Capture – Ebony Traditions
The Traditionalist had stopped in the middle of the road, mumbling to herself. Her sister looked at her and sighed; she had not been born able to speak with spirits, but was long used to the signs of spirit-speaking. Taking her sister by the hand, she led the Traditionalist out of the road and knocked on the door of a small hut.
“Hello?” a man said, sticking his head out. He had the orange eyes of a Consort, which worried her. She bit her lip but held his gaze; backing away from him might evoke the atrocity that lived in the heart of his people, and she did not want to back away.
“My name is Zindsa, and this is my sister Hengi,” the woman said, swallowing. “She’s a Traditionalist caught by the spirits. Can we impose upon your hospitality…?”
“Yes, yes, of course, come in,” the man said, holding his door open. The woman stepped in and took a quick look around. The man’s home was marked by the Gentle Consortium’s obsessive need for cleanliness, a single room with a woven hammock in a corner, a sculptor’s podium in another, and a woven keeping on the wall. “Will my home serve?”
The woman nodded, claiming her sister from without and bringing her within, helping her sit while she stared at nothing and whispered to the air. The man watched them both for a time, then went back to his sculpting. The sounds of spinning clay mingled with her sister’s quiet rambling and a soft breeze from outside that came to visit. The man looked at his door with irritation, then turned back to the sculpture.
“You don’t have to watch me,” the man said, his eyes on the clay. “Not all of us Consorts do the things we’re generally known for.”
“Yes, really.” The man’s fingers pressed into the spinning clay, shaping it. “Any more than all your people talk to spirits, or get lost in spirit-speak. Their savagery is one of the many reasons why I left the places my people rule.”
“He speaks truly,” the Traditionalist whispered, her voice so low that only the woman heard it.
“Everything made falls apart, only to be made anew.” The man shook his head, his eyes not moving from the clay. “Sometimes it is made better, sometimes worse – but how can anyone that did not know one or the other say which is which?” He sighed, tracing a finger from top to bottom of his work.
For a moment, the woman could see what it was he was making, what it could be, but then it folded in on itself. The man let out a long breath and watched the clay settle, then washed his hands in a basin. Little droplets fell from his fingers onto the earthen floor of his home.
“I’m going to market,” he said. “I’ll see if there’s anything for you and your sister to eat. You can come with me, if you like.”
“I would, but who would watch my sister?” the woman asked. The man nodded and clapped his hands. The hammock moved, a good-sized spider shuffling out of the webbing and looking at them both. It freed itself from the hammock and, when the woman offered the arachnid her hand, it tickled her palm with its mandibles. She brushed the soft fur on the spider’s thorax. “How is your spider called?”
“I call him Qol,” the Consort said, shifting uncomfortably. “My name is Paz.” She nodded gratitude; he had not had to give her his name, and it made her think better of him.
“Hengi, I’m going to go with our host to get something for us both to eat,” the woman said. “I’m leaving a spider to watch over you, and I’ll be back soon. Do you understand?”
The woman did not expect a response, but her sister nodded at that moment.
Maybe she did understand.
When Paz led her outside, Zindsa followed.
STORY AND CONCEPT BY AARON GOLDEN. PICTURE TAKEN FROM PIXABAY, AND YOU CAN FIND IT AND A HOST OF OTHER IMAGES LIKE IT BY CLICKING HERE. CAPTURE UPDATES EVERY TUESDAY AND THURSDAY, AND YOU CAN READ THE VERY FIRST CHAPTER BY CLICKING HERE, THE NEXT CHAPTER BY CLICKING HERE, OR THE PREVIOUS CHAPTER CLICKING HERE.