TITLE: Children of a Broken God
GENRE: YA Fantasy
The wood of the door fails to mute Jilana’s wrath. “Fragments, Mazani, why!”
After each yell comes a strained silence.
“That’s months of someone’s work you’ve ruined!”
I would not be brave enough to defy Master Jilana. But Mazani is. After each refusal to speak her mother roars louder. The weavers around me stare at their looms, hands frozen in mid-knot. My mother’s eyes dart between the door and me.
It was Mazani’s idea to lead us into battle. Her game, Jilana’s other prentices versus the novices next door.
Mazani’s victims retaliate, of course: knives mysteriously blunted. Dragon dung on the yarn. If a journeymen sits on a thorn meant for us, we take the blame to hide what we did to them.
But this is different. Mazani would never have tipped a loom.
“We have to pay for that!”
In the silence that follows I am reminded far too much of another day and another door. I had been the one inside. Mazani had pounded her knuckles bloody, screamed her voice rough, until the shopkeeper was forced to throw the bolt open, forced to accept Mazani’s apology, there, in front of witnesses.
Mazani had admitted to her mother beneath the shopkeeper’s glare that she had broken into his shop, she had led us in trespassing in our game of sleeve-the-apostate. I had been barefoot; I had stepped on the glass she had broke -- that’s why I’d been caught.
I could pound this door now -- let them know it was my fault.
I could do that.
But -- it was an accident, the ruined rug.
But -- Mazani asked us to do these things.
But -- her mother won’t beat her. Not badly. Not like what the shopkeeper did to me.
I reach for a ball of yarn. Shame knots my stomach; the door stays closed.