So it’s been awhile since I posted a piece of the book in here. In honor of RotD getting its own Facebook page and inspired by a comment session between me and my good friend PMAO here is an excerpt. We have skipped ahead a bit to the last half of chapter 4.
Into the woods and off the main trails they were, probably 30 minutes into a journey which would obviously take longer than normal due to the heavy load when something scurried behind them. They all heard it, even Scratch turned into a curious pet and turned to see what there was, but there was nothing. Shrugging they turned around when this time they heard something whoosh past on their left. Again turning, Scratch growling or gargling or whatever noise it could muster but again, after a few minutes, they hesitantly started again. This time leaves were thrown up to their right and then in front of them, Drake whimpering and hiding behind Scratch who was growling louder and inching forward.
Seth squeaked out, “Who’s out there?”
Somewhere in the distance, a cricket chirped.
Somewhere in the distance, a cricket chirped, and then was squished.
From behind a couple of trees came a couple of tall beings. Furry creatures from head to toe standing on their hind legs. Sharp teeth, pointy ears, fuzzy tails. They came forward towards the children who took a step towards each other and then two steps back.
“Hello” growled one of the furry creatures.
“Yes. Hello” mimicked the other one.
Seth squinted and thought hard. “Heyyy. I know what you are… You’re … You’re… “
“You’re MOUNTAIN LIONS!”
“Yeah,” the first one started sarcastically, “what were you expecting?”
“Well, I thought you might have been werewolves.”
“WEREWOLVES?” one responded “US? WereWOLVES?” the other repeated.
“I dare say we are not Werewolves which is easily proven by the fact that we, my dear girl, exist.”
“I’m a boy.”
“You all look the same to us.”
“What are you two doing traveling through the valley anyway? Only locals come around here.”
“We aren’t traveling,” Jewel started, where she stopped Seth wondered but could not guess. “We are headed up to my friends house on the cliff. He lives on the cliffs you see and I live back there, just there in the forest off one of the main trails. He got caught in the rain, yes he did and my mom and I took him in to help out but then my mom got called away for work and now we are going to go stay with his dad. You’re not JUST mountain lions are you? You’re those mountain lions that learned to walk and talk and tried to get citizenship in some of the towns around here but you were shunned away, weren’t you? Right sad that was, if you are nice enough to ask permission you’re nice enough to stay, I always say. I must say I’ve never met any of you before and I’ve been around here a long time, are there a lot of you? Can’t be too many if I’ve never seen any and my mom hasn’t either and she’s seen all KINDS of creatures.”
“Talks a lot, this one.”
“Yes, he does.”
“You have no idea,” Seth added to their comments.
“I’m NOT a boy, thank you very much.”
“All look the same to us,” but this was overridden by more Jewel.
“AND ANOTHER THING, If you don’t like my chatting you could have said so, mister. My mom and I were nice enough to take you in and now you’re gonna agree with some talking lions you just met? I don’t say anything about how you don’t talk very much, now do I? No I don’t cause that’s not what friends do, no they don’t. And YOU two, going around picking on little girls just trying to walk through the forest, you should be a little more civilized and perhaps you would be in a city already. And how about some pants?”
“We brought that up with the town of Ebony, actually.”
“That we did. They asked us to wear pants, too. We said instead of us buying clothes why didn’t they all take theirs off?”
“Didn’t like that much.”
“No they didn’t. Our apologies for scaring you. My name is Louie and this is my good friend Mort.”
“Nice to meet you Louie, and you too Mr Mort. My name is Jewel and this is Seth,” of whom had decided there were two people inside Jewel and she could turn them on and off at will. “Is your name short for Mortimer?”
“No, its short for Mooooooooorrrrrrrrrrt.” At this both Mort and Louie started laughing, stopping as they noticed their new found company wasn’t. “Not every joke can be funny, you know.”
“No, but you could try a little harder.”
The lions started dramatically overreacting to Jewels quip but she didn’t seem to be phased. “Say, isn’t Mountain Lion just a fancy term for Cougar? My mom said we call them mountain lions around here because we are in the mountains but you aren’t IN the mountains you are in the valley so aren’t you more of a cougar?”
“Well Louie is half puma on his moms side but mountain lion on his dads side while I, Mortimer J MountainLion am 100% pure mountain lion.”
“On your moms side, maybe but your dad was a mut.”
“He was not a mut, I keep telling you Louie he was a mix of all the good things of all the best breeds of any feline.”
“If that feline liked being lazy all day, cause that’s all you like to do.”
“That’s true. And isn’t Jewel just a name for a little boy who talks too much?”
“I’m NOT! a boy.”
“Again, you all look the same to us.”
“I like to think I’m the cute one, no offense Seth. So you can walk, you can talk, you can crack jokes and insult, are pants really the only thing keeping you from being a citizen of one of these great cities?”
“Oh no. And we’ve tried the whole pants thing, too constricting. We were welcomed into Noth to be Nothings, but instead of Nothings they just wanted slave workers. There are some of our kind still there. Ebony is a little too hoity toity to accept something so modern, though there are supporters of ours there, they just aren’t as hairy, and where’s the fun in that?”
“But what about Forge, Mooooorrrrrrrrrt?”
“Yes Louie, I was getting to Forge. Forge, the city of workers welcomed us all in. We could learn talents, be apprentices and laborers for fair money. Pants or no pants, they didn’t care especially in the pubs, that was just another day in there. But, alas, it was too good to be true.”
“Why is that?” Seth filled in for Jewel this time.
“Well the locals called them dragons and the dragons came after us, I don’t know how much more real that can be.”
“Like with teeth and fire and ice and tails and snouts and anger and majesty and wonder?” Jewel found a word to end on.
“Really, anything without hair just all looks the same to us.”
“Mort, Louie, you may need to get your eyes checked by a doctor.”
“And be called a nerd? No thank you.”
Seth’s mind raced at the thought of real dragons and remembered all of the stories he had heard growing up. “Excuse me, Louie, Mort, are you here to send us on a quest? A quest to kill the dragons?”
Mort and Louie looked at each other before busting out laughing. “A QUEST?” Louie Retorted followed by Mort.
“REALLY? A quest? We tell you the tragedy of how we are shunned, slaved, attacked, and mauled and you think we are here to send you on a QUEST? Like some sort of wise mage, I suppose you want us to be. Tell you you are destined for greatness. You two little girls who can barely carry your packs? Look, ladies, we were simply telling you what happened because you asked. We are strong, courageous, intelligent creatures who can fight our own fights. Now, if you don’t mind… LOUIE, we have flowers to pick. What? Its my moms birthday.”
The two strange creatures held paws and skipped away, laughing hysterically.