November 2, 2010

When Harpo, the first chronicler, began to go blind, he decided to write shorter tales in order to get more of them completed before he was sightless. He called these chronicles ‘thinzers’. The first one was about a young Nimble Missst, a character so beloved by Bekka that she chose to write a full length chronicle about a later adventure in Nimble Missst’s life. But first, Harpo told the story excerpted below.

Young Nimble Missst

Her grandfather

Nesting in the shadow of Orrun Mountain Crag, a city of domed and spired palaces slept. What city? Cloud Castle City. A city of marble pillars and crystal walls and pulsing gleams of gold and jewels. A city with a sheen of obsidian streets. A wondrous flying city at rest. Streaks of red dawn crept the sky. In the Blue Marble Tower a lone window was lit. One room in the city was awake. Buckletar torches blazed in sconces clinging to rounded blue walls. Assembled on tables were puzzles, dozens, not a piece out of place, crafted complete. Trickfolders were folded, neatly solved. Stackers were stacked, unjumbled, with nary a leftover stick. Seven cubes and a hook and a loop had been formed successfully into an orb. It can’t be done, you say? For you and for me, so true. But for her, it was easy as oats. Her? Her.

On the round blue marble tile floor of the round blue room high up in the Blue Marble Tower of the Sapphire Palace looming in its accustomed place in Cloud Castle City, she sat studying the topmost scroll in a pile of Ancient Orrunian texts. Her startling violet eyes flicked from symbol to symbol looking for patterns. She’d vowed to teach herself at night, while her Grampa slept, the language of Ancient Orrun. Brightest of the bright she was. No puzzle could keep its secret trick locked away from her snapjaw mind. Fair and true, try as they might, they could not do it. And oh, her flame orange hair was green at the roots. Her wings were a feathered pale blue. Curve and bend, they delighted the eye, but sadly, they could not fly. Why? Truth to tell, I do not know. Wings too small, perhaps? Not strong enough to lift the youngling? She stretched her wings and combed them and flapped them from time to time, to be sure, but only to battle boredom. More truth? She was rarely bored. Snapjaw mind. Inquisitive. Her skin was smoke ash green, and her fingers and toes were webbed. Can you guess she was a powerful swimmer? If you can, you guessed well. She swam bang bo nearly as fast as her mother did, but not quite. Wings under water, you see, slowed her down a nince. What else about her? Oh, her name! And oh, shapeshifter! She was the daughter of Rindle Mer, watery woodlock, Restorer of the Woods Beyond the Wood, and Lord Jay Dot of Orrun, a pearly green winged Royal of Cloud Castle City. Her name was Nimble Missst. She was a shapeshifter. What shape could she shift? Her own into a cloud of green mist. Or missst, I could say, and will, from hence to forth. Is that all? I think enough. Wait. A nince more. Daughter of a watery woodlock, granddaughter of a stream,  floating as a cloud of green missst was a natural pleasure for her. She enjoyed seeping. It helped her think. It focussed her snapjaw mind. And more? Is there more? Well, yes. She always wore a simple gray tunic, roamer made, with a groatvine belt. Silks and satins made her yawn. She needed a mere dibble of sleep each night to be perfectly thimble fit. She ate a small meal, ool or kettel, once a month whether she hungered or not. She never drank water, but liked to be in it. Whenever she wasn’t solving puzzles or studying or drifting or seeping, she was most often swimming. She was ten bar years old. She was her Grampa’s delight. He called her the Queeeen of Puzzles.

By my well, as the morning sun flamed the tippy tip tip of Orrun Crag, Old Dabber of the West rap tap tapped on the door of Nimble Missst’s Sapphire Palace room. He was eager to see his granddaughter, his little Queeeen of puzzles.

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