Wordsmithing: Drabble

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Introduction

This was a contest during the first week of the Forum Triad Olympiad in 2020.

The challenge was to write a drabble (a text of exactly 100 words) with a theme of "The Gaidin goes to market..."

Entries

1

The Gaidin goes to market to buy a tea pot for his Mistress. She broke the last over his head for being mule-headed. Looking about Tear’s market a cloud of despair formed around his helmet. He was about to leave, when a golden kettle caught his eye. The price was 1 silver crown, all he had were a few pennies. He needed to ask for a raise. He wagered with the merchant to reduce the price if he could answer his riddle: What do you call a fish with no eyes? A FSH. She wept at the sight of it.

2

Szeta had been avoiding the Market, but an inability to find a single accepted with the good sense to identify the necessary plants, had landed her here. What she didn't expect to see was a Gaidin browsing the poisons.

The Gaidin was tall and fair skinned, with a shaved head and a beard. His Fancloth cloak obscured the sword he, undoubtedly, had hanging from his side. She embraced saidar, hoping her enhanced senses would reveal his purpose here.

“Thank you, merchant,” she heard him say, “you have been most helpful”.

The merchant bowed his head in thanks for his business.

3

I stepped onto the city’s merciless streets, the sound of the cobblestone under my boots a rhythmic reminder of how the weak were trampled underfoot, left in the gutters, or squashed like so many rotten-

"Cabbages! For sale! Oh, Master Lammasor, didn't see you under that cape 'n all! Looking for produce for Timiria Sedai? I've got the finest greens!"

The merchant kept talking, his life an unceasing chase for blood-stained lucre.

"How about some nice turnips? My wife makes this wonderful-"

The city wanted me to wallow in the mud, and to my great regret, I had no choice.

4

When a gaidin goes to the market, he makes sure to bring a large basket.

He gets two eggs or three, some apples fresh from the tree, oil, sugar and flour, then heads back to the tower. “To the kitchen!” he calls as he strides through the halls. Once there he makes dough, making sure there’s enough, checks the apples aren’t sour, for late is the hour. Slices placed in both crust and filling, trying to make it appealing. Now just as mother once taught - into an over that’s hot. Now ready is the pie - made specially for his sedai.

5

The mood: dark. The weather: dark. His clothing: dark. His grocery bag: a lovely floral print. Being a Brown Sedai’s warder was not always an easy task. Others fought darkspawn, a thing all the Gaidin were trained for. But to be a Brown warder you had to be prepared for anything. Today’s task involved vegetables, a fruit tart, and the foulest item imaginable: duck livers. He had seen battle and smelled the stench of death many times -- this was definitely worse. But. His Sedai wanted it. He wrapped his color-shifting cloak around him, feeling resigned, and walked into the market.

6

“One hundred thirty-five,” I whispered into the dark. Today was the day. Every six hours he returned. “Five hundred ninety-eight,” the handle of the bucket placed in my cell felt heavier today. With practiced swings it whistled through the air at the exact block his head would pass coming into the cell. Today was the day. “Eleven thousand twenty-seven.” Eyes closed, I found the Ko’di, counting became my mantra. Eight days since he took Omara Sedai and I from the market, I can’t wait any longer. “Thirteen-thousand...sixteen-thousand...” the cell door opens. “Twenty-one thousand five hundred...” Today was the day...

7

Gaidin goes to the market in Amador. He has hidden his cloak and abandoned the deadly grace of his calling. He made his way to a tavern to meet with one of the Tower’s eyes-and-ears, who could not be contacted in any other way. In short order he was joined by a man wearing a white cloak adorned with a shepherd’s crook. There were no introductions. The conversation while important was very brief. The Children were sending an expedition to waylay Sisters on their way home. Armed with that critical information, the Warder quietly left to send out the word.

8

The Gaidin goes to market, seeking supplies for a journey. His Aes Sedai requested something sweet, so he was sure to get some honey. He wanted something strong, so he was sure to get some jerky. His Aes Sedai asked for something soft, so he got some sponge cake. He desired something sturdy, so he got some summer sausage. The Gaidin carefully packed their supplies. They set out early the following morning. When they stopped for lunch, the Gaidin happily set out the honey, jerky, sponge cake, and summer sausage. They shared in a sweet, strong, soft, and sturdy meal.

9

“Why am I doing this?”

He walks quickly through the square, glancing left and right. People create a space for him, somehow sensing he has no patience for smalltalk or hindrance.

HIs eyes alight on a small shop to his right. His destination at last. He makes his way to the door.

“Why am I doing this??”

Opening the door, he makes his way into a shop filled with things from nightmares. He refuses to be cowed!

Moving swiftly to the young woman behind the counter, he fixes his eyes on her face and speaks.

“Three yards red ribbon, please.”

10

The Gaidin goes to market in July 2020. Fires in Australia, a pandemic, and civil unrest had so far in this year alone highlighted the best and worst in humanity.

Adjusting a well worn color shifting cloak and fabric mask, they prepare for the inevitable battle. A battle where they know they cannot return to their Aes Sedai empty-handed. A battle not only of strength, but strategy and timing.

Seeing the delivery truck arrive with its precious cargo, they slip inside the store and blend into the background of cleaning products to await the restock of the coveted disinfectant wipes.

11

Daeric swallowed hard as he walked through the gates. He could hardly believe that he was actually here let alone being allowed into the courtyard. The bright light reflecting off the tower hurt his eyes and the sound of swords crashing together made his ears ring. Off to his left, the stables were clearly identified by the smell wafting towards him. He stumbled as someone pushed him from behind. Seems he had forgotten to keep walking. From the corner of his eye, the flash of steel instinctively made him draw his to deflect it. Nothing prepared him for Warder Market.

12

It’s 10 p.m. The couple drive slowly around the block. This is unfamiliar territory. Where is a good place to park? They don’t know, but decide on a spot.

The August evening is unusually warm, and completely dark. Are they in the right place? Google maps tells them they are.

They realize they could have parked closer, but they are committed. They reach their destination and ring the doorbell.

A girl appears. A quick exchange: the girl gets money, they leave with the item.

The gaidin went to (Facebook) market(place) for the first time ever and they survived.

13

The Gaidin Goes to Market, do you know that one? Yes - I see you do! But you’ve not heard it the way old Thom tells it:

An Aes Sedai sends her warder to town with a simple list. Up and down the market he goes. By day's end, he hasn’t any bread or beer in his basket but the feud between baker and brewer is settled...

You will say, what a clever Sister! I say, think twice, and heed this gleeman’s empty belly. He who goes on Aes Sedai errands will get more than what he’s bargained for and less.

14

He woke up, feeling something wet and quite smelly touch his face. Opening his eyes, a dog was standing there, licking his face. "Shoo, go away!" he grumbled and the dog barked twice, then took off. The sun was creating a glare causing an instant headache. Where was he? Was this a bush? How much did he actually drink last night? He realized his legs were actually under a market stall and someone next to him was selling carrots. Market day. Curling up under his Warder cloak that clearly hid him so well he decided to go back to sleep.

Winners