1. Wreybies

    Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

    May 1, 2008
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    El Tembloroso Caribe

    Descriptive exercise

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by Wreybies, Oct 3, 2018.

    A wall of rain approaches your location. Describe it in narrative terms, avoiding literal, flat-fact descriptions.

  2. Iain Sparrow

    Iain Sparrow Banned Contributor

    Sep 6, 2016
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    Oh, I'll give you more than that. A short excerpt from a chapter I've recently finished that's all about bad weather... really bad weather.;)

    (The scene: Three 12-year-old girls sitting around the campfire, getting a bit drunk and telling stories...)

    In no time at all the three of them sat cheerily around the fire, swapping stories while passing the gourd jug and a chunk of ripe cheese that had accompanied the theft of the booze. Mabel recounted her life on the farm; of hardship and responsibility and tending to her family’s needs while her brother sailed aboard a trade ship across the ocean to exotic lands she’d never get to see. “I do miss ‘em,” she said, looking down at her mongoose cradled in her lap. “He gave me Mango when he was just a pup. Found him abandoned in the jungle on some island of savages the likes of which you haven’t ever heard tell.”

    Rosemarie’s eyes lit up, “I’ve a book at home about ungodly savages who chop off the heads of their prisoners and shrink them to the size of pomegranates. Tell us about your brother. He must be very brave.”

    Even Adeline seemed eager to hear more and encouraged Mabel by giving the jug a shake and handing her the sloshing brandy.

    “Very well,” Mabel said, and took a measured drink and licked her lips and got comfortable. “My brother was second mate on the good ship, Pandora on that fateful morning when they was caught up in a great gale down in the South Pacific, last season. You lot have heard of rogue waves, coming out of nowhere with such fierce reckoning they turn a mighty galley into splinters?” The girls gave a solemn nod. “Well, once in a long lifetime, my brother says to me, there’s something akin to it — an unnatural storm that blows like no other. Sometimes out on the ocean, the sea is so calm and clear you can look overboard and pick your teeth with it serving as your mirror. The skies are fair, not a cloud for a hundred leagues. The winds curiously absent, the world dangerously still.

    “The seamen have a name for what follows such an unearthly calm, when God has left the seas untended. Call it ‘the Grey Lady,’ they do. To be sure, she is no lady. It is Kalypso herself, the vile sea witch of legend they speak. They say that when she comes, there’s naught can be done but to haul in the sheets and batten down the hatches and get you below decks faster than a flying musket ball.

    “Alas, on this morning —Enzo, that’s my brother —he is pissing over the prow contented as a plow horse in a peach orchard, when he notices it. Senses it, rather. All around, not a taste of wind. The sky clear, the ocean smooth as glass. The whole wide world gone quiet, save the thumping of his heart. He finishes up his business, all the while thinking it’s real queer, but not yet convinced, when he spots the first mate standing at the stern looking off to the east through his spyglass. But he isn’t just looking ‘cause he fancies the pretty sunrise, his spyglass is trained on, something.

    “The Grey Lady…” the other girls said in a hush.

    Mabel’s eyes twinkled, “He drops the spyglass and takes two steps back, as if shot in the heart. Shakes his head not wanting to believe, then, slowly, turns to my brother. Enzo, he says to me of it, ‘Sis, I’d ne’er seen the supernatural, not till I saw it in that man’s lookouts.’ In them Enzo sees death, or the fear of it besides. Then the first mate opens his mouth and bellows louder than my brother thought possible, ‘All hands on deck! NOW!’ At once the deck drums to life with the pounding feet of men in a frenzy to bring in the sails before the winds blow them to kingdom come. It wasn’t more than a turn of the hourglass that what’d been a smudge on the horizon was now a monstrous cloud, grey as a corpse — and gathering fury. The storm is on them! Howling winds lash the men who struggle to get the ship battened down as foaming waves bash against the hull. Sea and sky become one and the helpless Pandora is tossed to and fro.

    “The crew is right terrified, yet the captain stands steady on the quarterdeck yelling orders, giving the men no time to think that they’re all going to die. He has them stow the rain barrels and tie down the lifeboat, but as he’s shouting, a tremendous crack splits the air and the mainmast breaks in two — splintered wood shoot like arrows and ropes snap, whipping cat-o’-nine-tails — when a line hooks the captain by the neck and hoists him up high to the mizzen yard. And there he be, like a convict swingin’ on the gallows pole!”

    Rosemarie clapped a hand to her throat as Adeline gave a shudder.

    “Enzo sees the captain dancing a jig like a string-puppet, but there’s naught he can do for a dead man. The crew see it too, but before they can lose heart my brother he yells, ‘Keep on, men!’. Enzo knows the cause is lost and frantically looks for the first mate through the rain and spray when he spots him at the helm, holding fast to the ship’s wheel. He runs cross the deck and grabs the man hard, fearin’ he’ll be swept off. Just as Enzo thinks perhaps the first mate has lost his brass, the man points off the stern to where the horizon should be. Enzo turns and can’t believe what his eyes are seein’; the horizon, the sun, the whole bloody universe blotted out from the sky. Then, in horror, he realizes what has the first mate transfixed — coming their way is a wave as big as a mountain!”

    “Dear lord!” Rosemarie said, spellbound. “What did they do?”

    “What could they do? Enzo screams, ‘TO THE HOLD!’ The crew scatter like rats down the hatches and make for the ship’s bowels. My brother implores the first mate to abandon his post, still the man won’t let loose of the wheel. You wouldn’t know it to look at him, but Enzo’s strong as a bull, mean as one too when called for. He slams his fist into the first mate’s face, drops him to the deck and just as he drags him down the hatch — all hell is loosed!

    “Next thing Enzo knows he’s tumbling down the passageway, and if’n such miracles be possible, that the Pandora went stern over bow when the mountain of water swallowed her up. Then, it all goes black. How much time passes Enzo can’t say, only that he comes to with the first mate knelt over him, holding a lantern and asking if he’s still in one piece. My brother, dazed and confused, believes they’ve rode out the storm. Oh, if it were so— truly, Kalypso is just getting started. She unleashes thunder and lightning like cannonade, as if the whole English Navy is firing on them! Great swells roll under the Pandora, heaving her up with breath-snatching speed, only to plummet her down again into a canyon of water. They know full well that if their ship turns broadside she’ll roll and sink to the bottom. The first mate orders Enzo to the hold to muster the crew while he climbs the ladder to lay topside and man the wheel. The two men say no more, expecting they’ll not see each other again in this life.
    Ashley Watters and John Calligan like this.
  3. Veltman

    Veltman Active Member

    Sep 13, 2017
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    I like the premise of this thread. I'll post here to try to keep it alive. Describe this:

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