Friday, May 29, 2009
But then I got to thinking: you probably don't know what a typical day for a kachina is anyway!
So, I'm going to tell you what a typical day looks like in the Palace of Furier.
5:00am: The morning bell tolls and everyone gets up. We kachinas usually just dress in our kachina costumes because the Fire Lord usually wants entertainment fairly soon after breakfast.
I also just occured to me that you might not know what kachina costumes look like. If you want to know, click the following links. Firefly might not be pleased with me for sharing the pictures. She hates the costumes; thinks they're too "revealing". They probably are, but I've known them all my life so it's hard to suddenly be ashamed of wearing them.
They are the closest things I could find. They're actually quite authentic. Hopefully you won't think badly of me for having to wear those to dance in. It's no choice of my own, believe me.
5:30am: Usually this is when breakfast is served in the main hall.
6:00am: Everyone must report to the throne room for any announcments.
6:30am: Everyone is dismissed. We kachinas usually go back to our room and try to sleep a little before kachina training/practice.
7:30am: Kachina practice. Ruthless training where we have to do things to strengthen our bodies, perfect our tecniques, become more flexible, work on our endurance, etc. etc. etc.
The Fire Lord usually calls us in to entertain him.
9:30am: Often, we go out into the city and visit various friends. Usually that's Torchess. Sometimes we just sit at her house and talk, or sometimes she makes us help with chores.
10:00am: We rush back to the Palace. Sometimes, the Fire Lord has been looking for us, and we're in a lot of trouble. If he is, we go into the throne room and the curtains are drawn over the floor-to-ceiling windows and any candles are blown out. The musicians play their eerie-sounding music, and we six kachinas dance. Sometimes we us firestrands as streams. If the Fire Lord hasn't called us, we usually go and do things with Coal or Star Dancer until he does call us in to entertain him. Usually we do thing with Coal, though. Star Dancer can be...unpleasant company.
12:00noon: The midday meal is served in the main hall.
1:00pm: Nothing happens much. Usually it takes a while to clear up and wash all the meal dishes, so sometime we help the kitchen maids with that.
2:30pm: The Fire Lord calls all the official types (guards, spies, generals, etc.) to the meeting room and they discuss peasant rebellion, surrounding kingdoms, and other boring things like that. We kachinas either go back to Torchess's house or help Star Dancer with her chores. Once we listened at the door to the meeting room, but Coal, with his uncanny ability to sense whenever we're around, came out and ran us off.
4:00pm: The Fire Lord calls us in for entertainment again.
5:30pm: We clean up for dinner, which is a very solemn occasion. The Fire Lord dines with us, and the spies are always around, making sure non of the slaves are talking rebelliously (they never are).
7:00pm: Finish with dinner. Any new announcments are made.
7:30pm: If it's a Friday, the Fire Lord's ceremony begins with announcments and then mingling time. If it isn't Friday...I actually don't know what everyone else does. We kachinas are usually called in to entertain.
9:00pm: If it's a Friday, the mingling part of the ceremony ends and the entertainment portion begins. First the village entertainers put on a show. If it isn't Friday, we finish entertaining the Fire Lord and go a large room in the far wing of the Palace where most of the slaves gather after all their work is done. We all talk and do things together like playing games. There's always at least one game of sparks (see the middle-end part of the post A Terrible Night).
10:00pm: If Friday, the kachina portion of the entertainment begins. This is everyone's favorite part if I do say so myself. If it isn't a Friday, the slaves' little gathering continues unless someone is called to the Fire Lord. Sometimes one of the spies is, or we kachinas, and often the guards come and go as they switch posts.
11:30: Friday: the ceremony ends with a drawn-out Thank You speech by the Fire Lord. If anyone has gotten in trouble over the course of the ceremony, their stomach tightens painfully in anticipation of receiving their punishment after everyone has left. Not Friday: the slaves' gatherhing disperses and everyone goes to bed.
12:00pm: Most everyone is in bed except the guards on duty, any snooping spies, and any slaves being punished. Sometimes the Fire Lord will demand entertainment at this ungodly hour as well and we'll have to stay up and dance for him.
1:00pm: The Palace is dark and quiet and filled with sleeping fire fairies, stealthy spies, and bored guards.
Then the day begins again.
I hope this wasn't too terribly boring to you! At least now you have a better grasp of what it means to be a slave in the Palace of Furier. Thank you for reading! I appreciate you all. All four of you...*smiles*
Friday, May 22, 2009
Overall, though, the sparktress is remarkably authentic.
Today was a very good day! Exciting, and free from serious punishments, which, considering what happened, is amazing.
We danced for the Fire Lord just after breakfast, and then Firefly told us that she had promised to visit elderly Mrs. Brightworthy today. Mrs. Brightworthy has no family to speak of except Star Dancer, who's too selfish to take an interest in visiting her grandmother, so we all thought it was nice of Firefly to go visit her. Flicker, always the charitable one, offered to go with her. Secretly, I think Flicker just didn't want to be around us if Firefly wasn't going to be there. Flicker gets on all of our nerves except Firefly's and Comet's. I'm a little ashamed to say that we do sometimes pick on her when Firefly isn't there to remind us to be nice. If you knew Flicker you'd know why I'm only a little ashamed. Flicker could make even a saint angry with her stupid little remarks and timid facial expressions. Just thinking about her makes my lip curl.
Anyway, with Firefly and Flicker gone, there was no one to hold the remaining four of us back from doing all kinds of mischeivous things. We tried spying on Coal for a while, but he kept catching us so that wasn't any fun. He did give us an idea of what to do, though.
"Would you all just leave me alone?" he said the third time he caught us. "Why don't you go pester the Library guard? He's new."
I know you're probably wondering why the Fire Lord would have a library guarded. The Royal Library is off limits to all but the most trusted Palace slaves. All the records and military tactics and battle secrets are in there. Basically anything important and/or secret that can be written down.
We four kachinas decided to go annoy the library guard. Usually an up-tight sparker named Pyros guards the library, but when we got to the library wing of the Palace, we saw that Coal had been right. A new guard was there. Judging by the fierce way he clutched the hammer used to sound the alarm gong, he wasn't just new to guarding the library, he was new to being a guard at all. I looked at Flare. There was a mischeivous gleam in her blue eyes. I knew mine were equally blue and equally mischeivous. Newbies are always fun to tease.
"Hello!" I said as we rounded the corner and faced the sparker. He looked even younger than Coal. I'd say he was barely sixteen. He looked at us suspiciously.
"Hello," he answered. "Wh-who are you?" My mouth fell open in shock. So did the others'.
"You don't even know who we are?" Flare asked incredulously. "You must have just come to the Palace. Did you?" The sparker frowned.
"I don't know if I should be giving out that information," he said stiffly. I rolled my eyes. He was obviously very new and very up-tight.
"We're just kachinas, not an invading army," I said. I grinned. "Nothing scary about us." I eyed the gong hammer in his hand. "Can I hold that?" The sparker glared at me.
"I think you had better leave," he said. "The four of you seem like trouble."
"Trouble?" Flare's eyes were wide with false innocence. "Us?"
"We're just curious," Sparkle piped up. She reached slowly for the gong hammer. "Can I touch it?"
"No!" the sparker jerked the hammer out of her reach, holding it above his head. He scowled. "Leave!"
"I understand how he feels," I said suddenly, looking sternly at the sparktresses. "He has it very hard here! We shouldn't be pestering him. He's so busy, can't you tell?" I turned to him with a reverent expression. "How do you do it? Standing here all day just holding that gong, always faithful. It must take real courage to stand your ground even when you're dying to run and find something better to do. We simply must respect your talent for standing so still all day long." The sparker's eyes narrowed in irritation.
"Really. All of you had better beat it out of here or I'll sound the alarm," he threatened.
"Oh, that would be a good idea," Flare said sarcastically.
"Yes," I seconded, equally dryly. "I'm sure Flame would be thrilled to discover you sounded the alarm because a bunch of kachinas were pestering you." The sparker looked away from us.
"Fine," he snapped. "Stay. Just keep quiet." We laughed at that. Keep quiet? What fun is that?
"Hmm, alright," Flare agreed. "If we can have a look in the Library." The sparker genuinely laughed.
"Right. I'll let you right in to the highly forbidden Library. After all, that's what I'm here for: to greet people at the door." His sarcasm was almost as good as ours. Almost. "LEAVE ME ALONE."
"Not till you hand over the gong hammer, you up-tight newbie!" exclaimed Sparkle, diving for the hammer. With a startled cry, the sparker stepped backwards and tripped over his own feet. We all laughed. Not meanly exactly, but it was funny to see him on the floor blinking the way he was.
"Oopsy," Sparkle taunted, enjoying her own moment in the spotlight. "Took a little tumble, did we?" The sparker's eyes flashed immediately to red, skipping any form of purple as they passed through blue.
He slammed the hammer against the alarm gong.
We kachinas gave a unanimous cry of alarm ourselves. I looked crossly at the sparker.
"Now look what you've done," I scolded. "You've gone and called all the standby guards! We'll all be in trouble, now!"
"What's going on?" came a voice. It was Flame, chief guard. He rounded the corner and saw us all. "What the devil is going on here?" He looked at the guard sparker, who was still on the floor. "Explain yourself! Why did you sound the alarm?"
Just then about a dozen other standby guards ran up, all asking the same thing.
"I..." The newbie had nothing to say. He had gone suddenly very pale as Flame glowered at him. "I'm sorry. I don't know what I was thinking."
"You'll be thinking you wish you'd never been given this job if I decide to tell the Fire Lord!" Flame threatened darkly. "Don't you know alarms are taken very seriously in the Palace of Furier?"
"Yes!" the sparker cried, scrambling to his feet. "I'm sorry! I just--" Flame turned on us.
"And you," He glared at us with disgust, as usual. "Why are you here?"
"We were bored," I retorted with all the boldness I could muster in the face of Flame. "We decided to come and taunt the new guard. We didn't think he would overreact so much!" Flame blinked as he suddenly got it. He turned to the guard sparker.
"You...you called for assistance because the kachinas were pestering you??" The sparker blushed.
"Well, I didn't really think about it--I mean, I wasn't thinking--I can't imagine why I--they were--I--yes."
Flame's eyes were blue with spiteful laughter. "You are pathetic," he said with the kind of distain only Flame can master. I suddenly felt sorry for the guard sparker. When Flame looks and talks to you like that, all you want to do is find a hole and crawl into it.
"Well, it was sort of our fault, too..." My voice trailed off as Flame turned his contemptuous gaze on me.
I hate that sparker.
Anyway, to make this looooooong story shorter, Flame didn't tell the Fire Lord on any of us, he just made us swear to bring him a gift along with one for the Fire Lord at the ceremony tomorrow. I plan to give him a large basket fill with poisoned fruit.
So, that was the excitement for today.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
I still can't figure out what the "peasant trouble" is exactly. As far as I can tell, the only peasant that caused any trouble was the fellow that the Fire Lord had arrested a couple of days ago. The Fire Lord had him done away with, though, and I haven't heard anything more about trouble in the village. Flare and I went to Coal and asked him earlier, but he wouldn't tell us anything. I'm not sure if it's because he's been ordered not to, or if he's still angry with us for spying on him in the garden that day ...
Anyway, since the Fire Lord was tied up with other things, we kachinas took the day off a bit. Well, we planned to, at least. We went to Torchess' house again, planning to relax wit her. She wasn't in a very good mood, though, and when we told her we'd come to sit and talk with her, she got irritated and told us that not everyone gets to sit around all day in a cool palace while every else does all the work.
I got angry when she said that. She has no right to criticize our lives! She's just a peasant! We're kachinas! We may not be exactly royal, but we've more standing than Torchess has any day. (I don't suppose you humans know this, but kachinas are highly valued in Southeastern Jeolotoe. We're almost like noblesparktresses, only we're still treated like slaves...it's difficult to explain.)
And we don't just "sit around all day"! We have to be ready to dance at any moment, right under the Fire Lord's nose. He usually calls for entertainment when he's under a lot of stress and needs to take his mind off his troubles. That basically means whenever he's in a bad mood. So really being a kachina is quite a dangerous profession when you think about it.
I tried to explain this to Torchess, but she only got more irritated. That was probably due to the fact that I accidentally called her a lowly peasant...Anyway, she told us to come with her and she'd show us what a typical day was like for a "lowly peasant".
She took us to the fields where the food for all the Furierites is grown.
I think the way our city is laid out is very practical. All the houses are in one section, the fields in another, and the large livestock like horses and cows in another. Then, of course, the Royal part of the city where the Palace of Furier is located. It seems so much mroe practical than having everyone make their fields behind their houses. The soil isn't the same everywhere, and it makes sense to plant everything in the one spot where things grow best, don't you think? I geuss I can't really take credit for knowing all that, though. Coal told me why the city is laid out the way it is. Sorry. Back to the afternoon.
Torchess took us to the fields. There were lots of fire fairies there pulling weeds and picking the ripe vegetables. Torchess looked at us kachinas and told us to start helping.
Every move I made hurt after the beating I got yesterday, so picking wild sancion wasn't exactly a picnic.
We must have worked for three or four hours before Torchess would let us go back to the Palace. I'm still mad at her for making us do that. It's too hot to be outside bending over silly little roots and picking cammimont leaves. Well, it is if you aren't used to it. We kachinas aren't used to doing silly things like that, so it wasn't fair to expect us to suddenly be good at it.
I asked Firefly if she didn't think Torchess was being childish about the whole peasants-have-it-so-difficult thing. Firefly wouldn't say, but I know she agrees with Torchess. Firefly can be such a pushover sometimes. All Torchess had to do was gripe about how hard it is to be a peasant, and Firefly was immediately agreeing. It's disgusting.
I know I said that picking wild sancion in the hot sun was hard and not much fun, but that's because we aren't suppose to do that! Peasants are. It's what they do. It's their job. My job is being a kachina for a hot-tempered Fire Lord, their job is to raise food for the Fire Lord and his Palace. It's not that difficult to understand, FIREFLY AND TORCHESS.
Flare and Comet and Sparkle agree with me, and Flicker won't side with anyone. Typical of her. Flicker has no oppinion on anything. That's what bothers me about her. She just exists, she doens't live.
Anyway, today wasn't the best, but it was a ten compared to yesterday.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
That isn't even the bad part.
The Fire Lord was in a terrible mood (Coal told us it had something to do with the unruly peasant), and he took it out on Sparkle. After he threw the fireball at her, she crumpled to the ground, instinctively pressing her fingertips (that's where our cooling shields are) to her arm where the fireball had hit. The rest of us went on dancing, because that's what we're trained to do. I couldn't help but watch Sparkle though. She was in so much pain, the kind of pain only a fireball thrown by the Fire Lord can cause.
It would have been okay if that had been the end of it, but the Fire Lord started yelling at Sparkle to get back up and keep dancing. When she tried and couldn't very well because of her arm, the Fire Lord threw more fireballs at her. She just curled into a ball on the floor and threw up her fireshield. Of course, the Fire Lord's power was too great and the fireballs went right through her shield.
He stood up and continued shouting at her and shooting little fire strands at her. We kept on dancing, but after a few more seconds of watching and hearing the Fire Lord torture Sparkle, I couldn't take it any more.
Before I knew what I was doing, I whirled around and put myself between Sparkle and the Fire Lord.
"Stay away from her!" I shouted. "She didn't do anything wrong!" I knew that wasn't true even as I said it. Sparkle had fallen, which demonstrates imperfection. The Fire Lord doesn't put up with imperfection, which is perfectly right and natural. I just wasn't thinking about that when I stood up to him. I was only thinking of Sparkle's screaming and how horrible it seemed for the Fire Lord to keep burning her.
Well, saying what I did was probably the worst thing for me to do. The Fire Lord did stay away from Sparkle; he came after me. Very slowly and almost calmly, but he came after me.
He burned me for much longer than he had Sparkle. In fact by the time he left me alone, the rest of the kachinas were gone and the throne room candles had been relit. The Fire Lord didn't order me to get up for another long while, for which I was grateful. I wouldn't have been able to make my legs support me, and that might have earned me another beating.
There is nothing quite like the pain of being tormented with fire. It's an excruciating feeling for so many reasons. Fire is a precious part of us fire fairies, so to have it used against us is like having your best friend betray you. It's also just a very painful way to be punished. I suppose even you humans can understand that, though I've never heard of your rulers using fire as a disciplinary method.
When I was able, the Fire Lord allowed me to nurse my wounds with my fireshield. That's when he asked me to stand. Then he explained why he'd punished Sparkle, and why he'd punished me: he has to maintain perfect discipline in the Palace. It's a Fire Lord's chief duty to protect his subjects, and the most effective way to do that is to ensure that every rule is always followed. If the Fire Lord were to allow some mistakes and defiances to go unpunished, pretty soon he'd be allowing the soldiers to take vacations and pillage the village at will.
It all made perfect sense to me when the Fire Lord was finished. I even agree with him. That doesn't mean I like feeling like I've been roasted alive, but I understand why the Fire Lord did it. He isn't cruel, he's just practical.
But I'm still lying on my bed with Sparkle wishing I felt good enough to go to the party a bunch of slaves are throwing.
Monday, May 18, 2009
I was afraid that the Fire Lord might make us stay awake last night, too, but he didn't. I still had trouble sleeping, though. I was too tired to sleep. That's one of teh most miserable feelings in Jeolotoe, let me tell you.
Today was a much better day; a good day even! The Fire Lord was engaged in some matter about a misbehaving peasant for much of the afternoon, so we kachinas were free from duty for most of the day.
We went to see Torchess (we know her because her father sells wine to the Fire Lord) and spent a while with her, helping her with her chores and listening to her stories about which sparker is after her now. Torchess is a beautiful sparktress and well old enough to marry now (she's twenty), so there are sparkers calling on her constantly. Some of the poor fools are really good for a laugh. When she isn't telling us about the love-struck sillies prancing after her, Torchess tells us about the sort of sparker she wants to marry: someone handsome and clever with a sense of adventure. The way she describes her dream husband, I'd think she was sweet on Coal, who's three years her junior. Firefly shares this suspicion, and we had a good laugh about it today.
Then things got crazier!
While Comet and Sparkle and Flicker were off talking to some other younger sparkresses in the Palace, Firefly and Flare and I decided we'd practice our dancing in the courtyard. I love doing that. Usually some Palace slaves and a few villagers will come and watch us. I love to preform, and it's even better when some of them toss us a few coins.
This time, however, we didn't make it to the courtyard. We were distracted when we spotted Coal slipping into the garden behind in the Palace. Well, I saw him. He was so quiet and fast that by the time I got Firefly and Flare's attention, he was gone. They didn't believe me that I'd seen him, but they agreed to go with me and follow him into the garden to see what he was up to
There's a certain thrill that comes with spying on a spy.
All of us expected to get caught almost immediately--we're rarely able to sneak up on Coal with any success--but we weren't. He was so preoccupied that we followed him all the way to the garden's center without him even being aware of our presence.
He sat on the stone bench and just waited for a while. We crouched in the bushes a couple of yards behind him and waited. We were all thinking the same thing: Coal must be unusually deep in thought not to have noticed us by now. We weren't making any noise at all, but somehow Coal is generally able to sense others' presence . Maybe that's part of being a spy.
After less than a quarter shadowmark of waiting, our patience was rewarded. A pretty blonde sparktress trotted up!
I don't know when's the last time I've been so shocked. Was Coal seeing someone??
"Hello," he said, standing up. The blonde giggled. She appeared to be a typical love-struck maid. That sort are always after Coal. Sometimes he'll go after them, too, almost just for fun. The blonde ran the last few steps seperating her and made a fist with each hand, pressing the fireshields in her fingertips to the fireball glands in her palms. (This is the symbol of ultimate trust between fire fairies. Doing that shuts down both our fireball glands and our fireshields, making us incapable of both attack and defense.)
My jaw dropped. This sparktress seemed awfully smitten, almost as bad as the peasant girl who'd chased Coal for a month last summer.
"Hello, Coal." Her voice was sort of...sparkly.
Firefly jabbed me in the ribs. I looked over at her. Her eyes were huge, and so were Flare's. Both of them were on the verge of bursting into laughter. I glared at them. If they revealed ourselves, I would NOT be pleased. And neither would Coal.
It was too late to hiss a warning, though. Coal finally came back to himself and whirled around. We weren't exactly hidden very well, especially not for spy eyes. Coal's eyes glowed red for a moment before he remembered to control them and nudge them back to blue.
"What are you doing here?" His voice was moderately even, but his eyes were giving us his angriest look. He was making sure the giggly sparktress couldn't see his face, though. She would probably have run in terror. Firefly and Flare and I would have, had we not grown used to that look over the years.
"Watching," I answered warily as I stood up.
"We had no idea that you were...I mean if we had known..." Firefly was having a hard time explaining. She isn't really very good under pressure.
"Who's that?" Only Flare had the courage to ask outright. Her eyes glinted as she pointed to the blonde.
"Glow," said the blonde, her eyes wide. "My name is Glow. Why were you spying on us?"
"Yes, you little minions," Coal began, glowering. "Why?"
I flicked my long brown hair over my shoulder.
"Curiosity," I said, looking down at Glow. I would have tried to look down at Coal, but, well, he's much taller than I am. I glanced at Coal. "You don't usually spend much time in the garden. We figured something might be...amiss."
"I'm sure you did," Coal said sarcastically. "Well. Nothing's 'amiss'. You can leave now."
So we did.
But what a funny piece of information, isn't it? Coal seeing a sparktress! This could be wonderful blackmail if he chooses to keep his relationship a secret. Of course, it probably won't last very long. I'm sure that whenever Coal get serious about someone, he won't try to hide her in the garden.
I must go now. Blaze just stuck his head in and said the Fire Lord wants us to come and take his mind off his troubles. I shall write again tomorrow if I can. Thank you for reading!
Saturday, May 16, 2009
As if there were any!
The Fire Lord is a bit paranoid if you ask me, though no one ever does. No one would attempt to plot rebellion against the Fire Lord. The very idea is suicidal. And anyway, the Fire Lord isn't such a terrible ruler. Just a bit controlling is all.
Anyway, back to the evening.
It began much like any other Friday night: my fellow kachinas and I selling everything in sight and begging the spies for a few coins with which to buy the Fire Lord some sort of gift. I can never understand how it's fair for the Fire Lord to demand expensive gifts when we aren't even paid. Where does he expect us to get money to buy him gifts? And on a weekly basis, too!
As usual, we weren't able to get enough coins to buy a suitable gift, so we were forced to steal some fruit and bread from the kitchen. Out of the six of us kachinas, we voted that Comet should be the one to steal the food. Out of all of us, she's the most nondescript. She's not very tall nor very short, not too thin but not fat either. And she has red hair, which is very common among fire fairies. Unfortunately, she's the clumsiest and the most apt to be late, too.
Which brings me to the first problem of the evening.
With only a quarter shadowmark until the ceremony is to begin, Comet was still no where to be seen. The other five of us were all ready for the ceremony and waiting for her in our little kachina chamber. It grew later and later and still Comet did not come. It was a terrible scrape indeed, and we all took the stress out on each other.
Flicker made some inane little comment about the Fire Lord being upset with us if we were late, and I snapped at her, telling her if she couldn't say anything intelligent not to speak at all. The Firefly told me that I had no right telling anyone when they could speak or not. Then Sparkle piped up and pointed out that Flicker's comment had been both unnecissary and untimely. Pretty soon we were bickering something dreadful, and even a couple of fireballs were thrown. We barely noticed when Comet rushed in, long after the ceremony was due to start.
Problem two insued when we burst into the throne room a quarter shadowmark late. Everyone else was already there, and the ceremony was fully underway. The kitchen maids were just presenting their gifts.
When the Fire Lord saw us, his eyes slid briefly from contented blue to irritated red, but he controlled his eyes and the moment passed. We kachinas knew that his rath was far from avoided, though. Casting an anxious glance at Coal, who was standing against the wall with the other high-ranked spies, we took our spots next to the Fire Lord and waited our turn to present him our stolen fruit gift.
Things actually went quite well for a while. We presented our gift, the Fire Lord spoke his cold appreciation, and then after all the gifts were presented, the Fire Lord called for everyone to enjoy themselves for a while. The food and wine was brought out, and everyone began milling around and talking and such.
But just as we kachinas were about to leave the Fire Lord's throneside and join the party, he leaned over to us and said the worst thing imaginable, "You six will remain after the ceremony. I wish to discuss your punctuality." The very sound of his eerily calm voice made my eyes go from their usual blue to the fearful green the Fire Lord always brings out.
"Yes, my Lord," we whispered in unison. The Fire Lord nodded.
"Very good. Feel free to join the party until I desire your entertainment."
We needed no further prodding. With hasty bows, the six of us ran off in different directions, exchanging horrified glances as we split up. Flare and I found our ways to each other within minutes, though, and we stayed together for a while, talking to Star Dancer and hearing the latest gossip. Star Dancer was spreading the most awful story concerning the chief guard, Flame, and a young sparktress maid. Of course, Star Dancer was already quite drunk, which made her tales even more far-fetched than usual. If anything is Star Dancer's true friend, it's wine.
The next "good" thing that happened was an especially exciting game of sparks.
Sparks is a game many of the teenaged sparkers like to play--especially around sparktresses. Two sparkers face each other and each create a spark on his fingertip. On the count of three, both press their sparks to their opponent’s forearm. The goal is to make your opponent surrendered or cry before you do by making your spark as hot as you can while enduring the pain of the spark upon your own arm.
I think it's interesting to watch the sparkers play, and so do Flare and Sparkle and Comet, but Firefly and Flicker think the game is barbaric.
The stakes of this particular game were raised because many of the slaves and villagers were betting on the winners of each round. The round Flare and I caught was between Coal and his best friend, Blaze. I think anyone who bets against Coal in a game of sparks is a fool. He's as resilient as his spark skill is hot.
“Are you ready?” Blaze said, his eyes blue. Coal grinned, eyes equally cerulean.
Of course, both sparkers could have been terribly afraid and their eyes would never have betrayed them. They're spies, and all the Fire Lord’s spies are trained to be able to control their mood ring eyes so as not to give away their feelings at an inopportune moment.
The sparkers pressed their sparks to each other’s forearms and the contest had begun. The two sparkers’ faces turned stoic.
Flare and I watched intently as Blaze gritted his teeth. His eyes waved for a moment, turning green with pain. Coal’s face was unreadable, as usual.
It was only a few seconds later that Blaze jerked away his arm with a frustrated hiss.
“You win,” he muttered. He pressed his fingertips to the small scarlet spot on his arm. His fingertips glowed blue as he activated his cooling shield. Coal nodded, his usual mischievous gleam shining in his eyes. However, he, too, quickly pressed a shielded fingertip to his forearm.
“You did well,” he complimented before walking out of the crowd and toward the food tables. Blaze jogged off in the opposite direction. Although the two were best friends, Blaze was needing to nurse his ego a bit before joining up with Coal.
The rest of the ceremony was equally light-hearted and typical, so I won't bore you with more detail about that. I will say, though, that our entertainment was one of our best preformances yet.
After the ceremony was over and everyone had left, we six kachinas went before the Fire Lord to hear what he had to say, or endure whatever it was he meant to do to us.
"I noted that you came in a bit late, kachinas," he said coldly, staring us down. "Care to offer any explanation?"
"Flicker wasn't feeling well," I said after just enough silence had passed. I'm the best liar out of all of us, though that really isn't saying much. Unfortunately, everyone knows that, including the Fire Lord. Fortunately, Flicker always looks like she might be feeling unwell, so it's a completely plausible explanation.
"I see," the Fire Lord said. "Well, still being late is not exceptable, you understand. How can you expect me to be a good Lord if I don't enforce my rules? A Lord who ignores even the smallest matters cannot be trusted to keep his citizens safe, can he?"
We all answered no, as was expected.
"Well, then I must find a way to discourage you from being untimely again, must I?"
Our response of "yes" was a bit quieter and much more delayed this time.
"Very well," the Fire Lord said, as if that sealed the deal. "Since you were late in coming here, I must insist that you be early for all your duties tomorrow. I plan on wanting entertainment early in the morning, so to avoid being late, you six may stay here all night and wait for me. I'll post alternating gaurds to make sure you don't fall asleep or anything unacceptable like that. Good night."
And he left the throne room to go to his large and comfortable bedchamber. Or at least I suppose it's large and comfortable. Being a lowly kachina, we aren't allowed to enter the Fire Lord's personal living quarters save for his throne room.
And that's why I'm sitting in the throne room on the cold marble floor, writing this down after midnight. We are not to get any sleep tonight, and right now Flame is making sure of that, taunting and threatening us like he always does, the only difference being that this time he has formal permission to do so.
This shall be a long night, and tomorrow will be dreadful I know. I probably won't post tomorrow because I'll be too tired. And if I'm not too tired, I'll probably be in too much pain from the punishment the Fire Lord will likely give me for doing something wrong in my exhausted state.
Sorry. That was a big dramatic, I suppose. Firefly is always telling me to stop being so dramatic.
At any rate, I'm out of room here, and I've posted far too long a post already. I hope you get some sleep.
Friday, May 15, 2009
I suppose you'll want to know a little about myself and my blog before you decide whether or not you want to follow it.
My name is Ember and I'm fourteen years old. I'm a kachina for the Fire Lord. My sparktresslings are Flare and Firefly. We live in the Palace of Furier with the Fire Lord. I talk a lot and sometimes say things that I regret, though I'm trying to work on that. I always have a plan (whether it's good or not), and I hate it when people use incorrect grammar.
I'll be using this blog to vent and record what goes on during a typical Furierite day. Happy reading!
Nothing terribly big and exciting happened today, but several humorous little things happened. Well, I thought so. Firefly wasn't too happy.
Firefly is my older sparktressling. She's the sort of person who LOVES organization. If things are disorganized or don't go according to the plan or schedule, she gets cross. I'm like that about some things (like kachina practice and getting dance routines right), but not about everything the way Firefly is. Well, today something definitely didn't go according to plan.
During kachina practice today, Flare and I made up a new move. All of us loved it except Firefly. I think she only hated it because she couldn't do it as well as I could, but I suppose that's beside the point. Anyway, we voted to add the move to our of our routines. The move was added on a vote of five to one.
No sooner had we perfected the Move when Star Dancer stuck her head in the room and told us that the Fire Lord was calling for us. We kachinas ran to the throne room as quickly as we could to begin entertaining the Fire Lord.
I just want to say right now how much I love to dance. Something about it just resonates with me. I love the eerie music we dance to, I love the tight costumes we wear to dance, I love the feeling I get when I execute an especially difficult move perfectly. Everything about dancing is what I love. It's just the fact that we have to do it for the Fire Lord that I don't like. He terrifies me to no end.
But I digress. Back to the story.
After we marched into the throne room and bowed and went through the formalities, the windows were covered, the candles lit, and the music began to play. Firefly whispered that we would do routine nine, which is the one we had added the Move to. She counted off, and we began.
We danced fine until the part came when we should have slipped in the new Move. Well, we forgot. At least, most of us did. Actually, everyone but Firefly did. Unfortunately instead of looking like she was the only one doing the right thing, it looked like Firefly was the only one messing up. The look on her face was priceless. She was first shocked, then horrified, and then angry at me and Flare for giggling at her.
The Fire Lord wasn't pleased with her either. He reprimanded her and teased her after the routine was over, which she hated. Firefly is a favorite of the Fire Lord's because she never does anything wrong. Everything about her is perfect, so whenever she messed up, everyone likes to give her a hard time.
Luckily the Fire Lord was in a fairly light mood or he might have beaten her. That wouldn't have been funny at all, but since he didn't, I found the whole situation quite funny. Hope you did, too.
Well, I guess I should stop blogging now before I bore you to absolute tears. I'll probably post a little something tomorrow. Hopefully it will be good news again, but I doubt it. Good things rarely happen two days in a row in the Palace of Furier.