Saturday, 23 July 2011

Two in Tandem Embroidery

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. 

19 comments:

  1. Oh dear, how very sad.
    Were you describing mankind and its travels through the millennia?

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  2. Lovely story. I'd love it more if somehow you could leave the ending ambiguous . . was his death/wasn't it somehow the last sacrifice to the Gods? If that was your intention, I feel it needs to be just a little stronger.

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  3. Just wonderful. A beautiful piece of writing. It moved me...Hugs xx

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  4. Beautiful images, story, language... and I love the surprise ending.

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  5. I love your last paragraph with all the embroidery stitches- especially the French knot tears! I thought that was what they looked like too, as they appeared under my 'pen/brush!' You read my mind...
    Interesting story, too...Thanks.♥

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  6. Ah fabulous...all the elements of life that really matter, offered in magnetic metaphors that pull the reader along. Imaginative truth.

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  7. Deep and moving. Loved the embroidery - where is it from? Dx

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  8. Thank you, folks:-)
    Doctor FTSE - I had thought to link the death to a final sacrifice but just couldn't get there. As usual, I rushed through this challenge - 'must take more care.'

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  9. I was reading about Mexican history last night (planning a trip there in winter) and this story... Wow!

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  10. Oh, the death as sacrifice is an interesting idea, I hope you develop it. I very much like your closing description of the mother's embroidery.

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  11. A fine story Janice. I'm always impressed by the depth of your writing.

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  12. Like ccchampagne, I was thinking of Mexican history, but theirs was not the only civilization requiring human sacrifice. For some reason, the practice is found in the histories of many peoples.
    Beautiful ending, Janice. Wonderful you were able to read Jinksy's mind so well.

    —Kay, Alberta, Canada

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  13. Sweet and sad--and nicely done as always.
    p.s. thanks for your visit and kind encouragment

    Happy weekend!

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  14. Love that mural and the story that goes with it. Art is like that, stories too.

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  15. I found it fascinating how you moved from bloodlust and inhumanity through war to a religion which eventually ended in human sacrifice. Another form of bloodlust and inhumanity.

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  16. The beautiful image acquired life in your haunting tale. I read your comment above, I was wondering why you didn't tie his fall into the myth. I definitely understand about the time constraints and finishing posts. It is still a well written story which I very much enjoyed.

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  17. What a beautiful story!

    Hope you're having a good weekend.

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  18. Another sad story inspired by this picture. What is wrong with you people?
    I just saw a beautiful garden ;-)

    Have I told you that I just love all those garden flower photos in your sidebar? They are so pretty. And summery. Unlike the weather at the moment ;-)

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  19. Very imaginative. I agree with Dr FTSE about the ending though.

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