A Garden of Delights

A Storyteller Challenge Attempt

Posted on: April 10, 2012

The Storyteller in Uncertainty

Inspired or nudged or something by both Shan Jeniah and Shah, I’m adding my two cents into Shah’s Storyteller Challenge due today.  Or maybe it was the cool picture–See?

Does she manage to soar?

As She Said

The wings felt heavy, unnatural.  It should have been a clue, but the desire to escape the confines of her day-to-day life seemed so strong, so powerful, Naria accepted them.  How could she not, she thought?  How could anyone refuse the chance to soar free, above the clouds, to live, even for a moment like the birds…

The  djinni had warned that few could wear the wings and make themselves a part of the living bird spirit that existed within them.  Death came to those the bird spirit refused.

But what of those it accepted, Naria had asked, several times, demanding the djinni answer her, even to the loss of her last favored wish.  She had to know.  Could she become as the birds in the sky?  Would she stay human, bird, both?

The answer had been unsatisfying to say the least.  How could a djinni not know such things? He had sworn even to the oath of his royal family in the Planes of Ether that there had been those the bird spirit in the wings had accepted.  Death had not taken all those he had been sent to gift.  And yet, he could only answer her with “They became what they were already.”

A truly unsatisfying answer

Still, even if it were a moment of escape, a moment to try on the life that she would never experience again, to see the world in a new light than than of her husband’s kingdom, her oversight of the servants, the petty squabbles of her fostering ladies…  If she could have but a moment to be more than she was, she would not refuse to take it.

“I won’t fall,” she told herself  as she crept to the top of the highest tower of the castle.  She paused at the window ledge, weary from hauling the large wrapped bundle up the stairs, held as carefully away from her body as she could in the tightness of the stone stairways.  It had suddenly seemed vital to protect the delicate barbs of the fathers from harm.  Every quill must remain solid and firm.

She knew this, and as soon as she’d entered the tiny chamber, she had gently laid out the plumage, inspecting it carefully, soothing it, feeling it, cool yet warm and alive under her fingers.  And, though the djinni had told her otherwise, saying she should spread the wings out inside out and lay upon them till they became with her flesh,, Naria erected them, tenting them over her body as she crouched, bare to any eyes that might see.  The wings felt heavy and unnatural, pressing her body into the stiff straw pad of the bed.

And now, they felt even heavier, drawing back her shoulders as she tried to stand straight and proud the way she’d always been taught.  Chest in, she heard her nurse scold, though the woman had been dead many years now.  Do not show  a man more than he need see to know you are virtuous, her tutors had lectured.  But try as habit forced her to do, she could not, her back wearied from her journey up the several flights of stairs already, and  Naria felt herself drawn forward, chest pressed to the world defiantly.

Forward, unsteady, weary, wobbly, from where she stood, looking down over her husband’s lands.  “I will not fall,” she told herself once more, even as she felt herself totter.  A moment’s panic gripped her, but she vowed it yet again.

“I will NOT fall.”

And she did not try to hold on.  She faced what was to come, whatever her choice would bring.  She could not fall, she realized, because she had already escaped.  She was already free.  She had already done as she’d wished.

Naria did not fall.

There was a second prompt to write about; a timed prompt for 3mins.  It could be in any genre, any form, just three minutes…


TIMED WORD ASSOCIATION:Treacle, Bloated, Yesterday.

Sweet the pudding words you told me, treacle to my ears and heart
Yesterday your mind was showing, you spoke some thing,
Pop art, urban deco, bloated with your self-importance, thinking foolish
hardly worth my time and thought

Yesterday, your words were treacle,they tasted sweet, they warmed my soul
Today your words smell of noxious vapors, putrid bloated in my bowl

I don’t want to touch them, don’t want to taste, don’t to smell.

I can’t even wash them


9 Responses to "A Storyteller Challenge Attempt"

Eden, thanks so much for responding so imaginatively to the prompts. You only had to do one, but like I said to Shan, I mustn’t have been clear as you both did both. I love what you did with the image – you structured an in-depth story in so few words. Marvellous. 🙂 And Treacle: haven’t we all been there when words – however sweet – are no longer enough. X

You are right, Shah. I did think we had to do both. Either way, it was fun and good play to let go for a time.

And yes, especially Treacle… I just let go in some free form “not-quite” poetry. It just was “there”.

Thanks for commenting on the pieces, Shah. I hope you get bunches of submissions this week.

Oh, Sys –

I love Naria, and her uncertain and unbreakable courage….

and I have felt just like the Treacle poem.

These are both so very you, in such different ways. =)

Brava! Encore!

Thank you. Like Shah said, I think we’ve all been there on occasion.

But if these are both very me, I wonder, is it possible to truly create a charater that is not me

Brava, indeed! Loved Naria’s story as no, she could not fall. Beautifully written, Eden. Strong imagery in Treacle, leaving little doubt. In my opinion, every character we create is a piece of us in some moment.

Loved these, Eden!


I’m delighted that Naria’s story came through so well.

Actually today I spent a good hour thinking of all the ways that I could actually make this into a story (these first draft pieces are fascinating because they force me to really explore a concept intensely from the start, but I know how raw they are) that might be worth submitting…

Treacle felt “wrong” to me, but I’m still not sure of why. As for leaving parts of ourselves… I guess we do. But it’s not just in our writing… Wherever we go, when we interact, by word or action, we leave a part of ourselves and take a part of what we touched with us. Hmmm… It’s actually beautiful to think of it that way

dude this just inspired a post of my own, thanks 36978

[…] feature.  Why? Because I couldn’t choose between them. So please go check out Shan and Eden’s fabulous responses to last weeks prompts. Both were magical and superbly imaginative.  […]

[…] feature.  Why? Because I couldn’t choose between them. So please go check out Shan and Eden’s fabulous responses to last weeks prompts. Both were magical and superbly imaginative.  […]

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