Total Wordcount: 47,716
(includes the part written before SocNoc - 4143 words)
Sometimes when writing, an author will wind up writing a character into a situation in which the only way they could get out of it would be totally unrealistic. That is the situation I have managed to get Aurelia into today.
Aurelia has been taken into the hospitality of a lemur called Clarisse, her mate, Gerard and daughter, Blanche. They are white sifaka and rather sophisticated and civilised. Aurelia, as we may have noted earlier, is not. Aurelia is also being pursued by some of the Queen's Hunters.
Now, Aurelia happens to have in her possession, a bag containing three books belonging to the monkey, Chike. Now, current politics have declared all monkeys as being outlaws and those who associate with them will be put to death or exiled. Anyone found possessing monkey-made memorabilia faces this punishment too.
Not wanting the well-meaning sifaka to be exiled or killed for the sheer fact that Aurelia had left her bag in their tree, Aurelia had raced back to claim it, disrupted a peaceful game of fanaraona and invoked the ire of her newly- appointed guardian.
Upon reclaiming her bag, Aurelia was supposed to dart off through the trees. This is where the problem lies...
Chike's books are bulky, and lemurs rely on speed and dexterity to leap through the trees. Given that Aurelia is only a young lemur, and has no way of carrying this bag except in her mouth or her hands, you can see the predicament she's in...
So here's what really happened:
Aurelia snatched up her bag from Blanche's shelf. She could not carry it in her hands and leap at the same time, so she held it in her teeth. She sprang into the next tree. The extra weight dragged her down and she missed the first branch, crashing several feet onto another. She regained composure quickly, and sprang along the trunk.
I can't do this for long, she realised. And I can't do it very fast either.
Her foot slipped beneath her, and she tumbled from the tree. Memories of the crocodile and its mighty jaws flashed through her mind as she plummetted through the air.
Splash. She hit the water hard. Dropped the books. Water flooded into her nose and mouth and her feet flailed as she tried, very fast, to learn how to swim. It was a lesson in which she was not succeeding.
I'm going to die here, she thought. Then something grabbed her about the shoulders. The crocodile has found me.
But it was not the crocodile. It was worse, much worse, for she was dragged up onto the pirogue and dumped in an unceremonious heap.
“Why look who dropped in,” said Melissande. “If it isn't little Miss Blue-eyes herself.”
(I suppose I am just very lucky that the Queen has just put out the instruction that Aurelia be taken alive, or else I could have this story finished most tragically, within 50,000 words. As it is, it will be at least 65,000 before I get it to the intended "termination point" for Part 1, with Part 2 becoming my NaNoWriMo project in November).