Saturday, March 14, 2015

March Chatterbox: Superstition

I am linking up with Rachel Heffington's Chatterbox Event.  You can see this month's Chatterbox post on her blog: 

Informative post on the health benefits of turmeric & ginger root & Making Golden Milk: Fresh Turmeric and Ginger with Mortar and Pestle

"Amos says that Wheston has a legend about you."  Grayun lowered himself onto a seat and breathed in the aroma of Hilma's herb room.

"The people of Wheston are fools."  Hilma crinkled her lips in scorn as she held a leaf over her fireball and watched the tips curl and blacken.

"No doubt the story has grown over the years."

"No doubt.  Such is the nature of legends."  Hilma carried her scorched leaf to the table.  With the precision of an artist, she touched the burnt tip with her forefinger.  It instantly powdered in a dusting of ash on the table.  "People know pieces of the whole; and they make up what they do not know, spreading the imaginary parts mixed into the truth as though they were one and the same.  Then, as each tries to outdo the previous, the story changes until very little of it resembles fact."  She cupped her hand and swept the fine ash from the table into a pottery vessel.  "Maybe none at all."

"The people of Wheston are terrified to enter the caves.  It's become a big, nameless horror -- a sort of taboo to them." Grayun waved his hands at the walls surrounding them.

"So let them!" Hilma snorted. "We don't want them here.  Let them hide from us; for then we shall not have to hide from them."

"But for them to be afraid of us...this is not a good thing."

Hilma went to the far wall, sniffing bunches of herbs that hung to dry.  "It is their own fault.  They are the ones who created the stories."  She lifted a dull green stem from its hook and carried it back to the table.  "This, too, is the nature of legends.  As you create bigger legends, they eventually become big enough to own you, if you let them.  They are a slave to their own imagination and the imaginations of their forefathers."

"And you are not?"

Hilma lifted her head, her eyes glittering as they met Grayun's.  "Here is a sudden attack!  Of what do you accuse me, little Grayun?"

"Your fears, over your own failures, are turning you into a monster.  You know what I speak of -- do not deny it.  What started as a tragic day has grown over the years into a terror of anything that resembles its tragedies.  If you are not careful, you will soon fear the sun rising...for it rose on That Day."  He raised his eyebrows mockingly.  "Was it not a precursor?"

"Ha!  The legend continues!  Only, this time, it is you who add fantasy with fact.  I am becoming a monster now, am I?"  Hilma lay her herb across a stone and pounded it with a second rock.  Chink.  Chink.  Chink.  The rhythm echoed in the room.  "You are a fool, Grayun."

"Nay.  You think you are merely protecting your charge and fulfilling your duty.  The others see only your anger -- the fury with which you attack perceived threats.  But I...I see your fear.  And if you do not face it, you will do something you will regret more than everything else.  Your fear of failure will cause you to make the biggest mistake of your life."

"You are wrong, Grayun."  Hilma's face was dark, lit only by the red glow of the fireball.  "I have made mistakes before.  But this time..."  She lifted the crushed herbs from the stone, clenching them in her fist before dropping them into the pottery vessel.  "...this time, I will not fail."

"So you say.  Why should I not believe that your own legend has blinded you?  If one of us is a fool, Hilma, it is not me."


  1. This was so good, and I got to see Hilma in action.

  2. I really like your character names and the setting for this scene. They're very evocative.

  3. Hilma and Grayun have known each other for over one hundred years. Not many people can say that. She is older than he and will never let him forget it, but he is the high elder of Ceil. So they are often interacting as equals and get to say things to each other that someone else would never dream of saying.