"Gondwa the Ongah" | Expiremntal introduction to fantasy novel.

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Thread: "Gondwa the Ongah" | Expiremntal introduction to fantasy novel.

  1. #1
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    "Gondwa the Ongah" | Expiremntal introduction to fantasy novel.

    “Our Home,” - that is what Pangraad means when translated from its native Ongah Speech unto the more common human tongue. South of the Alyaki Reefs and towards the boundary of the Greater Waters, there dwell the twenty Pangraad islands. They are a dark and dangerous place to trek; first, one would have to brave the nearly endless mangroves that intertwine the islands. A labyrinthine web of vines they are, whose warm and misty waters harbor dastard beast of many sorts. Second, one would have to survive the black jungles that overgrow the islands. Its jungles are forever gloomy, always muggy, perpetually drenching in mist – not much as has changed in nearly fourteen thousand years. Within every island, there slumbers a horrid beast: a mighty brimstone mountain that rumble and fume with both flame and thunder from deep below the earth.There are times that both the realm Humankind and the Yuthaian maidens can hear their “roar” when they erupt. In addition, hidden deep with the shadow and the foliage gloom, there exist some savage beasties. Predators and prey, many found in no other place within Tethyra – they too call the Pangraad Islands their home. Lethal creatures from Tethyras’ ancient past; no sane hunter of the human realm would dare to capture them as quarry.

    Although, most other mortal races outside of Pangraad would most likely dread to call this island chain their home; but to the sable creatures known as Ongah’s - they would not have it any other way.

    The Ongah are peculiar creatures indeed. They do not have much clothing, save for a loincloth around there waist and a satchel at their side. They are often mistaken for another kind of ape; but they are as far away from apes as with their Human neighbors. They have coarse black fur from their sloped forehead all the way to their leathery feet. They have an angular face with a flattened nosed and large, brawny jaw line -these that sport a set of giant teeth that they use to gnaw through bone and hardened shrubs. Above they sport a pair of portly blue eyes, each Ongah sports a massive brow-ridge – this is useful in protecting their eyes from both the tropic sun and their violent prey. Ongah are also short, creatures - barely above the shoulder height of a young man. Yet despite their stature, they are hefty brutes of robust strength. A single Ongah male has the strength of five muscled human sailors. The Ongah need this strength however, because every Ongah male is a hardened hunter. Their barreled-chest protects them from lethal blows whilst their sinewed arms deliver mighty spear thrust. Not much has changed for the Ongah’s lifestyle in over ten thousand years.

    During this time, Ongah clans lived a lifestyle where the three greatest joys in life are always Hunting, Sleeping, and Storytelling. They had no records of the distant past nor did they have ambitions for the distant future; they felt they never had to change their primal way of life because it simply “just made sense” and they were happy to live it that way. Amongst the hundreds of scattered clans, there was no desire to leave their islands and explore – they were actually most oblivious to the chaos that consumed the outer regions of Tethyra; but they could not care less. The world to them was simple and fun the way it was, and they had no will otherwise to see things change. However, for an elder Ongah male named Gondwa, things would drastically change… with extreme savagery.

    Early evening is a very busy time for Ongahs: young males gathered wood and prepared the bonfire pit, females strove to clean the bamboo huts from dirt and pest, and the elder females readied the gathered herbs and berries for the feast that followed, whilst most the elder males practiced their song and storytelling skills. Most adolescent to males were out hunting in the wild.

    The sun began to set in the west and the Ongah labored earnestly until a familiar roar echoed in the distance: “U’Ranga!” which in the most common human language means, “Success!

    “U’Ranga! U’Ranga! U’Ranga!” the clan cheered six hunters lead by a graying elder named Gondwa, emerged from the jungle mist; each porting a hefty animal that they slew.
    Be’hu, kin Amam” or “Tonight, we Feast” was Gondwas’ victory chant.

    Gondwa was forty-one years old, the eldest and most beloved of his clan - that is why he was also the Chief. The many years of hunting had taken a toll on Gondwas’ body: a panther’s paw had left Gondwa with fearsome scar across the left side of his face and had permanently damaged his eye. A crocodile had nearly torn his right hand off – leaving him with a missing finger. Water cattle trampled him, leaving him with crushed ribs and a broken leg –causing him to at times to wobble when he walked. Yet, the most horrendous scars he donned where two little holes within his chest and abdomen; the scars that he was never proud of and whose story he refused to tell.

    “Gather around,” bellowed Gondwa. Gondwa and his hunters stood towards the center of the village whilst their kin encircled them.
    “The hunt today was wonderful! There is much to celebrate.”
    Gondwa thrust the slain reptile above his head - bellowing out a sound of both praise and laughter. Gondwa loved laughing and he loved smiling; every moment he went without so much as a happy thought or deed was a moment wasted.

    “It took me many thrust to kill this brute. His fight was long and admirable; but alas, I was the tougher predator!”
    The clan grunted, cheered, and roared with glee.
    “Nonetheless, we should remember that this animal lost his live so they we may live. Thus, we shall honor that by first showing gratitude unto the A’trah, then seeing to it that not a single piece of it shall go to waste. ”

    Gondwa laid the crocodile on its back and from his satchel; he then pulled out an ancestral knife – an obsidian blade with a handle carved from tusk. With swift precision Gondwa removed the crocodiles’ heart and gently placed it atop the pyre; that was the quickest way that any gift or sacrifice would reach the A’trah – the Gods of Fire. Gondwa then handed the blade to his complain Dandaa to repeat the ritual; he had slew a great black boar. Dandaa then handed the blade to his brother Kakuga who had killed a Giant Scorpion; he struggled to pierce the creatures under armor, but then decided just to remove its massive stinger as a gift. Next, followed the twin brothers Aaga and Aagru, they together had brought down a hefty Water Cattle.

    “It’s going to take us weeks to eat this brute!” Aaga jeered.
    “It’ll take us a week” Aagru remarked “But for a glutton such as yourself, you’ll have it down before morning!”
    The whole clan sneered; Aaga only smirked.
    “You cannot blame me for loving food dear brother! At least I know how to track and kill my meals. Tell me brother, when is the last time you hunted any beastie without my aid?”

    The two continued exchanging light-hearted insults until Gondwa demanded that they pay respects. Eventually, they agreed to remove the head and offer to the A’trah.

    Lastly, there was Ru’om left to offer gratitude, although he was fraught with ire this evening. He had strove and finally slain a lethal Pangraad predator – the Mighty Spotted Panther. He was injured in his hunt, the feline’s mighty paws had torn away his ear, his eye, and a portion of his nose – he knew that he would carry these gruesome scars for life. When handed the blade, he violently began to tear the creature apart - until Gondwa intervened.

    “Ru’om!” Gondwa roared, “It is both unwise and rude to offer gratitude when filled with anger!”
    Ru’om glared at Gondwa with hate. “I have a reason my dear Chief! Look at me! Look at what it did to my face! ”
    “Why should this anger you?” questioned Gondwa.
    “Why?” rebuked Ru’om, “I am ugly now. I am a walking wound! I can barely see, I can barely hear, and I can barely smell anything thing now. How am I supposed to hunt when I cannot see nor smell nor listen to my prey? This stupid animal has made me a weakly hunter! No she-Ongah will ever desire me now!”

    Gondwa remained silent; but he knew exactly what to say.

    “Ru’om, take a long look at me. I too lost my eye to a mighty cat. Nevertheless, this has never stopped me from hunting, nor has it hindered me from meeting many She-Ongah.”
    (The elder females giggled and hide their faces out of shame).
    “Besides, I have hunted many panthers since. I have had my vengeance. I have learned to hunt with only one good eye. I have learned that you do not need two eyes to eat, sleep, or story-tell. It has taught me a good lesson in life: that life is full of problems; but it is how we handle them that make us better Ongah.”

    Gondwa always did his best to make a lesson out of every dire moment, and his words seemed to somewhat persuade Ru’om. Ru’om removed the panther’s tail and tossed it into the pyre. Gondwa then proudly boasted to the clan – “Da’deh kin Naaga,” which meant “Forever, we Hunt!”

    “Every day that we’re alive to eat and breathe is a day worth celebrating!” Gondwa cheered, “Now, I may be old and may be missing a finger - but I can still play music!”
    An Ongah youngling then emerged from behind the clan carrying a long object wrapped in animal hide. Gondwa took the object and unveiled a treasured heirloom – a bone flute carved from a cattle femur.
    “Now, let’s eat and sing!”

    Every day the Ongah celebrate this way. The hunters butcher their kill and cook it upon the pyre while Gondwa played away on his flute all through the night. Eventually other Ongah would accompany him with bongo drums and glottal throat singing. After they had eaten most the tender meat, the Ongah would then take turns telling stories. Some stories were sad and others where sometimes scary, but most of them where always happy and usually there was a noble lesson to be learned. After the eating and merry-making was at it end, the Ongah would then retreat to their bamboo huts and sleep a cozy slumber whilst their simple minds trekked away to those places where dreams are wrought. Gondwa had his own hut. His Ongah-wife had passed away twelve monsoons ago; though he was heart-broken by her passing, he knew that the A’trah had welcomed her into the Realm of the Spirits. Gondwa and his Ongah brethren had a happy life that they would not trade for anything. Gondwa closed his eyes to join his eyes and slumbered away to the placid little dreamland.

    "Congratulations, you have wandered off the map!"

  2. #2
    As an introduction, I'd say it needed a little more too it because it has no hook. It doesn't necessarily need one if this is the first chapter in a story, but as an introduction, their isn't a hint of the eventual conflict. I felt this could have stood on it's own as it's own story because it wraps up pretty nicely at the end.

    And getting to that...I liked this story a lot. Very calm, paced, peaceful, endearing, and it is vivid with scenes of a people closer to the earth and each other than we would see in our society. My only problems where that the beginning could be written a little better. It is exposition...an info dump...and while I see why you put it there, I think it can be smoothed over to not be so much on the nose. In some ways, information relayed here could have been worked into the rest of the story so the reader learns through experience the informaiton you want them to know.

    The second thing was the enlgishy, nordic barbarian type language you use for the Ongah. This is more a personal criticism, but the language or diction used makes me think more of another type of people other than the Ongah. To emphasize the difference of this people you created, try inventing a different way of talking- use different words and such. By this, I don't necessarily mean make up words, I mean in the same way a people in Africa or India or Manchuria would have a different way of talking, acting, and such, one of the best ways to styliz them would be their language or diction.

    Other then that, this was a pretty nice read.

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