Jinksy organises this challenge here
Image copyright Jinksy
From his vantage point on the mountain peak he looked down on the monastery with its fortified lodge. It once had been an emperor’s stronghold, the mountains behind defying invasion, the flat land before allowing no hiding place. When the last empire collapsed a calmer realm evolved; its peoples, sickened by the old tales of bloodlust and inhumanity, had turned to the gods of nature for direction. The fort became a temple and its priests invoked the spirits of trees and rocks, water and air to temper and guide them.
Years passed and the memories of the old empire faded. The people were content but neither questioned nor wished to progress. For them the turning of the year was a mystery, the passage of day and night even more so. They relied on their priests to ensure that the sun would travel the sky each day and the new order of priests believed that the brilliance of sunrise and sunset indicated a colossal, omnipotent god who must be assuaged if he were to allow his face to be seen each day.
Sandstone slabs were hauled into place by sweating labourers who believed that their priests knew the correct rituals to follow and when they proclaimed that human hearts were necessary to propitiate the Sun God, they were sad but resigned. Each family hoped that it would be spared but as the priests chose so they accepted. So time went on and the new religion took occupancy.
All this he pondered as he gazed on the landscape from his eyrie. The vivid blues and purples contrasted strongly with the lush green of trees and bushes and the silvery stream and meadow flowers. The land was nonetheless powerful and strange, steeped in myth and primeval fears.
The photograph he mailed to his mother was the last she received from him. When she received the news that he had fallen to his death she wept and grieved but took his last image and translated it into embroidery.
Backstitch, chain stitch, stem stitch, satin stitch, lazy daisy, feather stitch – and finally, French knots, which matched her tears as she completed the picture.