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In the far, cold North:Author's Notes
Ashari wiggled on her blanket, looking up at the Itakith furshirt. "Tell us a story!"
Tarl rubbed his round belly. "I want a bread story."
Ashari giggled. Tarl always wanted a bread story, because then they got to eat the illustrations.
"How about the tale of Akovu and the moons?" Tarl smiled fondly--it took a lot of bread to illustrate that story properly.
"I'd rather have a teaching story." Ikaluu smiled up at the furshirt. "Tell us about the Others!"
Alainya tied a small ball of blue yarn to the end of her knitting. This bit was a lighter blue than the last one, which made her smile. Her sky-colors blanket needed to be longer to cover her growing legs. "Yes, tell us about Others. They're pretty."
The furshirt gave her a stern look. "Others are dangerous."
Ikaluu grinned fiercely, and returned to scraping hairs off the hide she wanted to turn into a map. She was going to get her teaching story.
In a busy Empire city:
"Daddy! Daddy!" Kivegei ran up to Jerumal and hugged his knees. "I don't want to go to bed."
Amanel joined his brother, hugging Jerumal's thighs with one arm and his brother's shoulders with the other. "Let's play!"
Denel smiled at her family. "Play time's over. It's time for bed."
"But--" Amanel looked at his parent's implacable faces. "All right, but first a story!"
"A story in bed!" Denel countered.
"One now and one in bed?"
Jerumal laughed. Already his son was learning to negotiate. That should be rewarded. "All right," he started, but catching the look on his wife's face, he added, "two stories. But both in bed."
There were protests, but it really wasn't hard getting the kids washed up and into bed after promising two stories. Once they were there, Jerumal sat in the bedside chair. "Now, what story should I tell?"
"I want a story about--" Kivegei scrunched up his face and said it slowly, carefully, "anomalies."
Denel bit her lip, but Jerumal nodded. "I even have a new story for you, in that case. Up in the mountains, near the City of Lights--"
"But it's not anymore--a City I mean." Amanel commented.
"That's right. It's a restricted zone now." Jerumal said, sadly.
"It's a ruin!" Kivegei said, enthusiastically. "The ana-anomalies ruined it."
"Do you want to hear a story or not?" Jerumal asked.
"Yes, yes, a story!" Both boys bounced in their beds.
"Then settle down."
They laid down and pulled the covers up obediently.
"There was a day last summer, a particularly fine day. The wind was blowing, and the sun was shining, and Oranaan was walking along when he saw a boy with a beer barrel."
"But Science Master Oranaan is a man, not a school boy!" Amanel protested.
"Why would the boy have beer?," Kivegei frowned.
Jerumal glared theatrically, and the boys pulled the covers up over their mouths.
Yes, Science Master Oranaan is a man, but just as I can see you boys, a Science Master may see a boy in a field. And like you, Kivegei, Oranaan thought it was very odd to see a school boy with a beer barrel..."
In the far, warm South:
Megruu was sitting in one of his mother's unlikely-looking driftwood-and-monster-bone chairs, showing off his new prostheses to a very young cousin, Druula. A young scientist had developed a method of heat-treating the tough fin-membrane of a deathfin, bending it to form a springy angular "foot". The things were expensive, and only lasted about half a year, but they were worth it.
Two families of tourists walked by, and the children ran right to Megruu. "Were you a warsailor?"
Druuli drew herself up as tall as she could. "Megruu is a warsailor! You should have seen him saving people from a tooth typhoon on Rejoining Day!"
"A what?" A tall boy lifted up a partially-carved shark from Megruu's table.
"On those things?" A girl pointed at the prostheses with a dark-skinned hand.
Megruu took the carving gently from the boy. "Now, there were a lot of people fighting the monsters that day--including my mother!"
"Really?" The girl gasped, looking at Neteilyu with something like awe.
"Tell the story, Megruu!" Druula urged.
"Yes, tell us the story!" The tall, skinny mainland boy plopped down in the sand in front of Megruu's chair.
"A story! A story!" The younger children all pushed forward.
"All right then," Megruu smiled, "if you'll all sit down."
The children cheered and settled, and Megruu picked up a small carving chisel and set to work detailing the shark's teeth as he began. "It was the morning of Rejoining Day, and my stomach was grumbling. There was plenty of food--but just sundered times stuff, at that hour, and so I was saving room for the good food that wouldn't be set out until lunchtime..."
I wrote this to invite people to participate in the August 2012 Muse Fusion.
View/Add/Edit CommentsCharacters Featured:
Tarl, Neteilyu, Megruu, Kivegei, Jerumal, Ikaluu, Druula, Denel, Ashari, Amanel, Alainya,