Panda's perpetually smiling face fell into an introspective frown as he mulled the end of his quest for a dancing bride. "I could pay the bride price, however high, for I have lived long and saved up carefully. But I would die here in the heat of your land; even if I shaved off all my coat, I could not live long in your desert."
A rough, angry voice interrupted the bear, and a loud young man stomped into the little tent, ducking his head under the low portal. "Eliana, what are you doing in here? Why aren't you out with the goats? You lazy girl, I'll have your hide nailed to my tent if you have let one of my flock suffocate in this storm!"
The goat urchin looked down at her bare feet, her thick hair falling over her face and hiding her expression. She spoke in low, even tones that belied her anger and contempt. "My brother, you have not the right to my hide, nailed or any other way, so long as our father lives. Your precious goats are safe in the thorn brakes, as you well know. I'm sorry to disappoint you, but I will not suffocate this day, at your whim or any other."
An excerpt from my '08 NaNo Novel, copyright 2007.