But, not in that order…
“Hebon,” he prayed to the god of plants and earth, “thank you for this soil and this seed. Please bless them both so the resultant crop can nourish my body.”
Though completely devoted to Sarturn, the god of magic, Allent understood and appreciated the works of the other gods as well. They all had important roles in the smooth functioning of the world, and he honored them when necessary. With the first steps towards the seed’s life completed, Allent sat back on his haunches and waited for the warmth of the sun to seep through the heavy cloak.
A shadow, however, broke him from his reverie, and the magician scanned for the source. It stood only a few feet away but was directly in line with the sun and therefore all Allent could decipher was that the creature was very large. A bit of fear crept into the magician’s morning solace as the creature took a step forward. Allent saw brown shading in the beast’s fur. Normally, a bear wouldn’t wander this high up the mountain because there was no food for it, and that likely meant the creature slowly approaching him wasn’t going to behave like a normal bear.
Without any other recourse, Allent rose to his feet and raised his arms above his head to make himself appear larger than he was. He shouted as he stood, “Get out of here!” These actions would have frightened most creatures away but had no effect on the one advancing closer. Allent opened his mouth to yell again, while simultaneously hoping he had refilled his magical reserves enough to successfully cast a spell if it became necessary, but before he said anything further the monster stepped forward enough to be seen clearly beneath the glare of the sun.
It was enormous. He had been correct in assuming it was a bear, but hadn’t factored in that he was only seeing a small part of the massive creature. Huge paws with razor sharp claws tore into the hard mountain soil, and then the beast pounded the ground in a territorial show of rage and dominance. An unnatural growl echoed off the steep mountain walls, and that is when Allent noticed the creature’s head. It had the body of a bear, but its head was dwarven.
The beast didn’t give Allent any additional time to process what he was seeing as it rushed forward. The magician held his calm and focused solely on the intricate hand symbols and words of the sleep spell he had in mind. He felt the magic pulse within his blood, and he was relieved that the spell was going to work. He thrust his hands forward and pointed at the beast.
Great stuff, right? That’s from the story I wrote: Allent’s Quest. I also co-wrote another of the seven stories in the anthology with Revis. Perhaps I’ll share a segment from that story next time.
Speaking of Revis, I asked the other authors some silly questions and here are his replies: