Huh, it's been a while since there's been a good story-telling comment over at Kill Six Billion Demons.
Once-Warped Brogumbadh wrote:There is an art to all things.
I chanced upon a beggar-woman in the great bridge city, Telb-Upon-The-Span. She was carving mushroots into faces. Hundreds of sodden visages lay about her, and the locals informed me that she had been at this practice for three years. None complained, for she purchased the vegetables honestly, and cleared the debris every night into the swine-mongers’ pens.
I sat with her and watched her work. The merchants and travelers wondered at her commitment, carving the same face in the same damp flesh, again and over again. But I saw different. For two more years I watched her. Helped carry her mushroots from the seller’s stall to her spot on the cobbles; and the debris from that spot to the pens at night.
One sweltering day, as I dozed in the heat, thinking the thoughts of a brick in the foundation of the pillar upon which the carving spot stood, I was roused from my rumination by the silence of her knife. When I opened my eyes, she was smiling. In her hands was an object on insurmountable beauty. The supple pulp of the root made the carved face glimmer in entrancing ways. The face was utterly captivating.
I closed my eyes and returned my mind to the stone. Around me, the astonished gasps began. Some began to mumble; others wept; a few began to dicker with the woman, hoping to entice her into selling the root. Mad promises of wealth washed over the woman as she got to her feet, and began walking. I watched from my stonemind as she padded calmly along the road, blustery bearded men shouting and roiling around her like the crowd at the cattle auction, frothing and punching and demanding that their offers be heard.
And as serene as ever, the woman made her way to the pig pens and dropped the root in, where it was swiftly devoured.
Some of the merchants flew into a rage, biting and tearing and growling at each other like quarrelsome dogs, others muttered questions after the woman as she returned to her seat on the cobbles. Most collapsed in stunned grief, and remained prostrate on the road well into the night. Little business was done that day.
We had a pleasant afternoon tea, and once my business in the city was concluded, I escorted the woman out to the crossroads at the southern end of the span. There we parted ways, and I have not seen her again.
In all arts, there is ascendance.