The Wheel

The wheel turns all things, standing them end up before righting them again.

This legend describes how one of the 36 constellations in Loraedor’s night sky came to be placed there by one of the Celestial deities.


Hung by Losidor, the wheel turns all things, standing them end up before righting them again.

An age or more ago, an elderly and itinerant couple travelled the roads and ways: she a tinker and mender of pots, he an herbalist peddling cures and yollagrass beer. From town to village to city to farmstead they rolled, their wagon pulled by two steady drayhorses, one black speckled white and the other white spotted black.

They bickered as they travelled, as those so long accustomed to each other’s company are wont to do: she trusting in the reliable and predictable path laid out by fate, he praising the fickle—but often overwhelmingly beneficent—whims of luck. Of course they spatted over many things, but the core of their disagreement could ever be distilled to fate vs. fortune. Whether their horses were white with black spots or black with white spots, whether towns with no pots to mend were ill-fated stops or providential furloughs, whether unexpected windfalls were placed for them before their birth or simply a case of being in the right place at the right time.

Regardless, they argued.

Over their long years together they had settled on a method of agreement to their most heated discussions, leaving the deciding factor to the hands of their respective patrons. The would flip a coin when their anger in the moment became too much for one or the other to bear. “A coin toss, then!” he or she would shout in exasperated frustration, and so they would flip for it, both being forced to accept the results as being ordained by either predestination or gracious happenstance.

When once a wheel from their wagon was broken by missing cobble they paid a cobbler to replace it, but the tinker kept its remains and painted spokes black then white, black then white, mounting the rimless spokes and hub to the wagon’s side. This wheel replaced their coin, and they would instead call for a “spin.”

The spokes would blur to gray as the wheel spun, until slowly separating again as the wheel came to point, one spoke or another, at the brass stud paced to mark the argument’s victor.

And soon, the two found their bickering less. In the towns they frequented they became called the “Spokes” and both felt it a fine fine and fitting surname. They each let go of “either/or” and began to accept “both/and,” realizing that perhaps they enjoyed both fine fortune and a prewritten fate.

The couple began even to describe each horse as “black and white” or “white and black” or, simply, “spotted.”

Well past the autumn of their lives together, the Spokes finally settled outside a town just large enough for them to sell enough of their services to tend a garden and keep themselves in dinner and firewood. The wheel they hung on a pole from the house, clever flaps mounted along each of the spokes, once black and white, now each more gray than absolute, and it spun blurring in the wind.

Their winter together was peaceful.

Losidor hung the wheel, in tribute to them and in acceptance of his counterpart sister, where it still spins now.

 

Keith

I've been gaming since before I could convince my parents it was okay to buy polyhedral dice, and have been all wrapped up in my own fantasy worlds ever since. I'm older now, and busier with life, but still make time to tell great stories with friends whenever I can.

Got something to say?