How the Drought Was Ended
1143 words long
...and at what price.
Notes from the author:
The writing prompts were “out to lunch” and “El Niño.” After briefly considering the idea of a weather current that got a little mentally unbalanced, I settled on something to do with an office bureaucrat mismanaging the climate.
After that, things got mythic.
Once there was a land stricken by drought. All year the rains had neglected it. Crops began to droop then wither, their leaves turning brown and brittle. The people withered, too, skin turning to parchment over bone. The ribs of their cattle showed so starkly that from a distance the beasts appeared striped, like zebra.
The Queen made inquiries, received answers, and summoned to her side her Royal Hero, Raschel.
Now, Raschel was everything a Royal Hero should be. She was tall as a tree and burly with muscle. She could lift a yearling foal over her head and knock down a stallion with her hips. With the knives she kept sheathed in each boot, she could hit an enemy’s eye at fifty paces. If she ran out of knives, then with the sword she kept slung over her back, she could hold any enemy at bay until he threw himself on the blade out of sheer exhaustion. She was cunning and brave and noble and true, and the Queen counted her realm lucky to have such a champion.
“Raschel,” she said to her hero, “this drought is intolerable.”
“This is so,” said Raschel, “but what can I possibly do? It has no head to strike off nor heart to stab. A drought cannot be outfought, outraced, outwitted, or even out-drunk. It can only be outlasted.”
“What you say is true,” said the Queen, “but this drought is caused by a man. Outface the man, end the drought.”
Raschel did not question this intelligence. She knew as well as you or I that Queens have mysterious sources of information of which ordinary people, even heroes, may know nothing. She only tilted her head to one side and said, “Tell me more....”
This has been an excerpt from the Friday Fictionette for August 26, 2016. Subscribers can download the full-length fictionette (1143 words) from Patreon as an ebook or audiobook depending on their pledge tier.
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