8-set drabble series, different themes.
Thank you to my wonderful beta: Tamora Pierce Junior. Who's the best thing that ever happened to this story.
Nobody dies in this one, promise!
I'm sorry if I do not get the faith part right, I apologize in advance. I'm not religious, actually, I'm the opposite, just read the bottom later, but I did my best and tried to respect all. So, if this offends you in any way, I apologize.
For those who don't know: A Forget-me-not is a five-petaled flower, it can be light pink and white but it's known commonly for its unique blue colour.
In the 15th century Germany, it was supposed that the wearers of the flower would not be forgotten by their lovers.
Legend has it that in medieval times, a knight and his lady were walking along the side of a river. He picked a posy of flowers, but because of the weight of his armor he fell into the river. As he was drowning he threw the posy to his loved one and shouted "Forget-me-not". This is a flower connected with romance and tragic fate. It was often worn by ladies as a sign of faithfulness and enduring love.
When you lose everything, what do you have left?
When life leaves you hanging, what have you left to live for?
And maybe, you don't believe, but then again, now, what have you left to lose?
Considering you have nothing...
And so, humble and honest, you take to worshiping the gods you have never met, hardly believe in, but because they're all you have left, you pray, pray for many things, pray for change.
Because, when you have already lost everything, what do you have left?
--Opinions, belief, faith.
The temple was cool in the chilly December air. Mithran priests, walking around in their draping robes, layers upon layers, to keep the warm in. He doubted that they really helped much.
Some bucktoothed townsfolk were at the base of the shrine, the Mithran priests scowled at their badly adorned demeanor but made no move to throw them out.
The poor beggars spoke with crooked civilian's teeth. They mumbled prayers, or what they could hope came close to one, see, these people, they couldn't read, never learned to speak properly except few words that have to do with selling and begging. So, they tried to pray with what they could. The result? Catastrophic.
But they held hope in their hearts, hope that Mithros would save them.
He snorted, Mithros was a god, and if, and he meant the 'if', he existed, he wouldn't waste time on the civilians. Nobody did.
They would have more luck praying to themselves, not that they ever listened either, they were too Noble to even look at us. They tossed us coins every once in a while, like we were nothing filthy on the edge of the street, that would just leave if they gave us a measly copper.
Because one copper could definitely feed a family a feast. I was tempted to spit on the floor, but I received the deadliest look I have ever gotten in my life, by one of the priests, and thought better of it.
I don't sound like a man from the lower city slums, do I? Well, that's because I'm not, believe it if you will, but I was a noble, from birth. Whom chose a woman and his love for Corus and real people, over a life with stuck-up men and women, with stuffy clothing, always dying on the inside from perspiration. Whom stuff themselves at galas, dripping oil from their portly mouths. I was sickened by it. And I fell in love, with the poor, with the real people.
When it was my turn before the mighty golden shrine, I blinked, staring at it. What could I offer it? I had no wealth, not even a family. My wife and only son were dead, I was left with nothing. A house, but what would Mithros do with that? What had I to offer that was worth more than the labored coppers of the men from the city, than the greasy nobles from the rich?
What could beat the hedge witches' herbs?
What made me special?
Dejected, I left the temple and made my way through the usual crowded streets of Tortall's capital.
I was a worker, who could work until I bled, until I died, before I ever saw a noble again.
And we worked our entire lives, most of us married, had children, and then drowned our sorrow (and worked money) in hot-blood wine.
Not me, but most.
We bled, we sweated, we died.
He didn't understand though, why men with wives and children, men with families, why no one gave a shit about them.
Why the oh-so-wonderful king and queen, upon their high seats, self-elected voices of the people, why they didn't care. They were supposed to care, so why didn't they?
We are the workers, the lowest class, and always will be.
Rage burned through me, but why was I so surprised? This had been going on for years. Centuries. It isn't, and never will be, a surprise.
Lost in the labyrinth of thoughts, I wandered, finding myself in the middle of nowhere, were had Corus gone?
I looked around, startled, I was in an empty clearing, covered in a soft mantle of snow. Everything was white, well, almost everything.
Something caught my eye, right in the middle of this clearing was a flower, a simple flower, unperturbed by the white, it shone clearly, it's blue petals unwavering but not frozen. Winter had already descended upon Tortall, all flowers were frozen. This was the last of the flowers.
I bent down beside it, it was a five-petaled flower.
The last one.
It was special though, something was definitely different about it, this was it, this is what I would donate to Mithros.
A ray of sunshine fell upon it, illuminating it even more against the contrasting monotone whiteness that surrounded it.
I picked it up, tugging it gently out of the earth with two practiced fingers, the sky suddenly cleared, startled I started to run, not sure exactly in what direction, but somewhere far away from the mysterious clearing, the Forget-me-not tucked into my chest.
Stopping, I realized I was in Corus, and I was scared to say the least, this was far too bizarre.
I stepped before the shrine, and placed the small flower before it.
The shrine flared, golden light bathing the temple. The priests all gasped, falling to the ground, I was spooked, but still not sure whether I believed.
This had to be a coincidence.
The priests started to chant, strong voices singing in what was not a language I knew. I stepped towards the shrine, placing my hand upon the golden Mithros' heart.
I murmured quietly.
"I am the people, I am the workers. Give me hope, I give ye faith."
The intensity of the light heightened, it flared brighter than before, I closed my eyes but the light still shone through, I felt no heat.
"I give ye faith!" I yelled.
The light shone brighter, and I had hope. Maybe, just maybe there was a future for us, maybe, just maybe, gods existed, and they looked after us, like the people who were supposed to, but didn't.
And maybe, just maybe, something would change.
The light dimmed, I cracked my eyes open and then opened them fully, before me was the Forget-me-not. With a small golden glow surrounding it. It hovered in the air before me.
I cupped my hands under it.
"I give ye faith." My voice a barely audible whisper.
The light disappeared and slowly, very slowly, the flower floated down, and then all ended. The air seemed to move again. the flower rested in my palm and I closed my fingers around it gently.
This was the first day of a new era.
Winter was here, flowers were gone, but I held the last one.
The workers would rise again, we would live again. We would have a voice.
The last one...
The last of the Forget-me-nots.
Okay, I apologize again for the working-class rant. I'm an atheist communist, so I did my best, do not bug me about it.
I can't believe it's over. Wow, I really loved writing this series, and you were all very supportive of it. Thank you, thank you so much. And thank you so much to my beta; Tamora Pierce Junior. I hope you'll all give the sequel a chance: And Spring Will Come Again.
And I hope TPJ will put up with me a little more. You help, you inspire, you're amazing. Thank you.