Peter is dead!... Who's Peter? How do these characters sneak into my plot uninvited?
|For your consideration, a muddled fragment from a musty, unfinished project. I've got lots and lots of words; a drunken band of tedious, unruly characters vying for the lead and an uncooperative plot. Grammar and Punctuation were last seen chuckling in the kitchen. Posted here for your amusement and thoughts.
Writing a draft, I throw everything into the Cioppino, and let it boil for a while. I'm pretty good at picking out the shells but always appreciate some help. Please let me know if you find something worth keeping. And thanks for slogging thru the swamp with me.
Chapter 3 Peter is dead
“William, Peter is dead”
The heroes formed a circle. Peter appeared dead. The Paladin stood over him. His enemies lay slain all about him.
The battlefield was as a ghost shrouded in smoke. William gazed down at his friend and sat upon the tortured ground next to the body. There was life within Peter still though his heart was stopped.
The Palladin allowed Death to approach, he must allow her to come near before she recognized him. She moved cautiously.
The gravely injured man lying upon the ground was known to her but there was another one there she did not know. He could see her, there was no doubt, this man was watching her. None can see Death coming yet this One did.
She came near, “Ah.. it's you”. Death sighed.
"You have disguised yourself, yet I should have known it would be you. Is this a trap my old friend?” She smiled, it was a sad smile.
“Paladin... William, you must let him go. Allow him his rest. He has suffered and his debt is paid. This is Peter's time, time to know me better, time to find a new love and a better peace.”
The Paladin stood up, he said nothing but looked hard into the eyes of Death and Death stepped back in fear. She could not look away from those eyes which held such power. The Palladin appeared large and menacing. The All-father and The Odinn were with him. Death could not move or speak but slowly she saw this man revealed more fully. . What had been a dim reflection was now set before her to see clearly. He loved to much and he desired too much. In that moment when all time was still and all things quiet, Death knelt before the Palladin and bowed her head low.
It disturbed William to see her this way but his purpose was greater than his compassion. He looked down at her, she did not look up,
The Palladin spoke sternly “It is not permitted you the knowledge of the counting of days or the vision to know what peace is in life. This realm, my realm is more than your language of beginnings and endings. You will yield to me. I am the wiser.”
Now Death pleaded, “Do not do this. He is so close, so very close. Will you bring him back even from the dead? Ripping and tearing at me , raping me, as the wizards do, laughing as I stand naked, beaten and bloody. Have you no mercy for Peter or I. Do you not remember who I am. Please, Jonn, remember me.”
The Paladin did remember addicted as he was to her power and his power over her. He had the knowledge, he knew what to do. At his center there was mercy for this one but he could not yield to it-- yet he did not like what he was doing.
The Paladin replied, “It is not permitted for me to return life to the dead and such a thing is beyond me. There is still life in Peter and you know this as well as I. You will save him one day but not this day. ”
The Paladin watched Death closely, she was trembling. Then she did something unexpected. Death held out her right hand,” she begged, “Come and dance with me?
Then of a sudden she saw Jonn smile and she was not afraid anymore. He was again the thing she lusted for the most. Here was a life she could embrace without breaking it. The boy who had called her to a holy lake surrounded by mountains. He had seduced her there upon those holy shores. Forced her to fall in love with him. She had not expected to meet him again not before the End. The roar of life was within him. The child there still, untamed.
The Paladin did not speak, he did not need to. His right hand caressed her check slowly like a lovers embrace. She stood then and came near, very near, close but not quite touching. She looked into his eyes, just a glance that held all of dawn and twilight. Jonn heard a whisper in his ear, “My sweetest friend. Do not fear the flame, dare to burn more brightly as a beacon calling all to deeds of goodwill both small and great”. Jonn embraced her, he held Death tightly, there was no distance between them now. He bowed and they danced and danced, happy as ever they would be. she kissed his head and he watched as she faded away. He yearned to go after her.
The others watched as William cradled Peter in his arms. They heard him whisper,
“I grieve for my life, my life as it was in another age. But this is not my day and I have debts still to pay.”
All the world went to a unsettling quiet. The Paladin did not move. He did not speak. It seemed a long time time, hours, minutes, or days went by, they could not know. He was putting forth all his will, that much was plain. They could feel it, a great storm raging. It dimmed their vision and took the warmth out of their bones.
Peter suddenly opened his eyes and took a deep breath. A strange smell was on the air, it smelled like spring and in the distance music, perhaps a waltz.
.Christen spoke first, “And of all these, they who can work miracles, some few will be the Paladin.” It was a quote from a children book, ancient in origin but still very popular. She looked at the Paladin, “I have known you all these long years but I never saw it.” William replied, “Few can, even among the wise.”