This is a story about tradition, fate, doubth, fear and duty, set in a world on a disk held together by a snake and inhabited by both humans, animals and the creatures of myths. It follows the life of a young girl from the end of her childhood and through her travels to become one of the leading figures of her world. It tells of cultures, differences, trust and religion, but first and formost about what it is to be a social creature, in a world where free will may not be as real an option as it might seem.
The sun rose slowly over the ridge of Eserkatir’s body, warming the blood flowing through the enormous creature. Eserkatir had not existed forever, but no man or spirit in the cracked world it was holding together could remember a time when it had not been there. No-one any longer remembered why the world had cracked, and if it had not been for the constant reminder of the snake’s body along the horizon no-one would even remember that it was there. No-one except the edge-people, but few further in on the cracked plate remembered even them. If it wasn’t for the trade they might have lost all contact with the central continent, but there was the trade, and there was no way either of their societies would work without it, wish as they might do.
As the sun’s light flowed across the plate, soon reaching the head and tail of the snake, halfway between the rise and set, life started moving all over its surface. It was far from the truth that life stopped during the night, in fact some of the creatures living in the world woke up first when the sun disappeared below the set point on the snake’s body, but by far the largest proportion of inhabitants woke up and started their day when the sun’s light reached their homes. One of these inhabitants was called Varena, and just as Eserkatir closed its eyes against the light flowing towards it she was turning over in her bed and groaning.
Varena had never been a morning person. It simply wasn’t her time of day, but she had never had much of a choice when it came to getting out of bed or not. As soon as the sun shone in thought the smoke holes in the roof she knew she had to get up and out from under the covers. She had duties to fulfill, and Ravna had never been the most patient teacher in the village. In fact, Ravna had very little patience with anything she thought of as non-sense, and sleeping after sunrise was on topping her list of non-sense things to be doing in the morning. Keeping her eyes shut, Varena rolled out of bed and started groping for her clothes.
The thought of showing her own work to Ravna flashed though her mind and sent shivers down her spine. She was certain that she would never get used to the notion, not matter how long it took her to finish the project. The shivers had brought her out of her concentrated study, and she suddenly realized that the sounds of production were once again ringing through the village. The after meal break was over, and it was about high time that she got herself back to Ravna’s workshop to finish her chores and listen to Ravna’s constant advice and instructions. Her mentor never appreciated excuses, and being late because of her own project was not the way to show she was ready to handle the responsibility Ravna had granted her that very morning. Slipping of the rock she quickly started gathering up her kit, intending to get back to varnish and pots as soon as possible.
In her hurry she did not hear the woman walking up behind her before a finger tapped her on her shoulder and a voice spoke to her from straight behind her back. “Excuse me girl, would you mind telling me where I am?” Varena dropped her kit and screamed.