In June I wrote a bit of Flash Fiction that introduced a character named Gensi. She was trying to learn magic, and instead, discovered that she could Create. This story follows Gensi on her next bit of adventure. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Art Moves to Its own Rhythm
My walk through the village is unhindered as usual. None come near me now. None approach for fear of my reaction. Thus is the power of my new responsibilities.
Master Winsal tolerates my presence, though he drills me only in the discipline now. No frustration colors his work with me for failing a task lesson. No small smile tilts his lips upon my successful completion.
Instinct has brought me to this loneliest of places at the edge of the village. The Rise awaits me as it has done since that day a lifetime ago. Beyond the lip of the jutting cliff is only empty air for as far as one can see. The Rise waits for me to call the one who should roost here for the protection of all the people.
I can hear no voices behind me. I can feel no presence within reach. I settle my body onto the sun-warmed rock, allowing for the pinch of each tiny stone ridge, each crevice, to be recognized and eliminated from my awareness. I breathe in the dusted air that hangs ready to suffocate the unwary. Nothing disturbs the feel of the land in this instant.
Closing my eyes I send my searching thoughts out onto the still air within the Gorge of the Night. None have breached The Gorge since the ancestors’ time, for it belongs to the Guardians; those great beasts who protect the people, who listen to only one among the people, one such as me. Now I move to call the Guardians forth.
Myth and legend are all that remain of the past’s truth. I have nothing to guide my thoughts. I allow them to wander as they will among the canyons radiating from the vast cleft in the earth. I can only smell the rising moisture of the mossy river running through that deepest of channels below.
It smells of distant lands and hollow mountains. It hints at passages through places where others live beside it, taking nourishment from its presence, and riding upon its back to other places with other people. These are tales from the before time, a time when my people rode the skies, a time when fear had not closed them off from the rest of the world.
Now I, Gensi, must bring us back into the world as has been foretold for more generations than even the oldest among us can count. I must use legend and this new art of mine to bring about our survival. I sit throwing my thoughts off this cliff in hopes of snaring a Guardian.
What was that? There, in the shadows just beyond the farthest bend in the river from The Rise. What has caused ripples in the air?
Bah, it’s gone. I must keep attention focused and not wonder onto thoughts unimportant.
Jagged cliff sides create the Gorge. Weathered, treacherous, and eternal, they wait for those foolish enough to attempt a climb among their fingers and toes. Sparse greenery holds to pockets of soil to eke out a tiny life to shelter the smallest of creatures.
There it is again! My attention grabs hold of the wispy ripple in the air, following it as swiftly as the hound after the cony. Faster and faster my mind holds, trailing it into a depression in the side of the far cliff side. Something awakens.
It stretches; yawns hugely through jaws powerful enough to snap anyone as a grass stem and never notice. I have no name for this creature. To bring this back to the people…
I have found something that could be Guardian or enemy. May the Powers preserve me. I must decide quickly which this is and elude the one and entice the other.
Time has run out. It is aware of me. I can feel its sensibilities fingering my mind, testing, tasting, measuring. I do what I must to protect my people from a threat I may have found.
I open myself, but only myself, to that vastness of intelligence. I welcome its thoughts that it might know me as a Caller of Guardians. I pray I’ve learned well enough the trick of hiding all other knowledge from a questing such as this.
Lingering surprise, followed by satisfaction and humor, floats within the nest of my Caller’s thoughts. I see the surprise; at being called, at not being recognized, at not being known. I feel its curiosity pointed at time and how long it has been since the last of its kind was brought from its homeland to this place. I sense great satisfaction at being brought here for an ancient purpose.
Within it all hangs a sliver of respect for me, for my abilities, and for my bravery in the face of such unknown territory. A blazing flame of decision reaches out and captures me, locking me inside the inescapable prison of its mind, so primal that any prospect of self-protection is impossible. I do not struggle. I recognize the inevitability of this phase.
All I can do is bury even deeper all my knowledge beyond that of the Caller and hope that my locks are strong enough to withstand this onslaught of convergence.