Hello Saya!

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Just a few weeks ago one of our friends became a dad! Little Saya was born and she is adorable. Of course I had to make a card to celebrate this occasion and since he’s part of our Dungeons and Dragons group, I wanted to use dragons!

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I first created the rainbow background with watercolour markers and cut out the clouds. Then I stamped and coloured the little pastel dragon family! After that, the wait was on… what was the name going to be?

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I just loved making this card with its soft tones and overall adorable-ness. Luckily the happy parents loved it as well! Let’s just hope little Saya will grow up loving dragons… {although I think we’ll make sure}

D&D Birthday card

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And we’re back from hiatus! YAY! As you may know by now I play a lot of Tabletop RPGs. And I do mean a lot… We have a Pathfinder game every wednesday, Starfinder once a month and then a D&D 5th edition one-shot every once in a while. You can easily say I’m a bit addicted {especially when you see my dice collection…shh!}

We usually play with the same group of friends, although the parties depend on who is the GM and which players can make it. So when one of my party member’s birthday came up, I knew I needed to make a D&D-themed birthday card!

I used the adorable BB Magical Dragons stamp by My Favorite Things and used a bunch of stamps and stencils to make the mixed media background. The D20 dice and drew and inked myself! It’s so sparkly!

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I hand lettered the “Roll for birthday fun!” quote and added a bunch of tiny accents with white and black posca fineliners. This card was so much fun to make and he absolutely loved it! I know what I can make for my other party members {make ALL the colours!} and I might even add them to the shop if there are people out there who are interested. But for now: yay for cute D&D dragon cards!

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Fiction Friday: Of Wolf and Man (pt. 3)

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Police Badge through Frontpagemag

Here we are again, with part 3 of the story! If you’re thinking ‘huh, what story?’ please start here! It’s a bit shorter this time, I had some time off of work and took a week to recharge my batteries and do as little as possible. It was wonderful and very much needed. Now, onto the story!

 

“Tell me you have something for me, Kravitz,” I called out as we walked into the Violent Crimes and Homicide division of the SCPD, finally sipping my well-deserved coffee. The precinct of the Sweetlake City Police Department was located in the heart of the city. Just outside the shopping district and next to the Firehouse, our division looked out on the shoppers swarming around like ants on one side, the Cinnabon sign right across from the station a constant temptation. The other side looked out on a tiny bit of green landscaping bordering the Firehouse’s yard where, if we were lucky, the firefighters would be running drills and walking around shirtless.Don’t judge.

Deputy Malik Kravitz walked towards us, a thin file in his hand. A curl of fresh ink peeked out from under his collar, the black soft against his dark skin.

“New tattoo?” I asked when he got close enough. Kravitz was a hundred percent human, like me, but he was one of those people who wanted to be more. A lot of humans stuck to just two or three small ones, magical tattoos for a touch of luck, healing a little bit faster, being able to activate a few of the devices that required magic to work. Kravitz wasn’t happy with just two or three though, he really wanted to find out the limits of his bought magic. In the two years that he’d been assigned to our department, this was his fifth tattoo. That I knew of.

“You’re going to run out of space if you keep going.”

“That’s the plan, I have to do something if I want to keep up with people like Flowergirl over here.” He said with no small amount of snark, jerking his head towards Violet. Violet just rolled her eyes as she always did at his nickname. “One day, T.J.” Kravitz continued, “one day you’re going to get over your fear of needles and I’ll take you to Dean’s. Don’t worry, I’ll hold your hand the entire time,” he said with a wink.

I wasn’t afraid of needles, I just didn’t feel the need to have magic forced under my skin just so some things could become more convenient. I liked being just human. Kravitz knew this, but we’d been bantering back and forth about it ever since he joined our division. He was all easy smiles and good-natured sarcasm. It was why we all worked so well together. “In your sad and lonely dreams, Kravitz,” I said, grinning.

He placed the hand holding the file over his heart. “You wound me.”

“You’ll live. Now, tell me what you found.”

He held up the file again. “Donald Koppenhaver, human, age 52, moved to Sweetlake City three years ago from Greensboro, North Carolina. Works for the DMV, no immediate family in the area. He has a mother in a retirement home in Florida. Local police have been contacted, they’ll notify her.”

I held out my hand. “Any priors?” Kravitz handed the file over and I flipped it open, staring at the picture of Koppenhaver for a moment. He didn’t look like anything special, his face a bit too smug and his smile a bit too wide, but that was it. An unassuming man wearing a white button-down, what was left of his hair combed back, a thick gold chain resting over his shirt.

“No priors,” Kravitz confirmed as I turned the page to his non-existent record. “I put a call into the Greensboro PD, they’ll get back to me if they find anything of note. Doctor Strong, however, did find something interesting.” He reached over to turn another page.

It was a close up photo of Koppenhaver’s ruined chest. It had been washed clean, the wound still a gruesome cavern that I didn’t want to look at too long. But that wasn’t the interesting thing Kravitz was talking about. “Is that a burn scar?” I asked him, tracing the edges of the wound where a webbing of scar tissue radiated outwards.

“Indeed it is, and these,” he reached out and tapped the two smoother bits of the scar, both ovals, “are fingers.”

“Somebody burned a handprint into our murder victim?” Violet asked as she walked over, looking over my shoulder to the file.

Kravitz nodded. “Doctor Strong says it’s older, about three years.”

“Hell, first burned, then mauled, this is one unlucky bastard.” I flicked the photo against my hand. “Do we know what did it, Fire Mage, Ifrit?”

“No idea,” Kravitz answered, reaching over to grab another file from his desk, “Donald never even went to a hospital to get treated. There were no charges filed.”

I frowned, it was never good when someone didn’t step forward in assault cases. It meant that either they were ashamed, or they were hiding something.

“So I did a little digging,” Kravitz continued, “and found this.” He handed me the new file.

There was a booking picture of a teenage girl, her fiery red hair falling in waves past her round face. She looked younger than her file said she was, but there was a defiant gleam in her eyes as she glared up at me. “Bryni Hugh,” I read aloud.

Violet walked past me to her desk, typing in the name and pulling up personal information.

“Also known as Pyra,” Kravitz said. “Fire mage, 23, she works as a performer at Unveiled, the club in the industrial district. She has two priors, one for arson when she was a teen, which isn’t that unusual for a fire mage coming into her powers. The second, however, is for assault. Apparently, our little fire mage is a bit – forceful when it comes down to shooting down unwelcome advances.”

I flipped the page over to her record. “She gave a guy a similar burn mark because he was hitting on her.”

“And he’s not the only one,” Violet said from where she sat, “a Christopher Harris was brought into the hospital eighteen months ago with a similar burn, but he refused to press charges.”

“So we have a girl who likes to hurt men that come on a little too strong. Maybe that’s what happened with Koppenhaver last night?” I asked Violet. “Or she could just be out seeking revenge for whatever he did to her.”

“She’s performing tonight.” Violet pointed to the website of Unveiled she had open on her screen, the name Pyra written in dancing flames across the top. “We should definitely go and ask her some questions.”

“You should,” Kravitz said, sounding impossibly smug, “did I mention her brother’s a werewolf?”

Fiction Friday: Of Wolf and Man (pt. 2)

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Wolf Teeth by ViLebedeva on Deviantart

Are you ready for part 2? If you’re thinking right now: what is that crazy girl talking about now? Well, I started writing a longer story this time {over 4500 words now!} that I’ll be sharing with you {and writing… shh…} in segments. So last week I posted part 1, here is part 2!

 

It’s always difficult to see one of the big black bags being zipped up. There is something final about it, more so than seeing the blood on the street or the open, unseeing eyes of the victim. The soft sound of the zipper drives home, more than anything else, that we were too late, that this person could no longer be saved.

I looked away as they loaded the body of Donald Koppenhaver onto the stretcher and into the ambulance.

“I’m taking him back to the lab. I’ll do a full tox screen and see if I can find out anything more about our wolves,” the ME said as she sidled up beside me, still taking notes on her clipboard. “I’ll let you know as soon as I find something.”

I nodded, “Thanks, Layla.”

She clipped her pen on the board and nudged me in the side with it. “Keep an eye on our girl, yeah?” She nodded towards where Violet was standing, still sipping her sugary drink.

“I always do,” I promised.

Layla winked at me and walked towards the ambulance. Not for the first time I thought about how well Layla and Violet seemed to fit. Layla’s quiet confidence seemed to calm Violet down a bit, while Violet’s enthusiasm and bubbly personality always seemed to make the frown lines of the always-shielding empath a little softer. They both loved the same music and going out to dance. I once caught them in a pretty heated discussion which Captain was better, Kirk or Picard. They were good together. Maybe when this was all over it was time for some serious matchmaking.

First, we had a case to solve. I walked over to Grey and beckoned Feldt over from where he was still standing by the yellow tape. “The killers are definitely ‘wolf,” I started as both of the werewolves stood in front of me, “any of you recognise the scent?”

Feldt shook his head.

“I don’t know them,” Grey said, his blue eyes taking in the ‘scene. “There is something weird about it.” He took a moment to collect his thoughts. Grey hadn’t been a werewolf for very long yet, I knew, being bitten by a Feral just a few years ago when he was still living in Germany. It sometimes took a moment for him to translate the wolf’s instinct to human language. “They smell like their related, but not. With family, you smell of your own person first, the scents that make up who you are. The scent of family is mixed in there, but subtle, like a perfume. But this -.” He drifted off and scented the air again. “They smell of family first, with only a few individual scents that compliment each other, but don’t overlap. Like two sides of the same coin.”

“And you’ve never encountered that before?” I prompted when he stopped speaking.

“No. He’s right,” Feldt said, “it’s weird.”

I thought back for a moment. “Could it be another witch/wolf combo, like the one in Chicago last year?” A witch had gone more crazy than usual and had charmed a werewolf into being her familiar. They went on a killing spree, cutting out hearts and consuming them to gain more power. It took weeks before they were finally stopped.

“There is no scent of magic,” Grey started as if he knew what I was thinking, “and they are definitely both ‘wolf.”

Weird. There was something off about this case. The emotions, the human and werewolf team that killed Koppenhaver, nothing added up. “Alright,” I told the two ‘wolves, “you know the drill when we’re sure we have a ‘wolf killer. Contact your Alpha’s, describe the scents, ask them if they know who might have done this, if someone has been acting strange lately, yada yada. Maybe we’ll catch a break and they’ll have some more information.”

Grey raised an eyebrow and Feldt snorted, turning it into a cough. Yeah, I didn’t believe me either.

“Harewood forest is a block away.” Grey gestured towards the end of the street. “They might have run there and hid. Ian and I will check it out.”

“Okay, we’ll go back to the precinct and see what Kravitz has for us.” I turned to Feldt. “Call your Alpha first, then try to keep the riff-raff from doing something stupid, alright?” I gestured towards the yellow line that was already gathering quite a crowd, despite the early hour and the quiet neighbourhood. Feldt nodded and hurried off.

Bent was a small neighbourhood on the edge of the city of Sweetlake City. With Benthome Lake on their left and the rest almost surrounded by Harewood Forest, they were pretty cut off from the rest of the city, almost a small village on their own. Bent was mostly one main road with free-standing houses lining the street. They had their own elementary school and a small centre with locally-owned shops and a bar. Bent was one of those neighbourhoods where everybody knew everybody, and a crime like this was sure to leave people scared.

It didn’t help that Bent was the neighbourhood with the most Believers of Sweetlake City. Even though it was small, the main road held no less that three churches. Two of those were known for preaching that ‘the Creatures’, as they loved to call the non-humans, who now outnumbered us humans two to one, were a ‘plague sent from God as punishment for our sins’. Luckily it wasn’t a popular opinion, and most Believers accepted the races that we a hundred years ago thought only belonged in fairy tales, as just another of God’s Children. But small communities like Bent, that were partially isolated, tended to draw together the humans that were set in their ways and their beliefs. They weren’t outright specist, always friendly and ready to lend a helping hand, but non-humans who moved to Bent never settled there long. Which was why it was also home to most of the Hunters that resided in Sweetlake City, I though as I spotted one of my least favourite people standing by the yellow tape line.

William Carver was in his forties, ex-military, and looked like he could take on a ‘wolf with his bare hands. And he had, while still stationed in Russia for the Winter Wars. He was bald, hiding his cold blue eyes behind a pair of sunglasses even though it really wasn’t that bright. He was also decked out in full combat gear, as if looking for a fight.

“What are you doing here, Carver?” I asked as I made my way over to him.

He shrugged. “One of my guys is on the neighbourhood watch, said they found a body this morning, pretty torn up. Sounds like ‘wolf.”

I looked over to where one of the deputies was interviewing a guy dressed in the same combat gear as Carver was. Acid and apples, so much for hoping the Hunters wouldn’t get involved.

When the Veil fell about a hundred years ago and the world was flooded with magic and refugees from another realm, humanity at first didn’t take it very well. All around the world, countries closed their borders, needing time to adjust to a host of different species and the Awakening of once human mages coming into power. Wars broke out over land and religion, rights and magical properties. Protests over the treatment of these new species and of the humans that were now outnumbered and desperately tried to cling to what they had.

After the chaos settled and people found their place in this new world, new laws were made, factions were formed. The Humans Uniting against Numinous Threats, or Hunters for short were one of these new factions, a group of humans trained to hunt and kill these new species, but only if they were found ‘uncontainable and dangerous to mankind’. Starting out as a paramilitary group in the ‘thirties, their political lobby saw them absorbed into law enforcement under the name HPA, the Human Protection Agency. But the name Hunters, and their close-mindedness stuck. I’d really hoped I could keep them out of this one.

“And why are you talking to my witnesses?” I asked.

“He texted me, I didn’t contact him,” Carver said like it wasn’t a huge breach of protocol.

I gritted my teeth, Hunters always got on my nerves with their superiority complex and barely concealed hatred, but Carver somehow always managed to get under my skin within seconds.

“It’s not your case, Carver.” I turned to walk away from him.

“Not yet, but you better hope no more bodies show up. And otherwise, call me, and we’ll handle it.”

I faced him again, crossing my arms over my chest. “Like you handled the Lito case last month?” I asked, voice dripping with sarcasm.

Carver shrugged again. “That was unfortunate, but it was a clean shooting. He came right at Korinek, ready to tear his throat out.”

“He was a seventeen-year-old boy and probably scared out of his mind!”

“Like I said: unfortunate. But sometimes these beasts are so far gone there’s nothing you can do to save them.”

I didn’t miss the glare he send to Feldt when he said that. I wanted to punch him. My hands were already clenched into fists, but I couldn’t, not without maybe losing my case. Which would mean that Carver was one step closer to getting it. No way in the nine hells. “Keep yourself and your guard dogs away from this case, Carver.” I all but growled at him.

He smiled at me, the bastard. “For now,” he agreed almost pleasantly, “but trust me, an attack this vicious, more bodies are gonna show up before the week is out. You’ve got a Feral on your hands and you know as well as I do there is only one way of dealing with those.”

I did know. Once a werewolf went Feral there was nothing that could save them. But I also knew there was more to this case than a simple Feral ‘wolf. I just needed to figure out what the hell was going on. And do it before the Hunters could swoop in with their special brand of justice and kill two more werewolves.

 

So that’s it for this week, but hang on, this story is far from over! See you next week for part 3!

Fiction Friday: Of Wolf and Man (pt. 1)

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Photo by Scott Olson, Getty Images

It’s Friday already? Time flies when you’re having {a much needed and well deserved} vacation. Last week I talked about writing a larger story, and I’m still working on it! It’s becoming more of a monster than I thought {introduction and first scene and I’m over 2500 words. Gasp!} so I decided to post it in pieces. So without further ado, welcome to the first part of ‘Of Wolf and Man, a Sweetlake mystery’…

The mage took off down the dark alley. Apparently the meaning of the term ‘freeze’ was lost to this guy. Then again, I guess that if you’re a homicidal maniac who killed four people with dark magic you’re not going to be intimidated by a puny human cop. That’s alright, he wouldn’t be the first Dark Sorcerer™ I’d put behind bars.

I gave chase, following his fluttering deep-purple robes through the meandrous alleyways. He veered off to the right and I followed, barely able to throw myself backwards when a nasty looking spell exploded into a shower of purple sparks on the wall opposite of me, right where I’d been a moment before. It sizzled and popped as a portion of the wall was eaten away. The guy didn’t even look back, just kept running. Alright then.

“This is Harper, I’ve got eyes on the suspect,” I spoke into my enchanted headset. “He’s heading towards Greenstreet. Be careful, he’s slinging spells.”

“Understood,” Detective Grey’s gruff voice answered.

“You be careful too, T.J.” My partner Violet warned.

I grinned even though they couldn’t see it. “Aren’t I always?” The answering huff of laughter could have been from any of them, really. The mage made a hard right into a different alley and I pulled my gun as I picked up speed.

“Last chance, Deoradhan,” I yelled as I caught sight of him again, long robes flapping dramatically. “Stop, or I’ll be forced to open fire.” Instead of stopping he flung another spell at me. It went wide and sent a dumpster flying. I aimed at a wall on his left and released a warning shot.

Deoradhan ducked and flinched, but kept running.

Fine, the hard way then. The next shot I aimed for his legs, hoping to take him down. The bullet ricocheted off of an invisible forcefield around the mage and embedded itself into the brick wall. Acid and apples, the bastard was shielding. I could keep firing, hoping to wear him out by forcing him to expend his magic, but who knew where the bullets would ricochet to. No, I’d have better luck tackling him to bring him down physically. Usually when mages shield for high-velocity projectiles they can’t withstand the slow-moving mass of a humanoid body barreling through. Besides, between the shield and the spells, he was losing energy already. He was slowing down.

Holstering my gun, I sped up, making sure I was almost on him before I reached towards his collar. I’d hoped to drag him down, or at least introduce his face to a wall, but he ducked out of the way just before I could grab him. My hand tingled from where it had reached through his shields. We rounded another corner, the mage staggering as he took the corner too wide. I took a sprint and jumped the guy, working him towards the ground. We hit the floor with a thud, forcing the air out of his lungs. I sat up on his legs and grabbed his left wrist, reaching for my ‘cuffs with my right. “Myrrdin Deoradhan, you’re under arrest for the murders of Jane Porter, Sage Wintergreen, Drayce Andvari and Eirlys Deoradhan,” I clicked the first ‘cuff around his wrist, “you have the right –“

I didn’t get any further. He reached for something around his neck. I made a desperate grab for his arm but was too slow. A wall of force slammed into my chest and sent me flying through the dark alley. My breath was punched out of me and my head hit the ground. Hard. Everything went dark and blurry for a moment.

When I snapped back to reality Deoradhan was standing over me, wand raised and aimed at my head. He looked intimidating against the dark sky, his robed form backlit by the streetlights. My heart skipped a beat as I realised that this was it, I wasn’t going to make it out of this one. He never said a word, just grinned like the psycho he was and channelled his magic through the wand, the tip glowing a sickish green hue. The wand was too close to my face, I couldn’t duck out of the way and I knew that as soon as I moved, he’d let the spell fly that would undoubtedly melt my face off.

I refused to beg.

In fact, I refused to speak at all. This was a maniac that murdered four people, one of them his own mother. He cocked his eyebrow at me, as if daring me to say anything. I glared up at him, pressing my lips into a thin line. Nothing I said or did was going to stop him. We stared at each other for a long moment. His grin widened and he shrugged with one shoulder as if to say that it didn’t matter to him if I talked or not. That killing me didn’t matter to him.

I got ready to move, whether to try and sweep his feet out from under him when he was distracted or whether to at least try and roll out of the way, I didn’t know. But I wouldn’t just lay down and die. He opened his mouth to start to spell and I started rising up to do something when a dark form jumped Deoradhan, dragging him away from me.

There was a sickening crack of bone breaking followed by a cut off human scream, probably Deoradhan. I got to my feet, the world swaying underneath me for a moment, and looked over to see Deoradhan on his back on the ground, a huge grey wolf sitting on his chest, teeth at his throat.

The mage was begging now, “No, no, no, please don’t let that thing bite me. I don’t wanna die!” He cut off with a choked sound, the wolf, well, werewolf really, putting a bit more pressure, but not biting down.

I staggered over to the pair and dropped to my knees beside them. “Like I said,” I started, yanking off his amulets when the ‘wolf moved out of my way. He sat back on his haunches on the mage’s chest, his tail thumping twice. “Myrddin Deoradhan, you’re under arrest.”

The rest of the arrest went smoothly. The ‘wolf moved out of the way and helped me roll Deoradhan over to his stomach. I cuffed him and took some time removing anything that looked remotely magical to me. I staggered over to the wall and sat back to wait until the other officers arrived. The ‘wolf climbed on the mage’s back again and sat back down, growling low in his throat every time he so much as twitched.

“Hey,” I told the ‘wolf, otherwise known as Detective Wilder Grey, “thanks for the save.”

He thumped his tail twice again, tongue lolling out of his mouth. It still looked weird, this huge, dangerous creature behaving like your average neighbourhood dog. Especially when they were just as intelligent in their wolf form as they were when human. Grey got up, still standing on our perp, and nosed the side of my head, whining softly.

I ran my hand through my hair, wincing as I touched the spot where I hit it on the street. My fingers were covered in blood when I pulled them back. “I’m fine, don’t worry about it,” I lied, everything was still swaying and I wasn’t sure I could stand up again.

The ‘wolf looked at me, unimpressed.

“I’ll get it checked out,” I told him, knowing he could hear the ambulance sirens in the distance.

Grey huffed out a breath as if to say ‘you’d better’, but sat back down.

I rested my hand on his shoulder for a moment, fingers clenching in his fur. Together we turned our heads towards the sound heavy footfalls approaching. Back-up had arrived.

***

The deputy standing by the yellow tape looked a little green, which was never a good sign near a crime scene, especially since the deputy in question is a werewolf. I was already regretting getting up this morning. “Morning, Feldt,” I greeted him, showing him my badge.

He looked it over for a moment before lifting the yellow tape and gesturing me through. “Morning, ma’am.”

I ducked under it and walked onto the crime scene, stifling another yawn. The showdown with Deoradhan and the following medical attention meant I hadn’t gotten home until around four in the morning. After that, my brother had woken me every two hours, at the doctor’s request of course, to check for a concussion. My poor head wasn’t concussed, but it wasn’t happy either, a splitting headache sitting just behind my eyes. So yeah, this morning was already off to a great start even before I got the call that a mauled body had been found in the Bent neighbourhood.

A man lay in the middle of the street in a large pool of blood, presumably his own. Dressed in slacks and a dress shirt that was once white, but was now soaked through with crimson. Spray tan and too much gold jewellery, I noted. Balding and what might have a been a bit of a pudge if his guts weren’t currently outside of his body. Most of his torso looked like it had been worked over with a meat grinder, which usually meant one thing: the killer was not human.

“You look like crap, Harper,” Detective Ian Andrews greeted me from where he was standing a few feet from the victim. He sipped from a Styrofoam cup which smelled like delicious, heavenly coffee.

Dammit, I should have stopped for coffee. “Not all of us can look like a spry 50 year old after chasing down a spree killer through dark alleys at three in the morning,” I told him, grinning.

“The secret is yoga and caffeine. Lots and lots of caffeine.” He took another sip. “How are you holding up?” he asked, resting his hand on my arm for a moment.

“I’m fine.”

He raised an eyebrow.

“A bit shaken up,” I admitted, “but I’ll be fine. Your partner got to me in time.”

“It’s never easy looking down a barrel of a gun, or in this case, the tip of a wand. We’ve all been there. But you’re still here, that’s what’s important.”

I clapped him on the shoulder. “So, what have we got?”

He accepted my not-so-subtle change of subject and dug his notepad out of his pocket. “According to the ID and wallet our killer so helpfully left behind, victim’s name is Donald Koppenhaver, 52 years old. Kravitz is working on his background back at the precinct.”

I nodded and walked closer to the body, being mindful of where I put my feet. “Do we know what did all this – ?”

“Carnage?” My partner, Violet Bluebell, said from where she sat crouched next to the medical examiner. She was dressed in a dark pink suit today, the purple silk shirt the same colour as the tips of her short curls. Most human professionals wouldn’t be caught dead wearing an outfit like that, but somehow pixies always seem to pull it off flawlessly. Violet once told me the colours remind them of the flower-petal clothes pixies wears in their small form.

The medical examiner was gently pushing the vic’s chin back, exposing the ragged bite marks to his throat. “We think werewolf,” Layla Strong said as she carefully pulled a pluck of grey, bloodied hair away from the neck wound and put it in an evidence bag.

“Definitely werewolf.” Wilder Grey stated from right behind me. I jumped and glared at him, he gave me a shit eating grin in return. Freaking annoying stealthy werewolves. “I can smell it all over the alley. You alright?” he asked me.

“Yeah, thanks. And, you know, thanks again for – saving my life.”

He looked me over, concerned, and nodded.

“The fur is werewolf,” Violet said, “but we also found a long, grey hair and wounds that are consistent with a knife.” She gestured towards the mess that used to be his stomach.

“So either the werewolf shifted halfway through the attack, or we have two attackers,” I finished for her. “But why would he shift? If he already had a knife why not finish it this way? And if he could shift why not attack him as a wolf?” I turned to Detective Grey, “Would a werewolf and a human work together like this, normally?”

He shook his head. “No. We get pretty territorial over our kills. Unless they were both ‘wolves, but then they’d both be in the same shape.”

“Hmm. Anything stand out in particular?” I asked, “Any scent of shift-inhibitors or other drugs?”

“Nothing I can sniff out. A lot of people passed through here, but I don’t get anything out of the ordinary.”

“Alright.” I turned toward Violet where she was still crouched next to the ME. “What are we dealing with, emotionally?” I asked her.

“Desperation,” the pixie, the empath and the werewolf answered simultaneously. Yeah, that wasn’t creepy at all.

“But there’s also -” Violet paused for a moment, as if searching for the right word.

“Aggression,” Layla chimed in.

“Yeah,” Violet agreed, “like, the thrill of the hunt.” She made it sound like a question. “I don’t know, something feels weird about this.” She pushed her aqua and purple curls out of her face with her wrist. “I think I have enough for a reconstruction, though.”

She closed her eyes for a moment, holding her hands cupped towards each other. A tiny flicker of golden light appeared between her hands, blinking in and out of existence a few times before becoming a small ball of energy. The ball grew, the golden light reflecting warmly on her dark skin. She kept going, her face scrunched up in concentration, until it had about the size of a soccer ball. Then she threw her hands up, the energy flying into the air and bursting apart in a shower of golden dust.

Beside me, Grey sneezed. Werewolves always reacted weirdly to magic, especially the pixie kind.

The dust floated down, most of it disappearing before it could hit the ground. The rest seemed to cling to three invisible shapes, forming a wolf and two humanoid figures. The heavier-set man, meant to be Koppenhaver, started running, the wolf and the lithe form of the other human giving chase. Koppenhaver stopped and turned around, his hands help up in front of him. It looked like he was begging for his life. The smaller human jumped forward, grabbing him by the throat and slicing into his stomach. Koppenhaver fell to his knees, the wolf now going for his throat. The wolf rode him down to the floor, head thrashing as it tore off pieces of flesh. The lithe human stepped in again, slashing wildly into the prone form of Koppenhaver. It was brutal to watch, even acted out in sparkly glitter. Koppenhaver twitched one last time, then turned to dust once again, the other two shapes floating away on the wind.

Violet let out a sigh and listed sideways, the ME just able to catch her before she hit the ground.

“Violet!” I rushed over to her. She was still conscious, but she’d overtaxed herself. She’d had gotten just as much sleep as I had, but she’d been practising magic to boot. A glamour to calm Deoradhan down, a spell like this one to track my wild chase after him, anything to catch the guy. We were the same that way.

I turned towards one of the deputies standing around. “We need something sweet, fast.” A moment later a bottle of honeyed elderflower lemonade was pressed into my hand. I helped Violet take a few sips and gave her a couple of moments to steady again. Sugar helped, but she would be tapped out for the rest of the day. “You alright?” I asked her when she could sit up on her own again.

“Yeah, I’m fine. Sorry about that.” She smiled and turned away, running her hand through her hair.

I grimaced at the streak of red blood now running through the turquoise. “Sweetie, gloves.”

She looked at her hand for a moment. “Ah toadstools, this is just not my day.”

Slinging my arm around her shoulder I squeezed her for a moment. “Don’t worry, you did good. We now have a place to start.” Even though the reconstructions weren’t foolproof, magic couldn’t show exactly what had happened, but pixies could feel the emotions and the atmosphere of a place and cast an illusion of what most probably had happened. It wasn’t a smoking gun, but it was a start.

“There is something still off, though. Something I’m missing.” Violet’s hand clenched in her lap in frustration.

“We’ll figure it out. We’ll catch these guys.” And we’d better do it quick, I thought, because if these guys were as aggressive as Violet had shown, there would be more bodies before the week was out.

To be continued…. So tune in next week for part 2! Are you excited yet? {I am!}

Hippy Trippy Fairy

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As you guys might know, I’m a huge fan of anything fairy and, most of all, colourful {I mean, we had a rainbow themed wedding… enough said, right?} So when we got Jasmine Becket-Griffith‘s amazing Fantasy Art Coloring book the first picture I fell in love with was this one. A hippy trippy fairy that I could make as rainbow-y as I wanted! {For the shop of course. To display. Totally! Ahem.}

I’ve been in love with Jasmine’s art for years and it has been amazing to follow her growth and search for style through the years. She has gone from 2D, almost monotone fairies to amazingly detailled oil paintings in too many colours to count. It’s amazing to see {google strangeling and look at the images, you’ll know what I mean.}

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I used a combination of Panduro colouring pencils, because they had better skin tones and pinks, and the amazing Faber-Castell Polychromos, which I totally fell in love with. It was my first time colouring with these {since I don’t actually own them, but we had a set open at work for testing} and I must say, I’m sold. They’re creamy, smooth and so intense. To illustrate: in the picture above the skin and hair are done with Panduro, the rainbow wings are Polychromos. Look at that difference in intensity!

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I’ll end with a little detail closeup of the ‘branches’ she is sitting in. Those were coloured with Spectrum Noir Sparkle – Metallics, specifically the black one. Look at that shimmer! The black is by far the most beautiful in that set. To be honest, the gold and silver are a bit too dark for me, almost burnished. Although I’m working on a steampunk page now that they are perfect for!

So, that’s it for the first of what are sure to be many colouring pages I will share with you. Stay tuned, the next one I made to show what else fun things you can do with your colouring pages!

Fiction Friday: the Fairy Ring

Fairy Ring
Compass by Coyhand on Flickr

It’s Friday and you know what this means: time for another story! I’ve been diving into Dark Fantasy for the last couple of weeks, as you might have noticed in Siren Song… But, I have good reason, I swear, I’m entering another writing competition! {Gasp! So excited!} The where and what I want to keep to myself a little while longer, but I can share this with you guys: this is the story that didn’t make the cut.

Like last time I entered a story competition, I wrote two stories {Noor and Death’s Diner, which won!} to see what would work best. This time I did the same. I really like this one but it didn’t quite get the feel I wanted… So, I get to share this one with you guys! {yay!} Enjoy and let me know what you think!

“Malia?” Tami called as she ran through the rain-slick streets of Haven, “Come on, sweetie, this isn’t funny anymore.” If Mother found out she had lost her little sister she was done for. “Malia!” She called again, rounding another corner. She passed a few people but they paid her no heed; in Haven people only cared about their own troubles.
Rain was still pouring down, turning the drab grey stones of the streets and homes even darker. A spot of colour caught her eye on the end of a dark alleyway. Heart in her throat, she walked towards it. There, between the filth, resting against the Wall that kept the city safe, lay Ophelia, her sister’s doll. Gently, Tami picked her up and cradled the doll in her hands. Mother had made that doll, stealing scraps of fancy fabric whenever she made dresses for the rich women in the White District. She ran her thumb over the intricate embroidery on the doll’s wings. Something must have happened. Malia would never go anywhere without Ophelia.
Terror caught her by the throat and Tami clutched the small rag doll to her chest. “Malia!” she called out frantically, “please just come out, I promise I’m not mad. Malia, please!”
“I’m right here, silly,” a voice sounded right behind her, making her jump. When she turned Malia was standing there, soaking wet and covered in mud. A big smile on her round face.
Tami picked her up and held her tight. “Oh, sweetie, thank Abeona, you’re okay. I’ve been looking all over, you had me so worried!” She set her little sister down and looked her over. Other than a few small scrapes she seemed to be fine. “Are you hurt?” she couldn’t help but ask, “did anyone hurt you?”
Malia shook her head no. “I’m fine,” the small girl answered, still smiling.
“Where have you been? You’ve been gone for five hours.”
“I was in the forest,” she said like it was nothing, pointing towards the thick Wall.
Tami’s heart pounded in her chest. There was a reason Haven was surrounded by walls of stone. The world outside the Wall was no longer safe for anyone to travel, especially not a child. “The forest, but how?” she grabbed Malia by the shoulders, “You mustn’t go there, the forest is dangerous.”
“No it’s not,” the younger stated with absolute certainty, “it’s pretty and I made new friends. They want to meet you, Tami, you have to come!” She pulled away from her sister and ran towards one of the nearby buildings. “Come on!”
“What friends?”
“The pixies. I found them, real pixies,” Malia bounced on her feet, her voice filled with excitement, “they’re sparkly and bright and can do real magic. You have to come and see, Tami, please, please, please.”
Before Tami could answer, her sister wedged herself between the building and the Wall and disappeared from sight. Tami hurried after her, it was a tight fit, but she managed to get to where her sister had found a hole in the wall. She’d actually been outside, Tami realised, believing before that her sister was spinning tales out of boredom. Malia had been to the forest and back again, safe. They had heard so many tales of the outside that everyone believed life within the Wall was the only way to survive. Could it be that the forest was not as dangerous as they thought? If what Malia was saying is true, they could finally leave this rat-infested city and test their luck elsewhere.
A head appeared through the whole in the wall. “Come on, I promise the woods are not scary,” her sister beckoned.
Tami stayed where she was for a moment, undecided, until an annoyed sounding “Tami,” floated through the hole. She took a fortifying breath and ducked through the hole towards the outside world.

The forest was beautiful, Tami had to admit as they walked through the darkening woods. There were colourful flowers and vines everywhere and a little while back she’d even seen a deer. She’d never known how much cleaner the world could smell. The sweet scent of flowers and the fresh scent of wet leaves filled her nose. Walking here amongst all this life she couldn’t imagine ever going back to the gloomy and drab city. She laughed as her sister skipped ahead, humming along a happy tune with the birds’ songs. This, she thought, this is what freedom feels like.
As they walked deeper into the forest, their surroundings seemed to be getting darker. No, she thought, everything was darker. Even the sky, but that couldn’t be right, could it? When they left it hadn’t even been close to supper. A sudden night had fallen over the woods and leached them of their vibrancy. All around was black and green, the bright colours from before engulfed in darkness.
Tami looked behind her, only to see the path obscured by a low-hanging mist. Fear started creeping up her spine. She had no idea where she was, no idea how to get home from here. Malia was still skipping ahead, her humming now eerie in the sudden silence. “Malia, sweetie,” she tried, “it’s getting dark, we have to turn back.”
“Don’t be silly,” her sister called back, skipping backwards for a moment, “we’re almost there. Besides, the pixies make their own light.” She smiled brightly for a moment before turning back towards the path and continuing on, still humming.
The air was getting colder, the mist now up to Tami’s knees. There were lights in the trees, mushrooms glowing an uncanny green. She’d never seen anything like it and wanted to be amazed, she truly did, but all the lights did was cast ghastly shadows upon the trees. The hairs on her neck stood straight up. She couldn’t shake the feeling that she was being watched, the lights on the trees creating faces of shadow, following her every move. Tami itched to grab Malia and run far from this dark and desolate place, but where would she go? There was no more path to follow. She had no choice but to trail her young sister, who didn’t seem fazed by her darkened surroundings and seemed to know exactly where she was going.
There was a light further ahead. Pale blue and shining brighter than the mushrooms that dotted the trees. Perhaps a lantern, Tami hoped, belonging to a traveller that could show them the way out of this cursed forest.
Malia giggled and started running towards it, “It’s them, come on!”
“Malia wait!” Tami called but it was no use. She hurried after the child finding herself suddenly at the edge of a clearing between the trees. The lights were pixies, she saw, actual, real pixies dancing and giggling above a ring of toadstools.
They were beautiful.
Their gossamer wings shone a light blue in the dark sky, tufts of dust trailing behind them. Dresses made of flower petals twirled round and round as they danced to a song only they could hear. Wide eyes and rosy cheeks greeted her as one of the pixies beckoned her forward. Malia was already dancing with them, Tami noticed, spinning within the fairy ring. Tami couldn’t help but laugh at the sight of such wonder. They had found light and hope within these cimmerian woods.
“Dance with me, sister!” Malia called from out of the ring.
Tami took her hand and gently stepped over the circle of toadstools. Music started, slowly at first, the soft tunes of harp and fiddle filling the circle. As soon as the sisters started moving it picked up speed, going faster and faster as they spun about the ring. The pixies flashed by Tami, still giggling. For a moment they seemed spindly and rotten, their wings tattered and torn, their black eyes piercing through her, but when she blinked it was gone.
She was getting dizzy. A feeling of dread crept up her spine as the pixies came ever closer, flashing from rosy to rotten and back again.
“I told you I would get her here,” her sister called out, bringing their spinning to a sudden stop.
Tami stumbled for a moment before regaining her balance. The pixies, if they even were pixies, were surrounding her now there was nowhere she could go. Their black eyes studied her, seemingly amused at her unease. “Malia, we need to go,” she told her sister calmly, not wanting to cause her any fright, “now.”
“Yes, I can get more people for you,” the younger answered an unspoken question and cold settled within Tami’s heart, “Mother will be ever so worried when Tami doesn’t come back.”
Tami’s breathing picked up as her sister turned towards her. Where her eyes were normally a soft brown they were now full black, like the eyes of the creatures around them. Malia smiled brightly, looking a little unhinged. Tami took a step towards her, intending to grab Malia and run, not caring where they ended up, but tiny hands latched on to her, piercing her skin. Panicked, she tried to swat at them but there were too many. One opened its mouth and Tami screamed at the sight of the rows of fangs.
“Malia, please,” she pleaded as it bit down on her shoulder, a cold sensation filling her body. The ground under her feet swayed as her vision swam.
“They only want to play,” Malia told her, her voice reassuring.
“No,” Tami could only whisper as more pixies latched onto her skin.
“Don’t worry, sister,” her sister told her, smile too wide and eyes still pitch black, “they won’t bite.”

So that’s it for this week! I’m so excited {and terrified} for this competition, really guys and gals, this could be life-changing… So, I’ll keep you posted and tune in next week for a new fiction friday!

Fiction Friday: Siren’s Song

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Friday night: story time! I’m having some trouble thinking up concepts and characters on my own at the moment, but, luckily we have the internet! This time it’s from another beautiful prompt from Tumblr {yes again!} The premise was cool and it had mermaids in them, so I couldn’t resist. It’s a bit darker than you might be used to, but I’m trying new things! Hope you enjoy and tell me what you think!

“Commodore, please, you don’t have to do this!” I begged the stoic man standing on deck, his hands clasped tightly behind his back.
“I’m sorry, miss Courtenay, I’m afraid I must.” His voice sounded truly apologetic, and I might have felt sorry for him and the misfortune that had befallen him and his crew, if not for the fact that he was going to kill me.
“It’s an old wives’ tale,” I tried to argue, “tossing me off your ship won’t actually bring you luck. You’re a man raised in civility, surely you must know this?” I was getting desperate now, standing on the rickety plank, arms bound behind my back and legs tied together. A heavy stone resting next to me.
Commodore Harrison was already shaking his head. “If we wish to reach Fort Orange without more dead we must make this sacrifice to Her, to the sea. I truly wish there was another way, Lucia, I truly am sorry.” He looked at me for a moment, eyes cold and unyielding. “Do it.” He ordered.
I screamed as the plank underneath my feet was suddenly pulled away. Pain slashed through me as my head cracked against the wood. I managed to gasp in a breath just before I was dragged under the waves.
It was so cold.
I tried frantically to free my arms or her legs, anything so I could swim back to the surface and breathe. It was no use, the knots were too tight. I stopped thrashing for a moment to look around me, to try and find anything I could use to get myself free. Blood curled lazily up through the water, both from the wound on my head and from my wrists chafing against the coarse rope. Were there sharks in these parts? I wondered absent-mindedly, would I live long enough for it to matter?
The stone dragged me deeper and deeper, the surface above now impossibly far away. I am going to die here, I realized, sudden and unbidden, this was where I would meet my end. The frantic struggling became less as my strength died away. Where first there was the peaceful silence of the sea there was now a rushing in my ears. Like the roaring of the waves. The burning in my lungs overshadowed the pain from my head as I tried with all I had to keep this thread of air within my body. Not ready to give up yet. Not yet.
The ship was now moving away. They had made their sacrifice and thought themselves safe. Fools. I wished so badly that I could reach up, clench my hand around the hull and crush it. That I could drag those who have killed me down with me to their own watery graves.
Goddess grant me my dying wish, I prayed, let those bastards die as I will, with Your blood filling their lungs and Your vast darkness surrounding them.

Movement then, something coming towards me at impossible speed. The fading light catching the glimmer of scales and pale hair. But they are a myth, I thought as three mermaids surrounded me. One had a tail the colour of peridot, her eyes sparkling with mirth. A flash of pale purple filled her vision as the second mermaid circled her slowly. The third had scales of burnished gold, shining even in the dark.
Sister, I heard the last mermaid speak, her voice within my own head, She has heard your prayers. We’ve come to your aid. Yet they weren’t moving to free me.
Why weren’t they helping me? Couldn’t they see I was dying?
We are helping, sweet sister. But She needs you to die first. The mermaid reached out a webbed hand and gently caressed my bleeding face. Let go. Let go of who you were before and become who She wills you to be.
Maybe the mermaids were a vision, sent by the Goddess. If I were to give up, if I were to die here, now, would the Goddess grant me my dying wish?
And so much more. The mermaid confirmed.
Let go. Three voices echoing in my head now.
So I let go. I ceased my weak struggling and released my final breath, watching as the bubbles rose towards the surface.
Another moved forward, her scales and hair a pale lavender. Webbed hands reached out and cupped my face, pulling me in.
The mermaid is kissing me, I thought, no, not kissing, breathing. Air filled my aching lungs once again, but oh, how this burned. A tendril of glittering magic left me on the exhale, and the mermaid breathed for me again, twice, three times before the pain struck, sudden and blinding. Bones crunched and shifted, scales poured out what was once skin. I screamed, the tortured sound changing in the water, becoming a melody, a Song.
For a single moment, my heart stopped.
It started anew, the rhythm and cadence different, tranquil like the sea. I was reborn. My legs were no longer bound together, but then, they were no longer legs, were they? My tail easily slipped out of the ropes. I admired it for a moment, the blue-black scales almost invisible in the darkness. I looked upon the three mermaids again, my sisters now. I could feel them on the edge of my mind, and there were more, I knew, further away. Waiting for their newest sister. I opened my mouth to speak but only the Song came out.
Like this, the one with the lavender scales said, her voice a caress in my mind. She felt amused and excited.
Hello, I tried.
They smiled at me. Hello, the three voices echoed.
Such rage still within her, the one with green scales said, I like her.
She is beautiful, whispered the second as she twirled a lock of my blue-black hair between her fingers.
Yes, agreed the third, her golden hair like fire beneath the waves, vengeance and rage and beauty. We shall call you Tempest.
Tempest, I tried. Yes, I liked that name very much.
The ship of my murderers was getting smaller in the distance and I longed to go after it, to drag it down to the sea floor.
Don’t worry, little sister, their voices, Coralia, Briny and Halcyon I knew now, echoed, we will easily catch the ship.
Dark glee filled me as we started the hunt. The thrill of it ran through us all as more sisters joined our chase. It would be easy now, I thought, now that I had found my Voice and my family. Together we would lure my murderers to us, break their bones on the rocks and drag them down into the deep. We would hold them to us until the life left their eyes and they breathed their last breath. We would raise our Voices together, a single note that had but one meaning: revenge.

So that’s it for this week’s tale! Join me next week for another adventure!

Fiction Friday: the Sorceress Royal

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Rapunzel’s Tower, concept art by the amazing Lisa Keene

See what I did there in the title? {hihihi} Yes, I’m still trying to get into the discipline of writing, so I’m trying to get one story a week out to you guys. This week I found another plotbunny through Tumblr {which is just a treasure trove of awesomeness} which stated that there are two people who are generally found in towers: wizards and princesses. So yeah, that became this. Enjoy and let me know what you think!

 

“Ada, there is someone coming,” Riva said from where she fluttered in front of the window.
I groaned internally, not wanting to lose my concentration. “The wards will get him,” I told her as I carefully added the crushed bellflower petals to the mixture bubbling in my cauldron. A tuft of purple smoke poured out and onto my worktable. I smiled. This particular spell had taken four hours to prepare, I would not have some hopeful muck it up.
“Ada,” Riva started again, hesitantly, “he’s already passed the outer wards. It looks like he’s getting ready to climb the tower.”
The purple haze of my spell flickered for a moment as I took that in.
No, focus.
It doesn’t matter that he crossed the outer wards, I told myself sternly, nobody has ever made it inside. The spell solidified again as I raised my hands towards it, now as a tiny ball of bright purple light.
“Suza,” I called out, hoping he would listen, “would you be a dear and make sure His Highness doesn’t make it up the tower? I can’t deal with him right now.” My only answer was the brush of scales against my leg and the giant roar as he tossed himself out of the window. I wasn’t expecting the answering roar followed by a growl so deep I could feel it in my bones. My beautiful spell flashed once, then winked out of existence, my attention shot.
I threw my head back and made a sound of pure frustration. “Four. Hours!”
I closed the grimoire still open in my lap and flung it on the table in front of me. The cauldron was still spewing smoke, but the spell had been broken. There was no saving it now. Fuming, I walked out of my cosy, candle-lit workshop and into the midday light of my bedroom. I turned back towards the wardrobe that I’d just walked out of, the portal to my workshop still shimmering within, and closed the door.
It had been a while since someone had tried to ‘rescue’ me from my tower, I’d almost forgotten what an annoyance it was. The first few years, before I had strengthened the outer wards, the mere sight of Suza’s large dragon form was enough to send most princes running. After the wards, well, no one had even dared to get anywhere near ‘the Cursed Tower’.
The sounds of battle were different this time, I thought as I listened more carefully. No sound of shield against scales, No outcries in the midst of battle. Just snarls and growls, like two animals fighting.
There was a pained yelp and Suza came tumbling in through the window, his larger form dispersed. The now cat-sized dragon lay in a crumpled heap of blue scales and leathery wings. I quickly made my way to him. “Suza,” I shook him gently, “are you alright?”
He shook himself, wings and all, and nodded. Pressing himself under my hands for a moment in caress before walking over to his pillow and curling up. Transforming took a lot out of him, I knew, he needed his rest.
I stood looking at Suza for a moment, worried, when Riva spoke up. “He’s climbing the tower, he’ll be here soon.” She turned from the window and flew over to me, gold and green feathers glimmering in the light. “Ada, he might make it. What do we do?”
I had no idea. This was the first time in fourteen years that someone had even come this close to entering my tower. Fourteen years ago I may have wished for rescue, but I was no longer this scared maiden imprisoned by her circumstance. I righted myself and turned to Riva, gesturing for her to come perch on my shoulder. “He still has to make it through the last wards,” I told her as she landed and dug her talons in deep enough to draw blood. The connection zinged through my magic for a moment, making every colour and scent sharper. “But if he does make it, we shall welcome our guest,” I continued, conjuring a ball of bright blue fire over my palm, “and we’ll teach him that this princess doesn’t need rescuing.”

The next few moments were tense. I’d released the energy needed to keep the blue flames going, no need to spend it when the threat wasn’t here yet. But, toadstools, what if he succeeded, I fretted. I had no intention of leaving my studies, I really didn’t want to leave my workshop. However, Rhezar the Grand stated that magic worked because of certain Laws. He failed to say what the Laws were, exactly, but he was very clear about one thing: break the Laws and lose some of your power, his books taught me. My father had stated Law when he locked me in this tower. Any who would find their way inside my prison could claim me. But what if I refused? Would breaking non-magic Laws influence my abilities to do magic? How would that even work?
A hand landing on the windowsill cut through my panicked thoughts. My last wards flared up an angry red. The prince let out a pained grunt followed by a low growl, but nothing more. I’d set these wards to their most dangerous. Anything human that wasn’t me should suffer from such intense heat that they let go immediately. Although I hadn’t exactly had a test subject, I thought as his head and shoulders appeared through the opening. Maybe I didn’t attune them right.
The prince dropped through the window, rolled, and sprung to his feet. He wasn’t wearing any armour, I noticed. His clothes, well, what was left of it, were still smoking. The man looked around him as if expecting another attack, crouching low in defence. When his green eyes landed on mine he straightened again.
“You are not welcome here,” I told him, trying to keep my voice stern.
“Yeah,” the man answered, his voice rough, “the dragon and the flames kind of gave me that impression.” He scratched the back of his head almost sheepishly, ruffling his black hair. “To be honest,” he continued, taking in my appearance, “this whole endeavour, and you, are nothing like I’d expected.”
I refused to look down to myself. I knew what I looked like. I’d ditched the princess dresses a long time ago. They were just too flammable. Also, I’d spend most of the night preparing for the spell this prince so brazenly interrupted; I was not functioning on a lot of sleep. No doubt I looked very un-princess-like.
Still, rude.
I drew up a little bit of magic to make another ball of blue flames dance above my palm.
His entire demeanour changed at that. He dropped his hands to his sides and loosened his stance, obviously bracing for an attack. Green eyes changed to glowing gold and his teeth grew into long fangs. He growled low in his throat as his face slowly shifted.
“Werewolf,” I whispered, the fire forgotten.
“That would explain why he got through the wards,” I told myself while I started pacing, “they were attuned to humans but according to Fezeraiah the Eldest werewolves are only part human. And the other part is magic, so why wouldn’t he be able to just waltz through my carefully constr-”
Someone pointedly cleared their throat right next to me and I looked to see Riva, still perched on my shoulder, gesturing towards my guest with her head.
The werewolf was fully human again, an amused quirk to his lips.
“Right,” I turned back towards him. I tried to remember how my mother used to stand when addressing other Kings and Queens. She’d always looked so haughty and regal, a demanding presence without even opening her mouth. “Sir Wolf, I have no care for your bravery or for the promises my father made you, I have no interest in marriage.”
The prince’s eyes bulged. “Marriage?!” He choked out, looking very uncomfortable. “I have a wife and three children.”
“What?” I didn’t understand, “So you’re not here to rescue me?”
“Lady, from what I’ve seen -” he gestured down to what was left of his clothing, “you don’t need a lot of rescuing.”
I gave him a nod, smiling. “You would be correct.”
“I believe there has been a misunderstanding,” my guest started, bowing deep, “I am Ardal Conrí, Heir to the Crescent Throne.”
I returned his bow. “I am Ada Lockwood, youngest daughter to King Maxwell of the Veridian Isles.”
The werewolf’s eyes widened, but he didn’t comment. “My father sent me to ask for your assistance, my lady. We are at the brink of war. We need someone to help keep the peace – or stand on our side in battle.”
“And you’ve come for me?” I asked, still not sure what was going on, “Why?”
“Our own sorcerer breathed his last a few years past. Of old age,” he added hastily at my expression, “we need someone with magic at our side. When news of a powerful sorcerer living in a guarded tower reached our ears, Father sent me. We will pay whatever price you ask. Will you help us?”
“You’re asking me to become sorceress to the throne?”
“Yes.”
I could do it. I could leave this tower and see part of the world again. I would be valued for my study of the craft and not because of the family I was born into. A family who had stuck me in a tower they had never know held magic and never looked back. I could practice magic every day and discover new things. But did I dare go out there, into a world I no longer knew anything about? The tower was my prison, yes, but it was also safety. I had Riva and Suza and my workshop, did I really need –.
A thought struck me. “Did your sorcerer have a study? Or a workshop?”
“Of course,” Lord Conrí answered, “filled with books and exotic ingredients. If you agree, it would all be yours.” He finished with a smile.
Miry toadstools, he knew he had me. I still didn’t know if leaving the tower without a marriage would break Father’s rules and therefore hamper my magic. But to have access to new knowledge, to learn new things. I was already smiling.
“So, what will it be, my lady?” He asked, holding his hand out to me. “Are you a princess, or are you a sorceress?”
I let my eyes flash with a spark of magic and watched his flash gold in return. “Oh,” I answered as I laid my hand in his, “definitely a sorceress.”

So there you have it, this week’s story! Did you love it, did you hate it, do you want more? {which you might, next week, since Ada’s story is not over yet} I’d love to hear what you think!

Flash Fic: the Enchanted Baker

EnchantedBaker
Purple Ombre Flower Cake by Pei Li’s Miniatures

It’s Friday, so time for a new story! {see what I’m trying here?} I really had no idea what to write this week so I scoured my Pinterest writing prompt board until I found something that make plotbunnies dance around in my head. The prompt was a dialogue prompt: “Why is there a dragon in your fridge?” “It was hot.” Simple and fun. I still struggled a bit until I had the friend assume that it was a beautifully, detailed cake… that suddenly turned out to be alive. The story kept rolling from there and suddenly a story prompt that I chose because I didn’t know what to write brought me a fun new character to put into my big worldbuilding project! But first: onto the story!

“Er, Steve, why is there a dragon in your fridge?”
I shrugged and looked up from the tiny fondant flower I was trying to put onto the smallest chocolate cake I’d ever made. “It was hot.” I told Jake.
“The detail is amazing, man. How did you get the scales so shiny?” He asked.
“He’s not a – I wouldn’t do that -” I warned but was already too late.
Jake yelped and staggered back a step, “Dude! That thing is alive!”
The bunny-sized dragon chose that moment to climb out of the fridge and make its way over to Jake.
“Well, yeah.” I told my friend, trying not to laugh as he backed away from my new pet.
“Okay,” Jake invited, now pressed with his back against the kitchen bar, “care to elaborate?”
“So, remember that weird dude that hired me a couple weeks ago? The guy claiming to be a mage?” I waited for his nod to continue, “well, turns out he’s legit. He tossed in this huge egg as a bonus, right? Claiming it would make more money for me in the end. Few days later, this little guy hatches.”
Smaug had now climbed up Jake’s jeans with his tiny claws, dodging Jake’s flailing arms, and was rummaging through his pockets. Smaug made a sound of triumph and pulled out a shiny nickel.
I gently laid down the tiny fondant flower and walked over to the small table by the couch.
The little dragon ran over to me, nickel firmly in his beak and chirped happily up at me, showing off his prize.
I patted him on the head as I pulled the tablecloth aside, revealing a pile of loose change and other shiny buttons and beads he had scrounged up from God-knows-where.
Smaug ducked under the table and curled up on his hoard, making weird purring/chirping sounds while he chewed on the nickel.
Jake was staring at him, and me, mouth hanging slightly open.
“Yeah, I don’t know either, man. Smaug thinks I’m his mommy or something and keeps collecting things. I think there’s, like, twenty bucks in change here and it’s only been a week.”
“You have a dragon as a pet? A freaking wizard gave you a dragon as a bonus?” Jake demanded.
I picked the delicate flower back up and finally got it in its place. “Yeah, he was really happy about the cake. Said it gave everyone a boost.” I shrugged again, holding the three-tiered cake away from me to look at it properly. “Apparently I’m magic or something. Hey, does this look right to you?” I waved him over holding up the teeny wedding cake where he could see.
“It’s freaking adorable,” Jake said, voice dripping with sarcasm, “why are you making doll-house cakes right now?”
“For a client, two fairies are getting married -”
“Dude, you can’t just say that!”
I winced at his vehemence. “Right, sorry, two pixies are getting married and asked me to make their cake.” I carefully put the cake down with the other four cakes, each in a different flavour and with slightly different decorations. “The bride could be here any moment for a tasting. You can wait if you want, but I’d appreciate it if you wouldn’t make an ass out of yourself while she’s here.” I tossed him a meaningful glare. It wouldn’t be the first time.
“Right.” Jake stated, one eyebrow raised. “I promise I won’t embarrass you in front of the imaginary, small humanoids. Can we get back to how your magic now?”
Just as he said it four pixies appeared out of nowhere. A puff of pinkish smoke that vaguely shimmered in the afternoon light and suddenly there were four pint-sized women standing on my dinner table.
Jake took that moment to choke on his own spit and fled further into the kitchen.
Daffodil, the bride-to-be, looked after him, then back to me.
“He’ll be fine,” I assured her, “You’re looking lovely today, are you exited?”
She smiled broadly while she made a small twirl through the air.
I smiled at her. “Shall we begin with the lemon?”
For the next few minutes the bride and her entourage tasted the mini cakes and tried to tell me, in a combination of gestures and speech that sounded like ringing bells, which flavours and decoration they wanted for the big day. It was going to me an ombre cake in purple with the tiniest fondant peonies, hydrangea flowers and golden berries on top. This was going to be fun. I sat back from my notepad and regarded my client. “So, you have around 120 guests, right?”
She nodded, her blue hair bouncing with the movement.
“Are they all your size or will there be guests bigger? Like myself?”
Daffodil came over and took the pencil from me, the thing almost as big as herself. She regarded my notes for a moment and made a crude six on the paper.
“Six bigger people.” I clarified. “Are they all my size or are they bigger?”
She wrote a two and an arrow pointing up.
“Two bigger.” I confirmed, mentally calculating how much sponge-cake I would need. “How big are we talking?”
Then everything just – changed.
I wasn’t sitting at my table any more but was standing in the middle of a forest. A huge creature hulking over me, its breath hot on my face. I was afraid to move, afraid to even breathe because one bite of this thing and I’d have lost a head. I blinked and everything was back to normal. Swallowing hard I looked at Daffodil, who was looking slightly guilty. “Okay -” I tried, my voice two octaves too high. I cleared my throat and tried again. “Okay, so a full sized cake each for them, and one ten inch round cake for the others to share. Or would you like cupcakes?”
My client shook her head and pointed towards the pastel cake.
“Alright, I’ll have it done in time for the ceremony. Full moon, right?”
She nodded. That would give me six days, it would be tight, but it was doable.
We said our goodbyes and the pixies disappeared again in a puff of smoke.
Jake finally dared to venture out of the kitchen again. “Steve?” he started, “I’m not hallucinating, right? There really were tiny women on your table just now?”
I made some final notes about the wedding cakes before putting my pencil down and turning towards him. “You’re not hallucinating,” I reassured him, “apparently Alaric, the mage, spread the word. Like I said, I’m magic.” I added a little jazz-hands for emphasis.
“Yeah -” Jake trailed off, “and what does that mean, exactly?”
“I have no idea,” I laughed, “when Daffodil came for her first appointment she requested that her wedding cake would ‘spread happiness and love’, whatever that means. I don’t now what I’m doing, man, but I guess I’m doing it right because she left a lot more – sparkly.”
Jake opened his mouth to answer when there was a knock at my door. He quirked an eyebrow. “What is it? Witches? Dragons of the full-sized variety? You know what, I’ll get it.”
“I think witches make their own sweets.” I joked as he walked over and pulled open the door.
A man was standing there, dressed in full armour with an honest-to-God sword hanging from his belt. “You are Steven the Baker?” He asked Jake, who was looking towards the heavens with a ‘why-me’ expression on his face.
“Actually, that would be me.” I told the stranger.
“My Lord Baruchiel would like you to bake him something that would give him the strength to vanquish his enemies.” The stranger stated.
“Uhm, okay?” I tried, “I can pencil him in next week.”
He looked back towards the door, seemingly both nervous and annoyed. “His Lordship would prefer not to wait.” As he said this, a huge man stepped into my apartment, his giant white-and-grey wings folded behind his back. They were decorated with delicate golden chains, dappled with what I suspected were real diamonds, reflecting rainbows in the afternoon light.
Jake looked over to me as if to say ‘dude, your life’.
I looked back saying ‘dude, I know.’ Then I turned towards my new clients and uttered a phrase I’d never thought I’d say. “I’m sorry, sir,” I told the angel, “but the pixies were first.

 

So that’s it! As always, I’d love to hear what you think. And, as a bonus, have an adorable piece of artwork of {the Hobbit’s} baby Smaug by Caycowa on Deviantart, isn’t it adorable?

the_hobbit___chibi_smaug_on_nom_nom_by_caycowa-d8ch738
Chibi Smaug Om Nom Nom by Caycowa