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Lack of Words
The war had no reasonable cause. It was just character fighting over whose story should be written first. Many ideas and characters were being forever changed and lost.
Even in the best of times, there was tension between characters of different tales. Once in a while, one would have their story written and go off to the written literary world. Usually there was no violence and characters waited, since it took a long time for the scribe, Rachelle, to write them down properly. But she had been recently injured without explanation and was unable to write.
When her characters realized this, the fighting began. The scribe knew of the war, but was unable to do anything about it until she healed. That could take time and by then there might not be anything left to write about.
Her advisor, Irma, looked over the Valley of the Unrecorded from the mansion balcony. She worried about this and had called in a healer, one of Rachelle’s characters, to help. Since the healer was a peaceful one, she was not involved in the fight. She tried to save injured characters, but admitted it was a losing game.
Of course she had to be careful. Traveling across the valley would take time. Irma regretted not sending for a traveler, too. That would have speed the process up, but it was too late now. She would be here soon. In the mean time, she tried unsuccessfully to reinstate order and no one listened.
Irma’s hopes were raised when the guard announced she had arrived.
“Ally, so pleased you could be here. We are in need of your help. As you know Rachelle is injured and can’t write. This caused this horrible war. We need you to heal her so that peace can be achieved.”
Ally replied, “I will help, but couldn’t you have written for Rachelle and not have this war at all?”
“Every character can read and write, but only scribes have the power to make the story known. If I had written them, even if it were her words, the characters would not be satisfied. Only Rachelle can bring peace, but she has to be able to write.”
Ally began to get out little packages of ingredients as she walked over to Rachelle, who was lying on a mattress in the corner. The healer frowned, but continued to work. She looked troubled and turned to Irma. “This is more complicated than it originally appears to be. Her wrist is almost healed by itself, but there is a head injury. How did it occur? That might help.”
Irma shrugged, “We don’t know. She went out on a walk and a guard brought her back unconscious. She woke up and couldn’t write. That was three weeks ago. You can still heal her?”
“Yes, but it will take some time. I don’t have a very good idea on how long. Her wrist should be fine now, but head injuries can take two months to heal completely.”
“Two months!” Irma exclaimed. “That would be enough time for the characters to destroy each other.”
“Not necessarily. It might not be that serious. She will be well enough that she can try to stop the fighting tonight. It will be longer until she can write. I think she fell or hit her head and took away her writing ability. I will do my best and will have to remain nearby to keep helping her.”
“She was found just outside the southern garden. There might be evidence there.”
The southern gardens were the most beautiful place in the valley. Rachelle commonly went out there for inspiration. There was no gate, instead an opening in the short, stone wall. This was the beginning of a footpath that led into the forest. The atmosphere felt odd, but Ally didn’t know why.
Until, she noticed a strange figure standing in the forest watching. She asked the guard that insisted on going with her, what it was.
He didn’t respond, but looked worried. His look turned to fear when the figure threw something in their direction. “Get down!”
Ally dove to the ground.
“Get indoors and stay there until this is over. Find the help of other guards. Find Rachelle and Irma and stay hidden. This guy can do more harm to you than me. Go now.”
Ally, used to taking orders, ran toward the mansion. She, along with Irma and Rachelle, watched as two different battles raged on below the balcony.
“What are those things?”
“Writer Blocks, more commonly called Blocks,” Irma responded. “They are evil creatures that attack characters and scribes. It is their goal to destroy every idea and character. They can kill characters with the weapon they throw. They can’t kill scribes, but can hurt them enough to stop writing. Other beings can only be injured. Rachelle must have been attacked by one. I don’t like where this is going.”
“What is happening then?” Ally questioned.
“Where there is one, there is always more. This might be the beginning of a Block invasion. I should have known.” Ally and Irma jumped because Rachelle said this. “At a bad time. We have enough trouble with this civil war.”
“We will certainly lose this fight if we are divided as we already are. The creatures of this valley must unite to win. It must be true unity.” Irma stated.
“Do you have any idea how long it has been since unity existed between characters? This won’t be easy.” Rachelle pointed out.
“I don’t know if it is my peaceful and optimistic nature, but I think we can unite and win. If the other characters see what will happen, they will come together.” Ally hoped.
“Look!” Irma exclaimed. “It seems that the block attack has been defeated in the southern garden. That will give us time to unite and prepare for another war. Rachelle will have to get the characters to stop fighting among themselves by sunset to have time before the Blocks regroup.”
Irma ordered that guards be sent out to gather the characters by the balcony so that Rachelle could give her speech. There was a procession of characters on the roads toward the mansion. Some small fights still continued in the crowd. The three of them stood in view of everyone and Irma called for attention. Rachelle began,
“I know that there is competition to see who gets written first, but you have to put that behind. I apologize for my injury that made me to be unable to write. You have the right to know what caused this. I was attacked by a Writer Block.”
Rachelle paused to let that sink in and many gasps escaped the crowd. The small fights stopped.
She continued, “We cannot stand another attack or an invasion if we are fighting each other. We must unite.”
The crowd seemed uncertain and fidgeted nervously.
Ally stepped in. “I am a character just like all of you. I know what it’s like. Earlier today I would have felt the same, but I have been attacked by a Block. They pose a real threat. If we can’t unite, then the Blocks will destroy everything. No one’s story will be written. Without written account, your stories die with you.”
The crowd seemed more confident and Rachelle whispered to Ally, “Thank you,” and addressed the crowd. “Everyone has something to offer. So can we unite to save this valley?” She raised her voice for effect.
The crowd was determined. For the first time since the beginning of the written language, the characters of the Valley of the Unrecorded were fully united.