Weaver’s Box, part 9


Once Toko had her materials, it did not take her long to weave her amulet. She used her mother’s piece as a model for size, but changed the shape of it. 

She started weaving from the bottom and as she worked, each color meant something to her. Mauve-pink was her life as Sonee-array, her life before being brought here. She still was not sure if she’d been kidnapped or her father had bargained away her life to marry her mother. Who had told her that? She could not remember anymore. But none of them could be trusted anyway. It did not matter. Nanna would help her, of that she was sure.

Nanna, Nanna,`

And my life so good.

Nanna, Papa,

And the love that stood.

The brown represented her life as Toko, her life here, the one bright spot, the one coral bead represented her love of weaving and the joy it brought her. 

Trials and tribulations

Let them end.

Tribulations and trials,

No more to send.

The rust was her escape. She knew it would be hard, so she placed the blue beads in that section for calm and devotion. Clear thinking. Clear purpose. Transcendence.

Transcend, Transcend 

And out of my way.

No longer to stay.

Next came the blue section, representing what she wanted for her life after she escaped, when she would be Sonsee again. A calm blue field that brought forth the bright coral spots, represented the skills she had learned here. She could not image a future with out dyeing and weaving, too.

Open and free

So let me be.

Then what? That part of her life was so far off, she could not even imagine it.  But love came to her. She wanted to know the security and love of her childhood.

Childhood dreams,

Childhood wishes,

Bring them forth,

In all my dishes.

In all my dishes? Where did that come from? Toko laughed to herself and imagined eating dishes of childhood wishes. It was the best she could do.

Initially, she wove the pink all the way to the top corner, but it did not look right. The piece needed to be good enough to sell at the market. So she undid it and tried the blue. Again it did not work. That left the rust or the brown. But the rust was the hard part, escaping, and she knew that would mean fear. No, she decided, it had to be the brown. Well, there is hardship, but there is hope, too. She quickly slipped one last coral bead in to bring her solace. 

Besides, she could always do another amulet and change that part later. Now she needed to escape and whatever the cost, whatever the bargain, she would accept that.

As she worked, she wondered about the middle bead. At times it looked like roiling blue seas. At others, she saw fire in the corals. She’d spin it around and around again, looking for the calmest part. And vowed to make no chants that would….What? Do my chants really make things happen? That was hard to believe. And if chants did affect the future, why did the others not know that secret? It was so simple.  Is that what my mother did with the amulet? Is that why she unwoven it? And re-wove it again? To change her past, or to change her future? 

When finally the piece was done and the ties braided in, she did one last thing. She took one of the bronze embellishments from her mother’s piece and attached it to hers. Surely Nanna will recognize that!  

Now the problem was to get it to market. Toko could not take it to Ana. She’d stolen the beads and surely Ana would recognize them. Besides the bronze embellishment would certainly give her intentions away. No, I have to sneak it out somehow. And pray Nanna sees it.

Her best hope was Marta. But could Marta be trusted with her secret? No, Toko decided. But the next time Marta was sent to the market, Toko made it her job to help Marta pack her wares. And the time after that, and the time after that. 

As they folded the wares, Toko asked about the market. What was it like? What kind of people bought their wares? Marta told her tales about the customers, not once mentioning Nanna, or anyone from her father’s house. But Toko did learn that the most colorful pieces were unfolded and hung, especially the scarves and other adornments. The servants would buy the tablecloths and linens for the household, but the rich ladies would buy the attractive pieces. 

Then one morning Toko went down to help Marta, but she was nowhere to be seen. Toko slipped her piece in the folds of a particularly colorful scarf.  If it fell out and Nanna was around…… I need to make sure that happens!

Grateful that nobody saw her, Toko slipped back to the dining room and got herself a cup of tea. She sat alone, hunched over at a table. When Ana arrived, Toko waited for her to get her breakfast, then abruptly stood and, holding her hand over her mouth, bolted for the lavatory. There she made retching sounds until Juno finally walked in. 

“Tell Ana I am sick,” she said while washing out her mouth. “I am going to my room.”

“I’ll come up later and see you,” Juno replied.

“No, I want to sleep.”

With that, Toko left for her attic room.

Nanna, Nanna,

See it true.

Nanna, Nanna,

It is just for you. 

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