This month’s subject is: Seasons.
The direction of this month’s exercise is as broad and open-ended as the subject matter itself. I had a loyal reader comment last week that they would like to witness the meeting between two of my characters that was alluded to in another scene. Since I had not written the scene where the characters actually met, having brought them back into the story a little differently in the next book, I have decided to pen that scene now. The names of the characters will be a little foreign, but if you mentally substitute any three common names and image three elderly men meeting in the waning years of their life, you will have set the scene. Think patriarch to elevate the characters to their proper position in the story.
Otta Whitewolf sat before a dying fire, the wood having fallen into a meager pile of embers that no longer added any heat to the hot night. Onowara sat beside him, as silent as the stagnant air, words having long ago ceased to be of much use between the two elders of the Nundawai and Ganien Nations. The sun had set hours ago, ending the summer solstice, and yet, they sat under the bright third quarter moon as if it had been a midday sun, unafraid of the night.
A quiet scratching rustled the grass behind them, mimicking the nighttime beasts. Their pulses did not quicken at the sound, and only a few rapid blinks of their dark sunken eyes revealed that they knew a man had come. A lifetime of summers spent waiting for this moment was over.
“Has the Snake come to strike us from behind, or to sit in front of us before our fire?” Otta asked the hot summer air.
“Would you have me join Wolf and Turtle before a dead fire?” came the strong reply.
“It glows faintly still, like our souls. You have come in time,” Otta answered.
“Then it is fortunate that the fire still burns. The Snake stands behind you defanged; the twin axes of the Shotak Nation have been set aside.”
Onyare walked to the fire opposite Otta and lowered his broad sweat-soaked frame to the ground, his bald head glistening in the moonlight. Upon that simple act of submission, his proud shoulders slumped, wrinkling his skin as endless ages of too many summers and winters consumed the proud warrior of the Shotak Nation. Unity, at last, had come to all the Nations.
Otta and Onowara continued their quiet vigil, allowing their old nemesis to speak first if he would.
“The hot passion of summer is a younger man’s province,” Onyare said after many minutes of silence. “Boldness and courage will strengthen on the vitality of summer heat to combat our new enemies.”
“Younger men also now lead the Ganien Nation to battle,” Onowara said.
“As they now do the Nundawai Nation,” Otta said.
The three elders each felt their decision to leave their Nations under the rule of strong warriors lighten their withered shoulders, even though the pain of leaving their ancestral homes still weighed heavily on their minds.
“But our final winter is not upon us yet,” Otta said, leaning to blow on the single ember that still glowed red in the fire, the brightening coal greeting the first hints of dawn as the cry of a lone bird ended the night. “Strong arms are not the only weapons our foes should fear. Summer heat will yield to the wisdom of Autumn, and the perseverance of Winter will steel us for our final act. Long has a natural death been denied us, but now that we sit united before the same fire, we will defeat both the Waktani and the Dasyu to restore what has been taken from us.”
I hope you’ve enjoyed this exercise as much as I have. For those keeping track, Autumn is my favorite season. Also, if it is of any interest, the names Onowara and Onyare translate literally into “Turtle” and “Snake”, hence the animal reference between them as they speak. I’ll leave the discussion concerning the transformation of those names into literal creatures for another day.
Happy writing and reading!
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