As part of an artwork challenge on Facebook, I was nominated by a fellow writer to post my own art/writing for five consecutive days. Each day I’ll nominate another female artist to join with the challenge.
Excerpt from Gaudiloquence and the Frozen Story, Chapter 2:
Magistrate Plebicolar yielded the floor to Elder Agonarch, a bowed, spindly man with feathery white hair.
“Just as new life begins in the darkness of the womb,” began Agonarch, his voice stretchy and squeaky, “as a seed begins to grow in the darkness of the earth, as the new day begins in the dark of night, so the new year begins in the cold and dark of winter. So our new year begins with giving a new life, a new responsibility, and a new name to each new man and woman among us.”
Monoria’s father gave her a final squeeze and released his embrace. Monoria and her peers stood up and gathered in a half-circle around the Story Fire. Rikko, who had the earliest birthday among them, went first. Agonarch held out a bowl to him, and Rikko pulled out a blank scrap of paper. He looked calm and confident, but his hands shook the tiniest bit as he knelt before the Story Fire.
“I come before you as I am, all that I am, and that alone.” Rikko’s voice had been changing in recent weeks, with squeaks and growls coming out in unexpected places. Tonight—and Monoria knew it was taking tremendous effort—his voice was deep, slow, and strong. “I am a man. I ask to be given my name.”
Rikko clutched the paper and extended his hand into the flames. The fire slowly changed from amber to pinkish purple, and Rikko’s hand took on the same purple glow. A sea-green zap lit up his hand, then the fire resumed its normal color.
The young man stood up, no longer trying to hide how his hands were shaking. He stared at the paper as a smile spread across his face. He looked up and searched for the faces of his family in the crowd.
“Volitant,” he said quietly. Then he shouted it. “Volitant!” His voice squeaked on the first syllable, but no one cared. The whole town cheered and applauded.
“What does it mean?” shouted his little sister, when she could be heard.
Volitant laughed, looking back at the paper and reading the definition below the name. “Flitting, flying, or constantly moving about.”
Those who knew him best laughed and smiled. He was always running somewhere, always excited about something, and he dreamed of finding a spell that would allow him to fly.
One by one, each thirteen-year-old went to the Story Fire and received their new, unique name. Jennikora, the early riser, singer, and guitar player, became Aubade—a musical announcement of dawn; a sunrise song or open-air concert. Ruthia, the mathematician and philosopher, became Noetic—of or relating to the mind. Marrin, the wild, reckless adventurer, became Saltant—leaping, jumping, dancing.
When it was her turn, Monoria felt strangely calm as she took a scrap of blank paper from the bowl. She knelt before the Story Fire and stared into its depths like she had done countless times before.
“I come before you as I am, all that I am, and that alone. I am a woman. I ask to be given my name.”
She extended her right hand into the fire. This time, with her specific words and intention, the fire felt different as it turned purple. It was cooler, and somehow slick and shiny. The little sea-green zap came sooner than she expected, the fire changed back, and she withdrew her hand.
The young woman who was no longer Monoria stood up and looked at the paper in her hand.
She couldn’t breathe for the staggering beauty, honor, and majesty contained in that one word…her name. It was all hers. It felt like going on an adventure and coming home, all at the same time.
She climbed up onto the nearest table, lifted her face and arms, and shouted, “Gaudiloquence!”