So it's almost Kickstarter O' clock. And I've been working like a ... something that works... a lot. I'm sorry. I haven't had much sleep. (is it bad that I already had a label for 'sleep deprived'?)
I was up all night making a (hopefully) far more betterer video than last time
So now, I bring you.....
And here are the first two pages, for your eye's balls pleasures -
A Bow and a Book
It was dumping rain, churning leaves like an unending applause. Darke’s hair stuck to his cheeks, curled into his ears, ran down his forehead and tickled the bridge of his nose. But the rain had washed his scent away long ago. No elk would know he approached.
He crept past moss capped rocks, trying not to lose his step on soggy pine straw. Not trying hard enough. He climbed to his feet once more and collected his pine arrow. His legs were raw from rubbing against soaked wool. But his steps went unheard.
If he was careful, he could get within spitting distance of an elk before being noticed. He’d only had this opportunity twice. The first time was when he’d found out what his words could do. The second time he’d gotten too brave... No good in thinking about that now.
A rumbling grunt came from ahead. Darke stopped, slowed his breath. A buck probably, and not too heavy. Rut began within the week. Hunters with any sense wouldn’t travel alone in the forest then. But Darke wasn’t half as clumsy as them, nor as slow.
Rain thumped against Darke’s head, trying to blind him, almost succeeding. There was the red buck, twenty paces down the hill. Its sleek antlers reflected the grey clouds. Steam vented from its nostrils. Darke tucked himself behind a tall stone. He readied his arrow and pulled in a shaking breath, easing around the stone. He could easily end the elk’s life with this fletched arrow. Even without sharpened steel or stone on the end. From where he crouched he could put the arrow through its chest to splinter on its shoulder blade then shred the arteries above its heart. The beast would die before it hit the ground. It wouldn’t be the first.
But Darke didn’t want it dead. Not yet. He wanted to talk to it. He eased the string’s tension. The elk lowered its head to a pebbly spring. Darke slid over the rock, stepped forward and stopped. He was so close he could smell its fur. He couldn’t hear the rain anymore, only the pounding of his heart. He needed to clear his throat. Of all times! He tried doing it silently.
The elk jerked to attention, shoulders tensing. Darke’s breath snagged in his throat. The elk’s eyes were wide, wild. They found Darke. If not for the steam from its nose, the elk had become a statue, had forgotten all but Darke. No point in waiting…
“Relax,” Darke said. He forced it out loudly, not like last time.
The elk cocked its head, its ears dropping. Its hazel eyes were fixed on him but tension had rinsed away.
It worked! Now what? The elk stepped backward.
“Stop!” Darke said. It stopped. Darke wanted to jump and clap. Instead he stepped forward, moving his hand beneath the elk’s vaporous breath. The elk stomped. Darke froze. It grunted, like a saw blade dragged over a dry stump. Darke tried to back up but thumped against the tall stone. The elk stomped again, shoulder muscles rippling like snakes beneath its coat. Darke’s tongue stuck to the roof of his mouth. But he had to say something. “Um… Stop?”
The elk charged. Thumping hooves brought it the distance before Darke could leap aside. At least he got his knife in his hand. The antlers came at him. He fell flat, scrambled, swinging the dagger as he went. It met something, and not stone. Antlers clattered into the rock. Darke rolled over. The elk reared, groaning, kicking the air. A red stripe widened at its chest. So much for talking... Darke slammed into the beast, punching his blade deep, gripping at fur and limbs with his free hand. The elk bit his shoulder, hard. Darke’s knees shook and he gasped, expecting his arm to come loose. He stabbed again, this time higher. It caught the beast in the throat. He raked downward. The elk shivered. A hoof caught Darke’s chin. Trees spun around him and he was on his back. His knife was gone. He rolled and dragged himself with fistfuls of soggy needles, no idea which way he was going. The beast thrashed about somewhere nearby. Darke spat out a shard of tooth. His vision settled. Pain ran from his jaw to his neck, making his stomach jitter.
The elk was flat on the ground, chest pumping weakly. Darke pushed his back against a tree. In time the elk stopped. Darke was afraid to move. His shoulder felt like he’d been snatched up by moonstone tongs. The ache in his jaw encompassed his eyes. He poked a finger in his mouth, searched for the broken tooth. Not in front. At least there’s that. He exhaled and let the rain wash over him. A smile crept over his face. What kind of idiot puts up his bow to knife an elk?
But even as he sat crumpled in pain, he knew he’d try again. The next chance he got, he’d try it. Until he had no more bones to bruise and no more teeth to spit out. Until he figured out why. When he spoke to his prey, why did it listen?
Thanks for coming by my blog and enduring through the credits to find this easter-egg of a thanks! The Kickstarter moderators are moderating my Kickstarter submission as we *speak. My next post will announce it's arrival from the digital stork of the interspiderweb! Have an awesome Saturday! I'm going to watch (and hopefully stay awake through) Catching Fire!
*not that we're speaking