I haven’t posted any excerpts in a longish time, and since Oz is the popular book, and I just got some copies in, here’s a little taste.
You see, when Tinna said the City of Shattered Opals was not so very far, she was going by a dim memory of her own experience, and that experience included being towed by a lorry, which meant that she was traveling all upon wheels and at a much faster rate.
She still had wheels, but Dawthy, Thatcher, and Monk only had feet, and were more limited in terms of speed. Monk might have turned into his lion shape and carried the other two, but he could not control his changing yet, and under the bright yellow light of the sun the change wouldn’t happen on its own.
Not that it mattered so much. Without a distinct day and night, there was no way to tell how long it took them, but by the time the huge, shimmering gates came into view, Dawthy was exhausted, dirty and sweaty, and her legs and feet hurt badly, and she was hungrier than ever before.
“Do you think the gates are closer than they look?” asked Monk hopefully.
“I think it’s a trick of the sun that they might be further,” said Thatcher.
“We must stop, then. Dawthy needs to rest.”
“Oh, no,” she protested. “I can go on. Really I can.”
“Nonsense. Your feet will be nothing but blisters if you try.”
“What a silly goose am I!” Tinna exclaimed. “Why didn’t I think of it before? You two, boost Dawthy up onto my back. Wheels don’t get tired, or blistered. She can ride to the City. And you, Thatcher, hand over that hat, so her head isn’t right out in the sun.”
The others looked at each other and nodded and made comments like, ”Well thought!”, and were stunned that not a one of them had come up with any of this sooner.
“Don’t blame yourselves,” Dawthy soothed as they boosted her onto the back of the tin maiden. “You aren’t used to dealing with the living; you’ve said it often enough. I’m just as silly; I didn’t think of it either.”
“You are, at that,” Thatcher said, although he was really only teasing. He looked funny with the top of his head exposed: a huge tuft of straw stuck straight up from the canvas of his head, and he kept scratching at it. Dawthy looked nearly as funny in his charred hat, which was a size and a half too large for her. All the same, it offered some relief from the sun.
“It doesn’t solve the problem of food and water, though.”
Monk shrugged. “It will get us to the City faster, and she can get real sustenance and rest there.”
With that settled, they started off again, and at a much faster rate. Tinna revved her wheels and zoomed right along the fairly smooth road; the stones were in much better repair as one got closer to the city. Thatcher and Monk, with no need to breathe, managed to keep up. Perhaps on four legs Monk could have gone faster, but it was still better than when they were all walking.
Dawthy had her arms wrapped tight about Tinna’s neck, and if the speed hadn’t raised such a wind in her face, she might have dozed off right there. Walking and sore feet aside, so much had happened in such a short span of time, it was more than the most energetic little girl could handle.
But they made excellent time and were before the gates soon enough. Despite her exhaustion, Dawthy could only stare at the wondrous beauty before her. Huge walls of shimmering greens and blues stretched on in either direction, while the gates were a deep pewter color (they weren’t really pewter, though, for pewter is very soft for a metal and wouldn’t have offered much protection at all). Off to the left was a small building that also looked to be pewter, and from it came a curious creature.