The Book of Jubilees
And Jacob dwelt in the land of his father’s sojournings, in the land of Canaan. 2These are the generations of Jacob. Joseph, being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brethren, being still a lad even with the sons of Bilhah, and with the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives; and Joseph brought evil report of them unto their father. 3Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age; and he made him a coat of many colours. 4And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him. 5And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it to his brethren; and they hated him yet the more. 6And he said unto them: ‘Hear, I pray you, this dream which I have dreamed: 7for, behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and, lo, my sheaf arose, and also stood upright; and, behold, your sheaves came round about, and bowed down to my sheaf.’ 8And his brethren said to him: ‘Shalt thou indeed reign over us? or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us?’ And they hated him yet the more for his dreams, and for his words. 9And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it to his brethren, and said: ‘Behold, I have dreamed yet a dream: and, behold, the sun and the moon and eleven stars bowed down to me.’ 10And he told it to his father, and to his brethren; and his father rebuked him, and said unto him: ‘What is this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down to thee to the earth?’ 11And his brethren envied him; but his father kept the saying in mind.
12And his brethren went to feed their father’s flock in Shechem. 13And Israel said unto Joseph: ‘Do not thy brethren feed the flock in Shechem? come, and I will send thee unto them.’ And he said to him: ‘Here am I.’ 14And he said to him: ‘Go now, see whether it is well with thy brethren, and well with the flock; and bring me back word.’ So he sent him out of the vale of Hebron, and he came to Shechem. 15And a certain man found him, and, behold, he was wandering in the field. And the man asked him, saying: ‘What seekest thou?’ 16And he said: ‘I seek my brethren. Tell me, I pray thee, where they are feeding the flock.’ 17And the man said: ‘They are departed hence; for I heard them say: Let us go to Dothan.’ And Joseph went after his brethren, and found them in Dothan. 18And they saw him afar off, and before he came near unto them, they conspired against him to slay him. 19And they said one to another: ‘Behold, this dreamer cometh. 20Come now therefore, and let us slay him, and cast him into one of the pits, and we will say: An evil beast hath devoured him; and we shall see what will become of his dreams.’ 21And Reuben heard it, and delivered him out of their hand; and said: ‘Let us not take his life.’ 22And Reuben said unto them: ‘Shed no blood; cast him into this pit that is in the wilderness, but lay no hand upon him’—that he might deliver him out of their hand, to restore him to his father. 23And it came to pass, when Joseph was come unto his brethren, that they stripped Joseph of his coat, the coat of many colours that was on him; 24and they took him, and cast him into the pit—and the pit was empty, there was no water in it.
Chloe closed the book, breathing with weight, having run to the edge of her heart’s capacity. Hours of contemplation passed before she again opened it. Before even finding where she had left off, she began again.
And Joseph’s master took him, and put him into the prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were bound; and he was there in the prison. 21But the Lord was with Joseph, and showed kindness unto him, and gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison. 22And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph’s hand all the prisoners that were in the prison; and whatsoever they did there, he was the doer of it. 23The keeper of the prison looked not to any thing that was under his hand, because the Lord was with him; and that which he did, the Lord made it to prosper.
And it came to pass after these things, that the butler of the king of Egypt and his baker offended their lord the king of Egypt. 2And Pharaoh was wroth against his two officers, against the chief of the butlers, and against the chief of the bakers. 3And he put them in ward in the house of the captain of the guard, into the prison, the place where Joseph was bound. 4And the captain of the guard charged Joseph to be with them, and he ministered unto them; and they continued a season in ward. 5And they dreamed a dream both of them, each man his dream, in one night, each man according to the interpretation of his dream, the butler and the baker of the king of Egypt, who were bound in the prison. 6And Joseph came in unto them in the morning, and saw them, and, behold, they were sad. 7And he asked Pharaoh’s officers that were with him in the ward of his master’s house, saying: ‘Wherefore look ye so sad to-day?’8And they said unto him: ‘We have dreamed a dream, and there is none that can interpret it.’ And Joseph said unto them: ‘Do not interpretations belong to God? tell it me, I pray you.’ 9And the chief butler told his dream to Joseph, and said to him: ‘In my dream, behold, a vine was before me; 10and in the vine were three branches; and as it was budding, its blossoms shot forth, and the clusters thereof brought forth ripe grapes, 11and Pharaoh’s cup was in my hand; and I took the grapes, and pressed them into Pharaoh’s cup, and I gave the cup into Pharaoh’s hand.’ 12And Joseph said unto him: ‘This is the interpretation of it: the three branches are three days; 13within yet three days shall Pharaoh lift up thy head, and restore thee unto thine office; and thou shalt give Pharaoh’s cup into his hand, after the former manner when thou wast his butler. 14But have me in thy remembrance when it shall be well with thee, and show kindness, I pray thee, unto me, and make mention of me unto Pharaoh, and bring me out of this house. 15For indeed I was stolen away out of the land of the Hebrews; and here also have I done nothing that they should put me into the dungeon.’ 16When the chief baker saw that the interpretation was good, he said unto Joseph: ‘I also saw in my dream, and, behold, three baskets of white bread were on my head; 17and in the uppermost basket there was of all manner of baked food for Pharaoh; and the birds did eat them out of the basket upon my head.’ 18And Joseph answered and said: ‘This is the interpretation thereof: the three baskets are three days; 19within yet three days shall Pharaoh lift up thy head from off thee, and shall hang thee on a tree; and the birds shall eat thy flesh from off thee.’ 20And it came to pass the third day, which was Pharaoh’s birthday, that he made a feast unto all his servants; and he lifted up the head of the chief butler and the head of the chief baker among his servants. 21And he restored the chief butler back unto his butlership; and he gave the cup into Pharaoh’s hand. 22But he hanged the chief baker, as Joseph had interpreted to them. 23Yet did not the chief butler remember Joseph, but forgot him.
And it came to pass at the end of two full years, that Pharaoh dreamed: and, behold, he stood by the river. 2And, behold, there came up out of the river seven kine, well-favoured and fat-fleshed; and they fed in the reed-grass. 3And, behold, seven other kine came up after them out of the river, ill favoured and lean-fleshed; and stood by the other kine upon the brink of the river. 4And the ill-favoured and lean-fleshed kine did eat up the seven well-favoured and fat kine. So Pharaoh awoke. 5And he slept and dreamed a second time: and, behold, seven ears of corn came up upon one stalk, rank and good. 6And, behold, seven ears, thin and blasted with the east wind, sprung up after them. 7And the thin ears swallowed up the seven rank and full ears. And Pharaoh awoke, and, behold, it was a dream. 8And it came to pass in the morning that his spirit was troubled; and he sent and called for all the magicians of Egypt, and all the wise men thereof; and Pharaoh told them his dream; but there was none that could interpret them unto Pharaoh. 9Then spoke the chief butler unto Pharaoh, saying: ‘I make mention of my faults this day: 10Pharaoh was wroth with his servants, and put me in the ward of the house of the captain of the guard, me and the chief baker. 11And we dreamed a dream in one night, I and he; we dreamed each man according to the interpretation of his dream. 12And there was with us there a young man, a Hebrew, servant to the captain of the guard; and we told him, and he interpreted to us our dreams; to each man according to his dream he did interpret. 13And it came to pass, as he interpreted to us, so it was: I was restored unto mine office, and he was hanged.’ 14Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they brought him hastily out of the dungeon. And he shaved himself, and changed his raiment, and came in unto Pharaoh. 15And Pharaoh said unto Joseph: ‘I have dreamed a dream, and there is none that can interpret it; and I have heard say of thee, that when thou hearest a dream thou canst interpret it.’ 16And Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying: ‘It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh an answer of peace.’ 17And Pharaoh spoke unto Joseph: ‘In my dream, behold, I stood upon the brink of the river. 18And, behold, there came up out of the river seven kine, fat-fleshed and well-favoured; and they fed in the reedgrass. 19And, behold, seven other kine came up after them, poor and very ill-favoured and lean-fleshed, such as I never saw in all the land of Egypt for badness. 20And the lean and ill-favoured kine did eat up the first seven fat kine. 21And when they had eaten them up, it could not be known that they had eaten them; but they were still ill-favoured as at the beginning. So I awoke. 22And I saw in my dream, and, behold, seven ears came up upon one stalk, full and good. 23And, behold, seven ears, withered, thin, and blasted with the east wind, sprung up after them. 24And the thin ears swallowed up the seven good ears. And I told it unto the magicians; but there was none that could declare it to me.’ 25And Joseph said unto Pharaoh: ‘The dream of Pharaoh is one; what God is about to do He hath declared unto Pharaoh. 26The seven good kine are seven years; and the seven good ears are seven years: the dream is one. 27And the seven lean and ill-favoured kine that came up after them are seven years, and also the seven empty ears blasted with the east wind; they shall be seven years of famine. 28That is the thing which I spoke unto Pharaoh: what God is about to do He hath shown unto Pharaoh. 29Behold, there come seven years of great plenty throughout all the land of Egypt. 30And there shall arise after them seven years of famine; and all the plenty shall be forgotten in the land of Egypt; and the famine shall consume the land; 31and the plenty shall not be known in the land by reason of that famine which followeth; for it shall be very grievous. 32And for that the dream was doubled unto Pharaoh twice, it is because the thing is established by God, and God will shortly bring it to pass. 33Now therefore let Pharaoh look out a man discreet and wise, and set him over the land of Egypt. 34Let Pharaoh do this, and let him appoint overseers over the land, and take up the fifth part of the land of Egypt in the seven years of plenty. 35And let them gather all the food of these good years that come, and lay up corn under the hand of Pharaoh for food in the cities, and let them keep it. 36And the food shall be for a store to the land against the seven years of famine, which shall be in the land of Egypt; that the land perish not through the famine.’ 37And the thing was good in the eyes of Pharaoh, and in the eyes of all his servants. 38And Pharaoh said unto his servants: ‘Can we find such a one as this, a man in whom the spirit of God is?’ 39And Pharaoh said unto Joseph: ‘Forasmuch as God hath shown thee all this, there is none so discreet and wise as thou. 40Thou shalt be over my house, and according unto thy word shall all my people be ruled; only in the throne will I be greater than thou.’ 41And Pharaoh said unto Joseph: ‘See, I have set thee over all the land of Egypt.’ 42And Pharaoh took off his signet ring from his hand, and put it upon Joseph’s hand, and arrayed him in vestures of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck. 43And he made him to ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried before him: ‘Abrech’; and he set him over all the land of Egypt. 44And Pharaoh said unto Joseph: ‘I am Pharaoh, and without thee shall no man lift up his hand or his foot in all the land of Egypt.’ 45And Pharaoh called Joseph’s name Zaphenath-paneah; and he gave him to wife Asenath the daughter of Poti-phera priest of On. And Joseph went out over the land of Egypt.—46And Joseph was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh king of Egypt.—And Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh, and went throughout all the land of Egypt.
Again, Chloe had to stop. She was, for the rest of that day, drained and unable to interact with anyone. She ate and rested, and then at dark, she slept, and she dreamed—she dreamed of stars and of corn. She felt the need to make a count of them, but found herself unable, for there was as many stars in the sky as there were kernels in the field, and as many kernels of corn as the sand which is upon the seashore. And Chloe woke the next day and knew that she was not yet wise.
(Updated version here 🙂 )
Inck Alice Dawngale made her way through the dim snowy wood. She wasn’t sure where to go. The south was barren, she would find no resources, no food there. She had survived on nothing but snow melted in hand for eight weeks, rationing the only food she had to her young child. For the most part, the child stayed on her back, wearing Inck’s only shirt in addition to her own clothes to stay warm.
Inck had followed the base of the cliff west for two weeks, then east for six. She knew she didn’t have enough energy to double back again. She didn’t have enough energy to continue much longer either. Her bare shoulders were developing frostbite, her fingers spared only because she kept them crossed and under her arms. The trees stopped most of the wind, but she found little solace in this.
As she had followed the cliff, the ridge had become higher and higher, and then suddenly it spiked. She was sidling a nearly vertical mountain at this point. On her back, the child Alice woke up. She slept a lot, lacking energy to stay awake.
Inck said, “My Alice, my Alice, what shall we do? I’ve walked to the edge of my vision, and again I see but the same. We will not make it farther than the naught I see now if we continue straight.”
“Ah, and we can’t go that way right?” She pointed to the forest, “And we can’t go back! So we have to go… there.”
She pointed up the mountain.
Inck stared at the summit. She could not tell for sure, but she doubted anyone lived at the top. She took her hands out of her armpits and stared at them. The Plainkind kept their clawlike fingernails long enough to be effective. In the past month and a half they had continued to grow unbitten, unused.
She looked at the sky, she had a lot of time left, but she knew it still wouldn’t be enough.
Inck dug her fingers into the stone, satisfied that it was soft enough. She began to pull herself up, limb by limb, cubit by cubit. Alice watched as they climbed with amazement.
Higher, higher, higher. Inck made it halfway up before her sleep reserves gave out. Her arms began to shake, her legs tremor, but still she climbed, not looking back, her eyes ahead.
Alice could feel the shaking, “Are you okay mum?”
“Yes. Just… Tell me about home.” She used the distraction.
“Home? The Plainkind desert? It’s warmer there. My dad is there. My friend, umm, Marisa. She’s there too.” Alice’s voice was wistful, but still held much joy.
“And,” Inck huffed, “What happened?”
“To get us here? Oh, well, we got lost in the sandstorm… We got stuck below the cliff. You tried to climb it, right? Yeah. It didn’t, well it, yeah. It didn’t, wasn’t soft enough. So we tried to go around, both ways. It’s cold down here. Snow is cool! But… Only for a while.”
Inck nodded as Alice continued.
“And now we’re hungry all the time. And now we’re climbing a mountain. And I haven’t seen, we haven’t seen anyone, anyone in so long…”
Alice got sad and so she stopped.
“It has been very… long.” Inck agreed.
Time passed as silence fell between them. The sun began to set, and soon night was upon them. Inck could see well in the dark, but it was cloudy, and her nightvision was still inferior to her dayvision. She climbed primarily by feel.
Some time in the night, she reached the top. In the dark she could see that it plateaued.
Alice said nothing, she must have been asleep. Inck could see the edge of the summit in the far reaches of her vision. She wasn’t sure if she should rest or continue. She decided to continue. However, upon her first step, her exhaustion and starvation caught up with her. She sneered at her own condition as she fell forward, catching herself with her arms as not to wake Alice.
There was only a thin veil of snow here. Inck lay awake for the minutes required to melt it with her heat, and then she allowed herself to drift away.
She awoke before morning, trembling from the cold. Usually this was the time she made real sleeping quarters, but the resources on the flat summit were limited, and so was her time. Instead, Inck stood and began to walk.
Her only goal was crossing the mountain to the other side. She would be able to see all that lay before her to the north, to see where her home was. She focused only forward.
When she reached the other edge, the sun had risen. She looked out over the lands in amazement. The warm rays woke Alice up, and she too gazed, excited.
Inck nodded, “There is our home, the desert. In front of us appears to be the world beyond the eastern walls. And look, another group of settlements lies yet further east.”
“All we have to do is get down!” Alice was excited.
Inck knew immediately that she would likely never again have the energy to make the climb. Her energy reserves were at their limit. One frightening solution rang out in her mind. She stared down at the plummet. She could survive the landing. The injuries would undoubtedly be her undoing, but she would have the strength to protect her daughter from the fall.
As a mother, this idea was quickly pushed down to a secondary plan. Inck dug into the ground for a couple of stones. She was familiar with rocks and found two, a softer and harder stone. She copied something in Plainkind Script and then began her descent. On her back, Alice excitedly twisted around, looking at the world below. She wanted to go back home, but had a severe interest in the new kingdom they were now descending into.
This downward climb was the most difficult thing Inck had done in her lifetime. Her muscles ached and shuddered. As they went further, Alice became more and more worried about her mother’s shaking.
One third of the way down, Inck had to stop. She steadied herself. Aside from her tremors, she could not move. Physically she could not continue. She looked down and wished upon her ancestors that she’d had the strength to continue just a little farther. Inck closed her eyes. She wished she hadn’t headed west for so long. She held onto the regret for but a moment.
Then she thought of Alice, who was doubtlessly concerned clinging to her back. Inck was certain that one of them would survive the fall. She channeled her life, her reserves. She shed her regrets. And then, she pushed away from the mountain.
Alice screamed out of shock. She couldn’t comprehend what was happening. She clung to her mother as tight as her small body enabled. It was tight enough. The fall ended sooner than expected, and Inck took the landing as hard as she could. Nearly all the force went into her leg muscles, and then into her bones. Her shins and thighs crumpled under the force. Her spines broke.
Her daughter felt the force of multiple gravities, but was unhurt overall. Alice dropped off of her mother’s back and ran around to her front.
“Mum! Ah!” She didn’t know what to do.
She looked at her mother with a pleading expression.
“Dear Alice… Alice May Dawngale…”
Inck looked at her lower half, damaged beyond conventional healing. She watched blood ooze slower and slower as her superficial outer wounds healed. Still she did not let go.
She said, “When I stop moving, wait but a day. Then, bury me in front of that boulder.”
Inck pointed with her long damaged fingernail to the stone. It must have been part of the mountain at some point, as it stood out starkly from the surrounding forest.
“Copy this onto it.”
She handed the stone to Alice. She could not read it, she could not read at all yet.
I am your Mother,
Inck Alice Dawngale.
They spoke together, of home, of the sandstorm and their perilous journey, but most of all Inck focused on Alice’s future.
“You must find a home. Any home, even if it is not our old home. You must live a happy life for me, for yourself.” Inck shed a tear, as deep a red as her eyes, “You needn’t even be productive. Simply happy.”
Alice nodded, and embraced the parts of her mother that were still alive. She too cried ruby tears. Though it was morning the two, exhausted, slept together for the last time.
Leagues away, Inck’s partner still grieved, having lost his whole family into the sand sea.
The next evening, Alice felt her mother. She was warm, but she suspected it was no longer the warmth of life. Alice scavenged for food and found many fruits. She returned and fed some to the mouth of her mother.
“…” Inck exhaled, and gave Alice one final look, a look of hope. And then she died.
Alice looked at her for a long time, frozen. She looked at this vacant expression of hope for many moments. And then, when she felt she had absorbed all she could from this last mortal message, the final emotion from her mother, she moved. She reached forward and closed the eyes. She took the fruit and ate it. Then, she began to dig.
Inck’s story draws to a close, and the mission of life is passed to Alice. To follow Alice’s footsteps, see the short story series, Alice and Finch.
It was well past midnight when Avvarice exited the dispensary. She went out nearly every night, and she never paid for her own drinks. In fact, the woman skated on the razor’s edge in this regard. She took so much value from men, giving only her body in return, that she had been able to leave her job. She would enter a bar, smile at a few men, and eventually hit a mark. She would coddle a few drinks, and especially a meal out of them, and then she would except nearly any advance as long as it took place in their home. Then in the morning, she would awake in their bed on a mission. She would collect her things swiftly, and then proceed to the kitchen and make herself something. If she was feeling particularly confident in her host’s slumber, she would take some of their money too.
Avvarice had a few repeat customers. She never stole from someone who could potentially be a repeat, it was bad for business. Of all, only Hhook was in on her secret life. This is where she headed now, to Hhook’s house. Tonight was a rarity for her calendar, it was a failure. It appeared she’d used up all the men at this particular dispensary, and no one wanted to see her again. She would simply move on tomorrow. But tonight, she knocked on his door. It took a few tries, but when he awoke, Hhook knew exactly who it was. He rushed to put on some clothes, and then clambered down his steps. Hhook owned one of the city’s many “slimhouses,” the washroom and kitchen was downstairs, and upstairs was only a bedroom. Often they were smaller in square cubits than the average bachelor apartment.
“Hey,” Avvarice said lustily as he opened the door.
She didn’t have to put on the act for Hhook, and he had the suspicion that she knew this.
“Another failure? They’re getting closer together.” He said.
“Why do you always assume it’s a failure when I come here?” Avvarice asked.
“Because,” He said pouring them some tea, “It always is.”
He treated her with kindness, but then left her to his couch near the doorway and went back to bed. He wasn’t going to give her the pleasure tonight. Hhook was frustrated being the third wheel on the motorcycle, the backup plan. Tonight, he would show her this. If Avvarice came back again he would consider making more emotional advances towards her, but as it stood, he was tired of the carnal ones.
Avvarice awake in a foul mood. He head hurt from the drink, and worse she had been turned down twice. She was beginning to wonder if she had lost her touch. If she would have to become a contributing member of society once more. She sighed, and then heard the sound of metal clanging in the kitchen.
Hhook was already awake and cooking breakfast. He had considered cooking only for himself, but thought better of it. Hhook had work today, unlike Avvarice, and he had to wake up early to get there.
“Still jobless?” He assumed.
“This is my job.”
Avvarice sat on the couch now, elbows on her knees, face resting in her hands. For once, Hhook noticed, she seemed thoughtful.
“You know,” He said, “I heard that the Djeb has places where you actually get paid to do these things.”
“It’s not about that.”
Hhook wondered what else it could possibly be. He served her breakfast, ate himself, and then was on his way. He didn’t bother telling her to lock up after she left. They had been through this enough that she knew already. They had been through this enough that he trusted her in his home.
Hhook’s job was uneventful. He worked making metal kitchen cutlery, as well as plates, pans, cups and so on. For some reason, unlike weapons, these had at least some quality to them. Avvarice took full advantage of his charity, and also of his shower. She felt oddly comfortable in his house. When she was finished, she took her clothes out of his “labour saving washing device” and put them on. Then she waited, waited until the bars opened.
She surveyed the evening avenues, looking at the signs, and at the patrons through windows. Not much was promising in this area. Avvarice sought younger men, as they were less likely to be attached to someone, and also more likely to let a stranger into their house. She ventured into the ghetto. Often she avoided this place, hearing it was dangerous, or that crazy people lived here. But she was feeling a little desperate at this point. She didn’t want to have to return with a wounded reputation to Hhook’s house, especially since he seemed unhappy with her.
Avvarice decided to check only one bar. The Razor’s Edge had bright neon and shined iron walls. She peered inside casually and saw that there was an apparently even distribution of race. This was actually more common in the Lussa ghetto, as the lower class was marginalized almost equally by the racially unbiased law. Lussa law was a mess, but the majority of it was still the foundation for social structure and government tendencies.
She entered the bar despite this. For the first few hours, no one much paid attention to her signals, or even her. She ended up buying herself a drink for the first time in a long time. Something strong. It pained her to spend her own money, but she had to blend in it seemed. She sat at a two seater near the entrance and sipped.
Long after nightfall, someone walked in. A taller man with pale skin and a large jaw. He wore an intense, almost primal expression on his face. He looked around, Avvarice noticed, to all the women. Then his eyes settled on her and calmed. Mostly.
The man went to the bar and bought two drinks, then sat down at Avvarice’s table.
“Is this seat taken?” He breathed.
“Ah, no.” Avvarice was uncomfortable, but she had to prove her point tonight, that she didn’t need Hhook.
She downed her own drink and moved on to his. It was even stronger, and it had a subtle sparkle to it.
“Interesting tastes you have,” she said.
He was an entirely uninteresting man, but as the night stretched on, she realized that he was all she was getting. Before the bar even closed he was on his feet, and she followed. They went into the alley, the alley! And he wanted to do it then and there. She hadn’t signed up for that. She would have to come home empty handed either way, and she sure as hell wasn’t going to do it after messing around with this beast.
Upon her refusal, the man’s eyes widened, the wild look returning. He grabbed her hands and pinned them to the wall.
That was all that crossed Avvarice’s mind. She had a feeling it would come to this. She swiftly kneed him the groin and left gracefully, but also swiftly. Once she was out of sight, her grace turned to fitfulness as scampered to her own neighbourhood.
She caught her breath in the dark. It was very dark here. Her ears scanned for pursuing footsteps, but there were none. After this, she proceeded to canvas her regulars, all except that one that was cheating with her, as she was a fan of keeping her bridges. It seemed that not many people wanted a visitor on the first weeknight. Most didn’t even answer their doors.
Defeated, she returned to Hhook’s house. Again, she knocked on his door. He was awake still this time, on his couch. He opened the door.
Before even letting her in, he started a conversation.
“Tonight another loss? Your back against the wall?” He asked.
“Ah!” She felt a pang of pain in her heart, remembering what had just happened, “Well…”
“You should just go home tonight. Unless you’re here for me and not some pride haven.” He said.
“I-” She stopped. Slowly, it began to rain on her.
Avvarice thought on his words as her hair and clothing became dampened. She stared at his knees. Pride haven. She looked to his flooring, his house. It did feel like a haven. Avvarice alway thought she loved the chase, the exhilaration of not knowing when the next meal would be, where next she would stay. But maybe, maybe he had a point. Maybe what she really sought was haven. The next safe place, the next source of nourishment.
“I don’t know right now.” She finished, looking him in the face. “I think I’ve come to rely on you too much. I, I don’t have my own home anymore. I’ve been evicted.”
“So, you’ll be renting my couch then?” He smiled, “You’ll need a job, I don’t want you selling yourself, you understand.”
Avvarice exhaled deeply. Her skin was cold and wet now.
“I guess so. Gone are my days of lavish.” She looked away again, “And I guess also my reliance on men.”
“That’s good enough for me.” He said.
Hhook finally let her in. Her skin was sleek and shined. Tonight, he was interested and so, it seemed, was she.
This is a weird one. Probably not my greatest endeavour, but it was interesting nonetheless. Based loosely on the Shawn Hook song, Who do You Love. Inspiration is a weird thing, eh?
I’ve published this on my secondary blog because I’m so unsure as to what to do with this. Might publish it on the main one in the future… This is also a first draft, as you might have noticed.
For the more active blog, check out www.danieltriumph.com
The first entry in the Dawngale RP Rewrites.
Some call it Resz Sickness, after the month that it struck the capital. Where I come from, we call it death sickness, because it spreads around the dead, making them die faster. The N’Tarial legend states that it was once a celestial sickness, the Servant of Death needed more death to occur to retain her power, so she created a disease. When you become afflicted by it, your death accelerates at the microscopic level causing you to die of what is technically old age, despite the fact that you look exactly the same physically. What, I know a bit about biology. I learned from Azure, you know her? Anyway, back to the point. Now the illness is normal, non-celestial. You can cure it and your cells will be fine, they heal as long as you don’t actually die.
Someone brought it in from the East, from where the East Metch fight Death’s demons, her creations. It’s obvious that they’d be laced with it, death sickness. The East Metch are immune to it, in fact they can’t even carry it. Me, an N’Tarial, I’m immune but I can still carry it. So, someone, not me, brought that sickness into the Solune Kingdom, right into the capital. People are dying, you know. The instant I heard that there were fresh bodies, I headed over.
It was surrounded by a wall, just like the rest of the kingdom, a wall inside a wall. The gate was still open at that time, so I was able to enter freely, but by then the streets were empty. Even the bravest shopkeeper had their store closed by then. It was pretty bad. I started my search for the dead, keeping my eyes out for anyone who might give me information. I headed forward, to the most empty looking place.
This part of the city had taller, nicer looking buildings. I searched but the streets were clean, empty. Then, I immediately noticed a figure on the rooftops. I crawled into the alley adjacent to my silent watcher then leapt onto the wall. I clung to it and climbed up a wooden support that stuck out. I peered over the roof and saw him, a Riley man with black hair and dark eyes.
Hanging off the edge of the roof, my head peeking over it I yelled, “Hey!”
The man turned to me, “Where did you come from?”
“Down there. What’s going on here?”
The man motioned for me to join him on the roof. He looked fairly weak, so I did.
“There’s a sickness going around. We don’t have a name for it yet, but a lot of people are dying. Even guards.” He told me.
“Where?” I asked, my mind focused.
“The residential area.” He pointed west, “It spread fast because all the houses are close together.”
I waved to the Riley and went on my way. The residential district. That made sense. It only took me a few minutes to cross town. At that point I could smell it, the earthy smell of bodies killed by Death’s hands. All the life, the fluids, that which makes bodies smell rank was taken in by Death when she took a person’s life. It was eerie, but it was also welcome by me. I didn’t want to have to deal with that.
I looked left and right as I walked down the dirt street. The alleys seemed to have bodies piled in them, after a while I noticed a pattern. Only the alleyways without windows had body piles. These people were smarter than I expected. I still couldn’t find anyone though. I was sure there were people in the houses, likely told to stay inside until the situation was under control. I just… didn’t want to get caught taking a corpse.
Then I heard it, voices around the next bend. First an authoritative sounding woman.
“Okay. Tell Vinth we’re locking off the city. Close the gates, don’t let anyone out or in.”
“What about me?” A man replied, “I’m really no good in situations like this. I thrive in ambush combat and seeking knowledge. You can’t ambush or learn from a sickness.”
I skulked across the road and into a dark alley, peering across the corner diagonally. I’d be harder to see me from this distance, and in the dark.
“Fine, if you don’t want to help than I don’t want you here.” The woman said.
She was tall, very tall, and she was wearing a grey jumpsuit. Her blonde hair was cut just below the shoulder. She must be a Solune, with height like that. The man was also wearing the same jumpsuit. It must be the guard uniform. He was shorter though, judging by the black hair and pale skin I could tell he was a Riley.
“Okay, what do I do then?” He asked.
“Stand at the gate. Make sure no one enters, explain about the sickness. If you encounter anyone who would brave the hazards and is willing to help, send them to me. I’ll put them to work in your stead.” The woman explained, taking charge.
I hugged the wall, standing in the shade, my eyes closed. I could have hid in the bodies, but they were in the light and my deep purple clothes would have stood out even more there. The Solune wore pants and frilly shirts and had fair skin. The Riley dressed in darker clothes, often preferring vests. Traditional N’Tarial clothing generally looked like a green or blue dress, separated at either the waist or hips by a brown cloth belt. The dress was split on the sides, almost like a wide loincloth. Personally, I like purple, and I wear the battle version of the dress. Higher splits and shorter sleeves to enable a greater degree of mobility.
The Riley man passed me without noticing anything. For someone obsessed with undercover work, this surprised me. Afterwards, the woman, the leader continued to work. She piled bodies into alleys, I guess to keep them off the streets. She wore gloves too, unusual for anyone who wasn’t East Metch. What, I notice clothes okay?
I watched, waiting for her to leave. I’d be willing to wait hours, until dark even. I’ve been looking for bodies for a long time now. I really don’t like having to murder people in order to get their corpse, it ruins the quality.
After an pace (the Solune call it a sixth or a tetra, others call it an hour) I decided to sit down, but I kept an eye on that woman as she worked. Another pace passed and I decided to save my back. I stood up and crept further into the alley, to the other side. I skulked under windows, just to be safe, and then found a crack running through the building up to the roofs. Anyone who knows about climbing knows that a crack makes the task far easier.
As I climbed, pulling loose chunks of building out as I went, I heard more voices on the other side. I couldn’t hear them, but I sure wanted to, so I sped up my ascent. When I got to the top, I crawled prone until I was close enough to the other street.
“That’s an unusual task.” One of them said.
It was another woman, but her voice wasn’t hard like the first one. She had the sweet voice of a mother, although she sounded too young to have bared any children.
“So he’s just standing outside the gate? He’s a gatekeeper!” She laughed.
“Okay, whatever. Listen Natasha, we piled more bodies, and we’re keeping people inside just like you said. Now what.” This was a man. He sounded similar to the other woman. I figured that they’re related.
“Now we have to figure out how to stop it. To end this… quarantine, to use and East Metch term.” The leader replied. I guess her name was Natasha. “Look, since we started using gloves no more of the guard has died. I need you to craft a report, write everything you know for sure about the sickness and submit it to the Academic tower. Tell them that they are to be working during this quarantine. We need a cure, or anything they can come up with.”
I peeked over the rooftop. There they were, standing in a triangle, all wearing the gray uniform. Natasha, the tall blonde. The other woman, shorter also blonde, but with odd eyebrows and inward titled eyes. This must be the Djeb race that my sister kept telling me about. The man was the same, but bulkier. He held an unwieldy looking sword and I wondered how such a structured looking guard allowed him to have such a flashy and foolish looking weapon.
“Not a problem,” The Djeb woman smiled almost forcefully to the man, and he reluctantly followed.
After another pace, Natasha finished her work and then left shortly after herself. Finally, it was barren. I hopped down into the alley and started moving bodies, looking for one I wanted. I always shop the bodies if I’m presented with more than one. Then, I saw the one I wanted. It was a fallen guard, he was not a child, but still young. The sun was low now, the alley darkened. I felt the privacy I needed there in the alleyway, and so I didn’t bother to pull the dead person up onto the roof.
I pulled the corpse’s jacket off. I took out my knife, ready to cut, and then-
“Hey, what are you doing there?”
I stopped and immediately bolted to the other end of the alley. I rounded the corner banking right, and then ran back into an adjacent alley.
It didn’t work, I wasn’t fast enough, caught red handed.
“What?” I challenged my pursuer. “What do you want.”
He was an N’Tarial, just like me. He wore the regular green garb. His skin was darker though, like he spent a lot of time in the sun, on the plains. He was likely some form of warrior, but… not a guard. I eased up.
“Umm… what were you doing in the alley?” He asked.
And then, another from the rooftops. He dropped down behind me. I turned, back to the wall, so that I could defend against both if I needed to. The second man was another Riley, the one I met before actually. I’m surprised he came all the way out here.
“I’m taking one of those bodies. You’re not stopping me. I’ve run out of patience today.”
On the other side of the alley, behind the Riley, I heard footsteps. Lots of them. I sprinted up the wall and climbed to the roof.
The two men didn’t say much about me. It seemed they were interested in the bodies themselves. They wanted to open one up and investigate what the sickness did to people. Interesting, but I already knew. It gave you highly accelerated old age. You wouldn’t learn anything from opening someone up, since most of the effects were too small to see with the eye.
“What is this? Look, it looks like these people have been rotting for days!” One of them said.
“How long has it been dead?” The Riley asked.
“We only made this pile last night when the sickness started to spread.” That was Natasha. She was back, ever the hard worker.
Why were there more side effects of the sickness then before? Did it… mutate? I wanted to investigate myself now. I can’t use a body that’s still diseased after death for my purposes. I needed to know what was going on, and hopefully find a clean body along the way. That couldn’t wait for too long.
As they were leaving I asked the N’Tarial warrior to throw me up one of the bodies. He did.
“Thanks. And, as far as I know you should be immune to the disease. This death sickness.” I told him.
“Us N’Tarial and the East Metch are surrounded by death, and this afflicts about…” I did some quick math in my mind, “Five in every hundred victims in war.”
They moved on from the alley, heading to what the called “Ground Zero” where the first people died. I didn’t follow them. I needed to investigate this one. I took out my knife again, a tanning and skinning knife, and I delved into this poor soul’s viscera.
It was unusual. It really was like he’d been dead for days rather than hours. It didn’t make sense. I wished… I wished that Azure was here. She actually knew about this stuff. All my information was second hand. I couldn’t learn on the site like her. I lay back as the sun set. In the distance, where Natasha’s group had gone, I heard the sounds of battle. Metal on metal, the thunk of dart launchers. That wasn’t my problem. I had a lot of problems.
I needed to send a letter, and maybe a flesh sample to Azure. She was from the Djeb, not the closest place. Outside the kingdom in fact. I lay back and listened to the fight. I knew the Solune kept their prisoners alive, so I didn’t bother investigating the aftermath. As the skirmish ended, I just went to sleep.
So, as you read at the top, this is the first entry of an experimental format. There’s a lot of original content here, but a lot of it is based on the scenarios and characters (NPCs?) used in my RP campaign. As the creator of the campaign, technically this is all original except for the player characters.
This story follows Jade Sing, the N’Tarial. She is the sister of Jin Resz Sing. If you notice the name Resz is in the title of this piece, you’ve notice a connection. It’s only a minor one though, but I can explain it later in the series\ if you’re interested.
Some decent world building and story set up, the strange events in town, the meeting if the two people in cloaks. I hate chosen ones, more so if they are the main character, so I hope it’s not a huge story element.
I don’t know what to think about that snake.
Lots of build up, but still nothing’s happened. With lots of people saying you can’t write a story where nothing happens in the first few chapters, I’m amazed that JK Rowling got this published.
Wow. I can’t believe “you’re a wizard, Harry,” one of the most iconic lines, isn’t actually in the book. It’s, “Harry – yer a wizard.” I’m shocked. I wonder why Hagrid got expelled…
A note on Muggles.
Is this a derogatory term for non-magic folk? As a “muggle,” I’m not sure if I should be offended. Derogatory or not, it is a divisive term, and division of a group leads to classist like discrimination at the very least. Do wizards see themselves as “above” muggles? I’m interested to find out.
I’m currently drafting a short story, I hope it goes well. I’ll be posting it here in 2-3 weeks.
I’ll also be curating some content around here. There’s some stuff lying around that I no longer care for, so I’ll be removing it.
This blog will pick up steam once more, hopefully this time it will not get snuffed out 🙂