clare_dragonfly: woman with green feathery wings, text: stories last longer: but only by becoming only stories (Witchy: moon child)
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Title: The Chapel in the Thorns
Word count: 647
Rating: G
Prompt: Daughters of Clio: the old chapel
Notes: Set probably twenty or thirty years after the apocalypse.

“Are you sure it’s worth the time?” Geran asked doubtfully.

Thelir shoved him lightly. “Taia says there’s something here. So, there’s something here. We just have to find out what it is and if we can use it.”

“Fine, but why us?”

“Because they don’t need us to guard, and I think they want me out of the way while Alah has her baby. Come on.” Thelir slashed her knife through the undergrowth again. She wished she had some kind of thick covering for her hands. There were a lot of thorns around here. Maybe they’d once been berry plants, but they were long dead now.

“There it is!” she cried triumphantly as the tip of her knife scraped brick. “See, it’s some kind of building.”

“Or it’s just a wall,” grumbled Geran, but he slashed at the thorns too, clearing them away to her left. “You go right, I’ll go left. Shout if you find a door.”

“Of course.” She worked steadily at it. Before long she passed what had been a window; there was a vine creeping in through the empty space, which she slashed through. She knew the rule: if there were plants growing on a building they could use, it didn’t matter what kind of plant it was, it needed to be killed. They no longer had the supplies or skills to repair the building. Thelir didn’t remember when they ever had.

A few minutes later, she heard a shout from Geran, and dashed around the path they’d left empty along the sides of the building. He’d turned a corner and found an entranceway, slender columns of metal holding the spaces open. There must have been glass there once, too. Sure enough, when she looked down, there was broken glass at her feet.

“Be careful,” she warned, stepping carefully over the glass. It was dark inside, what with the trees and vines having grown to cover all the windows. She opened the pouch at her waist and took out a candle. She held it out to Geran, and he lit it with the matches he carried. Then they stepped into the building, silent and careful. They knew enough to be cautious about what could be hiding in here. She kept her knife in her right hand.

At first it didn’t seem like there was anything inside. The building hadn’t fallen down, though, so that was good. They could definitely use this for something. Then Thelir saw something that made her stop and gasp.

“What is it?” Geran asked from just behind her shoulder.

“It’s one of the old chapels,” she said softly, astonished. She took a step forward and held the candle higher so Geran could see. “Look.”

Every wall was covered in books. There were walls between the walls, shelves upon shelves of books. Thelir had never seen so many books.

“This is amazing!” Geran cried. He pulled a book off the shelf and opened it, holding it close to the candle so he could read it. “‘It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.’ They believed this stuff?”

“Careful,” Thelir said, pulling the candle away from the fragile paper. “I don’t they believed everything here. They wrote down a lot of stuff. Let’s look around a little more.”

The building was smaller than she’d anticipated, only a few rooms, and parts of it had, it turned out, fallen down; a whole corner was crushed, the books apparently unreadable. But there were so many other things to read. Thelir’s fingers itched to pick them up and read them all, but she knew they had to take the news back to the adults first.

But Taia would be pleased. Delighted. It wasn’t the safest thing to be around all these books, but oh, it was such a thrill.

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Clare-Dragonfly

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