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    submitted 08 July 2004 @ 02:00
    edited 29 May 2016 @ 11:13

The Drawing

Written by JAD
Rating: Very Good (4) (4 rating, 3 ratings)

[ composition listing | post comment | view/offer feedback (0) | rate this compositions ]

The sea was calm and placid, the tide lapping at the beach like some lesbian lover full of vigor and soft pleasures. Barthalemew sat at the docks wearing a crudely knit black sweater his great grandmother had given him. He was unusually pensive and morose, his mind fleeting from actual concrete concepts to allusive transparent wanderings. The words in his head droned on in their mad contempt trying to put the pieces together. Beside him on the long and narrow wooden dock was a small kitten named Cheshire. Every few seconds the kitten would meow then bury and press her little cute face against Bart's leg. Crying to distract Bart’s attention from the lullabye waves. Bart couldn't pay much attention to the cat for his mind was still elsewhere. He remembered soft kisses from his beloved, little pecking, wet and loud kisses that drove him insane with care and affection. That was just begininng and a raven crowing on the beach reminded him he had other more pressing concerns. There was a meeting tonight of the tribal council on whether to let him go across the ocean for the drawing. Leeva his betrothed didn’t want him to participate. In fact Bart suspected she had whispered a few words here and there to get the villagers in a uproar about him being chosen. It was a honor to be chosen to partake in the drawing and the wealth of other more quiet oppurtunites had him revved and ready to go. Bart let his hand drop down over the kitten’s head. His fingers scratching behind the kitten’s ears as he mused over his dillema. Why shouldn’t he go? He was the most powerfull mover in the village. He was of age and he was good at what he did. Not a single stone in the quarry outside the village could defy his will and he had the precison down not to crush or overlift the smaller stones. Just because he had lifted a deer when he was younger, going against the tabboo of using the gift on moving living things. This did not mean he should be made to stay on in the village. Leeva was adamant though and he knew how she got when she put her foot down on something. This was really the first time he had to challenge any of her decisions which she usally made for the both of them. Really he didn’t mind it usually yet this was too much. Last night she had scoffed and scolded him when he told her he had decided to go despite her wishes. There was too much at stake not only for the village yet for the drawing itself. If he stayed home then it was feaseable the drawing wouldn’t be a success. He had to go, had to stand up to her for once. This was important and he could not foul it up. Bart raised his eyes to the third lamp on the horizon it like the previous two was now challenging the sea. Bart wasn’t completely sure yet he had heard that out there on the water far away the water was boiling as the sun entered it. To him it was no strange oddity that the third lamp was the last to fall and the first to rise. Or that the suns rose and fell from the same direction. West he was heading west towards the suns themselves.

Leaning against a pole in the city was a little girl with harsh and wild eyes. About her head little thorns from fernweed were braided into her short and messy pale blue hair. The little green blooms at the base of the thorns offset her hazel eyes and quiet wrath. At her feet was a wad of scrolls and office stationary she had used as a bed last night. Her clothes were tattered the frayed edges of her pants twirled in swirly patterns and artistic exploits. About her crotch were the red stains of puberty. The night before she had become a woman and she didn’t know it quite yet… Around her elfin wide eyes were dark lines and crude exploits in stolen make-up without the use of a mirror to cover them up. Her lips were smeared with a dark green lipstick that made her look as if she had just ate spoiled cabbage. Around her midsection she wore a half translucent purple shirt which sections of were solid in color blocking any sight of what was beneath. Over the purple shirt was a dark brown leather vest with self inscribed mystical patterns of runes. Her flesh where visible was a pale white with several hundred small freckles. She had been ex-communicated by the mythian witches for consorting with a human. Since then she had slept where ever she could and pan-handled with a group of other youngsters during the day. Constantly men would try to harrass her or get her into a dark alley. But the mythian witches had taught her enough of their magic’s for her to dissuade the peasant males and urban folks of Trenton. She knew better than to bother forming a circle of stones around her sleeping places but did it anyway so the other kids wouldn’t think she was too odd. They were her family now and this was where she lived. Around her in similar piles of trash and paper were other young kids. She really fit in here now and she would never be a witch.

Leena was stirring a cauldron. Behind her Leena’s grandmother was spouting off verses of her usual scolding on how to keep a man. She ranted and of course raved while Leena smiled and nodded and put in the correct comment at the correct time to keep her grandmother happy. Bart her fiance was going to the drawing despite her scolding of him and her little power plays in the council. She wondered why he was being so difficult about this and determined to seduce him again tonight. If she could keep his mind with only thoughts of her maybe she’d be able to keep his thoughts from straying again. Hell she was the one dropping into the slums to marry a quarryman. Her family had always been of the political branches and merchants. Still she knew Bart had potential and he was easier to subdue to her wishes then the other crafty men in the village. She wondered if her grandmother was behind him wanting to go to the drawing and participate in that purely foolish manual labor. He wouldn’t go she wouldn’t let him. He was her toy, her little instrument for power and to get that power for him he needed stay and not risk his life across the ocean. The liquid in the pot was now boiling nicely and she tossed a few green vegetables and herbs into the mix. Her wrist arched perfectly and she smiled to herself so pleased in herself of the movement. She’d bend Bart to her will and it was going to be easy because he was in love with her. Behind her, her grandmother was droning on what she used to do for the men in her life including her extra-marital affairs. Leena hated when her grandma went into details like this…

A horse nieghed in the streets warning her to back off before it might step on her. She understood the horse without words of language it simply didn’t want to step on her and she knew by the subtle characteristics of it’s neigh. The others were off pan-handling and she alone in the streets. Darting between the traffic of horses and carts towards a vendor who usually gave her a little free. He told her not to tell her friends and she respected the vendor and came alone. Though sometimes when things were dry she’d sneak some of the food back to the others in her shirt. Throngs of people were walking in the muddy cobblestone streets going about their buisness as they always did in trenton. A cart rolled behind her it’s huge wheels just grazing her backside making her start. The noise was deafening with loud calls and shouts of men and the beasts they prodded before them. Vendors along the sides of the street in small stone acloves screamed out their wares. Behind the vendors was a somewhat elevated sidewalk away from the main road that went in and out of Trenton. She tripped on a pile of refuse it’s exact orgin she could care less about and half crawled towards the vendor. In all the chaos she didn’t see the human slave’s bound in harness running towards her.

For all future accounts it was not an act of heroism. I pulled in the reigns so as not to damage my mistress’s merchandise.
Kaliel Bercossi’
Trenton Slave Driver

The slaves came to a thudding stop about three meters before the collison. The harnessed slaves bent over in exhaustion and their foul breath cast whispers of smoke in the morning air. The young exxcomunicated witch felt her own chest heaving in the close proximity to the human slaves. Their breath was not all that was foul for their pores had been opened long ago and sweat bore a tidal wave of musk upon her. Musk, she remembered musk of a human up close from such a man as this. The slave driver Kaliel stood on the cart in his hands tightly held the reigns. The first lamp was directly over his head thrusting his features into deep shadow. While the witch brooded over what had brought to lie upon the sand the slave driver began shouting for her to get out of the way, or he would continue on. One of the slaves looked directly into her eyes and she saw not submission but strength there. He threw a foot at her that did not connect but somehow she rolled off to the side of the street with ease. That slave had committed the taboo and she knew it as she spit up sand and refuse. The cart and it’s harness bearing slaves were already moving on and lying there she wondered whom her benefactor was… As a good witch ought to do she committed the man’s face to memory just in case their paths crossed once again.

In the center of the village was a hexagonal shaped slab of solid stone. This stone had been the first dislodged from the nearby quarry by several days of chisel work. Bart’s grandfather’s hand had supposedly signed his name beneath that slab along with the other founders of the village. Now this slab in the market round had been further developed and twelve great collums now supported three additional smaller slabs above it. The lowest slab was where the Lord, his officials, servants, guards and the village milita arrived in thin air. Some of the surrounding farmers were given use of this as well yet only after harvest and never for just visiting town. The second slab was reached by a elevator operated by two retired quarryman. One quarryman stayed at the top of the building where he would place a large heavy stone into a catch where it could not fall. The stone was attached to a heavy chain and thence to a geared monstrosity that would lower the stone at a certain rate of descent and raise the elevator. On the second slab was the village council meeting chamber where Bart was heading today along with the other candidates. There was a crowd gathered in the narrow roads leading to the village’s center. Work at the quarry had been postponed to allow the populace this momment, out of the eighteen cantidates only one would be chosen and the others would leave the market round beginning in a few hours. Still everyone wanted to see who entered the elevator first and who was looking shaky out there on the field.

Bart stood last in line of the procession towards the tower, he was not nervous instead he was thinking of Leena whom he was now refusing to look at. The others before him were waving at their friends and family and all matter of shouts were being passed back and forth. Leena was standing with her grandma about 30ft away and Bart knew she was crying without looking. Without doubt even in this instant she had not ended her pursuit of trying to stop him. Yet Bart had purposely never told her of his grandfather and his true status in the village they both lived in. It was his secret and one his fellow quarryman would not share for their lives. They had seen Leena’s approach and they all knew she was bad news when her family had moved into the village eight years ago. Leena had tried her hand at every prestigous individual in town and they had all outsmarted her. Bart had kept mostly to himself and she had spied him one day coming back from the quarry covered in dust yet possessing the respect of the other quarryman somehow. He had become her target and Bart fell for it hook line and sinker. Yet that respect Bart had possessed did not come from his lineage yet from his talent at the quarry and fair decisions he was making as a junior leader. That lineage he possesed only tied him to being among the original founders of the village and nothing more, yet it was something Leena would try to capitalize on to get him into politics. Bart was not interested in politics he was interested in making his grandparents memory proud.

The procession moved slowly as to capitalize on the anticipation of the crowds. Bart with his head hung stared at the individual before him’s back, they were all dressed in blue cloaks symbolizing the journey they may be making over the sea. Horner was the first to enter the elevator followed by seven others in the first group. Grunps the elevator man signaled for the stone to be dropped with a pull on a rope and then up they went 300ft into the air to the second slab. There would be some sort of test waiting up there that the council and the village magistrate watching over them would conduct. It was not unknown for a chosen canditate to be announced dead up there in the tower and this did make Bart nervous. He was not ready to die, yet he did know that he was talented and had good endurance. Endurance he had been training for after work at the quarry for eight months leading up to this day. Only one or two of the others could come close to matching his strengths and they had been on that first elevator. The remaining eight stood upon the moss covered ground with great anticipation, the elevator would only descend when a canditate had died or had been found not capable. Unfortunately that did not take more than ten minutes and the elevator lowered with the village magistrate’s servant within it. Of the eight that had been tested only four were still alive and two more were disqualified. The two that were still alive lay behind the woman and were covered in gray dust, one was missing a leg and both were unconcious and bleeding from the ears. While they were still alive it was uncertain as to whether they could ever lift again, that blood pouring from their ears could spell the end of their jobs at the quarry. Among the four that had died were the two that Bart was worried about as competition. Yet he knew the other two still in whatever test was occuring and they were fellow quarryman, unlike the other two that had been the sons of merchants. The bodies were carried off the elevator by their fathers and taken somewhere out of sight. The crowd was now hushed and the sound of cries and grieving had replaced the joy that had been heard earlier. Six more candidates stepped onto the elevator and it began to rise once again. Only Bart and some fellow named Regis now stood upon the ground out of the eighteen and Regis was shaking slightly. Neither of them dared to speak and the eyes of the entire village was upon them. Leena was shouting his name with fear and hatred pouring out of her throat. All manner of the secrets she knew about Bart were flying into his ears. Someone in the crowd struck her and Bart found his eyes flying towards her with a building rage. She was on the ground and her clothes he knew would be considered by her completely ruined. A baker’s son had struck her one of her previous exploits that had failed and Bart could see the true look of hatred in his eyes. He stood over her a little blood dripping from his hand where a ring on his finger had cut her. His foot kicked out and the tip of his boot struck her in the face. Bart could not believe his eyes nor the fact that he was charging towards the baker’s son with a fury he had never known himself capable of. The baker’s son turned on the sound of the stupified audience to see this great bull of a quarryman with horns displayed closing in. A little shriek of horror escaped his mouth before Bart’s fist compacted with the spot just below his rib cage and a hand siezed his neck. The bakers son’s hands lifted in protest but the bulk of Bart knocked him completely onto his back with Bart ontop of him. Bart’s fists flew with rage over the fools face sewing cuts and bruises. Bart could hear Leena crying at his right shoulder and her grandmother was saying in the lightest voice “Bart they’ll be calling for you soon, go back to the elevator, he will never touch her again”. Then Bart felt himself standing as if he was in another alien world and all that was around him was foreign, he could feel years worth of frustration, old woulds made fresh and his soul completely exposed. Slowly and with calculated heavy steps he walked back to stand beside Regis his body flowing with adrenaline so thick it took utter concentration not to strike the frightened villagers who moved away at his approach. On cue the elevator began lowering once more and four candidates stood behind the woman who announced their failure. One of the failures was from the first group. One more deaths was announced. The matter of the baker’s son was not discussed. Bart and Regis stepped upon the elevator after the five shuffled off in disgrace and it began to rise. The veiw from the elevator showed Bart that Leena’s grandmother was helping her to rise and for once she was quiet. The magistrate’s servant did not speak. Regis did saying “They rose to great heights and there they found nothing that could serve in their aid”. It was a sad melancholy statement and Bart felt cold as ice and wanted nothing more then to find a place of seclusion and let his adrenaline steam off.

The height of the second slab was reached rather quickly in hindsight. The woman led them off and into a chamber where the council and there long thick beards met the floor. In the center of the room were eight blocks of 6ft tall stone roughly about the height and width of a man. Under three of these stones were the remaining canadites. The magistrate watched thru a hole in the ceiling. The surviving member of the first group was chanting to himself quietly “This rock is nothing more then a pebble” while the other two who had been under the stone a shorter length of time looked deep in thought. The pomp of ceremony was short, Bart found himself beneath a stone that in the quarry six men would be lifting instead of just one. In his practice exercises he would lift a stone 1/25 this one’s weight for about 6hours and then need to rest for at least a day before attempting it again. Most of the ceremony was dedicated to honoring how many had perished under this stone and marking the symbol upon it for lifting. Bart lay beneath the stone for a time unmeasurable, he thought of Leena and his emotions for her were beyond complicated. He realized in that time that he did love her and yet it seemed that love was born of nothing less then pity. She was a predator and one now he knew to be shown that his love for her to be true. Most certainly she did care about him, yet that caring was more liken to that of a pet, she did not respect him and when he did not obey her orders she sought only to punish him. Yet when he should have let that kid beat the living out of her he had instead found himself enraged. Deep inside he felt that he had done so for perhaps he felt as she did about him. He felt of her as a pet that was to be led by a leash and punished when it had done ill. When the boy had kicked her he had infringed upon Bart’s territory not his love for his fiancee. It was not the most beautifull thing to realize especially under a stone that would make and had made countless others into pulp. Nevertheless it occurred and was followed by a pang of deep loathing. If he could get rid of his need to survive that stone would fall down upon him and he would suffer no more. Yet the will to survive somehow was found in Leena herself as time were on and the weight of the block of stone began to bear down on him. His ears began to hurt painfully and the stone that he had lifted a foot above him now was six inches from his face. Even then he knew that he had not reached the limit he had done in practicing for this day, yet it would likely soon approach and he did not know how many others he still had to out lift. For that matter would he still win if that one from the first group had already quit and since he had been doing it longer have a longer time. There was no way to tell for Bart knew in that instant one thing he would not stop lifting the stone no matter what, if it fell on him he would die and then there would be no one to take care of Leena and if he won he could leave. For if he quit she would hold it over his head just like this stone was now and he would never ever hear the end of it. She was after all remarkable and talented in what she did and though many could see thru it, she was still his. After he had spent his rage on the man that had hit her even she knew this now. The two of them were locked in a cage together and there would never be any way out of it.

The encounter on the streets of Trenton had been a long time ago. Two years maybe three it was hard to tell while you are living on the streets and don’t have a calender at your disposal. Yet time had definitely passed and the excommunicated witch was now living on a farm outside a small village. The work was hard and the boss a woman in her late eighties was about as eccentric as they come. She had left Trenton when a young farmer and his wife had been looking for a very special farm hand for their mistress. That mistress turned out to be a Wanda W. Withers a matriarch and reclusive old woman. She owned a big old for all senses of the word mansion within a large estate outside Greenside. Purine was among those that showed up to the market looking for a job and after demonstrating her talent with horses was hired on the spot. Horses were rare and those knowing how to handle them even more so. Purina had learned their upkeep as a Mythian witch and now that training had paid off. Both the farmer and his wife did’nt seem to mind that she was a half elf and when she had arrived at the house she found out why. Seven of the thirty on the house staff were elven men and women and some of those were married to humans also living in residence. She was made comfortable and tended to the horses mostly and only occasionally invited into the matriarch’s presence. It did not take her long to make friends, the other two stable hands were Yoshetta and Merlin and just a bit younger then herself. The three of them would when work was done read fanciful books from the library in the hay pile. Merlin was an excellent reader and his voice would rise and fall and become what it needed to be to make the story exciting. The stories were all foreign to Purine about places long ago and far away but she loved them. About a year into working in the stables she was asked to take a job in the house cleaning some of the guest rooms a few days a week. The house was amazing and she had only been in it a few times before so with curiosity fueled she quickly agreed. One of the guest rooms she was told was now hers so she moved her few belongings in from the stable and took up residence. There was a bath always at her disposal and several of her new neighbors went out of their way to make her welcome. Truble the house butler lived a few doors down and invited her to sit next to him at the table that night. Unlike stable staff she was now to dine with the rest of the house staff every night unless she wished privacy. Purine felt totally at home and everything in the world was right. Wanda then called her into her study and the gray haired old matriarch was surrounded by ten young girls in pajamas for what looked to be a nightly story before they went off to bed. Purine sat upon a couch nearby and listened to the story. The tale was about half way into it when Purine had arrived and in about five minutes Purine found the story to be recalling features of her own past. Dumbfounded she listened as the years of her life before coming to this house was recited to the young girls. The slave that had kicked her aside in the street that day had been named, he was Jade and the story remarked that he had some sort of amnesia that had been slightly chipped away at when he had met Purine that day. The story continued on rather quickly after that until it met the momment Purine had entered the room at which point Wanda told the girls that the story would have to be continued later. The girls whined and left while Wanda assured them that it would be continued later and escorted them out. A few minutes later Wanda returned leaning on her cane and took her seat in a large comfy looking chair. Purine found herself utterly tounge tied, she had thought of a thousand and two questions to ask the matriarch when she returned and now that she had she was blank. Yet Wanda seemed to sense this and spoke “It’s time for you to leave dear. You’ve been with us here for about two years and I hope we have made you as comfortable as we could. Take with you a horse you find fair and supplies have already been packed for you. You don’t really have much time so don’t bother stopping by your room or saying goodbye to anyone well except Merlie and Yoshie.” The matriarch spoke with such casualness that Purine was even further taken away she had been happy here and now all of a sudden she was hit twice. First with the knowledge that W.W.W knew everything about her past and also likely her future, then by the fact she was being told to leave. There were stranger things in the books Merlie had read in the hay pile yet now they were happening to her. “Purine now I know this has to be somewhat difficult for you take, yet I will not tell you anything more it would’nt help you any, so go now and know that we all here will miss you and wait for you to return safely.” Purine found her tongue “When should I return and where shall I go?”. Wanda stood and with great labor strode across the room to place a hand on Purine’s shoulder. “Dear you are a Mythian witch and I hope you remember your lessons about placing your ear to the ground for you have a journey to make led only by your intuition.” With that said wanda squeezed her shoulder lighty in compassion and exited the room quietly.

Eight hours had passed and the pounding in Bart’s ears were like terrific hammers booming in ever increasing rhythms. An hour ago he had heard a great thud and felt the slab beneath him shake terribly. Someone had either just died or had moved the stone of to the side of them. Thirty minutes later he heard Regis shouting for help to remove the stone atop him, he was sobbing and in great pain. A member of the council whom Bart knew to be by the name of Gregory shouted “His ears are bleeding”. Footsteps could be felt under his back as the stone was lifted off of Regis. While this was happening Bart almost lost control and the stone dropped to just within a inch from his face, he could feel it’s warmth above him. He knew that a stone lifted for several hours began to become hot as if there was constant friction applied to it from being lifted. Somehow over time this increased and he had heard stories in the quarry that when the slabs were moved to build the tower he now resided in they had been so hot that when they were placed they had to wait for weeks until they cooled down. Then another thud was heard as another canditate lost their concentration and was killed. Simple mathematics told him that there were only two canditates left, himself and whomever else was still alive and under the burden of the stone. Bart himself was in a state beyond any practice session had ever placed him and only by shere will was that stone still held aloft. At times though he could not feel it’s weight at all beyond the pounding of his ears and it frightened him that he could not. Yet he knew it was there and that he had to keep it in mind or it would crush him. It was too late to turn back know for he did not have the strength to move the stone aside and neither did he have the words in his lungs to call for help. Yet the pounding and the sense that he could no longer feel the weight of the stone kept coming and the minutes passed by in agony beyond comprehension. The stone above him kept growing hotter and soon it felt as if it grew any hotter it would burn him to a cinder. His only choice was to raise the stone higher or try and move it to the side. There were other people nearby and by experience he knew if he tried to toss it and was able to by some force of inner strength it would be thrown hard no telling where it would land. It could strike one of the collums and conceivably knock the entire tower down or in the very least kill someone in the council. That left only raising the stone higher and to this end he gritted his teeth and felt the heat against his mouth. Deep inside him he built up strength from nothing and pushed up as the pain in his ears doubled feeling almost as if they would burst at any instant. Still the heat struck him against his flesh and he had to push harder and harder to keep it away. He knew the ceiling even with his eyes clenched shut to not be far away so he stopped pushing and then all of a sudden the weight of the stone barely felt now with the pain in his ears ceased altogether. Alarmed he opened his eyes and directly above him the symbols that had been upon the stone to allow him to concentrate upon them were gone. The stone itself was now a spherical ball of molten stone burning on the surface a great white searing light. The members of the council and indeed even the magistrate were holding that stone aloft. For certainly Bart realized in that instant that he was not. Exhausted beyond that he had ever experienced even as a young quarryman he went limp and passed out.

Three days later he awoke in the tower on a bed with Leena sitting next to him her hands wrapped over one of his. She looked as if she had been wracked with tears for centuries and the injuries she had sustained had scabbed over. Bart’s ears still hummed with pain yet above anything he was undeniably happy. His ears still humming with pain told him he had not lost the ability to lift and there was a chance that he had won and would be sent to perform the drawing. Leena seeing him awake slapped him and then leaned over to place her head on his chest while her arms flailed at him uselessly. Tears flowed from her eyes in great waves and she shouted for a little while about what a idiot he was and then went silent when Bart wrapped his arms around her and drew her close to him. She was caught and she knew it… while she had set out to use him, to bind him to her will it was she in the end who broke. Then knowing all she had done, all she had cursed him with she expected nothing less then for him to punish her mercilessly. Yet Bart just held her and let her cry. Then later in his arms she fell asleep and he had no heart to move her aside.

Next he awoke Leena was beside him upon the bed and in the chair where she must have waited sat instead the village magistrate. “Son the villagers are eager to see that you are alive and well and your fiancee’s grandmother wishes to visit you!” he whispered while his eyes seemed to hold some sort of knowledge that spoke more of compassion. Bart turned toward the voice and then turned back to kiss Leena’s bare shoulder, she was feigning sleep and the fresh tears against his arm gave her away. “Sire how did I fair am I to go to the drawing?” The magistrate stood then and looked down upon Bart with a amount of pity, greif and hatred Bart had never seen someone to possess. Even Leena was not a capable comparrison. “Son you will be leaving in a few hours”. The magistrate had three sons that had been chosen for candidacy the fact that he was now reffering to Bart as son was not lost upon him. “Thank you sire I will make the village proud”. The magistrate nodded and took a step away then turned back, “you have already done so, just make sure you return someday soon” With that he left and Leena crawled ontop of him and began kissing him while her tears continued to fall.

Leena true to her nature made a stink when he attempted crawling out of bed yet unlike those times before he silenced her with a kiss and she stopped protesting. Fresh robes were laid out for him and supplies for the journey and he fit those upon his person quietly. Leena watched from the bed completely despondent. The trouble with Leena he thougth was that with him gone for a year she may recover from her current stint of vulnerability. In maybe a month she would figure out someway in her head that he had been wrong and then convince herself that Bart would never return. Then she’d be right back to her old game, well maybe she’d be allright her grandmother would watch over her. Still Bart wasn’t sure what he would do with her when he got back because now the roles were reversed and he had the power.. power he did not especially want. Above all else and in whatever perverse fashion it was he did love her and he cared what happened to her. Yet there was not time to talk to her about it so he kissed her well and told her that he would come back if the world itself fell ontop of him just for her. She smiled slightly yet more it was still resignation. Then he was off for the elevator and from there to be escorted to Trenton on the slab his grandfather had placed.

The crowds as they always were every year when someone had been chosen for the drawing were quiet and pensive. They were there only to see the member of their group that had made it and in itself they were happy they had at least one person that could bear the burden. Some years no one was sent and it had been that way for almost five. This last drawing they were certain one of the eighteen would make it and it turned out one did. Yet ten had died and three of those had been the sons of the village magistrate himself. Thusly it was not exactly a happy parting and the Lord had sent additional personell to ensure that the chosen one namely Bart would make it to Trenton. He did and the village of Balderon saw him leave.

The whole dissapearing act was new to Bart and the whole reappearing act in another place was just as new, fortunately the two blended together in a quick matter. Surrounding him beyond the six soldiers in thick leathery armor was a city and not a village. This was Trenton one of the few cities on the world. Trenton was ruled along with Bart’s village and three or four dozen other places by Lord Falkner who apparently was not bad as Lord’s go. Whatever that meant. The city was covered by buildings three times the size Bart had ever seen and plenty of architecture that some people would go on for paragraphs about. Bart was not really interested long by the city he was more worried about the journey he was about to make. The soldiers escorted him down long roads and into a shrine where some fancily dressed priest annoited him and such for luck, then on to meet the lord in his big fancy tower where he met some of the other chosen in this years crop. They all had a few momments of time to talk and apparently a good deal of the others were quarryman and the like used to heavy lifting by trade. A lot of it was shop talk and the time came in which they were to be nodded at by the lord who then made a short speech before they were herded towards the beach. Travel apparently was to be made on a large platform each of the chosen would have a station on to lift. It was set out so thirty would ride on each platform and if one were to tire the craft would not tilt much and spill them off into the water. The ocean of course being filled with all the nasties beyond imagining and not worth mentioning here. There was a small crowd of wisher wells at the beach to see them off, mostly consisting of the families of those chosen within the city. A woman on a pale gray horse drew Bart’s attention and she seemed to be staring directly at him. She was pretty and had a look of humilty and intelligence about her that made Bart think they had a lot in common. Yet before long he was herded onto a craft and strapped in and the well sky boat made way towards the horizon.

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