Saturday, December 02, 2006

Kalabinabeso snippet (paca)

If it isn't obvious enough from the "Journey to the North" title, the story is a rip-off of three things: 1) The classic Chinese novel "Journey to the West" which is the fictional telling of the Buddhist Monk Hsuan-tsang's (also called Tripitaka sometimes, or Xuan Zang, I believe, in pinyin) journey to India to retrieve the sutras. The character that most people know from this work is the Monkey King (Sun Wu-Kong), who was the great warrior with his gold clothes and staff with which he fought the gods. Only the Buddha himself was able to corral Monkey. The story is full of the fantastical. 2) The real account by the real Hsuan-tsang who really travelled to India to bring sutras back to Chang-An (modern Xian where the Qin Emperor's tomb is) during the Tang dynasty (7th to 9th centuries). 3) The Travels of Marco Polo. What I am grabbing from the Marco Polo thing is his own use of the fantastical. You've got some amazing real details about life all across Asia from his account, and then you've got weird places where he refers to the blue-skinned two-headed people. WTF?

Anyway, I too developed 4 main characters just like Journey to the West - the monk known as the Kibin in this world, a young male scholar who is along for the ride, Xara who is a type of goddess made of the rolling white water of a river, and "barbarian woman" who it looks like I never got around to naming. Originally, young male scholar was to be the main character and author of the Kalabinabeso. Later I got more interested in barbarian woman and started writing from her point of view.

She's "barbarian woman" because that's how her culture is perceived by the Seauni. She is from the land of snow and fighting, sort of Viking-ish. She's also a giantess. I mean, she's a normal human, but she's close to eight feet, while a typical woman's height is 5'5" or something. She looks normal; she's just big and strong. She's our fighter. Here's the opening draft as I wrote it in 1996 or 7.

My father was a huge man. He was vast in both size and will. It was said that he wanted a child more than the sun wants to go across the sky. Since I was to be the only one, he put everything he had into me. And so when I was born I almost killed my mother. She did not walk for a month. By the age of 9 I was as tall as her and at 12 I was as tall as him. Three years later, I look down at my massive father's head and it's clear he overdid it.

Of course, I am not married yet. I have already decided to just live with this fact. "The cria fall where the mother drops them," as they say, so why complain? I don't think I am considered ugly for one of my people. Men just don't like looking up.

I went to see my friend Garsena yesterday. I hadn't gotten word about her since I ran into her husband in town about two weeks ago, so I knew it was time for a hike. My mother said not to go since it's so rude to pay a visit without an invitation. I told her that people already thought I was weird for still living with parents at the age of 17 - long after I should have been on my own. Her eyes dropped at my remark, so I think she took my jibe a little too seriously. I kneeled for her to kiss my ears and then left.

It took a while to collect the dogs. Father had gone out hunting for yaga beasts three night earlier and had just returned. He had lost one dog, ripped open on the underside, on the trip, and the rest were still exhausted in their cave. I am not sure Father actually like naga meat, but he always goes off to the cave region anyway. I think he does it just to terrify my mother. It's amusing really. She won't eat the stuff, even though I know she loves it, just so he'll stop going. I eat it up myself. It's the best meat in the world.

After a lot of searching and prodding, I got the dogs all roped together and the board attached to the back. Sitting up front, which seems easiest on the dogs, I yelled, "An!" and the hairy beasts were off.

We slid over the snow easily as the trail to Garsena's place is flat or slightly down most of the way. It was a perfect day for traveling with the snow just right. Firm enough for speed but soft enough for control. We were almost there when I remembered that Garlena's husband still kept the Zarlonian habit of engaging in observances early in the day instead of at noon, so I switched our course to take the longer route through town. This took me to the main road from Ragar. We slid along so easily that my head soon began to nod. As I was falling into a daze, I noticed that the road had seen even more use than normal lately. There were many proper marks of other boards, but there were also several deep grooves as if a board had been turned on edge and dragged up the road. Several of these occured in parallel lines, two by two.

I think I slept for half an hour. When I woke up, we were within a mile of town. The traffic was so heavy here that the normal snow was packed into ice. Before my senses came around, we hit the final steep hill into town. It was already too late.

We picked up speed very quickly and the dogs were beginning to sprint to keep ahead of the board which was gaining on their feet. I tried to put my hands softly on the snow to gain some traction, but it wasn't enough. I was going to break a dog's leg if I didn't regain control. At a thought, I spread my legs to either side of the board and planted my spiked boots down. With a pop, though, I hit something hard and I was ripped right off the board, flipping end over end down the hill, smashing into the icy snow.

Well, that's something from 1997. Unfortunately, I think this is sort of like my EE entry. Some interesting things going on here, but the writing is off. There's some weird tense problems that I can't quite get a handle on, as well. Still, there's sharing for you.


bunnygirl said...

"The cria fall where the mother drops them,"

So... you were alpaca-obsessed even back in '97? ;-)

pacatrue said...

I'm stoked you got the reference, bunny.