Topic: [NaNoWriMo] Siajpoiawh-e  (Read 1832 times)

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[NaNoWriMo] Siajpoiawh-e
« on: November 02, 2011, 02:48:50 am »
This is going to be terrible.


Vito was not afraid.  Nervous, perhaps, and feeling very jittery where she was slouched on her chair near the adobe fireplace, but not afraid.  Her thin fingers worked at the laces on her vest, tying and untying them with unnecessary flourish.

“Have you gotten your broom?”

Anh, matehr.”  Vito straightened up and looked behind her.  A tall woman with dark braided hair was bustling across the room, only pausing to drop a wicker basket next to Vito’s chair.  As Vito hauled it off the floor to check its contents, she hurried off to the next room.

The basket contained a few simple things: dried meat wrapped in a cloth, and a canteen of water.  Right next to that was an iron-wrought lantern, and a short coil of rope.  Small red beads littered the bottom of the basket, nestled in the folds of the checkered towel that lined the inside.

The woman reentered the room, carrying a small boy on her hip.  His eyes were watering, and when he saw Vito, he reached out for her with his pudgy little hands and let out a sob.  The woman groaned.

“Oh, for goodness’ sake.”  Vito suddenly found herself holding out her arms to take hold of the child being handed off to her.  “He seems to prefer you, hon.”

“I don’t mind,” Vito croaked.  She was astonished at how foreign her own voice sounded.  “He’s cute.  Right, Mikhail?”

Vito bounced Mikhail on her lap as she watched her mother tighten her hair tie and walk over to the counter.  As she rolled up her sleeves and reached for a heavy-looking wok, Vito turned back to Mikhail.  Being as young as he was, he couldn’t do more than babble at her.  This was somehow amusing.

“I’ll make you something before you go,” Vito’s mother said.  “You have everything you need, right?  Everything in your backpack?”


“Changes of clothes?”


“Gloves?  A hat?  It gets cold up there.”


“Your stationary?”

“Yes.  I’ll write at the first pidgeon stop.”

“And your broom?”

“You already asked that.”

Vito’s mother went quiet, and turned back to the dough she was kneading against the countertop.  Vito listened to the soft thudding sound it made; if she closed her eyes, she could imagine little puffs of flours rising with each thump.  This image was broken when she felt a sharp tug on her hair.  Her eyes snapped open to see Mikhail clinging to her vest with one hand and pulling on her hair with the other.

“Agh.”  Vito pulled her hair from the little boy’s grip.  “Hyet’, Mikhailn.”

“Eh~”  Mikhail’s face scrunched up, showing the starting signs of a crying fit.  “Yiii…”

Hyet’ yi’syeh,” Vito chided.  “Don’t pull girls’ hair.”

“Is he bothering you again?” Vito’s mother asked from across the room.  With one swift movement and the swing of a knife, she sliced an onion in half.

“Ah, no, he was just being clingy.”  Vito pulled the boy closer, resting her chin on top of his ashen colored hair.  She thought back to last winter, and the winter before that, of all the nights curled up on the threadbare carpet, watching the flames dance.  The sound of the knife on the cutting board and hissing water were but white noise to her as she closed her eyes.  She could already feel her mouth going dry.

The stove was alive as the wok danced above the flames licking the iron grate.  A pot sat tall and steadfast nearby, frothing as vegetables were scraped into its gaping maw.  A warm, sweet aroma filled the air.

“Dinner’s just about ready.  Take a seat at the table.”

There was the clatter of ceramic as plates and bowls were set on the table.  Still carrying Mikhail in her arms, Vito finally left her position by the fireplace and took a seat at the table.  Almost immediately, Mikhail was taken from her arms and placed in the chair next to her.  In his place, Vito found her hands full with an engraved bowl.  Steam rose up, bringing with it the mouthwatering smell of its contents.

There was finely chopped meat, broiled with diced onions and leeks, mixed in with thick noodles saturated with a dark broth.  Vito’s mother took a seat across from her and Mikhail, wiping the flour off her hands.  She looked rather proud of herself, as though she had finally used her muscle for something other than cutting wood.  Vito smiled in spite of herself.  She took a fork in her hands, and started to dig in.

The meal itself was uneventful.  Mikhail, being a baby and therefore a sloppy eater, had to be spoon fed by his mother.  Vito had attacked her food with gusto, but a few minutes in found her hands too shaky to hold any utensils.  Her stomach churned when she finally did get some noodles down, and had to stop eating.

When the flames in the fireplace had died down to a weak flickering amongst charred wood, and Mikhail’s eyelids were starting to droop, Vito stood up from the table and went to retrieve her belongings.

Vito unfolded her parka and put it on, feeling the fur tickle her wrists and face.  After buttoning that up, she slung on her backpack and picked up the basket.

Vito’s broom was propped up against the main door.  The handle was sturdy, and sanded down until it was smooth.  The bristles were perfectly aligned, and held together by tightly-wound wire.  It only looked new because Vito hadn’t ridden it before.  Until now, it had been kept in the back of Vito’s closet, but starting today it would be her most valuable companion.

She turned back to her mother, who was carrying Mikhail out of the room. 

“I have everything.”

“That’s good.  Wait for me outside.”


With that, Vito pushed open the door and treaded out.  When she closed the door behind her, she was greeted with a blast of cold wind.  Snow danced on the ground, rising up in chilly clouds that clung to Vito’s clothes and settled on her eyelashes.  Pine trees quivered against each other, and the surrounding mountains were little more than ominous shadows against an even darker night sky.  Only the well-worn path to the house seemed safe to stand on.

Vito huddled against the wall and knelt down to rummage through the basket.  She felt around until her fingers touched the rope, and she set to tying that around the handle of her broom.  The other end went around the handle of the lantern.  She then opened the lantern’s hatch and picked up one of the beads.

The bead felt smooth between Vito’s fingers.  When she squeezed it, it let out a loud pop and grew very warm.  She was now holding a handful of flickering sparks, which she shook into the lantern.  The hatch was shut, and the lantern was lit.  Vito now had a light source illuminating the space around her.  It wasn’t much, but it was better than nothing.  Vito took the rest of the contents out of the basket and stuffed them into her satchel.

The door creaked open.

“You got the fire beads working!”  Vito’s mother had an improvised shawl in the form of a blanket wrapped around her shoulders.  Her smile was genuine but faint as she watched Vito stand up and mount the broom.

“Yeah.”  Vito could feel her heart throbbing against her ribs.  She looked back to the house.


Vito blinked.  “Ts-tsen?”

She felt something being wrapped around her neck.  She reached up to touch it, and her fingers met soft but thick cloth.

“A going-away gift,” her mother explained.  “Take care of yourself.”

Ahn.  Syeh’eht.”  Vito stepped away from her mother, feeling a prick in her eyes.  “Bye, mather.”

Vito crunched through the snow, picking up speed when she neared the edge of the small cliff her house was on.  She ran forward and kicked off, clutching the broom handle as she careened off into the air.  The wind tore at her, stinging her cheeks and blowing her hair back.  Snowflakes raced past her and disappeared in the blink of an eye.  The lantern, although only covering a range of about five feet, was already proving to be incredibly useful.

Once she had bypassed the mountains nearest to her home, Vito slowed down and continued flying at a more reasonable pace.  The lantern swung on the broom handle, but it held.

Another gust of wind started, and Vito dipped in the air to avoid it.


Crunch, crunch, snap.  There went another branch from the tree.  The girl squinted her iridescent eyes as she analyzed the leaves, withered and brown from the cold.  Her eyes popped open and her thick eyebrows rose when she spotted a single white flower among the other dull colors, and went to pluck it.  She tucked it in her hair, where it stood out against a sea of dark, dark purple.  She poked at it for a few moments, trying to get it to stay in, before depositing the rest of the branch into a pile nearby.

“Reef?  Oh, you’re still here.”  The bushes rustled, and another girl wearing a sunny yellow dress stepped through.

“What is it?”

“Everyone’s heading back already.  Elizaveta sent me back to find you.”

“Oh, heavens.”  Reef stood up and brushed the leaves off of her clothes.  “We’re already starting the bonfire?  Could you help me gather all of this up?”

“Uh.  That’s not for a few hours.”  The girl eyed the sizeable pile of wood laying at hers and Reef’s feet.  “All of that?”

“Just half,” Reef assured her.


“…here when I found her…”

“…she okay?...”


“...don’t move….neck…careful…”

The world seemed to return to Vito in the way one was roused from a dreamless sleep.  Her eyes opened a crack only to be filled with bright, blurred colors and shapes.  Vito immediately squeezed her eyes shut, groaning.  The light burned her retinas and made her eyes water.  What happened?  There was a pit in her stomach, the feeling that something was horribly missing.

“Hey, she’s awake!”

The yell felt like rocks dropping on Vito’s head, making her already throbbing head ache even more. 

“Are you okay?”

Someone had their hand under her neck and another supporting the backs of her knees, jostling her.  There were other voices.  Vito was already wishing that it would all go away.  She could feel the heels of her boots scraping against rock; it felt wrong somehow.

“Which one of you had that broom?  Bring it over here.”

Vito opened her eyes just a bit.  There was someone looming over her, saying something to a wizened old man nearby.  Red headed…a scarf, probably flannel.  Even from where she was lying, she could see that his eyes were bright green.  When she looked past him, she could see a cloudy blue sky overhead.

“Whu…”  Vito’s head spun.

The old man looked down at her and puffed at the pipe clenched between his lips.

“Ah, looks like you’re up.”

Vito’s arms moved sluggishly, trying to push her off the ground and into a sitting position.  When she put weight on her right arm, however, she was met with a jolt of pain.  It shot up her arm and came to a stinging end at her shoulder blade.  Vito gritted her teeth.

“Ugh.”  Fearing more pain, she let herself go limp.  “Where am I?”

“Enan, Yrsa.  These clothes are Dzashean, right?”

“Uhh…Yes.”  Vito gingerly eased herself into a sitting position, using her left arm as a crutch.  Her surroundings were snowy, but she could still see grass and the green leaves of trees beneath the thin white layer of fluff.  Vito looked down to see that she was sitting on chilly marble.  The red headed man let go of her, but stayed kneeling on the ground nearby.

Vito flexed her right hand experimentally, and felt immense relief when her fingers bent without hurting.  When she bent her elbow, however, she winced again.

Now that she looked around more, she saw more people—more adults—hustling back and forth, some carrying crates, others prying them open with crowbars.  Over the murmur of conversation Vito could hear the soft humming of engines, and looked over her shoulder to see trucks, great metal monsters painted olive green and draped in canvas, sporting three rubber wheels on each side.


Vito’s eyes shot open in realization.  “Yrsa!  I made it—owowow…”

Vito clutched her head again, and the sudden movement caused pain in her right arm again.  Stupid headache.  Stupid aching arm.

As she regained her composure, Vito went over in her head what she was doing here.  She was going to Enan, and from there she would be travelling with a lot of other girls around her age.

She remembered flying with a lantern, but everything before that was very hazy.

“You’re here for the pilgrimage, eh?”  The old man scratched his beard.  “You might need your belongings for ‘at.”

He turned to the red headed man.  “Where’s Rusyako?”

“I don’t know.  WHERE’S RUSYAKO?”

“I don’t know.”

“I think she went back to the other cargo area.”

Someone handed Vito her satchel.  She barely managed to utter a “thank you” before taking it in her arms.  She was trying to remember what happened to the lantern, but she couldn’t quite remember.

She felt someone shake her shoulder.

“Rusyako has your broom; we’re gonna go get it from her right now.  Can you stand?”

Vito nodded out of reflex.  Of course she could stand, what kind of question was that?  She inched off the ground and onto her feet.  For one horrible moment she felt herself sway, and thought she was going to fall right back over.  She managed to stop herself before this happened.

Syeh’eht, I’ll be going, then…”

“Hey, wait—“ the red headed man started to call out.

“I’ve been here before,” Vito mused.  “Shi wei.”

With her backpack in her arms, she trotted off down the stone path, trying to ignore the throbbing pain in the back of her head.

☆ Check my profile for links to my sites! ☆
[21:12] <OneLoveOnePurvis> *Black as hell and bitter as love. That is coffee.*
[17:42] <Amra> Himiko's one of the people that's really cute but sometimes art shifts into like hard jojo-style
[17:42] <Amra> as she does something out of character
  • Hydrangeamaiden
Re: [NaNoWriMo] Siajpoiawh-e
« Reply #1 on: November 02, 2011, 03:37:32 am »
Ooh. It's an interesting start. One question right now... how do you pronounce the title?

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