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one of the order of the three
by tracey l. kelley (@TraceyLKelley)

Ishka popped bath bubbles with a slender finger, much to the delight of her younger cousins. The three of them followed her everywhere, picking up pinecones and plucking delicate blossoms of corydalis, and presenting them to Ishka with a slight curtsy. Then, giggles. It's true that she, as the eldest Novy offspring, commanded a certain respect, and since she was near 13, better the cousins practice reverence now so they would be accustomed to it later. But, tonight, they annoyed her.

"Go. You need not step on my skirt all the time," Ishka said.

"You're not wearing anything now, dear cousin, thus we have little to trample." Always quick with quip, cousin Dana wrinkled her nose at Ishka and fell back into the water.

"Right!" Mirau said, as she also splashed backward. At four, she followed every example set by Dana, her older sister by five years.

"Besides," said Jasnan, "You won't get to be as carefree after the Summons. We will be less your cousins and more your handmaidens. No more running mazes, no more tree talk, and certainly no more aura lighting. Enjoy our friendship while you can." Jasnan kept her tone light, but the implication was clear.

Jasnan admired Ishka as much as Dana or Mirau did. Ishka taught Jasnan how to read, and helped her paint her ali so it was centered on her back. Since the two were so close in age, they shared thoughts and secrets with each other moreso than with the other cousins. Still, born of the Third Sister, Jasnan would not be Summoned, although she was also nearly 13, and she wished her future was as certain. And as grand.

Ishka sank into the bath until the bubbles tickled her chin. She couldn't abandon her responsibilities as the First Sister Novy heir, but didn't like the prospect of loneliness during her studies. Between the mountains of Sezur was Mightyn Hall, a full two-day's ride from anything resembling civilization. There, Ishka would descend into augury, choose her mount and warrior stance, and enhance her synesthetic ability to transcend common words. Long and difficult days spent on rituals, strategies, and pathic rote, not tree talk, as Jasnan said.

Sweeping her hands across the water, Ishka gathered as many bubbles as she could, puckered her face, and blew. Mirau squealed and dove after the orbs, snapping her teeth together and growling. Dana grasped Mirau's waist and rocked her back and forth, singing, "Rasku, mistsu, firebot, boo!" a taunt from her ot-school days. Steam off the bath lofted through the candlelight, layering on the carved stone. Flecks of anhydride in the walls sparkled like stars in the small room.

Ishka smiled, and took Jasnan's hand. Cousins, yes, but a sisterhood from birth, and so it would be forever.
New writing experiment! Read more about it on my blog, and make comments below.


Tracey likes to shake things up and then take the lid off. She also likes to keep the peace, especially in a safe, fuzzy place. Writer, editor, producer, yogini, ('cause yoger or yogor simply doesn't work) by day, rabid WordsWithFriends and DrawSomething! player by night. You can follow her on Twitter: @traceylkelley or @tkyogaforyou

more about tracey l. kelley


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russ carr
7.30.09 @ 10:46a

Is Ishka's last name "Bibble"?

dirk cotton
8.8.09 @ 11:10a

This rocks. Wish I could create worlds in my imagination like this. Gonna forward this to my 17 year old. She writes like this, too.

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