November 1, 2016


Each Tuesday, rather than a POSSIBLY IRRITATING ESSAY, I'd like to both challenge you and lend a helping hand. I generate more speculative and teen story ideas than I can ever use. My family rolls its collective eyes when I say, "Hang on a second! I just have to write down this idea..." Here, I'll include the initial inspiration (quote, website, podcast, etc.) and then a thought or two that came to mind. These will simply be seeds -- plant, nurture, fertilize, chemically treat, irradiate, test or stress them as you see fit. I only ask if you let me know if anything comes of them.

Fantasy Trope: Sword & Sandal (A period set in ancient biblical or mythological times…Sword and Sandal flicks…were especially popular in The Golden Age of Hollywood…Expect the landscape to resemble sand dunes and/or rural Spain throughout, making those sandals look more attractive.

Ota Kte stood on the high bluffs above the roaring, churning brown of the Great River.

Shappa Hollow Wood shook her head and flipped her moccasins over the cliff.

“Shappa! Stop playing!”

“Hardly playing, Ota. I threw it to check the speed of the river water.”

He scowled at her. “This isn’t a joke.”

“I don’t appear to be laughing, consort.”

“I’m not your consort, you’re mine!” She muttered something crude. “You can’t say that!”

“I am not your wife. I am your consort. I am here to cement our factions, not produce children or dynasty.”

“You can’t…”

“I agreed to be your consort because one of your ‘braves’,” she snickered, “Invaded the…territory of one of our major agents.”

Ota snorted then sighed. “Fine. You were saying?”

“I’m testing current speed and direction,” she turned to stare steadily into the distance. I just saw the moccasin disappear from my view.” She paused, “My guess is that it traveled seventy steps in fifteen heartbeats.”

“How do you know that?”

She looked at him, shook her head and said, “Have all of your women been as stupid as a bleached skull?” She stepped around him. “You will need to know the speed of the Great River at this moment if your canoeists intend to outperform the Ojibwe canoeists.”

“We will be better than them by virtue of our…” he paused, then finished lamely, “virtue.”

She sighed and continued down the path from the bluffs to the horses waiting below. As much as she loathed her position in this faction of Lakota, she adored the horses that gave them their advantage over her father’s defiant raiders. Despite their surrender of her physical body to Ota – by the wisdom of the medicine woman, One Who Sings To The Stars – Shappa held tight to her spirit. One Who Sings kept the spirit talisman close by her side with an echo of Shappa’s spirit in the deepest part of her herb satchels. Only her father and youngest brother knew of its existence. Her father because his plan was to humiliate Ota the leader; her brother because no one would think to give such important information to such a young, unimportant person.

Ota had followed her, hurrying clumsily down the rocky trail. She wondered again how such an idiotic man would be made a leader. He called after her, “Consort! Attend me!”

She turned and held out her hand for him to take. He did, roughly, then pulled her to himself as if he were one of the pale-skinned creatures on the shore of the Ilhuicaātl Atlántico come recently to those far lands. Her father had agents spread over the length and breadth of the earth. A tribe of a cold land toward the rising sun called it all the Land of the Haudenosaunee. They told of strange behaviors of strange men and women. She pushed away, saying, “The race will start soon, my consort. You must speak to them; encourage them that they may bend these Ojibwe people to the path of your plans.”

His already thin lips vanished in irritation, but he knew the wisdom of her words as well. He released her and sullenly clambered onto his horse. By contrast, she floated up to the strong back of her horse. Smiling, she added an action that would advance her father’s plan for this silly man, saying, “One of your braves looked at me the other day…”

Names: Lakota Sioux; Lakota Sioux

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