Friday, November 1, 2013

Boldaphist the Brave

The visual prompt:
Our main characters are:
A Cockatrice ~ This weirdo’s paralyzing stare means it has never lost a game of chicken.
A Dwarf ~ He might look small, but he’s as strong as an ant!
The special object in this story is:
A Bramble Seed ~ This bad seed contains the root of all evil.
Our story takes place in:
A Desert Oasis ~ A tiny tropical haven from the burning desert sun. Or is it?
The sun blazed fierce in the deathly blue sky. The air was dry and hot, unforgiving. On an unbearable day such as this, you would think not a creature could be found stirring in this vast, deadly desert for miles and miles.
But you'd be wrong. Alone in the desert, one brave soul dragged his feet upon the hot sand, gasping from exhaustion and thirst. His sweat boiled on his very skin, and he started cursing himself for having such a thick, shaggy brown beard that kept all the hot moisture trapped on his face. He wiped his forehead with a rough palm, continuing to put one foot tiredly in front of the other.
This poor fellow was quite short and stocky, built like a barrel with limbs. He was strangely dressed for walking in the desert, in a yellow shirt and overalls, with thick shoes and a tool belt around his waist. He carried neither water, nor provisions, and seemed to possess neither map, nor compass. How had this happened? What could he possibly be doing, traveling in a place like this? Where was he going? And who on earth was this strange, little man?
The answers to those questions aren't very important to this story, except for the last one. This wasn't just any little man. As a matter of fact, he wasn't even human.
He was actually a dwarf, and his name was Boldaphist. Boldaphist the Brave. This name gave Boldaphist a lot of pride, because not many dwarves were described as brave. In all of Dwarven history, he was the only one of his kind who had longed to explore the outside world, to leave the diamond mines in the mountains and go on adventures. When he went to the Dwarf Elders asking to leave, he claimed it was so he could hunt for (and return with) even more exotic and exciting treasures than simple gems and minerals. So the dwarves called him brave.
Well, right now Boldaphist wasn't feeling very brave so much as very stupid. What a fantastic idea to start traveling smack in the middle of the day, when the sun was right at it's peak. He'd been traveling in the desert for only a few hours, and as much as he tried to block the heat out of his mind and think of the cool, treacherous jungles and rainforests he'd hacked his way through, or the snowy blizzard winds he'd battled in the white, frozen tundras, the sun simply refused to be ignored.
The dwarf wiped off the sweat from his face again, and actually tried licking the salty moisture from his fingers, but that did barely anything to help ease his parched throat.
He started to collapse to the sandy ground, but when he felt the burning hot sand on the bare skin of his hands, he leapt right back into action again. He seemed to find new energy, and started running as fast as his thick, short legs would carry him. But his pain-induced sprint only lasted about 30 seconds before he became exhausted and sluggish again.
He couldn't keep this up, not for much longer. Boldaphist was a pretty tough dwarf, but if he didn't find a little water, or a little shade in which to rest his weary body, he would soon fall down and be unable to get up again.
Suddenly, he thought he saw something moving in the distant dunes. Little dots hovering over the sand, rippling in the humid air, growing bigger, approaching the dwarf. Boldaphist fell to his overalled knees, which thankfully bore the heat well enough not to burn his legs, and waved his arms over his head. "Over 'ere!" he rumbled in a low, rasping voice. "Over 'ere! Please!"
The hazy figures came much faster than he could have hoped to expect, and he soon realized this was because they were riding horses. Beautiful gray and white desert horses, galloping as swift as the desert wind as the men riding them came to the rescue of this strange, stocky little stranger. Boldaphist felt faint as one of the men jumped off his horse and offered him sweet, cool water from a sandy camel-hide pouch. He accepted, and greedily drank from the water pouch, pouring some liquid into his hands, spraying his face with the stuff, showering in the coolness, swimming in it. His vision began swimming as he felt 2 other men lifting him up onto a cart, their knees buckling under his weight (he may have been short, but he was unexpectedly very heavy, even for 2 men to carry him), and everything went black.

When Boldaphist finally woke up, he still felt the unbearably heat, but now he could hear bubbling, splashing water. Pure music to a desert-wanderer's ears.
He opened his eyes wide and saw that he was lying near a gray stone fountain, in the square of a small, dusty village built out of desert rocks, palm leaves and cloth tents. All different races of people milled about the sandy roads on well-worn sandals or on horseback or donkey-driven carts. No one paid much attention to the burly, thick-bearded little man lying under the shade of a palm tree, waking up in their miraculous oasis in the middle of an unforgiving climate.
No one, that is, except for a young dark-haired boy that sat by the fountain and stared at the dwarf with curious eyes. Boldaphist noticed the boy's gaze, and gave an amused, beardy grin. He got to his feet with a groan and approached the fountain briskly. The child didn't move as he watched the dwarf splash water onto his face and rub away the sand, sweat and dirt from his very hairy arms.
"Ahh, sweet relief," sighed Boldaphist.
He began to wipe his wet hands on his overalls, but at that moment the boy held up a thick, slightly scratchy towel.
"Oh, is that fer me?"
The boy said nothing, just held up the towel.
"Hmm. Thanks," Boldaphist mumbled, taking the towel and drying his damp hands and face.
After a few moments, the boy finally spoke to him. "What are you?"
The dwarf paused in drying himself and looked at the scrawny boy with amused granite gray eyes, the same color as the fountain. "Tha's the first question on yer mind, eh? What kinda creature I am, as 'posed to what me name is?"
The boy looked scared and bowed his head respectfully. "I'm very sorry sir! I did not mean to be rude to you, I swear it!"
Boldaphist's laugh rumbled with exuberant good nature, and he waved away the boy's words. "Hehehe, don't bother, laddie, don't bother. I s'pose it ain't every day ya come face to face with an ol' mountain dwarf like me. The name's Boldafist. Me ol' Ma called me that, cuz me tiny fists were clenched like mighty boulders from the moment I was born. Hehehe. What do they call you, young 'un?"
The boy looked down somewhat shyly, playing with a black cord around his neck decorated by pieces of wood, or maybe coconut. "I am Yashir. My mother named me so, because my first sounds were like music to her ears. 'Shir' means 'song' in my parents' language, you see."
"Well, it's good to meet ya, Yash-ear," the dwarf said, slapping the boy on the back heartily. "Always nice to have a friend in a strange land. Say, would ya mind tellin' me how I got 'ere? Me memory is a wee bit fuzzy."
"Yah-sheer," said Yashir. "My uncles brought you here after finding you in the open desert around midday. They had intended to bring you to their tent on the other side of our village, but this was as far as the horses would take you."
Boldaphist patted his belly self-consciously. "Hmph. S'pose I prob'ly shouldn't have eaten such a big breakfast before openin' that portal."
"Portal?" asked Yashir.
"Oh, er, you never mind that, boy, never mind... So uh, what are you doing out here then, Yashir?"
"My uncles told me to watch over you until you awoke, while they took care of the horses and went to the market."
"Hehe, well I'm wide awake now, and feelin' tons better, thank ya very much. I'm gonna tell yer uncles how grateful I am fer them savin' me when they come back 'round 'ere. So why doncha run on home to that Ma of yers, eh?"
Yashir's eyes fell sadly and he looked away, playing with the misshapen brown pieces of his necklace. "I can't."
Boldaphist raised his bushy eyebrows curiously. "What under earth... I mean, what ON earth are ya talkin' about, ya can't?"
The young messy-haired boy looked back at him. He couldn't have been more than 10 or 11, but there was already much suffering in his eyes. "I can't go back to my mother, Boldaphist sir. I have no more family."

Boldaphist got the entire story from Yashir during dinner with his uncles. They weren't actually his uncles, but friends of the family. Since becoming an orphan around 2 months ago, most of the people in the small village had been helping to raise and take care of him. As was the village's custom for parentless children, he had referred to the men as his uncles.
Yashir used to have a mother, of course. And a father, and a sister. They all loved him and he loved all of them. They lived on a chicken farm, and while it didn't make them quite rich, he and his family had gone through life quite happily together for many years.
One day, Yashir remembered his father bringing a great bag of chicken feed back from the market. Yashir recalled him bragging to his mother about "what a steal" the feed had been. Later the next day, when Yashir had scattered the bits of corn on the ground for the hens to eat, he'd noticed a dark, hard seed in the middle of the feed.
Yashir had thought about picking up the strange black seed, but before he could examine it any closer, one of their brown hens had started pecking at it. Once, twice, and then she'd swallowed it in one gulp. Buck-buck-buck, bu-GULP! She paused, cocked her head at Yashir with her blank, yellow fowl eyes, and then had gone right back to pecking at the ground with her sister hens, just is if nothing had happened.
And at the time, Yashir suppose nothing had happened. The hen seemed fine after eating the seed. So he'd forgotten about it and went about his day.
A few days later, however, something did happen. Something awful.
Yashir's little sister, Vivi, had gone to collect the chicken eggs, just like she did every other morning. Yashir and his father were still eating their breakfast in the house, his mother still cleaning up.
Just then, they all heard the heart-rending shriek from the hen house. Yashir had looked at his parents, and his parents had looked at each other. Their faces all had bore expressions of concern, confusion, and worst of all, fear.
Yashir's father said he would see if Vivi was alright, and quickly got up from the table and was out the door. The scared boy and his mother rushed to the window, watching him approach the henhouse with great caution, calling out "Vivi? Are you alright, honey?" When there was no reply, the father had opened the door to the coop and gone inside.
At this point, Yashir's mother couldn't take the suspense any longer, and she rushed out the door after her husband.
"Mother, wait!" Yashir had protested, quickly getting up to follow her.
"Vivi? Yakov?" He remembered her yelling in motherly hysterics.
Yashir had quickly caught up with her and tugged at her dress just before they reached the hen house. "Don't, Mother! Don't go!" The boy had felt the worst sense of foreboding, and was terrified that something awful was going to happen to his mother if she took another step.
She had looked back at him, her only son, and touched his cheek gently. "We must go and see," she said, clutching the boy closer to her side. Together they had opened the door, and they saw.
Yashir's father and sister were both standing inside the coop, but frozen in place. Their skin, their clothes, and even their hair seemed to have transformed into a monotone and lifeless gray, and when the light coming through the hen house roof hit his father just right, it looked as if some master sculptor had captured his entire form in stone, his every feature and muscle carved to scary perfection.
Yashir's mother's face had fallen in horror, and she rushed to her husband's side. "Yakov! Yakov!" she'd cried, pleading him to respond and come back to life, but he didn't.
She had turned to her son then, tears streaming down her face. "Run, Yashir. Run to the others and get help."
"No, but Mother..."
"Please, sweet song of mine, do as I say. Now run! Go!" Yashir's mother turned back to his father, and she seemed to have spotted something over his shoulder. Her mouth began to form into a scream, or perhaps a horrified gasp. Whatever it was, no sound came out, because right in front of his eyes, Yashir's mother had turned into stone, petrified into place.
Yashir remembered backing away in fear, whispering "Mother, no..." before running away from the chicken coop. Away from his home. Away from the family he loved more than anything in the world. He ran to find someone to help, someone to tell him what had just happened to his mother.
He'd almost tripped many times, nearly blinded by all his tears.

To be continued...

Edit: November 2, 2013, Saturday
Here's part 2 of the story! Enjoy. ^,~


  1. Magnificent Story. Keep It Up. Looking Forward To Reading More.

  2. Incredible storytelling! I can hardly believe you wrote this in less than a day! Everything, the characters, the desert, the details, all fully realized and beautiful. I love the names and the dialogue and the way you describe the gritty hotness of the desert. I love this world you’ve built out of thin air, and I’m so looking forward to seeing what happens next. ^_^ So proud of you, sis!

  3. Wow! Looking forward to reading the're good you...

  4. Amazing work, Magenta! I was intrigued by this whole first part. I have to read the others now. The story is engaging. I am already in love with the main character, and what a great name for a dwarf. It's better than what I could come up with. I love how quirky it is, I love the main characters dialogue, I love the setting. This has much potential. There are a few awkward word choices and sentences here and there. I'll have to read it again and give you a detailed account. But, suffice to say, it's incredible.