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The Weaver

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The market sat between the two tallest mountains in the city of Sagelli. One mountain was named Combus, while the other was named Wint. Combus was by far the tallest and most majestic mountain, with its peak made of pure powder, and its base darker than an ocean’s abyss. Although, for some strange reason, Wint was the favorite of the two mountains. Wint was not tall and mighty like Combus, but it sang haunting songs to the town below it every bitter night. At the bottom of Combus and Wint, there was a large valley full of strong green trees and glacier rocks. The city of Sagelli sat their market in this valley to attract willing buyers.

Over the many years of living there, the market of Sagelli received thousands of buyers day in to day out. And locals of the area often bought their supplies from it. The market was the only provider of goods within fifty miles, so it obtained a healthy flow of people, keeping it in business.

From the day the market was brought to Sagelli, new sellers were always welcomed and encouraged to advertise their merchandise in it. It was filled with conmen selling cheap, breakable toys to naïve youngsters, farmers who had fresh produce, venders that made all sorts of things, from polished rowboats, to attractive necklaces, and then there were the weavers. Usually, you wouldn’t find them at the front of the market, where nearly all expensive purchases were made. And you wouldn’t find them with the most extravagant booths, to attract the feebleminded. Weavers often laid long sheets out at the back of market, where the sun shined the most. They would set up their wooden looms, threads already in place, and sit quietly among the other weavers while working on their current piece of fabric.
I had lived in Sagelli for as long as I could remember, and not once had I seen the market. I’d always pictured what it might look like, but even the stories that my older sister Lulu told me from when she went to the market with Father could never quite describe to me the true magnificence of it.
I was young when Father first took me to the market. He said that I was old enough to experience a taste of the real world. That is, if I were willing to behave.

Father held my hand as we arrived at the crowded lanes with the first shops on them. The market was loud, and full of older people that shook their fists at one another while holding their trading items. Above me were many different types of booths, and I wanted so badly to touch the precious trinkets on them that hung only inches from my reach. But Father told me to keep my hands at my side, and stay close to him. He said that the market was so large, and a little boy like me could easily get lost. I held onto his hand very tightly and followed him through the roaring mob.

I noticed, as we walked, that there were other children like me, holding onto their parent’s hands and looking around anxiously. I saw a little girl, younger than me, pull a necklace down from a booth. The seller yelled at the girl, and her mother scolded her for touching. I knew then that I could be in real trouble if these tempting things around me happened to find my grasp. Father gave me a stern look every time I attempted to stop and gaze at something, even if it was only for a moment. We’d come to get food for home, and there was no time to waste, because sundown was in two hours.

Father told me that the food sellers were near the base of Combus. To me, as a small child, it looked as though it was going to take us a year just to get there. I complained and told him my feet hurt, and that I wanted to go home. He was not happy with my words of disrespect, and he told me that if I protested again, I wouldn’t be allowed to come back to the market at all. It was he who had decided I was ready to come to the market, and I was not honoring the privilege.

Combus slowly became taller as we reached its base. I realized then how dark and mysterious the food booths looked in the shadow of the gigantic mountain. Even the yelling crowd was scarce back there, and I suddenly felt so alone. Father approached the fish booth and brought out his trade. There was a pile of wheat sacks not far from the food booths, and Father told me to go sit on them while he made the purchases. He also told me not to go anywhere else but there, because he’d be watching. I obeyed quietly and sat down without saying a word. Father made his way up and down the line of booths, making deals with the clothes Mother had made to trade with. I kept my eyes on him, afraid if I moved them away for one second, I might loose sight of him.

An hour went by, and the sun slowly began to sink into weak purples and lively reds. I turned to face the large market, spanning for miles just ahead of me. I was so fascinated with the view, and I wanted to get closer to the darkening figures speaking in gruff voices among themselves. The crowded market became full of mysterious silhouettes walking down and away from me. They seemed to be disappearing into nowhere. I stood up and took a few steps forward, as if testing to see what would happen. When I looked back, Father was mingling with another man, not even paying attention to me. Would he even know I was gone if I slipped away just for a moment?

Combus stood high and almighty above me as I slowly edged my way out of its menacing shadow. Soon I was among the dark forms, gliding in and between booths as the sun became lower. I looked in awe at every artifact, brushed my fingers against every necklace, smelled the air full of buyers’ perfumes and farmers’ produce. With Father not there to prevent me from seeing the market, I experienced it truly and with full enjoyment.

I went along in my own happy bliss for as long as could be, not realizing that the sun was now an ugly black, and the only glimpses left of it were the dark yellows playing at edge of night. My heart fell with a thud in my chest as I looked around and didn’t recognize where I was. All the booths and people looked the same to me: dark, unwelcoming, and scary. I ran through and into people. Some cursed, while others simply looked down at me and shook their head in disapproval. I yelled Father’s name, but it hardly made a sound compared to the loud ruckus around me. My mind raced as I ran along, until I came to a clearing, and burst through the people. But it was just an empty field with a few glacier rocks. I sat down on one of rocks and began to cry, thinking that I was going to be lost forever.

I didn’t know she was there until I heard her speak to me. Sitting within a boat’s length from me, was an old weaver. Her hair fell down her back in a long plait, silvery as the water, and she had a dirty white dress on. Her loom stood tall and glossy in the dim lighting of the moon above us. She asked me my name, and then asked why I was out here by myself. I told her that I’d gotten lost while looking around the market, and that I didn’t know how to get back to Father. She stood and knelt next to me on the rock, taking my hand in her old and wrinkled one. I felt instantly unafraid in her comforting presence, and she promised to help me find Father.

She stood and weaved me through the crowd, like she might’ve with her fabric, and kept me safe from dangerous people who loomed around us, blending in with the night. As we walked, she told me stories of the market and what she did, to try and keep me calm. She told me she weaved for a living, and came to the market once a week to sell her new rugs and blankets. I felt very safe with this woman, and soon I saw the base of Combus rising towards us. The lady led me to the pile of wheat where I’d been before, and told me to sit. I obeyed, like I had with Father. She stood behind me for a moment, gazing out onto the food booths. I turned to look, also, in hope that I might see Father.

With the night air creeping into the valley, I shuttered in my thin jacket Mother had made for me. I knew Father must be looking for me, and that I was in trouble. I wanted to ask the woman weaver how she knew where to come, but I simply laid my eyes out beyond her, searching for Father. She told me he would come, and nothing more.
Father walked up the hill almost instantly with a bag of goods and a relieved look on his face, once he saw me. I rushed to greet him, and he hugged me. It seemed he was much too happy that I was okay to be mad at me. I turned to thank the weaver who had helped me, but she no longer stood by the pile of wheat. She was nowhere to be seen.
Father told me it was time to go home, but I insisted that we thank the woman weaver. He said that there hadn’t been a woman with me when he came up over the hill, and that I shouldn’t lie, because lying was disrespectful.
He hadn’t seen her, but I had. I knew that the woman weaver had come to protect and help me, even if she didn’t exist. To Father, it was nothing but my imagination, but to me, she was my guardian angel in the market.



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