Author Topic: Peas in a Pod // See reply block #6 for updated version.  (Read 1075 times)

Offline Skip Slocum

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Peas in a Pod // See reply block #6 for updated version.
« on: February 25, 2012, 08:29:17 PM »
I’ve been working hard on this piece and figure I am probably two chapters from the ending of the book. I went a little long with this but I’m trying to speed up time in the story the closer I get to the main battle-scene. This is the end of my chapter 39. I won’t say more about this snippet but please, ‘All’ comments are welcome. Changes are easier now than later. If anything isn’t working for you, sing out.

Peas in a Pod right at the max count.

Repairs made after Miss Alice's critique. See reply block #6 for updated version.


She giggled, laying her hands upon his thighs. “No my husband.” Soon she began to hum with soft undertones while they rode. The warmth of the sun soon took its grasp on the day and the full bloom of flowers beckoned bug and bird to share in their sweet pollen. Megan took his hand splaying it open and traced the lines and calluses on his palm and fingers. “Why were you chosen to go?” She laced her fingers between his. “I mean, why you, why not-”

“Someone else?”

“Yes.”

Matt wrapped his arms tightly around her and sighed. “In that answer is a history, an accounting of us all I suppose.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, Seferis knew of my Keening-”

“How, how would he know of such?”

“That’s what I mean. Within the answer to one why lies another and yet another question.”

“Tell me.”

“To do such, leeway and patience must be given to me in the telling because all of the whys and wherefores began years ago. They tied our lives together even before you and I were born.”

“Do tell. I simply must know.” She trapped his arms with hers and tilted her head around, showing how eager she was for another story.

Matt searched the memories give him the day Old-Da’s Keening reveled the lives of all the grandfathers. “My Old-Da’s father brought his family to Larom’s Fiefdom even while Larom’s father still ruled these lands. Hadall offered his sword to Larom’s father in exchange for rights to live in his lands. Their sons, Larom and Old-Da grew up together, as close as brothers. Hadall and Old-Da oath-ed to protect their Lord.

“Old-Da told Larom of his Keening, swearing to always stand beside his lordship.” Matt pulled one of his hands free from Megan’s so that he could gesture while he talked. “When My father and Seferis were born, they two were that of brothers. The secrets of my family were kept by Larom’s house and the Keening thwarted the evils of many-ah scheme. Thus, Larom’s house prospered growing in strength and with honor.”
Megan playfully fenced her finger to Matt’s “But you said it entwined all our lives.”

“Patience my love.” He kissed her cheek then nibbled at her ear. “While My father and Seferis were still small boys, there were two others. Koop and your father, Eldon. Together they were unstoppable. They became the Wolf-Pack.” Matt traced a path between Megan’s fingers. “Larom became king, drawing the many houses together. He saw the wisdom in supporting the Pack as it promoted brotherhood between the houses and commoners alike. Their bond made Larom’s kingdom what it is today.”

“But that still doesn’t-”

“When the Stygian waylaid Prince Daniel’s guard, Seferis was desperate knowing they would turn Daniel over to Ruga if ransom could not be paid.”

“It sounds like a tangled mess.”

“Indeed. Then Seferis, with no one to turn to, saw Koop and myself banking supplies at his stores.”

“And Prince Seferis knew of your Keening . . .”

“Exactly.”

“Can we stop awhile. My butt’s getting sore.”

“How about we walk awhile. Tonight we’ll camp by a river.”

“Deal.” Megan pouted as Matt helped her down. “I don’t ride much.”

“I can tell.” He grabbed her butt. “We’ll have to soak this poor thing in the river.”

She swatted at him but quickly took his hand. “What manner of beast have I married?”

“A lecherous troll who hungers for a woman’s virtues, daily.”

“A woman’s?” Megan showed him her fist.

“His woman’s.”

“That’s better.”

They walked a better part of that day, camping by the river as Matt promised. The following day had crested noon before they made it to the cottage. Matt checked the thatch of the roof while Megan cleaned. He mucked out the barn and flounced what was left of the straw-grass. The water barrels needed scrubbing and Megan joined Matt by the stream while he rinsed and sloshed them out checking for leaks.
Thunder roamed and grazed across the meadows disappearing for days at a time. Matt strung his bow and brought fresh deer to the smoke house while Megan gathered fruits from the trees and wild herbs and tubers. Toward the end of summer, he scythe-cut stades of long-grass and wild oat for Thunder’s keep throughout the winter.

Both he and Megan reverted to the wilds during the hot days, wearing little more than loincloth or linens and soft boots. They laughed and played in the lake, dells or meadows, making love often.

He took pleasure in watching Megan at night by the fire where he as a boy, listened to stories under the bows of the large trees. A rose-blush came to her cheeks every time she’d notice her husband taking pleasures in the sight of her as she moved. Now and then, he’d use his keening to touch the pleasures in her mind at some inappropriate or inconvenient time, causing her to stumble or catch herself until the wave subsided.

“Stop it. That’s embarrassing.”

“What?”

“You know what.”

At times, he’d wait until she was out of sight and do it just to hear her squeals.
 
“Damn-it Matt.” She’d feign being mad at him but all it would take was one of his kisses to regain her favor. “Promise me you’ll never do that in front of anyone.” Matt would laugh at the way she shook a wooden spoon at him. “So help me, I’ll poison you.”

When the nights got cooler, they spent their evening in the cottage with Megan cooking from the hearth. With the bustle of the day over, she’d nestle back against him on the bearskin and sew or lace while he looked over her shoulder or sot out the fire-spirits.  

She seemed to know when to leave him alone. “Sapience washed o’er your face and not to be trifled with; the look of a statue settled o’er the whole of you.”

“Does that bother you?”

“No. I just know our time will come later.”

Matt had showed her some of the things the spirits reveled to him and she yielded saying she understood it was his way. She knew Ruga was bleating for war and Matt would be a part of it someday.

Matt took to chopping wood for the coming winter. Thunder, fitted with harness, would drag logs close to the cottage where Matt could cut them to length. Megan stayed out of his way while he swung axe and visited with him while setting their clothes to line where they could dry. While re-sharpening his axe, he noticed Megan would wash a few items in the barrel-tub and then climb over the log to get to her drying lines. He helped her back across then stood back from the log pondering, waiting for her return trip. With her hands full of dripping shirts, she sat on the log then swung her feet over.

“This log being here is adding to your chores isn’t it?”

She dodged her shoulders back and forth. “No, not—yes, in truth it is but that’s okay I’ll get over it. A little slower but . . .”

Matt sawed his finger across his bottom lip. “Slower huh?” He propped his axe on the log leaning on it for a moment. “Good thing it’s not any taller.”

“If it was I’d have to go around.”

“That you would my love.” Matt’s mind was in full grind seeing ghosts of battles the grandfathers showed him and hearing them talk. He got back to work and within a few days, he’d added enough wood to what was already there to keep them through the winter.

One morning he woke to Megan lightly drawing circles on his chest and humming quietly to herself. She grinned when she saw him open his eyes. “My cerise haired angel is in fine spirits this morning. Why is that?”

Megan kept to her song but pointed at his nose.

“Me?”

She nodded.

“Okay, what is it my love requires of me today?”

“Nothing. You already did it . . . Da.” She climbed on top of him.

“Da? You sure?”

She nodded.

He rolled her over where he was atop her and straddled her legs, kissing her and sliding down over her naked belly. “In there?”

Megan slipped her hands into his thick hair and nodded. “And what is Da going to name him.”

“Him?”

“Well, I don’t know it’s him but . . .” Her face glowed.

Matt took hold of her hands and rested his forehead onto her lower stomach. With his Keening, he listened. “Now my sweet, I have a surprise for you.” He crawled back up over her, making sure he didn’t crush her with his weight. “I hope you can manage your days with two little ones underfoot, because there is more than one growing within.”

“What?” Megan’s face turned pale.

Matt started laughing. I appears we’re in twice as much trouble as you thought.”

“Twins?”

Matt nodded and fell beside her laughing. “As far as I know, you’ll be the first to gift our house with twins.” They lay there in each other’s arms coming to grips with how their lives suddenly changed. “No work for either of us today. We have to celebrate, my plump little mater.”

“Plump?” she reached up to strangle him while he laughed.

“I love you, my Meg-Mam. How are we to mark this day.” He caressed the slight swell of her belly.

“The berries. We can pick the last of the late-seasons and make a jam this evening.”

“That we shall do, Mam.” He jumped out of bed and picked Megan up as well. “Come wife, our children will need their supper. Dress with sleeves, the prick of the bush will mar your soft Mamma’s-skin.”

While they dressed, Megan explained her fears thinking he wouldn’t take the news as joyous as he had. With her long dress and hard shoes on, she picked up two baskets leaving one on the table for him. “I’ll meet you outside.”

He tugged his hard shoes on, picked up the basket and headed out. He remembered when his father transplanted a whole thicket of bushes so his mother wouldn’t have that far to go to pick whatever kind of berry she wanted. The late-seasons were plump and ready for picking before the coming frost. Just beyond the ox pens was a stand of trees that make a good windbreak once the snow-winds blew. “Where are you woman?”

Megan straightened up and waived, with a mouthful of berries, she giggled. “I’m over here.” Matt was still a spear’s throw away.

On the other side of the thicket, a Great-Brown Grizzly reared up. Matt’s blood turned to ice. That moment lingered, as though time had no meaning. Megan’s beautiful smile offset the absurdity of the moment, oblivious to the danger looming a mere shadow’s length from her. The bear snarled exposing its teeth as it lunged forward, straight toward her. Even if Matt had a crossbow aimed at the monster’s heart, the beast would still reach her before the bolt could sting the air.
His whole world hung between two grains of time. There was nothing he could do as his universe collapsed before him. Agony and horror exploded within.

~“No”~ His Keening ruptured into his voice, fracturing the stillness.

Startled by her husband’s madness, Megan stiffened.

The rogue struck her and she went down.

The fury of Odin raged through Matt’s mind. He screamed, rushing forward. He would rend his spawn be to pieces. Jerking the beast from his wife’s body, confusion whirled in his mind. The bear was dead and she was not.

Megan sat up. “What happened?”

Dropping to his knees, Matt’s whole body shook as he reached for her, still trying to understand why she hadn’t been killed. His mind seeing blood that wasn’t there, he drew her to him, trembling and howled as a wolf cries for its moon.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2012, 11:13:21 AM by Skip Slocum »
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Offline Gyppo

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Re: Peas in a Pod (1,999) Yup, this one's long.
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2012, 09:02:13 PM »
At a first quick glance...

whys wherefores

whys and wherefores

Will look again when I'm more awake.
My website is currently having a holiday, but will return like the $6,000,000 man.  Bigger, stronger, etc.

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Offline Skip Slocum

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Re: Peas in a Pod (1,999) Yup, this one's long.
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2012, 09:12:52 PM »
Got it, that'll put this snippet right at 2k.  ;D

Thank you Sir Gyp, I repaired my copy as well.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2012, 09:18:34 PM by Skip Slocum »
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Offline Alice, a Country Gal

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Re: Peas in a Pod (2,000) Yup, this one's long.
« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2012, 10:58:22 PM »
Peas in a Pod right at the max count.


She giggled, laying her hands upon why "upon" rather that simply "on"?  his thighs. “No my husband.” Soon she began to hum with soft undertones while they rode. The warmth of the sun soon took its grasp on the day and the full bloom of flowers beckoned bug and bird to share in their sweet pollen. Megan took his hand splaying it open and traced the lines and calluses on his palm and fingers. “Why were you chosen to go?” She laced her fingers between his. “I mean, why you, why not-”

“Someone else?”

“Yes.”

Matt wrapped his arms tightly around her and sighed. “In that answer is a history, an accounting of us all I suppose.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, Seferis knew of my Keening-”

“How, how would he know of such?”

“That’s what I mean. Within the answer to one why lies another and yet another question.”

“Tell me.”

“To do such, leeway and patience must be given to me in the telling because all of the whys and wherefores began years ago. They tied our lives together even before you and I were born.”

Do tell. I simply must know.” She trapped his arms with hers and tilted her head around, showing how eager she was for another his story.

Matt searched the memories give him the day Old-Da’s Keening reveled the lives of all the grandfathers. “My Old-Da’s father brought his family to Larom’s Fiefdom even while Larom’s father still ruled these lands. Hadall offered his sword to Larom’s father in exchange for rights to live in his lands. Their sons, Larom and Old-Da grew up together, as close as brothers. Hadall and Old-Da oath-ed to protect their Lord.

Maybe:
My Old-Da's father, Hadall, grought his family to Laron's Fiefdom while Laron's father still ruled these lands. He offered his swordin exchange for the right to live in his lands.

This would get Hadall's name out sooner and make the explanation a little easier I think.

Old-Da Hadall told Larom of his Keening, swearing to always stand beside his lordship.” Matt pulled one of his hands free from Megan’s so that he could gesture while he talked. “When My father and Seferis were born, they two were that ofliken unto brothers. The secrets of my family were kept by Larom’s house and the Keening thwarted the evils of many-omit the dash I thinkah scheme. Thus, Larom’s house prospered, growing in strength and with honor.”

Megan playfully fenced her finger to Matt’s “But you said it entwined all our lives.”

“Patience my love.” He kissed her cheek then nibbled at her ear. “While My father and Seferis were still small boys, there were two others. Koop and your father, Eldon. Together they were unstoppable. They became the Wolf-Pack.” Matt traced a path between Megan’s fingersPerhaps add "as he thought or spoke". “Larom became king, drawing the many houses together. He saw the wisdom in supporting the Pack as it promoted brotherhood between the houses and commoners alike. Their bond made Larom’s kingdom what it is today.”

“But that still doesn’t-”

“When the Stygian waylaid Prince Daniel’s guard, Seferis was desperate knowing they would turn Daniel over to Ruga if ransom could not be paid.”

“It sounds like a tangled mess.” maybe "tangled yarn" rather than mess - just a thought.

“Indeed. Then Seferis, with no one to turn to, saw Koop and myself banking supplies at his stores.”

“And Prince Seferis knew of your Keening . . .”

“Exactly.”

“Can we stop awhile. My butt’s getting sore.”

“How about we walk awhile. Tonight we’ll camp by a river.”

“Deal.” Megan pouted as Matt helped her down. “I don’t ride much.”

“I can tell.” He grabbed her butt. “We’ll have to soak this poor thing in the river.”

She swatted at him but quickly took his hand. “What manner of beast have I married?”

“A lecherous troll who hungers for a woman’s virtues, daily.”

“A woman’s?” Megan showed him her fist.

“His woman’s.”

“That’s better.”

They walked athe better part of that day, camping by the river as Matt promised. The following day had crested noon before they made it to the cottage.

Suggest new paragraph here since their travel is over.
Matt checked the thatch of the roof while Megan cleaned. He mucked out the barn and flounced what was left of the straw-grass. The water barrels needed scrubbing and Megan joined Matt by the stream while he rinsed and sloshed them out checking for leaks.
Thunder roamed and grazed across the meadows disappearing for days at a time. Matt strung his bow and brought fresh deer to the smoke house while Megan gathered fruits from the trees and wild herbs and tubers. Toward the end of summer, he scythe-cut stades strades?of long-grass and wild oat for Thunder’s keep throughout the winter.

Both he and Megan reverted to the wilds during the hot days, wearing little more than loincloth or linens and soft boots. They laughed and played in the lake, dells or meadows, making love often.

He took pleasure in watching Megan at night by the fire where he had satas a boy, listened to stories under the bows of the large trees. A rose-blush rosy blush - maybe came to her cheeks every time she’d notice her husband him   saying husband feels like it's taking it our of Matt's POVtaking pleasures in the sight of her as she moved. Now and then, cut commahe’d used his keening to touch the pleasures in her mind at some inappropriate or inconvenient time, causing her to stumble or catch herself until the wave subsided.

“Stop it. That’s embarrassing.”

“What?”

“You know what.”

At times, he’d wait until she was out of sight and do it just to hear her squeals.
 
“Damn-it Matt.” She’d feign being mad at him but all it would take was one of his kisses to regain her favor. “Promise me you’ll never do that in front of anyone.” Matt would laugh at the way she shook a wooden spoon at him. “So help me, I’ll poison you.”

When the nights got cooler, they spent their evening in the cottage with Megan cooking from at the hearth. With the bustle of the day over, she’d nestle back against him on the bearskin and do her sewing or tattedlace while he looked over her shoulder or sot the word 'sot' has to do with drunkard, did you mean sought? out the fire-spirits.  

She seemed to know when to leave him alone. “Sapience washed o’er your face and not to be trifled with; the look of a statue settled o’er the whole of you.”

“Does that bother you?”

“No. I just know our time will come later.”

Matt had showed her some of the things the spirits reveled to him and she yielded I'm not sure this word is saying what you intend. saying she understood it was his way. She knew Ruga was bleating for war and Matt would be a part of it someday.

Matt took to chopping wood for the coming winter. Thunder, fitted with harness, would drag logs close to the cottage where Matt could cut them to length. Megan stayed out of his way while he swung axe and visited with him while setting their clothes to line where they could dry. While re-sharpening you don't really need the "re-". It is common knowledge that any blade used needs sharpening from time to time. his axe, he noticed Megan would wash a few items in the barrel-tub and then climb over the log to get to her drying lines. He helped her back across then stood back from the log pondering, waiting for her return trip. With her hands full of dripping shirts, she sat on the log then swung her feet over.

“This log being here is adding to your chores isn’t it?”

She dodged her shoulders back and forth. “No, not—yes, in truth it is but that’s okay I’ll get over it. A little slower but . . .”

Matt sawed "sawed" sounds strange for lips, especially since he was involved with chopping/cutting logs. his finger across his bottom lip. “Slower huh?” He propped his axe on the log leaning on it for a moment. “Good thing it’s not any taller.”

“If it was I’d have to go around.”

“That you would my love.” Matt’s mind was in full grind seeing ghosts of battles the grandfathers showed him and hearing them talk. He got back to work and within a few days, he’d added enough wood to what was already there to keep them through the winter. Was this the same log Matt an Ol Da use to sit on to talk/tell stories? If so, I think a slight mention of that would be appropriate here.

One morning he woke to Megan lightly drawing circles on his chest and humming quietly to herself. She grinned when she saw him open his eyes. “My cerise haired angel is in fine spirits this morning. Why is that?”

Megan kept to her song but pointed at his nose.

“Me?”

She nodded.

“Okay, what is it my love requires of me today?”

“Nothing. You already did it . . . Da.” She climbed on top of him.

“Da? You sure?”

She nodded.

He rolled her over where he was atop her and straddled her legs, kissing her and sliding his hands down over her naked belly. “In there?”

Megan slipped her hands into his thick hair and nodded. “And what is Da going to name him.”

“Him?”

“Well, I don’t know it’s him but . . .” Her face glowed.

Matt took hold of her hands and rested his forehead onto her lower stomach. With his Keening, he listened. “Now my sweet, I have a surprise for you.” He crawled back up over her, making sure he didn’t crush her with his weight. “I hope you can manage your days with two little ones underfoot, because there is more than one growing within.”

“What?” Megan’s face turned pale.

Matt started laughing. It appears we’re in twice as much trouble as you thought.”

“Twins?”

Matt nodded and fell beside her laughing. “As far as I know, you’ll be the first to gift our house with twins.” They lay there in each other’s arms coming to grips with how their lives suddenly changed. “No work for either of us today. We have to celebrate, my plump little mater.”

“Plump?” she reached up to strangle him while he laughed.

“I love you, my Meg-Mam. How are we to mark this day.” He caressed the slight swell of her belly.

“The berries. We can pick the last of the late-seasons and make a jam this evening.”

“That we shall do, Mam.” He jumped out of bed and picked Megan up as well. “Come wife, our children will need their supper. Dress with sleeves, the prick of the bush will mar your soft Mamma’s-skin.”

While they dressed, ut commaMegan explained her fears thinking he wouldn’t take the news as joyous as he had. With her long dress and hard shoes on, she picked up two baskets leaving one on the table for him. “I’ll meet you outside.”

He tugged his hard shoes on, picked up the basket and headed out. He remembered when his father transplanted a whole thicket of bushes so his mother wouldn’t have that far to go to pick whatever kind of berry she wanted. The late-seasons were plump and ready for picking before the coming frost. Just beyond the ox pens was a stand of trees that make a good windbreak once the snow-winds blew.

“Where are you woman?”

Megan straightened up and waived, with a her mouthful of berries, she giggled. “I’m over here.” Matt was still but a spear’s throw away.

On the other side of the thicket, a Great-Brown Grizzly reared up. Matt’s blood turned to ice. That The moment lingered, as though time had no meaning. Megan’s beautiful smile offset the absurdity of the moment, oblivious to the danger looming a mere shadow’s length from her. The bear snarled exposing its teeth as it lunged forward, straight toward her. Even if Matt had a crossbow aimed at the monster’s heart, the beast would still reach her before the bolt could sting the air.
His whole world hung between two grains of time. There was nothing he could do as his universe collapsed before him. Agony and horror exploded within.

~“No”~ His Keening ruptured into his voice, fracturing the stillness.

Startled by her husband’s madness, Megan stiffened.

The rogue struck her and she went down.

The fury of Odin raged through Matt’s mind. He screamed, rushing forward. He would rend his spawn to-be into pieces. Jerking the beast from his wife’s body, confusion whirled in his mind. The bear was dead and she was not.

Megan sat up. “What happened?”

Dropping to his knees, Matt’s whole body shook as he reached for her, still trying to understand why she hadn’t been killed. His mind seeing blood that wasn’t there, he drew her to him, trembling and howled as a wolf cries for its moon.

Skip, as always you kept me reading and liking what I read. A few bumps but nothing major that I spotted.

Also as usual, I've made some notes and suggestions for you to use or not - which ever works for you.

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I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.
-Mohandas K. Gandhi

Offline Skip Slocum

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Re: Peas in a Pod (2,000) Yup, this one's long.
« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2012, 11:48:18 PM »
Hey Miss Alice, these are some good hits, thank you. I'll start working out those changes. You named something I'd never heard of.

tattedlace // Teach me this word please. (I'm not big on seamstress terms.)

One more-- what is a  'ut comma' I'm sure this is a shorthand term but I'm being thick tonight.

I have one for you. I wrote: he scythe-cut stades of long-grass A stade is a length of measure 607 feet long. It was the distance the Greeks ran for a single lap. To watch the races, people built embankments next to these measured lengths and the name 'Stadium' came to be.  ;D or so I'm told.
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Offline Alice, a Country Gal

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Re: Peas in a Pod (2,000) Yup, this one's long.
« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2012, 12:14:15 AM »
Hey Miss Alice, these are some good hits, thank you. I'll start working out those changes. You named something I'd never heard of.

tattedlace // Teach me this word please. (I'm not big on seamstress terms.)

Tatting lace is done with a small shuttle type instrument held in the hand and worked somewhat like a crochet hook.

The "tatter" I have was handed down from my grandmother to my mother and then me. She actually taught me how to do it, but it's been so long ago, I doubt I would be able to now without relearning. See:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ljXBGDVwEIU
The shuttle I have looks a bit like this one:
http://www.hhtatting.com/detail.cfm?ID=943


One more-- what is a  'ut comma' I'm sure this is a shorthand term but I'm being thick tonight.

That was my fingers going their own way. Should have been "cut comma"

I have one for you. I wrote: he scythe-cut stades of long-grass A stade is a length of measure 607 feet long. It was the distance the Greeks ran for a single lap. To watch the races, people built embankments next to these measured lengths and the name 'Stadium' came to be.  ;D or so I'm told.

I had to check several online references to find this definition, but eventually found it. I have to wonder how many readers would understand it though.
MWC Charity Publications.
http://www.lulu.com/spotlight>
The universe is made of stories, not of atoms. -Muriel Rukeyser, poet and activist (15 Dec 1913-1980)

R. L. Copple's: http://www.rlcopple.com/

I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.
-Mohandas K. Gandhi

Offline Skip Slocum

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Re: Peas in a Pod (2,000) Yup, this one's long.
« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2012, 11:10:09 AM »
Okay, I got some sleep and slowly went through all the goofs Miss Alice found for me. When I was finished, the count had become 2008. Since the lead-in to this snippet had little wrong with it, I trimmed it from this reposting. Hopefully, this version reads smoother and cleared. Again, thank you, Miss Alice.



“Why were you chosen to go?” She laced her fingers between his. “I mean, why you, why not-”

“Someone else?”

“Yes.”

Matt wrapped his arms tightly around her and sighed. “In that answer is a history, an accounting of us all I suppose.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, Seferis knew of my Keening-”

“How, how would he know of such?”

“That’s what I mean. Within the answer to one why lies another and yet another question.”

“Tell me.”

“Give leeway and patience in the telling because all of the whys and wherefores began years ago. They tied our lives together even before you and I were born.”

“Do tell. I simply must know.” She trapped his arms with hers and tilted her head around, showing how eager she was for his story.

Matt searched the memories given to him the day Old-Da’s Keening revealed the lives of all the grandfathers. “My Old-Da’s father, Hadall brought his family to Larom’s Fiefdom even while Larom’s father still ruled these lands. Hadall offered his sword to the ancient one in exchange for rights to live in his lands. Their sons, Larom and Old-Da grew up together, Becoming as close as brothers. Hadall and Old-Da oath-ed to protect their Lord.

“One day, Old-Da told Larom of his Keening, swearing to always stand beside his lordship.” Matt pulled one of his hands free from Megan’s so he could gesture while he talked. “When My father and Seferis were born, they two were that of brothers. The secrets of my family were kept by Larom’s house and the Keening thwarted the evils of many ah scheme. Thus, Larom’s house prospered, growing in strength and with honor.”

Megan playfully fenced her finger to Matt’s “But you said it entwined all our lives.”

“Patience my love.” He kissed her cheek then nibbled at her ear. “While My father and Seferis were still small boys, there were two others—Koop and your father, Eldon. Together they were unstoppable. They became the Wolf-Pack.” Matt traced a path between Megan’s fingers while he thought. “Larom became king, drawing the many houses together. He saw the wisdom in supporting the Pack as it promoted brotherhood between the houses and commoners alike. Their bond made Larom’s kingdom what it is today.”

“But that still doesn’t-”

“When the Stygian waylaid Prince Daniel’s guard, Seferis was desperate knowing they would turn Daniel over to Ruga if ransom could not be paid.”

“It tangled.”

“Indeed. Then Seferis, with no one to turn to, saw Koop and myself banking supplies at his stores.”

“And Prince Seferis knew of your Keening . . .”

“Exactly.”

“Can we stop awhile. My butt’s getting sore.”

“How about we walk awhile. Tonight we’ll camp by a river.”

“Deal.” Megan pouted as Matt helped her down. “I don’t ride much.”

“I can tell.” He grabbed her butt. “We’ll have to soak this poor thing in the river.”

She swatted at him but quickly took his hand. “What manner of beast have I married?”

“A lecherous troll who hungers for a woman’s virtues, daily.”

“A woman’s?” Megan showed him her fist.

“His woman’s.”

“That’s better.”

They walked the better part of that day, camping by the river as Matt promised.

The following day crested noon before they made it to the cottage. Matt checked the thatch of the roof while Megan cleaned. He mucked out the barn and flounced what was left of the straw-grass. The water barrels needed scrubbing and Megan joined Matt by the stream while he rinsed and sloshed them out checking for leaks.
Thunder roamed and grazed across the meadows disappearing for days at a time. Matt strung his bow and brought fresh deer to the smoke house while Megan gathered fruits from the trees and wild herbs and tubers. Toward the end of summer, he scythe-cut several furlong of grass and wild oat for Thunder’s keep throughout the winter.

Both he and Megan reverted to the wilds during the hot days, wearing little more than loincloth or linens and soft boots. They laughed and played in the lake, dells or meadows, making love often.

He delighted in watching Megan at night by the fire where he sat as a boy, listened to stories under the bows of the large trees. A blush came to her cheeks each time she notice him taking pleasures in watching her as she moved. Now and then, he’d use his keening to pleasure her mind at some inappropriate or inconvenient time, causing her to stumble or catch herself until the wave subsided.

“Stop it. That’s embarrassing.”

“What?”

“You know what.”

At times, he’d wait until she was out of sight and do it just to hear her squeals.
 
“Damn-it Matt.” She’d feign being mad at him but all it would take was one of his kisses to regain her favor. “Promise me you’ll never do that in front of anyone.” Matt would laugh at the way she shook a wooden spoon at him. “So help me, I’ll poison you.”

Once the nights got cooler, they spent their evening inside the cottage with Megan cooking at the hearth. With the bustle of the day over, she’d nestle back against him on the bearskin, sewing or tatting lace while he looked over her shoulder or sought out the fire-spirits.  

She seemed to know when to leave him alone. “Sapience washed o’er your face and not to be trifled with; the look of a statue settled o’er the whole of you.”

“Does that bother you?”

“No. I just know our time will come later.”

Matt showed her some of the things the spirits revealed to him. She understood this was his way. She also knew Ruga bleated for war and Matt would be a part of it.

Time came for chopping wood for the coming winter. Thunder, fitted with harness, pulled logs next to the cottage where Matt could cut them to length. Megan stayed out of his way while he swung axe and visited with him while she set their clothes to lines where they could dry. While sharpening his axe, he noticed she washed a few items, rinsed in the barrel-tub then climb over the log to get to her drying lines. He helped her back across then stood back from the log pondering, waiting for her return trip. With her hands full of dripping shirts, she sat on the log then swung her feet over.

“This log being here is adding to your chores isn’t it?”

She dodged her shoulders back and forth. “No, not—yes, in truth it is but that’s okay I’ll get over it. A little slower but . . .”

Matt tapped his finger to his chin. “Slower huh?” He propped his axe on the log leaning on it for a moment. “Good thing it’s not any taller.”

“If it was I’d have to go around.”

“That you would my love.” Matt’s mind was in full grind seeing ghosts of battles the grandfathers showed him, hearing their tactics. He shrugged it off and got back to work. Within a few days, he’d added enough wood, to what was already there, to keep them through the winter.

One morning he woke to Megan lightly drawing circles on his chest and humming quietly to herself. She grinned when he open his eyes. “My cerise haired angel is in fine spirits this morning. Why is that?”

Megan kept to her song but pointed at his nose.

“Me?”

She nodded.

“Okay, what is it my love requires of me today?”

“Nothing. You already did it . . . Da.” She climbed on top of him.

“Da? You sure?”

She nodded purposely tickling him with the flutter of her hair.

He rolled her over trapping her beneath his straddle, kissing her and sliding his lips down over her naked belly. “In there?”

Megan slipped her hands into his thick hair and nodded. “And what is Da going to name him.”

“Him?”

“Well, I don’t know if he is a him or a her but . . .” Megan’s face glowed.

He took hold of her hands and rested his forehead onto her lower stomach. With his Keening, he listened and then chuckled. “Now my sweet, I have a surprise for you.” He crawled back up over her, making sure he didn’t crush her with his weight. “I hope you can manage your days with two little ones underfoot, because there is more than one growing within.”

“What?” Megan’s face turned pale.

Matt started laughing. “It appears we’re in twice as much trouble as you thought.”

“Twins?”

Matt nodded and fell beside her laughing. “As far as I know, you’ll be the first to gift our house with twins.” They lay there in each other’s arms coming to grips with how their lives suddenly changed. “No work for either of us today. We have to celebrate, my plump little mater.”

“Plump?” she reached up to strangle him while he laughed.

“I love you, my Meg-Mam. How are we to mark this day.” He caressed the slight swell of her belly.

“The berries. We can pick the last of the late-seasons and make a jam this evening.”

“That we shall do, Mam.” He jumped out of bed and picked Megan up as well. “Come wife, our children will need their supper. Dress with sleeves, the prick of the bush will mar your soft Mamma’s-skin.”

While they dressed, Megan explained her fears, thinking he might not have taken the news as joyous as he had. Wearing her long dress and hard shoes, she picked up two baskets leaving one on the table for him. “I’ll meet you outside.”

He tugged his hard shoes on, picked up the basket and headed out. He remembered when his father transplanted a whole thicket of bushes so his mother wouldn’t have that far to go to pick whatever kind of berry she wanted. The late-seasons were plump and ready for picking before the coming frost. Just beyond the ox pens was a stand of trees that make a good windbreak once the snow-winds blew. “Where are you woman?”

Megan straightened up and waved. Through a mouthful of berries, she giggled. “I’m over here.” Matt was but a spear’s throw away.

On the other side of the thicket, a Great-Brown Grizzly reared up. Matt’s blood turned to ice. The crest of the moment lingered as though time had no meaning. Megan’s beautiful smile offset the absurdity of what was about to happen, oblivious to the danger looming a mere shadow’s length from her.

The bear snarled exposing its teeth and lunged for her.

Even if Matt had a crossbow aimed at the monster’s heart, the beast would still reach her before the bolt could sting the air.

His whole world hung between two grains of time. There was nothing he could do as his universe collapsed before him. Agony and horror exploded within.

~“No”~ His Keening ruptured into his screaming voice, fracturing the stillness.

Startled by her husband’s madness, Megan stiffened.

The rogue struck her and she went down.

Odin’s fury raged through Matt’s mind. Still bellowing, he rushed forward.

With his bare hands, this hell’s spawn he’d rend to tatters. Jerking the beast from his wife’s body, confusion whirled in his mind. The bear gave no fight. It was dead and she was not.

Megan sat up. “What happened?”

Dropping to his knees, Matt’s whole body shook as he reached for her, still trying to understand why she hadn’t been killed. His mind seeing blood that wasn’t there, he drew her to him, trembling and howled as a wolf cries for its moon.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2012, 11:44:34 AM by Skip Slocum »
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Offline 510bhan

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Re: Peas in a Pod // See reply block #6 for updated version.
« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2012, 11:34:14 AM »
Megan straightened up and waived, her mouthful of berries, she giggled

With the change you made here Skip, 'mouthful' needs to become 'mouth full'. Also waived ->>>waved and you need to tweak 'she giggled' . . . either as a new sentence or separated by a semi-colon. If you don't want to do that, you could stay closer to the original.
Megan straightened up and waved. Through a mouthful of berries, she giggled. :-\
Or: Megan straightened up and waved as she giggled through a mouthful of berries.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2012, 11:36:13 AM by 510bhan »
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Offline Skip Slocum

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Re: Peas in a Pod // See reply block #6 for updated version.
« Reply #8 on: February 26, 2012, 11:42:41 AM »
Thank you. I like this line best:

Megan straightened up and waved. Through a mouthful of berries, she giggled.

I'll go fix those.  ;D
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Offline WordBird

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Re: Peas in a Pod // See reply block #6 for updated version.
« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2012, 11:44:00 AM »
Should it be mouth full or mouthful?

Offline Skip Slocum

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Re: Peas in a Pod // See reply block #6 for updated version.
« Reply #10 on: February 26, 2012, 11:45:45 AM »
I don't know. Is that on of those 'either-or' ways?
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Offline 510bhan

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Re: Peas in a Pod // See reply block #6 for updated version.
« Reply #11 on: February 26, 2012, 11:54:41 AM »
No -- it's not interchangeable, It's like handful/hand full. A 'mouthful' of berries suggests a 'portion' whereas a 'mouth full' suggests berries busting from the lips, and probably unable to speak. A handful of crumbs has a slightly different image to a hand [which is] full [filled with] crumbs.
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Offline Skip Slocum

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Re: Peas in a Pod // See reply block #6 for updated version.
« Reply #12 on: February 26, 2012, 11:56:39 AM »
Cool beans. Thank you both. I learned new stuff.  ;D
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Offline 510bhan

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Re: Peas in a Pod // See reply block #6 for updated version.
« Reply #13 on: February 26, 2012, 12:04:00 PM »
A mouthful or a handful is a noun, whereas a mouth full or a hand full relies on 'full' as a verb, past tense of 'fill'.
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Offline Skip Slocum

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Re: Peas in a Pod // See reply block #6 for updated version.
« Reply #14 on: February 26, 2012, 12:11:11 PM »
Ain't teachers great?  ;D ;D I'm listening.
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