NaNoWriMo: Day 6 (I Skipped a Day. Sue Me.)

Posted: November 6, 2011 in National Novel Writing Month, sci fi
Tags: , , , ,

I think I’m beginning to see the general shape of the story now. Days 1-3 were, as I noticed earlier, part of a prologue. These last two days, I think will be the part of the book that I will call “The Book of the Wars of the Goddess”.

The Battle of Mpele Peni-Peni

“Tell me, Officiant,” Setetenepini began, calmly, “where do you see Error in me? Candace is Queen, and the Wise Woman, is she not? She who taught us, and bears the Sword? Come,” she finished, “explain your thoughts. Maybe we can reason.”

“The Error,” the old man replied, a bit calmer now, “is that you don’t acknowledge the Queen and the Wise Woman. You conflate the two. You do dis-service to both.” He reached into a vest pocket. Sule tensed, cocking his rifle. Setetenepini raised a hand to stop him, and Sule relaxed. The Officiant pulled out a book. Slim, leather, ornate, well-worn. “It’s just a copy of the Pearl,” he pleaded. “No need to get jumpy around the truth.” He thumbed through the book, stopping at a favorite and dog-eared section. “The Poem of the Trees,” he said. “Are you familiar with it?”
Setetenepini was. “ ‘Side by side, they stand, together as one’,” she recited from memory. “ ‘The trees bear their fruit, watered by Her hand. Among the orchard-’”

“ ‘-Among the orchard’s roots, all are mingled, Yet separate are olives from the land’. You would see the land and the olive as one thing, then? No, my sister. Separate they are, and equally to be honored.”

“Brother,” Setetenepini shook her head. “You take words out of context. The Poem of the Trees is to teach us how we must plant according to season and time, or have you not remembered Lisiniprele’s Commentary? ‘Take the seed of the Olive, and grow it together with the seed of the Berry’-”

“You take the words of a commentary over the words of the Queen Herself?” The Officiant was taken aback. “Lisiniprele was only a man. He was not infallible!”

“In his office as Commenter, he was infallible!” Setetenepini insisted. “All Commenters are guided by the spirit of the Wise Woman; when they speak as Commenter, their words are as if Candace spoke them herself. How can you not know this?”

“Was Tepiririti infallible? He claimed to speak from his office when he decreed that he knew when the End of Time would come. He was wrong! And Sipiletesu, when she claimed the authority to take the husband of Kilitere, and his lands besides? No, sister; the Commenters were just men. Some wise, some foolish; but only men. Don’t let them blind you! The Queen and the Wise Woman are two, like the Olive and the Land.”

Setetenepini shook her head. “You know some of your history, I’ll give you that,” she replied. “Look back, even further. Candace has always been, yes? Always, and she is the Wise Woman. And the Queen? Is she not also Candace?”

“The Queen,” the Officiant insisted, “is a Candace. The Wise Woman is a Candace. They are equal, but they are not the same.”

“Heresy!” whispered Sule. His eyes grew wide in horror. “How can Candace be more than one? You are mad, old man, and you are unrepentant.” He pointed his rifle.

Before Setetenepini could stop him, Sule fired. The Officiant popped.

No one said a word. No one moved.

Sule’s weapon was still pointed at the spot where the Officiant used to be. Setetenepini gently placed her hand over his, pushed the rifle back down.

“Tilu reporting in,” came a voice over the speakers. “Munitions depot secured. Enemy combatants pacified,” she added. “Do we go to the rendezvous for extraction, Sarge?”

Setetenepini was silent.

“Sergeant Setetenepini, come in. Objective secured. Please advise.”

Setetenepini checked the map on her display. A blue X marked the extraction point. “This is the sergeant,” she quietly replied. We … we completed our objective also. Rendezvous at extraction soonest.”

“Acknowledged.”

They were new soldiers. For many, this had been their first drop. Some were petrified. Those proved themselves, mostly, and came back to the Girdle of Heaven with underwear relatively un-soiled. Some looked wild. Those came back tamed, spooked, awed at the efficacy of the weaponry they used. Some looked like they didn’t have a care in the world. Those were the ones who didn’t pay attention, who were easily distracted. They came back in body bags, mostly. Some were changed, in some other fashion. They had seen an old man exploded because he couldn’t count.

words and pictures © Christopher Ward. All rights reserved.

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