The Shape of Stone

Duoro Valley Portugal

Duoro Valley, Portugal; photo © sstefan via Google Maps



I watch the waves strike the shore, thinking about the mountainous Deggans. The stone-shapers.

They journeyed from across the sea to build unbreakable keeps, impossible bridges, sinuous temples.  Then centuries ago, some ruler–which to blame varies by the teller’s politics–got greedy.  He crushed their huge ships, demanding more.

Whoever he was, he’d misjudged the Longing.

Legends say they all stopped, projects unfinished, and lumbered here, to port.  The Dedicated attacked (or defended, depending on the story) with lightning.  Some Deggans fell on the shore, some in the shallows.  The others plodded forth, eventually disappearing beneath the water.

None returned.

I wonder if any reached home, these builders of whom I am a pale shadow.  I study their works, their theories, their lives, but their art eludes me.

Are these rocks truly Deggan remains?  I’m not expert enough to tell.

Water transforms even granite, as time transforms the truth.



Word count: 150.  Written for this week’s What Pegman Saw flash fiction challenge.  Each week, Pegman takes us to a different location around the world, via Google Maps, to inspire us.  Click the link above to see what other stories were written based on other views of Duoro, Portugal.  And feel free to join in and write one yourself!

Back in July I wrote a humorous story about Deggans (Rocky Understanding) where I played a little fast and loose with my world-building.  Today’s story gives a glimpse into the Deggans’ “real” history.



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28 thoughts on “The Shape of Stone

    • Thanks Crispina, I will be more than happy to accept a gold star! 😀 I almost couldn’t figure out what to say about the narrator — at first it was all about the legends of the Deggans’ last trip to this continent. He was originally just a scholar studying the old texts, but then I liked the idea of him being a builder himself, trying to understand the Deggans not just for scholarly reasons but for his own artistic heart.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. You write compellingly about imaginary beings, and your story drew me in. You have learned to walk the very fine line between the imaginative and the incredible. It’s a delicate tightrope and I watch you with some awe as you perform without a safety net! And I love the last line of this story.

    Liked by 2 people

    • What a kind comment, Penny, it is much appreciated! It’s humbling to think my little stories come across like that. I hope that by showing even the most incredible things through the eyes of real, relatable people, those bizarre things become relatable themselves. I’m especially glad you like the last line, as it is pretty much the “theme” of my overall approach to Eneana, and one of my favorite topics.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Glad you liked it, thanks! And of course he’d believe the legends of the Deggans — well, at least some of them. The Deggans left their monumental buildings all over the continent, and humans haven’t been able to truly replicate them in hundreds of years. Really shouldn’t have peeved them off like that. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love that idea of mixing legends in with what these mythic people left behind, of the twist of reality and story and the narrator trying to decide which is the truth and wondering if it really matters in the end. Lovely tone and snippet of the world of Eneana

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Lynn! You know I like to keep everyone (especially my characters) wondering what’s real and what’s myth. In this case, I haven’t yet decided how much of the specific story is true. I do like the image of the big mountainous people walking into the ocean until their heads disappear under the surface, but realistically, there’s no way they could walk all the way to the next continent! Do you know how *deep* a real ocean is? Yeah, no way. And those rocks are just rocks; if they’d been Deggan remains they would have disintegrated long ago (they only look like they’re made of solid rock, but they aren’t).

      However, the basis of the story is real. There are amazing structures all over this half of the continent that the Deggans built, trading for goods that could only be grown or made here and taking them back in huge ships. And there are several structures that were stopped partway through being built, all at about the same time. And no, the Deggans never came back. Although what they did back home? That’s a whole other story (rubs hands together, grinning gleefully).

      Liked by 1 person

      • I love how you’ve thought so much of this through, how deep and rich your world building is! Those remnants of another race, long gone, are so evocative, I almost wish they were remains of the Deggan, slumbering under the sea, being rounded by the tides. Lovely writing Joy

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      • I love how you think it comes across as “thought through” because on this end, my “world building bible” looks like a disaster! The ideas are there, but then, all the old ideas are there too. I really need to put aside the writing, revising, and critiquing for a few months and concentrate on cleaning up my world.

        The Deggans aren’t actually long gone, except to locals. They just realized they didn’t have to come all this way to get what they needed. And if they built a few amazing buildings here, you should see what their homeland looks like! They still have a longstanding mistrust of the humans from this part of the world, though, so I wouldn’t try stopping by to say hello any time soon. 😉

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    • I’m so glad it comes across that way, Karen, thank you for saying that. At the writers conference people kept asking me what kind of fantasy I write, and I’m always stuck on that. Not epic fantasy or dark fantasy, not urban or YA or alternate historical. It’s not really mythological either, because then people expect it to be based on real-life myths, like Greek or Celtic. I wish there was a way of saying “fantasy about wisdom and truth” and not sound like a pretentious egotist. 🙂

      The Deggans’ Longing doesn’t have anything to do with wine (it’s homesickness for the mountain they were birthed from), but after reading all those other stories, my own longing sure does. In honor of this week’s WPS site, I enjoyed some lovely Port last night. Mmmm, very nice.

      Liked by 1 person

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