Monthly Archives: January 2018

URSULA LE GUIN

I do not care what comes after; I have seen the dragons on the wind of morning.”

pic    Dan Tuffs (001 310 774 1780)

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I may not

be online much in the foreseeable future, for family reasons. When here. I may not contribute much. Hopefully things will improve later.

WORDS FROM THE WELL 48

Everything was becoming clearer to Callis as the days passed. He had not eaten for days, nor taken much water from the small store remaining in the kitchen vats. He had spoken to no-one since the remnant of starving monks that were all his followers now had taken to hiding from him. He spent his days and nights in the room where Mal-Den had ruled before him as Jar-Den. It seemed fitting, since Callis himself was now the voice of Jaren, that he should remain here in communion with his lord, speaking his thoughts and prayers and visions aloud to the statue in the corner of the room. The holiest places of the temple were abandoned, and even the rats had mostly slunk away to seek food elsewhere, now that there were no more sacrifices left to be made.
‘Soon, my lord,’ Callis told the statue, ‘I shall have completed my work, the work you set me. The temple and the city shall be scoured free of apostasy, and your holy will written across the very stones of the buildings for all to see.’ The statue made no reply, but Callis was sure that a gleam of pleasure was in its carven eye. He nodded, chuckled, and went on; ‘Yes, lord, the prophesy of the holy Krassk is nearly accomplished; we have taken this heathen land and made it yours, we have struck down the unclean, and soon we shall bring destruction to the desert race.’

sue bridgwater

nevskyblackmonk (Callis)

WORDS FROM THE WELL 47

They snuggled in again, trying to wedge themselves securely in place. For another hour they endured, while the boat pitched and tossed ever more wildly, and the sky darkened above them until the clouds reached far to the south-west and the setting sun was lost in them.
No-one came near them; the crew and the captain were too engrossed in striving to keep the ship to her heading. At last, heavy seas began to wash over the deck, just as darkness was falling. There were cries of alarm all around them, and Mal-Den started to get up.
‘No – keep to our place. This is little enough shelter, but it is all we have.’
As Raðenn spoke, the black clouds above were split with lightning and the following thunder tolled around them. Rain drenched them. They heard a scream, and a shout of ‘Captain, captain!’ Lightning and thunder came again, and a cracking and crashing as the mast toppled. The ship lurched wildly about, and Raðenn clung desperately to Mal-Den.
The next wave that came over them washed them smoothly out of their corner and flung them like helpless kittens over the gunwale and into the sea. As it closed over their heads, each lost his grip on the other’s hand, and they sank deep into the chill water.

sue bridgwater

sinking

WORDS FROM THE WELL 46

Ambor and Rimor watched the slow progress of the strangers towards them.
‘Why do the men not offer them support?’
‘I cannot tell, Rimor. They will be here soon, and then we shall know all.’
Soon they could clearly see the four people drawing near. Two were short, two taller, and one of the tall ones was being given support by two of the others.
Ambor called to the men to hurry back. They ran to stand before the First and Second.
‘Why do you not help them with their sick one?’
‘It is not fitting, lady.’ The man bowed his head. ‘The strangers are all women, we must not touch them.’
Rimor cried, ‘Then why are they all dressed as men?’
‘This is of little importance. We must help, for that tall woman looks as if she is very ill.’

sue bridgwater

MAL-DEN

WORDS FROM THE WELL 45

The children had played happily for the rest of the day after helping to arrange the things around the room. Torik had found an old brush and used it to groom the horse gently. The animal was still too thin, but seemed content enough. Anatt and Gennet had spent a relaxed hour sipping tea and talking together, and were now preparing food for the evening meal.
Allet came in from playing and hugged her father. ‘When will mother be back? And the others? They’ve been gone a long time.’
‘A couple of days, little one; not so long; it’s a fair way across the desert lands to the mountains.’
‘Will they have to go all the way to the mountains? Maybe they will meet the desert people before that,’ Mor-Len suggested.
‘I hope they’ll come back soon, masters; I’m that worried about my Ar-Nen, such a good boy and a wonder with these little ones.’
‘Indeed he is, Mistress Gennet. Saranna will take care of him I’m sure, and we shall see them all again soon.’ Anatt gently squeezed the old woman’s hand.
Torik looked at Mor-Len, who looked back at him steadily and said nothing.

sue bridgwater

DESERT

WORDS FROM THE WELL 44

Both men rose, and bowed politely to the old woman. She laughed, and said, ‘Yes, you must hurry on, good travellers, before Time runs away with you. Home will have need of you.’
Neither of them knew how to answer this, so they bowed once more and walked away down the river-bank. When they stopped to look back they could see no sign of the woman or the hut.
‘Where has she gone, Raðenn?’
‘I am not certain, Mal-Den, but it may have to do with what she said about Time running away. Since we left the domed chamber, I have felt time slipping by me very fast, like the river. We must press on, I think – are you fit for another good long walk before we camp for the night?’

sue bridgwater

Cycle of seasons

 

WORDS FROM THE WELL 43

Related image

…they looked around until they spotted a dip in the bank that created an easy access point to the water, and here could be seen the top of someone’s head bobbing above the level of the bank.  Raðenn moved cautiously towards the head, and Mal-Den followed him.  Looking over the edge, they saw a face looking up at them from a small sandy inlet.  ‘Who are you coming a-frightening my dog like that?’

‘We beg your pardon, we are simply travellers trying to find our way home.  We did not mean to cause you any alarm.’

The face vanished, and they watched the top of a head, apparently wrapped in a strip of fabric, make its way along below them until its owner reached the sloping part of the bank and began to climb up.  As the person reached the top, they saw that it was a woman, and as she drew near they saw that she was old and weatherworn, with a brown wrinkled face.  Stopping before them she looked them up and down, her eyes blue and bright and her expression fierce.

‘You certainly do not look dangerous, a mere lad from Imman and an IssKor priest.  Where have you been travelling, then?’

WORDS FROM THE WELL 42

When Saranna opened her eyes, she saw immediately before her the brown cloth of her cloak, and could not make out why it filled her vision. Then she tried to move her left arm, and the cloth in front of her shifted. She understood that her arm was curled around her face. Cautiously she tried to use her right arm to push herself upright but let out a small scream as sand began to tumble about her head. She lay still again, her heart beating fiercely, and tried to look about her without moving. All she could see in any direction was sand; the only clear space was in the hollow of her left arm.
I am buried.

sue bridgwater

BURIED

WORDS FROM THE WELL 41

They walked through the early hours of each morning, setting out before dawn and pressing on as far as they could before the climbing sun began to beat fiercely on their heads and shoulders. Through the heat of every day they would rest on the shaded side of a dune, spreading an awning of cloth above their heads and sharing a little of their dwindling water supply. When the sun began to vanish down the western slopes of the sky, they would stagger on until after dark. Everything they carried seemed to be growing heavier, even the leather water bottles and sacks of food, whose contents dwindled day by day.
Saranna in particular had no escape from the increasing weight of her own body. Hampered by her unfamiliar robes she frequently stumbled, to be caught up and encouraged by the indomitable Ar-Nen.

sue bridgwater

Dunes