Tag Archives: permission

Challenge: Legal Theft: Rejection (571 words)


“Supper’s ready, Father.”

Justus smiled as his Seren ghosted up behind him on her bare feet.

“Book off the table,” she said.

He turned to see her using both hands to hold ceramic dishes of soup and obligingly stood to remove the book himself.  He replaced it on one of the shelves beside their mantelpiece.  Smiling her thanks, Seren placed a bowl before his vacated seat and another before her own, but she swept off to retrieve too the fresh loaf of cattail and acorn bread that had been filling the small cottage that they shared with a warm aroma all afternoon.  The honey jar followed the bread to the table.

The soup was boiled fish with herbs and cress leaves and cattail roots gathered from the hammock.  Seren has also managed to find some young asparagus stalks.  The freshly baked bread was a luxury.

As Seren cut the loaf into thick slices, Justus asked, “What is it that you want, my Seren?”

She feigned surprise.

“This is quite a meal,” Justus explained.  “You want something.”

Seren bit her lip, sat, and looked down at her knotted hands.  “I heard you talking to George Tvorec yesterday.”

Justus frowned.  “I hoped that you had not.  That boy is no good for you.”

“Why not?  He’s the only one who’s asked.  And his family—”

“Has been Anvatrin for two generations now.  Is that what you want for your children?  A life where they’re forced to live on the margins of our society?  There was a time when Anvatrin children were killed when they were discovered and the parents thought of none the worse for it.”

“They say that Razadd slept with an Anvatrin woman.”

“And look what became of it,” Justus snarled.  “A broken line with no power among them and a broken race of freed slaves that still live in squalor and poverty and hiding.”

“Father,” Seren sighed.  She had of course heard this complaint before.  The truth of it gnawed at him, and it gnawed at him that no one else seemed to remember the greatness of their race.  Seren’s tone said that she tired of his anger.

“You know my mind, Seren,” he agreed, “and know that I won’t let him have you.  And that’s that.  You’ll wait for a more suitable man, a Vatrin man.”

“What if no other comes?  Father, George is a good man.  I’ve seen him on the hammock and—”

“And maybe you should not anymore.”

“You can’t keep me in here, and you can’t keep him from going out either.”

“Can’t I?” Justus asked, and there was a knife’s edge to his voice from which Seren flinched.

“Father, I don’t want to stay indoors all day.  You know I cannot.  And if I don’t leave the house then who will do the chores so that you can continue your studies?”

He inclined his head, picked up the spoon.  “I could start collecting the firewood and the food that you do.”

“You won’t,” Seren was sure.  “I’m not sure for all your knowledge you’d know horsetail from asparagus.”

She was right about that, but Justus didn’t confirm it.

“If that boy pursues you despite my edict, he will regret it.  He knows the rules.”  He added, pinning her with sharp eyes, “So do you.”

Seren frowned.  She looked down into the soup and spooned some into her mouth to wisely silence any more protests.

Bek of BuildingADoor is a thief.  Go over to her blog to see what she did with this first line in “Daddy Daughter Deals.”

Challenge: Legal Theft: Proposal (559 words)


Moran put down his quill, looking across the table at the bent head of the ash-blond boy.  Justus had become a constant companion to Moran, helping him write down what knowledge they had, helping to make extra copies to better preserve that knowledge, studying all that Moran and others before him had written down before Justus’ birth, before he had been able to read, before he had come to Moran to study.  The boy devoured histories, philosophies, and theories as if he were starving for the knowledge—and maybe he was; maybe they all were.  Justus had often talked of finding what they had lost, recovering the old books and scrolls that must exist from the days before the Vatrins had been defeated by the Tirins, but Justus had not left Slobodazim to do so, any more than Moran or any other of the teachers before him had done.

Justus remained here, and he didn’t seem likely to leave.  Moran confessed, “Tena thinks that you need a wife.”

Justus paused and looked up.  His eyes were bright and clear as ever, pale as the mist off the swamp water.  “What use would I have for a wife?”

“She’d carry on for you, care for you.  You’re nigh nineteen now.  You can’t spend an eternity in my library.”

“I don’t intend to,” Justus assured him.  “When I have the answers—”

“Leith provided us the answers in Slobodazim,” Moran sighed.  “It’s not safe out there.”

Justus argued, “We weren’t meant to hide,” his hand tightening on the quill.

“And we clearly couldn’t fight.”

“Careless mistakes were made.  I won’t make the same mistakes.”

“The royal line is dead.  Davor Tvorec is an Anvatrin, no power in him.”

“Maybe it’s time for a new royal line.”

“That’s treasonous.”

“More than calling the current line dead?” Justus challenged.

Moran frowned.  “Lately every conversation with you turns to confrontation,” he complained.

“We have much to be angry about.”

“We do.  What would you do with a wife?”

A corner of Justus’ mouth turned upwards.  “What every man does with a wife.”

“Could you love her?”

“I could love the right wife,” Justus decided after a pause.

“And have you met no girl to catch your eye?”

“Your daughter loves me,” Justus supplied since Moran did not say so plainly.

Hesitantly Moran nodded.  “And could you love her?”

Justus nodded.  “As she is your daughter, yes.”

“For her own sake?”

Justus leaned back, pressing the tips his fingers together and regarding Moran over them.  “Is she worthy of my love?” he wondered.

“She’s the most wonderful girl in the world.  She is even-tempered, loving, gentle.  She will make some man a great wife.  I’m just not sure,” Moran confessed, “that that man is you.”

Justus considered this.  “She is set on me,” he guessed.

“She sees a great man in you.”

“She’s not wrong.”

“You’re the most intelligent, clever, and ambitious student that I’ve ever taught.  You work yourself tirelessly.  I’m not sure that makes you a good man—not for Nada.”

“I will court your daughter,” Justus decided.  “I will see if she might please me, and I will let her better get to know me that she can see if I might please her.”

“Can I not dissuade you?”

“You brought it up, Moran.  Let us try it.”

Moran sighed and consented.

Bek of BuildingADoor and I thieved from one another this week.  She took this first line and wrote a realistic story of her own, “Sibling Rivalry.”