i_id: (G is for Grue)
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A merchant gets screwed over when a very wealthy client dies, and decides to rob his tomb to recoup his losses. Before leaving, he asks his three daughters what they want. The eldest wants gold, the second wants pearls, the youngest wants <some token>.

But when he gets there, the tomb is already robbed and nearly bare. There is no gold. no pearls. But he remembers one piece he sold to the ruler that was decorated with <tokens>, and it was of little value, so he delves deeper and deeper into the tomb to try to find it. At the lowest level, he finds a tunnel half-collapsed, with wind coming frmo an opening into a deep black hollow. He's suddenly attacked, a desperate strike by a long, lithe creature. He defeats it by swinging his lantern into its face, blinding it.

Relighting his lantern, he finds a Beast, unlike any he's ever seen or heard. Not much larger than a wolf, it is lanky and black with eight limbs, eyes like a spider's, and two mouths. His first impulse is to kill it. But it mewls like a wounded child, trying to speak to him, and he's reminded of his daughters. Perhaps he could make money off of the thing and give them what they deserve after all.

He takes it home in a sack made of his cloak. There's a near-escape, but the beast shies away from the sunlight, trapping itself in the merchant's own shadow.

When he arrives home, the daughters have mixed reactions. The oldest wants to drown the creature (It'll kill children!), the middle wants to burn it (It's unnatural!), the youngest wants to set it loose (it's terrified!). The father, however, has his plan. Locking the beast in a well, he begins to build a large cage in which it can be displayed.

The youngest spends her days watching it, stealthily feeding it chickens and trying to talk to it. It grows thin, but the chickens keep it alive.

Just as it's beginning to get sick from being trapped in ankle-deep water, the cage is finished. The beast nearly escapes in the transfer, but the youngest defends her father, and it can't escape through her.

Father sells tickets to view the strange beast, and news spreads wide, attracting greater and greater clients. A circus, passing through, makes an offer, and only the youngest's urgent please keep her father from selling it. But the carnies come back at night, weeks later, trying to steal the beast. It kills one, and by the time the by-now-ravenous beast has fed on the corpse, it's dawn and once again, sunlight keeps it prisoner.

A mob comes for it that day, dragging the beast out of his cage into the sunlight, making it writhe and cry, begging in its limited speech. They're about to kill it when the youngest flings herself in the way, daring the torches and pitchforks, to set it loose. She would be killed as well, once the first startle is over, but her sisters intervene as well. She and the Beast escape into the woods and they find a hiding place, where she leaves it.

When she returns to her father's home, he's astounded. He'd expected her to be killed, and he'd been grieving.

It's not the same woods as the tomb was in, and the beast can't find its way home, though it tries. Daylight always catches it exposed, driving it into some den or other. After a near-brush with a farming crew, it returns to the place it'd been held captive so long, miserable.

Youngest, this time, is able to talk her dad out of taking it prisoner again, and helps it get home, where it gets a chance to save her from its own family. In the hollow where it first met her father, it shows her the hoard that the first (devoured) grave robbers had been trying to steal, and she gets to take as much of it home as she can carry. They part well, sad but each knowing where they belong.

Why this outline is inadequate: 
Where are my character arcs?
Where are my character NAMES?

Make a scene list.

Outline #2 - By scenes(1/2)

Date: 2010-10-25 01:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] i-id.livejournal.com
Begin with the client's death (King so-and-so). Corwin is devastated, almost suicidal. Decides to rob the tomb out of desperation.

Asks his daughters what they want, not telling them that the money's gone.

Travels to the tomb, paranoid. He's never been a criminal before. Has an alarming night in an inn, hearing rumours of tomb robbers. Thinks he's been found out.

Arrives in the night to find the great seal already broken, evidence of many thieves. But he's come so far, he goes down to see what's left to be scavenged. He finds many empty rooms, going deep into the earth, four levels cut deep into the granite.

He finds a cave-in, near the deepest point. The body of the late king is in this final chamber, stripped of its finery and its flesh, too, a raw skeleton dried to firewood. He is not alone here. When he raises his lantern to see down the hollow, he thinks he sees jewels, or eyes, dozens of them gleaming back at him before they suddenly vanish, and he's attacked. It's a brief, furious battle before he smashes his lantern into the attacker's face, and it collapses.

When he lights the lantern again (flint), he finds the creature laid out. He draws the knife he brought, meaning to cut its throat, but it wakes up before he can, pleading for its life in a language he can't understand. He can't bring himself to kill it, can't bring himself to turn his back on it, either, so he bundles it up in his cloak and begins the climb out.

At the surface, the creature revives and attempts an escape on the road. It breaks free of the cloak, bu tthe sun's bright and hot and it winds up cowering against Corwin's legs, the only near shade. He bundles it up again, continuing on.

When he gets home, his daughters run out to greet him, giving him no chance to hide the monster. But like before, the sunlight makes it harmless as they freak out. Dusa, the town's teacher, wants it drowned before it can eat local children. Seppe wants it burnt as an abomination. Not understanding them, but hearing and smelling their fear, the monster huddles afraid, and Elspeth pleads for it to be safely released. Corwin denies all three, telling them his plan.

He seals the beast in a nearby dry well, and begins to build a wooden cage to house it in an empty barn on their property. He has big plans for his new sideshow (maybe a week to build?)

While it's in the well, Elspeth visits the monster. It's curled up at the bottom, filthy in the few inches of muddy water, obviously miserable. When she speaks to it, it tries to speak back, and she begins to teach it words, one by one. Chicken. Rock. Water. Hands. And she feeds it.

When the cage is finished, Corwin has to figure out how to get it from the well to the cage. He tries to knock it out with dropped rocks, but it flings them back, resisting. So he lassos it by the neck and one hand, nearly killing it as he hauls it up from the bottom. It's sick, coughing and sputtering in the sunlight, but it attacks him anyway, desperate, and only stops when Elspeth puts herself in the way. Corwin locks it in the cage, telling her it'll be better off in there.

People start coming to see it as Corwin spreads the word. First the locals; They're a small town, with many reactions like Dusa's and Seppe's, but there's a growing fascination.

People start coming from farther away, stranger folk. Corwin stops letting his daughters fraternize with the visitors, but Elspeth sneaks into the barn as often as she can to be the beast's guard, and keep it company while it's stared at. Once, she stops a wealthy visitor from cutting off one of its strange long fingers as a souvenir.

The local Duke visits, and Corwin is overjoyed, sure that their money troubles are over forever.

Outline #2 - By scenes(2/2)

Date: 2010-10-25 01:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] i-id.livejournal.com
A circus comes to town. Dusa and Elspeth sneak out to see it. They have all sorts of strange creatures in cages, all smaller than the one Corwin built, which unsettles both girls.

The leader of the circus, a woman named Tabi, comes to Corwin the next day with a bag of gold offering to buy the beast. But her best offer is less than the Duke's token of appreciation from only a few days before, so Corwin decides not to sell.

Elspeth talks to her dad about the Beast, grateful that he didn't sell it.

Late that night, Tabi and her sons sneak back to the farm, breaking into the barn. The beast is hungry - chickens have never been enough, and his illness is finally gone - and it lies in wait, attackin the invaders. Since they brought no light, it has the advantage and kills the eldest. It feeds, wasting the rest of the night, and daylight traps it yet again.

The mob arrives not long after daylight, while the beast is still in torpor beside its mostly-eaten prey. They break open the cage and drag the beast out into the light. it cowers and cries, using its very limited English to beg for mercy. Tabi, grieving, is about to light it on fire when Elspeth flings herself in the way, disrupting the mob's inertia. She saws at the knots holding it, and they're revving up again to go right through her when Dusa and Seppe stand in the way. And then Corwin, too (once he stops trying to drag Elspeth away) fights Tabi and her kin while Elspeth and the wounded beast flee.

They run until the beast can run no further. She finds them a den and they hide through the day, and the night too, huddled together and finding ways to communicate. Here, Elspeth learns that the beast's name is Somm.

In the morning, it rains. Elspeth tells Somm how to find its way home, and they part.

Elspeth arrives home to a shocked father, grieving a daughter he had been sure was dead, from the blood Somm had left behind. Yay, she's not dead!

Somm tries to follow her directions, but the nights are too short. It can't follow the road across the shadeless steppes.

It tries to steal a cloak and a goat from a farm, but runs afoul of the harvesters, and again barely escapes with its life.

When it returns to Corwin's home, it's skinnier still and meaning to steal one of their chickens. But it runs into Elspeth and her father. Exhausted, starving, it lies down before them in surrender. Elspeth convinces him not to stick it back in the well, and they give it shelter.

Leaving Dusa and Seppe to watch the farm, Elspeth and Corwin take Somm home. Corwin wants to just leave it at the tomb's entrance, since they've arrived after dark, but it pleads with Elspeth to come down and see its family.

The family, of course, tries to attack the humans, but then reunion! instead. Somm explains much of what's happened.

Through chance, Corwin sees down into the hollow where he first met Somm. The thieves' bodies are long gone, but their hoard is all there, as glittery as ever. The monsters are astounded to find that the treasure is of value to the humans, and they load them down with all they can carry and negotiate to buy future goats.

Parting scene and close.

Outline #3 - by scenes (1/2) Somm's perspective

Date: 2010-10-29 09:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] i-id.livejournal.com
Begin with the digging of the tomb. Somm's family picks off a worker or two, watching warily as the tunnels come closer to their own.

Funeral, with a huge demonstration of flame, nearly drives them out, but ends eventually. They let the young feed on the royal corpse once everyone is gone.

The robbers who come later put up a good fight, but they are also delicious. And they keep coming, at least one a day.

The human (Corwin) comes when the whole family is slow with torpor, gorged on theives. Only Somm is on its feet to defend them. It loses the fight, but keeps them safe.

(Somm gets bundled up and taken to the surface, its family unable to help thanks to Corwin's torch)

Somm wakes up, trapped and frantic. It tries desperately to escape, but when it's wrestled free of the cloak, the sunlight scalds its eyes and any exposed skin, and the only shade it can find is its captor's long shadow, its only choice recapture.

After a long, cramped journey, Somm finds itself dumped into the light again, while four humans argue unintelligibly above it, angry and afraid. The smallest female alone doesn't shout, and it tries to move closer to her.

(Corwin) dumps Somm into a deep, stone-lined pit with water in the bottom. Before it can climb out, a lid slams shut, leaving only thin gaps that let in light, bars of which slice across the upper reaches of the well like blades. It dares them to climb up anyway, but the lid is too strong. And locked. And the gaps are too small, though it tries to fit out.

The youngest girl visits it, speaking down through those gaps once it has worn itself out trying to escape. She speaks to it in her own language, and it begs her to let it out. There's obviously no specific understanding, but there begins to be. It learns her name (Elspeth) Espet, and the words for stones, water, hands, eyes, teeth, chicken, the last when she stuffs one down through a gap, neck already wrung for it to eat.

(Corwin) returns for it some days later, set on something. He begins by throwing stones at it, bruisingly, and angered, it throws them back. Then he flings a lasso down, catching it around the throat on the second try. If Somm didn't get its fingers under the line around its neck, it might have been strangled as (Corwin) hauls it out of the hole. Furious and hurt in the light, it immediately tries to attack him, but Espet bursts from the house and protects her father, and it can't fight the only one who's been good to it. So it gets locked in a large wood cage, inside a dimly lit wooden building.

More strangers come, many who murmur and point, some who shout. Most smell of fear and/or anger, at least by the time they leave.

Espet keeps it company as days and nights pass, teaching it more words, just talking to him. There's a scuffle with a man who smells like spice, a man who catches its hand and tries to cut off a finger, and Espet protects it.

A man visits for whom they bring Somm's cage out into the yard, thankfully after dark, though the torchlight is still painful. He is neither afraid nor angry, and he tries to speak to Somm, though he doesn't use any words it knows.

One of the other daughters (Seppe) visits, silent and smelling angry. Somm tries again to speak to her, but that only seems to make her more angry and she leaves. (Espet and Dusa go to the circus.)

A woman comes to see it the next day, (Corwin) with her, and they speak and argue. (Corwin) is calm, but firm, and the woman is increasingly angry. She shouts at him before she leaves, and (Corwin) gives Somm a possessiv look that chills it.

Somm worries about the future. It has no way to escape, and misses its family keenly.

It's woken up by the woman and three males related to her breaking into its barn, wearing gray and carrying hammers and sickles and rope. They stumble in the dark, and it realizes that they can barely see. It lurks in the darkest corner of its cage, and attacks the first man to enter, mauling his throat. The others are scared off by the savage attack, slamming the door shut on it, but it's distracted anyway by the flesh at its feet. It feeds itself into a torpor.
From: [identity profile] i-id.livejournal.com
A crowd of humans arrives with daylight, tearing the cage apart through sheer numbers and dragging it into the morning, hurting and binding and cutting it. It begs, but they don't hear it, they pile wood around it, tie it to it. It doesn't understand until the woman from last night lights a torch. But before she can touch the fire off, Espet puts herself in the way, just the way she did when it was Somm attacking her father. She cuts at the ropes and Somm tries to tell her to go, as the crowd's anger swells to include her too. But she doesn't hear it, trying to cut its ropes. Her sisters and father step up as a wall around them, and a fight breaks out just as Somm is freed. Espet flings a cloak over it and helps it flee.

It can't run long, bleeding badly. Espet leads it to a dark, safe place before it can collapse, and cares for it, bandaging wounds. She spends the night with it, each talking whether the other can understand or not, both learning a bit more. It tells her its name, at last.

In the morning, Espet carefully tells it to follow the Great Road south, out of the woods across the steppes to the tomb where it was found. She draws it a map, and then reluctantly leaves.

(Espet gets home) Somm stays two days in the den, licking its wounds, starving. It dreams of its family.

It leaves the den when the rain stops, tries to follow Espet's instructions, but it doesn't understand the map. When it reaches the end of the woods, it can't cross the Steppe. The nights are too short; it would mean days in the sun with no shelter.

Wandering the edge of the forest, lost, one night Somm finds a farmstead and tries to steal a cloak and a delicious goat from the yard, but the humans return from their fields, and it barely escapes with its life.

It has no choice but to return to Corwin's farm, unsuited to life on the surface and alone. It's coming back to steal their chickens, but Espet is out feeding them, and Corwin's close enough to hear her startled greeting. Exhausted, starving, and afraid of the pitchfork in Corwin's hand, it lies down before them, surrendering. It expects Corwin to put him in the well again, since the remains of the cage are still piled in a pyre. But Espet speaks to him, and instead of imprisoning Somm again, they lead it into the barn, and leave it unlocked. And they give it two chickens.

It recovers there, slow and cared for, speaking to Espet and, rarely, the other three, about its family. It needs to go home, and Corwin and Espet finally agree to take it there. In Corwin's new wagon, the trip is shockingly easy, and takes only three days. When they arrive, Somm shyly asks Espet down to meet its family, and Corwin, of course, insists on coming.

Nearly to the cave-in, several of Somm's family, on guard, stalk them, but when they see Somm, it becomes a happy if somewhat uneasy reunion instead, as Somm tries to explain all that's happened.

Lingering because Espet wants to, but uneasy, Corwin sees down into the hollow. There are bones there, but also mounds of gold; all the treasure of the tomb. Somm's family, who only like it because it keeps luring humans down to them, give Corwin and Espet all they can carry, and through Somm, make a bargain to buy goats in the future with the rest.

Parting scenes and close.

Various names

Date: 2010-10-29 09:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] i-id.livejournal.com
Somm - beast
Corwin - merchant
Dusa - Eldest daughter (teacher)
Seppe - Middle daughter (spiritual)
Elspeth - Youngest daughter

Tabi - Circus leader
Rikk, Hobb, Miek - Tabi's sons.
Tabi Zeckle's Traveling Menagerie

Etons Ford - Village
The Serpent, The Arrow - Rivers
Ryam Noomsword - Late King
Vage der-Eton - Local Duke

City - Arrowbend
Inn - King's Elbow


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