Join Us (Warm-up) *Spoilers for MGC*

Join Us (Warm-up) *Spoilers for MGC*

A Story by Lemunculus
"

This unfinished short story is being used as a guide for me to really begin writing Million Golden cages. It is in rough draft form, please feel free to critique so I write the 1st chapter better.

"

   The sun was high and the sky blue when the Ignatius’s polished boots stepped out onto the cobbled streets of the city square. Light glistened off the smooth, painstakingly-built walls of the beautiful buildings behind him and the water from the carved fountain as his side at an angle that made it seem like only the Nine could have had the power to build such bright things. But in front of him, where he faced, the shadows were long and the people dreary as the day neared its end. The buildings over there looked as ragged as the people and the warmth of the sun just barely reached the edges of the alleyways they lived in, as if the darkness was keeping it at bay. The faded blue fur of Ignatius’s richly decorated coat, so illuminated by the bright yellow light, unmistakably caught the eye of every tired, begging, or drunk citizen within sight if his height didn’t. Everyone knew that he had come to preach of the great benefits of joining the Capricorn family in its conquest for justice against evil. They had heard it hundreds of times"but never from Ignatius himself, the head of the Capricorn family. For him to be here among them himself was unprecedented…and surprising.

   There, at the center of everyone’s gaze, Ignatius Capricorn began to speak.

   “My people, you have given much to this city. You have given and it has taken. You have been hard at work trying to survive as the honest people that you are, and in return for what you contribute to this city"the crops for its gluttonous mouth, the soldiers for its petty squabbles, the clothing  for its ungrateful superiors"what do you get?”

   There was complete silence as he paused for a moment.

   “Of course, you get a nice straw bed to sleep in, don’t you? And a roof, however leaky, over your head. You get bread, no matter how stale and scarce it is, to feed your children with. But is this what you want? Are you truly happy here, wondering if you’ll have enough coins from this day of labor to feed your family for the night? Are you truly fulfilled knowing exactly how every day of your life from now on is going to take part? Work, scrounge, eat, sleep. Do you want this? Because if you do, tell me now and I will leave.”

   There was nothing but silence from the attendance. He had their attention.

   “My people, there is a brighter future for you here. This is a big city. There is room for everyone to thrive, not just the favored. Not just the chosen. I am prepared to prove this to you. But you have to let me. Only you have the power to change what you are right now, and if you make the right decision, you will change for the better.

   “You know that the Capricorn family fights for justice. We strive for a balanced place in life, our own utopian enterprise, where all people walk on even ground. We want to show this to you. We want you to be a part of this.”

   He was interrupted as a disinterested voice piped up from the back of the now-growing crowd. “You say you want to make it better for us, but how are we supposed to know that’s true? How do we know what you really want?”

   Ignatius’s smile came easily and seemed very genuine. “An excellent question, and one that I expected from intelligent people such as yourselves. As I said, I am prepared to prove this to you. But if you wish for something more substantial, here is an example.” He took several steps forward, searching the crowd until he saw a little girl in rags near the front. Her long blonde hair fell down past her shoulders and probably would have shone brightly in the sun if it hadn’t been so dirty and unkempt. He locked eyes with her, as the rest of her face was too dark with dirt for him to make out anyway. As she watched him, he took off his beautiful fur coat, lined with gold thread, and draped it around her shoulders, first taking out a fairly large sack of what could only be money from the pocket. He walked down the front of the crowd, passing out gold coins to all of the people he could reach even as more struggled their way through to the front. Shock registered on the faces of most of them at such a rare show of generosity from anyone, let alone a rich man, let alone the head of a very old and respected Imperial family.

   Ignatius stepped back from the crowd when the sack was empty and put it in his pocket, crouching down so that he was the same height as the child he had so generously offered his coat to. “I know this might not prove anything to you, but I hope it might show you how eager I am to help you, as the foundation of our city, back on your feet. There is more where that came from if you will let me.”

   “What do you mean, ‘let you?’” The question rang out through the silence of his stunned audience.

   Ignatius stood, arriving back at full height. “You might not like what I have to say now, but my words are true. Do not discount them lightly. The Craven family is now the ruling body of this city. They received such an undeserving gift by using flattery on our jarl and offering empty promises. Some of you might think that it is Jarl Hilde who is responsible for this lack of fortune lately, after all, she is the jarl and she has responsibilities to her people. But it is not up to her anymore. Jarl Hilde has fallen out of power. She already had when she decided to trust the head of the Craven family, Ignatius Craven, with managing our precious city.”

   There were small nods and gasps going around now as some realized the possibilities of what he said. This was what they were more accustomed to hearing from the Capricorns’ followers"how family Craven were all power-mad wolves, how the people needed to rise up and help to drive them away so they could be free of the tyranny. This was what they had expected to hear from this man from the beginning, only not spoken with such blunt clarity. The prospect that Jarl Hilde was being used as a puppet was a worrisome thought and could not simply be disregarded. A city with a weak jarl was a weak city.

   “I know what some of you are thinking"this might be true, but family Craven is too powerful. They have given you the tools you need to keep your hunger and thirst and cold at bay. You are surviving with family Craven, so let the jarl handle things herself. But you are wrong, because this involves all of you more than you think. Even if things weren’t so serious with the jarl, you should have the right to experience life as true citizens of this great city, not back-alley dogs fighting for scraps, and you cannot do that while ‘surviving.’ I could show you that there can be so much more to your day than work, scrounge, eat, sleep. But even if I did, it wouldn’t change the fact that Ignatius Craven and his family of harpies have all the power.”

   There were enthusiastic nods now from several members of the crowd, along with sounds of agreement. The people were glad that he understood their predicament. But he wasn’t finished talking.

   “Tell me this"if there was an attack, right now, if any of you were attacked by anyone, do you think you would be ready? Do you think you would be able to fend off that attacker, here, at the end of a long day?”

   There were a few small and confused shakes of the head throughout.

   “Why not? Because you haven’t fought anyone for too long? Because you are tired already? Because you don’t expect it?”

   There were some small collective noises of agreement.

   “It is the same with family Craven. They have spent years being coddled by the jarl’s power and spoiled by the products of your labor. Make no mistake, they are on their guard, to an extent, but they have lost much of their muscle. We will take this opportunity for you. No matter what happens, nothing will keep us from trying. It is time for us to set you free, and when the time comes, family Capricorn will need your support. Do not be afraid"you have labored enough for this city already. We do not need you to rise against them courageously in battle. We will do that part. All we ask is for your cheers to give us hope, your encouragement to egg us on when we need it. So what say you? Do you want to survive, or do you want to thrive?”

   A cheer broke forth from the attendance when they realized all he was asking was their favor. No risk was involved, and if the Cravens were successful in defeating the Capricorns, no one but the Capricorns would be hurt. It was such a selfless request that suddenly drove the people to want more, to aid more, because now the people felt guilty for standing on the sidelines. They felt like they should do more for a man who seemed to be willing to take such a big risk for them as to outright confront family Craven in such a way. For the first time, the people truly felt the injustice of family Craven’s shadow just as he had explained it to them. Why would they not take better care of their people, the people who worked to give them everything they had, if they truly did care? They hadn’t ever realized it with such clarity before, but they were tired of working so hard to survive. They wanted to live. They wanted to feel the sun.

   The people wanted to take a side.

   Just as they thought he might go on, he stopped speaking and began to turn away. The crowd pushed in closer, not ready to stop hearing his side just yet. Of all the times family Capricorn had come out to speak against the Cravens, this was probably the first time anyone had truly listened. People reached out to touch his clothing, his brown hair with its graying streaks, his white tunic, all thanking him for wanting to selflessly risk himself on their behalf, for caring so much, as if he had already done what he had just promised them he would. As they followed him a few steps, coming out of the shadows, they felt the warmth of the sun on their backs.

   The little girl from before padded in front of Ignatius Capricorn, her long blonde hair still stuffed inside the collar of his rich blue coat. He smiled down at her and reached out to touch her face.

   He paused. The people collectively gasped. Suddenly there were flecks of red on his palm. They hadn’t been there before. Where had they come from?

   He pulled back to feel his abdomen, almost instinctively. When his hand came back from it, there were more than just flecks of red. His hand wore a glove of blood.

   The pain hit him suddenly. What? What happened? Why did it hurt so much? He abruptly found himself on the ground and lifted his shocked gaze from the slick liquid dripping from his palm and his torn stomach to meet the gaze of that little girl again. She held a knife in her hand. It was red. It was red and wet. Was that his blood? No, it wasn’t. She was a little girl. Little girls didn’t just kill people.

   But blood didn’t just go pouring out of people’s stomachs, either.

   His vision was a tunnel now, and her face was at the end of it. He puzzled over why a little girl would do such a thing. How could she do such a thing? It hurt so much to think. Maybe, if he just closed his eyes for a moment, the pain would let up so he could think…

© 2013 Lemunculus


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Featured Review

ahhh, you're making me miss playing Skyrim! But if playing Skyrim involves being stabbed by a little girl in the stomach, then maybe I'm lucky I'm not playing.

you have an awesome grasp of political rhetoric, from the "just tell me now and i will leave" to the passing out of gold coins as hand outs. It was really well conceived. Your understanding of the link between injustice and manipulation by the wealthy is very good. You're clearly wiser than most of us, and have a great head on your shoulders! I mean it, you are very smart, and you can tell that from the thematic elements you've pieced together here.

I love the reversal of the little girl killing the powerful man at the end, and look forward to discovering who she is and why she did it.

I liked the contrast at the beginning between the tired people and the magnificent buildings, but if i could change anything, it would be those first couple of sentences. There's a lot of passiveness (Ignacious's boots do the stepping, the buildings are described passively) since it's the very beginning, i think I would have been drawn in a bit more if it was described more from a human POV. (eg. Ignacioius slid into his polished boots and stepped outside onto the cobblestone streets, lit by the rays of the afternoon sun. Magnificent stonework cut across the deep blue sky... blah blah blah) But that's just my preference, and only because the very first lines of a piece are psychologically delicate for the reader.

Posted 8 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Lemunculus

8 Years Ago

Oh yeah I noticed that today when I posted Denna's Remorse, I was like "why did I put that there" an.. read more
JR Darewood

8 Years Ago

i love the title "a million golden cages" btw
Lemunculus

8 Years Ago

Oh yeah, if I can get myself to continue working on this the story behind that name comes later.



Reviews

ahhh, you're making me miss playing Skyrim! But if playing Skyrim involves being stabbed by a little girl in the stomach, then maybe I'm lucky I'm not playing.

you have an awesome grasp of political rhetoric, from the "just tell me now and i will leave" to the passing out of gold coins as hand outs. It was really well conceived. Your understanding of the link between injustice and manipulation by the wealthy is very good. You're clearly wiser than most of us, and have a great head on your shoulders! I mean it, you are very smart, and you can tell that from the thematic elements you've pieced together here.

I love the reversal of the little girl killing the powerful man at the end, and look forward to discovering who she is and why she did it.

I liked the contrast at the beginning between the tired people and the magnificent buildings, but if i could change anything, it would be those first couple of sentences. There's a lot of passiveness (Ignacious's boots do the stepping, the buildings are described passively) since it's the very beginning, i think I would have been drawn in a bit more if it was described more from a human POV. (eg. Ignacioius slid into his polished boots and stepped outside onto the cobblestone streets, lit by the rays of the afternoon sun. Magnificent stonework cut across the deep blue sky... blah blah blah) But that's just my preference, and only because the very first lines of a piece are psychologically delicate for the reader.

Posted 8 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Lemunculus

8 Years Ago

Oh yeah I noticed that today when I posted Denna's Remorse, I was like "why did I put that there" an.. read more
JR Darewood

8 Years Ago

i love the title "a million golden cages" btw
Lemunculus

8 Years Ago

Oh yeah, if I can get myself to continue working on this the story behind that name comes later.
i really liked how you wrote this, the ending was really good, i mean the last thing i expected was the little girl doing that, also i like how you explained his feeling of disbelief when he realized it was his blood and the little girl had done it, however i don’t see how the title fits in the story...

Posted 8 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Lemunculus

8 Years Ago

Yeah, sorry, as I said in the description I haven't actually finished the chapter yet! Once I have, .. read more

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Added on March 9, 2013
Last Updated on March 14, 2013
Tags: Skyrim, fanfiction, khajiit, imperial, neoncookie97, Leah, Nord, reference, a million golden cages, short, story, fiction, dark, elf, high, wood elf, falmer, orc, alduin


Author

Lemunculus
Lemunculus

Alpine, AZ



About
I've wanted to write since forever I guess, but I really realized that when I was maybe eleven. I'm fifteen now and it takes a lot for me to get myself writing now, so whenever I start I try to keep g.. more..

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