The Sculptor and the Clay Mage
Photo by Robin Benzrihem on Unsplash
Shell smiled as she chiselled away, sinking into the minuscule sensations that made her soul sing; the feel of gristle between her fingers, the gentle clink of hammer on chisel, motes catching sunlight streaming through the window, the faint taste of chalk and the slow but inevitable form emerging from her work.
She sighed and leaned back from her work, massaging the ache in her back.
The doors burst open and Mydlan bustled in.
“Morning.” Shell said, sipping from her water, grimacing as she copped a top layer of settling dust.
“Isn’t it!” Mydlan said, marching up to the giant block of clay in the centre of the workshop.
“Are you going to get to work today?”
“Not at all, I purchased a spell.” He rifled through his satchel.
“You shouldn’t trust mage spells, they wear off.”
“No I bought the spell itself!” He emphasised, producing a runed parchment. “I can sell the workings to my students. Think of the profits Shell.”
“You’re going to charge people to cast a sculpture out of nothing?” Shell swivelled on her stool and cocked her head at Mydlan. “What’s the point?”
“The point my dear is that people have no time for skills these days. Who wants to sit around chiselling at stone all day for the rest of their life?” He spun to face Shell, “Ah… sorry.”
Shell shrugged and placed down her tools. “The true joy is not in the sculpture my young friend. It is in the process, in each little step towards your eventual goal. Once the goal is achieved, that joy is a memory. Sure, you can share that joy with others, but it’s only part of the journey.”
“Bah!” Mydlan read from the scroll and waved his hand erratically, sparks of violet crackled around the clay. “No time for any of that, we could be out doing…”
“Are you sure you even want to be a sculptor?” Shell asked.
The sparks swirled and the clay formed into an ancient warrior, detailed and coloured to perfection.
“Not bad at all.” Mydlan admired the product.
The silence stretched between them.
“Now what?” Shell asked.
“Now… now I go do other things, teach other students how to do this for a fee!”
Shell took in the partially formed lump of stone she had spent months on, then towards Mydlan’s finished piece. No gristle, no clinking, no slow, captivating realisation of form.
“It won’t last,” Shell said, picking up her tools. “People will want more.”
“Bah!” Mydlan turned and bustled from the room as suddenly as he had entered.
Shell was left with silence.
The new statue of clay began to droop and deform, which was lost on Shell as she found her place again, found her soul singing again. The feel of gristle between her fingers, the gentle clink of hammer on chisel, motes catching sunlight streaming through the window, the faint taste of chalk and the slow but inevitable form emerging from her work.
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