Today is Wednesday all ready! Man, the weeks go flying by these days. I spent the last week productively, however. After pondering on the comments everyone made on the beginning of my epic fantasy novel last week, I decided to rewrite it. It just lacked energy and humor and it didn’t really grab the reader. I hope you’ll all let me know what you think of this beginning instead. The connection with the date is that (mumble mumble, flails around for something) I’m posting it today, on a WIPpet day! *grins and cringes*
Take it from me. Adventuring all by yourself sounds better than it really is.
First, there’s the hunger. Just how many rutabagas and strips of dried pork can you carry? Not more than a week’s worth. Hunting and gathering may yield a straggly bunny or two and a few handfuls of cranberries shriveled and dried on the bush … nowhere near enough.
Next, there’s the confusion. I lost the trail several times despite the map father had scratched out on a deer hide back in my village.
I hardly need to mention the general discomfort of sore feet, attacking chiggers, rancid waterholes, and disturbingly close howls of wild beasts as I tried to sleep.
Last night, thunderstorms got added to the list. Specifically, crashing, freezing, hide-in-a-cave and shiver-all-night thunderstorms that leave slippery, splashing, stinking mud puddles everywhere.
Immediately after sighting the three riders heading toward me, I tripped and skidded into one of these very puddles. I leapt to my feet, not even taking time to curse over the soaking.
“Ho there, young sir!” boomed a big, dark-faced fellow a few pounds too heavy for the comfort of his horse. His teeth gleamed in the noonday sun. “Taking a bath, are you?”
“Err … ho there!” I called, grinning like an idiot and waving so energetically that water sprayed in ten foot arcs from my sodden shirt.
How I longed for companions on my lonely journey! Or, failing that, at least a shared meal.
The only other person I’d met on the road so far was an aging prostitute riding a sway-backed mule. She tried to trade for some of my rutabagas with her body. I couldn’t have run away any faster even if my hair was on fire.
All at once, I remembered the traditional greeting. “Welcome in Shaddai’s peace.”
The riders each wore scraggly, faded leathers. Their unshaven faces and dirty, weary-looking mounts told me that they had been traveling for a while. Not that I looked much more respectable, with mud dripping off my tangled hair.
They formed a semi-circle around me. The one who had hailed me lost his smile. “Shaddai’s peace? A pox on it!”
Alarm squeezed me low in the gut…
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