The flags twisted in the wind. They whipped around each other, tangling, flying free, twirling as one around the pole that held them to the earthly world, and then separating again with snaps that cracked loudly against the constant howl. They caressed and cuddled. They fought. They drew apart.
Harolin watched the flags with interest. He liked the way they danced together and against each other as the wind roared through the valley. They reminded him of his own life at the moment, a beautiful tangled mess. Some days everything clicked. Some days everything was chaos. But, either way, it seemed things were beyond his control. He was just another flag being forced into action by the winds around him.
A wry smile touched his lips. Except, of course, he thought as he looked away from the flags to return his gaze to the dirt road that ran through town, I have the means to fight back when I choose. The will. The tools. I don’t have to accept my fate.
Tumble weeds and dust devils were the only things traveling down the road during the current storm. But, Harolin knew she would come eventually. She had promised, and above all else she was a woman of honor. He’d always respected that about Deanna, even if it had driven him crazy at times.
Lightning cracked, and the thunder temporarily drowned out the wind. As it rolled away the world was silent for a moment before the howl came rushing back in to fill the void. And, in that instant, Deanna appeared in the middle of the road.
She was wearing her black robes, enchanted to protect her from the elements, and her hair had grown since he had seen her last. The silver strands, untouched by the wind, cascaded down her shoulders. Her hooded cowl kept her face mostly in shadows, but he could see her grey-green eyes clearly enough. They had always been piercing. They had always been striking.
If it had been anyone else, Harolin would have attacked immediately while they were still weak from their previous spell, but he owed her a few moments to regain her composure and strength. He owed her at least that much. Stepping from the shadows, feeling the tug of the wind against his white cloak, he joined Deanna in the street. He’d never minded weather. The feeling of the wind rushing passed him was exhilarating.
Harolin raised a hand to Deanna and she nodded in response. They both had words that needed to be said, but there was no point given the current setting. The wind would rip them from their mouths and scatter them with the dust. However, the two magicians were able to convey enough of their thoughts and feelings with their eyes that no dialogue was needed anyway.
She still loves me.
He still loves me.
An ill-fated pair, but passionate, their relationship had been a brief experiment to see if their attraction could become more, to see if they could set aside their moral differences and work together. And they were able to for awhile. They combined, balanced each other out, and saw the worlds in matching shades of grey. But, eventually their true natures shown through and they began to quarrel.
Nothing in the world was as dangerous as a lovers’ spat between sorcerers. The verbal fights escalated to magical battles. Curses were hurled. Jinxes were cast. The home they had shared came crashing down around them.
And then they had parted ways, as ordered by their respective magical councils, but they had vowed to meet again a year later and finish the fight. It had gone too far not to see it through. Their curiousity, their drive to be the best, was too strong.
“Are you ready?” He mouthed, and she nodded yes in response.
Harolin closed his eyes and sighed. In a normal battle that kind of mental lapse would have been a fatal error, but he knew she would give him the chance to make the first move. She owed him that much.
When he opened his eyes, he unleashed a barrage of magical attacks that he knew she had never seen him use before. He wanted to catch her off guard. He hoped to end the fight quickly before his resolve broke.
The ground swelled under her feet as he ripped the earth apart. Lightning raced from the clouds to scorch the spot she stood upon. Fire spread from his out reached finger tips and morphed in the wind into a raging tornado, swirling its destructive inferno of flame and heat down the road.
The fire blocked his view, but when the clouds opened up and rain poured down in torrents, he knew she had survived. Deep within him, a fleeting thought of happiness, Harolin rejoiced that Deanna was still alive.
As the rain squelched his magical flames, he saw he hovering over the broken ground. She was smiling at him. She had been impressed with his display of power and knowledge. Her smile radiated with admiration. He felt his resolve slipping and he moved into action just in time to counter her attacks.
The rain swelled into a giant wave, crashing down the street, splintering the buildings on either sides and sending boards flying outward and surging along with the crush. Even as he leaned forward and worked the magic to divert the water around him he felt the ground under his feet give way, she was using his own spell against him, but it was a simple matter of twisting the spell in his head and he was hovering above the gaping hole before gravity could force him down. The wall of water drove by him and sunk into the depths.
Harolin kept waiting for her third spell, and was pleasantly surprised when he sensed, more than saw, the shift in magic and he was able to counter before the water surrounding him had turned to stone intent upon tumbling over him and sending him below.
As the debris settled, their eyes caught again. The love was still there. And new respect, as they had finally shown the height of their abilities to each other. They were nearly equals. Deanna’s gaze faltered. Harolin didn’t take the opportunity to strike again.
When her eyes rose to meet his again, she mouthed, “I’ll most likely kill you in the morning.”
Harolin studied her, then shrugged, and mouthed back, “I’ll worry about tomorrow when it gets here.”
Deanna smiled deeply, her love shining clearly through, and then winked as she disappeared. Harolin laughed, the roaring wind drove the sound from his ears and kept him from enjoying the mirth in his voice, but he was too delighted to care. Then he stepped into his magic and joined his wife at their rebuilt home.
It was going to be a good night.
Word Count: 1149
My apologies for The Princess Bride quote. I hadn’t intended on using it, but it fit so well with the scene that I couldn’t help myself. And, I hadn’t meant to make it over 1,000 words, but the story kept going and I had to let it out. Hopefully you didn’t mind the long read. And, I swear I didn’t intend for this to feel like Kill Bill when I started it either. And, I’m sorry for having so much to apologize about today.
Anyway, this bit of silliness, magic, and love was another Flash Fiction Challenge post. Here are the current details:
Hey! It’s Valentine’s Day.
So, you’ve got 1500 words to write about:
Any genre will do.
Post at your online space.
Link back [to the Flash Fiction Challenge linked above].
Due by Friday the 21st at noon.
And you? Do you have a tale of twisted love to share?