Wednesday, November 19, 2014

NaNoWriMo 1K-A-Day: Day 19

Greyna turned as I drew close.
"Shereya!" She cried excitedly. "You'll never believe it! This is why I wanted to come here—Delia is one of the Wordspinners--a Talesmith, to be precise!"
Delia nodded as she smiled at me. I couldn't help noticing that she didn't look so crazy now—the ferocious hive had vanished, and her thin, silvery hair hung in graceful curves over her shoulders. There was no missing the deft movements of her hands that bespoke exceptional skill—and then there were the voices. Every pot and candleholder in the area positively resonated. I had heard that the wares of a Wordspinner told stories that could only be heard by their intended recipient, but what did it mean when I could apparently hear all of them?
Delia took up a cloth and spread it over a pile of bowls. I blinked as the volume of sound diminished as she did so. She nodded to me as if she knew exactly what was happening in my head just then.
"I am sorry if I frightened you at first," Delia said, in a smooth, even tone—quite unlike the loud, bubbly one she had greeted us with before. "I was looking for the one who needed my story—and if you must know, the town thinks I am crazy because I am the only woman metalworker for miles, and yet I have no anvil."
"Not to mention she doesn't look strong enough to lift a hammer," Belak muttered in my ear. "Wonder how she makes these things, then? What did Greyna call her? A Talesmith? What is that supposed to mean?"
I stepped forward to let him know I did not appreciate his commentary. "What did she give you, Greyna?" I asked.
Greyna smiled and produced the object.
I was sorry now that I had suspected Delia based on information from someone who did not know the truth. The oil lamp Greyna held displayed marvelous craftsmanship: its brass surface inlaid with jewels of superb cut, the handle nothing short of woven wires braided to simulate rivers leading from the top to the base. It was quite possibly the most beautiful lamp I had ever seen. Greyna was grinning from ear to ear. "She said others might not be able to hear it, but—"
I nodded to her; I could hear the story of the lamp: how a young woman was sorely rejected by her family but went off into the deep woods as an outcast and met some friends who admired her for her courage and virtue and all these qualities reaped rich rewards for her. There was no doubt that the lamp spoke of Greyna herself.
Behind me, Belak cleared ha throat. "What are you girls staring at?" He asked.
It took a while to tear myself away from the gorgeous lamp, but I managed it for his sake.
"What do you mean?" I asked. "It's beautiful."
He raised a skeptical eyebrow. "It's a lamp," he said.
I picked up the lamp by its delicate handle, surprised at how sturdy it was. "But it's not just a lamp, Belak," I pointed to the fine sculpting. "It's a work of art!"
Now Belak was staring at me as if I were a crazy old lady like everyone supposed Delia to be. I held out the lamp toward him.
"Take it," I said. "Feel how excellent the craftsmanship!"
Belak took it, but he seemed unfazed by the dazzling beauty before him. "I don't know what kind of crazy you three have messed with," he said, "but all I am seeing is a plain old lamp."
I couldn't understand how he could take a position so contrary to every other person in the room. His declaration hung in the thick silence, which broke as Delia stirred.
"I'll just go put the kettle on," she said, disappearing into the room at the back of the booth.

Once she was gone, I said to Belak, "Why, if we all can see something you can't, does that make us the crazy ones? What if the disparity is with you?"
"There's nothing wrong with me!" cried Belak. Something behind his eyes drew me up short. The way he kept them fixed on me with a guilty stare, as if there was something he wanted to say, but felt too ashamed to say it.
I didn’t want those kinds of secrets between us. If we were going to be friends, we needed to be able to trust each other.
“What is it?” I asked him. “Are you implying there is something wrong with me?”
Belak stiffened. “You know it’s not profitable to speculate,” he said tersely, sounding so much like my parents that I was suddenly and violently homesick, though I did my best to hide it from Belak and Greyna.
I wouldn’t let him see what I was thinking, but I wouldn’t let him try and pass this off, either. Was he lying about being able to see the beauty of the lamp? Where was the “profit” in that?

“Hello?” a voice called from the front of the shop. “Shereya? Belak?”
“We’re back here!” I called to Larryn.
She entered, happily attired in her new dress and silk turban. Greyna, who had missed Larryn’s shopping spree, gawked for a moment, and then giggled. Larryn laughed too, as she sat beside her friend. The lamp still sat in the middle of the table.
“What are we all back here for?” she asked, looking around at the pots and kettles hanging over our heads, and the soft cushions we sat upon around the low table.
I glanced at Belak, sitting right there beside me, and sighed. It was time for the truth, whether he was ready to hear it or not.
“As it turns out,” I told Larryn, “Greyna discovered that the lady who greeted us when we first arrived in town was looking for her, because she’s a Wordspinner.”
“Really?” Larryn’s eyes lit up. She had been wondering if we’d meet another Wordspinner ever since we left Naten’s house. Larryn’s gaze immediately fell on the contested lamp. “Is she the one who made that beautiful lamp?”
Belak groaned, “Not you, too!”
Larryn gave me a confused look, so I said, “He thinks it’s just a plain lamp.”
“It is just a plain lamp!” Belak insisted, “There’s nothing exquisite about it like you all have been saying! It’s just plain glazed earth!”
The story of the lamp grew more insistent. A girl rejected for her plainness… a prince able to see the beauty through it all…