Monthly Archives: December 2012

TNSOFT ep. 15

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Princess Cinnamon looked outside. Coco was right, the forest was red. The trees were so tall, taller than any trees she had ever seen in her homeland. And they looked red. It’s not the kind of red like blood, or tomato, or lips. It’s red like terracotta bricks. A slightly orange red. Princess Cinnamon was in awe.

“That’s so beautiful, Coco,” she said without answering Coco’s question.

Coco looked so annoyed. Now she wished she could speak in this foreign language. Symphony, learned from decades of experiences recognised the childish impatience in her eyes. She nudged Princess Cinnamon, disrupted her daydream and pointed at Coco with a movement of her eyeballs.

“Oh, she wanted to know about this red woods,” Princess Cinnamon told Symphony, leaving the fact that she was as curious as her handmaiden.

Symphony’s grandmotherly expression calmed Coco’s rage. She started to explain, softly and slowly, giving time for the excited princess pass the knowledge to the eager sidekick.

“The woods isn’t always red. It’s only the time of the year when wind blows stronger and the weather becomes icy cold the leaves would turn from green to reddish. It’s the sign for the farmers to start finishing their last harvest of the year, and for the tradesmen to stock up for when the land dried and the ice falls from the sky.

“At that time of the year, what you’ve seen red would turn to sparkling white. You would see a shiny silver line on the horizon and a slight gleam of the lazy sun rises in the morning. In the afternoon the sun would set faster, people would go home earlier as it would be too cold to walk in the street. Fathers or the oldest sons would start bringing firewood to their hearth and mothers would distribute hot milk to the kids. And wine to the adults to keep them warm and happy.

“And then after the first sprouts coming from the ground, the wind would change its direction and suddenly the land is warmer. It would be wet, and fertile, some old folks would start to gather and send offerings to the spirits of the land, and farmers would start working again. The woods would be green as the young leaves would grow and replaced the old ones. And when you breathe you can smell the sweet smell of roses. And when you try to listen carefully enough, you will hear bees working to gather honey.

“Then the weather would be too nice for you to stay indoors. Summer. I think it would remind you a little about your homeland. The golden sun would warm the soil and everything golden would rise from there. The corn, the wheat, the sunflower. I’m lucky I’m no longer teaching, so I can enjoy the sea.

“As the circle completed, the golden forest would slowly burnt into terracotta colour again. Like what you see now. And those are the four seasons,” Symphony finished her tale. Princess Cinnamon, Coco and Melody were staring at her completely dazed by how Symphony describe everything.

“Hey Coco,” Princess Cinnamon poked her and whispered. “Now I bet you are not as sorry as you were before for following me to this land. We have to stay at least one whole circle to witness the magic of the four seasons.”

“You’re surprisingly right, My Princess. But why are you whispering?” Coco replied, also whispering.

“I don’t want to ruin the magical moment we’re having now.”

“Trust me Princess, it doesn’t matter anymore now, since you’ve already ruined it when you poked my hand,” Coco looked at her apologetically.

Bybyq, M.A.

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Yes, my dear ladies and gentlemen. I can now officially congratulate myself as the award confirmation from the university was sent to me this week, the result itself has been delivered to my parents’ house in Solo. Not too bad indeed.

Finishing my degree means a lot to me. It means that I can do things that I thought was impossible… I remember how scared I was before I started the degree. Not about the fact that I’d leave home (I was pretty ecstatic about that), but the fact that I had this “moody” tendency, and quitting habit. I didn’t quit, and in fact, I did my degree pretty well. I am proud of what I did 🙂

I know I don’t need to prove myself to anybody, but acquiring this new title would show my parents that I deserve this. I showed them that I have the capacity of getting better. I showed them that I might not be as “normal” as the other kids their relatives and friends have, but I can do more in different ways. I hope this also showed them that I don’t need to get married to be happy… I just need to go to school….

It also means I have achieved one of my 100 things to do before I die. It is one of the lifetime achievements, and I did it. Not too bad for someone who took seven fucking years before actually finish her bachelor degree.

Anyway…

I also wanted to thank everybody who helped me and supported me through this process. My readers who encouraged me to move forward. Thank you 🙂

TNSOFT ep. 14

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Coco thought she had to stop being a whining little brat. The journey to the Fortress City wasn’t as bad as she had imagined before. Even, she quite enjoyed the trip although now she couldn’t just admit it to the princess how wrong she was. The road wasn’t as smooth as one in the city, but it was quite big and not at all bumpy like what those nosey merchants in the market said to her. Coco couldn’t take her eyes off the window of the carriage which took them to the Fortress City.

Just when they passed the city wall, they would see the houses became less and less, until one point they can only see the huge land. The farmland. The cows looked a little bit bigger than those in their own kingdom, so did the sheeps and horses. Behind them, a grey sky and a silhouette of the mountain. The Queen’s Mountain.

And instead of robbers stopping them on their way, they had a very nice company for their small adventure. Even when they started to enter the little forrest, which marked the border between the farms and the compound of huge buildings where they took all the products from the farms and distribute it all over the four kingdoms. Or at least that was what their nice new friend told them.

It’s an old lady and her grand daughter who shared the rent of the carriage with Coco and the princess. Her hair is almost all white, and it scared Coco a little. Old person always reminded her of her dead great grand parents who lost in the sea – her parents said their ghost were protecting their house. She couldn’t believe she remembered that, it must have been more than fifteen years since she saw her parents. When she thought this, she regretted a little for not seeing them before she left because she might never came back.

Coco glad she did not understand what the old lady told them, because apparently she talked a lot. Princess Cinnamon looked so enthusiastic listening and replying, and sometimes translating to Coco some interesting new fact she just found out from her new buddy. And that was quite distracting for Coco who would rather enjoying the mystifying little woodland outside the carriage than drowning in the information overload their carriage-mate presented to them cheerily.

Her name was Symphony, and her little granddaughter who has been sleeping since they entered the forrest was Melody. Symphony had been a governess in a very rich family in the Harbour City for decades and just this year she decided to dedicate herself for her own family. She reminded Princess Cinnamon to the teachers the Queen hired to educate her- who always impressed her with new things. But in her kingdom, teachers are jobs for males, she was so astonished that in this land, women could teach too.

Symphony told her about the history about the cities in the kingdoms. She told them about how the Fortress City had changed over the centuries, and what had happened before the forts had been built. She said it used to be a busy city where the merchants from all over the world came and trade. They had a big port and a lot of alehouse where the sailors young and old would gather and found ladies to have fun with.

“Unfortunately,” Symphony frowned when she said this, as if she had to break a bad news. “The Red Beards – the most ruthless land and sea conqueror, the big vicious pirates who killed men and rape women in the cities of course after they burnt down all the emptied warehouses – came with a hundred warships and threatened the sailors and the merchants. They stopped trading in the Fortress City, and went to the Harbour City instead.”

“The ruling king at that time built fortresses at the cliff and the shoreline, and sunk the Red Beard’s ships. Some survived but they flee and landed in the northern islands. It is said they created a new civilisation there,” Symphony shrugged. Princess Cinnamon translated this to Coco who was then quite impressed by how the princess could make herself useful at something. Coco shivered a little every time she recalled the days when she had to train her cooking and bed-making skills.

“The city was never returned to its glory though. The war took too long so that when it’s over the merchants had decided to move completely to the Harbour City. Of course there are local market there, but Fortress City was never as big as it used to be. But, this unfortunate event had resulted to the city’s hidden treasures,” said Symphony. The princess eyes widened when she heard that.

“Every year the city would have a one month festival to celebrate their victory upon the Red Beards. Their best musicians would perform every night and day near the city castle, which was actually a very big fortress where all the townsfolk hid every time the Red Beards attacked the city. This city spawned with musicians. And poets too, but most of them are musicians. Their musicians would go all over the land to perform, and go back to their hometown to perform in the Victory Month Festival,” the little Melody woke up just when her grandmother mentioned festival. Princess Cinnamon wondered if she was ever asleep to begin with.

But unlike Melody, Coco couldn’t care less about the music festival. She just realised how odd the forrest was when the wind blew one falling leaf through the window. The leaf was red. The whole forrest was red. And for the first time since she sat inside the carriage, she asked the princess a question.

“Why is the forrest red? What kind of tree is that?”
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