Listening to: Riot Act - Pearl Jam
Reading: Ashling - Isobelle Carmody
Watching: The time tick away til exams
Playing: Just finished FFXII
Eating: Instant noodles
Drinking: Ice tea
Hey gang, just thought I'd get into some Journalling. Since all the entertaining stuff I do either goes on YouTube or my blog, I thought I'd do something different and post a little sample chaptery thing from the story I'm writing, Four.
A little background information, Four is yet another deviation on an elemental theme. I started watching Avatar recently and I was SO pissed off, there were a lot of similarities between it and my story! I guess if you pick a theme there are only so many ways you can go with it, and chances are you'll stumble across a lot of cliches and bits will end up looking like they were stolen from other places. Kinda like that Simpsons Did It episode of South Park. I think as long as you tell a good story with good characters, it's all sweet, even if the story isn't highly original.
Anyway, this scene happens a little ways into the story. Two Terramai (earth elementals) and a Maremai (water elemental) are on a journey and have a D&M by the campfire yada yada yada. This was one of the first parts I wrote and my writing's improved a lot since then. I still cringe at this bit sometimes, but it's a nice character intro. I'll eventually do a rewrite and change some of the wording and language usage. Oh, it'll make more sense if I tell you that Fish, the Maremai, can use the same technique octopus, squid and cuttlefish use to change colour and create moving pictures on his body. Since it's pretty hard to talk underwater and since telepathy is a bit overused, I figured this and subtle hand gestures would be a cool new way to communicate.
The sun set that evening, throwing orange and pink flames across the darkening sky. By the shifting light, Ark and Airon managed to find a little clearing next to the river surrounded by thick bushes and began to set themselves up for the night. Fish joined them soon after they'd gotten a small fire burning, and to their delight he had caught two trout which they cooked slowly on a makeshift spit. Ark was hungry. It had been a long day stumbling over tree roots, climbing over logs, creeping silently around large clearings and hiking up hills. Watching the fat fish spin slowly over the flames was too much. After a few minutes Ark couldn't wait anymore. He slid his fish off the spit and on to a large leaf where he picked at it, trying to find the parts that weren't too hot.
"You should have left it on longer," Airon was still patiently cooking his fish and gave Ark a look of disapproval.
"It'll be fine," Ark said distractedly. Fish wore an amused expression and a small image of himself swallowing a third trout raw played on his shoulder. Ark smirked, took a bite of his undercooked fish and spat it back out again. Aside from being far too hot, it was only cooked in patches, with parts still raw and slimy. Ark crawled to the edge of the river and guzzled water then spat it out over and over until the taste was gone. Fish swam out and rolled in the water, making the rasping noise Ark now knew was laughter. When Ark returned to the fireside, Airon was amused but unimpressed. Raising one eyebrow, he wrapped the rest of Ark's fish in the leaf and put it in amongst the hot coals on the edge of the fire.
"You need to learn a bit of restraint. If you had left the fish on the spit a bit longer, it would have been ready to eat. Now we must cook it in the coals, and that will take more time."
A thought suddenly struck Ark as he plucked a small leaf growing from a lock of his hair. If he was half Maremai, why couldn't he eat fish raw? Was it just an acquired taste or could his body physically not handle it? Now he thought about it, there were many things about him that didn't quite fit in anywhere. His name had always bothered him, it'd been enigmatic from childhood and that didn't sit too well with the Onjuk - names were a very important part of their culture.
"Hey Fish," Ark called. Fish flicked his feet and was at the bank in a moment. "Why Fish? Why not Shark or Anemone or
Airon looked over and rolled his eyes. Ark ignored him and persisted with his questioning.
"How are Maremai named, Fish?"
Fish looked confused for a moment, as if he didn't understand. Ark knew that Fish understood spoken language to some extent, but he wasn't sure how far. After a period of consideration, Fish held up an open hand, gleaming slippery white in the moonlight. The 'tattoos' on his shoulder slithered down his arm like snakes and formed a picture of a Maremai woman holding a child in the middle of his palm.
"Is that a newborn?" Ark inquired. Fish nodded. A school of black dots raced past and around the two figures and the Maremai woman pointed to them and then to her baby. Airon sat, his dark eyes brooding over the display. He hadn't know Fish for as long as Ark had, and it still took some adjusting to see moving images on a person's skin and not feel weird about it.
"So," he said slowly, "she named the child 'Fish' because that's the first thing that it saw."
Fish nodded again and tried to smile. Ark winced. Fish was still getting the hang of facial expressions, for a creature so used to changing colour with his moods. He looked demented, his small teeth wholly visible through his gaping mouth. This is going to take a while, thought Ark. Then Fish widened his eyes and gestured at Airon and Ark, as if asking them a question. Ark scratched his head. Huh?
"He wants to know about us," the corners of Airon's mouth twitched, mocking his trademark serious expression. "He's putting the same question to us." If Ark had thought it impossible before, Fish gaped even wider and nodded, his Lockweed slapping softly against his pointed ears. Airon began. He was well-versed in Terramai culture and better with words than Ark.
"Well, names are very important to us. A name is something sacred; a part of your soul being bared to the world around you. It is indicative of your true nature, your dreams, your very core. At birth, a Terramai child is given a half-name in the Old Tongue which is usually of the parents' choosing; a trait that they hope the child will come to embrace."
Fish looked a bit confused, so Ark tried to make things clearer by example.
"See Fish, Airon's father is a carpenter. He builds things, does a lot of hard physical labour. When Airon was born, his father and mother agreed that his first half-name should be Seerth, which means 'strength'. Since Airon was expected to carry on his father's work, strength would be something he would need a lot of."
Fish considered this and nodded.
"The second half-name is of the child's own choosing," continued Airon. "It's officially given during a Naming ceremony performed on the child's twelfth birthday. Thus, the full name comes together - a parental projection either taken or rebelled against. To further Ark's example, I was Seerth up until I turned twelve and realised that I possessed
talents in mental activities, shall we say."
Ark laughed and nudged his friend.
"What he means to say is that he's a genius."
Airon blushed pink and Fish tried to copy, making Ark laugh even harder. When Fish had resumed his normal colouration, Ark finished the explanation.
"So when he had his Naming ceremony, he took up the name 'Airon' which means 'mind'. His full name is Airon-Seerth. Clever really - 'Strength of Mind'. If he'd wanted to be a carpenter or a builder he could have chosen 'Mokkin', which is 'arm', I think. 'Strength of Arm'."
Fish looked astonished when Ark stopped talking.
Airon poked at the fire with his long dagger and absently said what Fish was thinking. "I guess our two races are very different. Emphasis is placed on different things - things that are important to us. Names aren't so important to the Maremai, I think. It makes sense, it's not exactly easy to call out a name when you're under the water."
By this time, Ark's trout was finally ready and he started to tuck in with a vengeance, all the while discussing with the others what Fish would have been called if he'd been born a Terramai. When the fire had died to glowing red coals and all three boys had full bellies and found their eyelids drooping, it was finally decided that 'Iklam-Pesca' was most appropriate - 'Smiling Fish'.