Category Archives: fantasy

Flash Fiction Friday: Frozen Flames

Frozen Flames

Everything in the cave was covered in ice.

Even the ice had a fine coating of frost, evidence of the moisture that had entered with the two thieves.

The magic fairly shimmered around them, the heat spell on the heavy clothes the only thing that had allowed them to get this far.

“I’m still freezing,” the bigger of the two said.

“I told you it’d be cold,” the smaller one hissed, his voice low.

“You didn’t say it would be this cold.”

“Because nobody knows how cold it gets here. Because nobody has ever made it this far. Because the only thing that can handle this strong of a cold spell is an even stronger heat spell which cost everything we both own and calling in every debt we’ve ever been owed and going into more. So stop complaining about the cold and help me find the hoard.”

Turning the corner brought them to the resident of the cave.

Cold radiated off the dragon, creating a wind where none should exist and chilling the two thieves to the bone.

Around her feet lay the frozen corpses of dozens of men, their armor all showing the best heat spells money could buy, the designs going back hundreds of years.

A thick layer of ice coated the dragon, cracks showing in layers where she grew or stretched and allowed the ice to grow over her again.

“You said the dragon wasn’t here,” the bigger thief bellowed.

“No, I said the dragon wasn’t all there. She’s gone dreaming and can’t be woken. It’s the cold that put her to sleep.”

“I see. And all these people have come to do what we must,” the bigger one drew his axe from across his back and rushed the ice-covered dragon. As the metal struck, it crumbled to dust, joining the fine layer between her toes.

The big thief dropped the axe as if it had bit him and checked his hands quickly.

“No, all these people are here to do what you just tried. We are not here for that and I swear by the darkness, if you do it again, I’ll take what’s left of your spell and let you join the other fools.”

“I thought you said we were here for the hoard?” the big thief said, stamping his feet to get the blood flowing through them.

“Does she look like she’s going to stop us taking it?”

“Not yet.”

“Not ever. She’s gone. Ain’t coming back until the gold is spent and melted and the mountains crumble around her.”

“Yeah, okay,” the big thief said. “But we don’t have long to get it, right?”

“Just stick to the plan and we’ll get enough to be long gone before anybody realizes we’ve left.”

The thieves crept around the frozen dragon, making sure not to touch her or anything close to her. On the other side was a mountain of gold covered in frost, gems winking beneath the chill and glimpses of other treasures peeking coyly out from the pile.

“Get the ropes as far around it as you can,” the little one said. “The heat should hold long enough to get them loose.”

A chill ran down their arms as they lost the ambient heat from the ropes they were carrying, their muscles stiffening from the sudden cold. Moving as quickly as they could, they surrounded most of the pile of gold with the ropes and waited for the spell to work.

Dripping water was the first sound they heard and they started reaching across, filling bottomless bags with the gold and gems. Slowly, the heat spread up the metal and the coins started sliding down the pile towards them.

Moving faster and faster, it finally broke through the circle of rope, only to cool in the air of the cave once more. The first time one of them moved to pick up one of the cooled coins, their fingers burned like fire.

“Shit, the spell’s wearing off. Get the gems!” The little one said, panic in his voice.

“Grab the pearls,” the big one said. “Those ones. They’re bigger than my head!”

The pearls began to roll towards them and they grabbed them, stuffing them in the bags before they got out of the range of the spell.

The ropes began to glow and the thieves backed away, watching in awe as the ropes caught fire and the flames froze, faces of stricken fire elementals staring at them as though through glass.

By mutual decision, they closed the bags as best they could and started running, their careful pace around the dragon forgotten in an effort to make it out of the cave before the spell died.

A chill wind rose behind them and swept through the cave, down the passage.

The breath froze in their lungs and they fell, their bodies breaking like falling statues.

The bags that fell beside them began to lift and float to the entrance of the cave.

A tall man, cloaked in fur and darkness, coaxed them forward, his wand acting like a fishing rod.

The bags shrank as he touched them and he put them in his pocket, satisfied.

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Flash Fiction Friday: Preparing For An Heir

The countess felt the call to the tower before the servants came looking for her. An urgency filled her and she picked up her skirts and ran, not caring who saw her in what she knew was going to be her last dash to see her lover.

He was working frantically in his laboratory, murmuring his incantations as he marked on the walls and the floor. His hand was shaking as he drew the last ones directly around himself and sat down. With a shaky breath, he composed himself and looked out of the circle.

“Oh, good,” he said. “You came.”

“I couldn’t ignore- is it time? Now?” Her breath came out hard and tears had started streaming down her cheeks.

“It’s time,” he nodded.

“It’s too soon,” she said, sinking to her knees outside of the circles. “There’s not a potential heir old enough to even consider claiming the throne. I’m not ready.”

“You’ve been trained for this your entire life, my love. You can do this.”

“I’ve been ruling for years, I can handle that. You can’t go yet.”

“My magic will be even greater once my body has expired,” the wizard said. “I do not regret leaving this life behind except for you. The joy of my old age and the administrator I had hoped for. With this spell, I will continue holding to my vow of keeping this kingdom safe until the proper heir could be found. You will keep to your vow and run the kingdom until that time comes.”

She nodded and they sat, separated by the chalk and gold that so physically represented their duty. The physical separation pained her in ways she couldn’t describe. It hadn’t always been easy being the wizard’s mistress but she’d always had the hope that she could be with him to the end. The last king had been surrounded by his loved ones, grieved over by both his wife and mistress, as he died. It struck her as unfair that her lover would die alone in his tower, denied even the comforting touch of a familiar hand as his body expired. She suspected that, more than wanting to comfort him, she wanted him to comfort her.

“I won’t really be gone,” the wizard said kindly. “The soul glass has been in place for months and I can travel even faster around the kingdom than the swiftest horse could carry me. And you know how these old bones have ached from travel these last few years.”

“I know, my love,” she sniffed. “And I do not begrudge you the end of your pain, as much as I wish to keep you here for my comfort.”

“There is one more thing I would ask of you,” he said. “Not a vow I wish to extract but a hope.”

“The cats,” she said. “You want me to watch over the cats.”

“They are my children,” he nodded. “Moreso than any I would have had physically. They did not ask to become what they are but the world will not be kind to them.”

Her mouth thinned thinking about the experiments he had carried out years earlier, trying to master changing one creature into another. The cats had actually worked relatively well as humans and it wasn’t as difficult as one would have thought to breed them with real humans enough for true intelligence. Few people realized what the wizard had done but there was a whole system among the servants to determine who was human and who was a hybrid.

“I’ll watch after them,” she said.

“Then my last concern is laid to rest. Thank you, my dear, for being here, at the end.” The wizard said and the breath sighed out of his body. She watched the lines on the floor and walls begin to glow as his soul was caught by the spell he’d woven. It all led to a glass in a locket on his work table. It shone brightly for a brief moment then was gone.

The countess rose and walked into the laboratory, laying a hand briefly on her lovers body, and picked up the locket. The slipped the chain over her head and the locket nestled directly between her breasts. She smiled ruefully at what she was sure was not a coincidence then called for the servants to prepare the body for burial.

She made her way to the throne room, already making lists in her head of the moves she would have to make to solidify her rule until a proper heir could be found. Her only desire was to lead the country smoothly through the transition to a new king without civil war. It wasn’t until she sat down in the throne that she realized how much of the castle had been covered with the soul glass. Even the floor of the throne room had been repaved in the glass that would allow her wizard lover to move effortlessly around the kingdom. The throne itself looked as though the glass had been poured over it to harden.

As she sat, the countess felt the throne move around her, parts of it caressing her, and a voice whispered into her ear, “The glass moves when I tell it to. This may have distinct possibilities.”

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Flash Fiction Friday: Molten Love

The best soil was on the side of the volcano and the man who decided to build his house there knew the dangers. Living in the shadow of the thing that gave the island life and death was a risk, but the soil was the best, the view of the ocean unparalleled and the view of the volcano as it lit the night was one of the few things in his life that set his heart racing.

The mountain has been rumbling for days and the smoke was growing heavier around the top. This close, the night was almost as bright as the day. The man would sit outside his house and whittle to the glow of the volcano. His neighbors came to tell him they were going, to beg him to leave with them and their families. There was always a chance to rebuild, they would tell him. He did not have to die with his farm.

While the man knew the volcano was dangerous, he loved it too much to leave it. He watched as the canoes holding his neighbors, their families and all their possessions set out into the ocean, heading to one of the other islands. He stayed and watered his yams until the ground was too hot and the yams were cooking in the ground.

When the lava started to flow, the man was not surprised. The sky glowed and the molten rock moved sluggishly down the side of the mountain. It would be a while before the lava made it to his house so he went inside to eat one of his cooked yams and wait.

He had just sat down when there was a knock at the door.

At his door was the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen. Her hair was long and dark, with hints of red and it covered most of her body. He wasn’t sure if she wore clothes or not but her breasts were large and her hips were wide and it was no hardship to invite her in to share his dinner.

“Why are you still here?” she asked him. “Don’t you know the volcano is dangerous?”

“Dangerous?” he asked her in return. “How can it be dangerous? It gives this island life and makes the crops grow. It may destroy the things men make on it’s surface but they are only man things, as temporary as the people who made them.”

“Do you really think that? Wouldn’t it make you sad if the volcano ended your life now, in your temporary little shelter?”

“I would regret the loss of my life, yes, but I would join the ancestors and my body would fertilize the next batch of yams the next farmer planted here. There is little truly lost and much beauty to be had.”

“You find the volcano beautiful, then?” The woman blushed and looked down at her hands.

“Intoxicatingly so,” he said. “I would wish for nothing more than to spend the rest of my life with the lovely volcano.”

“You speak so well, for a man,” she said to him. “I will lie with you and be with you until the lava takes you.”

When the man’s neighbors returned, they found him watering the ground around his home, touching gently the waves the lava had formed over his home. It had come right up to his door then turned away, as though it couldn’t bare to touch it.

“What happened?” they asked him. “Did you turn the lava back on your own?”

“I turned nothing away,” the man told them. “The volcano decided it loved me as much as I loved it and it would see me continue my mortal life.”

The people understood and the man was left alone unless he sought out company. Though believed to be incredibly lucky, none of the mothers in the village tried to get him to take their daughters as his wife because he already had one. His children were said to walk the island when the other inhabitants left.

One day, when the man was very old, the volcano erupted again. None of the people came to ask him to go with them though they could see him watching them as they rowed away to safety. There were some, on the last boat and with sharper eyes than most, who say he was joined by a beautiful woman as the lava poured down the mountain.

His home was not there when they returned.

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Fairy Find

Good grief do I have a lot of books. Sadly, not nearly as many as I had 7 years ago. The story of the loss of most of my library is not one that I will relay here. It causes me a lot of grief and anger and I’m just not going to go into it.

As we’re moving, I’m going through closets and bookshelves to decide what gets to stay and what gets to go. I’ve got two boxes of books ready to be traded in for credit at the friendly local bookstore. I’ve also got a box of clothes ready for Goodwill.

While going through my closet I came upon this dress:

I wore it to an awards dinner 5 years ago and spilled some dessert down the front that the cleaners weren’t able to get out. I loved that dress.

As I was folding it up to put it in the goodwill box, I thought to myself, “Fabric like that is so hard to find. It would make great fairy wings.” At that thought, I ran to my sewing desk and started pulling out fabric.

Yes, just as I suspected. The colors match perfectly with a fairy costume I’m already making for a friend. I was never going to find another fabric that matched so perfectly. Out of the Goodwill box it came and into the sewing bins.

I love finding fabric in my closet!

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An Introduction

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In trying to describe what this blog is, I kept coming up with what it is not. This is not a mommy blog. This is not a political blog. It’s certainly not a food blog or a dieting blog. It’s not really a writing blog, either. This is a blog about me and my creative journey. Because I care deeply about many of the subjects that are covered in all the blogs that this blog is not, I will be writing about them.

A person’s creative journey is highly personal so I will not be sharing everything that I go through. Overcoming or even realizing my overwhelming hatred and fear of gazpacho soup isn’t something that anybody else really needs to know about. Or maybe they do. I’m not above answering questions if you really, truly want to know why gazpacho soup was the last word I said before I died.

Oh yes, did I mention I love science fiction? And fantasy. And humor.

I don’t intend for this blog to be a public diary, though there may be elements of such. I am currently reading and working through a book called The Writing Diet by Julia Cameron and most of my writing, at least at first, will be directed by some of the suggestions and exercises in that book.

I have no intention to humiliate or embarrass with this blog so any information about people who are not me will be shared only with their permission, and that includes my family. Unless I am asked to do so by the person themselves, I will never share anybody’s actual name. All friends and family will be referred to by an alias, and one I hope they find complimentary.

Like life, every day on the blog will bring something different. It may be a good recipe and the story surrounding it. It may be a series of pictures I took on an outing in the mountains or the city. It could be a rant about politics, though I’ll try and keep those short, sweet and to the point. It may be a meditation on a religious icon or practice that I find fascinating.

In sharing my creative journey, my hope is that I will inspire and motivate. Happy reading!

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