Wednesday March 6th, 2013

The exercise:

Today we return for our third visit to Mejaran.

Click the link to get the relevant info, if you're in need of it.


"I know you're there Yarel," Orsana called out between hammer blows, not looking away from the length of steel she was gradually convincing that it was born to be a sword.

"No, you don't," Yarel countered as he stepped out from behind a rack filled with shields waiting to be repaired. "You're such a liar."

"Is that right?" Orsana growled, though she had to bite her lip to keep a smile in check. "How do you figure?"

"You probably just say that every few minutes, all day, every day. That way you're bound to be right whenever I do happen by." The towering smith was the only person in Mejaran that the boy was unable to approach without their knowledge and it drove him to fits. More than a few sleepless nights had been spent trying to figure out how she did it - so far, this explanation was his best guess. "That's it, isn't it?"

"If you care to find out, you can hang around here all day, every day. Just don't get in my way."

"Please, I have much better things to do with my time." Yarel sniffed daintily and looked away. "Besides, I have news."

"Spill it." It took Orsana a moment to understand the alarm in her young friend's eyes, but once she remembered she was still holding the sword-in-progress she set it aside and repeated her request in softer tones. "Spill it, youngblood."

"Lady Helen has taken Shotek into custody."

"She wouldn't dare."

"She would, and she has." Yarel studied his boots for a moment before looking up, his youth and uncertainty making rare appearances in his eyes. "It doesn't look good."

Outside rain began to fall in heavy, pounding droplets.


Greg said...

Ah Mejaran time! I like how much I remember of the tales we've already told of it and how the story is starting to come to life. The place is starting to feel like a regular holiday jaunt :)
Heh, and I too am curious now as to how Orsana is performing this little trick; you'll have to share it with us before the series ends! But the news that Lady Helen has taken Shotek in... the first drops of rain for the storm?
Great work, Marc. Let's see what I can add this time!

"She's done what?" Her voice was really too large for the receiving hall, which in turn was really too small to be called a hall. A more honest person might have generously described it as an exceptionally spacious reception, and Mejaran's only estate agent, Azmar, would certainly have described it as "A decrepit pit that only emphasises why you should live somewhere other than Mejaran. And take me with you, please! My father beats me...."
"Arrested Shotek." Liefert, one of eleven brothers of Mejaran's blacksmith, stood with his shoulders thrust back and his chest pushed out. He was the runt of the litter and was barely five feet tall. He made up for it in his pride, surely fit for a man twice his height, and his absolute determination to excel at any job he chose.
"She can't do that! He's not hers to arrest!" Lady Margaret stamped her foot. She winced; it hurt. She'd forgotten that she was wearing slippers.
"Be that as it may," said Liefert, "she's had him taken into custody. He was on her side of th–"
"...he was closer to where she lives that to where your, ah, palace is, milady. Her guards picked him up. Literally, I'm told, apparently he just sat down suddenly when they were chasing hi–"
"Why were they chasing him?" Lady Margaret had gone a deep red colour, the flush covering her cheeks and extending down her neck to her cleavage. She sounded slightly out of breath, and her double chin was quivering.
"He was running," said Liefert as diplomatically as he could.
"Why do I employ you?" Lady Margaret turned away and was annoyed to see that she'd have to keep talking for at least two more sentences before she could walk off and be sure of having the last word. She really needed a bigger house. Palace. "What's your ugly sister up to then? Is she running to Shotek's aid?"
"I hear she's got an order for swords," said Liefert, bracing himself.
"WHO FROM?" Lady Margaret span around, her lacy clothing, somewhat unsuitable for a lady of her girth floating out from her like some kind of aerial jellyfish.
Lady Margaret's jaw actually dropped, and she stared open-mouthed at Liefert, her eyes like tiny pieces of coal in her flushed-crimson face.
"The estate agent?"
"I think he's just a front," said Liefert, a tiny bit disappointed to have to tell her when she was so clearly shocked by the idea. "I have a man waiting to tell me what he's found out."
"Then go! Find out who's buying swords! Run!" Lady Margaret flapped her hands at him. "Shoo!"
Liefert dipped his head, the closest he came to bowing to a woman he despised, and sauntered out.

[You wouldn't believe how many times my fingers tried to type Lardy Margaret. My subconcious has a very definite picture of this poor woman!]

g2 (la pianista irlandesa) said...

Geez, poor Shotek!

Okay, my bit got really long. Long enough that I had to stick it somewhere else. But! I will tease a little here:
- - - - - -
"You'll have to forgive me," she said unapologetically, "I've never set eyes on a proper vagrant before."

"I'm flattered, m'Lady, but what makes me proper?"

She sniffed again. "Well, you are familiar with Mejaran's populace, especially with that side, from what I'm told. The only difference I perceive between you and them is that you, as vagrants should, leave, thank heavens." She paused a moment, then waved a hand. "There is an exception to that, I suppose. No doubt you know Divana. Principal Oleán's daughter?"

Shotek tried not to wince, but under Lady Margaret's sharp gaze she must have noticed his eyes widen ever so slightly. "I know of her," he said as levelly as possible. He could hear rain on the window.

The Lady smiled pointedly. "I thought you might. She's a delightful young lady, very clear-headed and reasonable. It's remarkable she is so, given her father." She tutted. "If anything she takes more after my nephew. Principal Ikava, you must know him."

"I do indeed." He had met Principal Oleán's eastern counterpart once or twice. Diplomatically slippery, he was, and rather domineering.

"So you must have also met Master Bevan, his son and heir. A fine young man he is."

Fine indeed. He hadn't even looked at Shotek, spoke with the eloquence of a sack of bricks, and was visibly eager to stick himself close to Divana, despite her thinly veiled disdain. Shotek didn't think particularly highly of him.

"They are to be married," she continued, briefly overcome with emotion. Shotek bit his tongue. "And a fine match it is. Oleán insists it will finally unite the village. One of the few good thoughts he's ever had, really. He always talks of 'bridging the river'---a silly saying, we already have a bridge---but this time he finally has a sensible way to do it. And it will bring it together properly, I think. But he's been oddly indecisive about when it is to happen, always citing Lady Margaret's apparent indecision. I was never told anything confirming that, but it wouldn't surprise me, the dim witch couldn't make a decision to save her life..."

She trailed off, glaring at the dingy fireplace tiles. Shotek cleared his throat to bring her back.

"What? Oh yes. But, my nephew and I have finally convinced him that the wedding should be this spring, when the tree finally flowers. About time, too, I wager that girl's been fit for marriage for a good six years now."

The phrase simultaneously lightened his heart and twisted his gut. The thought of Divana married to Bevan sickened him, but her resistance made him want to sing. Perhaps the cards could be right yet!

"The only shadow," Lady Margaret continued to say, her voice growing tighter, "has been you."

Marc said...

Greg - yeah, I'm quite pleased with the way things have gone so far (though I did need to reread everything before sitting down to write).

Friggin' love the description of the house. I mean palace.

Also, great introduction of Liefert. And Lady Margaret. And... you get the idea. I like.

g2 - seeing you run with this like that makes me very, very happy :)

Great scenes, wonderful details. 'Bridging the river' might be my favorite.

And you made a map!!

Words fail :D

g2 (la pianista irlandesa) said...

I just realized Greg connected back to a short bit that'd appeared on the first one with Azmar. And I felt the need to share how fantastic I find that.

Marc said...

g2 - ah, I had missed that as well! That is truly excellent :)