The Three Founders

Avatar Author: dkscully "Stand back! I have a keyboard and I'm not afraid to use it." This site is totally awesome. I really enjoyed ficlets.com (where I went by my alternative handle of kjaneway), and I thought that it was a great shame that... Read Bio

The sky was dark out here, away from the bright lights that ringed the habs, and cloudless. A thin mist rose from the lake behind him, now that the sultry heat of the day had cooled to night with the setting of the suns, and the air had that crisp edge that presaged the coming of the Turning.

He’d planned to build a fire. He had wanted to boil some water, make kef and cook his meal, but the scattered glittering pinpricks spread across the sky caught him, and his fire striker fell unused beside the pile of tinder he’d gathered.

He looked, now, for the things the old man had spoken of, when he’d sat by his knee as a child. First, he found the Egool, its bald head glinting brightly, between outstretched wings, always striving to reach the Ag Poll, where it could Land and take a Small Step. He followed the line of the Poll, as the man had taught, and, all at once he could see it: The Three Founders, the far off origin of this people.

It was easier to see them, out here. Much easier to believe the tale, too.

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Comments (11 so far!)

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  1. Avatar ethelthefrog

    Oh, very sweet. Take a colony, give it a couple of thousand years to fall to bits, then pick up the pieces.

    I absolutely love the mood of this piece.

  2. Avatar ElshaHawk (LoA)

    soft, quiet, and ethereal, this story is. Great view of the sky.

  3. Avatar Stovohobo

    Good descriptions that keep with the setting of the story. Like ethel said, great conveyance of mood.

  4. Avatar Zerrakhi

    Posting a comment 2020 characters long, I get told that “There was an error posting your comment (there was probably nothing in the body). Please try again.

    This is a test to see if a shorter comment works.

  5. Avatar Zerrakhi

    OK then, I’ll split this into two.

    Someone judging a competition must be careful about giving feedback before the deadline, but I think I can if I give it to everyone at the same time. The entries that stuck more or less to the challenge description are yours and http://ficly.com/stories/4872, so I’m posting a comment on both. You may revise your story in the time remaining.

    I really like the way you describe the scene; the atmosphere is great. I also like the “Egool” – it conveys the impression of “Eagle”, but also suggests that language has changed since the 21st century, reinforcing that we’re in the far future. Also, an eagle is a good idea for a constellation.

    (continued)

  6. Avatar Zerrakhi

    (continued)

    However, I have no idea what an “Ag Poll” is, which is my biggest criticism of your story. I also think it looks silly to spell “Land” and “Small Step” with capital letters.

    WRT the images from the challenge, I can see the eagle, but where are the Three Founders?

    Technically, giving the planet more than one sun contradicts the challenge description, but that’s nit-picking.

  7. Avatar Zerrakhi

    Oops, the original comment I tried to post was 1020 characters long, not 2020, i.e. I officially had four characters remaining. That was just a typo on my part, typing “2” where I meant “1”.

  8. Avatar ethelthefrog

    It doesn’t really matter what Ag Poll is. In a 500-page novel, this could be expounded in great detail.

    The capitalisation of Land and Small Step emphasise that these are ritual actions of some sort and not just putting down somewhere random and taking a stroll.

  9. Avatar dkscully

    Perhaps this might elucidate:

    http://users.pepperfish.net/dkscully/earthward5.png

  10. Avatar Zerrakhi

    Thanks for that .. I assumed the Egool was here: http://outerhoard.wordpress.com/files/2009/07/false_egool.png

    There are some things I find counterintuitive about your interpretation, e.g. that such a small constellation (just three stars) would be interpreted as such a large species of bird.

    The nice thing about Egool is that it’s decipherable; a reader can tell at once what it means. Ag Poll, by comparison, is cryptic. I can think of a way to improve it, and although I’m tempted to tell you what it is, I should probably wait until after the challenge deadline before I do that. :-)

  11. Avatar Zerrakhi

    I’ll decide on a winner tomorrow. In the meantime, please help me to make up my mind by posting a comment on the challenge page.

    (As I’ve said there, if I were your editor I would suggest replacing “[…] the Ag Poll, where it could Land and take a Small Step” with “[…] the place where the Fallag waved eternally in the celestial breeze”.)

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