#WritingWednesday: In The Cities Of Cloaks And Daggers
Happy Wednesday! I’m using Wednesdays to share some short bursts of the stories I’m working on… because that way, I figure, I’ll be motivated to keep working on them
Right now (besides the Smith and Skarry adventures, which get quite enough attention in my other posts) I’m working on an LGBTQIA+ Mythpunk standalone novel called In The Cities Of Cloaks And Daggers whose central themes are identity, voice and power.
It’s based in a world where Time grows like grass and is harvested, where people of the four cities – Gnarl, Ash, Slain and Caligari – wear their whole lives on their backs in the form of patchwork story Cloaks. Those who don’t have a Cloak, have no clue as to who they are. Those who have Cloaks guard them jealously for fear of the desperate Daggers who would steal them for themselves.
The novel is divided into four books – The Book Of Bujo (which btw is a complicated word whose closest meaning would be heist/ joke/ prank/ trick), The Book Of Scales, The Book of Feathers and The Book Of End – but in the opening the reader finds themselves in a burned down library where the pages of all these books have been scattered, charred and disarrayed across the floor so the narrative has to be pieced together in fragments and the time line dawns slowly rather than being obvious from the start.
It’s ambitious, I’m scared about failing at the vision I’m aiming for, but I love pushing the boundaries of what I can do and I’ve done similar things with short stories so I really hope I can make it work, let’s see… This is the next extract, you can find the previous part here:
There were many puzzles to occupy an inquisitive mind in the Heart but inquisitiveness was not a trait that was valued or encouraged amongst the Nail-Bound of the Garnet Caste and so it was only a matter of steps until Trikashi found themselves sitting in a small dark space which smelled of all those comfortingly familiar things that are either red or brown or yellow or somewhere in between intensified to an almost choking fume in a haze of heat and damp and decay.
“This is where questions get you in The Heart,” the priest had sneered and although Trikashi didn’t much favour their mode of transport ( being beaten, collar-hauled and flung onto a filthy flagstone floor left a lot to be desired in their humble opinion ) still they peered into the darkness with wide, optimistic eyes half expecting the answers to manifest tangibly from the miasma.
Metal clunked from across the shrouded distance of a few short feet and somewhere a single drop of liquid dripped into something deep and echoing.
The priest barked a short whip crack of a laugh and shut the door.
Something large shifted its weight in the shadows but remained unseen.
“Hello? Well this isn’t exactly stimulatin’ is it? I mean, when they said answers…” Trikashi hesitated and reflected for a moment. “…hm, I guess they didn’t actually say answers now did they? No. They said ‘this is where questions get you.’ But it must mean the same thing, of course, because where can questions possibly get anyone except to answers?”
The voice was parchment old and leather soft, like the skeleton leaves of the Forest Of Aeon which the Honey Caste could, allegedly, view behind veils of polished sea glass in the Hall Of Triumph.
“Yes, I suppose so, questions could lead to more questions, but there must be answers in between. Mustn’t there? There must be answers somewhere, of course. I’m guessing you have them then.” The child finally paused for breath and peered bright anthracite eyes into the greenish dark. “So there is someone here then, I knew they wouldn’t just throw me in here alone. That wouldn’t be an answer now would it?”
Trikashi cocked their head on one side and took two polite and non-intrusive steps forward. Best not to surprise old folk in the dark, they thought sagely, and certainly this person sounded very, very old, perhaps too old to step any longer?
“Is this what happens then?” Trikashi asked, sliding a bare foot an inch or two closer through the muck. The dripping something dripped again, sounding deep, “when we get too old to step any more we get moved down here to answer questions?”
There was a long, weary sigh and Trikashi smelled… felt… hot fetid breath suddenly and surprisingly wet upon their cheek. “No, little one, that is not how this works. I have never stepped the Great Wheel. I am not Nail Bound, not of the Garnet Caste, not… anything you could possibly imagine.”
Trikashi wiped their cheek, absently, and cocked their head on one side. They reached up a long clawed finger and scratched an itch. “I can imagine quite a lot of things…”
“You cannot imagine me.”
“I could try…”
“It would not be to your benefit.”
“Maybe you could describe yourself? You could start with your name. My name is Trikashi, I chose it myself, do you like the sound of it? I really rather love the way it sounds…”
There was a long, grating groan, almost ending in a whimper, and again the liquid dripped. “You may ask me one question.”
“One?!” Trikashi frowned. One? That hardly seemed fair…
“One question. And then I will show you where questions lead in The Heart, and you will not need to ask any more, ever again.”
There you go, I hope you enjoyed reading the next little extract and thankyou so so much for taking the time to read along and for all your kind ‘likes’ and words of support and encouragement- they keep me going! 🙂 What are you writing at the moment? Feel free to share links to your own works in progress or Writing Wednesday posts in the comments 🙂
Blessings on all your writing endeavours!