Heavy Motive

Even a lazy girl can accomplish a lot, with the right incentive.

stone dog 126-10-october-18th-2015Photo credit: Al Forbes



Henda plopped beside the stone dog, coins on her palm.  “Look how much I earned today, Jraen!”  She leaned Jraen over, tucking the coins underneath with the others.  “Guard these.”

Through the high window, she gazed up-mountain at the temple lights.  Stupid Ruby of Knowledge.  Always someone coming to steal it, catching the villagers in the carnage.  After Mama died, Papa talked about moving.  But where?  The only things down-mountain were farms and trees and the far-road.

Then last summer, all those people turned to stone.  The clerics healed everyone.  Except Jraen.

Papa said crying wouldn’t solve anything, but if—IF—she improved in her lessons and saved enough, he’d match half the spell-fee.

Ahael’s uncle turned to stone, and didn’t remember anything.  Henda talked to Jraen anyway.  She told him about the work she got that day, and showing off her new Trusted vest to her friends.  They were so jealous.

Henda summed in her head, proud she could do that now.  Five weeks, she guessed.  She hugged Jraen.  “Mama said you’d always protect me. For now, I’ll keep protecting you.”  Remembering his soft fur and doggy smell, she cried, just a little.

Not much longer.  She could do it.



Word count: 200.

Inspired by this week’s Sunday Photo Fiction challenge.  Thanks to Al Forbes for running it!  Click here to see other submissions.



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22 thoughts on “Heavy Motive

    • Oh no, sorry it was confusing, that’s never a good sign! The Ruby of Knowledge is pretty relevant — or at least, the general idea of “something of great value is being held at the temple, and that’s why people keep coming through to attack it” is. The Trusted vest probably would have made more sense in the longer first draft version. The idea is that there are all these kids hanging around willing to carry your bags for you or take a message or do some other quick job for a small coin, but the ones that prove themselves and are vetted by the temple get to wear a special vest, and therefore get more custom. The main point there was that she was working hard enough to get recognition for it. Anyway, glad you found the rest of it clever!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I feel bad for often forgetting to read all the new posts on your blog, not because it’s impolite to you but because I’m depriving myself of some great writing. Well-written fantasy is always enjoyable.
    Also, I’m not entirely sure how this works, but I nominated you for the Blogger Recognition Award and One Lovely Blog Award. (I was nominated by someone else and the rules said I should nominate 10 other bloggers.)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I liked the world-building in this too. It felt whole and natural. A completely different society with its own rules. The story just goes to show how much the family dog can be loved, and how much a family will do for one. I really enjoyed this. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Glad you liked it, and thanks for saying so! Yeah, it’s funny how “world building” starts with these big brush strokes across entire continents and centuries and I think aha, I’ve got it. But when I zoom in on a particular time and place, I realize that each mountain, each port, each little village will have its own customs and ideas and interpretations of the religions and traditions seeping in from outside. Particularly for those people who never leave that mountain, whose parents and grandparents have always done things a certain way and never question it.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you – and thanks for commenting! As long as she keeps the dog (and her coins) at home and doesn’t tell anyone, she should be fine. I’m optimistic, so I’m going to trust that the clerics will do the right spell when she’s saved up enough for it, and then she’ll get her dog back, safe and sound!

      Liked by 1 person

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