Guardian of the Rag Temple – Short Story Challenge

Scan 108.jpeg

Normally I don’t post my pictures with any explanation but these were two images I found in an old sketch book, and on the back I’d written:

The temple of Rags was little known and quite forgotten place of worship, high in the mountains.  Because of it’s diminutive status, many questioned the validity of it having two guardians, let alone two such powerful one, but it it was well guarded, and had been for generations.

Kara’skance sat perched just outside of the door keeping watch for the rare visitors who would come to tie fabric to the lines inside the temple.  As far as chaos angels went she wasn’t particularly beautiful.  Her vibrant hair was hacked short and she had only 5 tattoos, meager, even for cherubim.  The customary three tattoos around her eye to denote her family and choir standing and a large black sun on her shoulder.  The last was a small black moon on her collar bone, small for a powerful symbol, but she had never been one for vanity.  She wore no clothes or trappings of human modesty.  Her shame was hidden by a guardian cap and a halo shad inherited from her predecessor, the swirls of which would seem old fashioned and weak in comparison o the thick bold halos of the younger guardians from the grand southern temples.

“you’ll get cold sitting out there.”  She wouldn’t she never did.

“I can feel something coming.”  It had been a tingle in her toes and fingers for the last week but now it had spread to a bitter taste on her tongue.  It grew sharper and more acrid with every passing cloud accross the sun.

“probably just another pilgrim.”  She felt the rolling heat of ancient magic slide up behind her.  Makoumi had been at the temple long before her and had once joked he would be there long after it had fallen into dust.  “Or another flock of ja’ja birds.”  His tongue lumbered around each syllable clumsily.  It used to amuse Kara’skance how much effort he put into physical speech, most of his kind never bothered.  She didn’t tease him any more, the last time she had she had woken up with six poisonous trakar in her bed.  It had taken two weeks of vomiting in order to clear her system.  Makoumi had denied all knowledge but there had been a decidedly smug sheen to his scales.

“No, not this time.  it will be here in time for Tonar.”  Moon rise, bitter tastes always led to moonrise.

“Then I still have time for a nap.”  With that he floated back inside.  Kara’skance knew she’s find him coiled on the alter rags.  When she first arrived she had recoiled at this blasphemy.  She had tried to get the dragon to sleep elsewhere, but he was stubborn.

I refuse to sleep on that itchy pile of twigs you call a mattress.  He would say haughtily, while smoke curled from his nostrils.  Besides when you are born of the very heart of the earth you can sleep where you damn well please.  

Kara’skance pulled her wings around her and for a moment was so still she seemed to have become the peak of the mountain.  Tonar as several hours away yet, and she needed to sweep the temple floors.  Dust would be useful though, if something terrible was looming.

An hour before Tonar she drifted back inside to meditate in her customary position in front of the alter where Makoumi dozed.

“It will be here soon.”

Scan 109

And that was all I wrote apparently.  Obviously a jumping off point for these drawings.  I thought completing this story might be a nice challenge for someone.  If you feel like continuing a story, post a link in the comments below, and link back here.  


4 thoughts on “Guardian of the Rag Temple – Short Story Challenge

  1. writingbolt says:

    Definitely tempting. [Though, I seem to recall you posting a dragon image some time ago when I first discussed with you about a possible art exchange (which sadly we have not gotten around to completing). No worries/rush.]

    So, you wrote all of that how long ago? And, was this a completely original concept or with some tie to known local mythology?

    Technically, to complete such a story, I’d likely have to know more about the characters or make that much up and then write about another 100 pgs. to explain what it is they were anticipating and what it unleashed upon the world and how they resolved the matter, if there is a resolution and not just a whimsical or tragic ending. But, maybe I could drum up the next few pages.

    Exquisite drawing of this Kara’skance and the mountain temple. The dragon kinda crowds her a bit without a more aesthetic curve to his body.

    Liked by 1 person

    • PMu says:

      Now could be our chance to exchange.

      I think I must have written this nearly 10 years ago, and it was purely the idea that temples and worship often seem very ornate and wouldn’t it be interesting if worship was based on leftovers like rags.

      Thank for you nice comments, would love to see whatever you feel called to produce in response


      • writingbolt says:

        I am under some intense personal and social pressure right now, so anything creative is essentially taboo til I get more time to free my mind. But, I do want to write a few pages to go with your starter story as soon as possible.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. writingbolt says:

    All right. It’s been a month? And, I don’t want this to slip away from me. So, I managed to write two measly paragraphs to get your story cooking. [I just got a bit of my mojo back to work on my fifth book in a series I’m working on.]

    Here’s what I’ve got thus far:

    As the moon showed its face, an unsettling fog swept over the land, unseen by the two guardians who had resigned to rest. On that eve of Tonar, a festival in which the neighboring villages rang bells in unison at sunrise, a sinister force sought to collect something from each temple that had been placed there in secret long ago.

    Hidden among the rags, unknown to Kara’skance and long since remembered by Makoumi, an ancient text remained, etched in stone, a piece of a greater manuscript known to the Ancients as the River of Time. If anyone with sufficient power were to assemble this record and unravel its code, they could rewrite history.

    Liked by 1 person

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