I worked a lot of overtime in the past couple of weeks, so finding time to write has been difficult. When it comes to hobbies, of course, you need to make time for them. Even if the product isn’t very good, it’s no good passing up opportunities to try. I took some time to give the chapters names, but I didn’t number them in case I want to insert other chapters. That will save me from tedious renumbering.
Artur and the Rhinos are returning from their adventure. I’m preparing to have them part ways so the Rhinos can get home and Artur can be reunited with his family, and be done with this bit of the book. I want to move on to the adventures of the Cow tribe, and the Poisoners of the city of Anarch, and the horsemen of the north. And then I want to jump ahead some ten years and get on with Tana’s adventures…
Artur, Oak and Acorn walked hurriedly over the mountains and down onto the main road headed west for Pig country. Invigorated by their victory, the Rhinos felt the summer air seemed fresher, the leaves brighter, and the bird and insect song all the more lovely.
Artur, despite being pleased with the success of their adventure, had a heavy heart. Most of his adventures were morally unambiguous. Meddling in the politics of the Frog people, the witch who cursed her ex husband, the ex husband who tried to kill him repeatedly, and then stealing the latter’s pet. All this to save the Rhinos from a wasting disease.
The Rhinos tried to make conversation, but Artur was lost in thought, and they realized that while his body was with them, his mind was elsewhere. Artur witnessed his deeds upon a mystical scale that weighed the balance of good and evil, and for the first time in a long time, the good didn’t outweigh the evil. And then he remembered all the Rhinos who died from the horrible disease, and how many would be saved from his deeds, and the pan filled with good became heavier. Then he remembered that it’s usually the wicked who cause the moral conflicts to begin with, and the pan filled with evil became lighter. He felt better, but was grieved that it took effort to weigh out the balance of his deeds.
Artur was jolted back to reality when Oak said abruptly, “We’re going to turn South tomorrow.”
“Oh?” said Artur, suddenly on a dirt road amid a grassy plain dotted with little copses of maple and white birch.
“We’re going to make for the Great Sea and hire a ship to take us across. It’s faster than going over the road,” said Oak.
“Very well,” said Artur. “You will come back to visit, I hope.”
“Of course my friend,” said Oak. “When time allows. We’re always escorting wagons and caravans. And since you helped save my people, I think I owe you one now.”
Artur shook his head. “We’re even.”
Acorn interjected, “Then let’s enjoy each other’s company while we’re together today, and not worry about tomorrow. My bagpipes are broken, so let’s have a song or two.”
Oak smiled at this, and said, “Which song?”
Acorn cleared his throat, and began to sing.
One day there was a terrible storm
and the waves crashed onto the village
The buildings were ripped and torn
the water itself did pillage
And then came a thousand rhinos
and waded into the tide
shoulder to shoulder, their shields held firm
and the waves could not break their hides
The ocean broke and retreated before
the might of the rhino dam
the humans returned to their village
and cooked everyone some yams
“Yams?” laughed Artur.
“Holding back the sea is hungry work.” said Acorn, who patted his belly.
“Is that a true story?” asked Artur.
Oak said, “I don’t know. But it’s inspiring. When faced with hideous monsters, or even dragons, we’re reminded that the sea itself was no match for the Rhinos.”