Capture – Nation of Scribes
How long had it been since she’d slept? She could no longer remember. Stacks of books towered over her, distant arched ceilings, covering the sky and making any measurement of time impossible. There was merely one scroll followed by the next, lore traced from ages past.
The spider scuttled along on the stacks alongside her, clicking legs against old wood, waiting for her affections. She turned to the arachnid and smiled, tickling the creature’s mandible.
“Go and get the third scroll on the reading desk,” she whispered to the spider. The creature pressed its head into her hand, then spun and scuttled off down the shelves as she unwound the scroll in her hands, staring at the faded lettering of bygone eons.
There had been many languages once. She was sure of this. Somewhere, though, at some point hidden within the oldest lore, there had to have been some event where the many tongues had become one. All the Good Peoples spoke a single language now, despite the differences of one culture and another. When had that happened? Why?
She rubbed sleep from her eyes, traced the strange lettering on the scroll with her fingers. She had been told that the Outsiders brought other languages with them, but some trick of this world let them all understand one another. How was this possible?
Rubbing her temples, she closed her eyes and took a deep breath. The only Outsiders left from the last Wonderworks were either held captive by the Empire, causing havoc along the coasts, or ruling within the Pale Kingdom. There was no way to speak with them without putting herself in danger.
If only another Wonderworks would happen, but she knew hoping for such a thing was foolish. It was not likely for there to be another within her lifetime – whatever force caused them to happen did not adhere to any known schedule, nor for the convenience of any one mind.
She was alone in this, then. Her own people might allow her research, but they would not aid her – especially not in seeking the remaining Outsiders or putting herself in danger. The knowledge she sought was not, in their opinion, that important.
The others found her obsession eccentric, but left her to it regardless. There was no higher calling than the pursuit of knowledge among her people, even knowledge that had no ready practical application. Walking towards the nearest table, she tried to make sense of the lettering on the scroll, tried to understand what this now forgotten language was.
Even the oldest of the Good Peoples could not remember a time when the Good Peoples had spoken any tongue other than the one that dwelt in all their minds. Only these scrolls were a remnant of whatever had been left behind.
Only confusion could come from speaking more than a single tongue, the old ones said. Whatever moment in the lore granted all we Good Peoples a single language, well, it was a moment that benefited all. How can there be a misrepresentation of knowledge if we are all using the same words to breathe life to thought?
She had agreed with that summation, but still, the question haunted her. This old scrolls, older than even the lore, tickling the back of her consciousness. What secrets did the scrolls hold? What calamity could have robbed the world of all languages save one?
Who had determined what language would survive?
A wave of fatigue washed over her, and she wished she possessed a Spear’s gift for wakefulness. Though a child of the sun, she did not carry the sun’s blessing.
By the time the spider returned to her side sleep had claimed her.
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 PREVIOUS CHAPTER BY CLICKING HERE, OR THE NEXT CHAPTER BY CLICKING HERE.