Monday January 2nd, 2017

The exercise:

Write about: the expedition.

For the first time in a long time, I went out to take pictures this afternoon. I brought Max with me - mostly to get him out of the house, but also because he wanted to use my phone to take pictures of his own. It was pretty cold but we still had fun:

I'm hoping to do that again, preferably on a warmer day.

Tomorrow is the first day back to school after Christmas vacation. So Natalie will be back in class, Becky will be back teaching, and Kat and the boys will be returning to StrongStart.

I plan on getting caught up (at least part of the way) on comments. And to maybe figure out the yearlong prompt.


The objective had seemed relatively simple when their master had summoned them to his chambers: find a safe passage through the Marshlands. Certainly they would have to brave a dangerous wilderness, but surely it wouldn't take long to find and map out a path through it, then return safely to their homes.

That had been four months ago.

Now the once orderly expedition was rapidly dissolving into anarchy. Rations had been plentiful at the outset, but one packhorse had been lost to quicksand and a second had been taken by a creature one night the previous month. They had discovered the remains the following day, which amounted to little more than hooves and a partially digested saddlebag.

Some members of the expedition, in order to decrease their dependency on their dwindling food supply, had begun eating the large, round fruit hanging heavy in the trees which surrounded them. Other than mild hallucinations, the side effects had thus far been minimal.

They were no longer attempting to find a path through the Marshlands. Any suggestion to do so in recent weeks had been met with glares, at best, and bared steel at worst. Survival was the main motivator now. In order to return to their families and friends. In order to seek vengeance in the house of their master.

But first, they would have to find a path back home.


morganna said...

Starting from Marc's:
With the passing season, a new fruit began to ripen in the Marshlands. Smaller and oval, almost oblong, yet still rounded, a brave member of the expedition tried it. He suffered no side effects at all. Delighted with this result, the rest of the expedition tried it. With full bellies and sane minds, they were able to spot a way through the huge trees. The horses couldn't clamber over the enormous roots, so three of the expedition stayed behind with the horses while the others went to reconnoiter. The waiting ones were resentful of the short straws they had drawn, until the screams began to echo down the path. Apparently, that was not the way to the friendly village on the edge of the Marshlands that they had encountered at the beginning of the journey.

Greg said...

@Morganna: it's good to have you back again! I hope you had a good Christmas and a great start to the new year!
I enjoyed this continuation, with its moments of hope when the new fruit ripened, and then the dashing of hopes heard by the men waiting with the horses. It's a great contrast, and I'm sure the men waiting with horses are glad to have stayed behind, for all that their journey out of the Marshlands is now surely much harder!

@Marc: that's a great picture of Max! What's causing the orangey reflection on the lower right hand side though? I'm sure it has to be Max's coat, but I don't think it's a reflection in the water! I hope everyone has a good time at school tomorrow, since it sounds like everyone but you will be there, and good luck with the comments and the yearlong prompt!
Well, these Marshlands are definitely only for the brave and foolish, it seems! I like the details about the partially digested saddleback and the fruit and its odd effects, and I like how long they spend trying to find a way through before giving up: it seems very like the seafarers trying to find a new route to the Spice countries. Nicely evocative work :)

The expedition
"No children allowed," said the man in the white suit. He was handsome and his white teeth contrasted strongly with his dark skin, but his brow was furrowed and his eyes were flashing with restrained anger.
"That's not a child," said Agnes. She smiled up at the man. "That's a seeing-eye dog."
"No pets allowed," said the man instantly.
"She's not a pet! She's a seeing-eye dog. She helps me get around."
"She is a he, madam, and he is a small boy, probably aged around 4. He might be crawling around on his hands and knees and wearing mickey-mouse ears, but he is definitely not a dog. Seeing-eye, Hearing-ear, or Tasting-tongue."
"I told you he'd remember from last time," said Betty.
"He wasn't here last time!"
"Oh yes he was. Just because you've forgotten your glasses today doesn't mean you get to be right. That's Mr. Johansson, the nice director of the restaurant."
The boy on the floor burped and started licking something on the ground. The tall man grimaced. "My name is Jolson," he said. "Like the famous singer. You ladies probably saw him perform. And your child is eating off the floor, which while perfectly safe in this very clean establishment, is not something I think you ought to encourage. And I am the conductor of the orchestra, and this the Symphony Hall. And there are no pets allowed, and you two are banned for life. As you are well aware."
"She's a Sniffing-nose Ocelot," said Agnes, but without much heat. "She's a valuable aid to me, and you ought to be more concerned. And I've never been here before, so I don't see how I can be banned for life."
"Or me!" said Betty quickly. "If I were banned for life I wouldn't want to come here."
"Agnes Beaulieu and Betty Botox," said Mr. Jolson. He produced mug-shots of them both. "Police photographs after I had you arrested for letting mice loose in the orchestra pit and then throwing in a mongoose after them."
"That was a seeing-eye mongoose!" yelled Agnes.
"She was a national treasure!" shouted Betty.
The small boy on the floor started throwing up.
"Out!" declaimed Mr. Jolson. He waved a security guard over. "Throw them out, Jim, with all the expedition you can muster!"

Marc said...

Morganna - so pleased you chose to continue mine. I like how you provide hope (something to eat!) and then snatch it away. I wonder what the remaining three will do now?

Greg - ah, I see that you felt much the same way about Morganna's continuation as I did. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised :P

Max's coat is reflecting on the ice at the edge of the lake. I guess it was the angle of the sun that did that.

Thanks for the comment encouragement (it clearly did the trick) and the kind words on mine.

Heh, while I was busy enjoying this scene I was also trying to figure out how exactly you'd incorporate the prompt into it. You did not let me down in that regard :)