1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Weaver and the Shredder

by NonAnalogue

NonAnalogue A story. For children.
Blue sat down on a log near the crackling campfire. Following his lead, two other people joined him - Celeste took a seat on a boulder nearby and Azure contented himself by sitting cross-legged in the dirt. The flickering light cast his iron mask in a sinister light - completely unintentional, he would assure you, though how much stock you could put in that was up for debate - as he looked his two colleagues over.

The three of them had snuck away from their homes in Eldarin and crept into the surrounding forest with nothing but the clothes on their back. Blue, for one, was eager to show off all of his new knowledge of foraging and surviving in the wild; Celeste and Azure had shortly thereafter found out that that meant "start a campfire and the rest will sort itself out one way or another."

It took only a few moments of silence for Blue to get restless. This was not without reason. Blue had a defect of sorts in his mind, though if he ever heard anyone call it that, he would likely punch them in the face without giving it a second thought. For those with the knack for magic, there's a part of their mind that controls their ability; it can be stretched and strengthened just like a muscle. In Blue and the miniscule percentage of the population like him, that section could be fairly called 'hyperactive.' That part of Blue's head ran on overdrive most of the time, leading to an inability to sit still, having a hard time focusing his attention, and frequent headaches. However, it also let him learn things about magic very, very quickly.

That, of course, didn't stop him from getting bored, leading to Celeste rolling her eyes. "Azure, you must know all sorts of good stories, right? I mean, you've been the furthest out of Eldarin of all of us. Only I think Blue's going to explode if something doesn't interest him soon."

Azure sighed, the air rushing out of his mask with a rasp. "I suppose," he said in a deep voice that went a long way towards masking his young age. He thought for a second. "I heard this one when I visited Qassan. It's called 'The Weaver and the Shredder.'" He cleared his throat...

High in the mountains, there lives a tribe. Nobody knows much about it, except that the residents are all skilled mages, and that they've a predilection for masks... huh? Oh. Predilection. It means that they like masks. Yes, masks. Like mine, yes. No, I'm not going to stop using big words, Blue. Deal with it. Anyway, this tribe-- what? No, no, I'm not associated with them! Can I keep going?

Thank you. This tribe, one day, decided to send out one of their own into the world. They had been sequestered off from the rest of society for ages, and wanted to see what had changed. They selected a young woman known only as the Weaver - and no, Blue, I don't think that was because she liked baskets. No, I don't know why they called her the Weaver, but it was an educated guess. The Weaver left their village and descended down the mountains. She was shocked to find that a war had engulfed the world - telltale signs of violence were everywhere. Villages burned, people fought and killed, and even grasslands and forests were razed. The Weaver was stupefied. The world had been at peace when their tribe hid themselves away. What had happened?

No, I wasn't asking you, Blue. That's what's called a rhetorical question. ...Rhetorical. Reh-tor-ih-cul. There you go. The Weaver traveled across the country for a few days, seeing very few signs of people - those that she did see were just barely clinging onto life, and she bestowed upon them the only gift that she could.

You figure it out.

One day, however, she stumbled across another being. This being was a succubus - not that the Weaver had ever seen a succubus before. She could tell something was wrong either way, though. The succubus was radiating an immense power, one that was even manifesting in blue fire that would lap up around her sides and around the battered scythe she held in one hand.

Blue fire is hot, yes.

The succubus sized the Weaver up, looking her over from head to toe, and gave her a smile. It was a hard smile to read, and could have meant a lot of things. "You're different," the succubus said, "from the rest of the beings I've seen around here."

The Weaver tried to keep her voice level, though the shock of the world around her was making that a challenge. "Have you been doing all this?" she asked - not an accusation; merely a question.

The succubus smiled again, in a vaguely self-satisfied way. "No. I merely... helped where I could. I'm here just as a professional observer, you might say. You call yourself the Weaver, is that right?"

"Yes, that's right," the Weaver said, arching her eyebrows, not that the succubus could see behind the mask. "How did you--?"

"You may call me the Shredder, if you like." the succubus responded, running her hand down the length of her scythe as if to make the point. "It's as good a name as any. You intrigue me, Weaver. You seem... pure. Untroubled. If you weren't standing in front of me, I'd question if anyone like you even still existed. I would like to ask you a favor."

"What is it?" the Weaver asked, thrown by the sudden shift.

"I would like to spar with you."

The Weaver took a hesitant step backwards. "Why?"

"I merely wish to see what sort of skill level you operate at. I can tell that you are no pushover," the Shredder said, fixing the Weaver with an ice-cold stare.

It took the Weaver a moment to answer, but she eventually shook her head. "No. After all that's happened here, you want another fight? I refuse."

The Shredder laughed. "You think you can refuse me? Ah, but you wouldn't know anything about me anyway. That just goes to confirm what I already thought." She took a step forward--

Blue, get back here. I'm not done. Thank you.

The Shredder took a step forward, spinning her scythe in a lazy circle. "Supposing I said you had no choice in sparring with me?"

"Then..." The Weaver lowered her head, running the available options through in her head. "Then I would be forced to do this." She ran her hands through the air, drawing intricate designs that looped and overlapped with each other, leaving sparkling trails of deep red. She spun once on her heels and disappeared.

The Shredder looked around. That was obviously not the reaction she had been expecting, but nevertheless, she threw back her head and laughed and laughed and laughed.

From that day forward, the tribe in the mountains was never heard from again. The Shredder, or whatever her real name was? Legends tell of her showing up in times of strife, but nobody has any concrete evidence.

...Yes, Blue, I'm done now," Azure said. He crossed his arms.

"Good!" Blue vaulted over the log he had been sitting on and darted into the forest. "I'm gonna go get some fruit! I gotta get up and move after that story. Your stories are boring, Azure!" With a rustle of leaves, he disappeared.

Celeste glanced over at Azure. "I thought it was interesting, at least. Is there any truth to it, you think?"

"Children's tales," Azure said stoically, "and nothing more."