Sunday, September 22, 2013

"Inkweaver" Excerpt--In The Inkweaver's Cottage

Cold, white ash covered everything. Not even the rains had washed it away, almost as if the Wall had preserved the cottage from Mirrorvale, and not Mirrorvale from the cottage. Blackened stumps and spires bespoke a table, chairs, benches, a bed. I shivered and huddled closer to Belak. He moved forward to examine the heap of stones that once was the hearth. I was left in the corner by the former bed. A large section of roof covered the area, but a small movement in a gust of night wind drew me forward. Was it a whisper I heard? I leaned forward and impulsively pulled at the thing.
A sudden shifting of the rubble, a warning voice, Belak's arms pulling me out of the way—

We stood at the front of the house as the entire back section collapsed right where we had been standing. My arms clasped tightly to my chest, and my dress felt softer than usual. I noticed with alarm that one of the buttons had come undone. I closed the gap before Belak could notice.
He whistled softly. "Good instincts, running to me like that, Shereya."
I sighed with relief. "If you hadn't called when you did..." I trailed off.
Belak looked at me strangely, shining the lantern light on my face.
"I didn't call," he stated. "It must have been the wind."
I blinked; everything within me confirmed there had definitely been a voice that caused me to turn. If Belak hadn't spoken, then who had?

We made our way back to the Wall. Belak helped me through, and closed up the crack behind us.
Instead of the chill of dread, I felt the thrill of having done something I never knew I wanted to do. I had been through The Wall! I had entered the Inkweaver's cottage! I knew I needed to tell Larryn.
Belak saw the smile. "Feeling better now?" he asked.
I nodded.
He returned the lantern to its hook and the two of us reached the square just as the Banquet closed.

Mother saw me and ran over.
"Shereya, where did you go? We lost sight of you when the Matches began, and now you reappear after your most compatible suitor has left! Why did you run off?"
I accepted my mother's flustered embrace. "I was—" I glanced around. Belak was gone; he probably rejoined his family. "Belak—"
Mother clucked her tongue. "Oh yes, that was unfortunate, wasn't it? After all these years, we hoped you two would be a better match for each other!" She squinted closely at my face. "Shereya, you look positively wilted! Come home and rest. You'll be better in the morning."
Laying in my bed that night, watching the fire softly flicker reminded me of the lantern's flicker in the old cottage fireplace. Only when I heard the soft snores of both parents did I dare move a muscle. Carefully, I lifted my pillow and reached through a slit I had made in the fabric of my mattress. Reaching inside, I pulled out the cloth.

It was the same one I had seen in the cottage. The fabric made a whispery sort of sound as I ran my fingers over it, not unlike the whisper I had heard that made me jump out of the way of the collapsing wall. Somehow I had lifted it out from underneath ash and stubble and slipped it into the front of my dress without even realizing it. I desperately wanted with every fiber of my being to take it out and look at it, but I dared not; not here, not now. I would visit Larryn first thing in the morning, and I would show her and tell her what I had done.

Also from "Inkweaver":

-The Legend of The Wordspinners
-The Last Inkweaver  
-What Are You Afraid Of?  
-The Unfinished Tapestry 
-Tales of the Inkweaver: "The Three Daughters"
-In The House Of The Talesmith 
-"The Invisible Gift" and "Forward Unto Danger" 
-Escape From Blackrope 
-The Rise and Fall of Morgianna Plontus-Byrmingham 
-The Morning After 
-Tales of The Inkweaver: "The Four Travellers
-In the Court of Count Bergen 
-"The Four Travellers" Part 2 
-Do You See What I See?
-Welcome to Criansa
-Meeting Delia
-A Nice Cup of (Honest) Tea
-Saving Margo
-Interpreting The Stone
-Confessions
-Tales of The Inkweaver: "Four Animals in Partnership"
-Tark Trades People
-"Plotting" and "Meet Tark's Crew"
-Storytime for Tark
-Tales of The Inkweaver: "The Stone in The Road"
-Moon Valley
-Writer's Eyes