Seas of Crimson (3)

The Stonemason:

              Clang! Boom. The sound of pickaxes and hammers ringing at the quarry dig site fired through the modest little building. A faded sign read Stonemason above the doorway. At a neat little wooden desk inside the store sat a man in a gray-brown tunic. In his hands were a hammer and a chisel. Next to the desk on the right were 20 or so neat little statues of various gods and goddesses of Olympus, along with a few mythical creatures. Next to the desk on the left, with piles stacked up in the back of the store, taking up most of the space, were at least 400 precision-carved blocks of unrefined stone ranging anywhere from a fraction of a pound to 200 pounds in weight. Each one had an exact measurement of the dimensions and weight, even the type of stone, (and, of course, the price) on rough, yellowed tags tied to the blocks with thin cords.

            As the man sat watching the storefront with weary gray eyes behind dented glasses, ashen hair covering his eyebrows and pale forehead, his scarred, mighty hands and arms seemed to work on their own. The man absently carved down a hunk of granite, smoothing out the sides and creating precise edges to what was becoming a nearly perfect cube. Then, once he was done, he cast his eyes down at his work and began to chisel away at the cube in earnest. His hands vibrated this way and that, to and fro, sculpting the plain cube into something of beauty. He had become so absorbed in his work that he did not even notice when someone entered. A gruff voice remarked, “That’s not bad, that is.”

            The man in the store looked up to see one of the miners from the quarry. It was Mitotius, of whom he was fairly fond, partially because of the large amount of his mined stone Mitotius sold to the man to use at such a low price. For the man was indeed a stonemason, one of the best in the city of Dorotia, though not too well known. He was given the name of Solomon, but being as laconic and quiet as he was, few knew his name, even fewer than sold stone to him for him to carve or bought his merchandise.

            Nonetheless, Mitotius knew him well, and he continued, gesturing to the detailed granite sculpture of Dorotia Solomon had just carved, “You could sell that for a decent amount of money if anyone knew to buy it. Why don’t you ever go to the market to sell? No one goes within sight of this hellhole of a quarry if they can help it.”

            Solomon replied as he took out a little brush and cleared his desk of stone dust, “You know why. I don’t do well with strangers.”

            Mitotius shrugged. “Good salesmen make the most money.”

            “So, you’re here to sell?”

            “Actually, for once, no. Emperor Caniro has called for a meeting of everyone in the city. We’re supposed to be in front of the palace right now for whatever his announcement is.”

            Solomon, without speaking, nodded, stood, and left the room, following Mitotius, oblivious to the fact that his little shop would be rubble the next time he saw it.

The End

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