22 November 2007

Suddenly, penguins arrived

Another snippet from NaNo 07. It includes two dares and one of my least favourite authors.

Gabriele made me post it. It goes nicely with her snippet, lol.

The Romans and Batavians are attacking a Silurian hill fort, but they face a foe more deadly than the Silures. Mwahahaha.

Imerix is the MC, Finvagar is a friend of his, Ingomar and Madaluin are also Batavians who serve in the same auxiliary cohort. And Calgacus, well...


Suddenly, Knut Hamsun appeared. The appearance of this Norwegian Nobel Prize winner was completely random and unexpected, especially when you take into account that he was born about eighteen hundred years after the battle. Why on earth he would chose to turn up at this particular place and time has puzzled mankind's greatest thinkers since, well, last Thursday at least.

But came he did. He rode right into the thick of battle, on a moose. The beast had a saddle and reins and stirrups, but the blatant anachronism did not seem to matter much to Knut Hamsun. He patted his mount’s neck and whispered something in Norwegian. The moose snorted and tossed its head, nearly poking out Hamsun’s eye with his sharp antlers in the process.

A nearby ninja saw him. He stared. He blinked and rubbed his eyes. When he was sure that it was not just the aftereffects of last night's post-battle booze-up, he tapped the chief ninja on the shoulder. Soon the entire First Cohort of Ninjas had lowered their swords, and the rest of the army followed suit. Fortunately the Silures were rather curious too, otherwise Hamsun might very well have been responsible for the greatest disaster in Roman military history since NaNoWriMo 2006.

Nobody noticed the UFO. It hovered over the hill fort like a big shiny, well, whatever is big and shiny and usually hovers above hill forts. A hatch opened and a beam of light shot out. The beam of light was a rather unusual beam of light. It jumped across the uneven ground until it found Calgacus. While everybody was looking the other way, the beam of light grabbed hold of the glorious leader and founder of the People's Front of Caledonia and pulled him into the UFO. The hatch closed and the UFO zoomed off, hopefully never to return.

Back on earth not much had happened. The legionaries simply stared at the moose and its writing rider. Even a dead Silurian opened an eye. The moose in particular was the object of some curiosity. Not because it had stirrups, but because it was purple. Whether it was its natural state or it had been painted, none could tell, but purple it was. Very bright purple.

Ingomar took a careful step forwards.

‘Er, Mister Hamsun,’ he said tentatively, ‘it’s very kind of you to drop by, but we’re a bit busy at the moment. You know, there’s a battle and stuff going on.’

Hamsun immediately launched into a garbled speech. Imerix and Finvagar stared at each other. Latin was one thing, but this Norwegian sounded like gibberish. It probably was, too.

To their surprise the moose translated Hamsun’s words into perfect Latin.

‘My master Knut Hamsun says he has come here to inspire you to brave deeds,’ the beast said, rolling its r’s in a delicate way.

‘Thanks,’ said Ingomar, ‘but no thanks. We have chocolate for that. Excellent chocolate, too.’

‘Oh, but he has come from far!’ the moose continued.

‘So have we. Bugger off.’

The moose frowned. Imerix wondered vaguely how it could frown with those antlers and no eyebrows, but frown it did.

Before the beast could translate Ingomar’s words, Hamsun had taken a book out of his pocket. It was a heavy, leather-bound volume with golden letters stamped onto the cover. He opened it, and cleared his throat.

‘Which, er, book is that?’ Finvagar asked, eying it with some suspicion.

‘Why,’ said the moose. It sounded shocked. ‘It’s Markens Grøde, of course! The book for which my master got the Nobel Prize in Literature!’

Finvagar gave an odd sort of twitch and Ingomar looked downright scared.

‘Did I hear you correctly?’ Imerix said, hoping and praying that he had. ‘Is Hamsun going to inspire us to brave deeds by spending a month reading about a guy who ploughs his fields?’

‘Actually,’ the moose said dryly, ‘the book is much deeper than that. It is about man’s struggle against the elements, it is about finding one’s roots, living in harmony with nature, it is a tale of how modern technology destroys-’

‘The industrial revolution is still a couple of centuries away,’ Madaluin interrupted. Everyone turned to stare at him.

‘And what exactly is this industrial revolution?’ Ingomar said, puzzled.

Madaluin shrugged. ‘Search me. It just sounded like a cool thing to say.’

‘Ssssh!’ said the moose angrily.

Hamsun had cleared his throat again. The moment the first word passed his lips there was a mad rush as every single Silurian, Roman, Batavian and ninja reached for swords, spears, fruit knives and other assorted sharp pointy things that could be used to slit Hamsun’s throat. Some turned their blades on themselves in desperation. Madaluin had dropped down on his knees, clutching his ears and howling in misery.

Imerix clenched his teeth together to block out Hamsun’s voice. He was not going to be murdered by some Norwegian author from the future and his horrendously tedious books.

Before he could drive his sword into Hamsun’s throat, something else happened. Logic told him that it was impossible. But then again, Hamsun’s appearance was also rather strange. One highly illogical occurrence more or less hardly mattered.

A dust cloud had appeared on the horizon, glittering in the sunlight. It moved towards the hill fort with an astonishing speed. As it came closer, it turned into a flock of penguins. There were penguins of every species imaginable, emperor penguins and king penguins, yellow-eyed penguins and fairy penguins, magellanic penguins, Humboldt penguins, African penguins, Galapagos penguins, adelie penguins, chinstrap penguins and gentoo penguins, Fiordland penguins and royal penguins, Mosely’s penguins and rockhopper penguins, snares penguins and macaroni penguins. There were even a few Chatham Islands penguins. But most were emperor penguins.

They cried harshly and their feet thudded on the ground as they stampeded up the hillside.

Hamsun stared at them. ‘Pingvinene!’ he yelled. ‘De har funnet meg! Løp! Løp for livet!’

‘The penguins,’ the moose translated calmly. ‘They have found me! Run! Run for your lives!’

The moose blinked. It stared at the penguins, and then panicked completely. It tried to run, but it was too late. The first of the emperor penguins were already upon them. They ran right over Knut Hamsun and the moose, screaming their battle cries. When the last of the penguins' feet had left the Norwegian author, they turned and stampeded back the same way, until Hamsun lay trodden down in the mud with penguin feet marks all over him. He was very much dead.

The penguins let out a yell of triumph and stampeded off into the distance. In their wake followed a squirrel. It danced over the dead author, holding aloft an acorn and carrying a flag much too big for it. ‘Victory!’ it squeaked. ‘We have victory!’

Then the squirrel too disappeared.

Madaluin got shakily to his feet, and the dead Silurian hastily resumed his being-dead position.

'Well, that was random,' Finvagar said.


One of my friends came up with the squirrel. She was so inspired by my, erm, genuis, that she has decided to write a book about Hamsun and penguins.

A moose. Not a purple moose, but a moose nonetheless. Made it with my art school group last year when we were on a land art course.


Gabriele C. said...

Roflol. What a fun way to bolster the wordcount. Though you'll have quite some de-ninjaing (and de UFO-ing) to do in December. :)

Serves Hamsun right. He almost killed me with Svult. Looks like he read that one to the penguins. ;)

Celedë Anthaas said...

I think he read his collected works to the penguins ;)

I don't have many randomness-only scenes like this; just some 2 k in total. Most of the stuff I've written so far is just not so very well written:P But it can be edited without deleting it all. I do have a lot of ninjas though...