Introducing a new Chain Story
An explination of what a Chain Story is can be found here: Introducing Chain Stories! Interactive Fiction Writing
This story kicks off a Chain Story between @zakludick and @kd-neeley, each of which will be taking turns to write a part of the story. There is minimal planning as to regards to the handing off of the story which will make it interesting and a challenge.
As each of the writers makes their contributions their names will light up when it is their turn. Each of the parts in this series will be called a "Page".
Tarot Tales - What mystery will be discovered in this new story? Join us and let us see how the Tale unfolds!
Barking, Prashanta leaped over the water spring and raced to the massive tree. “Prashanta!” cried The Fool chasing after her, “Prashanta!”
“WOOF! WOOF! WOOF!”
Breathless, he caught up to her and snatched her leash, pulling it hard. “WOOF! WOOF!”
“Hush!” cried The Fool to no avail, “WOOF! WOOF!”
“Prashanta be quiet!”
A light burned gently in the dark hollow and a cloaked figure held still in the shadows. Wrestling with the dog, the Fool grabbed hold of her mouth and held it shut, “Quiet Prashanta.” Taking a deep breath, and still muzzling his dog The Fool spoke to the figure in the shadows, “I’m so sorry about my dog. Please forgive us. We’ll be on our way.”
“Wait” a quiet voice cried out from beneath the cloak and a hand reached for the burning lamp. “I-I-I’ve been a-alone for so long,” began the old woman as she held the light, “won’t you stay and share a meal?”
The Fool brightened at this, “Yes we’d love to.” He and his dog had not eaten for a day now and he said, “Thank you so much.”
The old woman moved in slow motion. As she approached with her lamp The Fool could see three large stumps that made for a perfect table and seats. He was still holding Prashanta’s mouth closed and she was making muffled noises of distrust. “Shh” The Fool said to his dog, “Shh.”
The old woman came near with a smirk on her face as she looked at The Fool and his dog. She did not approach Prashanta but ignored her. The old woman sat down and placed the bright burning lamp on the table. Then she sighed and sat quietly, staring over The Fool’s head into the setting sun.
Carefully, The Fool released Prashanta and she quickly approached the old woman. She had stopped barking for a moment and was smelling the woman’s cloak. The Fool was afraid his dog would start barking again but, at last, she sat down quietly and remained calm. The Fool stood and took the other seat by the table, across from the old woman.
The woman reached up and slowly removed her hood. She smiled at The Fool and said, “Welcome traveller.”
They sat in the hollow of a massive tree and as The Fool’s eyes adjusted to the darkness he saw that the tree was filled with books. She lived here. They were miles away from any town and The Fool wondered what they would eat. The quiet old woman stood up and walked to the hollow’s opening to start a fire. She lit the wood with ease and fed it sticks from the ground.
The air began to warm and The Fool smiled, petting his dog in the comfort of her tree hollow. “Hermit?” asked The Fool, “Is there anything I can do to help you?”
“I can handle things by myself.” said the old woman.
Soon the sun had set and it was dark. The cicadas and crickets struck up a chorus that filled the night air. The smell of fresh meat cooking on the fire made Prashanta whimper and drove The Fool’s stomach into rumbling desire. The Hermit came back to the table with a bowl full of nuts and berries, “Here,” she said to The Fool’s excited eyes, “Help yourself.”
“Thank you,” said the Fool and he asked, “What are you doing living all the way out here by yourself?”
“Ah,” began the Hermit, “Many things a Fool would have no interest in.”
“Try me,” said The Fool.
“Don’t be so loud,” complained the Hermit.
Her voice was soft as a whisper and The Fool spoke with a hearty apology, shrugging, “Alright, sorry.”
The Hermit let out a deep sigh and stared into the fire for a long minute. Then she began to speak in her quiet voice, “I came here to learn the mysteries of all things, Fool. There is a voice within that speaks, a voice behind all our thoughts that drives us forward. I came out here to listen to that voice.”
The Fool laughed loud, “So you came out here because you’re hearing voices?” He loved the rooted smirk on her face.
“You can hear them too,” she said, “if you learn to listen.” Numb to The Fool’s laughter, she stared back into the flames.
Still smiling, The Fool shrugged and said, “I can mimic voices, I know their sounds well.”
“And what do the voices sound like?” asked the Hermit.
The Fool stood fast and bellowed, “My father who art in heaven. Children of the Lord, hear me speak. I have come with the truth to set you free.”
“Ah,” said the Hermit, “The Hierophant.”
“Yes!” cried The Fool, giddy with self-satisfaction.
The Hermit stood and prepared the meat for their meal.
“Fool,” said the Hermit, “Stay with me tonight. It’s not safe to wonder these woods in the dark.”
“Oh, I’ve got Prashanta here to protect me,” said The Fool carelessly.
The Hermit gathered their empty bowls and said, in a much lower voice, “Not tonight. Death is in these woods.”
The Fool swallowed his last bite and took a deep breath, “As you wish, Hermit. We’ll harass you a while longer.”
The night was cold and the moon cast the shadows of owls and bats into the hollow where they slept. The earth groaned quietly beneath them, as though the world was hungry. The sun kissed them in the morning. Waking after vivid dreams, The Fool and his dog both stretched. The Hermit was already up and about in the hollow. They smiled at each other and the Hermit said, “Thank you for bringing me your company.”
“Thanks for the full belly you gave us both.” he reached out to shake her hand and saw that she was holding a heavy, old, book.
“I have a mission for you Fool,” said the Hermit as she handed him the book in lieu of a handshake, “Take this back to your people.”
It was another load to bare, but he couldn’t say no after eating dinner here and spending the night. It would be so rude, not that he cared but he liked the old woman. Prashanta had come to liking her too. The Fool shrugged with the book in his hands and headed out the entrance into the morning light.
Page 1 completed!
Now the torch is passed on to @zakludick to add in Page 2 of the story!