Sunday, March 8, 2015

Kruzz III

"What was your Hunt like?" Kruzz was sharpening the tip of his spear. It was almost time.
    Grim laughed out loud and gave him a slap on the back.
    "Oh, it was glorious. I stalked the forest for my prey." He held his own spear in both hands and looked from left to right as if he was doing it all over again. "The elder told me to sit and wait. He said that the animal would chose me and that it would come. I waited for about five minutes until I could stand it no longer."
    Dax chuckled. "I'm amazed you even managed to wait that long. Many broods are impatient and go out to find their destiny." He smiled and put a hand on Kruzz's shoulder. "But those who wait are rewarded with easy success. Why go out to search for your prey when you know it will come to you?"
    "For the hunt!" Grim growled. "You make it very hard for me to like you. I was impressed like all the others to see you fight, but you speak of the Hunt as if it were nothing important. It's a great ritual that determines your worth as a warrior. The lust for blood presses you onwards to find your prey. That is the Orc way. That is how it should be." Grim crossed his arms as if that settled the matter.
    "I believe the ritual has merit. It is an important day for a brood to prove his strength to his peers and to be accepted into the ranks of warriors, but I also believe it has its flaws. For most Orcs do not understand the true meaning of the ritual and its spiritual context. You for instance might think that I was a weakling, since the prey I found - or should I say that found me - was an owl."
    "An owl?" Grim barked with laughter. He bent over and slapped his knee. "Dax, the slayer of owls!" He continued to laugh and didn't stop, even when Dax continued speaking.
    "An owl is an old sign for wisdom. The ritual pointed out a very different kind of strength within me. It did not determine that I was a weak warrior. You yourself said that you were impressed by my skill. The animal that chooses to be your prey says a lot more about your true nature than just your capabilities as a warrior."
    "Of course you say that. Your prey was an owl." Grim couldn't stop laughing.
    "What was your animal?" Kruzz looked at the strong Orc with big eyes. Dax was smart and there may be truth to what he said, but killing an owl was not what Kruzz had imagined when he thought about the Hunt.
    "It was a bear." Grim's laughter subsided and he once again played the part of the hunter, jabbing his spear into the air. "It was big and fierce. When I found it, it stepped up onto its hind legs and roared with fury."
    Kruzz could imagine what it must have been like. He wondered how he would hold his own against a bear. "And what did you do?"
    "I roared right back into its face." Grim laughed aloud. "And then I charged. It swiped me aside with a big swing of its claws, breaking my spear in half. I didn't know what to do then, but I had to react fast, because the bear was on the attack. It charged, so I jumped up to a tree branch. The bear crashed into the tree below and I dropped on its back. We wrestled until I got ahold of the tip of my spear that was lying on the ground and I jabbed it into the bear's eye."
    Grim was on the ground after having rolled around imitating the wrestling match with the bear. Now that was the kind of Hunt Kruzz had imagined. He had respected Grim for his strength and the fighting skills he had shown against the humans, but this tale made Kruzz look up to him in a new light. Grim wasn't just a grunt. He was a beast of an Orc. Stronger than a bear. And that was when he was younger, just of age for the hunt. By now, he must have grown even stronger. Especially, since he did so much hard work in the mines.
    "Quite the challenge." Dax stroked his chin with his fingers. "I think I know what your Hunt means."
    "I know exactly what it means. It means I'm stronger than a bear. That's all that matters."
    "If that's all that matters you should be a renowned warrior. Not many grunts can boast of their Hunt having involved a bear. Especially, fighting that bear bare handed, because of a broken spear. No, no, no. There is more meaning in your story. You're right of course, it shows lots of strength."
    Grim gave a satisfied grunt.
    "But the symbolism of the bear entails more than strength. It's also a sign for leadership."
    Grim guffawed. "You mean to tell me I should be a great leader. An elder of one of the war clans, like Gwarr?"
    "On the contrary." Dax's eyes widened as he understood. "The fact that you wrestled the bear and had such a strenuous fight leads me to believe that you are anti-authority. I think the bear means that you are capable of being a great leader, but something inside you is against leadership. That is why you became part of the new settlement near the mines. You have a warrior's appetite for blood and you have the skill to fight, but you still did not choose to become a warrior."
    Kruzz furrowed his brow, trying to understand. Grim was speechless. Everything Dax had said was confusing, especially the way he said it, but some of it rang true. Grim had always been a lazy worker. It had been well known in the settlement that he would always get up late and would not listen when given orders.
    Dax smiled and seemed satisfied with his explanation. He used the following silence to add some more 'wisdom', as he would call it. "Like I said, I think you have it in you to become a great leader. You just have to defeat whatever it is inside you that is stopping you. You've already defeated a bear, so why not defeat that as well?"
    Grim grabbed his spear and growled. "Stop your stupid drivel and stick your bow where the sun don't shine." Grim huffed and left their circle. Kruzz wondered what had made him so made.
    "What did I say?" Dax shrugged. "Well, looks like it's time. Elder Worg is coming to get you."
    Kruzz stiffened. What would his future bring? He visualized Grim's fight against the bear and then Dax waiting for his owl. There was no way to know until it happened. He would have to go and figure it out.
    His Hunt was about to begin.

9 comments:

  1. When you write Dax, you do the best job of differentiating between characters' voices. There's a real sense of progress there, and it carries over to the differences between Grim and Kruzz, too. If you can capture that nuanced differentiation and move it to the human side, too, to that same degree, you'd make a huge step forward. The humans often seem a bit more similar to one another.

    That being said, the Hunt as a concept is pretty cool. Rites of passage are important to any culture, and the fact that even Grim sees a potential (even though he won't admit it) that his Hunt might have meant something more than just "I'm strong" is a good idea.

    I felt that Dax's little lecture on how to interpret Grim's Hunt was lacking, though. IT reminded me (and not in a good way) of the narration in Mockingjay (the final Hunger Games trilogy book), when Katniss basically interprets that hanging tree song for the reader inside her own head. She does it again at another point when she contemplates the point of playing "catch the light" with Prim's cat. It's very heavy-handed and clunkily done, and significantly took the author down a few notches for me (I never thought she was brilliant, but that was a definite turn for the worse). That being said, I do NOT think this is as bad as that. But it has some of the same elements.

    This entire section:

    "But the symbolism of the bear entails more than strength. It's also a sign for leadership."
    Grim guffawed. "You mean to tell me I should be a great leader. An elder of one of the war clans, like Gwarr?"
    "On the contrary." Dax's eyes widened as he understood. "The fact that you wrestled the bear and had such a strenuous fight leads me to believe that you are anti-authority. I think the bear means that you are capable of being a great leader, but something inside you is against leadership. That is why you became part of the new settlement near the mines. You have a warrior's appetite for blood and you have the skill to fight, but you still did not choose to become a warrior."
    Kruzz furrowed his brow, trying to understand. Grim was speechless. Everything Dax had said was confusing, especially the way he said it, but some of it rang true. Grim had always been a lazy worker. It had been well known in the settlement that he would always get up late and would not listen when given orders.
    Dax smiled and seemed satisfied with his explanation. He used the following silence to add some more 'wisdom', as he would call it. "Like I said, I think you have it in you to become a great leader. You just have to defeat whatever it is inside you that is stopping you. You've already defeated a bear, so why not defeat that as well?"

    Is full of that strange kind of exposition. There needs to be a better way to do this, maybe by interacting more between Grim and Dax or maybe Dax and Kruzz (if Grim was definitely not willing to ask questions), but as it stands, that particular part is not high up on my favorite sections.

    Please don't shoot the messenger :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. BANG! Next time send a friendlier messenger :P

    I know exactly what you mean in Mockingjay. I liked what the song symbolized, but the way the interpretation was delivered wasn't very smooth. As you said, it was kind of clunky.

    I just reread my section and I agree. I wrote a big chunk of this post yesterday in one sitting and didn't really give it a second read-through before posting it. The plan was actually for the post to be about the Hunt and nothing else, but while I was writing all this background information just started pouring out of my fingers. I ended up just being happy with what I had managed to write and decided to post it and now I'm getting ready to write the second part, the actual Hunt.

    Thanks for the encouraging words about differentiation of character. Writing Dax is so much fun for me. His choice of words is just so scholarly and unfitting for the harsh orc surroundings. I think his being so different is what makes the other characters come out of their shells as well. Grim and Kruzz both think that his way of speaking is weird, but they react to it in different ways. That's what gives them their own voice.

    I'll definitely try to do something similar with the humans, but it's a little bit more complicated, because they are more split up. Kruzz, Dax and Grim are all in the same boat and can interact with each other. Small John and Serah are in close proximity to each other, but they aren't friends. Damien is doing his own evil intrigue and Bron is off in the mountains following orders. But I will do my best to give each of them some individualism. ;)

    Don't stop messaging, even if it's not always all pleasant. A good critique is the gift of improvement. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Aha, so Damien IS evil! Caught you ;)

    Yeah, Dax works as a foil, but what's brilliant about Dax is that he works as a character in his own right at the same time. That's not at all natural, many characters that act as a foil for others are just that - a foil. Well done here though.

    I'll be reading up on the next Kruzz chapter soon.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I said Damien is doing evil intrigue not that he IS evil. Does that make sense? Oh, I can't talk myself out of this one. Yes, you caught me! :P

    Foil - uh a new literary term that I did not know. Thanks! ;)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Yeah, I learned what a foil is from some podcast or another. It comes in handy when you study literature!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I don't know where to put this, so I'll just comment on the most recent Dax appearance.

    I first thought Rag and Dax might be brothers with some old sibling rivalry going on. Then you brought up the elf bit and I thought Dax might be an elf. Which led me to hoping that Dax might be part elf, which is why he is so different.

    All of that led me to considering typical fantasy worlds and their habit of portraying all races as being very separate and in the process of the story learning about each other and becoming closer.
    Why?
    Why not have a fantasy world in with interracial couples aren't a big deal in wide parts of the world?
    Maybe Orcs and humans aren't genetically compatible and hate each other too much, but maybe in the cities it's quite common to have elf/orc or elf/human families etc.
    Or maybe all races (there may be more than these three) freely mix except for one race because they want to be special or are the only ones who are incompatible with everyone else.

    Having Dax be the weakling who learned a different way of life with the elves and then returned to his own people sounds a bit lame to me, like karate kid made orc. Why not make him a spock-harry potter-hybrid?
    Maybe he's Rag's younger half brother who's elven mother and orc father returned to live with the elves while Rag stayed with his orc mother?
    Just please, if you do pick up on these ideas avoid the obvious anti-racism angle.

    I think I had more thoughts on that but I have to make dinner, so this will have to suffice ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wouldn't call Dax a weakling. He's just different and there is a reason for that. In general I like what your saying, but I already have other plans in mind. This world has a long history and I'm building it as I go along, but I already have some things worked out that I haven't shown you guys yet. They will come eventually. ;)

      Delete
  7. @ Tom: I thought Damien was an ahole from the getgo, the evil bit really wasn't a secret ;)

    @ Kai: I have this thing about grammar and spelling. It's a pet peeve, I get really annoyed with typos or slipping into the wrong tense at the end of a long sentence. Have you considered getting a beta reader to filter those things out?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ahem... you guys sort of are my beta readers. :P

      I'll keep an extra eye out for correctness in the future. ;)

      Delete