Thursday, 24 June 2010

100 Theme Challenge: Vacation

Still not up to my aim of 1000 words a theme. But in this case I know where they are missing. I was going to write Marc divining the spirits' will but could feel myself getting to bogged down in how that would work. So I cut that scene. But I'm off to consider it none the less. Similarly there should be a scene between Marc and his family but I don't know them as well as I'm getting to know Allegretto yet.

Another reminder, these are more exercises and are unlikely to appear in the final work without serious revision.

But without further ado, enjoy!

#21. Vacation

I need a vacation, Marc said to his master at the end of the day.

What makes you say that? his master replied watching the apprentices sweep up, More importantly, what makes you think I'd allow such a thing. Unless you're keeping secrets from me, you have no reason for pilgrimage.

Not pilgrimage, Marc replied, why did I think this was a good idea?

Then what? Neither of us has the riches to squander of frivolous travels. For the first time in the conversation, Master Allegretto looked at Marc, Or did the bard say something to you?

Not as such. Marc's thoughts wandered to the velvet pouch and back further to the bard's... unusual... spin on some of the tales he told.

You're not doing a very good job of convincing me, Al noted as he moved to check the workstations. I know that you wanted to be a bard when you were a youngster but something must have made you see sense. Remember, it's a sad fool who thinks he can play a broken fife.

Says the master instrument-smith to the journeyman.

True, true. But dreams and the past are not things we can fix.

I'm not trying to.

Aren't you? If not, why do you want to go?

Curiosity, Marc answered before he'd properly prepared his response, Dorian, the bard, told some stories I've never even heard of. And half of those I'd heard before he knew different versions of.

So he's a poor bard. Al shrugged, Either memory wise, poorly taught or disrespectful of the songs.

I don't think it's any of those. Remember Agriope? She was old, his family must have been bards for generations, no way he was poorly taught.

Maybe he doesn't enjoy the family business. Not every bard became one out of the same yearning you used to have, Marc's master countered, and Marc could hear the emphasis on used to.

But he did enjoy singing songs. Or at least most of them.

You still haven't explained why you need a vacation.

They'd reached Marc's workstation and he collapsed in his chair. I really don't know. He found he was thumbing the crossbar he'd been given. It's just, nothing about that bard resolves. It all points to a great big mystery.

And I know what you're like about mysteries.

Marc grimaced, Yeah. I guess.

And you know what I'm like about wasting time and money.

Marc's grimace deepened, Yeah. I know.

I'll let you think about it. Don't be a fool, was Al's parting advice.

You look focused this morning, Master Allegretto said by way of greeting the next morning when Marc reported for work.

I did a lot of thinking last night.

And what did you conclude?

I did my best to ask the spirits for advice.

Always a wise move.

I believe they agree that I should follow up on this curiosity. I am a journeyman after all.

I suspected that you wouldn't change your mind. Al replied a little glum, You know I can't just let you go gallivanting off. I am your master after all.

I know, Marc answered meekly, losing most of the confidence he'd built up.

If this is really the spirits' will, they'll manage something.

But... as you say, you are a journeyman, so it is acceptable for me to send you on a journey. Marc held his breath, he'd worked hard for his master's respect but he'd known his request was unreasonable. I think you are responsible enough for me to trust with supervising the shipment of some of our instruments to Serenisma. And it would do you good to attend a couple of lectures at the academy there.

Marc was speechless, but managed a bow and a Th-thank you. Besides the vote in confidence in his skills and judgement, the delivery would conclude just before the Carnivale. The closest thing to an official bard tournament. If Marc wanted to find Dorian, he'd find him there.

Just remember, it's not a vacation.

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