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15 minute ficlet for the week

Word count: 450

No idea where I was going with this.

"And the tail on the el-at, like so," the storyteller said. He drew one last sweeping line in the soft ashes with a stick.

"What does it mean?" Chida asked. Pretending that she was still just picking through charcoal, Ravan, his sister, listened intently nearby.

"It means many things," the storyteller answered. "It can mean the roof over your head during the storm, or a strong dam barring the course of a river. This is the sweep of the water, you see? And so. The barrier. It can also mean 'I stand unbroken,' and all of these things are the same."

Chida frowned, then scuffed across the line with one toe. "That makes no sense."

The storyteller looked vaguely insulted for a moment, then erased the rest of Chida's reading lesson with the sweep of one hand. "Only if you cannot imagine yourself as those things."

"You make a roof out of wood and a dam out of stone. I'm neither of those." Chida's lower lip poked out just a little in the annoyed pout of a self-assured eight-year-old.

Ravan covered her mouth with one hand, holding in a giggle. She was all too familiar with her younger brother's more petulant tones.

"As you say." The storyteller sighed. "You are the most unimaginative child I have ever met."

Many people said that of Chida. And all of them were right.

Chida's name meant 'stone' in the hill dialect. The older children joked that his name should have been Chidat, or brick, because that was all the humor and imagination he normally displayed.

"If you're done with him, master, I'll take Chida to the river," Ravan said. His only answer was a vague hand wave, and she signaled her brother to follow her. "You shouldn't talk back to any grown-ups," she said, one they were out of earshot. "Let alone the storyteller."

"Father says I can argue with people who don't make sense."

"He said no such thing. I would have heard him." Ravan ignored her brother's protests, the pouty look, all of it as she continued to walk. "At this rate, you'll never learn to tell stories."

"I don't care. I don't want to anyway. They're stupid."

Ravan grabbed Chida by the arm and jerked him off the well-worn little trail, behind a tree. "Never say something like that out loud," she hissed. "And don't you dare argue with me. I've seen our storyteller cut down a tree with one word, and call up a dust cloud that ate three bandits. All with my own eyes."

"I believe that," Chidat said. "I do. I've seen him do things too. I just think all the drawing in the dirt is stupid."


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 9th, 2011 05:50 am (UTC)
Ooh, I like this a lot. Any chance of it going further?

By the way, that story about the lost woman from the sky-city haunts me. And the one about the sentient mold-house, and the one about the gladiator. You make vivid pictures that stay.
Apr. 9th, 2011 05:58 am (UTC)
This one I'm thinking about... I've got it saved for later use and I've sketched out a couple ideas, so I'm planning on just letting them percolate for a bit.

Thank you for the wonderful compliment. *^_^*
Apr. 17th, 2011 01:49 am (UTC)
I just joined the 15-minute-fic community and thought I'd take a peek at the offerings.

This is an intriguing story. Chidat is a wonderful little character and so unexpected. I can see a child like this doing great things one day.
Apr. 17th, 2011 03:12 am (UTC)
Thank you! :) I'm trying to figure out what to do with him...
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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