Total Wordcount: 32,541
Today I completed my requisite 1000 words before breakfast, ate and went to work. Work gave me time to think, to mull over what I had written and to work out a manner in which to revise it - to make it more interesting - hopefully a little more entertaining and to introduce Tristan, the saarcastic avahy who talks to bats. And, as it turns out, has a pet hippopotamus called Mathilde.
*gasp* You say - what is she doing introducing hippos to Madagascar? She's already added antelopes - how far can she stretch reality?
Well, folks, I hate to tell you this - but this IS a novel about lemurs that talk and live in tree houses and sail boats and things. I don't think realism is going to count.
And besides, hippos once lived in Madagascar. Sure they were "pygmy hippos", but a mere 2m hippo is going to be a monster to a 40cm (excluding the tail), lemur - isn't it just? Anyhow, the pygmy hippo (there were 3 species, maybe not closely related) became extinct years ago - except that the Malagasy people still tell tales of it. Kilopilopitsofy were what the Malagasy folk called it. But I think Mathilde is easier to remember.
“Crocodile!” Aurelia shrieked, grabbing Astrid and pushing her back from the pool's edge.
Something immense appeared from the water, directly beneath the paddling lemurs. A great, gray shadow that rose and rose. Contance's fingers closed about the rope. She clutched it and began hauling herself along as Ngara braced against a rock. The ankomba tugged with her teeth and hands. Astrid scurried to help her, and Aurelia followed, wrapping their hands about the coarse fibres, pulling and pulling for all that they were worth.
Constance reached a semi-submerged rock, hauled herself onto it and leapt for shore. She scampered up onto the rocks and crouched. Her fur hung in dripping clumps – the waterproofing oil no match for the complete dunking.
“Tristan,” she gasped. “We have to safe him.”
The beast rose from the waters. A head like a rock, cracking open into great gaping jaws lined with spear-like tusks and a gret, purple-grey tongue. Beyond that, the dark maw of a throat that looked big enough to swallow a lemur. Whole.
“Tristan!” Astrid cried, lunging forward. “Where is he? I cannot see him!”
He must have been dragged beneath it, Aurelia realised, crushed by that massive bulk. What is this monster? Is this the kinaoly?
The creature lunged forward, head dropping back down into the water, so that only the eyes and the upper snout remained above water. On its head, between its bulging eyebrows, perched a small brown sifaka.
Tristan stood and shook himself, then reached down and touched the creature's head. It walked to the shore and he hopped off and onto a rock.
“My friends,” he said. “I would like you to meet Mathilde.”
So yeh, i've added hippos.