Well, this is a bit late, but…Life happened. Anyhoo, my dear cyber-friend and fellow scribbler, Miss Melody Muffin, has begun a fun new venture called Quote Queste (actually, she started it a few months ago, but I haven’t been able to join in until now). It’s a writing exercise, taking a short quote and writing a scene based on it. Click here for all the particulars if you want to join the fun!
So, then, on with the Queste! This month’s Quote is:
The scene you’re about to read is taken from my “Super Hero-meets-Fantasy” world of Onória. It’s a fun place, and quite frankly is in danger of eclipsing Ýdära as my favorite imaginary world. Someday I’ll throw a blog party or something—like Kendra did a while back—and write up a proper introductory post for each of my worlds/series/books, so’s y’all will know what in Middle-earth (or out of it) I’m talking about. :-P
Anyroad, the characters are relatively new—I thought them up months ago (maybe even last year), but this is the first time I’ve actually written anything with them. I should mention here that their “Tribe” (called the Sulu on Bro’s suggestion) is comprised of Humans whose ancestry is a combination of Chinese, Japanese, Korean and other Oriental cultures. I’ve been interested in certain aspects of Japanese culture since I was a kid…but unfortunately, research isn’t my strong suit, so if I get something wrong, that’s why. I’ll have to bone up on Oriental culture before I write that part of the book….
But enough yakking from the Anka. On with the story!
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Yong Tora’tsuki scowled at her reflection in the full-length mirror. She saw a slender maiden—just barely fourteen, she reminded herself—draped in a flowing red silk skirt that reached the bamboo-matted floor. A hip-length white kimono-jacket trimmed with red and tied with a simple red sash completed the outfit, contrasting strikingly with her jet-black hair, which hung in thick hanks in front of her shoulders. Tora’tsuki rolled her eyes and sighed, reaching up and squeezing the knot comprised of the rest of her hair, resisting the urge to pull out all the pins—and the silly silk tiger lily Yu-Yin had stuck in the bun—and fix her hair in a more practical braid. But she had promised her twin she would do nothing to spoil her looks, and it would be dishonorable to break her word.
A strange reflection, to be sure, and one she still had trouble believing to be one of herself. How she longed for her comfortable trousers and hapi-coat! How she wished she could at least take out her katana and practice with it before the ceremony. Even if she merely waved it over her head a few times, that would cool the anxiety simmering deep inside.
She smiled. Why not? There’s still time before we need to leave.
She crossed to a wall of the room where the slender, gently-curved longsword hung above her cupboard. It boasted a black disc between the foot-long handle and three-foot blade, cast to look like a circle of twisted rope surrounding a pair of crouching tigers, beautifully enameled. Little bronze discs connected the tigers to the rope, and each was blackened to represent the different phases of the moon. The handle itself was made of the same shining steel as the blade, and wrapped in such a way that little diamond-shapes of the metal peeked through the black woven braid.
Tora’tsuki carefully removed the sword from its brackets and slowly pulled it out of the polished ebony sheath, relishing the sound it made. She laid down the sheath and walked slowly—silently cursing the length of her skirt—to the center of the room, took firm hold of the handle with both hands, and raised the katana over her head. She smiled broadly. I feel better already!
A knock at the door brought her back to reality. “Tora’tsuki?” Yu-Yin murmured from the other side.
“You may enter,” she called.
The door opened, admitting a different sort of mirror-image. One that walked and moved independently from Tora’tsuki, but who possessed the same slender, petite build and perfect oval face. One clad in silver-grey shaded with stormy-blue and navy where Tora’tsuki wore red. One with a cluster of dangling silk flowers in her hair, like a string of little bells, instead of the brilliant orange lily. A mirror-image sporting a shaded blue sash woven with silver threads and beautifully embroidered. A mirror-image whose rice-powdered face wore an expression of horror at sight of the katana.
“Yong Tora’tsuki!” Yu-Yin gasped.
“Yes, Sister, I’m holding my katana. I was about to practice my instructor’s latest techniques when you knocked.”
Yu-Yin’s obsidian eyes widened. “You promised!” she whispered.
Tora’tsuki frowned and waved the sword in a circular motion above her head. “I gave you my word I’d do nothing to spoil my precious ceremonial garb,” she pointed out. “And I’ve been standing here doing absolutely nothing for twenty minutes. I simply had to get out my katana—had to, I say! I feel I’ll explode unless I have an outlet.” She grinned impishly as an idea came to her. Then, before Yu-Yin could react, Tora’tsuki twirled the sword above her head, running towards her twin so quickly that to anyone who might have looked in, Tora’tsuki would have appeared to be a blur of red and white. A mere two feet from Yu-Yin, she made a flying leap, turned three somersaults above her astounded sister’s head, placed her feet firmly on the wall above the door, and used her momentum to run a few feet along the ceiling. Then she did two more midair flips and landed in exactly the same spot she had stood when Yu-Yin had first entered the room. She beamed triumphantly—and a bit smugly—at her twin, who stood like one turned to stone, gaping at her.
“You must not do that!” Yu-Yin whispered hoarsely, when she found her voice. “Suppose someone had come in just now—suppose someone saw—”
“Everyone in this house knows about our powers,” Tora’tsuki drawled, swinging her katana back and forth gracefully. “Why should we worry about being seen to use them?”
Yu-Yin lowered her head, clasping her hands in front of her. “Not everyone.”
Tora’tsuki paused in mid-swing and stared at her sister. “Not even Ru-Ping?”
“Yu-Yin!” Tora’tsuki flung her hands in the air, exasperated. “You and he are betrothed to be married in seven years—do you mean to say you haven’t told him he’ll be marrying a Super?”
“Shh!” Yu-Yin pleaded. “Please! Keep your voice down, I beg of you. No, I have not told him yet. His nerves are frayed enough with the ceremony and having our betrothal made public. How can I add to that the knowledge that I now lead a double life?”
“You speak as though being Super were a dishonorable thing,” Tora’tsuki frowned. “What could be more honorable than to be a Guardian of the Realm? To protect our people from invasion? To aid the Shogun in making his kingdom a safe and prosperous place? It is a great honor, a great responsibility.”
“Yes,” Yu-Yin sighed, “we are expected to be heroes, yet we are only children.”
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Until next time, Gentle Readers,