November 22 – Puppeteering

NaNoWriMo: Posted November 22@9:45p

I’m not sure where I might place this but while watching the Lion King I thought the puppeteering of the flying birds would make a fun kid’s toy somewhere in Atala.

Also, what if she stole the baby/wasn’t granted permission to leave with Tira?

Sita passed over the final bridge that connected the political hub of Port el’Reathsen to the harbor. The Port area had aged since her first visit at age five. Her family vacationed while her father sold his first toy. It was the beginning of his toy making business that expanded beyond the reaches of this simple crescent harbor. Sita and Bankim walked the same path her father always took when he came to Port el’Reathsen and would travel to Loches on the same boat he traveled on. Over the years, the boat’s captain, Judge, became good friends with the family. Sita’s father paid him to take the new family to Loches. Nom paid the fare for her niece to return to Lynthia.

The salt of the water permeated the harbor air, mixed with it came fish and rot as they got near the boat slips.

Children still played with his kite birds, whipping the falcons around by twisting the bamboo rods each held, the line rig on each at varying lengths. He wanted to leave a mark on the world, to enhance the lives of children…and he did.

Most importantly, her own life.

She carried her sister’s baby, swaddled in two blankets – a thinner one and a thicker one that could be removed when the day warmed up. Tira slept as Sita walked her to her new life. The family chose the baby’s name together since they didn’t know what Tara picked, or even if she had picked out a name. They wanted to honor the child’s mother while at the same time giving the baby its own fate. Tira – a name of an angel – seemed appropriate.

To her left was the last herbalism shop Sita would see until she reached Loches with Bankim. The new family had stopped the previous night to stock their own kit as well as purchase requested herbs and elixirs for Sita to deliver to Safreen when they reached Loches. Sita’s round trip ticket would be filled by Lachlan’s sister.

Loches was a small island known for its weapon masters. Its natural defensive wall of water gave the land affluence. Sita understood from Nom that its town square – translated from ancient Lochen tongue to Lynthian – was named Diamond. It was a small, quiet town with a large and lively heart.

Sita and Bankim entered Loches thought they would enter Loches at its lowest bridgeable point in the River Lore. [] anchored his boat early and prepared a crewmate to row them to shore on a secondary boat. After light flickered them warning from what looked to be a moss covered wall with a steepled lookout tower.

“This is it; you have to row in.”

Bankim’s pacing started when he heard the first metal on metal clanked of the anchor’s movement. “Why can’t you bring us in closer?”

“Sloth is going to find out when he gets to shore with you. Whatever happened, the river is impassable.”

“We have a baby.”

“Tough luck, mate. At least, you’re not swimming.” [] nodded toward the row boat. “I suggest not waiting until morning; it’s expected to rain and the night’s chill will only be getting worse.”

Bankim sighed, shoving his hands on his hips and looking out over the Lochen waters that flowed with a rough chop. Sita bit her lip, hugging Tira close to her chest, and stepped up to Bankim.

“Let’s just go. The sooner we get into town, the sooner we get warm.”

Bankim turned back to []. “What about our return trip?”

“I told you I’d wait for three days, didn’t I?”

“I’m not worry about how long you’ll wait, how will we get to you?”

“Sloth has been ordered to remain on land. You can return or that other girl can return, I don’t care. Sloth will bring you in and the trip will complete back at Port el’Reathsen as planned.”

“And if you can get into River Lore?”

“Then we’ll get in.”

Judge’s crew carried Sita and Bankim’s luggage up from under deck and loaded with rowboat without expectation the two would leave.

Sloth rowed until the water shallowed out and tugging the boat to shore made better sense.

Bankim stirred and hopped out of the boat to help Sloth. Goosebumps marked his arms where his sleeves didn’t cover the skin. Both men’s teeth started shuttering half way to shore. Tira wailed stopped as the men broke the water.

The wood ground against the sand of the beach. Sita offered Bankim the baby so that she could climb out of the boat as she worried that her legs would be unsteady.

“We’ll need to head there,” Sloth said, pointing to an archway cut directly under the hill’s tower. Its entry looked a handless black door from where they stood, but without it entrance into the city – other than to climb – looked impossible. Even getting to that meant a climb. Sita would have to be careful with the baby.

Sloth separated off in the city center to momentarily check on…

Bankim walked Sita through the Downhill Forest until the reached a modest round house with a cone-shaped thatched roof that covered all walls of the home save for the entry door. A strange hidden lake peeked through the trees at the home’s backside, and a glorious tended garden grew to its south side. Sita was unsure what the home’s composite to be, but it had definitely been whitewashed to withstand the rain known to the area. The home looked unlike anything found in Lynthia, and she was certain that alone was the reason she instantly fell in love with it. And her step quickened.

Sloth dropped the handles of the creaky cart of luggage. He sat down next to a wheel and allowed the family to continue on without him.

As they drew close, Bankim gently pulled at Sita’s bicep, his grip never closing. She walked through his touch before realizing he stopped. She did the same, her eyes lingering on her new home a moment longer before looking back at him.

“It’s not what you’re used to,” he said. When Sita first met Bankim she saw nothing but confidence. Then Jaith died, and his confidence faltered. Since that moment she’d been able to tell when he let his guard down, even when he tried to hide it. This was one of those times.

“I don’t want everything that I’m used to,” she told him, shifting the baby’s weight in her arms. “I just walked away from my family with a newborn baby into a different land. I don’t expect anything from here on out to be something that I’m used to. I know everything from here on out will be a battle until I make it comfortable, until I make it my own.”

Bankim’s mouth opened, his face looking bewildered…then he laughed. “And here I thought you were a spoiled brat.”

“I am…how many people do you know just look at a house like this then claim it as their own? I’m plenty greedy and selfish.”

“Fair enough,” Bankim said, his face dropping down to look at the ground, and stepped forward again. Sita turned, excited to see the inside of the house.

It was quite dark inside the round house with most of the light coming from the doorway. A fireplace had been built in the center of the house. Sita assumed that would provide the home with light during the evening hours. She’d definitely miss Lynthian lanterns.

“I’ve never cooked over an open fire,” she admitted to Bankim.

He shrugged as he looked around the house. “I have.”

At one corner of the house waited four baskets of varying sizes. The largest one being the most decorative.

“We’ll have to make beds,” Bankim said, sounding disappointed, “and I’ll have to train you so you know how to protect yourself.”

Sita glanced back at the door. There was no lock. It was little more than a slab of leather. It is weren’t for their remote location, they’d have to worry about thieves. Sloth peeked in, carrying the first of their luggage items. “There’s a guy in town that I know who could probably help you out with the beds. He’d probably even has a crib you can buy for tonight.”

Bankim walked over to the door and took the packs Sloth carried. “Great, mind if we stop when we get dinner fixings?”

Sloth nodded, turned to get more of their things.

“I hope you save whatever money Judge sent you with and spend the night with us instead.”

Sita noticed a wattle wall that seemed to portion off part of the house. “What’s this?”

Bankim looked up from unpacking the first of their things. “Animal pen.”

“Animals?”

“Yes.”

“In the house?”

“Yes. This isn’t Lynthia. There are some serious wild animals out here. That’s why there’s a fence and ditch.”

Bankim placed his new property’s land layout and the house design on the table, slipped the work around to face Toivo and Kalle, and slide it over to them.

“Where is this?” Kalle asked, picking up the paper first.

“Loches.”

Toivo sat back ignoring the paper and slammed the heel of his boot on the top of Bankim’s empty seat then crossed his hands over his chest. His face soured noticeably under his close-shaved goatee. “But you’re bringing some baby kid with yous?”

Kalle snorted to himself, mumbling “baby kid” under his breath. “She’s not a goat.”

“Look, I’m done with this conning and kidnapping, helpful or no. I’ve asked Sita to join with me and start a new life. I’m inviting you guy to join us, ifin you’d like, but by no means figure you have to. We’re just a crew. This is an out if you want it.”

“I can’t go to Port el’Reathsen,” Kalle reminded Bankim, not closed off to his idea.

“There’s other ways.”

“They’re dangerous.”

Kalle knew about the “other ways.” He knew about a lot of other ways since the officials in the Port deemed him a murderer.”

Toivo dropped his boots back to the floor then twisted his back away from Kalle as if deciding maybe it wasn’t safe. “What did you do in the Port wherein the all angry at you and stuff?”

“I killed my sister,” Kalle said matter-of-factly, not looking up from Bankim’s work.

“Liar,” Toivo huffed, uncrossing his arms.”

Kalle lowered the paper slowly, watching Toivo stand and stomp around the room. He wasn’t surprised by Toivo’s reaction. It was common for anyone coming from a lower social class to misunderstand the simplicity of killing a human. They always thought the only usual devices to accomplish such work were fists and weapons. Kalle never felt the need to justify himself to people like Toivo. His twin was terminally ill. He knew about to help Kalla die with dignity. It was his sister’s last request.

The Port didn’t see it the same way they did. Neither did their parents.

“We’ll get you in Kalle if you want to join us,” Bankim said, understanding on his face. “You won’t have to worry about running anymore.”

WORD COUNT: 1903


AUTHOR’S NOTE: Look at all this crap I wrote before I got to any real character interaction (if you can call it that). Meh…not a good writing day, but I think some of this can be salvaged later. I shouldn’t complain, I spent most of the day sick in bed with a migraine, and (for whatever reason) I ended up with visuals that I wanted to note so that I didn’t forget them. Maybe it also has to do with how unlayered a visual is vs. working in character interaction and depth.


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