Tuesday, November 18, 2014

NaNoWriMo 1K-A-Day: Day 18

I couldn’t very well go back there and grab the tapestry, not after what we went through to escape—and I seriously doubted Ronni would let us pick up something we left behind. What was I going to do without the tapestry, though? Return home? Was this the end of our journey?
"Shereya," Belak's voice sounded far away, "where are you going?"
I blinked and looked around. The reason he sounded so far away was because I had inadvertently started walking back toward the forest. I stopped and squeezed my eyes shut. There had to be a way to quiet all the voices down! At least I could still hear them without the tapestry. This whole time I could weed out the unnecessary voices by merely looking at the clues given by the tapestry—but now that I didn't have it, I would need to do that on my own.
I thought, How would an Inkweaver do it?
The voices must be like threads or colors. I picked through them carefully, listening only long enough to distinguish the wrong ones and discard them. I heard flashes of a certain voice that seemed to resonate with clearer sound than the others. Leaning forward and concentrating hard, I strove to bring that voice out from among the others.
"What are you doing?" Greyna asked, but Larryn cut her off. "Sshh!"
I opened my eyes.
"We're going to town," I announced.
Larryn frowned, and Greyna crowed, "Yes!"
“Well, let’s get a move on, then,” Belak seemed to side with Larryn’s feelings on the matter. “If we’re going to be spending another long while in a town, it is best to find lodgings early, before the evening rush sets in.”
“Okay, but let’s not talk to anyone,” was the surprising recommendation from Larryn, the most notorious social butterfly in the group. She glanced at me and there was no missing the fear in her eyes. “I don’t want…” She blinked, and the trepidation vanished. “I don’t want to have to bail Shereya out of prison or wait for her to run away from the ball again,” she announced loudly.
This wasn’t altogether fair of her, I felt—but I didn’t say anything.

We descended toward the city, coming almost within the shadow of the outer buildings before we found any sort of indicator sign. A large banner flapped in the breeze, emblazoned with the message “WELCOME TO CRIANSA!”
Lining the streets on every side were countless market stalls. A woman festooned with ribbons and flags descended upon us, pinning ribbons on our clothes and giving us flags to hold.
“Welcome! Welcome!” she sang happily, as the bows flapped about her hair like butterflies on a great golden beehive. “Happy Finders Day!”
I looked at my flag, which just seemed to be a hodge-podge of many colors and prints of fabric, more for the color and activity than any representational purpose. That would explain the number of people in the marketplace we seemed to have encountered—but what in the world was Finder’s Day?
“What is Finder’s Day?” Belak asked the woman, but she was already off among the crowd, spreading her bits of color anywhere.
A man with a grin nodded to the bright banner in my hand. “I see you’ve met the town greeter,” he said, inviting me with a gesture to survey his array of pottery sculptures.
“Is Finder’s Day some special holiday in Criansa?” I asked him, appreciating the whimsical nature of the little glazed animal shapes attached to practical items like trays, bowls, and hangers.
The man burst out laughing, “Not a whit! It is only the ordinary Market Day in our humble little town. Delia, you know, she’s just a mite—“ He made a vague gesture around his head, miming a swarm of bees surrounding him. “She’s harmless really—just that every day is a new kind of celebration, for some kind of purpose only she knows about. Don’t mind her. My name is Rappteran, and I am a potter; do you see anything you like?” He grinned at me.
I was beginning to like this man with the warm, rumbling laugh and the great big brown beard that hid his mouth. “That is the trouble, I’m afraid,” I told him, laughing in my turn. “I like more than my poor purse will allow!” Actually, with the luck I had been having with the satchel this whole time, I could probably produce enough money to buy out the entire marketplace—but where would be the practicality in that? Whatever magic was involved (if, indeed, it was magic) surely would run out very quickly if I were to do something so foolish.
Rappteran nodded modestly and said, “Well, then—enjoy what you can of Criansa’s market!”
“Thank you!” I waved to him, and embarked to rejoin my friends.

I found Larryn and Belak at a spice stand sampling small bits of dough rolled in different flavorings and fried. Larryn was wearing a new dress and had a sash wrapped around her head.
“What in the world did you dress like that for?” I asked, coming up behind her.
She grinned at me as she swallowed the morsel she had just put in her mouth. “Oh, there you are Shereya! I thought Greyna had gone to find you—said she was hearing voices or something like that.”
I didn’t appreciate the way she ignored my question, but her comment put a more pertinent issue on my mind. “Where is Greyna? I never saw her.” Of course, how could anyone expect to find each other in this bustling, jabbering crowd?
“I guess she must have wandered off when I was talking with the silk merchant…” Larryn extended her arm to display the tassels on the sleeves of her dress. “Do you like it?” she asked proudly.