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Piece I

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Clover stared at the tall glass of water in front of her.  In in it, green and blue orbs twisted and turned around each other. Their motions left a ghastly helical trail. When Clover took a deep breath, the colors froze. With a gesture of her right hand, a magenta orb descended into the water. She waved both of her arms with great agility and gracefulness. The water, with the hues now spread out, followed her movements. 

        Splash! The colors started to climb out of the glass. Clover closed her eyes and heaved as she did the last strokes. The glass cracked; her work was finished. In front of her laid a sculpture of Black Dragon Wisteria. The water and glass turned into a bonsai wisteria. Its green roots clawed out of the shards of glass and its blue branches arched up and bowed down. Magenta leaves sparkled against the light.

        “ClovEr!”

        “Eek!” Clover pulled her hands to her chest, causing the sculpture to return to its liquid state.

        “What in the heavens!” Edena hissed. Clear water spilled on the table and floor. “Fix up and just clean that up later-.”  A deep, mighty sound reverberating throughout their village cut Edena's chide. The Crafting Ceremony was about to start.

Clover stood amongst the adolescents in the village square. Every year, children aged sixteen years old would receive a craft medallion. The symbol engraved on it symbolized the field of work that the adolescents will study and master.

        “I, Clover Herbard, daughter of Greendale swear to Her Lady and take to witness all mentors and elders in the town to according to my ability and my judgment, the following Oath and agreement …,”  The girl’s shoulders became dull and her arms, heavy after the oath taking.

        Clover’s medallion engraving had two double-headed arrows arranged in crisscross fashion, the symbol for Smiths.

    Smiths were in-charge of crafting steel weapons and jewelry. Blacksmiths became more important in the land since raids became common again. They usually collaborate with woodcraftsmen in creating bigger and more complex weapons. Smiths use body language or mind will in creating pieces.

        Edena waved from the crowd. Her child waved back using her hand that was holding the token. It turned Edena’s smile into a huge grin. She did not notice the coy smile her daughter threw to her.

    In Clover’s mind, she received a medallion engraved with a spiral swirl - the artisan's symbol. Artisans make decorative pieces for the nobles and foreign merchants. Like smiths, artisans could use body language or mind will in crafting their work. Some were gifted with the ability to morph conventional items into glass, marble or steel.

Month after month, Clover’s eye sank deeper and she expressed herself lesser. One day after her lessons at the smithy, she decided to visit a shallow river in the forest at the back of their house. Not far from her destination, she heard giggles.

        Clover’s younger brother and a neighbor’s son were in the water, playing. “Ate*, Make us some art!” Ceylon said. 

        “Little brother, where are your manners?” 

        Ceylon raised his shoulders and covered his mouth. There was some guilt in his eyes. “Hmm, forget about it.” Clover smiled. “Next time, don’t forget to say please when asking favor, a’right?” Her younger brother nodded. 

        The boys sat on a boulder, and Clover put her hands on her waist, “What do you want to see?” She took off her shoes, pulled her hosen up to her knees and dipped into the water. She brought her hands together to form a cup and fetch some water. Her audiences’ eyes grew in excitement.

        “A swordsman!” Derek answered.

        “Silly! Ate cannot make a human shape yet.” Ceylon commented.

        The water began to swirl as she locked her eyes to it. Moments later, the water rose and twirled to form a flower and then it froze. The children were yet to distinguish the sculpture when it turned back into water.

        “Awh! Hold it a little longer.” Clover raised an eyebrow to Ceylon. “- please, Ate?”

      The older sister, poured the remaining water onto her left hand while her right circled above it. A tiny cornflower blue orb emerged between Clover’s hands. She waved her free hand down and the orb dropped into the water. With another hand wave, a two inch sword sprung.

        “Ooh!” The boys said in unison.

        “but it’s so small,” Derek added.

        “At least, it’s NOT the usual flower,” Clover said in an irritated tone.

        “Can I have it?” Derek said.

        “Sure.” Clover handed out the sculpture to Derek. “I’ll make one for you too, Ceylon.” 

      “Thank you, Ate!” Derek examined every angle of it. “Why did you go to Smith Craft instead of Artisan?” Suddenly, the blue sword returned into colorless water.

        Surprised and disappointed, Clover wondered why her sculpture’s form did not permanently hold. “Let’s go home,” she said.

        “Hey, I want another sword,” said Derek.

        “Me first!” said Ceylon.

        Clover turned to them and gave a serious expression.

     “- please Ate,” the boys cooed. “It’s already dusk. Let’s go home.” Clover turned around and started walking. While on their way, she avoided every question the boys threw at her about her craft.

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               Author's note:  *Ate - Filipino nickname for an elder sister.

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