Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Roads of Bone, Chapter 3: Pasgard

I am doing a little experiment.  I am going to write a series of chapters in a fantasy world of my creation and see if it goes anywhere.  Since I have not prewritten this story and have no outline, it will probably end up a convoluted mess.  I do not know how often I will be able to update this or if it will ever finish.  This is the link to CHAPTER 1.  (I have also found that I have to go back and clean up very broken sentences in previous chapters.  This is why I need an editor.  I understand what I am writing, but I need to make sure other people do too.)

Chapter 3: Pasgard
            Wizards are crazy people.  No one should ever wish to be a wizard.  The life of a farmer is a far nobler profession, less fraught with catastrophe, and bound for an afterlife of frolicking with the goddess whose festivals involve horns of plenty, beer, and lots of breeding.  Wizards lives by contrast vary between the extremes of sitting in the dustiest and darkest rooms of any given keep trying to hash out what circle of hell they can put up with ultimately in order to have a modicum of success in the living world.
            In the desert region of Wind and Ghosts there is a Caliphate, a gathering of cities collectively called the Six Oasis, though that number would more accurately refer to the cities, the actual number of fertile areas never exactly cataloged.  They move.  The desert is magical, vast and featureless it is impossible to navigate without astrological equipment.  Caravans have set up camp in a tight circle, and the next morning every member awoke hundreds of feet apart from one another, the desert having moved them while they slept.  Men and women have  disappeared for days in the desert, only to wander back, emerging from the sand in nothing but rags, practically mummified, talking about how they had never seen night.
            Pasgard was a guide of the Land of Wind and Ghosts.  He had fought men with heads like those of Jackals, found the tops of stone towers buried in the waste, and had lived long enough to grow fat and rich.  He had served the Caliph himself for more than a decade, and been to lands East beyond the desert.  He had outlived all his friends.
            "Malachite," said Pasgard.  "The jewel I seek is beyond priceless to me, I am too old for the burden of being a wealthy man to keep me from securing what is truly important.  If it comes to it, I would have you captain an army of whatever sell swords you wish to secure what is mine."
            "Do you want to tell me what it is?" asked the flashy young man, more curious than greedy.  Also more wary than greedy.
            "Not unless I have to," said the wizard.  "I am hunted by those who wish to hurt me, to extinguish me."
            "Been there," said Malachite.  "But, if there is ever a time in which that information is critical, you'll tell me."
            "To save your life," said Pasgard.  "Or to secure the jewel.  I would not hesitate, I could not ask you to die for my secrets."
            "I would prefer you not to ask for me to die for common knowledge, the secrets of others, or really anything," said Malachite.  "But I understand what you want too.  I can get many talented mercenaries, I even know one wizard that might be willing to help."
            "Do all the youthful wizarding I can no longer manage?" asked Pasgard.
            "He's really not young enough for the comparison to matter, so no worries there."
            "And the others?"
            "My tailor," continued Malachite.
            "A man would admit to having dressed you like that?" asked Pasgard chuckling.
            "Well, the name he is called the Haberdasher," said Malachite.
            Pasgard's little book of words was in hand again, "Sorry, could you repeat that one?"
            "Haberdasher," said Malachite.  "It refers to someone who sells bits for clothing, like buttons or pins."
            "Do all of your friends use such long names for their titles?"
            "I doubt the Caliphate's translations of your nicknames would sound all that clear to me."
            "I thought you had been to the Caliphate?" asked Pasgard.
            "Yes," said Malachite.  "But I don't speak much of your language."
            "How many words do you know?"
            "Chorba," said Malachite.
            "Sorry," said Pasgard.  "What?"
            "Chorba," said Malachite again, now wondering if he had said it right. "I thought it was the word for soup."
            "It is," said Pasgard.  "But only in one of the six cities, it is seen as... a tribe word elsewhere.  Do you only know how to say soup."
            "I was there for a week," said Malachite.  "And everywhere had some soup going.  Also learned 'chay' and 'hookah'.  I slimmed considerable that week."
            "You only know 'soup', 'tea', and 'water pipe'?"
            "Language, aside from my own, has never been my strong suit," said Malachite.
            "I will remember that," said Pasgard.  "Anyone else?"
            "Oh, yes, that is what we were doing," said Malachite, getting back on track.  "Book Binder is what we call the wizard I mentioned.  And then there is the Trobairitz, who tends to be seen with the Haberdasher."
            " Trobairitz?" said Pasgard, book in hand once more.
            "If words are power, you consorting with me is going to make you the greatest wizard for several ages to come."
            "I'm sure."
            "It is a traveling musician."
            "And where are all these people?"
            "They are in Bone," said Malachite.  "The southern capital.  At least they were when last I saw them."
            "Then we are on the roads to Bone."

No comments:

Post a Comment