Thursday January 3rd, 2013

The exercise:

Going to try something a little different with today's prompt. The plan is to introduce you to a setting and then you guys will have the chance to write something that takes place in that setting.  Feel free to completely disregard all other responses and keep your piece self-contained. Or, and I think this would be much more fun and interesting, you can incorporate other takes on the prompt into yours.

I think I might have done something like this before, but there's an added twist this time:

I'm hoping to revisit this setting once a month over the course of this year. So if everything works out (aka, I actually remember to do this every month), today's entries will be the first of twelve set in this locale. I think that if you're able to contribute to the entire dozen it would be pretty cool if all of your entries related to each other in some way. My intention, since my first entry is being spent on the intro, is to have the next eleven connect together.

So what's the locale? A village named: Mejaran.

And what do we know about Mejaran? Well, let me tell you...


As it gently curls its way back and forth across the valley bottom, the unnamed river splits the village of Mejaran in half. The division is geographically perfect, though residents on each side secretly hold on to the belief that their portion of land is slightly - but somehow significantly - larger.

The handful of homes and shops on both banks are of simple design, as the focus of the craftsmen during their hasty construction was on functionality and longevity.

Also: the self-appointed foreman had been born without a creative bone weighing down his undersized body. Unfortunately for those that would come after, none of the men suffering under his withering gaze were foolish enough to suggest a non-utilitarian addition to any of the projects.

In the near century since then little has changed. The villagers have been too preoccupied with carving out a living beneath the impassive eyes of the northern reaches of the Nadaga Mountain Range. Days blended into weeks, which melted into months, which were in turn lost among the passing years.

Rare were their visitors. Rarer still were the villagers who departed with breath still filling their lungs.

But still there was drama and mystery and love and hatred in their lives. Still there were stories and legends and songs worthy of being shared with outsiders.

Outsiders such as ourselves.


Greg said...

Wow, a shared-world piece? That's a nice idea, I shall have to try and remember to prompt you about it if it looks like you're forgetting any month :)
The intro is good, I like this notion of a town divided by a river with functional architecture. I can already think of things that might be going on here!

Orsana of Mejaram
Orsana was nearly six feet tall barefoot, and the heavy leather shoes that she wore in the forge took her just over, making her one of the tallest people in Mejaram. A fact which her brothers, all eleven of them, wouldn't let her forget. She was hammering a length of steel on the anvil, thinning it out in readiness to turn it into blades, when Jared stuck his head through the forge doors.
"Giantess!" he shouted, his voice echoing through the large, entirely functional shed.
"Jared?" Orsana didn't shout back, just calling out between chiming strokes of her hammer on the anvil.
"Lady Helen sends her regards and asks that you call on her this afternoon."
Orsana turned the steel, looking at it critically, and turned and thrust it into the forge with an elegant, minimal movement. The forge roared, sparks rising from the coal and other fuel she used, but she could be heard again now.
"What does that woman want now? She lives on the wrong side of the river anyway, if she wants to improve Mejaram she should come and live on this side."
"Lady Margaret might get a bit upset, though." Jared's eyes twinkled, and he smiled, revealing irregular, yellowing teeth.
"Oh well she's no better!" Orsana threw her hands up to illustrate her disgust, and sweat glistened brightly in the forgelight on her muscled arms, each of which was the size of Jared's leg.
"You don't have to go," said Jared. "You could tell her you're too busy."
"And how do I tell her that without going to see her?"
Jared's face was a picture as he tried to puzzle that one out.

g2 (la pianista irlandesa) said...

So this is a group of folks talking amongst themselves, but it doesn't terribly matter who's saying what.

The whole shared-world idea's really, really cool. Mine's a bit more of a brief detour in the town, but I still wanted to give it a go.
- - - - -
"Does anyone remember that story Shotek used to tell?"

"Which one? All that boy ever did was tell stories, and you could never tell what was real and what was made up."

"The one how he met Divana."

"Oh, that one's my favorite."

"I remember how it starts: we were in that mining town, just in the start of the Nadagas, and things were just starting to green up, and Shotek decided to scout ahead--"

"Run off's more like it."

"But he came back, didn't he?"

"Well, yes…"

"Anyhow, he ran off to go ahead a bit, and he ran into that little town a day north of here. It's right along the mountains, by the river, what's it called again?"


"That's the one. And the town had just started shaking the snow off and wake up a bit. Not a lot of folk go through Mejaran--never mind head off with it as the destination, or venture off from it--so of course the folk get looking at him funny."

"Not unusual for us meanderers--"

"And particularly not for Shotek, he was a bit odd-looking. Endearingly, though, I've to say."

"So with all these people looking at him, he figures he might as well give'm something to look at. So he's all showsman and charming about it, tipping whatever mop-hat he had to these people already skeptical of him. And where'd he set down, anyone remember?"

"I thought it was the tavern."

"Did Mejaran even have a tavern?"

"Maybe, maybe not, y'never knew with Shotek."

"Was probably just some corner of the square, it would've been nice enough out."

"Sure, let's go with that. He set himself down on some stoop, and most people just looked at him, then ignored him. Somebody asked him what he wanted, and he said something like, 'Madam, for myself I haven't a want in the world'--"

"I can see his cheeky grin when you say that."

"'But for you I'd like to share something.' And he pulled out his stack of cards, and asked if they wanted to hear a story. He did one of his card-trick stories, y'know the ones where he had somebody pick a card, put it back, and start tellin' a story while he shuffled like an Arcenan card-cutter, and he'd flip over cards that tied into the story without looking at them, and it'd end with him finding the first card the person pulled out."

"I still can't believe he could do those without looking."

"Well, you know how he was with cards. And the little clump of people--probably most of the town, honestly--that came to watch loved it. And of course somebody asked if he could read futures."

. . . . . .

g2 (la pianista irlandesa) said...

"But it wasn't just anybody that asked, right?"

"Right, the lady in question was Divana, the sprite with the copper-brown hair that followed him here."

"And pretty important in Mejaran, if I recall?"

"That's right. Not Avi's daughter important, but pretty close, maybe she was slated to marry the Avi's son--"

"And here she goes running off with a beanstalky tumbleweed boy!"

"But they needed each other. He could tell, she could tell--you saw the way they were together, there was never a pair closer--and the way the cards came out the Uchaf said it had to be so."

"The fathers were less than convinced, though, I imagine."

"Well, her father was impressed by how well-mannered and charming Shotek was, and said in any other circumstances he would have agreed, but there was some debt or some other legal matter to settle with the Ava. The Ava, who had of course caught wind of this drifter, was less taken with this upshot trying to steal his son's bride."

"I remember both of them talking about those Avi. Divana in particular said they were far too slick, and from the sound of it that boy was a bit too quick with his eyes and careless about his hands."

"And people chase us out as criminals?"

"Never mind that. They ran away together that night--"

"--Not before running into the Ava's son, though."

"Right, but neither of them really talked about that part, which is surprising for Shotek particularly. But Divana was always pretty buoyant about it, so it couldn't've been anything terribly tragic."

morganna said...

"I'm late, I'm late, for a very important date!"
Azmar hated the village buildings. Every time he looked at them, his skin crawled. He had visions of graceful curves and arched windows, rounded towers and smooth crenellations.

He spent a lot of time staring into space, and his father spent a lot of time whacking him across the shoulders with a stick, yelling "Get back to work, you lazy brat!"

Marc said...

Greg - I'm going to say the plan is to do it sometime in the first week of each month. So if you don't see it by then, feel free to yell at me :)

Twelve siblings, hey? With twelve total entries? That could work out nicely.

I like the details you've slipped into this piece. Lots to work with :D

g2 - glad you found your way back here to contribute to the fun :)

Love the story. Some more fun tidbits to work with here as well.

Morganna - better late than never :)

Haha, fantastic introduction. I can see a lot of fun to be had with this one.

And now I'm rather looking forward to February and my shot at tying some of this together! Or going off on some other tangent. We shall see...

g2 (la pianista irlandesa) said...

(fun fact: I've decided to start fleshing out my bit, and I've stuck it here)

Marc said...

g2 - hurray! :D