Self-aware. Self conscious. Self induced.

Rule of 3 (part 3 of 4)

Here are the original rules at Damyanti’s place. VERY IMPORTANT! There are also links to all of the other writers taking part in this shared world of Renaissance. Hop over there (or to Stuart‘s, Lisa‘s, or J.C. Martin‘s) to see how the other folks are imagining this place.

Here is my part 1: Prince Ivan, the Grey Wolf, and the Firebird

Part 2: A Marvelous Box, A Quill, and A Sundial Made of Bones

The Water of Death, the Air of Life, and Something Like a Mayor

“What do you mean, bringing these things into my town? Wolves? Giant birds? As the duly elected sheriff, I’m here to clear you out.” The man striding toward them had tall brown boots with jingly metal stars at his heels, a low-slung belt with curious curved metal things hanging from it. Perhaps they were for throwing. A metal brooch in the shape of a circled star hung on his breast, its dull finish bright against his dark clothing.

The grey wolf flattened her ears and felt her hackles rise. “I thought you said he was a mayor,” she growled.

The man Taregh bowed his head in a way that made her want to nip him. “He has just identified himself as such.”

“Unless the word for mayor in Chagatai is the same as the Russian word for sheriff,” asserted Prince Ivan, “then he is a sheriff. A constable,” he added helpfully. It was those oblivious, sincere remarks that endeared him to the not-wolf. “Did he say ‘giant bird’?”

“I’m going to count to three,” said the mayor-sheriff, placing his hand on the curved metal thing at his waist.

“You are on my nest,” said the bird in the cage at the not-wizard’s feet. Although just a moment ago its laugh had been delicate and gentle, its voice was surprisingly harsh, familiar even. The grey wolf swung her gaze down to look at the golden creature. Not only was it no longer quite so golden, but she saw that its head looked nothing like a bird. It sounded familiar because it was like the wolf’s own voice. The simurgh’s head was that of a dog, silver hair, bright ears, sharp teeth. “You are on my nest,” said the bird again, and the wind here in the center of town pushed more strongly at them.

“One,” counted the sheriff-mayor, who was a woman now. The grey wolf hadn’t noticed the change. The person hadn’t thrown herself against the ground the way that the wolf did. That was when the wolf noticed the people of the town gathering in the square. “We’re not going anywhere,” swore the mayor, who was definitely a mayor now, though still a woman, a ceremonial sash across her torso.

“I believe I see,” said Taregh, and bowed his head. “The problem is not you leaving your town. The problem is your town leaving this place. You do not belong on her nest. Not for long, at least. And you are past your time.”

“We like it here!” called a man from the crowd, and the grey wolf recognized him from their passage as the merchant who sold statues of little fat babies with wings. “It doesn’t hurt!”

The wind stung their faces as it picked up speed. “You have trapped a creature of wind and water. That is how you stay here on my nest,” said the firebird-that-was-a-simurgh, who was quite a bit bigger than when the wolf had glanced at her last. She didn’t have time to wonder where the cage had gone.

“Wind and water!” cried the prince to the wolf. “If only you had not swallowed the water of death and the air of life, we could have removed this creature and freed the nest!”

“There is a way,” said the simurgh, which was now as big as the wolf, who was quite large herself.

The wolf’s heart went cold. “No,” she said. “Please.”

“Two,” said the mayor.

“Yes,” said Taregh. “Prince Ivan, you must cut off her head.”

———–

Word Count: 584

Character: The Grey Wolf

Prompt: Betrayal is in the air

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25 responses

  1. Oh, and I liked the wolf-not-a-horse-perhaps-not-even-a-wolf character! I’m curious about the weird town/magic going on in this story, and how you’ll end it all in the next installment.

    October 24, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    • the word limit is killing me…

      October 24, 2011 at 7:14 pm

  2. Poor wolf……..

    October 23, 2011 at 9:29 pm

  3. There is something about your writing that I can not quite put my finger on…an edge of humor? a dark joy? A hopeful irony? Whatever it is I love it! Thanks and can’t wait to see what comes next!

    October 23, 2011 at 2:27 pm

    • thanks so much!

      October 23, 2011 at 3:07 pm

  4. Andrea S. Michaels

    This is really shaping up to be a darker, bloodier Alice in Wonderland! Looking forward to the end! :)

    October 22, 2011 at 7:17 am

    • I’m drafting and re-drafting to pull it all together… argh.

      October 23, 2011 at 3:08 pm

  5. please, sir, if I may..cut off her head? oh, please….

    REALLY looking forward to week four.

    Stuart
    co-host #REN3
    Tale Spinning

    October 21, 2011 at 10:05 pm

  6. I’ve been by to read your entry. All I can say is judging will be tough! Bring on Week 4!

    J.C.

    October 21, 2011 at 4:16 pm

  7. Will her cut head join back with the body and the grey wolf get freed of a curse perhaps?….anything can happen in this wonderful tale you are spinning. I think the ending is going to something unexpected.

    October 21, 2011 at 1:06 pm

  8. Agree with your earlier comment – it’s going to be really tough to wrap things up in 600 words. I expect editing will take me 3x as long as actually writing my ending :-)) Quite a challenge for everyone!

    October 21, 2011 at 6:04 am

    • I’m already in the throes of editing. Hovering around 600 now, but clarity is suffering…

      October 21, 2011 at 7:14 am

  9. Good pacing and tension. Can’t wait to see the simurgh’s plan. :-)

    October 21, 2011 at 12:15 am

  10. Is anyone what they seem? Makes me think of Alice in Wonderland. BUT please don’t chop off her head.

    October 20, 2011 at 6:17 pm

    • Argh. I’ve got one set of prompts and no more than 600 words to wrap this all up. I know where I’m taking it, I’m just not sure about my running room…

      October 20, 2011 at 6:31 pm

  11. I totally grabbed my neck in response to your ending. Yikes! You’ve left my imagination wandering. This is going to be a tough week, waiting and waiting for the last installment. Great writing! :)

    October 20, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    • thanks! I haven’t made it to yours yet this week – going backwards through the list this time!

      October 20, 2011 at 5:48 pm

  12. Fascinating story, something to percolate through the brain. Surreal done well, and it feels layered.

    October 20, 2011 at 2:31 pm

  13. Sort of a fairy tale air and we all know FT’s are full of evil. Of course her head must go…. or wait….. will there be a hero to save the doomed maiden? Speculation is half the fun when we read the next apart.

    Thanks for something intriguing to read~

    October 20, 2011 at 1:16 pm

  14. Very imaginative piece, rather dreamlike as noted by Nicole. Trying to picture a not-wizard!

    October 20, 2011 at 2:01 am

    • It’s more perspective than anything – as far as Taregh is concerned, what he does is “natural philosophy,” which is humanistic in its approach. “Magic” is just trumped up superstition.

      October 20, 2011 at 4:51 am

  15. Oh my, your story is like one of these dreams that seem even more unreal than most dreams. That is a good thing, by the way ;)

    October 19, 2011 at 4:22 pm

  16. Oh, no . . . her head has to be cut off?

    I can’t wait to find out how this gets resolved!

    October 19, 2011 at 2:40 pm

  17. well this just raised my stress level for the week. Noooo! Her head must be spared!!

    October 19, 2011 at 8:55 am

    • that’s not how it works.

      October 19, 2011 at 10:03 am

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