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Time Flies, and How Are You?

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Has it been six months already? And I've neglected this journal, badly. Not that I haven't been keeping a journal, daily even, but it hasn't been here and that's a shame. Still working on Macho 2.

I was elated, chastened and heartened when the telephone rang awhile back and Natalie said, "I used to pre-read Macho Caballo for you when it was on rec.arts.anime.creative. Are you still writing it?" The answer was 'Yes!' And now I've been going over what will become Volume 2 of the Macho saga, with a lighter spirit and renewed determination.

If plans go correctly, Macho 2, 'Looking for Lucha' in the next few months. I do need a cover, however. I used Lyn's drawing of the three main characters in the first volume, Machita, Estrellita and Sandy, but for volume 2 I feel I should find someone more experienced in the cover designing field. Things are looking up.

Coming up for Air

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Yes, I'm still around and no, I haven't forgotten my obligations -- I'm just a little slow in fulfilling them, that's all. (definition of 'a little' is subject to conjecture)

This next scene of Macho Caballo Vol. #2,  which follows 'return of the champion,' has been a bit of a nail-biter for me. I know what I'm going to say, yet I can't seem to wrap my head around the way I want to say it. We've introduced Ramon and his amigos (along with one who isn't exactly friendly). Ramon has been trying to decide whether or not he's going to go off to northern Mexico to search for a sister who may not even be real. In this scene we give him a bit of a boost and get his friends in on the deal. This was the way the scene was originally written and I've come to dislike it.

That's what's puzzling me at the moment (along with trying to deal with Real Life which keeps poking in and saying 'Hey! You can't ignore me!'

So, I'll be back on it. Gotta ride that horse no matter how many times it throws me.

The Champion Returns!

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Well, we've made a big deal of the Doll-Maker's champion, who is to supplant Ramon, Alboro's grandson. Now, she must deal with the hero she has put forth.

Short scene -- we'll have an extra one later on to make up for it.

---------------

Intent on her task, Doll-Maker was startled to hear the still of the night shattered by the yip and growl of village dogs as they converged on an intruder.

Comforted by the familiarity of the sound, she returned to the doll which a powerful dream had compelled her to fashion. It was a corn-shuck doll, with the dress and manner of a young man, but the weapons she attempted to fashion would not remain tied to the doll's hands. The shield would slip off, and the tiny knife refused to remain belted about its waist.

As she held the figure and wondered, a noise at the entranceway drew her attention. Looking down, she beheld a creature slinking across the floor to shiver before her, beseeching with its eyes. There was a streak of white diagonally across its back.

She smacked her cheek solidly with her palm and groaned.

"You did it. You did it anyway. I warned you, and you made them angry despite all I did!"

The wolf cub whined and hung its head, avoiding her glare.


Macho Caballo #2/16/'A Champion Emerges'

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I really don't remember why I started numbering the chapters in Spanish. Perhaps it was all I knew or could look up with confidence, back in the beginning of the story. I've learned a couple more words since then, but by now the precedence has been set. So, we're working on Chapter 16: Diez y Seis, and this is the second scene in that chapter — 'A Champion Emerges.'

In the Azuma village the Doll-Maker has taken matters into her own hands to choose a champion and send him to Cave of the Spirits in order to gain their blessing. We resume our narrative as this stalwart individual arrives and is questioned.

——————————————

In the valley of the cave, in the cavern of the springs, a brave person was answering a question. The question, posed by voices which sounded like the lapping of Water or the whispering of Wind, echoed from the walls like pebbles bouncing about a gourd.

"Who are you, and what do you want, young seeker?"

That brave person should have remembered the warning given him by the Doll-Maker when she said, `Ask for nothing. Give your name and wait. Say nothing more - do not boast. Above all, do nothing to offend them.'

He was a warrior, above petty fears. His bravery swept her words from his mind and he spoke aloud, "I'm Wolf Walker. I'm the strongest of my tribe. I deserve to be given this opportunity! I want to be the one to bring down the sorcerer Ka..."

"Silence!"

Wolf Walker staggered back, the command ringing in his ears. Unlike the other voices, this one had no echo.

"Young fool, do you wish to call that foul one here? Do you think we care for your worldly troubles?"

"He does not think," concluded the Wind.

"Pity," the Stream gurgled, "The lad is so handsome."

"All is not lost," it answered itself, "We must remember his courage."

"Child!" the whisper commanded again, "What do you wish?"

Wolf Walker searched the dim reaches of the cavern for the speaker as he mulled his answer. "I want to be the one who..."

"Enough!" the Wind said harshly, "That would impress others. What would you have?"

"Enough! I want nothing!" cried the Azuma youth, "I will not be frightened by a bunch of whispering women!"

"He is just like the other," gurgled the Stream, while another voice, like Rocks grinding together, added, "We should do better. Do they not teach these youngsters anything?"

"But, he is all we have," said the Stream, with a sigh that might have been despair. "He is Rabbit, as the name given him by his mother at birth. He is Fleet, as the name given him by the medicine man Toes-on-Fire."

"There is the other, She Goes Ahead," suggested the Rocks.

The bodiless voice sighed. "In the end, when shadows flow and the light flees, one such as that may have to serve. Yet, until then we need another. This one must do. He is Wolf Walker, as the name given him by his companions for his bravery in stalking wolves."

The whisper took up the chant. "Let it be so."

In the ensuing uproar, a brave warrior voiced a heart-rending cry.

Macho Caballo #2 / Chapter I6/ 'A Champion'

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In Chapter 15, we find that Ramon is chafing against the restrictions put upon him by his family, his friends and the mayor of the town, the alcalde Sineistro. Now, it's time to find out what other forces are at work to make him miserable and/or assist him on his path.

                                                   'A Champion'


          Silence drifted through the Azuma village, disturbed only occasionally by the murmur of an infant or the shushuru of sand in a gourd as a lone voice sang the evening song. From the nearly-dry stream-bed burst a playful group of young dogs, pets of the children who were not outside to join them. The pups seemed to sense the solemnity of the moment and became silent as they slipped through the cluster of lodges and into their homes.

In addition to the Doll-Maker, there were two more women in the fire-lit lodge, for in this tribe the women took their place in the council when decisions were made. The Doll-Maker raised the ceremonial clay pipe and took a puff before passing it on.

Alboro took the pipe, next. Although he was considered a loner, a person who stood outside the village, Alboro was nevertheless acknowledged as a person of experience. If the puff he drew from the pipe was a little longer than others took, no one said anything. He, too, passed the pipe along. When all had smoked, the Doll-Maker put the pipe away and began.

"When we agreed to respect and honor this land, we took upon ourselves the responsibility to protect the people on it." There was a chorus of approvals. "Now, a dark force has returned to claim the land and the people. We cannot stand idly by and allow this to happen."

Again, several agreed. One, however, spoke, "But what can we do, against such power? This person has allied himself with the cruel spirits."

"The cruel spirits have their place," said another, "It is a part of the greater balance of things."

"He uses their power to add to his own," objected the first, "This is not a good balance. Everything will suffer, later, when the wheel swings back. This person has no regard."

She pointed to a child's toy, a caricature of a bird, which tottered on the flattened top of a stake. With two long wooden wings which drooped below the pivot point, the bird was always balanced - push one wing down and the weight of the other wing would pull the toy back into an upright position. "This person has too much power. I say again, what can we do against such power?"

The setting sun reflected into the lodge entrance from the nearby butte, a ruddy light rapidly growing dimmer. They watched the toy bird as it danced to keep its balance, teetering to the edge of the platform and away again. Somewhere outside, an insect droned in lazy circles as it searched for food.

Alboro was the first to break the silence. He yawned, stretched, and scratched under his armpit until he noticed the others staring at his gaping mouth. With a sheepish grin, he made himself more comfortable.

"I have a thought," he said, "We cannot oppose this person directly. But even the strongest animal has a weak point. The most powerful bear will stand on his two back feet to reach up in a tree. The most agile puma must have his tail to leap."

"And you, old fool, must have your tongue," snapped the doll- maker. "What are you saying?"

"We must find someone who can defeat this person," spoke the first speaker. "We need a champion."

"I agree," said the Doll-Maker.

"I agree," said Alboro.

"You -- what?" The Doll-Maker drew back in surprise.

"I agree. We need a champion. We must train someone who can get close to this person and snuff him out."

"I never thought I would live to see the day you would agree with me!" the weathered old woman snapped, "What sort of trickery do you plan?"

"I plan no trickery. But we have a champion, already. He can be taught the ways of power. He can get close enough to our enemy to kill him."

The Doll-Maker regarded him suspiciously before comprehension dawned and her frown reappeared. "You would put forth your miserable grandson to save this valley? That failure?"

"My grandson has gone to see the spirits of the spring," Alboro smacked his lips with satisfaction.

"And we have your word that he did not disgrace himself and us," said another.

The Doll-Maker sneered, "Now, my great grand-daughter tells me she had to reveal her sacred form in order to save his worthless hide." She shook her head in dismay. "I have seen him dashing about the village like a irresponsible infant when he comes to visit. Of what possible use could such a... a... mixed blood be? I have seen no proof of his acceptance by the spring spirits."

Alboro smiled mysteriously and said, "Nevertheless. I'm training him. He has potential."

"So has a wolf pup!" snapped the Doll-Maker, "And about as much chance of stopping our enemy!"

She called a close to the conference. They would meet again to greet the sun.

As the elders straggled to their own lodges, she muttered to herself, "If you can get a champion, then so can I! I, too, know of a brave warrior who can defeat this sorcerer!"


------------------- end scene

And on this ominious note, we take leave of our hosts. next scene: 'A Champion Comes Forth!'

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