This is the next perk poem for the 2011 Winterfaire. (Double back to read the first one, "All in the Family," which is now complete.) All of these activities will unlock a verse each time someone does one of them:
* link to the Winterfaire page to boost the signal
* comment posting a Booth of your wares/services in the Winterfaire
* buy something from a vendor listed in the Winterfaire
* host a similar holiday market in your own blog or other venue
LiveJournal will notify me of comments to this post and links to it elsewhere on LJ; for everything else, you need to TELL ME in order to get credit for it. This poem is now complete!
"Gallery of Souls" belongs to the Path of the Paladins series, featuring Shahana and Ari as they visit a town to trade for much-needed supplies. It follows "Purity" and "Stained." You can find the other poems about them through the Serial Poetry page. So far participants include: ladysisyphus, clare_dragonfly, oddriddle, dreamwriteremmy, kyleri
The town spread out before them, busy as an anthill.
Shahana recalled the bright city, and this was smaller;
but she remembered her first awed glimpse of it
and kept Ari close to her, the girl's eyes gone wide.
They went to the Hall of Healing to trade
what they had gathered from the unicorns,
the long hairs with their hidden glimmer of energy
and the canteen with a few potent, shining tears.
The healers thanked them effusively,
for as rough as the world had grown, such things
would save lives. They told Shahana and Ari
the list of establishments in the town's trading network.
Then the two women walked to the market.
"The more we spend here, the better the town does
and the better value we get for our goods," Shahana said.
"We can take the remainder in coin, but the rate is not as good."
So they picked up supplies, expanding their camp goods
to cover two better than one. They bought clothes,
and Shahana laughed to see Ari half-delighted, half-appalled
as the girl tested the fit of her sturdy new breeches.
They also hired a messenger to take the sealed packet
of unicorn hairs to Ari's brother Larn, for the farm.
"The new seeds will be sprouting by the time he gets this,"
Ari mused, and Shahana nodded. "I hope it helps."
They stopped at the armory to buy a plain sword
and tough leather armor suited for a novice.
Shahana saw how the new gear changed Ari's stance
as the girl adjusted to the unaccustomed weight.
At last they went to the shop that sold little luxuries.
"Pick something practical enough to travel with,
yet frivolous enough to bring a smile to your face,"
Shahana said to Ari as they strolled the aisles.
Ari chose a tiny mirror, no wider than her palm,
made of burnished steel. For herself, Shahana picked
a cake of pale pink soap that smelled of roses.
They smiled as they browsed a nook devoted to art.
One wall held a selection of paintings --
pastoral scenes of sheep and fields,
naturescapes of flowers and mountains,
chiaroscuro castles standing fast.
Ari paused in front of one painting
that showed a stormy sky rendered in
gloomy blues and painful grays, its sky
sliced by a line of brilliant yellow-white lightning.
"You keep staring at that one," Shahana said.
"It reminds me of Johan," Ari explained.
"Shahana, do you think that Gailah sees us this way?
As a gallery of souls to enrich her temple?"
With a pang, Shahana remembered the bright temple
filled with paladins, each unique, all beautiful.
She pulled Ari close and kissed the top of her head.
Shahana said softly, "I do now."