Story for the Day: The Author
Even characters get the feeling they're being watched:
|Damson's Disress prints ready for sending!|
They stood at the edge of the Marridon wood, gazing up at the summit of the mountains beyond, the peaks and issuing plateau brandishing its verdant landscape under the power of a clearsky. The circumjascent wilds in their immediate purlieu were rife with summer’s slumber, the array of conifers and their deciduous cousins fraught with gravid reverence, their boughs bowing under the weight of ripening fruit, their hides spilling over with nacreous sap, their needles enduring the fading frost in defiance of the season. Danaco inhaled, his chest surging with nationalistic fervency, the integrity of Marridon’s inheritance all his complacence. A brocade of copses lay before them, the trees tinged with the amber of imminent autumn, a sundry of colour woven on a woodland loom, the gales whispering through the trees, imparting seasonal secrets spoken in a melodious psithurism, the birds listening in part, employed with nidification for the coming cold, chyrming their aubades, their fritinancy a fulmination of motion, their coming and going awakening their neighbours, the alloy of creatures dwelling at the roots scurrying down and scampering over the woodland floor, tousling the dying leaves, nature’s carrion strewn out before them, the scent of happy decomposition dispersing in raging evanescence. Here was the harmony of terral change, and they had only to stand and survey and deliciate, noting how wondrous a change it was and how the anxious expectancy of heavy snows divested them of delighting in the one season in which nature unclothed, letting down her verdant cloak, offered a glimpse of her sacred alteration to anyone who would be conscious enough to witness. Danaco closed his eyes and listened to the rumbling din, the silent bronide of promised snows, the fremescence of winter’s insinuation fast approaching, and smiled to hear Rannig and Damson’s amorous sighs, expressing their own laudations at such a scene, while Bartleby grumbled in simmering dismay, lamenting over the chill that was whipping through his robes and positively freezing him. The tinkling sounds of an estuary echoed, the pobble and purl of the water gently pouring over eroded rocks emanating from a nearby stream and caroming off the collocated banks, resonating conclamant with the sussuration of the issuing fields beside. Great gulleys and vales lay unfurled before them, the grasses brandishing their most brilliant green, verdancy in every shade unyielding under the golden glow of morning light, symptoms of night resigning and surrendering its ascdenacy to day, abundant glades dotting over the rambling hillsides—
“Oh, hang your poetics and literary mastery,” cried Bartleby, glaring fiendishly at the sky. “I have enough of this babbling from the boy when he gets into one of his wondering strains about the sea.”
Is the old man speaking to me? Damson looked about him, utterly confused. “Are you speaking to me, sir?”
Bartleby scoffed and waved a hand at the knight’s face. “Not you, sir knight. I’m speaking to the shambling wreck of a poet who is dictating this tale.”
Damson blinked. “Dictating, sir?”
“Yes, the nonsense philanderer who is taking down every word you’re saying.”
“Dictation, sir?” The knight whirled about, searching for a man with paper and a writing desk. “I apologize, sir, but I see nothing.”
“Your ears are clogged, sir knight, if you cannot hear that we are being followed and wondered after,” said Danaco.
Damson looked behind him. “Followed, sir? But I havenot seen nor heard anyone, sir, who might be said to be following, sir.”
“Not by foot, sir knight,” said Bartleby. “By the pen.”
In a fit of confusion, Damson turned to Rannig. “Do you hear any dictation, sir?”
“I been hearin’ someone scribblin’ since you fell from the cliff, broken knight.” Rannig stuck his finger in his ear and wiggled it about. “Sure does make my ears itch though.”
Damson looked up at the sky, and just by way of narrowing his gaze and obscuring the sunlight, he was able—he thought he was able—to descry recognizable features amongst the even placed clouds, features so faint and so distinct, and yet entirely familiar. There were two enormous eyes staring back at him from beneath the few gathered clouds, and the slope of a nose cut the sky with a thin indiscernible line, the mouth presumably somewhere at the horizon. He stepped back and stared at the sky, confounded by the miraculous shade he discovered there.
“They are talking of you,” said Danaco.
“They, sir? You mean, sir, there is more than one?”
“There may very well be, though—“ tapering his gaze at the sky, “I see only one there at present. Has not Bartleby told you that everything in the world is in a book?”
“Even what we are doing now, sir?”
“I daresay so.”
“…And now, sir?”
“And now, sir?”
“Of course. And now, and even now. Even ten minutes ago when Bartleby chose relieve himself on that birch tree.”
“Nonsense, captain,” Bartleby roared. “That desheveled inscriber was talking about our getting here. They skip anything indecent for audience purposes and for story flow, you understand.”
“But they wrote about it ‘cause yer talkin’ about it now, Bartleby,” Rannig reminded him.
But how much can they see, Damson here wondered. Do they know that I am thinking of how hungry I am? Perhaps they do indeed. If the giant can hear me, and no doubt he is hearing all this now, whoever is there dictating this must hear all my thoughts. Damson grew terrified and took two steps to the left.
“They know you did that too, broken knight. I heard ‘em write about it. And they wrote about how ye were think about how hungry ye were .”
“Are they your Gods, sir giant?”
Rannig shrugged. “Might be. They sure do what Gods do, just lookin’ in on us to see how we’re doin’. Don’t worry, Broken Knight. They can’t make ye do anythin’ ye don’t wanna do. They’re just here to write down what we’re doin’ so others can read about it later.”
“Others, sir? Read about it later, sir? But who should want to read about us?”
Rannig looked up at the clouds, hanging motionless and filipendulous from the sky, and he waved. “Hullo.”