Thursday, January 17, 2013

Chainsaw Therapy


For the past few weeks, I've been stuck in my writing.  Both in the main story of Safia, and a short story featuring Peder, the star of this short, by the way.  One of the reasons, I'm sure, was because I was in the middle of finishing a couple books I was reading.  For me, while I love to read, mixing the two, doesn't quite work.

And so, yesterday I decided to try something totally new to me: 

Chainsaw Therapy.

What you will read below is the result of this writing exercise, thanks to a blogger, Lady Katie of Whisperings of the Pen, I stumbled upon a while back.  You can read her version here.  The whole purpose of this exercise is to keep your mind, your characters and your ideas fresh.  And I believe it works!  I had a lot of fun with this one.

Just a little bit of background:
        -  Peder Grey is actually a minor character in the bigger story of Safia I've been working on.  Hopefully, you'll get to see more of him soon.
        -  the Guard is an elite fighting force of Gondoa, a major country in Safia's world, based on the U.S., in medieval terms, of course.  The force is charged in the defense and protection of the castle, it's royal family, and the kingdom, in general.  There are three ranks:  Cadet, which covers the junior members and rookies of the Corps (Peder is one); Captain, which are the senior members (the Elf, Jaron); and Commander, the highest rank of officer in the force.  There are only three Commanders total in the whole force of 100 members, making up the Council of the Guard.

Please keep in mind this is a rough project...

Oh, and be warned, it may be a tad long...

But do enjoy!

chainsaw therapy
Featuring Peder Grey, Cadet Guard of Gondoa

    Peder sighed aloud in the stillness of late-evening. Patience was definitely not a virtue of his.
    Jaron had said to meet him here, and yet, Jaron himself was not here. It was unlike his Elvish partner to be late. Apparently, something of importance must have come up. There was no other explanation.
    He shrugged to himself, rubbed his neck out of habit, and reclined against the large trunk of oak. Dusk had fallen and the chilly air of Autumn began to get colder, giving Peder the feel of Winter.
    Rubbing chilled hands together, he debated on setting up a temporary camp, wondering how long Jaron was going to make him wait. His captain had sent no further instructions. Two hours past the time set to meet was far from normal for his Elf friend, even though he was known to be unpredictable.
    Again, he sighed and pulled himself to his feet, a decision made to at least start a fire, his rumbling stomach having helped to make the choice. With kindling gathered from the nearby area, he soon had a decent fire burning. Looking around at the surrounding wood, he wondered suddenly if this was some kind of test. But the tall giants of the Wyndor Forest were as majestic and silent as ever.
    “Come on, Cap,” he muttered, using the nickname he'd given Jaron as a captain of Gondoa's special force, the Guard. “I'd rather not be here all night,” he added, brushing sandy-blond hair from his face. His eyes flicked to his force's chosen weapons, a longbow and quiver, both resting against the trunk of his present seat, and his broadsword, secured at his belt. As a requirement of the Guard, each member was to be skilled in a number of weapons – among those mentioned above was the quarterstaff and double-daggers, a pair of well-balanced throwing knives, which he kept hidden.
    Resuming his previous position against the tree, he had just settled comfortably once more when an ear-splitting sound of foreign origin broke the calm of the night.
    GRRRGBBRRCHIKKAWHIRRRRHHHHHH!!!
    Instantly, the young man was on his feet, sword in hand, completely out of sorts as to what had made the unearthly noise, which now sounded off a steady growling rumble. With his back pressed against the tree he'd used, Peder slowed his breathing, relying on the long hours of stealth training to take over.
    Slowly, he peered around the vast trunk only to jump back to its protection at the sound of a tremendous crash, which he realized was the fall of a tree.
    Baffled and bewildered beyond belief, he peeked once again and caught sight of a bulky figure, holding the source of the terrible noise, some kind of metal... object. To the man's left lay the fallen trunk of an oak tree.
    Angered at this sudden destruction and intrusion upon the quiet of his country, Peder stepped from the shadow of the trunk and called through the dusky light to the intruder.
    “Hey! What in the realm of Gondoa do you think you're doing??”
    Surprised, the figure turned revealing an overly-bushy beard and what must be denim overalls, though Peder wouldn't know of this article of clothing. His faded, red flannel shirt, sweat-stained baseball cap, and scuffed work boots completed his strange outfit. Burly, hairy forearms protruded from rolled up sleeves and Peder found, to his amazement, that underneath the queer hat the man was entirely bald.
    Upon seeing Peder, the man's bearded face widened into what must be a smile, from which large white teeth showed.
    “Well, howdy there, laddie-buck! Come t' see m' handi-work, eh?” he shouted in greeting over the dull roar of the beast. With a gloved hand, he silenced the monster and set it on the freshly cut stump. Slapping his hands on his thighs to dislodge the shavings, he looked at Peder, who had stopped his forward progress, wary of the stranger. The man straightened, peered closer at the younger man, and laughed.
    “My, don't yew look a sight!” This statement brought a blush of angry red to Peder's cheeks and he stammered, sword still in hand, pointed at the man ten feet from him.
    “Wha– I look... a sight! Blast it, man, you–”
    “Nay, s'alright, laddie, I've seen worse in m' day,” said the stranger, holding up a hand. Removing his right-hand glove, he came forward, offering to shake. Peder, unsure of the gesture, backed up a step, and the burly figure noticed his sword for the first time.
    “Watcha got there? A pig-sticker? Haw! Wait-a-min'it...” The big man's face suddenly changed to confusion. “Where didja say this was? Gondoa? Ne'er heard o' that country,” he mumbled, scratching his bushy chin. Eyes wide, he looked anew at the young man, never giving Peder a chance to talk. “Ya mean I'm not in Kansas anymore?” As soon as the words left his mouth, he slapped his forehead with a large palm. “Darn it, wrong line,” he muttered, glaring up into the trees. 
    Peder's eyes darted up and he heard a giggle. Confused, he squinted trying to see what had caused it, but his peripheral vision caught the movement of the man before him and he returned his focus, jerking the point of his sword level, following the man's every move. The stranger pulled on his gloves and went to the stump where rested his beast.
    “Righty-ho, lad, I must be off. Thot these here woods looked odd, I did. Says I, must've stumbled into one o' those portal-mahickeys ya read in books an' the like. Ne'er imagined 'twould happen to this ol' coffer. Haha! Wait'll the boys hear this tale,” he went on to himself, rubbing his chainsaw tenderly. Mutely, Peder listened, the words jumbling together in his befuddled mind. He stiffened once again as the man starting walking, waving his free hand in the air, looking up and about for something obviously invisible.
    “Now, where did it go? Gotta be here somewhere... Ah! Here yew are, yew ol'–” The man's words were cut off and he vanished with a faint poof!.
    Peder couldn't stop his jaw dropping wide open, nor his eyes as they widened in disbelief. With sword still trained to where the man had vanished, he forced his feet to make a slow circle.
    Only the fallen tree and himself now occupied the immediate area. The surrounding trees seemed to stand as still as ever, innocently laughing at him.
    Darkness was almost complete, the light from the happy blaze glowing twenty feet away being the only source for as far as you could see. He let out a breath and started toward it, knowing the warmth of its reality would be a welcome sight.
    He had taken two steps when he heard the giggle. He froze and swung his sword up toward the trees. Realization dawned at this moment and he let out a nervous sigh of relief, though still quite angry. Sticking his sword point in the ground, he spoke.
    “Miss Sarah, I believe you owe me an explanation.” The giggle sounded again and a voice spoke from behind.
    “Dear Peder, I was only stuck in a bit of a rut, if you know what I mean,” the voice replied, rather sheepishly.
    Startled, he pivoted to face the speaker. A dark-haired maiden dressed simply in a full-length wine-red skirt and white blouse stood innocently with pen and notebook in hand. He relaxed his grip on the sword hilt and glared at his guest.
    “You beat everything, you know that? And no, I don't know what you're talking about.” She started to speak, but he continued, “and I don't really want to know. But the next time you send a crazed madman into my part of the world, think twice, alright?” The girl blushed and nodded, then giggled again.
    “You gotta admit, it was pretty funny.”
    He threw her an icy look.
    “Alright, alright,” she said, holding up both hands. “Nothing too weird in the near future.” Peder nodded once and she muttered. “Even though I had this great idea...” Her words faded when she caught the next look on her character's face. “Okay, relax. I'm going now.” He nodded again, blinked, and she was gone.
    Peder shook his head, as if to clear the mud from his thoughts.
    “Never going to get used to that.”
    He turned and suddenly came face to face with Jaron, who stood silently with a pair of horses tethered together.
    “Aaah!” he yelled, dropping his sword and stumbling backwards. Jaron grinned.
    “Jumpy, are we?”
    Peder glared at the Elf, but accepted his offered hand as Jaron pulled him to his feet.
    “Don't. Do. That,” Peder muttered, emphasizing each word. He dusted himself off.
    Jaron started for the fire but stopped short when he noticed the fallen tree and clean-cut stump. His eyebrows went up as he looked from the stump to Peder's sword, which the young man now held as he wiped it clean of dirt.
    “Don't ask,” he said.
    Jaron shrugged, there were more pressing matters at hand than finding an explanation for anything that happens in the presence of Peder, known for his laughter and care-free humor. Instead, he proceeded to fill a small pot with water from a water-skin to make coffee, knowing that would calm his skittish partner, somewhat. Unintentionally, because of a matter back at the castle, he had been forced to make Peder wait.
    “Change of plans,” he began, Peder looked up from adding wood to the blaze. “I apologize for the wait, but we have a new mission of great importance.” Forgetting, for the moment, the events of the evening, Peder turned all his attention to his partner, who pulled a piece of parchment from his shirt.
    “Our mission, should you choose to accept, is–”
    “Wait. Why did you say that?”
    “Say what?”
    “What – what you just said, 'should you choose to accept...' It's not like we have a choice, right?” He heard another giggle and nearly over-turned the pot while scrambling to his feet. Jaron's hand on his arm stopped him.
    “Forget it, Grey. Maybe you should get some sleep, we have an early start in the morning.” Folding the bit of parchment, the Elf threw him a bedroll and grinned as he watched the young man grab it and walk off a ways, muttering to himself. He thought he heard something like “madman” and “that woman.”  Moving to tend to the horses, he wasn't surprised by the voice.
    “Jaron, was I too hard on him?”
    “No, he'll get over it.” Jaron looked at the maiden now sitting by the fire petting a grinning purple cat. “That was your line, wasn't it?”
    “Well, sort of. I kinda borrowed it... Inspiration.”
    “Ah.”
    “And the other line, too.”
    “I see.”
    There was an awkward silence while the cat purred, still grinning broadly.
    “Do you think he's asleep?” she asked a moment later.
    “I can hear you.” Peder whispered in her ear. He had crept up behind her as they talked. Jumping, she shrieked and the cat disappeared. She glowered at Peder as he burst out laughing.
    “Peder Grey! You'll be the death of me!” But she started laughing, too.
    “I guess I deserved that,” she admitted, as the laughter died, Peder agreed.
    Sighing, she stretched her legs and breathed deeply, thoroughly enjoying the calm night and warm fire.
    “Thanks, guys, I needed this.”
    “You are always welcome at our fire.” Both men stood as she did and they exchanged a curtsy and bows.
    “Be careful on this new mission!” she said, picking up her notebook and starting down the path. They watched her until she vanished from view. Peder added another log to the fire and sat down, deep in thought.
    “Hey, Jaron?”
    “Hmm?” Jaron turned from the horses, half an apple in hand.
    “Do you think she could give me super-strength?”
    “What?”
    “You know, make me as strong as ten men or–”
    “Come on, Grey, bedtime.”
    Peder sighed.
    “Yes, Pa. 'Night, Pa.”
    He was promptly silenced by a harmless riding glove thrown his way.


Okay, I admit, I kinda went overboard on this one.  But it is just an exercise and hello! I'm the authoress!!  Ha!  I can do anything! the pages are my own! The world is MINE TO CONQUER!!!!!!!!! BWAHAHA!

Ahem.

Anyway, hope you got a kick out of it and if you are having a dreary, miserable day, I hope this brings a smile to your dreary, miserable features.

Until next time!

3 reflections:

Jody said...

Great job Sarah! Love the movie lines thrown in.
Love ya,
Mom

Ashlin said...

Oh, that was hilarious! I was at your aunt's house today, and Julia walks into the room and saws "Ever heard of 'Chainsaw Therarpy'?"

My eyebrows raised, "No.... Is this a joke?"

Mr Thomas hollers from the other room, "No, but that sounds interesting!"

So I got to hear your story directly from the lips of your dear sister! She did the voices, I think, just perfectly.

Very creative, Sarah. I think I'll have to do some writing exercises soon.

Great work,
Ashlin

Sam said...

I liked that! Especially the last quote, "Yes, Pa. 'Night, Pa." Hahaha =D