Thursday, November 6

The Broken Kaolin

Word Count: 1024 Average Read Time: 5:08 Time Finished: Early Morning on Sixth Day, Post Writer’s Block

A small benefit of the Kaolin being so fragile was how quickly physical pain passed.

Tale lay in the middle of the road, half embedded in the mud beneath her. There was no pain anymore, that had lasted until she’d passed out. When she woke, she felt fine… though she had not yet worked up the courage to actually move her body and inspect the damage. To do so, she would have acknowledge the extent to which she’d have to be fixed up.

What happened? Who did this to me?

These were the thoughts she let dominate her mind instead. All she knew for sure was a horse had knocked her on her back, and then there was a share pain in her upper arm, near her shoulder. She listened carefully, holding her breath, to check her surroundings.

There was no horse nearby. They must have left.

Enough, then, Tale told herself, as she reached back with her arms to push herself up out of the muddy road. If another cart comes, they might see me even less, lying in the road like this. She felt her left hand sink into the mud, but could not feel her right…

And she toppled over as she pushed with all of her strength. In front of her face, just a few feet away, was her right arm: Dainty fingers and all, but no longer hers, as she could not feel it. She could feel the joy drain from her face and chest as she realized her plight.

Full breaks happened, from time to time, among the Kaolin. They were certainly not common, though, and no one Tale knew had ever suffered through one. Her left hand shot to where her right shoulder… And felt the hard, gritty surface left by such an ordeal as a broken limb.

She began to sob.

Retrieving the arm now separated from its proper place, she pushed herself up with just her left side. With as much grace as she could manage, she held it to her in the truest of sorrows.

Fixing this kind of damage required money. Money to pay the Kaolin Forger to work on her, and even find one who could do so. Money to live off of without a second arm, as she could certainly not serve others now. And most of all, money to buy all of the expensive supplies she needed to use in her recovery process, lest the joint become brittle… and break again.

This accident, this beautiful raining morning, would serve to dictate the events for the rest of Tale’s year, perhaps even the rest of her life. After all, she was Kaolin, not a simple doll or statue: Kaolin were alive. And if her arm was further damaged, or lost… well, she mustn’t think about that. She simply needed to get it fixed.

Fantas was her home, but it held little hope for her now, unless she wanted to take to the streets and beg. She would have to find some way to gain the coin she needed. Perhaps she could plead with her Kilnmates, who lived 3 weeks South in the village of Caron.

She began to walk back to her house, to clean herself up and gather some things. They had not spoken in many years, but she felt as though she had no other choice but to ask for help. If she had an address… and an arm… she might have written them, to have expedited the process. But instead, she resigned herself to travel South, to regain that which had been taken from her.

She held her arm tight; it was the most important thing she owned, now.

Much more important than her collection of scarves, though that had also been damaged in the accident. She could easily see that her favorite one, the yellow one with the pattern on the end, could no longer be called a part of that illustrious group. Though… the stained and dirty length of fabric might still have a use, so long as she could make it home.

Which happened without much event. A small pleasure she was everlessly thankful for.

She modified her ruined scarf to hold her arm securly and tightly on her back. She tested it (with a large, heavy tuber in place of her arm) in various ways: Jumps, falls, lunges, and the like. After an hour of tweaking, she was satisfied that it was up to the task, and began to put together her effects.

Working with just one arm was extremely disorienting to Tale. The Kaolin’s carefully practiced and planned movement’s were a boon in most situations: They allowed grace and efficiency where there would otherwise simply be squalor and sloth. But take away a hand (let alone an entire limb!) and Tale’s practiced movements became as useless as a suit of Kaolin clothing.

Things which used to take seconds, such as folding a cloth, were now multiple minute marathons. And things which used to take minutes, like untying her nice leather messenger bag with the pretty petal stitching around its flap, were impossible until she resigned herself to using her teeth.

Fortunately, other than gold, a few bits of food, and (of course) her arm, she did not need to take too much with her. But it was vital that she not forget anything: Her time was short, as short as she could possibly make it, before she needed to be back to stay.

She was placing her lucky charm (A deck of Kaolin-style playing cards, which she had had since she was a very fresh child, with a yellow-sun back) into her leather shoulder bag when she heard an odd banging noise.

Bang Bang Bang.

She stopped in her tracks to look over her ruined shoulder.

Bang Bang Bang.

She wondered what it was, and what it could mean. And then she remembered a little Otherian oddity that fit with this situation. One she had nearly forgotten in the tragedy of this bittersweet day.

And she rushed, or as much as Kaolin ever do, to answer the knock at the door.

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