Responding to the Request

In her (double) post, ( 😉 ), Sally Apokedak requested a scene from Book Two of The Lore of Efrathah, Journey to Mithlimar. Sally, as you may know, is my crit partner. As such, she is one of the few people who has read both books 1 and 2.

This scene fits into yesterday’s discussion because I was ranting about a need to show God realistically. Which means, He shouldn’t come across as simple or as an invisible Santa Claus. But how to do this?

I believe fantasy is a much easier vehicle for depicting God because a writer can use types and symbols more effectively. Well, as I was typing that last line, I thought of Moby Dick, and Melville used a symbol for God even though his story was set in this world, so it is possible in other genres, certainly. Fantasy readers may be more prone to look for symbols, though. I don’t know.

But here’s the thing about the scene Sally requested: it introduces a type of Christ, but no one would probably know that, not unless you’re reading this post. I thought at first I would not want to post that scene because I want this revelation of this character as a type of Christ to be a surprise. But then I thought, seriously, how many people who read this will even remember it if and when the book is published? So, why not.

Here’s the introduction of Paloh, a hermit our protagonist, Jim, and his Efrathite friends have been told they need to wait for.

Content with his thoughts, he [Jim] almost ignored the slight movement from the other side of the creek. So far, guard duty had been as uneventful as he could wish, but he was only too aware that one lapse might cost his team dearly. It was his job to investigate any disturbance, so he needed to take a closer look. Scrunching his brows together, he stepped toward the water. Probably one of those skittery little fur-balls, the critters that had the bushy squirrel-like tail and the stubby chipmunk legs.

Again something moved. Jim edged behind a leafy bush covered in bluish-purple flowers and stared at a jumbled pile of logs propped against the hillside. The movement came from some place near that woodpile.

As he watched, one of the logs shifted. Jim fumbled for his sword. The log stirred again, then teetered back and forth. Suddenly, it shot outward, landing with a thud against the moist dirt on the bank of the creek.

Jim staggered backward. After days of enjoying the calm in the forest, he’d gotten careless. Was an olive-skinned Kadahak warrior lurking behind the loose timber? Or a nest of Vikal? Jim was the sentry. It was his job to alert the camp to danger, but he needed to see what they were up against first.

He slid deeper into the brush and peered between branches at the clump of wood. Slowly a single hand, gray and frail, emerged from the opening in the log pile. The hand groped the air until the fingers touched the end of another log and clamped on. An arm followed, then a shoulder, and at last a head, covered with matted gray hair and a matching beard.

The scruffy man blinked his wide eyes in maddening repetition and turned his head from left to right as if sweeping the scene in search of something. At last he paused, then slowly retreated. Before his head dipped out of sight, he tilted it toward Jim’s hiding place. His eyelids flickered with maddening speed. “Well, stare if you will,” he said in a shrill voice, “but come help an old man to his feet, at least.”

Jim edged away from his cover. Who was this scruffy guy? How had he gotten himself trapped in that woodpile? And how had he escaped detection earlier?

The old man waved a feeble arm, much like someone drowning. The answers to Jim’s questions would have to wait. Right now the old guy needed help.

He bounded down the path to the creek, hurdled it, and climbed the sloping hillside. As he drew nearer, he studied the heap of logs. Far from being some accidental collection of timber, this pile was a meticulous structure, an intricate lean-to intentionally situated to disguise it. He slowed. The old man was not pinned under some forest avalanche at all.

Creeping next to the pile, he peered into the opening. The old man knelt on a rough pallet nestled under an overlay of intertwined branches.

He reached up toward Jim. “Your hand, then. Give me your hand.” His shrill voice barked out the command, and his matted beard bobbed up and down in time to the beat of his words.

In reflex, Jim extended his hand. The old man grabbed hold with his thin, claw-like fingers, his surprising grip mashing Jim’s knuckles together. Startled, Jim staggered back. Maintaining his grasp, the old man used Jim as leverage and yanked himself up.

“Thanks to you,” he cackled with a toothless grin. “Now then, Sword Bearer, help an old hermit out.”

(from Journey to Mithlimar, Chapter V—The Forest of Qiz)

Published in: on September 27, 2007 at 10:11 am  Comments (4)  
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