Fantasy, Writing

A Gift from the Soule

It doesn’t seem like it’s October already. I ended up moving and having so much come up I didn’t write very much. *coughatallcough*

In any case, now things are settling down, I feel the muse bugging me to write again. Ideas have begun to swirl about and I feel the anticipation and excitement of writing. Or at least, that’s how it feels to me. In any case, I won’t be doing a word prompt today, but just the writing exercise of writing and writing for about a page or two. Writing is a much needed break from chickens, gardening, cleaning, moving, schooling, and a host of who knows what I’ve been doing, most of which I’ve forgotten already.

 

 

Staring into the darkness of night, he couldn’t help but feel it had changed. The welcoming folds of night had abandoned him. What had once been his playground, his domain, was empty. It had felt like he had belonged matched only by other predators of the night. Now, as he stood just inside the city limits, he was unsure. Emotions had once been a thing of the past, but now they rushed up threatening to overwhelm him. It was back in the courts when he had last reigned his emotions in putting up his aristocratic mask for all to see, controlled, calm, calculating, stoic.

 

He was so unused to this when it bubbled up he was incredibly distracted with it. His senses telling him what was going on became muddled and useless. Or else, he would have heard him approach.

 

“Wilhelm.” The decidedly male voice broke the almost silence of night. “Master.”

 

He turned around to face his shadow. The other eager waited for any sign his master was approving. His muscles seemed to tremble like a hound ready to be loosed upon the foxes.

 

Even this seemed, changed. His fight with the witch had done more than he had expected. Her range of power had grown since he had last fought her a century ago.

 

“Maxwell of Derlington.” He took a breath. His shadow visibly shivered at the sound of his voice. It was his gift, as all Old Ones had though they differed based on what seemed to be their upbringing. The gift of the thrall was his. If one didn’t know better, they would assume Maxwell was in love with him. “How has my Shadow been doing?” He asked putting his hands behind him in his favored courtly pose.

 

“While you were away, I kept threats away and your cattle fed.” Max’s voice had become breathy. His black hair fell into his face unable to stay behind his ear as he held his bow. Only when his master motioned for him to be at ease did he straighten. “There was only one stray vampire that had infringed on your territory, but he was easily subdued.”

 

Wilhelm turned strolling forward prompting his shadow to take several quick steps to fall into pace beside but behind him. “Good. It would not have been good to lose my territory while I fought the bigger threat.” His heart beat harshly as he remembered the desperate battle of wills. The Witch tried forcing his hand. In the end, it hadn’t mattered. She was, in a way, more broken than before.

 

“And….How did it go, Master?” Max hesitated to ask not wanting to annoy the man. When he answered, his eyebrows went up his mouth dropping open.

 

“Well enough, Shadow. Well enough.”

 

Max couldn’t help but be worried. When he had first approached, he had thought the rushing of blood had been prey. That the scent had been from another. It was from his master. He could hear the blood rushing through his veins without assistance. He could hear the breath in his lungs. He could even hear thee changes in his breath  and pace as they talked. The way only humans did. Was this some sort of test? Was his master trying to teach him in some way? What could it mean? More than these things, he had answered him straight forward and without demeaning him.

 

“Master?” He ventured unsure of this new behavior from the other.

 

“Hm?” Wilhelm turned eyebrows raising as he considered the man.

 

“What happened?” His hand moved as if to reach forward and comfort his master, but he dropped it back at his side.

 

“Not here, Maxwell. We must arrive at the manor. No need to look so alarmed. All is well.” The master vampire continued on the path to his home, but the closer he got. The more he worried the change the witch had made was permanent. Her spell was new to him. Maxwell was more learned even than him. Perhaps, he could assist in finding the spell to find how to counter it. But they would have to work behind closed doors. Should a rival hear of his weakness, there would be no hope.

 

When they arrived at the manor, the place was deserted besides the stray cat who had become too attached to Maxwell. If he would stop feeding it, they wouldn’t have this problem. The shadow was a bleeding heart though.

 

The master vampire led the way to the lower studies where he usually stayed to read, or pass the time away. Keeping pace behind him, Maxwell silently followed hoping for any treat or tips the master could pass on. It was unusual a master tolerated shadows or kept one. THe Old Ones tended to be more reclusive than almost all others. As the world passed by, they could handle it less. For some, it was the noise. For others, it was the rapidly changing culture. Technology twisting lives for better or worse.

 

As soon as the study door was closed, Maxwell turned to his master waiting to hear him speak of what had happened.

 

“Maxwell…” Wilhelm lowered himself into a chair without his usual grace. The journey had strangely tired him. “When I fought her. She…used a spell of sorts.”

 

The other’s breath fell from him. If this was all it was, it would be simple to fix.

 

“I didn’t recognize it.” He scrubbed his face trying to take the fatigue away. “You will have to search the books so we may dispel it.” Without another word, his shadow shot forward as only a vampire could and began to search the tomes. His collection was extensive, as he had taken it from every witch he had killed.

 

His shadow asked question after question until Wilhelm had become to annoyed. WHen his master had retreated to the fake window pane, he began his search through the older tomes. His finger came to rest on a spell from ages ago. One he had thought long passed.

 

“Master.” He turned on his heel looking up to see the longing in the man’s face. “I think…I found what you are looking for.” His master didn’t turn to face him but stared into the duplicated sky with clouds passing on the panes. Maxwell stood quiet for a moment. His eyes dropped to the page reading.

 

‘Once the vampire is subdued, the spell is cast. If it holds true, his gift will be taken. His might turned out. His soule once more restored.’

 

“I believe…she made you human.” He looked up from the book to find emotion twisting his master’s face. One he didn’t immediately recognize. One he had seen on cattle before as they walked knowingly to the slaughter. When they knew death had come at last.

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Fantasy, Writing Prompts

Elven Magic

  •  Word count: 300
  •  Genre: Fantasy
  •  Character: A nurse who knows more than the doctors
  •  Material: Coloring pencils
  •  Sentence: “Everyone keeps ignoring me.”
  •  Bonus: Winter is long and extremely cold.

 

“Everyone keeps ignoring me.” She whispered to herself tucking her long blonde hair behind her pointed ears. Bending down, she smiled at a sick child as she lay in bed pale as the sheets. She picked up a rag and wrung it out before wiping the sweat away from her face.

“How are you?” She asked in the most kindly way. It was what had set her apart from the others to the children. The girl opened her eyes managing to smile back at her.

“I’m feeling a little better, Ani.” She reached out as if to touch the nurse’s ears. The kids shortened her name as the elven name was often too hard for them to pronounce.

“That’s good.” She glanced around in a dramatic way sparking excitement in the little girl who sat up carefully eager to be a part of something. Pulling out a small parcel wrapped in white linen, she set it on the girls lap. When she unrolled the parcel, her eyes light up like the stars themselves. Coloring pencils and paper lay within the linen partially hidden even now.

“Oh, thank you!” She looked up at the nurse who smiled back.

“I’m sure this will help pass the time while you recover. I’m glad the herbs I gave you are working.” She put a hand on the girl’s. A little bit of magic trickled through, not enough to catch the attention of the doctors, but enough to help her heal. With the combination of herbs, the girl was recovering much faster. She only wished she had to do so in secret because the doctors thought her incompetent. Only men could be doctors. Where she came from, it was the other way around but not strictly so. Humans were odd. “I have to go deliver the other parcels.” She whispered making the girl giggle from the harmless secret. “Remember. Keep it hidden.”

“Keep it safe.” The girl recited with her. Their game of secret mission helped pass the time and entertain them. It was better than absolutely nothing that the human doctors told them to do. When one of the doctors went to come by, she quickly rolled it up tucking it under her blankets. Nodding and putting a slender finger to her lips, the nurse stood bowing her head to the doctor before stepping to the next patient.

Fantasy, Writing, Writing Prompts

Alspring

  • Word count: 800
  • Genre: Suspense/fantasy
  • Character: A god
  • Material: A whistle
  • Sentence: “We can repair this.”
  • Bonus: Your story involves a damsel in distress.

 

“We can repair this.” The god said standing in front of the woman still curled up in the arms of the statue. Her brilliant red hair spilled over the marble arm almost touching the ground. Humans always such strange creatures to him. She lie there as if the world wasn’t suffering. Like the world wasn’t on the verge of collapse because of his twin brother.

Her blue eyes stared up into the statue’s eyes like a long lost lover.

“You look so much more handsome as a statue.” She started off saying. His face twisted. He wasn’t used to mortals speaking to him like this. “I wonder why artists always carve your face like this. It doesn’t really look like you.”

He folded his arms across his chest. Pressing his lips together, he glanced at the statue then the woman. “We don’t have a lot of options.” He ignored the insults. “If you will not do anything, I will leave you to wraith wandering the halls.” This got her attention, but he was already turned around walking away. He heard her fall from the statue assumably chasing after him. His ear perked hearing her stumble in her haste.

“I’m sorry. I…I’m just scared. I’ve never had to do this or anything like this.” She slowed to keep pace with him in a quick walk. The god was much taller than her so his pace was faster. Even among mortals, she was short. “What do we need to do?” She asked looking up into his face.

While he didn’t look handsome by human standards, he had a certain appeal. His grey eyes were hard set and determined. He had strong features but his face was thinner. His hair roam about like fire having a life of its own. He didn’t have such red hair as her, his being more strawberry blonde, very light strawberry blonde.

Biting her lip, she managed to catch his eye, but he appeared less than pleased.

“Do not expect me to react like your mortal counterparts.” His voice had dropped from the soothing musical lightness to a darker tone promising of unpleasant things. She stared at him shocked. “You will get nothing from me. I at first thought you might be the one I needed to save to help bring the world back to order. The prophecies even said I’d find the one we needed here, but you.” He stopped walking to face her. “Are not who we need. You only think of your simple mortal needs. Cowering. Insulting men. Do you think I can not see your thoughts? I am no mortal. I know.” His grey eyes turned into storms making her draw back. “You are safe for now, Mortal, but you are no longer requested to join the Hunt.” He spun around growling sounding like thunder. The woman stood behind him shocked but didn’t follow. How could he had thought she of all people was the one to bring order to Life and Death?  

He left the broken temple feeling less than stellar. His mission here today had failed. The only reason he had left his home was to find her. Well, not her from inside the temple reeking of manipulation and ego, but the one that was supposed to be the balance. He dropped himself on a broken column staring at the ground. His mother would be disappointed were he to return with nothing.

The stars like a scale hanging in the sky. A balance between the sun and the moon, to Life and Death. She will be the hands to hold each side like a bridge between the beginning and the end. Mortals climb from one hand and across her back to the other. While the brothers judge whether mortal men shall pass from the plate.

It had been the final words spoken to him and his twin before she too had passed from this finite world. She had spoken of it too, but he had remembered too late. His brother took her to his realm beyond. Their mother said she would stay with him for a time then his brother for a time. That hadn’t bothered him. It was the time to come. When she said Death would reign.

The war broke out and his people started dying. The woman his mother spoke of was to stop Life from bringing in those not suppose to be there, but also stop Death from taking those not ready. A mediator between the two.

A noise brought his eyes from the ground. When he saw the creature chasing one of his people, he couldn’t just sit idle. He jumped from his place running after them. They were heading for the river. THe creature probably aimed to drown the mortal. He leapt in front of it brandishing his spear. Light burst from the tip making the creature screeched falling backward tripping over its own massive tail. Lowering the spear, he turned to the woman cowering in the nook of an oak.

“No need to fear.” He soothed. When she looked up, he tilted his head. Her grey eyes looked so much like his own. “Woman. Whence have you come?” He asked. She held her knees to her chest letting her brown hair fall in front of her hiding her. “If you wish me to leave, I shall, but…I don’t bring and harm with me.”

She took a handkerchief from her dress pocket wiping her nose. “Ah…It’s…It’s not that.” Her alto drifted out from behind her curtain of hair. “I just…” He could hear her take a deep breath. “Need a minute.” The god stood waiting patient.

When she lifted her head, she met his eyes not with defiance, like he’d seen in some, or lust. In her eyes, he could see how broken she was. There wasn’t a hint of arrogance within her. “Woman…” He said again but more softly. “Where have you come from?” Now he was more concerned for her than curious. The look in her eye spoke more for her than her silence.

“I don’t know. All I remember is…it was dark.” Her head turned trying to hide what might be seen. Things she didn’t want him to know, but she didn’t know why. “I…I know…” She tried to gauge how much she could tell him. When he dropped into a crouch in front of her, she managed to see into his face. “I…didn’t like it at all.” She whispered now that he was so close. His eyebrows drew together compassion in his eyes. “It hurt…” Her lips curled down. All at once, she was in his arms sobbing.

From Life’s arms, a damsel is brought. Piece by piece will the bridge between Life and Death be wrought.

He knelt holding her wondering at the events playing out this day. His mother had been right. Not that he doubted, but she had been right. “Come. We will go to my home. It is neither dark, or painful there.” Scooping her up, he straightened.

She couldn’t help but be worried about this. What other choice did she have? If she asked to go, she could feel he would let her, but that creature that had chased her was still out there. She ended up nodding. Shortly after he started walking, exhaustion overtook her. Her eyes gradually closed leaving her sleeping in his arms.

 

When she awoke next, she was lying in a meadow. Where they had just come from had the crisp air of autumn. Here, there was the warmth of spring. She could see the man, or god who had saved her wandering around, but she couldn’t tell what he was doing. Standing up, she brushed off her dress and straightened it out.

“Where are we?” She called out.

He turned letting go of a branch he had been holding. A smile stole across his face. “My home. Alspring.”

 

Fantasy, Writing Prompts

Life without Death – 750 words

  • Word count: 750
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Character: A vampire
  • Material: A pen
  • Sentence: “It’s too warm.”
  • Bonus: Winter is long and extremely cold.

 

“It’s too warm.” The old vampire whispered to his heir. Elliot sat next to him fidgeting with a pen. He didn’t know what to say to his master. They had never faced anything like this. Never in their lives, long as they had been, did they ever expect him to become mortal again. No one even knew how it happened. His master wouldn’t tell him anything on where he’d been or what he’d been doing. Now, he was dying.

Elliot pushed the logs on the fire around in an attempt to decrease the output of heat. His hazel eyes drifted up to the old man deteriorating before him. Where once a man of great power had stood, now the same had become feeble no longer able to get onto his feet. His black hair had become grey then white. It wouldn’t be long now.

After poking the fire, he set the stick aside picking back up the old fountain pen. It had been a gift from his father who had died a long time ago. His master had found him in the cemetery that day. He had promised that he would never die. He promised power beyond his dreams. He had promised a life outside of the mortal one. Not that it was true at all. At the time, he hadn’t know they could be turned back. It was one of the few ways to fight a vampire apparently. His master told him it wouldn’t happen to him, the old ways had died out, but here they were.

“Master…” He mumbled but the man waved his words away. Elliot almost let it go, but his anger stirred. “Master.” He said more firmly. Their eyes met. “If a witch has stolen your immortal existence from you, then the least we could do is repay the favor.” His master smiled at him. It infuriated him even more, but he held his tongue.

“Elliot…” His voice shook. “I told you.” He took a breath as if speaking was too much for him. “You don’t have to worry about that.”

He couldn’t believe the man. First, he went and got himself effectively killed, then said he didn’t have to worry about it. What if she came after him?! His nostrils flared. His master laughed enough to make himself cough.

“Don’t you understand, Elliot?” When his master got no response, he sighed. More gently, he continued. “A few days ago.”

“When the witch changed you.” Elliot interrupted with a growl. His eyebrows drew down darkening his expression. His master took a breath trying not to react to the provocation.

“A few days ago.” He continued pointedly. “I heard an old witch of mine. Alliessa. We knew each other centuries ago. She would hunt me. I would kill her kin. It was back and forth.” His hand gestured lightly in the air before falling back down. “Well,” He paused. “I heard she wasn’t dead but actually quite close to us. Hunting me quietly, but I heard about it from a friend.”  

Elliot hadn’t heard this part of the story. Hadn’t known it had existed. He focused his attention on what his master was telling him. His master wasn’t looking at him now.

“So. I decided to do the only thing I knew I could do. Without a doubt, I could handle the old witch.”

Understanding was slowly dawning on him. His lips twitched down. His eyebrows together and up. “Master…” He tried interrupting but the man didn’t stop.

“But…you would never survive were she to find us. So, instead of letting her come here. I found her. She was stronger than I had anticipated, but,” He smiled at his heir. “I had killed her for certain this time, but not without cost.” Elliot was staring at the floor feeling utterly horrible.

“Now you know why you don’t need to worry. Never had to.” He sat up with great effort putting a hand on Elliot’s shoulder. “I had become a vampire centuries ago because I thought there was nothing left for me in the mortal world. When I found you, I found what I had wanted years ago, but couldn’t enjoy. Now, I can at least enjoy my last few days with my son.” Elliot pressed his lips together. Human emotions bubbled up pushing past his barriers and down his cheeks.

“Master.” He choke. At the beckoning call, Elliot went over to him laying his head on his shoulder. “Father.”

 

Fantasy, Military, Writing Prompts

Once Threatened – 700 words

    • Word count: 700
    • Genre: Military
    • Character: A werewolf
    • Material: A whip
    • Sentence: “You will take the fall for this.”
    • Bonus: There seems to be no one left on the planet.
    • Keith Dedreich

 

 

 

“You will take the fall for this.”

The crack of the whip reverberated against the concrete wall. His back stiffened as the pain flooded his senses. He growled low under his breath so the soldier wouldn’t know how much it hurt.

“This can all end when you give in.” The soldier with the whip in his hand took a step back ready to deliver the next lash. “You know what you need to be doing.” He watched for a second to see if the one chained would say or do anything. When he didn’t, he struck again. “Just admit it!” He shouted as he added more lashes onto the man.

His back arched with each additional blow. He gasped feeling the old familiarity of his wolf beside him. The Old One didn’t like what this whelp was doing. The soldier had no place beating him like this. He had no idea the power barely contained. Just because his wounds healed rapidly didn’t mean he felt no pain. The wolf circled him, even if in just his mind. They could easily take this one. He was no threat. Shaking his head, Keith fought off the temptation. He soothed his wolf humming the old lullaby their mother had once used.

The soldier lowered his whip reflexively hearing the man hum. He wasn’t entirely sure what was going on right there, but instinct told him he was in grave danger. His superior had told him to break him, to push him into shifting, but now that he was at the tipping point. He couldn’t do it. Fear pushed into his veins like a drug.

“So, you do understand.” Keith said after a few minutes of composing himself. His eyes opened but the human was gone out of them. The reflective glow of his eyes could be seen in the mirror opposite of them. The soldier watched him carefully fighting the urge to run. “I will let you leave.” He took a deep breath to steady himself. A shudder ran through his prone body. The chains rattled with the movement. Keith was trying to keep the wolf in check, but the Old One had other plans. If it hadn’t been for the chains, he would have been Shifted and at the soldier’s throat.

“Your life for mine. Let me out of the chains. I’ll forget this ever happened.” He lifted his head using the mirror to stare into the wide eyes of the soldier. “Or I can just break them and tear you apart starting with your limbs.”

His CO’s voice rang through his head as he listened to the wolf. ‘Under no circumstances will you let the wolf go. The chains are the only thing protecting you and everyone else.’ Still, the soldier felt almost compelled to let the wolf out. His life was on the line right then. His daughter was turning six. If he didn’t, he would never get to see her again. He wouldn’t be able to see her face light up when she opened her birthday present and saw what he got her.

“Decide quickly.” An inhuman note had stolen into his voice. Keith bit the inside of his cheek in an effort to hold onto the wolf.  

When the chains fell off, he could not suppress the howl. The soldier had run standing at the back of the room now with his rifle out. It would be useless, but at least he didn’t have it aimed.

“Remember your promise.” He gulped swallowing hard as Keith stood rubbing his wrists.

“What promise?” Keith turned his eyes over his shoulders watching the effect his words had on the soldier.

“Y-You said…If I let you out, you would let me live.”

He chuckled to himself straightening out. For a moment, he toyed with the idea. “I never promised.” Turning around, he could see the soldier trembling. Even after having starved and beat him, the soldier thought of him as a threat. He couldn’t help but find that amusing. It told him exactly what they thought of him. “But I will.” He said at last having frightened the man enough the wolf was appeased. “You ever come near me or my pack. I will forget that promise.”

When the door buzzed, he stepped out into the corridor. The scent of fear rolled over him like ecstasy. These ones had no promise.

fan fiction, Writing, Writing Prompts

Writing Prompt – Skyrim fanfiction

I would appreciate it if you call me Peyton, you will hate me in the end.

I don’t take the moral path. I don’t believe in the ethics of normal people. Your beliefs are not my own. All my life, I have fought against the traditions of my ancestors. Polite. Mannerly. Moral upstanding citizens of the world. In this time period, they are meaningless. My family members are just another part of the species that share a similar blood structure. The people that came before me. Nothing but dust.

So many get offended when I talk about the dead like that. They gasp putting a hand over their mouth unsure how to react as they’ve never found another with my…ideals. I don’t care about the lives that lived before me. They may have had a hand in my existence but that is where it stops. There is nothing more they mean to me. Dust is what we all shall be. Dust is what you shall be.

It’s not like I have particular beliefs about death and dying. I wasn’t traumatized as a kid. Or. Not that I remember. No. My parents were caring, loving people. Each trying their best to instill in me a love for honor and tradition. Like all other children, I had tried to follow my parents.

It wasn’t until I was older when I suppose I faltered.”

“I was walking home from school when I heard a groan from the woods by the path. At first, I was unsure but I was curious. After I’d gone off the path, both figuratively and literally, I saw…a man.” His face lit up with wonder. “His arm raised like the arm of God. Sword sparkling in the sun. He brought it down again and again. Blood splattering the bushes, trees and ground. The man hit the other with such force it sprayed blood even the distance to me. I remember because I had speckles of red on my skin.” The awe from a second ago tempered with reverence. “The man didn’t even bother to clean up the mess. He just lowered the sword watching the man twitch and writhe on the ground not yet dead. The coldness of his face. In his eyes.” His eyebrows twitched up millimeter by millimeter. “I didn’t realize you could be anything but good, moral and ethical. At that moment, I saw what you could aspire to become. This…god among men. He was a true god. Not this figurative thing people talked about. No. He was

“I didn’t realize you could be anything but good, moral and ethical. At that moment, I saw what you could aspire to become. This…god among men. He was a true god. Not this figurative thing people talked about. No. He was truly…truly something else.” He breathed. “I don’t know what happened in that moment, but I couldn’t get the image out of my head. Him standing there like an avenging god uncaring for the life of another. Blood soaked sprayed all over him. His lips turned in a curl of pleasure. The ice he had for eyes. How calm he looked. Not the fear I saw on everyone else’s face when they talked about the frightening. No. This man knew no fear. He was the beast they feared.” His head slunk back against the wall. “I think that was the moment. I wanted to be like him. I wanted people to fear me like they did him. I wanted to bathe in the power drenching me.” A small laugh escaped his nostrils. “I didn’t want to be this fake god they spoke of trying to make me fear. No. He was what I aspired to be.” His eyes closed looking for once to be calm and peaceful. “I couldn’t get the image out of my head.”

It took a moment before Peyton continued talking. The man had captured my attention completely at this point. This man with the confidence to speak like this. I never would talk about the taboo and evil this way. He did it so naturally. I was thoroughly convinced he meant every word he said. Peyton interrupted my thoughts drawing me back into his story.

“I don’t think he saw me. When I think about that moment that changed my life so thoroughly. I don’t think he really saw me.” He turned his head to cast those cold eyes on me. “When I got home, I constructed the best effigy of him I could make at the age of twelve. I hid it in my wardrobe. And soon. I began to add things to this makeshift shrine. I began to draw him more and more always in red.” Shifting in his position against the wall, he drew a knee up to rest his arm on.

“I knew after a while it wasn’t enough. Not enough. Not nearly enough. He was demanding in his presence in my mind. He needed…He needed something so much more than crude drawings, wax and prayers.” He grew distant like I was no longer sitting in front of him. It was times like this I forgot to continue writing. “My family had a cat. It was old. I didn’t think anyone would notice when it didn’t come home.” He took a deep sighing breath. His shoulders relaxed their tension. The euphoria that took over his face sent chills down my spine. “I picked the cat up one evening before it got dark. It purred in my arms relaxed and unaware of the danger it was in. That alone made the act so thrilling. With my pocket knife my father had given me for my twelfth birthday, I held the cat down and stabbed it. I was scared at first but feeling the warmth. It was so absurdly warm. I hadn’t expected it. The cat tried to get away fighting with everything it was worth but I had it by the neck. Pinned unable to move. I stabbed it again. Then again. The glee that followed would dominate my mind from then on. I tore the cat apart throwing the blood everywhere laughing with as one in a drugged state. The carcass in my hand limp and heavier than I had really anticipated. It was tiring. I set the cat down and like my father had taught me. I skinned it. I took the skull wrapped it in the fur and tossed the body away beneath a tree. I was quite the macabre scene I’m sure, but no one was home and the ground took the blood from my shoes. I washed up after I got home having set the skull and skin to dry in a place no one ever went where it would be safe until I could retrieve it.”

He leaned against the wall again his remembrance having excited him. “I did that night what I had never done before. I’d never had the sensation before, but the memory of the cat’s pain. The whole…thing. I found a fire in my loins as had never happened before. It was only with that memory and myself did I find relief. The memory served as material for a long time afterwards.” He took a large breath letting it out all at once before continuing. “After the skin and skull were dry, I set it in my shrine. Many more would be added to it over the course of the year. Some small some larger. I even found the skull of a human at one point. I became paranoid, however. My parents seemed to be aware of what was going on in some form and I knew what I was doing was…wrong to them and so many other and knew I shouldn’t ever let it be seen. I moved my shrine to a small luggage bag taking it to the place I first saw my god in all his glory.” He was watching me now as if trying to gauge how I was taking all this information, but it was just because I had stopped writing.

“From that point on, I would take anything I had blood, bone, skin and sacrificed it to him there. I even began killing things on his shrine in dedication to him. I would pray for him to send me more victims. I asked him to teach me how to do more. I needed more. I couldn’t …couldn’t get enough.” He was breathless again with a vague look in his eyes. I had long noticed his arousal but I wouldn’t mention anything of the sort. Not when I knew what type of person he was and with everything he was saying. “It took me by surprise when one day I had killed a dog on the stone I had set up in front of his shrine. I pinned it with steel camping stakes. It whined gloriously. Beautifully while I killed it taking so much pleasure in its continued pain. I’m not sure when the man had come up, but I suppose he had been watching the entire time. Only when he got closer did I realize, he…” His eyes teared up and his voice broke. “He was my god. The one I had worshiped for years now. There he stood. His sword in hand. His cold eyes on my flesh. If he struck me down then, I would have reveled in the joy it brought me. No, he looked at what I had done.” He choked on his emotion. “No. I had pleased him. He was. He was so happy at what he saw. I had done something he was proud of.” It took another minute for him to recover.

“My god then showed me the way, the path and everything that came with it. He taught me how to slaughter the weak, the helpless and make it hidden. He taught me so much more than I could have ever learned on my own. It wasn’t until I was older did I realize I was his apprentice and our craft was of blood. He took me places I had never been. He brought such…peace and joy to my life.”

My pen paused as a question drifted up. Peyton seemed to sense the question waiting for me to ask. “So…you left home with him? Didn’t you ever think…” I didn’t finish. I didn’t have to.

“No. I left with him without a word to my family. I didn’t care. They were nothing to me and to my god. He had chosen me and called me to a greater work than they could have ever realized. They didn’t know. Nor would they.” He stopped a smile twitching his lips. “Or at least, not for a while.” I found myself frowning as I wrote this down as well. Peyton continued once again.

“It wasn’t until I was sixteen that he first introduced to me a new way. He showed me how to scare others with my craft. How to cut so the blood sprayed in a pattern that terrified normal people.” His hand made a cutting motion in the air. “Then.” He smiled readily. “He gave me a sword of my own. That night we went slaughtering like men and women go caroling. From door to door. From place to place. All. Any. He had taught me well enough no one could stand against us.”

My eyebrows drew together. “If you were both, so good at it, how did you get caught?” I asked looking up into the killer’s eyes.

“I wanted to be.” His smile faded becoming softer.

“You…Wanted to be?” I asked searching his face.

“My god died a few years back ascending into the heavens with a fury of fire. As was his request.” He looked sad, if a man like him could ever be. “But I only let myself be ‘captured’ for one reason and only one.” He looked back at me. “It’s time I took an apprentice.” Cold rushed through my veins. I swallowed hard looking back at him. “The Dark Brotherhood awaits.”

 

 

 

 

(Part 1 of the Apprentice Fan Fiction)

Writing

The Hero Who Saves (snippet)

Prologue

 

The world had become so desperate; people everywhere were begging for food, money, water, or warmth. People could be heard praying loudly to their individual gods for reprieve. Their dirty, unwashed faces with no hope for the future looking just to survive one more day. No one had anything more to give. The more fortunate  looked down, away, anywhere there wasn’t a dirt streaked face with sorrowful eyes staring back at them. They feared they too could easily become one of the Forgotten. Travelers and the fortunate venture up the Hall of the Forgotten just as desperate to keep their fragile hold on their lives. The long corridor with bridges passing over head leading all who entered  up into the capital city, Vhuhmere, a place for you and me. As its name implies, the city was founded with the hope the country would stay for the people. However, this time had long since passed.

 

The path up into the city wasn’t steep but the angle gradually took it’s toll on those who walked through to the upper side of the city. The sandstone walls rose high above the people. As they climbed the hill, the walls seemed to fall back welcoming those with more into a place of comforts, as long as they ignored everyone and everything they passed on the way up. The greyed stone arches above their head gave at least a little comfort from the hot prairie sun beating down on them all.

 

The upper city was where those who could afford more lived. The ‘upper class’ literally looming over the impoverished people. The Forgotten only needed help getting back on their feet. Instead, they sat, lay, and wandered the Walkway. Others looked the other way as the forgotten were spit on, hit, kicked, and beaten into the dust. Those of noble society had even found it fun to dump refuse and muck down into the ‘Hall of the Forgotten’ in between the bridges onto the downtrodden. All of this, ignored by the Heroes Order.

 

Nearly at the end of the Hall, a woman knelt in her dull brown, ripped dress holding up a small child barely into her toddler years wrapped in a dirty, discarded cloth. She lifted the babe at anyone who passed.

“Please!” She begged. “Take my baby! Please!” She sobbed tears rolling down her cheeks. Everyone walked by pretending to be interested in something else. No one risked adding to their already tenuous hold on life. The woman bowed her head into her arm to cover her eyes crying into her soot stained sleeve. Her arm held close the only thing left in the world that mattered to her. She had lost everything. There was so little food even for her; she had lost her milk and had nothing left for her baby. She hoped, prayed, begged for someone who would take her. For her baby’s own sake. Maybe she might live a better life or she might actually live.

A soft hand touched her shoulder. It was gentle almost not there. Looking up with red, swollen eyes, she stared at a beautiful noblewoman in her vibrant powder blue dress. Her brown hair was pinned back with silver in a bun, curls dangling from it. The corner of her blue eyes dotted with gems, as per fashion. The mother didn’t know how to respond. Rarely did anyone in the Hall, especially nobles, stop for anyone,. No one had stopped for a child, or anything, that she could ever remember.

The noblewoman didn’t say anything understanding this was hard enough on the young mother. Instead, she lifted the babe onto her hip. The little girl gazed wide eyed at the woman unsure what to make of everything. Her red brown hair in messy curling waves. Her impossibly green eyes gazing into the noble’s face. Lifting her tiny fist, she put her knuckles in her mouth sucking on them. It had been her only comfort when her mother couldn’t give her suckle.

Smiling down at her, the noblewoman soothed her. “You will be alright, Little One.” Tiny hands clutching at her dress to hang on. The mother focused her attention solely on her not wanting her baby to go, but also not able to keep her. Her sobbing started back up causing her breath to hitch.

“Take heart, Woman.” She spoke a voice as soft as the clothing she wore.Her jeweled eyes turned back. “Your babe will be well taken care of, well educated, and well loved. You have done well raising her.” She dropped to a knee momentarily in front of the mother touching her shoulder once again. “You have done your best up to this point. It is hard knowing what is best for your children, but you have made the right decision. Take comfort. Your babe will do more than anyone will ever imagine.” The mother nodded unsure how to respond to such a statement as this. Her emotions which had been tremulous were calmed. Taking out a paper, the noblewoman scrawled in elegant script handing it to the mother. It simply told her where she could go to find a specific place where they served food. She would ensure she got what she needed there.

Not wanting to draw the attention of the guard, she pulled back checking to see if any paid them any attention. Standing back up and straightening her clothes, the noblewoman turned once again staring straight ahead. Not able to look into any other eyes. Not able to give them anything. It wouldn’t solve the problem. The Order would still end up with all of it. And she would be without any means to assist them any longer. She made donations where she could. There were several soup kitchens, shelters, and safe places because she ordered them built. It still wasn’t enough. The Hall was still overpopulated with more adding to it daily.  She promised she would change this. All of this would end. By the babe on her hip.

 

Halle ran through the corridor darting around a guard to a hidden closet. Her emerald green dress made so much noise. She tried to keep it out of the way, but the layers of cloth made it difficult. Pushing inside to the back, she crouched with her arms over her head waiting. Her breath came in heavy pants. She hoped of all things her breathing wouldn’t be the thing to give her away. Closing her eyes, she took a deep breath trying to calm her rapidly beating heart. Her breathing stopped as footsteps drew near. Tightening her eyes shut, she wrapped her arms around her tighter trying to use magic. If she had just been able to understand her lessons this wouldn’t be happening.

The sound of a bell drew her head up. An intricate circle blossomed in front of her glowing turquoise. Her body stopped responding. The circle sent out blue strings wobbly and unsure, but there. They wrapped around her making difficult, if not impossible without magic, to move.

“Got you!” The little boy chanted pointing a pudgy finger at her. He laughed dropping his hand the circle falling with it. Halle felt the binding fall off of her. “You’re the easiest to find.” He taunted as he rushed off to get the others his half cape fluttering behind him.

Halle pulled herself up and out of the closet frowning. She had tried. The game needed her to use magic to conceal herself but she couldn’t ever do any. It was as if she didn’t belong in this world of magic. Sniffing, she wiped a tear from her cheek. A heavy hand dropped on her head.

She looked up with giant green eyes the hand sliding off the back of her head. The soldier who stood guard in the hallway pushed up the oval metal plate covering his face. His scarred but handsome face looking down at her. He was an older man, but one she knew from around the castle. He had become somewhat of a friend to her when the other children didn’t want to have anything to do with her. It was enough that she knew she wasn’t of noble birth like the others. It had been worse since the other children had found out.

“Don’t worry, Miss Halle.” He whispered. He wasn’t supposed to move or speak, though they all did it. For Halle. “When your magic comes in, I’m sure it will be as beautiful as you are.” The little girl grinned at him nodding with a thank you before rushing off. She made a mental note to pick some flowers from the courtyard for him. The soldier smiled putting the metal plate back in front of his face. His eyes trailing after her as she ran off. It was hard for him to stand by when she was picked on. Halle was like them. Normal. Down to earth. Caring and compassionate. Not like the other noble children who took whatever they could grab not caring who got hurt.

 

That evening the children stood in a loose line. Five of them grinning at each other. Only, Halle was nervous as she smiled back, even if they didn’t look at her. They were all so happy for their Naming Ceremony. Of course, each of them had displayed magic at some point. Halle had yet to show any potential. Was this the day she was kicked out of the Heroes’ Academy and told she couldn’t study here anymore? Shaking her head to get the thoughts out, she looked up at the men and women in cloaks striding across the room.

 

Tapestries depicting Heroes of old adorned the walls with gold and silver tassels on the bottoms. Though they held still, the images seemed to move as they told the stories of long forgotten men and women who had once saved them all. New candles stood flickering their light from the walls into the small circular room. The stone of the walls, and floor made the room uncomfortably cold, but added an otherworldly feel to everything. That might have been one of the reasons Halle felt so nervous. She felt out of place here in this world of magic and splendor. Like she was meant to be something or someone else.

The parents beamed down at them so proud as they took their places. Her mother looked back as kind as always though Halle hadn’t done any magic. How could she get her Name if she didn’t even know her magic?

The adults stood waiting around a small circular dais just big enough for one person. They left enough room for movement around the raised platform, but close enough to be a part of the Ceremony. Another woman in robes the color of milk came in from the door behind everyone at the back of the room. While the other adults were dressed in simple robes according to what type of Hero they were, this woman had iridescent swirling designs on the edges of her robes. The cloth opened in front revealing the cotton tunic underneath. It was nothing like the poor of the city wore. Even from a distance one could see its quality. She was also the only one wearing jewelry. A large jewel rest on her chest shining the way a well polished stone does. To Halle, this woman looked like the type to preen and strut. The type that would be severe. The type that would screech to everyone Halle’s lack of magic. The other children eagerly watched the elderly lady make her way slowly towards everyone.

“Come on…” One of the boys groaned under his breath. “I want to get my Name!” He complained. Halle was tempted to say something, but with her nerves twisting around her throat she doubted she could speak. Her hands opened and closed over and over as she tried to calm herself. The elder looked their way smiling, except when she looked at the boy who spoke. She raised an eyebrow at him, making the boy freeze, before continuing her long journey to the dais.

“You have come here.” The elder spoke loud and clear despite her age. “Expecting your Name. The Name defining who you and what you are and…” She paused for effect looking around. “Most importantly giving your magic true breath.” The children shifted around eagerly. Except Halle. “This is a difficult process for many. Not everyone wishes to go through with it. Some find the ember of magic with them dies with the ceremony.” A few gulped. Of course, it wasn’t exactly true, but the children didn’t know that. “But those special ones who have their magic grow, expand , transform inside them.” She smiled at them as she made a grand gesture. “They will be the true Heroes.”

Halle felt her stomach drop. She didn’t even have an ember of magic. There had been no gentle burning. No cooling. No…whatever words they used to describe it. Tears formed in her eyes as she tried to stay posture perfect in front of her mother preparing for when the elder told her she had no magic. That there had been a mistake.

“Trevor.” A little boy to the very left of her walked over and stepped up onto the dias trembling. The elder set a hand on his head closing her eyes. He stared at her for a moment before he too closed his eyes. There was a brief moment of warmth before his body wouldn’t move any more. He felt cold. So cold.

‘Trevor! Trevor! Where are you!?’

He wanted to lift his head to see who it was calling him. In the bottom of his stomach, he knew. He would forever remember that voice. The way it sounded that night. That horrible night his father died. Snow drifted around him obscuring his vision. Turning around, he tried finding him.

‘DAD!’ He screamed his small fists clenched. His whole body shivered violently. He couldn’t move. Everything was so…cold. Closing his eyes, he wrapped his arms around himself tighter tucking his head down. He wanted to cry, but the tears had long passed. He wasn’t sure how long he sat underneath the tree. His mind felt so muddled. Something brushed his cheek. Warmth flooded his body as he was lifted from the ground. Trevor wanted to scream at his dad to go back home, to run as fast as he could, but his mouth wouldn’t work. The sound of his father’s scream snapped his eyes open.

He breathed heavily for a moment looking around him. His eyes stopping on the elder before him.

 

She paused for a moment longer. “Artaxiad.” Her hand pulled back letting the boy look up better. Glancing around, he focused on his mother. She was staring at him. Smiling at him. He looked down at himself his eyes widening.

Wind rushed from beneath him glowing white. His body shone brighter and brighter until it matched the wind around him. Within the next second, it disappeared. Trevor Artaxiad stood breathing hard a shocked look on his face. His previously dirty blonde hair had turned an incandescent white blonde. He turned around to the other children grinning. His hands constantly had a white flame surrounding them. He lifted them as if to show everyone what had happened, even if it was clear. The memory that had played became a distant memory as he rushing toward his mother.

Trevor’s mother stepped from around the dais with him. They walked off to the side where they could watch but be out of the way. She knelt to give him a hug talking quietly to not interrupt the other Namings.

The elder once more turned to the group of now four children. “Emilie.” A young girl skipped up grinning at her. Looking down at her, the woman put a hand on her head. Their eyes closed almost at the same time.

 

A familiar sense of fear jumped into her throat. The wind whipped through her hair as her heart beat so hard she thought she would break. Her wide eyes searched for anywhere she could hide. The laughter behind her dropped her stomach further down and her heart into her throat. Tears burned her eyes. Her body hurt from the adrenaline pulsing through her veins. She needed to get away! If only her legs were strong enough. If only she were older. If only things were different. They were getting louder. Her feet pounded the forest floor as she looked for anything. Anything! She spotted a swampy pond. A rotting log. Shifting that way, she ran over crawling inside the hollow log clamping her hands over her mouth as bugs scurried around her. Even still, she kept herself in place, silent as the footsteps ran passed. The voices so loud in her ears. Her eyes closed tighter. Her bottom lip trembled as she begged for no one to find her. The next thing she heard opened her eyes.

 

“Temujiin.” The elder removed her hand once more.  Emilie looked up at the elder woman. Within those eyes, the memory faded to the background once more. She took a deep breath trying to calm herself down.

Looking down at her hands, she flexing them. Her magic wasn’t as dramatic as Trevor’s had been. It was less visible. Strength seemed to course through her. Lifting her head, she felt the ground shake for a second. A smirk popped up on her face. Somehow, this had been exactly what she had hoped for without knowing it was what she wanted. The girl spun around running for her parents who drew her close before heading over to where Trevor was standing with his mother. Her parents held her whispering about how impressed they were.

Halle frowned staring and watching. Sadness overwhelmed her as she stood. She didn’t know it would be like this. She should have stayed hidden. Her eyes remained forward as each child was called forward and named. Each of them had magic. Each of them had been given a Name. Her place was at the end. Probably because she hadn’t displayed magic. They didn’t want to ruin the Naming Ceremony for everyone else when she didn’t get her Name. Her mother even stood there watching her with sad eyes. She knew she wouldn’t get her Name.

“Halle?” She turned her head blinking at the elder who was beckoning her over. Slowly with lead feet, she trod over. Her eyes didn’t close as she felt the weight of the woman’s hand on her head. She didn’t expect anything. This was the moment she had been dreading. They would tell her to leave. Her mother would be so disappointed. After all, her mother had some of the strongest magic in Ivesa. When the woman didn’t speak, she looked up. The woman was watching her. Slowly, she let her eyes close.

Halle wanted to look up out of the blackness that instantly surrounded her. Within her mind, strange memories flit about. A man slamming the door. A woman sobbing. She didn’t stop sobbing. She wouldn’t stop sobbing! It grew louder and louder in her ears. Her hands snapped up to cover them, but it didn’t help. It was so loud she didn’t hear anything. The wailing turned into a howling wind. A scorching heat. A scream welled up from within her exploding out of her without a sound. Everything. She could feel everything.  The energy pulsing around her. She felt like nothing. Her body curled before something solid hit her square in the back. The heavy weight pushed her over, crushing her to the floor. Pain grew as the weight pressed her against the floor. Halle cried out for her mother but no sound came out. She wanted to run. Hide! Anything to stop the pain from consuming her. *Megei’liet*

 

“Halle!…Halle!” She heard a voice calling her. It was hard to pull herself out of…whatever dark place she had fallen into. When she managed to open her eyes, she saw her mother kneeling over her. She was crying like her birth mother had done. Why was she crying? Why was she making everyone cry?

“Oh, thank the gods!” Her mother pulled her into a tight hug. “You scared me, My Dear One.” Halle blinked rubbing her eyes with her free hand.

“What..?” She pulled back enough to look around at the scorched room. The curtains which had been strung on the walls with beautiful paintings and weaving now lay in tatters on the stone floor. The carved white wood dias now lay black starting from where Halle had been. Everyone who had come in with her stood out in the hallway looking in with wide eyes and soot-stained faces. All the beautiful tapestries and paintings that had been on the walls lay crumbled on the floor. Smoke curled at the ceiling taking on an ethereal feel by the light in the center swung slowly in a circle. “What happened?” She breathed. Her mother smiled a wobbly sort of smile.

“Your magic came to life.”

Writing, Writing Prompts

Could Be Worse

One Could Do Worse

 

In this infinite world of beauty and luxury, one could certainly do worse than this. Dancers spun around spinning turning about their gowns flairing. The orchestra played their waltz. Bored party goers sat on the side lines watching the people come and go. A giant chandelier hung from the ceiling lighting the room with swirls of crystal white. Tuxedos finely fitted to the men strutting about. Dresses embedded with jewels. Yes. One could do worse.

Her eyes shifted to the man in the corner near hidden. His face white and sullen showed a lack of affection for parties such as this. He was going to turn this party topsy-turvy. And it was going to be a blast. All she had to do was wait for the signal. It was hard waiting. The people drifting had absolutely no idea of the events about to unfold. It was so hard waiting.

Lifting her head, she watched the man glide to the dance floor like a poltergeist. A flutter started in her stomach. It was like kismet, fate, destiny. Whatever you wished to call it. He was hers. She stood graceful as a supernatural being could be. Floating to the dance floor, she held out her ashen hand the man taking it.

Everyone watched as the two moved in perfect sync. Each step timed with each other. Every movement liquid. It had gone silent apart from their steps rhythmic in their clicks.

No one was quite sure what to do about them. They couldn’t ask them to leave. It could lead to war. They couldn’t have them crashing their parties, but what were they to do? Eyes flicked about nervously, unsure of what was to transpire. The two remain staring into each other’s eyes. A small barest hint of a twitch at the corner of his lips.

“You look beautiful tonight, My Queen.” His deep baritone rumbled washing excitement over her features.

“Thank you, My King.” She didn’t hide her expressions nearly as well as he did, nor did she try to. Her smile was brighter than the lights shining about them.

A nefarious smile crept across his face.

“They’re staring, My Liege.” She whispered a coy smile on her lips, a blush on her pale cheeks.

“One can not resist staring at the brightest star in the night sky, Meine Perle.” He kept them dancing and turning though the music had long since stopped.

They didn’t continue for long. There were things to do. He held her hand high with his as he turned to lead her from the dance floor. Black seeped from the windows. People screamed panicking.

She looked from him to the table he led her to. Foods of various sort scattered on the table in ornate patterns. People scrambled about behind her running from the black. Picking up a food, she returned her eyes to him lifting to her lips the soft delicatessen.