and then

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A breeze tugged at the hem of his robes.  He was aware of the slight play in his attire, as he was aware of everything around him, but it held no true interest or concern.  He simply catalogued the wind speed, should he have need to factor it into a spell later, and moved on.  There were miles yet to cover before the sun set on the day and the miles already covered had not been kind.

Puffs of dust lifted away from each footfall and then settled before the next step was taken.  It wasn’t the only sign of his passing, but these marks in the trail were the most obvious.  Not that he expected to be followed, or cared if he was, but he was still mindful of the evidence he left behind.  There were tricks and spells he could use to hide his back trail, but he was in too much of a hurry to bother.

The sun lowered itself upon the horizon, spreading the last of its warmth and glow in shrinking patterns and shapes.  He marked the stretching shadows.  He marked the settling chill.  He marked the changing colors in the sky above.  Each of these could be a factor if his magic was called upon.  Still, he progressed steadily forward.

When the moon decided to slip free from hiding, he would stop for the night and use its muted glow to make a hasty camp and eat.  He would trust his wards, woven into the fabric of the clothes he wore, to protect his short sleep and then in the morning, before the sun had begun to climb free of the opposite horizon, in its chase after the moon, he would journey on.

His destination waited two days ahead of him.  There would be a fight.  Blood would be spilled.  Hopefully not his own, but one could never be certain of these things before they had actually happened.  Still, even uncertain of the outcome, he must go.  He owed it to those who had gone before him.  He owed it to himself.

Thinking of the looming battle stirred emotions best left in check until his journey was over.  Electricity crackled from his clenched hands and fire roared briefly in his eyes.  Closing their lids, but not stopping his forward steps, he took a deep soothing breath and when he opened his eyes again the fire had gone.  He tucked his rage away, saving it to unleash when he arrived and faced his tormentors.  The fire rightfully belonged to them and they would see it in due time.

alley battle

I know, I know.  I should be working on finishing my NaNo project.  And I promise* I’ll work on that next, but I needed to procrastinate just a bit longer.  So, I humbly submit a wizard’s dual for your enjoyment.  I had noticed that my last couple magical posts had hinted about battles and spells but hadn’t really expanded upon any of those ideas and I wanted to see what I could come up with.

………………………

Tressa stepped out of the shadows, the words of the spell dripped from her tongue as she lashed out with her arm like a whip, “cenda gnithlign rief.”

Her smile of venomous anticipation switched to a frown as her intended target stepped sideways just in time to miss the furious streaking lightning that danced from her finger tips.  The spell sizzled into the wall beyond him, filling the air with the smell of scorched wood and stone, and then fizzled out.  She didn’t have time to lament her failed ambush, though.

She felt the air around her shifting and recognized the sticky sensation tingling on her arms.  “Gnibbwe nkis relicks,” the counter curse sprang form her mind to her lips instantly and she moved her position back into the shadows to make her movements harder to track.

“You didn’t actually think that would work,” she teased Graelen, even as she was calling to mind the words to her next attack.  “I was catching wizards like you in my webs before you were even born.”

Graelen laughed in response, “And you didn’t actually think you could get the slip on me, did you?  I’m sorry, my dear Tressa, but you are no longer the mage you used to be.”

She watched in disbelief as Graelen disappeared from sight.  It happened too quickly for him to have found a shadow to hide in, he simply dissolved.  She’d thought him far too young a sorcerer to know and accomplish that level of magic.

He had the upper-hand, she realized, and she switched tactics from offensive to defensive.  “Gnihdi tisgh lal,” she cast and watched the world turn from vibrant to opaque as she too hid herself from view, and not a moment too soon as the shadows she’d been hiding in were illuminated by a spell Graelen cast.

She moved again, while reaching out with her mind to try and feel his presence, and then she heard his chanting and realized he had moved closer to her.

She recognized the spell just in time to articulate the proper counter spell, “gnidlesih rief tahe.”  The alley returned to shadows as Graelen’s light spell extinguished and then a giant wall of fire rose from the ground and swept over her.  Her magic was successful and she felt none of the heat even though the accompany wave of pressure did make her stumble backwards a step.

He was strong, but she had years of experience on her side.  She kept moving, kept casting out with her mind to get a sense of him, She considered fighting fire with water and flooding their battlefield but figured he would expect something.  Instead, she called upon the wind to stoke his fire and turn it into an inferno.

“Dwin fylur tsbal.”

Tressa grabbed onto the wall as a torrent of wind barreled through the alley.  Her long, gray streaked, hair whipped sideways, and she felt her toes lifting from the ground as the gale reached it’s peak.  The wall of fire sputtered and flickered, then reversed direction and roared to exponential heights and intensity.  It swept passed her a second time, back the way it had come, and even through her magical protection she felt it’s devouring heat.

She heard Graelen curse and felt the pop as he magicked himself out of the alley before the fire could reach him.  The wind died down and she released her grip on the wall.  Her fingers were sore, tired, bloodied, from the endeavor.  The fire, no longer spurned on by her wind spell, raged on.  It had plenty of fuel to feed from in the refuse strewn alley.

Tressa surveyed the battlefield one last time.  She had been lucky, but so had Graelen.  She had no doubt their next encounter would settle their dispute once and for all.  The sound of running feet and shouted alarms roused her from her reverie and she spoke the words that would carry her safely back to her home, where she would get some needed rest after she had looked after her wounds.

………………………

What do you think?  How’d I do?  What would you have liked to see in the battle instead?  Shape-shifting?  More detail on the damage from the spells?  More about how the spells affect the casters?

Let me know in the comments, and I’ll probably incorporate your ideas and requests into future flash fiction fantasies.

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*I promise nothing.

legacy

“If we don’t unite, we will certainly die.”

Thomas let the statement hang in the air for a second, let the truth behind the words sink in with the gathered few.  The flickering glow of torches surrounding the house and the shouts of the mob drawing nearer, louder, and more agitated helped expedite the decision to band together.  Nearly as one, the mages nodded in agreement.

Reclusive, secretive, untrusting, it had taken their numbers being isolated and persecuted to the point of extinction for them to even agree to meet.  They had sat in silence, staring at each other, unwilling to be the first to admit they needed help, they needed to do something.  They were all waiting for Quentin, the eldest and indisputably the greatest of them, to speak first, to advise them one way or the other.

He sat there, face hidden in the darkness under the hood of his black robes, refusing to speak, refusing to acknowledge anything from the other magicians to the approaching horde intent upon wiping them from existence.

After all but Quentin agreed to stand as one, a few more moments of silence, other than the noise outside, elapsed and then Quentin rose from his seat and threw back his hood.  His eyes burned with the orange of a molten lava fire, and electricity crackled from his finger tips.

He seemed immense in the small room, as though he were growing larger and the room was growing smaller at the same time, his shadow rose along the wall and ceiling.  “I’ll band with you, my brothers,” he hissed and they could feel the venom dripping off his words.

One by one they smiled and then turned their minds toward the spells they were about to unleash.  Perhaps they were headed towards their deaths, but they would go down fighting, they would take many with them, and if magic were to disappear from the world that night they would give it a legacy that would never die.

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Word Count: 333

It’s Monday again, and I’m writing about magic (I wonder what it is about these challenges that make me write about sorcery?), so that must mean it is time for another Trifecta Writing Challenge:

BAND (verb)

1: to affix a band to or tie up with a band
2: to finish or decorate with a band
3: to gather together : unite <banded themselves together for protection>

Remember:
  • Your response must be between 33 and 333 words.
  • You must use the 3rd definition of the given word in your post.
  • The word itself needs to be included in your response.
  • You may not use a variation of the word; it needs to be exactly as stated above.
  • Only one entry per writer.
  • If your post doesn’t meet our requirements, please leave your link in the comments section, not in the linkz.
  • Trifecta is open to everyone. Please join us.

sign me up

They met in secret, once a week after sunset, dressed in all black.  The dark clothing and hooded sweatshirts were not meant to conceal their identities from each other but to help them blend into the night.  The attire helped them feel apart from those around them and closer to their peers.  Plus, they liked the way they looked.

Their club, unnamed by choice, had one purpose: to study and practice the art of magic.  There was an initiation process, lashings, to prove dedication to the cause.  Even the founders had gone under the lash and that shared pain brought the community closer together.  After being brought into the fold, all members were treated as equals.

They didn’t all need to know the same magic.  They didn’t all need to study the same spells or have joined for the same reasons: some sought power, others sought the ability to defend themselves.  However, they all knew one curse.  It was the next step of membership after initiation to study and commit the curse to memory.  It was the spell that kept their club a secret from the rest of the world.

Four simple words in the language of magic that could do as little as wiping someone’s memory and as much bodily damage as the caster wanted to inflict.  They had to be careful though because all magic is subject to the rule of three.  Any spell cast was revisited upon the magic user three times over.  Wiping someone’s memory of the club meant that three of the spell-caster’s memories would be wiped as well.  Causing someone harm meant they would soon find themselves injured in three different places.

It was the third part of being in the club (initiation and learning the curse were the first two parts), and the only lesson they all had to learn, that using magic comes at a great cost.

It was a lesson none of them regretted, a sacrifice they all willingly made time and time again.

………

Word Count: 333

This is my response to this week’s Trifecta Writing Challenge:

CLUB
1a : a heavy usually tapering staff especially of wood wielded as a weapon
b : a stick or bat used to hit a ball in any of various games
c : something resembling a club
2a : a playing card marked with a stylized figure of a black clover
b : plural but sing or plural in constr : the suit comprising cards marked with clubs
3a : an association of persons for some common object usually jointly supported and meeting periodically; also : a group identified by some common characteristic <nations in the nuclear club>  

Please remember:

  • Your response must be between 33 and 333 words.
  • You must use the 3rd definition of the given word in your post.
  • The word itself needs to be included in your response.
  • You may not use a variation of the word; it needs to be exactly as stated above.
  • Only one entry per writer.
  • If you know your post does not meet the requirements of the challenge, please leave your link in the comments section, not in the linkz.
  • Trifecta is open to everyone.  Please join us.

Raistlin Majere

What follows is an interview I conducted early this morning with the world renowned mage, Raistlin Majere.  I woke to find him sitting at my table, drinking a very sour smelling tea.  The Staff of Magius was leaning against the chair next to him, and the hood of his black robes was thrown back to expose his silvery hair, sharp features, and piercing golden eyes.  I could see myself in those hourglasses and I shuddered at the image.  Despite the overwhelming urge to run away, I pulled up a chair next to him, asked him a few questions, most of which he answered in his biting sarcastic way, and then when he had finished his tea, just like that, he was gone.

I scrambled to my computer to try and write down as much of the encounter as I could remember and what follows is the best I could do:

Matticus: Good morning, Raistlin.  It is a honor to be in your presence, and I have to say more than a little scary considering what you could do to me with a few simple words and a flick of your staff.

Raistlin: You needn’t worry about me wasting a spell on you, silly Jester, as you know I have always had a soft spot in my heart for pathetic creatures.

Matticus: Well, er, um, good to know.  It’s kind of weird to have you sitting in my kitchen.  Why are you here?

Raistlin: Either you are dreaming, or someone is playing a cruel joke on me.

Matticus: Who would play a joke on you?  I wouldn’t think anyone would be that crazy.

Raistlin: Since being removed from his keep, Lord Sloth has grown bored and on more than a few occasions has engaged in some frivolity in the hopes it would provide some entertainment.  I believe he misses the old routine and isn’t quite sure what to do with himself anymore.  So, it could be him.  Also, Dalamar is still trying to figure out a way to bring me back.  He doesn’t want to have me teach him so much as he wants to know what I know.  I can’t really blame him for that.  I have the greatest knowledge of magic and the world of Krynn of any mortal to ever live.

Matticus: Are you, technically, still alive?

Raistlin: Yes.  And, no.  I am still flesh and blood, I will still have a death when my time is through, but it no longer effects me as it does those walking the land.  Since I entered the Abyss to fight the dark queen I have been removed from the normal flow of life.

Matticus: After sacrificing yourself to save the world, why didn’t you opt to return to the red robes you wore after completing the Test of High Sorcery?

Raistlin:  While I did save the world, the world was only in danger because of the actions I had taken up to that point.  It wasn’t a truly “soul cleansing” act.  Besides, the practice of white and red magic is still somewhat more limiting than what I want to be able to do.

Matticus: While it wasn’t “soul cleansing,” as you put it, it was enough of a sacrifice that Paladine kept you from eternal torture at the hands (talons) of Takhisis, right?

Raistlin:  That is correct.

Matticus:  Without access to the mortal realm, and without having fully passed on to the spirit world, what do you fill your days with?

Raistlin:  Living as I do between the worlds affords me ample time and resources to continue my research.  I can access all of the history of the world.  I can learn and practice and experiment without having to worry about injuring others.  While I dabbled in it before I went to claim the Abyss for my own, I have created several new spells by being able to study the language of magic and reshape it for my own purposes.  Would you care for a demonstration?

(At this point, the light in the room seemed to darken a bit, his mouth twisted in a sneer, and electricity sparked and circled around the orb clutched in the dragon’s claw atop his staff.)

Matticus: No, no that’s alright.  I wouldn’t want to wake the rest of the house.  Maybe some other time.  But, if your magic works here, does that mean that if I look hard enough I could find and learn magic too?  Is there magic in this world as well?

…..

But, he was already gone.  The chair hadn’t moved but he no longer sat in it, and the staff was no longer leaned against it.  His empty tea mug sat on the table, stained by the strange brew he had been drinking.

I must have scrubbed that mug for 30 minutes and I can’t get the stain out.

Raistlin, if you are reading this, you owe me a mug.

Or, magic.  I’d take that in exchange instead.