Thursday, November 12, 2009

Some children go pumpkin picking...

...while others collect heads from corpses on the battlefield. Apparently. My NaNo continues to be horrible. The 15th is coming up fast and I'm nowhere NEAR 25K, let alone halfway through the story. Story? What story? All the story has dribbled out and I'm down to random anecdotes. Here's an example from tonight:

Day 16

More rain.

Day 17

More of the same, and more of the same.

A hundred and one things to do with a disembodied head: (Well, three, but who's counting?)

Wisdom and comfort. Bran who was High King of Prydania came back from war as a speaking head. Only seven returned alive, and they feasted in madness at Harlech under Bran's spell until they were able to accept their losses.

Revenge. Douban the physician cured a king of a deadly disease, only to be rewarded with a death sentence. So after his death, he tempted the king into placing his head into a golden basin. The head of Douban then spoke, telling the king to read aloud from a certain page of Douban's book of wonders. But the pages stuck and the king, licking his fingers to turn the pages, was thus poisoned. Fell down dead right in front of Douban's head. A neat trick, but I'd rather not be decapitated in the first place.

As a weapon of terror and plague. When I was seven years old, I witnessed the siege of Chok Du. I was too young to help with the spells, but I helped collect heads from the bodies on the battlefield. I carried them in a basket to where the elders had set up the great big boiling rune-marked cauldrons. I remember the stink and the mud. It kept raining, just like it is now. I remember hearing the ravens and crows crying out in the gray drizzle. I helped load the bespelled heads onto a wheelbarrow for the catapults, which were laid out in two ragged lines. They flung the heads all at once screaming over the battlements. It wasn't long after that until Chok Du opened its gates to us.

Day 18

Clear skies at last. Out painting the wings all day.

Day 19

I saw Caith today. She's looking even paler than usual. She has baggy black circles under her eyes and when she walks, she takes slow jittering steps and leans against the wall when she thinks no one is looking.

Day 20

More rain. The black goop is holding. So far. So it looks like Wensel finally got his spells right.

Author's note: If anyone knows any other traditional examples of talking heads, please leave me a comment! I'm sure I've come across others, but I can't remember them right now. :-)

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