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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: The Writer's Challenge (NOT the FaithWriters Challenge) (06/10/10)

By mick dawson


Civa lowered the parchment. Togullen wondered if he heard a sigh emanate from within the small hessian bag he wore as a mask.

‘Have I portrayed you properly?’ Togullen queried.

‘Alas no,’ the muffled voice answered. ‘I have never known a scribe of your equal, yet it seems devoid of …’ he shook his head. ‘It is not what I feel when I tumble across the rooftops; that is why I invited you here.’

Civa ran off, only slowing when he reached the beam which extended beyond the edge of the roof. The bagged mask, snapped in his direction.

‘I have paid a group of minstrels in the street to play their drum,’ he said, running fluidly along the beam and back onto the roof. ‘Now do as I have done.’

Togullen looked down. Three minstrels looked up at him expectantly. He slid one foot onto the beam, only wide enough to support it, and attempted to inch his other foot in behind. A hand rested on his shoulder, making him stiffen.

‘Fear not, I am with you,’ Civa said, ‘now go to the end.’

Togullen swallowed, shuffling to the furthest extremity an inch at a time, halting as a shrill pipe added a catchy ditty to the beat of the drum.

‘Now close your eyes as you listen to the music.’

In the darkness, he felt the warmth of Civa’s hand slide around to his chest.

‘Your heart beats too swiftly; take deep breaths. A pleasant tune, is it not?’

Togullen nodded.

‘Good,’ Civa said, removing his hand. ‘Keep your eyes closed. Do you remember the balcony in front of you?’


‘Picture it clearly in your mind. Do you see it?’

He nodded again.

‘Then go to it.’

Something pounded him in the back. He yelped, his only goal now; the balcony rail. Pain arced from his hands through the entire length of his forearms when they slapped down, yet his grip held. His sandaled feet fought for a hold, allowing him to wrench himself upward, just as a hand gripped him under the arm.

‘You are brave one,’ the muffled voice beside him said, ‘most would not have come this far. Remember, momentum is the key.’

Civa’s forearms tensed and his feet stamped down on the rail either side of his hands. He ran along the narrow beam and bounded free. Touching down on a shingle sign and somersaulting over to the adjacent balcony, alighting as softly as a fallen leaf.

‘Now you,’ he said with hand extended.

Togullen hopped to the rail, balancing with his hand pressed against the wall. He wondered how Civa did the manoeuvre with so little effort. His hands rested between his ankles to mimic the hero and tried to recall patterns to his movements, if any. It came to him; there was a cadence to him, a rhythm, just like …the music. He took breaths, regulating them to the beat and lunged. The shingle seemed to sail into his hands; a sense of peace; no bliss, washing over him. Kicking forward, he let go and reached for the balcony. It began to recede from him. Civa’s iron hand snapped his wrist, pulling him up.

‘Well done,’ he beamed, embracing the older man.

Pulling away from him, he looked into his eyes.

‘Perhaps now you can write what I feel as I tumble across the rooftops…’

Togullen smiled fondly at the memory. His smile shifted, becoming an expression of triumph now that he knew what to write. His quill began to scratch on the parchment without reservation …

Civa the, hero of Caliet leaned by one hand from the weather vane, looking down over his playground; the rooftops of the city. The drizzle resulting from the blackened sky, forced others in the streets to huddle under their capes for shelter, but here in his private haven, the cold was of no consequence.

He ran down the steep slope, straightening his legs. The sudden stop resulted in a controlled slide for the edge, before leaping into space. His eyes closed for the briefest of moments, yet a myriad of thoughts passed through his mind at once. The wind whipped over his body; it was freedom incarnate.

His heart rose in tempo, beating in unison with the ditty which played in his mind. A smile curled his lips. How God loved him. Who else could know of the joy he experienced, when he was at play overhead?

Togullen snorted.

‘Only one,’ he whispered.

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This article has been read 477 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 06/19/10
You did a beautiful job pulling the reader in. Your story gives credence to the adage Write what you know, and you showed if you don't know then do. Well done.
Sara Harricharan 06/19/10
I had to laugh at this--I can definitely see it being played out, the idea of it being a Hero's scribe, wow, what a job! I love the way it ties in with the topic, good job!
Susan Montaperto06/21/10
I have to be honest. Yes, I was pulled into the story. It is very much an action story and as such it does stand by itself. But I'm the kind of reader that likes the details. You mention a hessian bag. What is a hessian bag? Where is this story taking place? Is it in the past, the present, the future on another planet? Why is the hero needed? Are there no police to handle crimes? Are the police if any, so hampered bu the criminals that a hero is needed to rebalance things. For me at least the whole story was abrupt. I needed more of an introduction or build up to understand who the MC was other than a hero showing his scribe what he does so the scribe can have a better understanding. I'm just one of those readers who enjoys the story better, when I know the story/details around the story. I did enjoy what you wrote, I just wanted more to it. But please keep writing and God bless.
mick dawson06/21/10
And for Susan Montaperto's benefit, Civa also wore red socks.
Lyn Churchyard06/25/10
Mick, this was brilliant. I loved every word. What a great way for a writer to understand how a 'character' in a story—or in this case, a hero in a biography—is feeling. Poor Togullen, I felt his fear and that awful little electric current you get in your hands when you get a sudden fright.

I may be wrong, but I think there was a word missing from ‘You are brave one,’ the muffled voice beside him said perhaps "a" or "the".

Another great story about Civa. I really like him, he's one of my favourite characters in your stories.

"Civa also wore red socks" Mick, you literally had me laughing till I cried.