As hinted at in yesterday's post, I'm trying something different today. Well, starting today - and continuing into tomorrow and Friday.
Welcome to the first edition of A Tale In Three Parts.
Basic idea: everybody who wants to join in gets to tell a story, starting from the same prompt, over the course of three days. The hope is that it will allow each of us to put together something a little longer, a little more involved, a little more intricate, that what we cram into a single day's prompt response. Plus it allows for some time between entries to mull things over and for new ideas to emerge that may have remained hidden had the entire tale been written in one sitting.
And because I don't actually have three days in a row that don't run into either 4 line poem, haiku, or 4 line prose days, I figured Wednesday to Friday was our best bet for this. You're welcome to limit yourself to four lines on Friday (I'm pretty sure I won't) but feel free to ignore the limit in favor of bringing your tale to a proper conclusion.
If this works and you guys are in favor of doing it again, I'm thinking I'll bring it back every couple of months or so, with a new prompt each time. I'll be asking for your feedback on Friday or Saturday to see what you think.
Anyway. Without further ado, let's get this started with: The Crossing, Part One.
A thick fog clung to the river in the dark, dead of night. On the eastern bank four cloaked figures stood next to their horses in a silence that seemed to have existed since the dawn of time. They did not shift from side to side, nor fidget with their equipment. Not even their breathing changed. But still their impatience could be felt in the air.
For the ferryman was late.
“Charon would not keep us waiting like this,” the figure standing next to the white horse said at last.
“This is not the Styx, Pest.” The reply came from within the hood of the figure waiting next to the ashen horse.
“Not yet, Dee,” Pestilence replied with a laugh that rattled like dry bones in a dice bag. The other figures turned their gazes toward him but said nothing. Even after centuries of travelling together they still had not grown used to his sense of humour.
“The boatman will come,” Death announced some time later. “He dare not leave us stranded here.”
“No, the matter was arranged by Master,” the figure next to the black horse whispered. “The boatman knows the cost of failing to live up to his end of the agreement.”
“Indeed, Fame,” the final figure said, ignoring Famine’s glare. Innumerable threats had not yet vanquished the hated nickname, so he had recently given up on that tactic. He had yet to decide on an alternative method. “Eventually, our ferryman will arrive.”
“And then, War?” Famine asked through gritted teeth. It was all the worse that the rider of the red horse was the only member of the group without a nickname.
“He will explain himself, Fame.” War gripped the hilt of the great sword at his hip with a gloved hand and shrugged slightly. “One way or another, he will explain himself.”
“Look.” Death extended a long, emaciated arm toward the river, a lone, pale finger extending from the sleeve of his cloak. The others did as instructed and a sound that may have been a contented sigh in another setting, from another group of travellers, arose as they saw the outline of the ferry emerging from the fog. “He comes at last.”