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The Book Man, Chapter 68

by BluesClues


68 THE ARMY

They were nearly to the portal when the spider, toward the rear, turned around with its pedipalps waving.

“What is it?” Christian asked, standing beside it. Narodnaya’s nostrils flared as she turned around, too, with her wild hair drifting behind her.

Someone is coming after us.

The accountant stroked the spider’s abdomen nervously. “Someone bad?”

I do not think so. Listen. They want us to wait for them.

At first he heard nothing. Then shouts reached him from the direction of the clearing, someone—several someones—hallooing and crashing through the undergrowth, cursing as they tripped over each other, fell, scrambled to their feet, and kept running.

The spider skittered away as Tirion and Morrow squeezed their way to the back of the group. Liza appeared in the wagon doorway with folded arms. “Please tell me we’re stopping for a good reason this time.”

“Someone’s trying to catch up with us,” Christian told her. “Narodnaya thinks they’re alright.”

The wood-elf and the Rover king looked at each other.

“We’re only a few minutes from the portal,” Tirion said. “It won’t hurt us to wait.”

“You say,” Liza muttered, but she remained in the doorway, chewing on her tongue and staring into the forest.

They listened as the distant shouts and crashes grew louder and nearer, until an assortment of perhaps twenty circus-folk and animals burst through the trees. Their leader was disheveled but familiar to everyone.

“Why, it’s Finn!” Rowan cried.

Her sister’s blue coat was missing, her white shirt and blue tights muddy, her brassy curls, like Rowan’s, lank for want of brushing. Even so, she bowed to the group as beautifully as if they had come to see her show.

“My dear Morrow,” Finn said. Her monocle swung by its chain like a pendulum; she caught it and put it in her eye. “How wonderful to see you. Absolutely smashing. And Liza and Mr. Abernathy as well.”

She strode up to the wagon, grasped Liza’s hand, and pumped it up and down, coaxing a smile from the balloon-artist’s wife.

“We unfortunately did not hear your speeches, being more the sort to sleep in than to waken early and buckle down, but the whole camp was laughing about it when we did get up—I don’t mean laughing, of course, but they were certainly talking about it, and when I heard it was dear Morrow asking for help—well, naturally I gathered my people as quick as I could and ran the whole way here,” she finished. “We’re coming with you. All of us.”

Christian looked past her to the ragtag bunch of lions, tigers, dancing bears, and circus-freaks that had joined Rowan’s troupe. Among them were a bearded lady and a hunchback, a strong man and three people clad in the leotards of trapeze artists. They were armed with pots and pans, tent poles, iron chains, and sticks. It was not what he had been hoping for.

Tirion looked the circus-folk up and down with an eyebrow raised.

“This is our army?” he muttered to Morrow. The Rover shrugged and walked up to one of the tigers, which shrank back from him with its hackles raised. Finn put a hand on the animal’s head.

“Don’t mind her,” she said. “They’re all a bit skittish since the attack, that’s all.”

Morrow crouched in front of the tiger and let it smell his hand. When it was satisfied he stood up again.

“Let me ask,” he said to the circus-folk. “Are you prepared to fight for us, knowing we may be struck down on the field of battle, to the last man?”

“Or bear,” one of the dancing bears’ trainers called.

“Or bear,” Morrow agreed. “It’s not that I doubt your sincerity, but if you haven’t seen battle before then you may not realize what you’re getting yourselves into.”

“Who do you think followed your father into battle the last time this happened?” Finn asked. “It may have been a century or two, but we’ve seen battle before, haven’t we, lads?”

There was a resounding cheer from the circus-folk. Morrow turned back to Tirion with a grim smile.

“This is our army,” he said.

Liza crossed her arms. “Good. Then let’s get a move-on already.”

Rowan and Finn chortled to themselves as she disappeared into the wagon, but each stopped when she noticed the other laughing too. Morrow shook his head with a chuckle of his own.

“Come on,” he said, and the group took off running again.


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Thu Aug 28, 2014 1:22 pm
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TimmyJake wrote a review...



Timmy here!

The wood-elf and the Rover king looked at each other.


I know it's weird for me to begin on a negative note - well, not negative, but nitpicky - but this seemed rather... strange. I remember both of them not really... trusting Narodnaya or liking her much. I mean, she is a rather wild being, but there seemed to be some distrust going on. And they did as they were told right off the bat and stopped dead in their tracks - while if I didn't really like someone or trust them, I would be like: "Hell, no! I am leavvvving!"

Perhaps I missed some growth in their characters?

hallooing and crashing


Now is that word correct or did you actually misspell something? O_o Dark day if you did. I believe you meant Hellooing or is that a different word?

lank for want of brushing


lank? Is that another typo or is that another word I don't understand.

Erm, perhaps I should have just kept my wittle mouth SHUT. Your book does have a way of explaining itself as I go along, and most of the time any little questions I may have in one chapter are answered in the next. Just as it should be. :) It was awesome that her sis came back--although, ya know, Finn is quite the name for a woman. :P - and I just love how she just popped up and started talking like everything was kewl and they weren't going to battle and everything. Just there for the party. Both her and Rowan don't really know how to be serious, do they? That is what makes them so awesome, really. Even in very dangerous situations, they are there to keep everything light. Which is really your book. I mean, even when they are in bigtime danger and everything is super serious, you always manage to keep the tone light, and so that the reader is still really concerned with the character and sucked in... but your style is light enough to not give them a heart attack. And it's really the characters you have built here which give it that.

She strode up to the wagon, grasped Liza’s hand, and pumped it up and down, coaxing a smile from the balloon-artist’s wife.


*facepalm* My goodness, she isn't shy at all, is she? That part of the chapter was just... perfect. The entire chapter was, really. I sometimes wish there was more for me to say here which could help. I feel as though I am just a commenter on this. xD But anywho, back to the story... I thought the part where Rowan was telling Liza (and everyone else, but it seemed to be aimed at her for some reason) the reason why they hadn't showed up was just perfect. It was very funny, but still serious in its own way... if that even makes sense. The tone was serious. She wasn't. If that even makes sense. xD But it was just lovely how her and her troupe showed up, not really showing fear at the possibility of death or anything, but just wanting to be of service and assist Morrow in fighting. Even the animals were there to help! Awesome. I would love to see a lion do a trick on Goblin. :D

I would love to keep rambling on, but I don't really have anything else to say. Makes me sad. These amazing pieces should have longer reviews... just because they are awesome. But how can you nitpick perfection? Tis impossible, darlin.
~Darth Timmyjake




BluesClues says...


Thank you, sir :) I figured since someone was coming after them, I mean--yeah, Morrow and Tirion are a bit wary of Narodnaya, but if you're on your way to do something dangerous and someone in your party--even someone you don't particularly like--says someone's following you, you've got to make a quick decision about that, right? But I'll look into it.

Keep a dictionary by you when you read, my dear! "Halloo" is, admittedly, a somewhat antiquated word, but I do so love it and it seems to fit the tone and these characters. Here you are:

exclamation
exclamation: halloo

1.
used to attract someone's attention.
used to incite dogs to the chase during a hunt.

noun
noun: halloo; plural noun: halloos

1.
a cry of %u201Challoo.%u201D

verb
verb: halloo; 3rd person present: halloos; past tense: hallooed; past participle: hallooed; gerund or present participle: hallooing

1.
cry or shout %u201Challoo%u201D to attract attention or to give encouragement to dogs in hunting.


And "lank:"

adjective
adjective: lank

(of hair) long, limp, and straight.
(of a person) lanky.


Obviously, I was using it in the first sense. I mean, they've been living a bit like hobos since fleeing the park, so I don't imagine they're perfectly groomed at the moment, right?

Anyway, I had to keep a dictionary by me when I read the Artemis Fowl books the first time, and they definitely helped expand my vocabulary. The power of reading :D



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Wed Jul 16, 2014 12:26 am
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dragonfphoenix wrote a review...



Knight Dragon, attempting my first mobile phone review.

Okay, I'd heard a lot about this story, and most of it positive. I may have read a chapter or two somewhere along the way, but I haven't been following the story. Now that I've officiead one, I'm kind of disappointed with myself for not doing so.

Your prose is really strong. And for having just come in on the story, I had a pretty good handle on what was going on. You're a very talented writer, and I want to be notified when you get this published, ebook or otherwise.

My only major concern is how established the advent of the circus is. I'm feeling like it lurks on the edge of a deus ex machina. If I'd read earlier chapters, I'd know one way or another (which is my fault). Other than that, really good job. I will be back for more.




BluesClues says...


Oh, no, the circus has definitely been around. It's not something that just kind of showed up now. It's been present from the beginning. Anyway, I'm glad you took a look and enjoyed it. Thanks so much!



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Wed Jul 09, 2014 6:58 am
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EmeraldEyes wrote a review...



Hi.

Hmmm. This gets a little bit, weird:

Someone is coming after us.

The accountant stroked the spider’s abdomen nervously. “Someone bad?”

I do not think so. Listen. They want us to wait for them.


I found this really creepy. In a way, it didn't sound like your style. But it was and it was different, a kind of branching out from your style :)

The chapter wasn't as long as the others I don't think, and I liked that actually.

Oh my! Wait! Is this the ending chapter?!

“Come on,” he said, and the group took off running again.


I have a feeling it totally could be, but also, I kinda hope it isn't, because I have enjoyed reading these. :)

Keep writing.




BluesClues says...


Oh, no. Definitely not the ending chapter. :)



EmeraldEyes says...


YAY




What orators lack in depth they make up for in length.
— Charles de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu