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Challenge #15: Essay


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#1 cmorgan

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Posted 15 November 2008 - 11:26 AM

I think I am in trouble.

I don't mean trouble like the time Imoen and I put beets in the water casks and told Erinai it was blood. That was different. A few extra chores, and an apology I didn't really mean (grownups are so easy to fool that way - a few tears, and some mumbling, and they give right in).

No, I mean real trouble. After all, here I am, sitting in this drafty old hallway outside of the Main Hall of Scribes, with the Sages in council. They never did that before. I mean, they did that a few weeks ago, but that was really different. This guy came riding in, all covered with blood, and fell right onto the floor of the inn. That seemed to get the Sages really mad, because they all ran around muttering, and then went into the hall right away, just like now. It wasn't that bad, what the man did. He bled a little on the floor, but the Sages didn't have to clean up his mess or anything. He made a real mess, and Imoen had to clean it all up by herself! I had to go and sit with Reader Noran. I don't like him. At all.

This bench is really cold. I keep kicking the old wooden legs, and trying to warm up a little, but my hands hurt. So does my shoulder. I think they are making some sort of really mean punishment up, because Hull just went in to the big doors, and he looked mad. Really mad.

I didn't mean it.

This is worse than when Jondal tried to kiss Imoen. I mean, she isn't a girl - she is Imoen! You don't do that to a friend. That's for those stupid girls, the ones who all go into little groups and giggle, and point at you, and laugh. Like Rienna. She's mean. I mean, she is really pretty, but she is mean. She does things like call me "bookworm", and "halforc" and "smelly". She knows I am not a halforc. Jondal is, and he looks different. All kind of greenish, and brushy, and sometimes he smells really funny. But he is strong. He pushed Imoen up against the wall, and tried to kiss her. You don't do that to a friend! So I hit him as hard as I could. I hit him lots of times. He just laughed. He likes me a bit, because we are both different. And I should have known Imoen didn't mind, because she can wiggle her way out of anything. I think now she wanted him to kiss her. But I didn't know she was feeling all girly. So I hit him over and over again. And he just stood there and let me, until I started crying, and then he looked at me all confused and worried, because he never cries at anything, and we are friends, and I think he doesn't understand it hurts to not be able to be strong. That time, Reader Noran made us all sit in the North Wing Reader for an hour, writing "I will not hit other people for any reason" one hundred times on the slates, in Chondathan, Illuskan, and Common. Imoen and I had to help Jondal on the last few, because he has trouble with the chalk. Sometimes he gets a little angry and accidentally snaps the slates. We hide them in the old Chapel, and Imoen sneaks in and gets new ones from the supply room and switches them out for him. He can't help he is so strong. I wish I was.

Maybe they will put me in the Tower. I wouldn't like that. Or maybe I would. If they put some books in with me, I wouldn't care at all. They are all mean anyways. Grownups are mean, and stupid. Especially Reader Noran.

It isn't like I am in trouble all the time, anyways. I am always the good boy. I don't kick the girls when they tease me, and I don't get beat up as much now that Jondal is my friend. He kind of looks at the other boys when they start to act like they want to pick on me, and they kind of stop. He never hits them, he just looks. But they stop. The only other time I got into real trouble was when I was helping Gorion. I was indexing the books, and was working my way through the Common index "P", and I touched a book that sparked back at me. It tingled alot, and made a really loud sound. Gorion had his crooked old nose buried in a tome at the other end of the room, but when I felt that tingle, he shouted strange words, and suddenly it was like a great big invisible hand grabbed me and tossed me aside. The book flew through the air, and landed in his hand, and he made it vanish. I saw part of it, though; something called "Prophets of Ansemo", or "Prophecies of Avaral", or something. I was more interested in the words Gorion shouted, anyways. He rushed over, and grabbed my shoulder, and shook me hard, shouting at me, but I think he was more afraid than angry. He held me close for awhile, and I think he was crying. I didn't know why, and I didn't know grownups cried. But he did, a little, and he even apologised to me. He meant it. Grownups mean what they say. Hull doesn't like Jondal, and tells him. You can trust an adult to tell you the truth. Except Reader Noran. He tells lies.

I hope they fix him. I saw the Temple Healer running past the hall a few minutes ago.

I didn't mean it, I really didn't. He just made me so mad. I wrote the essay just like he told me to. I used some of the really good vellum, and I carved the quill myself. I really, really worked hard. I spent two tendays looking through the oldest books. I stayed away from the section Gorion told me to not touch, because he was really, really serious. Besides, I didn't want to make him cry again. He's sort of my dad. You don't make your dad cry. It's just wrong. Jondal says so. And he should know, because he had a real live dad. So I left those alone.

I worked hard on the essay, and it was really good, too. It was all about the gods, and why the Great Wheel is set up the way it is, and it had all sorts of good stuff in it. The whole Weave getting messed up, the big battle where Ao got really mad and punished everybody, everything. I did the research notes in the right format, and I made sure everything was referenced correctly, and I even used the dark ink. I loved that essay. It felt all serious, like a book. It looked neat and clean, and the vellum was just the right weight; the ink smelled just right, and the roughened edges made the words feel even more important.

And Reader Noran lied. And he hated it.

I gave him the essay, and he looked confused for a moment, and then started to read it. I stood by his desk, ready to get my praise. I like that, when he praises me. He doesn't do it often, so it really really matters. I knew it was good, too, because he stopped paying attention to the class, and really started reading it. Sometimes Readers only half-read. They have eyes in the back of their head, and while they scan your page, they yell at Rhianna, or glance over and make sure Nills is not putting chalk dust on Helena's head again. But he didn't look up, and it was like I get when I read a real book - the world dissolves, and you are really there, experiencing all of it. But something was wrong, I could tell. He got all white in the face, and then really red. He glanced at me twice, and the second time it almost looked like he was afraid or something. That didn't make any sense. Grownups don't get afraid. Hull talks about standing in front of an entire horde of gibberlings, and killing them all day and all night for three days, and never being afraid they were going to pull him into little pieces. And he isn't even a Reader. Readers don't get scared - they know things. They know everything. They have all the real power.

I didn't mean it. I didn't know it would happen.

He flicked the vellum pages with a snap, like he was shaking a rug. And he was mad. He asked me who wrote it for me, and where I got it. I told him the truth. You always tell grownups the truth, except about Jondal's slates and chalk, and sometimes about Imoen when she sneaks out of Winthrop's attic to go with us down to the seashore at night to try to see SeaElves. We never see any anyways, so it really doesn't count. And he told me I was lying, and that if I wrote it I copied it from somewhere. He kept asking what books I had added that were not on the list, and something about a "Prophecy of Alaundo". When he said that, he went as white as Winthrop's bedsheets when laundry has just been done, and clapped his hand across his mouth. I just stood there, crying, because I had done everything he wanted, and really worked hard, and been really good. I looked at the books, and they talked to me, like they always do, and I saw how things they said connected. So I wrote what the books were trying to say, but couldn't. Someone needs to speak for the books, like Jondal speaks for me sometimes. I can't hurt anybody, so Jondal protects me. Books can't speak for themselves, so I have to speak for them. But Reader Norris wouldn't listen. He was really angry.

And then he did it. And I couldn't stop myself. Adults are not like kids. Sometimes they just don't understand how it really is. So I was mad, and I was really really sad. But Reader Noran lied, and told me I didn't do all that work. And it hurt bad. But it has happened before, where I speak for the books and people think I am copying stuff. He even told me I couldn't ever understand half of the books I used in the research, and then he yelled about how much trouble I was going to be in for using the Restricted Section and going into the Secret Library. I didn't even know there was a Secret Library. But then he did it.

He ripped up my essay.

You can't rip vellum. But he did anyways. It was like he was Jondal for a second, only mad and scared and really really bristly with energy. He was muttering a spell or something, and then he tore my essay right in two, all seventeen pages of vellum at once, like it was a flimsy broadside made of chewed up dried woodpaste given to the Town Crier.

It was like he picked up Jondal or Imoen, and tore them up. That essay was my friend, just like them. It hurt worse than when Gorion hit me with that spell, it hurt worse than when the boys used to beat me up before Jondal arrived. It hurt worse than anything else I have ever heard of. And I didn't think. My whole body shook, and it felt like I was going to explode. It hurt, but it felt sharp, and I felt like I could see everything in the whole of Toril at once. It felt like I could see through people, and see through walls. It felt like I was part of everything in the whole world. I screamed the words I heard Gorion use and I gestured.

I didn't mean to hurt him.

Everything was confused after that. There were people screaming, and Reader Norris was on the cobblestones below the hallway, all limp like Imoen's ragdoll when we toss it off the Tower. The shutters were all broken, as well as the glass. They were in little pieces around Reader Noran, all glittery on the cobblestones, and I don't think it was beet water that was all over them, either. And I think there was no one else in the room except Imoen and Jondal. The rest were running away fast, and screaming. Imoen didn't look good. She was crying. And she was patting my shoulders and saying it was ok, and that I should stop now and calm down. Jondal was holding me off the ground from in front, gentle-like, holding my arms to my chest so I couldn't move. He was looking at me funny. He was kind of looking at me like I look at him sometimes. He wasn't crying, or anything. But they were both scared, and I was too. Then Hull came in with four Watchers, swords all drawn, and Jondal set me down and stepped in front of me. We all went down here, and Imoen went away, and Jondal went away. And then the Watchers went away a little to the ends of the corridors, but they were still watching.

I hope Gorion comes soon.

This bench is really cold, and I hurt. I wonder what punishment they are thinking up?

Edited by cmorgan, 15 November 2008 - 11:30 AM.


#2 Solar's Harper

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Posted 15 November 2008 - 05:58 PM

Whew, sure doesn't pay to have a Reader hate you and rip up the essay of the day eh?
Rather interesting character there cmorgan, those flaws are painful yet pricelessly charming methinks. ^_^
Though I wonder if the mention of the prophecy does have something to do with the essay too, hmm. <_<

Anyway, I really liked reading this, excellent work cmorgan. :cheers:

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#3 Kellen

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 08:00 PM

And just popping on to say, I agree with Solar. I was planning on working on some stuff tonight. Instead I come over to SHS and read... :doh:

But it was enjoyable. So good job CM.
"She could resist temptation. Really she could. Sometimes. At least when it wasn't tempting." - Calli Slythistle
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#4 celticrose

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Posted 23 November 2008 - 03:50 PM

Nicely, nicely done. I enjoyed the character you created. Bet he (?) would turn into an even more interesting adult, even though, 'adults are stupid.' :rolleyes:

Seeing it through child-like eyes really makes you feel for the main character.

Thanks for sharing :cheers: ,

CelticRose
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