A Conversation for Najopomo 2020: Gravepicking

November 23: Bridge building

Post 1

Caiman raptor elk - Escaping the Array

Day 23.

At daybreak, Pato, Aryna and Yusna ride to the river to see if they can find a solution. They are dressed for work rather than ritual. After some searching Yusna points out two trees still standing on opposite sides of the raging torrent. This seems to be the best place available. If only they could get the attention of someone on the other side to help. Pato takes a slim rope from his saddlebag and attaches a fist-sized rock to it. He throws the rock across the river, pulling is back every time he misses. Only after the seventh try he manages to wrap it around one of the sturdier tree limbs on the other side in such a way that it holds when pulled at. The other end is tied to the tree on this side. In the meantime, Yusna rides downstream on Pato’s horse to see if she can find someone on the other side. Eventually, she sees a ragtag accumulation of tents.
Screaming at the top of her voice, she tries to get the attention of anyone there. Her throat is already getting raw when she finally manages it. A red bearded head emerges from one of the tents. With gestures, she tries to convey the message that he has to follow her upstream, taking anyone that can be spared. In the end, about ten men and women follow her on foot. The return journey takes some more time.
With help from the other side and using the slim rope already in place, two thicker ropes are hauled across and fastened to both trees, one rope much higher than the other. To the upper rope, Pato has attached several metal rings with a length of rope dangling from each. Fastening a length of rope to a sturdy leather belt, Yusna, being the lightest, crosses the makeshift rope bridge to the other side to test it, taking all the other rings with her.
One by one, men and women start crossing while someone is sent to inform the rest of the Clan’s people still on the other side and at the building site of this new development.
It is past midday when the cart with the remaining people arrive, led by Pato's uncle. Relieved to see his uncle but pressed by the urgency of the situation, Pato decides that the cart must stay, but anything small and light enough is ferried over. The river will calm down eventually. For now having his people all back on one side is more important than having the tomb finished.

After everything useful has crossed it is the turn of Pato’s red bearded nephew Marlon , who guided the transfer of goods from the other side, to finally cross. When he is halfway, disaster strikes as a complete tree floats past, knocking out Marlon and ripping away the lower rope. This leaves Marlon dangling dangerously above the white water. Yusna does not hesitate for a moment and ties herself to one of the rope-rings hanging on her side. Taking one end of a light rope with her, she pulls herself hand over hand towards Marlon, just hanging from the remaining top rope. Once there, she fixes the rope to Marlon’s ring so that Pato and Aryna can pull them both in. Just when they have untied the knots from both belts, the tree on the other side collapses into the river, taking the remaining rope and the tree on this side with it.
Yusna and Aryna quickly take the still unconscious Marlon back to the village on horseback while Pato gathers everyone to follow on foot, carrying all the saved equipment.

Despite the exhaustion, the day in the village ends in a kind of festive mood because all families in the Clan have been reunited again. This is not the case in Pato’s house. Marlon is laid down on a pile of sheepskins. He is still breathing but otherwise unresponsive. Resigned, Yusna has taken her place beside him, a position that is all too familiar for her…


November 23: Bridge building

Post 2

Array

Gripping stuff! smiley - applause


November 23: Bridge building

Post 3

Dmitri Gheorgheni - Post Editor

Yes - terrific action, well done! smiley - applause

Just a tip from the English teacher (because your English is so perfect):

>>Only after the seventh try he manages to wrap it around<<

There are native writers who don't know this. If you start with 'only' or 'not until', you should invert word order.

'Only after the seventh try does he manage to wrap it around...'

Or you could say, 'It is not until the seventh try that he manages to wrap it around...' if you don't like to invert. smiley - smiley That way, you preserve what you wanted, which is the tension in the sentence.


November 23: Bridge building

Post 4

Caiman raptor elk - Escaping the Array

Thanks for the tip. Now that you mention it, it does sound familiar.


November 23: Bridge building

Post 5

Dmitri Gheorgheni - Post Editor

smiley - zen Anytime. And thanks for not calling me a big smiley - geek. smiley - winkeye


November 23: Bridge building

Post 6

Caiman raptor elk - Escaping the Array

Not without doing the same to myself.


November 23: Bridge building

Post 7

Dmitri Gheorgheni - Post Editor

smiley - rofl


November 23: Bridge building

Post 8

Minorvogonpoet

I am impressed by the bridge building and river crossing.smiley - applause


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