Unreachable Peak

Google maps Mauritius

Photo from Google Maps

Dar shielded his eyes, gazing up at the smoking mountain.

His cousin, doing the same, snorted. “What odd people, to worship this angry god.”

Dar wasn’t surprised.  The rumbling was little different from his father’s.  Loud and brash, strong and dangerous, laughing even when attacking.  And the people adored him.  “Weaklings want to be led.”

“By the heart, you mean?”

“By the nose, like oxen, even unto the fiery pit of doom.”

Which is where his father’s war of vengeance was taking them.

Already the people resisted Dar’s proxy rule, questioning his valor while everyone else battled far away.  Trapped by duty, he counted diminishing piles of coin, raised taxes, heard endless complaints.

No matter how he roared, they would not follow.

The carts loaded, Dar headed down into the valley.  The directions of sun and path conspired,  keeping him shadowed by the great mountain all day, until darkness fell.

Word count: 150.  Written for this week’s What Pegman Saw challenge.   Today’s location is in beautiful Mauritius.

Readers, meet Dar!  This is a bit of character study for the main character of my next novel, whose name may or may not remain Dar.  This setting is geographically illogical: I haven’t narrowed down exactly where in Layor Dar lives, but it’s unlikely to be within walking distance of a volcano.  But the rest of the backstory is real.  This would happen before the book starts, because by that point his father has died, leaving Dar to pick up the pieces of what’s left of their bankrupted country.


24 thoughts on “Unreachable Peak

  1. Ooh, is this the story you’re hoping to write for NaNo? Interesting, Joy. A bit of political intrigue, a country on the brink of unrest. Sounds like a great opening for a classic tale. And is Dar a good man or a bad man, I wonder. More likely a mix of both like most of us. Great beginning

    Liked by 3 people

    • Dar is a mix of good and bad, leaning toward the bad — he’s an angry cynic, corrupted by his past, but still idealistic (and naive) enough to believe one right move can fix everything. Over the course of the story he does some pretty bad things. Will he redeem himself enough to have a happy ending? Hm, keep reading….

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks Lynn! I worry that it’s going to be a fine line to walk (er, write), to have him do some awful things for reasons that he thinks are valid, but that the reader (probably) won’t. I’m trying not to think of him as “bad” or “good” but as, hopefully, “interesting” — and definitely conflicted!


    • It’s not even really a volcano, I don’t think; Wikipedia says there aren’t any active volcanoes on the island. But since I definitely couldn’t squeeze a modern news story about an airport into Enanea (lol), I went with the volcano idea instead. Thanks for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Love the comparison of his father to the volcano, even how he walks in its shadow. Many a time a son must struggle in the shadow of a father, especially a dominant one. I can’t say I agree with the father’s ideas. Too often they appear to work. Great story as always, Joy!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Eric — glad the “shadow” thing came across. Dar has been in the shadow of his father and older brother his whole life, and then they went and died (stupidly and expensively), leaving him with a ruined country and a people who blame him for their current hardships and wish out loud that he was more like his father. It’s no wonder he’s dealing with anger and resentment issues.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Indeed he does. The volcano was a lucky example of a photo prompt helping me develop an idea in a direction I might not have thought of — one of the reasons I love working with these photo prompts. Thanks for reading, Ali!

      Liked by 1 person

    • This exercise helped me get a better handle on the character; I’m not sure I would have thought of that line without the inspiration. Another great thing about photo challenges! Thanks for the great comment, Rochelle.


  3. Pingback: NaNoWriMo, Here I Come! | Tales from Eneana

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