Fiction Friday: Six word stories

arp299
Chandra galaxy, from the NASA website

I know, I know, I promised you another part of Of Wolf and Man. I swear it’s coming, just not this week. See, I took a little tumble down the stairs {actually, one step, but that sounds so lame} and busted up my ankle pretty good. This means that I couldn’t sit up for too long and my focus is shot to hell. I tried writing, but I didn’t get any further than 4 sentences. So, better luck next week!

For now though, have some six word stories! I love this concept and am usually thinking up a few of these. I want to make a page in my writers journal for them and just jot down a few as I think of them. I wrote a few this week {today… shh} but these three I liked best. Enjoy and tell me your six word story!

Her fall finally felt like freedom

 

“Fairytales don’t exist,” said the werewolf

 

The stars slowly faded to black

 

And a bonus one that is not mine, but a Critical Role quote that makes the best six word story:

I broke the world for us…

I just love that one!

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Fiction Friday: Human Curiosity

crystal_caves_by_josheiten-d5z8fes
Crystal Caves by JoshEiten on Deviantart

Welcome back! It’s Friday which means it’s storytime! {Yay!} This week’s story is a bit shorter that you’re used to, but I have a good reason for that, I promise. I’ve been working on a longer story {with lots of worldbuilding and plotting, oh my!} which I’m hoping to finish this week. I’m aiming for at least 5000 words, but it will probably be longer.

That said, I didn’t want to leave you guys without a story this week, so I wrote a short, dialogue only, story. It’s a continuation of Human Care, although you don’t necessarily need to read that one first. I saw this prompt on Pinterest and could immediately picture Kel’Jar and Keira having this conversation. As my husband said: That universe only exists to make Keira’s life difficult, doesn’t it? Why yes, yes it does. So enjoy and hopefully next week I’ll have something big for you!

 

“Why? Why didn’t I stay on the ship? I could have just said to the Captain ‘Dammit, Jim, I’m an engineer, not a redshirt!’ But, no! He asked so of course I – “

“Your shirt seems to be more of an Earth-forest green in hue, and the Captain’s name is Crydrask, not Jim.”

“I know, Kel’Jar, it’s a human saying – sort of. Point is, I should be back on the ship, surrounded by my beautiful machines and gizmos but instead I’m on this cold, dark planet, walking into this cold, dark, fakakta cave where we’ll get eaten by the no doubt charming wildlife. All because they found some energy signature in said, cold, dark, fakakta cave that might maybe, perhaps, possibly be electronic. How is this my life?”

“Human-Keira, I would like to join you in acknowledging the difficulties of your life.”

“Wow, you are the worst at this comfort thing. But thanks for trying, I guess.”

“XTO-371 was labelled ‘safe’ before we were sent down. There are no signs of dangerous indigenous species, airborne toxins or other biological hazards. You are simply experiencing a nervous reaction due to the fact that this is your first exploring mission. You will be, as you say, fine.”

“Much better. See, you’re getting the hang of this human-interaction thing! Now, does your scanner say how much further we need to go before we reach this energy – Oh God! Something just brushed my leg!”

“That was most probably an Agnasi, they are similar to your Earth-spider.”

“Spiders don’t usually reach up to my knee, Kel’Jar!”

“True, I meant in the way that they have more limbs than most species. Ten in the case of the Agnasi, but –“

“Not really helping.”

“—they have a really friendly demeanour.”

“Oh God, the creepy alien spiders are going to eat us alive and we’re all gonna diiiieeeee. We should never have walked in here. I wanna go hoooome.”

“Why are you singing?”

“It’s a human fear response. It happens sometimes.”

“Studies on human behaviour denote three human responses to fear: fight, flight and freeze. Singing is not mentioned.”

“Well, no. It’s more like we’re trying not to give in to the fight-or-flight thing by singing. I guess.”

“Fascinating.”

“Yeah, we’re astonishing creatures. Oh, hey! I found the thingamabob. Could you give me some more light? Thanks. Cool, it seems to be giving off sound on a supersonic frequency. I wonder why?”

“Perhaps it is a distress signal.”

“Could be, but we haven’t found any other technology, or a spaceship. Ooh, I found the button that turns it off, let’s see what happens.”

“Are you certain that is wise?”

“Too late. Alright, nothing flashy happened, nothing exploded, no sudden death. Which is good. Blinking lights, which might be less good. Wait. Do you hear that, what is that?”

“It would appear we have angered the Agnasi by turning off the device. I would advise you to run!”

“I thought you said they have a ‘friendly demeanour’!”

“I was incorrect. Caelestis, this is Lieutenant Kel’Jar requesting immediate extraction from this location. We are being pursued, I repeat, we are being pursued.”

“Nothing will happen, he says, you’ll be fine, he says!”

“It was a statement made taking only the parameters currently available to me in consideration.”

“Hahaha! Did you see that one hit the rocks? I totally got it!”

“Is laughing another human not-fear response?”

“Yeah, but how about we run now and study human physiology later, okay?”

“They seem to be gaining on us.”

“I swear, Kel’Jar, if I get eaten I will haunt you for– Oof!”

“Welcome back aboard, Lieutenant, Keira. Were you able to figure out the energy signature?”

“It would seem, Captain, that the device emitted a high-frequency sound, which kept the local Agnasi population docile. When Human-Keira shut down the device, they turned hostile.”

“I see.”

“Yeah – I guess I’m not really cut out for the adventuring thing. Sorry, Captain, guess I shouldn’t have pushed the glowy button.”

“Human curiosity. Something we could use on our next mission. So, get some rest and wash up. We’ll arrive at EXO-31 in 23 standard hours.”

“When you say human curiosity?”

“Yes, Keira, that means you too.”

“But we almost got eaten by not-spiders and it was my fault!”

“And you survived, this time.”

Oy Gevalt.

“Who knows, you might start to like this adventuring thing.”

Fiction Friday: Salvation

 

Pieterskerk
Pieterskerk in Leiden, the Netherlands

 Hi and welcome to another Fiction Friday! Phew I had a hard time writing this one. I’d been without inspiration the entire week and when I finally knew what I wanted to write about, the words ran away from me at Mach 5 speed. Seriously, it took me almost five hours to get these little-over-1000 words on paper. I bow in shame and defeat. But, I’m also proud of myself because I eventually did do it {yay for discipline!} and after some serious tweaking {so much tweaking} it’s something I’m actually proud of.

So I really had no idea what to write this week, so I took a page out of my friend Chantal‘s book {who took it out of Chuck Wendig’s book, but shh} and went to Flickr to browse through the recently added photos. I found one of a beautiful church in Barcelona, which reminded me that I had a character somewhere for my big worldbuiding project who has a close bond with churches and could use a little backstory. I looked up a church a little closer to home, and wrote the story of my vampire priest! So are you ready? Here we go!

 

Joseph paused in front of the huge Gothic church. The high arched windows cast a warm glow onto the cobblestone streets. Heavy red doors stood open and inviting. He should just walk in. Finally find the courage to walk into the warm interior and let the wrath of God burn him to cinders. At least, that’s what they said happened to monsters who tried to enter His house. And that’s what he was now, wasn’t he?
A monster.
He was so tired. Tired of roaming, standing in front of another church and trying to convince himself to just end it. Tired of the heartache of leaving his wife and family behind, even though he knew he was protecting them. He could never go home. Not like this.
When he returned from the War to End All Wars, changed, he knew that he would be a danger to his own family. He hadn’t even said goodbye, it was better if they thought he died on that cursed battlefield. In a way he had, bleeding out in the muddied trenches after that thing had torn out his throat and fed him the life from its veins. Only he hadn’t stayed dead.
He’d stowed away on the first boat to the Americas, hoping an ocean between them would keep them safe from the monster he’d become. For weeks he had wandered the land, shying away from the sun when it started to burn. Praying for salvation to a God he knew would no longer hear him.
Every morning when dawn broke, he stood in the shadows, watching God’s light fill the streets but knowing he would never feel its warmth again. He wondered if the stories were true, that if he stepped out of the shadows he would burn away, his ashes travelling up to Heaven as his soul would descend to Hell. At night he would walk through towns and cities, always finding himself in front of a church, remembering the Sundays spent with his family in the wooden benches, heads bowed in prayer. And every night wondering if this was the night where he would finally step inside. Through it all the hunger pulsed within him, a beat that was impossible to ignore.
“Hello,” a voice sounded beside him. He turned to see a man in priest robes standing next to him. “You’ve been standing here a while now, would you like to come in?”
“I don’t think that would be such a good idea, Father.”
“You’re from Britain?” the priest asked, “You’ve fought in the war?”
He could only nod in answer. The priest gestured to a small bench facing the cathedral and they both sat in silence for a moment.
“We have a lot of folk here who fought for their country,” the priest began. “Folk who had some trouble getting back on their feet after. War changes people, yes, but -”
“War made me a monster,” Joseph interrupted.
The priest waited for a moment, but the man said nothing more. “What’s your name, son?”
“Joseph Brennan, Father.” The hunger clawed at him now. This was the first time in weeks that somebody had been this close to him. He could almost smell it, the coppery warmth that could be his if only he tore open the priest. Like he had been torn open. He felt his new fangs lengthen at the thought alone. He knew his eyes must be burning red now, like his maker’s had been.
“Joseph,” the priest started, completely unaware of the struggle happening next to him, “there are things war forces men to do that might make it seem like God has abandoned them. But He’s still here, and He’s still listening. What you have gone through hasn’t made you a monster, it-”
“Hasn’t it?” Joseph demanded, baring his fangs at the man sitting next to him. “All I can think about now is how your blood would taste on my tongue. The thrill it would give to see the life leave your eyes as I drain you dry. Tell me, Father, how am I not a monster?”
The priest regarded him for a moment, seemingly unfazed. “I see. Why did you come here, Joseph? What is it that you’re looking for?”
“Peace,” he answered, a burning tear rolling down his cheek, “for this pain to finally end.”
The priest lay a hand on his arm, squeezing gently. “God has heard your prayers and send you here. You are not the first Night’s Child we have had here. Tell me, Joseph, have you given in to the hunger? Have you drunk blood?” The priest stood and started towards the doors, guiding Joseph along.
“Not yet, but I don’t know how much longer I can fight it,” he admitted.
“For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things; That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well,” the priest quoted, “Your soul is not yet darkened, my son, you must fight temptation each and every day. You will have to become an instrument of God. It will not be easy, but God knows you have the strength, for He has sent you to us.”
They stood in front of the heavy wooden doors now, the interior of the church lit by warm candlelight. White pillars lined the path towards the ornate choir screen at the back of the church. A spiral staircase wrapped around one of the pillars on the right, leading to a wooden pulpit that looked antique. A huge bronze chandelier hung from the ceiling, the candles upon it casting golden light upon the wooden pews. “We will all help you, Joseph. But above all, you must wish to be saved. It is not too late to save your soul, and perhaps along the way, save the souls of others,” The priest gestured inside. “Will you come in?”
Joseph stood for a moment, frozen in indecision. He regarded the man next to him, who wasn’t afraid of what he had become, of what he could be. Who instead told him that there was hope, that there was a way to save himself. He had to put his trust in this man, and in God, but could he do that, when he couldn’t even trust himself?
Closing his eyes he called up images of his wife, singing while she cooked, of his brothers laughing in the pub, of his mother hanging up the laundry. He owed it to them to try. He squared his shoulders and opened his eyes, looking inside this beautiful house of God, and with apprehension, but without fear, he stepped over the threshold.

So that’s it for this week! Next week will be a bit lighter again, I promise. After this one the writing came a bit more naturally as well, which is good! As a final gift: look at this beautiful choir screen in the same Pieterskerk (Peterschurch)!

Choir screen in the Pieterskerk, the Netherlands

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

submerge_by_charlie_bowater-d8063sy

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

Tower2
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 Fiction: Familiar

Sleeping Arctic Fox
Sleeping Arctic Fox

I’ve been working on something, something big. Like worldbuilding big. As you may know by now I love fantasy and I love writing. So it might not come as a surprise to you that one of my dreams is to write a fantasy book {or series of them hihi}. It’s kinda scary, but in a good way. So I’m trying to, very slowly, build a world and all the races, creatures and people that go in it. What helps is writing tiny scenes and stories to flesh out these things. The following story is one of those. This might be part 1, if inspiration for this pair of characters strikes again, who knows! Enjoy, and tell me what you think!

Keep her safe, it was all he could think about while running through a forest he didn’t know, remembering nothing, not even his name. He could remember her name though, Nialura, which was a strange name, he knew, he just didn’t know why. It didn’t matter now anyway, he was still running, still trying to get somewhere safe. Get her somewhere safe.

There was a rumbling noise, lights illuminating the forest around him. A car passing him and pulling to a stop at the side of the road. Was this what he was running from? He couldn’t know, not with the adrenaline and magic coursing through him, pounding against his skin. He swerved away from the car and kept running. If he could find some buildings, maybe he could find shelter, somewhere to hide. A shape stepped out from behind a tree, forcing him to stop.

“David,” the woman asked, “are you alright?”

“Get away.” He all but growled at her, clutching Nialura’s tiny form closer to his chest. She was so small, so vulnerable.

“David? It’s me, Zoe. Why are you running? What’s after you?” The woman stepped closer, her brown eyes wide and worried. Her dark skin looked warm in the afternoon sun that dappled through the trees. She didn’t look dangerous, but how could he be sure. She reached out, as if to touch him. It was too much. He jumped back, twisting to keep Nialura away from her, throwing up a glowing blue barrier between them. The woman, Zoe, jumped as if burned, her eyes flashing a bright silver for a moment before turning back to warm brown. “David!” She exclaimed, a combination of panic and incredibility in her voice. “Will you just tell me what’s going on? You disappear for three days, nobody knows where you went, and you show up here, smelling like fear, naked, running through the forest like the devil himself is chasing you. What happened to you?” She continued, stepping closer to where the blue barrier had been.

“I don’t know.” He, David?, ground out.

She studied him for a moment more. “You don’t even recognize me, do you?” At the shake of his head she continued. “We’re friends, part of the same – family I suppose. We were all really worried about you. What do you remember?”

He closed his eyes for a moment and thought back. There were some flashes of walking through snow, fighting, throwing his magic at people who tried to get him, running towards a giant wall of purple light, seeing Nialura, her white fur almost invisible against the snow and her amber eyes sharp and knowing. He doesn’t say the last part, but tells Zoe about the snow and the fighting and the wall. Her eyes go wide when he mentions it.

“You went Through the Veil?” The way she says it makes him add capitals, like it’s important. “Why would you go there?”

To get her, he thinks but doesn’t say, her huddling form warm against his bare chest. She stirs then, looking up at him with her amber eyes. “You should show her.” A soft voice rings through his head and he knows instantly that it’s Nialura. “I think you knew her, before. She’s not a threat.” 

“Are you sure?” He thinks back, knowing she can hear him too.

“Yes.” She answers, rubbing her cheek against his chest. “She feels safe.” 

“David?” The woman before him asks. “Let’s get out of here, okay? We’ll get you somewhere warm and with clothes.” She’s grinning as she says the last part, but there is too much worry in her eyes. Instead of answering he took a tentative step towards her, still ready to jump out of her reach, despite what Nialura said. He held out his arms, showing her the small white fox nestled in them.

“Nialura.” He tells her as Zoe’s eyes go wide.

“A Familiar.” Zoe breathes in awe and the word strikes a cord within him, yes, that’s what Nialura is. Familiar in a world where he doesn’t know or remember anything. “But – it’s so rare. And – you’re  too young. You should’nt be able to -. How?” She finally seemed to settle on.

“I don’t know.” Was the only answer he was able to give her.

“Finding a Familiar comes with a cost.” She says, dreamlike, like she’s quoting something. She closes her eyes for a moment and when they open again there’s a new light in them, one filled with determination and respect. “Alright, come on, we’ll figure it all out. I’m taking you both home.” She stepped forward and gently curled her hand around his upper arm, being mindful not to touch Nialura. That touch and her words of home are the first things that seem to make sense in this world that he should know but doesn’t. With one last questioning look towards Nialura he does the only thing that feels right; he follows.