into the trees. Rotanaka and I walked on as quietly as possible, listening for their signal. A short while later, we heard the distinctive call of the Akisra bird, a Netarpan species that is not native to these lands, and we knew that Beneret and Retenotar had succeeded in their mission. We followed the bird calls to the sacred spring, where we found our warriors standing over two unconscious Tinaorite soldiers.