whatever time allows
This campfire is a step toward a bit of Myth Creation. Every entry will be a collaboration for building a series of stories that have a single world in common. In addition--the reason for the campfire title--I would like each writer to place the word count and time it took to write their entries at the end of their story.|
Anyone who wishes to join this campfire, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with an explanation of how you plan to add to the cohesion and I will send you an invite upon approval.
I wish for the writing to be as organic as possible, freewriting for the main part; however, stories written before hand and then pasted onto the page is acceptable. The only restriction is that all myths must be related to a whole world cohesion. Take our world as an example--with all the myths from all around our world and all the different cultures over the millennia that have passed from the oral tradition and onto the written page. The classical Greek and Roman Myths; the myths of the Norsemen; Egyptian myth; Mayan and Aztec myth; Germanic myth (Beowolf for example); Chinese, Japanese, Tibetan, Hindu, Hebrew, Slovic, excetera. Being inspired by the movie (I haven't read the book, though I just might sometime in the near future) Cloud Atlas I envision this campfire to be a series of complete yet connectable stories, told in a mythical voice/style to depict the history of the world through the action of its heroes and heroines, Gods and Goddesses, and historical events. There can be and I expect there to be more than one story teller since this is a campfire with at least two voices. The story tellers do not have to continue what the previous writer has started--thus it would be better if each writer makes as near a complete story as possible with each turn.
|Myth started out as stories around the community fire explaining and developing the ancient ceremonies around births and weddings, planting and harvesting ceremonies, recording celestial events and to answer the big questions that intelligent and outside thinking beings ask sometime during their lives. Questions like: where do we come from; why are we here; and, why are there stars in the night sky.|
Try to create a civilization around the myths. Humanize or alienize the myths. Are there merpeople or centaurs, or raven headed men dancing around fires to the beat of drums? Maybe, thar be dragons. Maybe, the world is depicted as a basket carried through the cosmos on the back of a turtle.
For the first story I will choose a creation myth. How the world came to be according to one culture found on the world they call Thrigga which is the third orbiting planet around their sun which they call Elpsa. Their solar system is as follows: Elpsa their sun; Rasdi their Mercury; Unes their Venus; Thrigga their Earth; Stresin their Jupiter (Note: they have no Mars or Saturn); and Pontris their Neptune (No Uranus or Pluto).
And thus it began....
"From nothing came the expulsion of hot, expanding, and blinding light. Within the stretching light formed dark holes and tears until the dark and the light combined together to measure the expanse of the unknowable cosmos. Constantly, the forming islands of light expanded from each other, yet once separated by the whole of the body, the cold of the darkness soon started to cool the islands of light speeding away from each other. These islands contracted as they cooled and as they contracted smaller and smaller and compressed upon themselves pools of heat formed at the centers eventually forming a near stability and heat conservation.
As typical of these islands of light, one compressed to form a great liquid fire ball at the center of circling rocky orbs. These orbs started out as molten lumps which eventually cooled into the worlds where the energies of the cosmic light transformed them as they are today. Our world, if you watch the vagrant astaers closely in the night sky, is the third world from Elpsa. We can tell this by how much longer it takes for our world to circle Elpsa compared to Rasdi and Unes (the two worlds closest to Elpsa). Also, our world circles Elpsa slower than Stresin and Pontris which are obviously further away from Elpsa than us."
"But Pater, what about Irridis and Rasim?"
The elder teacher smiled down at his inquisitive student. "I was just getting to them. Irridis was birthed from the molten Thrigga when the vagabond Rasim passed too close. Thrigga was young and ready to take a mate and tried to capture Rasim many times before as he passed. But the last time he tried to sneak by Thrigga, he chanced to come too close to her and when she reached out she caught him. He, in his shock, struggled against Thrigga's grasp. But, she was too strong. He fought desperately and tried charging her, slamming against her to get her to let go her grasp. He hit so hard that Irridis was gouged from her side. The pain of Rasim's contact was so painful, that she did for a moment release her grip upon him. He fled in the path of Irridis and as he passed her saw how beautiful was the child that he and Thrigga had made. He slowed his retreat and Thrigga and Rasim agreed that it was best that he guard the small Irridis from any outside intruders. So to this very day Irridis playfully circles her mother Thrigga under the guarded protection of her father Rasim."
A chime sounded as Pater ended his lecture. His seven students shifted their attentions away from him in their impatience to be on their way home. "Tomorrow I will tell you how Thrigga matured and how eventually, the people came to live upon her. Go now and think upon the beginnings of our world."
Seven bodies half his size jumped up from their mats and with joyous shouts and chatters ran from his place of teaching. Pater picked up and stacked the mats next to the stone half wall before he strolled toward the center square of the village. He would meet with the other elders of the village and join in the afternoon meal. He smiled. It was the first day of a new class. The children all knew the primary teaching stories but he always started the first few days of the season with them to refresh their minds of the origins of the cosmos and to get them into the right mindset for learning new things.
1 hour 33 minutes 31 secs
about 1050 words from intro to end of story.
I'm starting off easy and piggybacking on your original story. I'm not ready to jump in to the more surreal or mythological, aside from the art of myth creation.
I chose the phases of the moon (Elpsa), the first/last quarter and another story about the moon and someone she may love more than Rasim, as a way to explain the darkening phases and what they could mean.
I chose a threadbare teddy bear to ask the questions for the child, and an old grandmother to try and explain death to a young child. I kept the details non-specific to not narrow down any one time period. It's not a very strong example, but for a free writing session it was what I came up with. Let me know if you're wanting something more specific?
The Dark One
“Ma-ma, why does teddy lie to me?” Gabriella asked as she squeezed the stuffing out of a threadbare pillow. Two black buttons were sewn on the front with a crooked smile stitched across to act as a mouth. Limp, smelly feathers poked out from the fabric. The pillow was getting old.
“What does teddy say?” Ma-ma sat at the edge of the bed. Her old bones creaked along with the straining of the wood beneath her weight. Her breathing rattled heavy in her chest. She stroked a wrinkled hand along the edge of the blanket, trying to ignore the tremors that ran along her fingers. She could never sew another teddy, she couldn't thread a needle any more.
“Teddy says that when Irridis goes dark, she is hiding from the Dark One. The one that comes at night and brings the Dark Sleep.”
“You mean nightmares.”
“Teddy says it is a Dark Sleep. That someday, I won't wake up--”
“Give me your teddy.”
Gabriella looked from her pillow to her Ma-ma. She turned her big blue eyes to teddy. His stitches turned down to a frown.
“Teddy doesn't want to go. He wants the truth. He says you know the story.”
Ma-ma sighed and nodded. Gabriella's bed rested beneath a drafty window. Tonight, late as it was, the moon hung high over head and could be seen through the curtains. Ma-ma stood slowly from the edge of the bed and reached her arms up high. She strained to push aside the curtains to show Irridis in all her glory—even half hidden by the Dark One. She stared into the night and closed her eyes. She allowed the wind to touch her face briefly before settling back down onto the bed, a little closer to Gabriella.
“I do know the story. The Dark Sleep takes us all in the end.”
Gabriella's eyes widened slightly and she hugged her pillow closer to her chest. Ma-ma smiled and reached over to stroke a stray curl of hair.
“The Dark One loves Irridis. She doesn't hide from him. Once, every fortnight--”
“What's a fortnight again?”
Ma-ma held up both hands, waited for Gabriella to nod, then dropped them and held up another. “Enough days to go hungry, and cold, and sick and back again. Enough days to watch Irridis move slowly closer to the embrace of the Dark One.”
“But Irridis loves Rasim.”
“Irridis loved Rasim. Loved.”
Gabriella's tiny blonde eyebrows knitted to a frown. She looked from teddy to Ma-ma and then to the half-shadowed orb in the sky.
“Some day, perhaps, you will know the difference between love and loved. Thrigga loves her daughter, just like I love you. Thrigga loved Rasim--”
“Like you loved Pa-pa.” Gabriella brought her hand up to her mouth. She dropped teddy into her lap. Ma-ma gave a slow smile.
“More than I loved Pa-pa.” She winked a wrinkled eye.
“But then the Dark One took him with the Dark Sleep. And now they wait for Irridis together?”
Ma-ma took a deep breath. She felt her heart struggle for another beat in her aching chest. Fear gripped her for a moment and her vision darkened. She took a long breath and nodded.
“Ma-ma?” Gabriella's voice was a whisper.
“And now they wait together. They wait for me, and they wait for you. And now, it is time to sleep.” Ma-ma leaned over and kissed Gabriella's forehead. Her skin felt cool. Ma-ma knew, perhaps soon, she would join the Dark One and leave Gabriella to discover the truth on her own.
35 minutes, about 500 words. Written in another document -- to check spelling -- and pasted here.
|"Fruepida walked slowly through the tall grasses of the meadow; her hands down and fingertips brushing the plant tops. A light breeze rustled the dried seed stalks and cooled the midday rays of Elpsa. What a wonderful moment to spend away from the noise and bustle of the rest of the village. Fruepida turned with her face raised to the blue sky; her eyes closed; and, she thought of the many stories heard during her childhood of nymphs, fairies, gnomes, and brownies. She could believe of their existance this day. She could open her eyes and not be suprised at all if the buzzing and tweeting and croaking and clicking all around her were made by the creatures, the little dre-zylims of the stories told to children. The meadow smelled warm and of dry sweet grass. She stood still and listened, still her eyes were closed. The feathery fibers atop her head ridge rose and fluttered, testing the scents upon the wind. She smiled, opened her mouth and tasted the dust and pollens wafting on the air.|
Fruepida opened her eyes to witness the quiet meadow. She stood just off the center and watched the tiny flying insect ballet, the delicate pink umbrella seeds floating on the breeze. Birds flitted from bush to tree and back to bush again. The meadow was a living place, even when the plants were close to their ends. Soon the cold season would come and muffle the joy of life she danced with today. She sat, pushing down the grasses around her to form a mat. The dry stems and long slender lancelett leaves walled her in so only the blue sky and bright Elpsa could be seen from a rough circle overhead.
Fruepida imaginged she could spend all day here. The warmth of the midday blanketed drowsiness and soon the young woman curled up and dozed. Soon she floated into a dream and played with the shy dre-zylims of Grolish's meadow number seven."
Helain looked over her sleeping son and closed the book. She stood from the bedside chair and lightly kissed Gillen's brow. "We shall finish the 'Grolish Meadow Dreams' later."
Gillen didn't stir even as his mother pulled the blanket up over his shoulder. She raised the lamp bowl, blew out the flame of the oil lamp, placed the bound book on the table and stepped out of the partitioned space that was her son's bedroom.
"He finally asleep, then?"
"Well come here and join me. I could stand to hear some nice story of peaceful times."
Branford lay on the straw mattress with the blankets lifted and welcoming. His broad inviting smile beamed up at Helain.
Helain hesitated. "It's okay, my sweet, I banked the fire while you read." Branford patted the mattress next to him.
"Yes, I am ready for day's end." Helain slipped off her robe and slippers and joined her husband.
"So tell me, My Sweet, what kind of mischief does Fruepida find herself in number seven meadow?"
"She meets the dark dre-zylim who live under the roots of the meadow. Their king falls in love with her and she must find the path back to the world above ground." Helain snuggled into the arms of her man as he lowered the blankets over her.
"So the dark King loses Fruepida in the end?"
"Yes, I'm afraid so. The lesson is that light and dark cannot join, they must always be separate. They may touch and blend around the edges, the dusk and the dawn, the time that is neither dark nor light; but, true day and true night must always be free to be what they are or the cosmos could not exist."
"Then I am glad we are of the same dimness. I could not stand to have you leave me in darkness." Branford lightly kissed Helain's lips.
"Nor I. I could never leave you."
Branford reached above his head and snuffed out the single candle flame with a brass snuffer. But neither Helain nor Branford went immediately to sleep.
36 minutes//675 words
| “You are daft with that thing. Put it down before you hurt yourself.”|
“No. You never let me practice, I'm doing this--”
“I said put it down.”
A muffled curse came from one of the brothers—the one who had just had his shoulder punched. Hard. The sword dropped to the ground and made an awful clamor as it hit a rock.
“If you dented that sword—I will beat you with it.”
Rian leaned down and picked up the sword his clumsy brother had dropped. He inspected the cheap blade. There were bound to be dents, scratches and knicks in the metal. It was poorly made: purchased from a wandering street vendor without their father's permission. It was, however, the only sword they owned. And they shared it. Sometimes.
“You scratched the silver.” Rian said as he pointed a chubby finger to a scratch he knew had been there for the past few weeks.
“I did not, and it ain't real silver, anyhow. Don't lie. And give it back!” Cassius reached for the sword but Rian was one step ahead of him. He moved out of his brother's way and was quick enough to swat him on the back as he stumbled by.
“It is real silver. We paid good money for this sword.” Rian smiled, brushing at the silver etching in the handle of the sword. “And the merchant said it was silver.”
“There is one way to be certain.” Cassius did his best attempt to raise an eyebrow. He failed and it only made him look as if he were in pain. Rian knew what he was thinking, though. They both turned to look down the hill to the edge of the forest.
“That forest belongs to the Fire Wolf. A beast that can only be hurt by silver.”
Rian was quiet. He stared at the edge of the forest and saw the shadows crept out along the grass. The darkness ran like blood to the edge of the green grass, where it recoiled and returned to the forest.
“Unless you're a coward. Can't you hear me? I said—”
“I heard you. I just think it's a stupid idea, like most of yours.”
Rian ignored Cassius' response and looked back at the blade. As stupid as the idea was—his brother had a point. The Fire Wolf was a local legend, a tale to scare children: but both brothers had seen the beast before.
If I could prove to Lyda's family that I slayed the beast, maybe her family would agree to let me marry her. Something stirred deep within his chest—pride, perhaps. The last time he had seen Lyda was when she had denied him. Her father had been there. They told him he wasn't worthy. Only a hero could marry her. She was only fit for a hero. And heroes slayed monsters...
18 minutes / 475 words / Written in another document -- to check spelling -- and pasted here.
More of a prelude to an actual myth, as I plan to continue with their adventure.
|Prairie Dog, Snake and Owl|
A great Cottonwood, dusty-green leaves, large sprawling branches, stood ever watchful upon her small knoll. She watched alone upon the greater expanse of rolling buffalo grass plains; and, the things Cottonwood has seen over the centuries. Why, the great Cottonwood was there when Prairie Dog outwitted Snake and Owl.
It was in the morning of a bright, late-spring day when old Snake stirred from under a boulder; one of many remnants left behind during the passing of a long gone glacial age. Old Snake pushed this way and that way essing his long body through the base of the tall grasses until he came upon a hole and a fresh dug mound of dirt. Snake's tongue flicked out, the tip flicking up and down so fast it was a blur. He tasted the scent of Prairie Dog and he smiled. This will be a good place to wait. I am hungry and here promises a nice snack before I travel further on my way."
So snake waited.
Prairie Dog was deep in her hole. She scurried through the many underground passages connecting her den to those of the main city. At the moment she traveled to her cousin's den to brag of the new door she had just completed near the big cottonwood tree. As Prairie Dog grew nearer to her destination, she could hear the short barking squeeks of the hairless litter filling her cousin's den.
Prairie Dog barked, "Cousin, are you home?"
Cousin dropped the roots and bugs she had foraged into a corner of the den then laid next to her pups who blindly wiggled and pushed with tiny legs toward the warmth of mother and the promise of milk. "Yes, I am here. The children are ready for their feeding."
Prairie Dog poked her nose into the den and smiled upon the sight. She was too young to have a family, but it wouldn't be long when she would attract some suiters to her den. She grinned at her cousin.
"I have added the second door to my own den. It opens up under lonely Cottonwood and is all walled up with tall grasses. An excellent place for foraging."
Cousin raised her head and shook it slowly, a worried wrinkle over her brow. "Oh my dear, Old Owl lives there. I'm afraid you and your family will not survive the summer if you use that door very often."
Prairie Dog rested in the door of the den and thought. She hadn't thought of Old Owl. The tree had been empty when she'd dug her new door. She supposed that Owl had been away hunting. "Well, I think if I watch the tree closely and monitor Owl's routine, I can time my foraging for when she is away."
Cousin thought upon these rash words and shook her head; but, instead of speaking further doom she simply said, "Well, I suppose if you never lower your guard and only go out when Owl is away good fortune is possible for you and your future pups."
Prairie Dog beamed a smile at Cousin and turned on her way to further expand her own network of tunnels to and from her newly completed den. Oh cousin your den is so tiny now that you have your pups, you will have to expand as they grow. I will expand my den now and save work later when I need to better spend my time foraging.
Prairie Dog acted upon her insightful thought immediately. She started digging out the edges of her den and expanding the diameter so that she had more than plenty of room to run around. All the digging however left piles of dirt that needed pushing out so she started pushing fresh dirt out of an older shorter tunnel leading to the outside. Finally she pushed a last time and the dirt was outside. Prairie Dog breathed in the clean air and froze with just her head poking out of the door. What was that stange stink? She had never smelled it before, but it had a twinge of danger attached to it that raised the hackles over her neck. She backed up into the shadow of her hole and pondered the strange smell of imminent danger just outside. The breeze that carried the smell came from the direction of Cottonwood. Prairie Dog realized that Owl wasn't the only potential disaster waiting under the great tree. After a long time of not knowing what to do, curiosity finally gave strength to her little legs and she emerged ever so slowly from her door. When nothing pounced upon her, she stood up on her hind legs and stretched her body up as far as she could and looked all around herself. She could see another door leading to another cousin's den. She could see the tree on the hill where that awful smell wafted from and made her shiver with fear. Compulsively, Prairie Dog Barked out a commanding warning of danger before darting inside her hole. After only a few moments, Prairie Dog heard several more alarmed barks which seemed to all circle the area of Cottonwood. None of the Barks said Owl but a couple did say a word she'd heard before, but only thought it was a storytime monster mother had invented to keep her inside the den. Snake they said. Realizing that Snake was a reality waiting just outside her new door, lent immediate strength to her little legs and she scurried back to her den trembling with fear.
What was she going to do? And why hadn't Snake crawled through her new door and nested in her own den? With that terrifying thought Prairie Dog no longer felt safe in her own newly dug out home and she fled into the tunnels shivering with panic.
Snake had waited by the small opening for a couple hours. Elpsa was now high over head and very nicely warming the grasses not shaded by Cottonwood. He yearned for a nice rock to lay upon and sleep under the rays of Elpsa. His hunger wasn't all that urgent, he had afterall, just eaten the day before. His tongue stretched out and tasted the scent of Prairie Dog and he was truly torn between finding a rock or staying in the off chance he'd get a delectable snack. Then the noisome barks of danger erupted all around him. Someone had detected his presence. His chance for his favorite snack was vanqished, so Snake pushed his heavy body away from the shade of Cottonwood to find a nice warm rock.
Owl finished her late night meal around mid morning. Rabbit had made the mistake of coming out of his hole when Owl was flying overhead back to her tree. So it was that owl spotted Snake leaving the shade of Cottonwood as she approached. Elpsa was high over head and bright so Owl was very happy to be home and would worry about Snake later. She was slightly disgruntled both from lack of sleep, for it had been a long night of hunting, and to find the prairie dog community all in a noisy uproar due to Snake's presence. He obviously wasn't just passing through but had lingered. Owl ruffled her feathers before dipping her head beneath a massive wing. It was time for sleep. Tomorrow she would deal with Snake, if he happened to return. Prairie Dog Town was her domain and she didn't relish the thought of squatters in her home territory. Besides, his presence made sleep rather troublesome since the dogs seemed to bark nearly all day with every small hint of danger. Usually, they were quieter.
It was a couple days before Snake returned to Prairie Dog Town and Cottonwood. Priarie Dog had been busy in the meantime. Once she realized that Snake was gone and hadn't returned she went about making several more new doors and windier passages to her den to discourage any intruders. She noticed that Owl left her tree towards late afternoon when Elpsa was close to the western horizon and came back a bit after dawn. She'd carried something back to the tree with her and ate it before dipping her head under a wing to sleep.
Prairie Dog got really brave the second day and made another door to her den under the sleeping owl. Her cousin tsk, tsked her carelessness when Prairie Dog had bragged about it. "You always were the brash one and a great worry for your mother. Mark my words, if you continue to take these kinds of risks you will become Owl's meal for the night."
Prairie Dog just turned away from her cousin's den thinking how timid she'd become since having her litter of pups. But, then she wondered if she had chosen a foolish place to make her den. Afterall, hadn't Owl feasted on other's who had built too close to Cottonwood? Well, she reasoned, those dogs were careless and not as clever as she. She wouldn't ever get caught by Owl because she was watching Owl very closely.
Then Prairie Dog stopped just at the edge of one of her newer doors. She started to tremble uncontrollably. That same odor of imminent danger wafted down the tunnel.
Snake was back.
1,545 words @ 1hr 45min writing time
written in different format--offline--for editing purposes, then pasted here. Part 1 of a two part (or more story)
|Bright Eyes, or as the fur-less one called her “Jones,” perched at the throne of her kingdom. It was made of soft, stretched animal fur and shaped specifically as her throne. The fur-less ones often sat in it, but sat backwards, unaware that Bright Eyes kept watch while they looked the other way. She wondered if they realized they spent much of their lives sitting, looking the wrong way. Their fur-less babes grew so fast and still they sat, staring at shiny objects and holding things up to their thick heads, speaking words that didn't matter and getting angry over things they couldn't control.|
Today she lounged, singing the soft song of her people while she kept one golden eye on the newest addition to her kingdom: a young male with paws too large and a belly that never became full.
The fur-less ones called the male “Boo Boo.” The name sounded clumsy rolling off their stiff, graceless tongues. Bright Eyes would find a name suitable for the male but she needed time to observe. She closed her eyes for a just a moment, soaking up Elpsa's generous rays. She longed for the golden sands of her home kingdom of Unes, for they soaked up the warmth unlike any surface of her fur-less prison. Her throne was the closest to Elpsa's rays but it was nothing compared to the endless warmth of Unes. The fur-less ones continued to scramble, staring up at Elpsa in wonder, never knowing that Bright Eyes and her people had already been beyond Thrigga.
Bright Eyes had been banished long ago. Doomed to live out the rest of her numerous lives in the confinements of this fur-less prison called Thrigga. Still, she had long given up being bitter. She would escape from this fur-less prison, and return to Unes with an army at her back.
Boo Boo landed a fat paw in his water dish and sent water flying everywhere. A cold drop managed to fly up and land on Bright Eye's immaculate fur. She hissed, rising up from her throne with one graceful motion, back raised and tail ready for battle. The young male cowered against a structure full of square fur-less objects full of things Bright Eyes liked to use to sharpen her claws. The male would find no shelter there. It was time for Bright Eyes to prove she was the still Unes' chosen one.
Written offline for spelling and editing. Took about 30 minutes. Estimated 400 words.