Happy October 1st & start of Inktober!
For those of you who don't know, Inktober is a drawing challenge in which artists do one ink drawing every day in October! I've always loved following it, but I'm not much of an artist so I haven't really found an occasion to participate.
This year, however, I've decided to join in by using each of the Inktober prompts as writing prompts! So, each day I'm going to try to write a 1,000 word or less flash fiction story based off the prompt provided... and I've just completed Day 1!
The prompt for today was "Ring" & the story is posted below for anyone who wants to read it! Right now, I think they're all going to be little fantasy shorts, but who knows where it'll be by day 31?
Day 1 - Ring (873 Words)
Bastian could tell that he had made a mistake by the look on Reina’s face. And the yelling. The yelling helped make it obvious. “And you just let her?!” Reina screamed at him. In fact, he was quite sure that, by now, his mistake was obvious not just to him - but the rest of their caravan.
“Well, I only did it to make you mad. You know there’s nothing I prefer than being yelled at while I’m still bleeding.” Bastian answered.
They stood inside their wagon, amongst the furs and trophies they had gathered over the years. Reina loomed over Bastian, still in her full armor, while Bastian sat on an ornate chest, torso nude, trying to clean the long cut across his arm, the white rag he was using to do so soaked red with blood.
“Well maybe the blood loss will help me get through to you,” Reina said, slapping the side of his head.
Bastian winced, more in annoyance than pain. “Yes, well. If this cut is the price I have to pay to make sure everyone in the Tribes knows she can handle herself, then I’ll gladly take it. Now they’ll finally leave her alone.”
“Or, they’ll have a better reason to complain that I’m training her instead of training one of their kin.”
“Then let them complain. Our choice was made when we adopted her. Now at least we don’t have to pretend it’s a secret. Better we show our hand than let them do it for us.”
Reina paused as Bastian’s words sunk in. “That boy needs to be taught a lesson.”
“His caravan will take care of that. She was in no danger with all of us around. The boy was just embarrassed to lose to a girl four years younger than him. Remember how I was at his age?”
“You never drew a sword on me!”
He raised an eyebrow at her.
“That time in Catta doesn’t count,” she added quickly. Bastian just smiled and clasped her hands in his. Reina sighed, her shoulders dropping as the weight on them lifted. “She did well, then?”
“Indeed!” Bastian nodded, “though maybe she should tell you herself!” he said, raising his voice and looking towards the door of the wagon. Reina turned her attention towards it. “Come on, Sabel,” he added, “It’s too late to run now. We’ll hear you if you try.”
Slowly, the door opened, and a small shape peaked out from behind it. A young girl, no older than 12, with short brown hair and a fair complexion, mottled only by the bruise around her left eye. She was thin and kept her eyes down to the ground, meek.
“There’s no need to be embarrassed when you’re caught,” Bastian said. “At least not by us. Just learn for next time.” Sabel nodded.
“Sorry,” she said, under her breath.
“Now, go on.”
The young girl looked up, confused. “Tell your mother about the fight,” Bastian said. Still uncertain, she looked to Reina, who flashed a quick glare at Bastian. But after a moment, she relented and smiled at Sabel, encouragingly.
“Might as well now. It was that Celador boy?”
Sabel immediately launched into an explanation, “I couldn’t help it! He was asking for it! He beat Inros and Galo and then he started boasting that his father was the greatest Artist in the Tribes.”
“Caldir? That useless cutpurse? Not even if a sphinx handed him its hoard,” Reina scoffed.
“And you wonder where she gets it from,” Bastian chuckled, quickly quieting when Reina fixed him with another glare, making a great show of lowering his head and paying quite a lot of attention to his wounds, finally free to bandage them properly.
Still, he watched with pride as Sabel recounted the events. She had stepped bravely into the ring, years before she was required to take on or answer any challenge. And she had succeeded against a boy four years her age.
He didn’t feel that it would have helped to mention that when the boy went for his sword none of the others present made a move to step in, though they all could have. In fact as the hosts, the burden was on Celador’s caravan to keep the peace. But they seemed content to let the boy draw his sword and break the rite. Bastian’s brief moment of hesitation in waiting for them to move meant he arrived a moment later than he should have and was cut by the boy’s blade rather than being able to stop the boy from drawing it to begin with.
There was discord amongst the Tribes. The rumors were right. The trouble was only just beginning.
But for now, at least, Bastian allowed himself to ignore the worry gnawing at his mind. Instead, he chose to enjoy the moment. The joyous look on his daughter’s face as she told the story of her first clash. His wife’s failure to contain her enthusiasm at her daughter’s performance. This was a moment he didn’t want to miss. He wasn’t sure how many they’d have left.