Wednesday Writing & Thursday Doors — Answering Diana’s Challenge

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Welcome to my sanctuary.  I hope everyone is having a wonderful week.  In the magic of Teagan’s Books, today it’s both Wednesday and Thursday.  I’m combining my response to a writing challenge from D. Wallace Peach with Thursday Doors, hosted by Dan Antion. https://nofacilities.com/2022/01/20/old-wethersfield-business/

 What can I say? There was a door in the story I wrote for the challenge.

2022 Thursday Doors badge by Teagan R. Geneviene

TBR Pile Challenge from D. Wallace Peach

Since fairly early in my blogging career, Diana Wallace Peach has been one of my indie role models. When I saw this challenge from her, a response quickly popped into my head.  Here is the information about Diana’s challengeYou will find lots of other responses at her blog too.  Here is the response that immediately came to mind when I read Diana’s challenge. 

Theatre of Bardic Rumination

Theatre of Bardic Rumination Door altered Unsplash
Unsplash, image altered

The letter came at last.  On the back of the envelope was a blob of green wax, sealed with the royal crest.  Beulah Andraste swallowed, her throat suddenly dry.  Hands shaking, she ripped the paper while trying to open the missive.

“Look at you, woman!” Beulah’s reflection chided her.  “Nervous and weak-kneed as a girl.  You’re teasing yourself.  What foolishness for you to apply to be the Great Drake’s reader.  You already know that envelope contains a rejection.  And worse still to be accepted!  As soon as your dried-up old voice creaks, the old serpent will roast and eat you.”

“Don’t be silly,” she told herself.

“Silly?  You know there is a reason why there are frequent calls for new readers!  And just look at you.  The Great Drake collects more than just books.  It hoards beautiful things.  Shiny new, pretty things.  You are old and disgusting,” came the reflections of her true thoughts.

Turning her back, the old woman walked stiffly to her table.  She glanced at the single bookcase that held her treasures — twenty or so books that she had read dozens of times.

She had not applied in hope of the posh accommodations, or the status and admiration accorded the royal readers.  No, Beulah simply desired to read the books amassed by the Great Drake.  She sat down on the hard chair and perused the letter beneath the royal seal.  She gasped!

“Beulah Andraste, your application has been processed.  You have been accepted to the Theatre of Bardic Rumination (TBR).  You will report to the palace at first light tomorrow to begin your position as reader to the Great Drake.  Enter at the servant’s gate and proceed directly to the underground chambers of the Great Drake,” the letter decreed.

The old woman barely slept; such was her excitement.  She muttered “So there!” to her reflection.  Then she packed a small bag of her meager belongings and strode purposefully to the royal compound.  If her joints ached that morning, she didn’t notice.

Three times she had to show the acceptance letter as proof of her right to be among those of importance and rank.  Each time she was eyed with disdain and disbelief, but none dared question the Great Drake.  They were too fearful of their fate if they annoyed the creature.

Head held high, Beulah walked the empty and progressively darker, threatening, and ever wider corridors.  Her worn shoes slapped lightly on the stone floor as she passed broad gates and doors, behind which were treasures of immeasurable worth.  She never strayed nor hesitated at those rooms, but kept on toward the specified chambers.

Finally, she reached a vast round door.  It was green and carved with the same sigil that made the seal on her letter.  Lifting her hand to knock, Beulah wondered how the rapping of her fist could be heard through the thickness of the door.  Before she could touch it, the door rolled aside.

Pleasant warmth came with the air from within.  However, it was tinged with sulfur.  For the first time she wavered.  She reminded herself of what she had always wanted — endless books to read.  Straightening her back, she entered the chamber.

The room was so large that the harsh sound of the amazed breath she drew echoed.  The sound reminded her of how unworthy and undesirable she was.  However, the marvel she saw drew her forward.

The chamber was walled by bookshelves, from floor to the ceiling that vaulted high overhead.  As far as she could see to left and right the walls of books extended.  More volumes were stacked on tables and even on the floor, with only narrow trails in between.

However, a rounded metallic barrier stood waist high, blocking her from the area.  She rested her hand there, looking from side to side, as she tried to spot an opening.  The surface should have been cool, but it was oddly warm.  Abruptly she realized that she had taken for a textured carving was actually scales.

Dragon eye Teagan 2021

She drew back her hand as if scalded.  Slowly the barrier moved, arching above her head.  A tail!  The triangular shape at its end tapped with impatience.

“Do come in,” a deep voice rasped.  “I’ve been waiting for you.”

Stumbling over her own feet, Beulah hurried under the gigantic tail.  Protectively it surrounded the book-filled chamber.  She turned her head toward the voice.  Illumination flooded the area.  Then she saw the drake’s head.  His maw was big enough to take in a wagon and team of horses.

“Are you ready to begin?” his question rumbled.  “I’m quite eager.  When I studied your background, I thought perhaps your years might have made you more cautious…  To be blunt, I hope you will show a little more sense than previous readers.”

“Why, if I may ask?” Beulah replied in a respectful and slightly fearful voice.  “I mean, if it pleases you, Great Drake… What happened to the other readers?  How were they… um… lacking in sense?”

At first, she thought the sound was thunder, but it was a chuckle.  The giant jaws curved into a smile.

“The TBR doesn’t only stand for the Theatre of Bardic Rumination, Beulah Andraste.  It represents the body of works I have collected here — TBR is To Be Read.  They persist in sending me clumsy readers who manage to overturn the piles of books.  Often, they injure themselves,” the Great Drake explained disdainfully.  “Do tell me that you are as careful as I hope.”

Beulah suddenly realized just how tall the endless stacks of books were.  They towered high over her head.  Many of them looked haphazard and unsteady.  She took a step aside as one pile swayed.  Glancing at the drake, she nodded.

“I understand.  What would you like me to read first?” she asked, mustering her courage.

“Good.  You are as eager as I.  I’ve had a longing to hear that blue one.  It’s the third book from the bottom on that stack just to your left,” he replied.

Beulah took a deep breath.

“Third from the bottom… with a hundred stacked on top of it,” she thought, and hoped she didn’t topple any books while trying to get to the blue one.

The end

♦♦♦

I hope you’ll visit Diana’s blog, Myths of the Mirror.  Learn all about her marvelous fantasy books and find more responses to this fun challenge.  Wishing you an easy coast down the other side of this midweek hump!  Hugs on the wing.

♦♦♦

Meanwhile, Journey 12 in my Dead of Winter series is available.

Dead of Winter, Journey 12 Goddesses book and cover by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

Thanks for spending part of your day here. I’m grateful to everyone who is reading this story. If you aren’t already, I hope you’ll be part of the extraordinary, layered world of these Journeys. 

I love to hear from you, so friendly comments are encouraged. Hugs on the wing!

♦♦♦

Dead of Winter — All the Journeys

Universal Purchase Links

Journey 12, Goddesses

Kindle:  relinks.me/B09P5LJY13

Paperback:  relinks.me/B09NTTZ9J8

Journey 11, the Sumelazon Escarpment

Kindle:  relinks.me/B09M7Q19XT

Paperback:  relinks.me/B09M4QWDYK

Journey 10, Pergesca

Kindle:  relinks.me/B09J6TH8TD

Paperback:  relinks.me/B09J7GFWYV

Journey 9, Doors of Attunement

Kindle:  relinks.me/B09F8Y5DML

Paperback:  relinks.me/B09F1BB9RW

Journey 8, The Lost Library

Kindle:  relinks.me/B09C6MPTYT

Paperback:  relinks.me/B09C34XR7P

Journey 7, Revenant Pass

Kindle:  relinks.me/B098MS8P48

Paperback:  relinks.me/B098GV1G5V

Journey 6, The Fluting Fell

Kindle:  relinks.me/B096CPJNSX

Paperback: relinks.me/B096CPJNSX

Journey 5, Llyn Pistyll Falls

Kindle:  relinks.me/B09431TD6G

Paperback:  relinks.me/B0942KC471

Journey 4, The Old Road

Kindle:  relinks.me/B092G5LB7R

Paperback:  relinks.me/B092M51Y88

Journey 3, the Fever Field

Kindle: elinks.me/B08XTNZ9M8 

Paperback:  relinks.me/B08XXY3JXF

Kobo:  Dead of Winter: Journey 3, the Fever Field eBook by Teagan Riordain Geneviene – 1230004609599 | Rakuten Kobo United States

Journey 2, Penllyn

Kindle:  relinks.me/B08VMNSF97

Paperback:  relinks.me/B08VLMR2KD

Kobo:  https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/dead-of-winter-journey-2-penllyn

Journey 1, Forlorn Peak

Kindle:  relinks.me/B08RBBVRGX

Paperback:  relinks.me/B08R7RH4F5

Kobo:  Dead of Winter: Journey 1, Forlorn Peak eBook by Teagan Geneviene – 1230004446033 | Rakuten Kobo United States

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This is a work of fiction.  Characters, names, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, locales, or events is entirely coincidental.

Copyright © 2010 and 2021 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved. 

No part of this work may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission.  Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights.

All images are either the property of the author or provided by free sources, unless stated otherwise.

 


81 thoughts on “Wednesday Writing & Thursday Doors — Answering Diana’s Challenge

  1. Teagan, this is a wonderful story that drew me in with its magic and unusual. I felt trepidation for Beulah as she entered through the door — I hope the TBR does not topple as she reaches for the blue book towards the bottom of the pile of books at the brilliantly named Theatre of Bardic Rumination! Compelling story and great writing, Teagan!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ah, I’m reading you, 7 am in southern England, dark yet to give way to light, the glow of desk lamp, books shelved beside, behind me, close, two call to be picked up, re-read, one of imagination, Matt Haig’s ‘Midnight Library’ – one of a life, Shaun Bythell’s ‘The Diary of a Bookseller’ – yet first I re-read you, feel the pull, the need for more of this fairy-tale of books…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Welcome, EDC! I’m so glad you enjoyed this little tale. I should have added a dungeon to the story, to represent nice bloggers ending up in the spam folder. Yes, I just rescued you and Cheryl (Dweezer) from the gremlins.
      Many thanks for reading and commenting. Hugs on the wing!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Ahhh! We are off to a new story and it looks as if it is going to be a winner! It is off to a very good start! Trying to get a book from under an unbelievable stack of books. A good start–and for me it is about a lady of age, so much like me. I do HOPE that we do not leave Fang behind and all of his friends. I eagerly await the continued story! !

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed this little story, Ms. Frances. No worries, this was just a “one-off” vignette, not a new series. Fang, Dilly, and TROLLEY will be back. (Although I do need to look at my list of “random reader things” and get inspired to write this weekend’s episode. You’re more than welcome to give me more 3-things. Stay safe and well. This was just a “one-off” vignette, not a new series.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Dang, Teagan, you leave me wanting more (as always). Dare we hope this may be your next serial (either on your blog after Dilly and Fang or monthly after your finish Winter is Coming?) Episodic hugs tumbling your way.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. This is a fabulous story, Teagan, and a wonderfully creative response to Diana’s TBR prompt and a great entry for Thursday Doors. I hope Beulah was good at Jenga.

    I hope you’re having a good week.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. She needs some of those clever tools you design to help you in your workshop, Dan. People keep mentioning Jenga and I’m feeling like I had a deprived youth. I only saw it once. I hope Beulah is better at it than I was. 😀 Thanks for your encouragement and for sharing on social media. Hugs on the wing!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. A great idea for a story and very clever. We all love Beulah and are rooting for her, obviously. Drake reminds me of a professor who also had piles and piles of books in his office, although he always seemed to know where everything was and I never saw him drop any. Thanks, Teagan!

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Third book from the bottom of a hundred books . . . those “clumsy” readers who hurt themselves. 🙂 I hope Beulah manages to avoid injury. Nice wordplay on the TBR meaning, Teagan. I really enjoyed this. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

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