Thursday February 7th, 2013

The exercise:

Today we return to: Mejaran.

Click here if you're wondering what the hell I'm talking about, or just need a refresher.

If you wrote on the prompt last time, feel free to continue on with your piece. If you're new you're welcome to go back and join us from the beginning or simply start here. You can connect your take with what's already been written or go off in a direction all your own.

The choices, they be endless.

In other news: Max turned three months old today. To celebrate, it would appear that he's getting a tooth or two in.



The cramped kitchen in a hovel on the outskirts of East Mejaran (as it was unofficially known) was further filled with the sounds of dishes being washed and a blade being sharpened, not to mention tension thick enough to feel crawling across bare skin. Yarel, not yet free of his teenage years, was responsible for the steel scraping across a whetstone. His mother, Jocelle, was stationed at the sink.

"If you're so displeased with the jobs that Ladies Helen and Margaret are doing," Yarel asked as he tested his blade against his thumb, "why don't you take one of their positions? Or better yet, both?"

"Don't be a fool, boy." Jocelle didn't bother turning to face to her son, choosing instead to continue scrubbing at a particularly stubborn stain on one of their three bowls. "I am not qualified for such lofty heights, nor would anyone in the village support my candidacy."

"Well you clearly have many ideas about how things ought to be run around here," her son countered, returning his weapon to its sharpening stone. "Why give up without a fight?"

"A fight?" His mother turned now, but only to spit on the dirt floor at his feet. "Who would fight with me?"

"Others who are as unhappy with our rulers as you are. I bet Orsana would stand with us."

"Child, just because that lumbering oaf gifted you that blade it doesn't mean she's your friend. Besides, what does she have to complain about? Everyone turns to her for their blacksmithing needs - she's probably the richest person in the village!"

"She is too my friend," Yarel said sullenly. "And she has plenty to complain about. I've heard her."

"That changes nothing. Do you know how many women there are around here who are better suited to be a ruling Lady than I am? A dozen, at least!"

"That's nothing," Yarel said, balancing his knife upside down on a fingertip, "a few slit throats couldn't fix."

"For you to speak of such horrors with such ease," his mother hissed, her eyes bulging dangerously, "you truly are your father's son!"

"But of course, mother." Yarel tipped his finger slightly to the left, letting the weapon fall into his waiting hand. "Who else could I possibly be?"


Greg said...

Max is teething? Oh well, better to get it over with I think, sooner rather than later. I hear that a little whiskey rubbed on the gums works wonders... I'm not sure if anyone ever specifies if it's your gums or Max's though ;-)
Ah, two new characters to play with! And I kept thinking to myself all through this piece, "that name sounds familiar." Then I went and re-read all the previous ones and realised why!
Jocelle seems like she might make an excellent reluctant-revolutionary-leader, and her mysterious husband is already fascinating. Yarel looks like he could be quite the handful!

Card tricks
Rainclouds were starting to gather, bunching up like an old woman's grey hair in the sky, but Shotek was studiously ignoring them. He would tell anyone who asked that if you couldn't see something then it couldn't see you either, and despite much of the evidence challenging his viewpoint he stuck with it. He pressed lightly on the ends of his desk of cards, springing them from one hand to the other in a graceful arc and told himself that he was sitting in a patch of warm, golden sunlight.
"Shotek!" The voice was just enough warning for him to look up and see something fist-sized flying towards him. The cards leapt into the air again, contriving to hide where the object landed, and when they came to rest the object had disappeared. Across the road, Yarel walked on by as though nothing had happened, still quietly impressed with Shotek's sleight-of-hand.
"The rain's coming," said Vanara, standing on the doorstep of the Tavern on the Green. Shotek turned his head to look at her: she was sixteen and the owner of the tavern ever since Lady Helen had had her mother hanged, and Lady Margaret has had her father hanged in retaliation.
"I can't see it," said Shotek, a grin playing across his face.
"Is that so? Vanara smiled back, briefly looking her age before the cares of running a business aged her again. "Well, Lady Helen is also coming, and she appears to able to see even things that aren't there."
"Especially things that aren't there," muttered Shotek, but he was on his feet in no time flat, tucking his cards into a pocket.

g2 (la pianista irlandesa) said...

Ooh, Greg, I like what you did with Shotek!
- - - - - - - - - -
Shotek never said as much, but he was always impressed with Yarel's silent approaches.

"Speaking of Lady Helen and things that are hard to see," he said, appearing at Shotek's shoulder before Shotek could slip away, "you've been appearing for a few springs now, haven't you?"

"I have."

"You might disappear for most of the year, but you don't go unseen."

Shotek shrugged. "I figured not."

Yarel paused. "You get talked about, you know," he said hesitantly.

"I would imagine I would."

He shook his head. "I don't mean just by us---me, Orsana, Vanara, Divana, us lot---you come up with more important company as well."

"What's your point, Yarel?"

Yarel checked over his shoulders, then leaned in close. "You heard Vanara, Lady Helen is making her rounds a little early this year, and not by accident." Shotek scowled in confusion, to Yarel's exasperation. "She's from the other side of the river," he said more urgently, "and her nephew's in charge of that side of the river."

"Like Divana's father is?"

"Exactly like that, but as far as she knows her nephew's heir is to marry Divana, and probably soon."

For once Shotek was speechless. Divana had never said anything of the sort.

"All arranged, of course, but still set to happen, as far as she knows. She does, however, know of this drifter that's taken to hovering around here when spring comes, and is curious."

Shotek swallowed. "I should expect a summons, then?"

"For the time being, it would be unwise to ignore it."

Marc said...

Greg - well, I'll try my gums first and I'll let you know if it helps any :P

I also enjoyed what you did with Shotek here. And I quite like the coming of a storm - lots of possibilities running through my head already!

g2 - ah, more intriguing developments. This is turning out to be quite a bit of fun!