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Hello, everyone. 🙂 Thank you for coming. I hope you’ve been well since last I visited. This week, Arvid gets her first introduction to the world Tai knew before he landed himself up on that mountain with her.

Much love to our gracious hostess, Emily Witt.

Math: month + 3rd digit of date + 4th digit of date =  5 + 1 + 6 = 12 paragraphs (under 550 words)

Character descriptions:

Arvid 5’6″, dark copper skin, long brown hair, brown eyes, gymnast’s build

Taiamuk 6’3″, long red hair, gray eyes, a multitude of freckles, numerous scars, muscles a la young Jackie Chan. Notable scars include three stab wounds on his right side and a long, horizontal gash across his chest. Owns one piece of clothing: trousers.

Necessary Context

  • Arvid has a compelling reason to go with Tai to his people and stay a while.
  • The compelling reason is NOT Tai himself. (It is, however, much too main plot spoilery to share.)
  • Underlined text is spoken in Tai’s language.
  • This excerpt is much mangled to avoid spoilers and keep it shortish-ish

They crested the hill and Arvid stopped walking to stare, mouth gaping, at the colossus of a town. It sprawled across the top and spilled over the sides of an enormous hill surrounded by other hills. A high wall enclosed the town, where large stone buildings, much more than huts, crowded together and competed for space. Outside it, farmland spiraled downward on one long, broad step and spread into the valley. Wide roads led up the hill from each of the two directions she saw from her vantage point.

Tai stopped beside her and smiled over the land. He stood with his shoulders drawn back and his head high, but Arvid thought she saw strain around his eyes. “My people, Ishedmukleam.”

So many people, all speaking a language she barely knew, following unfamiliar customs. She might make a mistake and offend someone. Or they might learn how many months she and Tai spent alone on the mountain, assume the worst, and condemn them.

[Spoilery bit]

The closer they got, the more people they passed, all of them pale, like Tai, with hair in light brown,  yellow, or sometimes orange, some working the crops, some riding horses or donkeys, some driving ox-pulled carts two and three times the size of the largest in Hyarta. No one spoke, which suited Arvid. Instead, they stared with eyes flicking from her to Tai and back again and brows wrinkled like they wanted to remember something that refused to be remembered.

Then a farmer repairing a fence dropped his tools, scrambled over the fence, and planted himself in their path, eyes wide and searching.

Tai stopped, smirked, and turned to show the seven Petsucho frill scars on his back.

The farmer’s face burst into smile. “Taiamuk Gadev! Taiamuk Gadev is here!” He ran ahead of them, repeating his words at the top of his lungs.

Tai chuckled and walked on. Or rather, he tried to. Everyone the farmer told ran to Tai. The crowd of people swelled, all trying to talk to and touch Tai, and all smelling like they considered bathing optional. Arvid schooled her features to be neutral and kept her eyes ahead, the way Master taught her, but she wanted to gag.

Meanwhile, Tai smiled and talked to the people and kept the crowd moving at a snail’s pace toward the town, one arduous step after another. Nauseous and uncomfortable in the press of bodies, Arvid fell behind. After all, she wasn’t needed for this. Tai knew the language, the customs, and what to say. He also where to find her. With the Petsuchos.

She almost made it out of the crowd. Almost. As she turned to push her way out of it, the whole mass turned with her, heading back down the hill.

“Bleeding wounds!” She wormed her way through them, trying to get ahead.

A hand latched onto her wrist. She pivoted in the tight space and snapped up her knee. Her assailant twisted to block so her knee met hip instead of groin, then wrapped both arms tight around her, pinning her against him. Tai. Of course. Arvid refrained from scowling, but she wanted to. How did he get through all these people?

Courtesy National Museum of Denmark.  Anyone else a little uncomfortable in big crowds?

Courtesy National Museum of Denmark.
Anyone else a little uncomfortable in big crowds?

To join WIPpet Wednesday…

  1. Post a snippet of your WIP that relates to the date
  2. Thank Emily Witt
  3. Link up here
  4. Enjoy good writing