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For all his terrible reputation, the Prophet was not particularly imposing. He stood very still and watched us walk down the gangplank. Even his clothing seemed to defy the winds that whipped through the cavern. If it had not been for the mask covering the lower half of his face, he would have looked completely ordinary.
My mother refused to call him “prophet.” Mostly she did not speak of him at all. It would take a more generous woman than my otherworld mother to forgive him – not that I blamed her. Before he was the Prophet, he was the Governor of Loess, and he brought my family to the desert. The death of my father, the destruction of the green city, the loss of the starships – she laid all of it at the Governor’s feet. Did she know, I wondered, of her husband’s final betrayal? That might explain her vehemence.
The Governor fled during the fall of Verdure, abandoning citizens and sycophants alike. They say the injuries he sustained in the fires drove him insane. He resurfaced months later, raving about the end times and the New Blood corruption. It would have been easy to dismiss him, I think, if so many had not believed him.
“He’s a mad dog, an animal,” murmured Jonath, as if reading my thoughts. “If it were up to me, I’d have him put down. But for now, we’re running along the same path. Barking up the same tree, you might say.”
The idioms bothered me. They belonged to another world, another life. Jonath was using them deliberately. His sly grin showed as much. I wondered if he had learned them from my brother.
The prisoners stared in sullen silence. I looked around for Jax, and caught the Captain’s cold glare instead. Jonath squeezed my elbow, halting me in mid-step.
“Well, well,” said the Prophet, his voice warm and kind. “If it isn’t little Annie Verrill.”
I shuddered in spite of myself. The Prophet knew my name.
This post is part of the Jade Dragon series. Though I try to make these installments enjoyable as individual pieces, I highly recommend that you read the series from the beginning to really get what’s going on. This particular piece is probably less self-contained than most, and for that I apologize! I hope you find it interesting anyway, or that it inspires you to read the whole series.
This post was written in response to the Trifecta Writing Challenge weekly prompt:
You should write a creative response using the third definition of the given word. You must use the word in your response, and you must use it correctly. Your response can be no fewer than 33 and no more than 333 words. This week’s word is:
1 : any of a kingdom (Animalia) of living things [etc.]
2 a : one of the lower animals as distinguished from human beings
b : mammal; broadly : vertebrate
3 : a human being considered chiefly as physical or nonrational; also : this nature
And if that wasn’t enough, this week’s challenge is community-judged! For the 14 hours following the close of the challenge (starting at 5:00 PM Pacific/8:00 PM Eastern), voting will be enabled on links. In order to vote, return to the Trifecta Writing Challenge site where stars will appear next to each link. To vote, simply click the star that corresponds with your favorite post – hopefully mine is one of them!