Story for the Day: A Legacy Left Pt.1
As I am finishing the last of the edits for Khantara, my mind wandered into this story. I am debating whether I should make it another novella. It's already about three chapters long and could very well become another five-part tale. Twisk is already making art for it, as seen below, but I think I'll leave the decision up to you. If you want this story and all its chapters to be a new novella, leave a comment or click the Tweet button below to share the story with others.
A Legacy Left: Part 1
|An image Twisk is working on for the story|
It was generally conceived that only those who were disposed to require a creed sought conversion on the islands. Many believed that animals, creatures who would follow their own sense of self-governance and counsel of bestial regulation, could never wish to be a part of a greater collective than the one to which they had already belonged, but when the rains season on the islands was at last over, a few passengers on a small trade frigate conveying spices from Lucentia to Sanhedhran had proved all previous notions on this account incorrect. Amongst Janir's usual consignment of conveyances of news and items sent from Lamir's princedom in exchange for Haanta gold and reports of health and spirits of the islands two leaders came a small family of desert mice.
Janir had seen them board his vessel, and though his first inclination had been to brush them onto the docks, heave them into the water or crush them underfoot for being potential vermin on his otherwise pristine vessel, their features bore a very different character than the usual sort of mice prevalent aboard trade vessels of lesser distinction. He had looked down and said, "All right, now. Off you go. You know I cannot have you on his highness' ship." He had said in with kindness, hoping they would understand him and find a better home elsewhere, but when they continued scampering onto the deck, he placed his foot down in front of them to impede their venture. "Please do not make me do something I don't want to do," he said in a mournful tone. "You cannot be here. If Lamir or even Ladrei knew you were aboard my ship, I would lose my other fingers." Janir held up the nub of his missing thumb and the mice seemed to understand him. He raised his long, arched brows, pointed them off the ship with a firm pout and extended finger, but soon all his protestations were assuaged.
The mice, in their unusual sagaciousness, had congregated and seemed to be discussing something amongst themselves. Their fingers fidgeted nervously about, their noses sniffed and twitched, their whiskers touched, and when their little assembly had done, the largest of the four mice turned back to Janir, hopped onto the toe of his leather boot, and gazed up at him with large round eyes and a pleading countenance.
"Don't do that," was Janir's complaining sigh, and though he had turned away when he said it, the mouse's soft brown hide, glistening eyes, and wiggling nose had convinced his reservations to subside.
He looked about him with chary glances, making certain that his deckhands were too well employed at present to see his firmness fade. He rubbed the back of his neck, ran his fingers through his spiked mane and made a few heavy exhalations until finally succumbing to the mouse's silent entreaties. He gave a few sideways glances to his occupied crew and then knelt to the mouse to address him. "Look," he said in an ardent half-whisper. "It's illegal for me to carry vermin on this vessel. If anyone discovers that I have mice on board, I will lose my trader's license. You don't appear to be vermin, but mice generally means contaminated goods. Understand?"
The mouse's whiskers twitched.
"I see that you have a family," said Janir, motioning toward the three mice, eyeing the two smallest with a smile. "I cannot allow you to board near the food stores even though it's a short journey. I can keep you in my pocket until we arrive on the islands. Once we're there, you will be free to do as you wish."
The mice seemingly apprehended him, as the moment he mentioned a nice cozy bed in his pocket for the evening, they all scampered onto his boot and waited to be shown to their room.
Janir must smile at this. Never before had he seen such creatures so endearing, so capable of comprehension, and the smallest of the four had endeavored so much to climb his foot that he laughed and took him into his hand directly. "You must be no more than a week old," he said to the smallest mouse.
The tinny creature shivered and then sneezed.
"Very well," Janir simpered. Climb here and I'll keep you in my breast pocket.”
The mice did as they were bid and hopped onto Janir's hand to be placed in the snuggest corner inside of Janir's warm coat.
He was careful to put them in one by one and give each of them a few grains to keep them over night. "Try to keep my coat clean, please," he said as he went to the helm of the ship. "Janela won't be happy if she finds droppings in something she just washed."
The mice sniffed and snubbed and promised to do their utmost, but accidents must happen where two young children were concerned.
Janir knew this to be the inevitable outcome the moment he should place them into his pocket, and was therefore resigned to bringing his coat to the launderer before his mate should discover the gifts left to him by the two smallest of the mouse family. He took hold of the ship’s helm, called for the sails to be let down, and with a raised anchor, he was prepared to convey the most precious commodities he had ever held aboard his vessel.