Today, we’re going to focus on Bob . . . Not as easy as I would like. He’s a fun character to write, but he works best when used sparingly. Also, best when he’s with other characters who act as his foil. Still, he has some great scenes like this one from War of Nytefall: Lost. Enjoy.
Bob frowns as he examines the two femurs in his hands, the slight difference in length forcing him to choose. He tosses the longer one over his shoulder and goes about rummaging through the rest of the bone pile for matching bones. The vampire occasionally looks up to watch the antelope herd that is grazing a mile away in a patch of clovers. Whenever one of the barrel-bodied animals runs, he freezes and hungrily licks his lips. It takes him a few minutes to find what he needs and he gleefully skips over to a smaller pile of parts that are topped with a polished saddle. Meticulously pressing the bones together, sinew-like strings drift out of Bob’s hands to bind the pieces and become invisible muscles. He sews pieces of discarded flesh onto the skeletal torso to give his new creation some protection, but knows that it will not be as good as full pelts or leather. Picking up the head, the vampire wipes dirt off the short horns and breathes into the nostrils. Yellow orbs appear in the empty sockets as he fastens the skull to the neck, which begins to weave from side to side. Repetitive clicks can be heard every time the creature shifts, the sounding stopping as its movements become more fluid. Using his backpack in place of stuffing, he straps on the saddle and takes a step back to admire his work.
Satisfied and worried that he has been gone for too long, Bob kicks his lance into his hand and leaps onto his newest steed. The undead antelope snorts and shudders at the heavy weight, which it is unable to handle until more sinew strings are added to its stocky frame. A kick to the sides sends the mount sprinting towards the herd, which runs away from the rapidly approaching creature. Bob is surprised that the squat beast is faster than most of his horses, but he finds it more difficult to control the wilder animal. Whenever he attempts to get the antelope to turn, it bucks and tries to throw him off until he gives it another kick. Hearing a crack, he looks over his shoulder to see that one of the hind legs is too brittle for such pressure. The vampire leans back to press his hand against the splintering bone and infuses it with enough aura to prevent more damage. Placing his lance in a sheath that puts it across his upper back, the Dawn Fang checks the rest of his creation for weak points and reinforces whatever needs the help. Having become more accustomed to its new existence, the antelope stops fighting beyond a few shakes of its head and rushes at top speed without showing signs of fatigue.
It is only after he goes around a hill that Bob realizes he is going away from the forest, which is on the horizon. The sharp turn causes one of the front knees to pop out of its socket and the antelope nearly trips over the useless limb. Leaning to the side, the vampire grabs the two bones and twists them back into place. It takes a minute for his steed to regain full control of the leg, but it easily returns to its breakneck pace and rushes into the forest. The uneven terrain forces it to slow down and it does nothing to keep its riding away from low branches and narrow gaps between the trees. Tired of getting hit in the face, Bob goes back to hanging off the saddle and uses his lance to knock obstacles out of his way. It is a faint tuft of fur in the center of a mushroom-covered stump that causes him to whistle for the antelope to stop. Unfamiliar with the signal, the animal continues running until he jams his weapon into the ground and flips. Gripping the beast’s sides with his legs, the Dawn Fang swings and stays in the air until the mount’s legs stop wind-milling in vain. Whispering soft words, he gradually lowers himself and leaves the antelope to eat from a feed bag filled with clovers. The food is chewed up and falls out of the skinless neck, but it is enough to keep the antelope happy and calm.
“What do we have here?” Bob asks himself. Reaching into the stump, he pulls out a familiar rabbit by the ears and pokes at its cold nose. “You’re the one I saw with Lost. Guess you died and she buried you. Although, you two ran in the opposite direction of my campsite, so I don’t know how you got here. Maybe you were separated by the falling oak, but I’m surprised she didn’t come looking for you. Not to mention it’s strange that I found you. Do you know anything about antelopes? I just made one and I keep thinking I’m missing something besides the innards, natural muscles, and flesh.”
“Oh, thank the gods you found my friend’s pet,” a melodic voice declares from the other side of a willow. Stepping out and bowing to the Dawn Fang, Archillious opens his jacket to reveal that he is unarmed. “Lost has been searching for her bunny since they were separated. It isn’t the first time this has happened, but she is truly distraught. As her oldest and dearest friend, I promised that I would find it and bring it home. By the way, how do you know Lost? I assume you’re a recent encounter due to me never having met you before. Should we be friends?”
This is a very clever scene, Charles.
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Great scene! I know what you mean by using a character sparingly. Breakout characters are so hard to contain. The temptation is always to overuse them. I can’t help thinking of the Fonz,
I think a big reason some characters break out in popularity is because they’re used sparingly. It’s the whole ‘leave them wanting more’ thing. If they get too much exposure, they lose some of their charm.
I love Bob. I understand letting him run free, but also using him sparingly. I have a couple like that myself.
They’re always fun to write. Not sure if I have one like this in Slumberlord. Darwin himself kind of fits the bill, but he can’t be used sparingly.
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