HAT AND RIPPLE – A Discworld fanfic [Chapter 1]

Granny Weatherwax woke up not long before dawn. Putting aside the sign she had been holding in her hands which read in prominent if slightly crooked letters, ‘I ATEN’T DEAD’, she walked to the porch door and silently opened it, doing her best to not startle the owl sitting on the banister. The owl was out way past its bedtime, and the sky was already taking on colour. Granny was not surprised to see the half-dazed-half-sleepy bird though; she knew it would be there. She placed a bowl out with some birdseed and water, and then silently closed the door again. The bird would probably end up spending the day in one of the trees in her own garden, she mused.

Lighting up a candle, Granny went and sat back down on the bed. Putting the light on her bedside table, she started going through the oddments strewn in careful disarray on top of it one at a time, setting aside each article that she wasn’t looking for. It took her a few moments till she found the pack of old, worn out playing cards under Nanny Ogg’s rather racy cookbook (which she had insisted Granny keep a copy of but which Granny claimed to have never opened). With extreme care, she went through each card one by one, occasionally pausing at certain cards to smile in a manner which people who knew her well (and that list was extremely brief) would call self-satisfied. All the cards were well worn, but some had faded in veins of pale white, in shapes of very thin, very bony fingers. Most people would not have noticed anything different about those cards, but Granny Weatherwax was not most people. Once she was sure all the cards were accounted for, she pulled out the small chest she kept underneath her bed and put the pack away in it. They had served her well, she mused. She always kept them near for the one in a million chance that she might need to deal a hand again someday, since her personal experience suggested that one in a million chances tend to crop up nine times out of ten. However, this time around, she knew that her rival at cards had other, better company to keep. She would never need to deal out that particular set again. The thought brought relief (not that she would ever admit to have worried ever the slightest to begin with) but the circumstances surrounding it made her almost wistful. Granny Weatherwax was having what an impartial observer would call mixed feelings, and Granny Weatherwax did not like mixed feelings. Or, for that matter, feelings. Instead of brushing it aside as most people would have done, she did the sensible thing and just put it away nice and tidy with the cards and that was that.

In a land far away, the lines on the chalk which were horses shimmered and shifted a bit before settling down again. The little blue men, all asleep, collectively, unconsciously, sighed. If Tiffany Aching had been awake, she would probably have noticed the hat Granny Weatherwax had given her blaze bright for a moment before becoming invisible again. But since she was asleep, she never knew.

The colour of magic had changed.

Note – I started writing this last year, an idea pouring out into words hours after Sir Terry walked with Death. I wrote down the outline (lest I forget), planning to flesh it out bit by bit. Prateek told me to write a bit more about certain sections, leading to the realisation that this would work better in chapters than in one go.

For months I hoped I would find an artist who loved Discrowld as much as me to sketch for this. That never worked out and this languished for months in the meanwhile as I moved across continents. I’m starting to get back to my writing in 2016, and I plan to put this out at my own pace.

Critique is most welcome. But please be kind to this second rate writer trying to only tie up a few loose ends in his head.



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