Fantasy Fiction posted September 29, 2017

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Storyteller Square

Lyr 's Bazaar

by Apostle Janos

There was an alley in the suburbs of Lyr where a small staircase on the side of a house leads downwards under the hill. It used to be hardly visited, but you could climb it all the way up and it would lead you to a secret space, called the Storyteller Square. The buildings surrounding the square were mostly empty and abandoned. Nobody lived there apart from the general store owner, and a few elders who liked to talk and argue. In this neighbourhood lay the secret of the city. During the month of Calena, the square was booming with life. Artists from around the city, and even the kingdom, gathered there for the annual storytelling games.

During that time especially, the suburb was the only spot in the whole kingdom that did not accept the king's coins. The currency, instead, was stories. Everyone traded in fictive utterances and narrated memories. Merchants, farmers, fishermen, hunters, sailors, they all brought what they had to offer, and required a story in return.

Many improvised and semi-improvised stories were told during the month in this peculiar bazaar. People sharpened their tongues and pencils. Some storytellers gathered there with locked books and carefully hidden manuscripts, unwilling to trade them until the competition started. Maybe they brought with them food and supplies, or minor stories which they could trade to sustain themselves. Other storytellers went there to experiment, test their abilities and enter an environment that fostered their craft. Many attended just to enjoy good stories, and yet most were totally unaware of these secret games of storytelling.

At the end of the month, during the full moon, three leagues of competition took place. The first one had to be in prose, the second in poetry, and the third in drama. Some participants competed as teams, others as individuals, and as the contests progressed only the first continued as participants, sometimes evolving the same story in different presentations. Those who failed continued as voters.

Over the years, those who were enjoying the stories were taking notes. Gradually, a library of stories took shape. The attendants used to write notes on scene direction and musical notes for the final stories, so eventually all these stories were compiled and rewritten to keep records of noteworthy talent. The library still operates under the Storyteller Square rules, only more regulated, functioning like a bank. People can enter and receive story loans, exchange a genre for another, or have the library keep their stories safe.

The secret was too well-known to remain hidden, and is no secret any longer. More and more performers, regulars around the Storyteller Square library, now flood the city's cobbled streets. Wandering bards are welcomed into taverns, mansions and noble courts at all seasons. With circuses, puppeteers and troupes, all so popular in the province, the value of a great story has been elevated above the value of the king's coins. They are part of another economy, which cannot be measured in gold.

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© Copyright 2017. Apostle Janos All rights reserved. Registered copyright with FanStory.
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