“Ever cross into an unknown tomb to find a highly decorated catafalque then turn and run.” Mysteries of the Undead, Jeremiah Delalande.
After GCE and A-level exams I can now try to rediscover creativity with Linda Hill’s Stream of conscious Saturday.
Many of the participants I already know through other groups and blog connections. As a writer I thought I might use this to explore back story for a new world that might become the origins of a novel at some point.
I will stick to the exact purpose of SoC here. This, apart from using the WP spell checker, is rough. No planning, thought or preparation or editing. Words as they tumble out. Please take that into account before despairing critique. I’ll also say I’m well out of writing practice so this is likely to be grim.
To save google searches and further furrowed brows after I used cromlech a couple of weeks ago, the definition of catafalque is thus (taken from Mercian-Webster);
- An ornamental structure sometimes used in funerals for the lying in state of the body.
A pall-covered coffin-shaped structure used at requiem masses celebrated after burial.
A writer has license to manipulate context. In this case a structure supporting a coffin lying in state. Consider the coffin was abandoned inside a cromlech so constructed as to shield the world from what lay inside.
“Bugs,” the Dwarf spat, as was his custom when showing disgust, “I hate bugs.”
“Rich coming from a mine dweller.”
“Not in the deeps of the earth and rock Elf.”
“No, there you dig up things that make bugs look perfectly harmless.” Yish stared into the gloom illuminated by burning torches held in iron sconces placed equidistantly along the tunnel walls.
The debate had raged since entering a cave that warranted exploration. At least according to a map that held a shaft only revealed by the Sorcerer. Like the Cromlech, this was another place that didn’t want to be found.
“Who do you think lit those buggers?” The dwarf shifted his axe from hand to hand.
Caves were his history, life and purpose. Well, they had been in a previous life. Now that was long past. Somehow he’d ended up in an explorer run by a guild in the Keep. It paid well enough. Caves, mines and labyrinths were his skill, and yet this one felt wrong. Hidden underneath magic on a map that was so old even the cartographers couldn’t set an age. The elf, Yish, had seen through it though.
And here they were in an age-old tunnel, hewed by an unknown race in a time no-one remembered with torches lit in expectation of a visit.
“I don’t like it,” he added.
Yish scanned the walls. Her senses felt drunk. There was powerful old magic here. Confusion and deceit. Something not wanting to be found for centuries had found her mind and opened the door.
“Neither do I.” She mounted an arrow, just in case.
Ahead the tunnel yawned into a cavern. Water dripped into a lake the disappeared in the darkness. Torches lit a path to an island. Yish watched as one by one they burst into flame.
Dwarf and Elf stood at the tunnels end, eyes drifting left and right. Stalactites glistened above. Some were immense and shone like dragons teeth in the torchlight. None appeared to have let go of their anchors on the rock high above.
“Its all wrong Yish, even her the earth moves and trembles now and then. Some of those weigh tons. They have no natural right to be still attached.”
Something rolled on the surface of the lake. Ripples fled toward the shore from the darkness. Yish drew her bowstring tighter by instinct. “What do you think that was?”
“A sign,” he replied, axe now resting on his shoulder.
“We should leave.” He exhaled and watched his breath fog. The air was cooling fast. “Now.”
“Yish, are you listening?”
The Dwarf glanced across, then followed her gaze and froze.
In the centre of the island there was a coffin. Not any old dead box. This one was black and trimmed with silver. Highly polished wood, it might be oak but at this distance the Dwarf couldn’t be sure. It might even be granite, obsidian or ivory for all he knew. Not that his attention was lingering on construction. That would be the noise of a seal being broken and mist begin to drip down the sides of the catafalque.
This is still me toying with the concept of back story after the A to Z challenge back in April. There the Keep referred to here is a fortress that has fallen leaving a solitary Scribe, the Amanuensis, trying to discover why and what happened. All these ramblings could become short stories (SoC rushes too fast to run them to conclusion). They might comprise a novella or two come to think of it.
Hopefully it might interest or pique a few readers interests.
Stream of conscious Rules – Taken from Linda’s Blog
- Your post must be stream of consciousness writing, meaning no editing, (typos can be fixed) and minimal planning on what you’re going to write.
- Your post can be as long or as short as you want it to be. One sentence – one thousand words. Fact, fiction, poetry – it doesn’t matter. Just let the words carry you along until you’re ready to stop.
- There will be a prompt every week. I will post the prompt here on my blog on Friday, along with a reminder for you to join in. The prompt will be one random thing, but it will not be a subject. For instance, I will not say “Write about dogs”; the prompt will be more like, “Make your first sentence a question,” “Begin with the word ‘The’,” or simply a single word to get your started.
- Ping back! It’s important, so that I and other people can come and read your post! For example, in your post you can write “This post is part of SoCS:” and then copy and paste the URL found in your address bar at the top of this post into yours. Your link will show up in my comments for everyone to see. The most recent ping-backs will be found at the top. NOTE: Ping-backs only work from WordPress sites. If you’re self-hosted or are participating from another host, such as Blogger, please leave a link to your post in the comments below.
- Read at least one other person’s blog who has linked back their post. Even better, read everyone’s! If you’re the first person to link back, you can check back later, or go to the previous week, by following my category, “Stream of Consciousness Saturday,” which you’ll find right below the “Like” button on my post.
- Copy and paste the rules (if you’d like to) in your post. The more people who join in, the more new bloggers you’ll meet and the bigger your community will get!
- As a suggestion, tag your post “SoCS” and/or “#SoCS” for more exposure and more views.
Thank you for taking the time to read. Comments are welcome and I look forward to meeting new bloggers via the SoCS community.
Grrrrrrrr…. cliffhangers…so NOT like those.
I do have critique; finish the one I read for you! hihi
Lol, it’s only a short writing thing this SoC. only get the prompt Saturday morning, well I did last week!
The one you read needs the one before of finishing first. Might have more time now schools out post exams.
Oooh. That will be a challenge for you.
Good point, might have to rethink that rash thought!
How did you know I was heading to Google for catafalque. And why am I not surprised by its definition?
I had a cunning idea that after cromlech and a google referral there might be a sign to mention what a catafalque was here! I rather think that might have been you 😂😂
Hmm, must find a cheery one next time now then 😳
Live how you use all these prompts Gary… You’ll end up with a stack of new story ideas!!!
Lol, thanks Ritu. These are additional back story to what started to form in the A to Z. I’m using it to create character depth. Although it might look odd for a reader at times 😂😂
You had me at the definition of “catafalque.” As always you have done a terrific job of creating characters and images that are clearly deeper than words on paper. Well done! Now I have to revisit the April posts to make the backstory connections. So much good reading! Keep it coming!
Thank you so much Melanie. The SoC posts are very fast fiction due to time from prompt that I actually see to posting. Fortunately I’m building on the A to Z. That took a life of its own wrt the core character that was just supposed to act like a narrator for all my other writing. The blighter created a huge storyline of his own and now I’m fleshing back story in these to test how it’s working.
I was looking through your blog yesterday too. I’m making it a priority to comment this week x
That so has my interest. I have to know what ia coming out of the coffin
Lol, yes… I stopped short of that reveal. I have a vague idea though. I’m finding this SoC really useful to delve into areas I’m creating for a new novel idea. Thank you for the lovely comment and I’m going to have to catch up other SoC posts during the week. Blame the World Cup 😂😂