Rule of Three Blogfest (1 of 4)
The Rule of Three is a shared-world blogfest. Here’s the basic outline (follow the link for the details on the town itself):
The Rule of Three is a month-long fiction blogfest, where we’ve created a ‘world’, the town of Renaissance, and challenged you to create a story within it. The story will feature 3 characters of your creation, who will be showcased on your blog on 3 different Wednesdays, following the Rule of Three. The 4th Wednesday, we’ll have the culminating scene.
There are 69 participants in this one (as opposed to the nearly 300 (?) ) in Rachael Harrie’s Campaign Builder. But the word count is twice as high for the writing. At the link above, you can see the list of everyone who’s writing here and check out some of the other stories.
All of my folks look like they’re going to be outsiders to the town. The story takes place in the second decade of the 15th century.
Prince Ivan, the Grey Wolf, and the Firebird
“Where is he?” asked Prince Ivan.
“You should whisper,” neighed the horse beneath him. “Stop talking as though you are in court.”
“But I am a prince,” declared Prince Ivan.
“You have no kingdom. You have nothing but three death sentences upon your head.”
“That is not true, for I have you.”
The horse eyed its rider with kindness. “That is true. And if you listen to me and do as I say, we may retrieve the firebird and satisfy the first king.”
“I will do as you say,” pronounced the prince with great humility.
“You always say you will, and you never do.”
“I didn’t understand how we could travel with the firebird without its golden cage!” he protested.
“And the golden bridle?”
“I didn’t know how I would lead the horse!”
“And the golden dress?”
“My Vasilisa should wear nothing less magnificent!” he proclaimed.
“Stop talking as though you are in court,” the horse said.
It would not have mattered if Prince Ivan had heeded his steed’s admonition, for he cut an unlikely figure in the small town of Renaissance. Artisans lived here, that was certain, for the old wood and stone houses showed signs of marked and excellent repair. It was nothing compared to home, but Prince Ivan was a generous man and gave the people here their due. The flagstone and earth streets were wide enough for incoming caravans, one of which was arriving at the south side of the town if the cloud of dust was anything to judge by. No building rose beyond a second floor, though many of them were crowned with cisterns to capture the rain. Ivan scanned the blue skies.
From the shops lining the street, the townspeople scanned Ivan. The dirt and filth of travel could not conceal the cut of his clothes nor his regal bearing. Unlike him, the horse was beyond clean, her hide so white it was almost blinding. The golden bridle around her neck attracted nearly as much attention as did the fact that the horse and rider were stopped in the middle of the street.
“Make way,” called a merchant behind them. He sat at the front of a cart laden with goods. He spoke Russian as well as they did, but with an accent that was beyond Ivan or the horse. When Ivan’s steed examined the merchant’s two horses, they flattened their ears and whickered in concern.
“Can you direct me to lodging, good sir?” asked Ivan.
“The square at the center of town. You will find food and lodging alike. You will see me there later tonight. There is a fierce wind that encircles Renaissance, and I, too, will need to rest.”
“Thank you,” and Ivan bowed his head. He knew he was better than everyone here, but he was raised to be polite and to thank those who did him a kindness.
Without word or motion from his rider, the horse turned toward the center of the town. The townsfolk watched them ride farther in. They had no use for nobility, but a trade was a trade in the end.
“There he is,” swore Ivan. At the center of the square sat a man by a fountain. He was writing in a broad book with a quill. At his feet sat a golden cage in which sat the golden firebird. Ivan alit from the horse and took out the egg in which was contained the life of the wizard Koschey who sat before them. “This ends now.”
“Wait,” said the horse, but Ivan was already running.
In keeping with related practice on other posts: word count is 594; prompt is “there is an argument”; main character #1 is Prince Ivan.
Also, in case it matters, between the first and second posts I edited this installment to make the horse female.