Robin de Voh
writer, developer, nerd

Nanoprep 2018 Day 9: the Fool's Student

By Robin de Voh on 2018-10-09

Nobody had commissioned Solveig to build this massive work. But still he built. And he'd been more motivated for it than he'd been for anything else he could remember. This was his true passion.

He had stacked the stones as best he could, until they at least seemed to form a solid block. Grim had helped him, but Grim always helped and never asked questions. He wasn't all that smart but he was plenty strong. With Grim's help the almost 8 meter high stack of rectangular stones didn't take that long to put together at all.

Solveig had started work on it immediately after. It needed to be big. It needed to be imposing. It needed to be easy to see from a distance, even for someone of advanced age like Halvor.

He would prove himself to be the true successor to Halvor. He refused to accept that Magni was better than him. Sure, Magni was older, but Solveig very strongly believed that he had surpassed him years ago.

"No, Solveig, your work is just not traditional enough," Halvor would say. "The people do not understand what you mean," he had also said.
"It's shit," Magni had added, with a grin, like a dick.

Solveig had attempted to reason with Halvor, but it had been too late. Magni would be his successor. Solveig would become Magni's student when Halvor could no longer perform his duties, which was expected to be soon, as Halvor was old. Very old. Nearly 45, in fact.

"Well, I'll show all of you," Solveig shouted into the night. There was nobody around to hear him. He had picked a secluded spot a ways outside of town, on top of a hill overlooking the square. His work area was densely surrounded by trees. He hoped the trees would keep anyone from town from spotting him, even with small torches in the middle of the night.

He chiseled away at the stone blocks.

That was the first thing that Halvor had said he did wrong. "Nobody works in stone, boy," he'd said with his old, crackling voice. "Why don't you stick to wood, boy, like the rest of us," he'd said, sounding even more old. "It's worked for years, why change what works?" he'd said, sounding positively ancient.

Magni worked in wood. Of course he did. Magni basically did whatever Halvor had ever done, but would do everything just slightly worse.

But because he fit the expectations of the old bastard, he got the job. And Solveig was left with nothing to his name. Still a student, but now to a failure of a master. Years of work, for nothing.

"What's the point of that?!" he shouted, again, into the night. A wolf howled in the distance. "Shut up!" Solveig added with a shriek. The wolf yelped and then stayed silent.

Magni was uninspired, a shameless copy-cat with half the skill of his master, at best. He'd never even come up with anything original, while Solveig did nothing but original work. But originality wasn't what they wanted. Not what the people wanted. Well, Solveig thought, those people -- those unwashed, uneducated, hairy people -- didn't matter. Art did not care about them, as they cared not for it.

The people and their stupid beards. Why should he care about them?

He looked at the work he'd completed so far. It was going to be perfect. Stone, a modern and more permanent material compared to wood. Strong, angular lines. A bold statement, that would make perfectly clear how he felt about the whole situation. He'd designed it to show that he was no fool's student, and that he would decide his own way forward.

It'd be done in a few weeks. Then, during the night, before the sun would come up, him and Grim would cut down the trees surrounding this area, and the sculpture would be easily visible from town. It was, if he'd done it properly, aimed directly at Halvor's house, where Magni and Solveig both lived as well.

The sun would rise, shining on the last thing he would create as Halvor's student. In his signature style, and one of his favorite subjects.

A giant sculpture of a middle finger.

Across the middle finger, in black letters, it would say "Fuck you all!".

Solveig laughed out loud at the prospect.

This was going to be his best work, indeed.