Total Wordcount: 44,605
I would have liked to finish on 90% today, but alas, the chapter I was writing is complete and it is time for that elusive thing called sleep.
I am wondering where this story is going - like Part one - which I wrote in June, it is moving at what seems to be a snail's pace, yet is hopefully interesting enough to keep the reader entertained and for each occurance to have some relevance to the plot. I am just not yet entirely sure what.
In today's instalment, Aurelia has discovered that her diminutive friend has been captured by a mythic beast referred to as the "kinaoly". A kinaoly is: A horrible looking elf of folklore. Or, in this case, a troll - well, actually, it's a mandrill. Now, the purpose that this mandrill serves is unclear. Rumour has it, that he is a cruel and malicious being who slaughters and eats lemurs at the least provacation and is dangerous and should not be messed with... The bones and assorted other debri scattered around his lair are testament to this theory.
But.. I'm not yet convinced. The monkeys (vazaha) are outlawed by royal decree and any found living in Madigaska is likely to be killed on sight. So, who is to say that this mandrill is not simply hiding in the Tsingy and wants nothing more than to eat durian and scorpions and be left alone? Current theory is that he was a crew-hand on one of the ships that sailed neared the coast - and being dimwitted and easily manipulated, wound up getting dumped by his companions. Then, he stumbled about, trying to befriend the local lemurs, merely to find himself attached and chased away - beaten with sticks and burned by fire. He ran into the Tsingy to escape the vicious lemurs and immediately got lost. He likes the tsingy - nobody tries to hurt him and he's found a place with plenty of food, water and a nice private cave system to make into his lair (ok, bit of abnormal behaviour there). But... sometimes he gets lonely... So when the little tsidy stumbles into his territory, he decides to keep her as a sort of friend/pet because she can tell him lovely stories and keep him company.
Except it appears that he's about to have Aurelia drop on him from above and stab him in the throat while he's asleep. Not very sporting, I know.
So, without further ado, I give to you the Kinaoly:
(it's dark, so Aurelia can only see in monochromes)
This was clearly the kinaoly's lair, and it had made some effort to add some homely touches. It was open to the sky, moonlight streaming down to illuminate the great beast crouching in its centre. The floor was covered in a thick layer of dried grass, with scraps of cloth and torn lambas littered across it. There was a wooden bucket and a wicker basket filled with fruit. Durian fruit, Aurelia noted. He must have visited the pond. I wonder whether it was before, or after, we left? I am glad we did not run into it then.
She watched a while longer. The great beast did rather resemble Chike, she observed, at least in general shape. But if he were a monkey, he was truly a monster of the monkey world. His large, muscular body was covered in a short pelt of dark fur, which thickened into a shaggy made around his neck and shoulders. Pale fur fringed his belly. But it was his face that startled Aurelia the most, for it truly was the face of a monster. He had been turned away from her, so that she could only see the back of his head, but something caught his attention, and he turned around, to stare directly at her.
His face jutted out into a long snout, framed by large circlets of pale flesh, as though he were wearing a plate on his nose. The skin that ran between them was a darker colour, maybe red, Aurelia surmised, although moonlight had diluted the colour from the world. Two great black nostrils flared at the end of the snout, and he moved his head slowly, as though trying to locate her with tiny, dark, oval eyes. She drew back instrinctively, although surely he could not see her, not with the moonlight behind him and nothing but shadows behind her.
“Smell company?” He said, his voice low and deep, but plaintive too, as though he were a kit asking his mother a question.