Well, it hit this morning. The dead-brain-I-can’t-do-this-it’s-a-stupid-idea moment that dragged out into a few hours, then after some rattling around in the garden, doing compost, picking asparagus and loquats, the mind started churning over little bits of this and that, and I thought – Ooooooh, that’s why! And (no, I didn’t leave the pile of goodies outside; I took them into the kitchen!) I ran inside and plonked down and rattled out some notes (hand-written to start with), and now I know the ‘why’ and some of the ‘how’ (yes, I already had an idea, but now – now it is more, and that is what time away does: it gives a more rounded picture) and I’m ready to rock and roll!
First, though, I have to do the coffee. It’s the first time I’ve had to resort to the coffee, but I still feel so tired in the body, so sore in the neck (wonder if it’s from all the chair-time?), that if I don’t do the caffeine fix, nothing will happen but pain (followed by pain-killers, which are also thought-killers).
So, onto the story. Would you like a peek? Just a tiny look at a smidgeon of the first draft. Well, okay. Here’s look at Scene 2 (first draft, so likely to be amended during review/revise/edit phase):
“It’s supposed to be a quick and easy extension. As always. As usual.”
Cocky heard it said by almost every group as they passed out the door. That’s what it was supposed to be – an extension, voted for by the invited attendees to the Conference, as representatives of each country or zone.
“What now?” he didn’t realise he’d spoken aloud, but Roo glared back.
“What now?” Roo shivered his shoulder. “Now we get Cat as the Overlord of Magic, of course. Who’d be stupid enough to even put themselves in the ring? Who’d agree to that? Remember that rule about volunteering? And it takes all three reps to agree. If you two volunteered us, I’d say ‘No’ anyway – so don’t get any ideas.” He shoved his chest out and raised his toes.
The last group of six crowded past.
“As if you’d get picked, you great pillock,” the Ostrich said to Roo as they passed. “You couldn’t think your way out of a field, let alone through the Puzzle of the Ages. Stupid creature.”
The next comment was worse.
“The only reason the conference is here, you morons, is because it’s so far from the real world that no one can get up an army to stop him. That’s what it’d take, you know. An army – got one hidden somewhere, have you?”
Laughter followed them out the door.
The guard-cats were gone. No one remained but the three of them.
“They think we’re hicks,” Roo huffed.
“We are,” Croc said. “Not only that, we’re stupid hicks for not being prepared for this.”
“No,” Cocky said. “There must be something in the Book of Law to stop him taking over.”
A low vibration rumbled through the ground. Dragon stuck her head in and Cocky spread his wings and lowered his head, crest down, up, down.
“Don’t,” Dragon said. “I am not deserving.”
“What did you do to Kraken to make him do this?” Croc hurled at Dragon. “Abdicate – to have no magic at all, ever, for the creatures of Water! What did you agree to?”
“Not I,” said Dragon. “We were given no choice, no option. The time he’s had to organise this – due to the apathy,” she glared at Croc, “of all the creatures.” She looked down. “But mainly, it is to do with his political power now. He has allies, always making deals and filling contracts to those who do his bidding. Do you not see? It has taken centuries, but he now holds all the power, and let me warn you – this is just the beginning.” She looked around, up, behind. “If we hadn’t offered to stand down, he’d have asked us to make our case for continuance. It was never going to be a normal meeting. It was always going to come to this. And you are-”
The flap of the lectern lifted and Ginger poked his head out. Dragon turned and left the arena. Her words drifted back. “I will remain a representative until the end of the conference, and no longer.”
Roo lifted his head to watch her go.
“Good riddance,” he said. “Let’s go get a drink.” He turned towards the exit.
“No,” Cocky flapped her wings. “Croc, can you get rid of that Ginger? We need to discuss this, see what it’s really all about. We need to get in touch with the office, see what they can do.”
“But that’ll take hours. Everyone’s going to be at the pub. We should join them and see what’s being said in the here and now,” Roo said.
“No! Don’t you understand? We’ve been had. We, as the host country, are responsible for supplying the Candidates for the test. It’s in the Law of Ages, added at the agreement of the last meeting.” Cocky checked the manual on his tablet. “In Antarctica. When almost no one sent a rep.” He crested his feathers. “Don’t you see? If there’s no volunteer from any other country, region or zone, it’s up to the host country to provide …” He couldn’t continue.
Roo slumped to the ground with a puff of dust as Croc swung her tail back and forth, creating a dust wallow any Kangaroo would be proud of.
“Shit. I didn’t … Are you sure? I mean, dead cert?” Roo threw himself up, leapt in a circle, thumped his tail harder than necessary until Cocky coughed. “We can’t do that! I mean, we have to get out there and find a sucker – I mean, volunteer.” He bounded towards the door. “Well, come on, you two – we’ve got some feathers and scales to ruffle and grease.”
“It’s too late for that,” said Croc. “We’re stuffed. Might just as well hand it over and-”
“I’ll not live with a Cat being overlord of magic!” Cocky screamed. “Never!”
“Do you think your one voice, or even the voices of all the creatures of Air, could out-vote the most prolific and well-placed candidature for Overlord?” Croc kept her voice calm, but her scales shuddered and hummed. “Dragon’s right. We’re stuffed. And we did it to ourselves.”
“There must be a way.” Cocky looked at Croc.
Croc shook her head. Cocky glared at Roo.
Roo shook his head.
The delegates began to re-enter the stadium. No one spoke, but they all glanced warily at the Australians as they walked past. Sad looks, pitying looks.
Copyright Cage Dunn 2017 (part of NaNoWriMo Project: Kraken, Dragon, Cat aka Kangaroo, Cockatoo, Croc.