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Monthly Short Story Winner: Mythical Creatures

Welcome back everyone! I hope you all had a great leap day.

The Fantasy-Faction Anthology Contest is now in full swing!  The amount of entries coming in is amazing! If you were thinking about entering a short story, don’t worry there is still plenty of time. The contest closes on June 30th. But, if you were thinking about entering with the Entry Plus option, where you also get a critique of your story, I’d suggest you get your entry in quickly! There are less than 150 spots left out of the original 300! You can get more information on the Fantasy-Faction Anthology here. If you have any questions about the contest, please let us know here.

Now on to this month’s other contests!

January’s theme was mythical creatures

Air Colossus by sandara

One of the staples of fantasy stories is unique creatures. Some of them are on the side of good, others evil, and some won’t be bothered with picking sides. But whether it be grand dragons flying through azure skies, dark demons spawned from the pits of hell, magical unicorns hiding in deep forests, or otherworldly spirits guarding the sacred places of the land, mythical creatures are one of the things that make fantasy so fantastic.

To ring in the New Year we’d like to challenge you to write a short fantasy story using a mythical creature. It can be a known creature (dragon, unicorn, etc.) or something you’ve created yourself, but it must be something that’s never existed (i.e. no dinosaurs).

Rules:

1. Must be prose.
2. 1,500 – 2,000 words.
3. Must contain a mythical creature and include an element of fantasy.
4. Your creature must play a significant part in your story.

And the winner of January’s challenge is wishywash27! You can read her story, “Dresta’s Folly”, at the end of this article. Congratulations wishywash27!

You can view all of our past winners’ entries here.

February’s theme was secrets

Secrets by NostalgiaCaptured

February is the month of love. But it is also the month of secrets: secret gifts, secret admirers, secret lovers. But in fantasy, there are many kinds of secrets besides these. There are secret groves where wood spirits dwell, secret spells that no man should utter, and secret plots whose success can change the course of history. Whether they are kept for good or evil, secrets play a huge role in fantasy, as does how they are revealed and who they are revealed to.

This month, your challenge is to write a fantasy story or scene about a secret. It can be good or bad, big or small, but it must be the main point of the story.

Rules:

1. Must be prose.
2. 1,500 – 2,000 words.
3. Must include a secret as a major part of the story in addition to some element of fantasy.

You can vote for February’s winner here.

Voting ends on March 30th. Check back next month to see who wins!

March’s Writing Challenge

Shamrock In The Snow by IrishVikingDesigns

Do you believe in luck? Whether or not luck is a real thing in this world, there are still people today who bet fortunes on the roll of a die or the spin of a wheel. In fantasy, however, luck can be a living breathing force. Bad luck can send an adventurer to their doom and good luck can be a gift from the gods themselves. It can tip the scales of great battles, or help a young peasant become a noble prince.

This month your challenge is to write a short story or scene involving luck. It can be good or bad luck, but it must be a main point of the story.

The rules are as follows:

1. Must be prose.
2. 1,500 – 2,000 words.
3. Must include luck as a major element or theme in addition to some element of fantasy.

Contest ends March 31st! If you’re interested, you can enter here.

Good luck to all entrants! Check back next month for more Writing Challenge fun!

Now please enjoy our winning story short story!

– – –

“Dresta’s Folly”
by Rebecca L. Fisk (wishywash27)

Dresta decided the lopsided Willow Tree near the edge of the lake would be the best spot to make her new home.

The sun was shining, thankfully, moving in the rain was one of the most troublesome tasks, so she’d heard her neighbors complain anyway. This was the first time Dresta had ever moved, and she was thrilled to be leaving her father’s home and starting her life of independence.

Rainier Faeries normally left the home of their parents by the age of 106, but Dresta’s father was particularly over protective, and seeing as how he was the king, he got what he wanted. She was finally allowed to leave at the ripe old age of 127. All her friends had been out forever, and several of them were engaged to be made Kindred to each other.

Dresta frowned. Overbearing, ancient, Melpwra! she fumed silently.

It was the most disrespectful thing she could think to call him. She didn’t dare say it out loud, knowing any birds nearby would run back and tattle on her. Birds could never keep a secret, always chattering away and ruining everybody’s fun.

Her father had picked a fight with her that very morning. He had announced that he found the faerie she would be made Kindred to, a prince from a neighboring realm. And that Prince Katarin and his court would be coming within the fortnight to pay his respects. He’d been very excited about his announcement.

Prince Katarin, indeed! As if she would actually join with a mate who’s name meant “Wandering With Ants”.

Dresta had argued with her father, appalled on principle that she was expected to align herself with a stranger on the say so of her parent. What if he was cruel? What if he treated her like a mere decoration and she was expected to attend every royal or political function for the next one thousand years and smile silently on his arm, while on the inside she was screaming for an early death? What if he was a…and here, Dresta shuddered to think on it…what if Prince Katarin was a Lover of Humans?

She had tried to bring up all these points to her father, but he simply would not hear it. He didn’t even have the courtesy to scowl and be displeased with her, he just waved her off like an unwanted dust mote and asked that his first attendee for the day be brought forth.

Dresta hefted her bag over her shoulder and fluttered her wings to get moving across the clearing towards the willow. She was going to put the whole thing out of her head, get settled in, and then head to the human village wreck as much havoc as she could. Then, at dusk, she would set off a signal over her willow tree, and her friends would join her in a spectacular tree warming celebration. It would be the best Moving Day ever, and Prince Ant Face could go kiss a milkmaid.

The willow was ancient, its lowered boughs lazily drifting in the clear, cold water of the lake it guarded. Dresta landed in front of the tree, and put her hand out. The bark was rough, and warm, and lovely. She inhaled the scent, and felt slightly intoxicated.

Leaving her hand on the bark, she began to sing. Her high, clear voice carried to the very top of the Willow. She felt the life force of the tree respond to her voice, and it hummed in tune with her. Dresta and the Tree sang together and a couple of the youngest limbs far above her head began to re-arrange themselves. They twisted into a complicated knot at the apex of the trunk, forming a beautiful shelter, protected from wind, rain, and snow. The willow had accepted her.

She finished her song by thanking it, and kissing the bark in front of her. Hefting her bag over her shoulder once again, she flew up to her new abode. The willow had created a narrow doorway that was sheltered by one of its larger branches, so wind was not likely to disturb the interior of her dwelling.

She stepped inside. The small space was stunning in its simplicity. There was a long curved area along the far wall; this would be her bed. In the middle of the space were raised curves on the floor that resembled benches centered around a dip. She stretched out her hand and cast a tiny amount of her faerie fire, where it hovered as a glowing ball of light. The faerie fire would not harm the tree, but it would draw from the willow’s renewable energy and provide light and warmth until she allowed it to extinguish.

Setting her pack down, she unrolled her bed fur, which had been given to her by an ancient chipmunk named Welk. The fur was Welk, actually. Animals left the faeries their physical forms to be re-used when their spirits passed into the heavens. Dresta rubbed the little white mark that had been over Welk’s twinkling eye and smiled. She missed his sense of humor and his ability to find the tastiest berries long after one assumed the bush was picked clean. She was honored he had chosen her to leave his fur to and thankful to have this part of her friend. Spreading it over the resting place the willow had made her made her feel like she was finally, truly, home.

She unpacked the rest of her things; her change of clothing, a bundle of food, mostly nuts and some hard cheese, and the few treasures she had. The tiny shell that was no bigger than her hand with its mother of pearl underside was given a prominent spot over her bed. The five leaf clover was placed over the doorway, and the polished garnet her mother had left her was placed in the dip under the suspended ball of faerie fire. The light reflected off the garnet turned the inside of her new home a rosy hue.

Taking one last look of satisfaction around her new home, Dresta stepped outside, and with a powerful push of her wings, headed towards the nearby village.

The closer she got to the village, the more excited she allowed herself to become. Rainier Faeries normally wreaked havoc in teams, but now that she was an independent faerie, she was allowed to go out on her own as well. She was a little nervous, but had plenty of practice with her old team, and this time she could decide what tricks to play without needing approval from the team leader.

Salting the well was a classic, as was making the sows or geese stampede. Anything to make the lives of the nasty humans harder caused the Rainier Faeries such glee, and there were so many ways to disrupt their carefully laid plans. Of course, Mother Nature did so much on Her own, between hail storms that wrecked their crops, or bitterly long winters that caused the old, sick, and frail humans to wither away and die. One supposed one could almost feel sorry for the giant creatures, but really, they were so horrible, one got over it quickly enough.

The humans were invading every part of the land, not just the Rainier’s Kingdom. They were such wasteful, belligerent creatures. Harnessing animals and forcing them to work the land or carry the humans to and fro like slaves. Cutting down trees and grass and using them to build ugly square abodes or start fires. Not to mention the act of eating the animals. It was a perversion, an abomination, and no matter what the faeries did, more humans kept coming, chopping, building, eating, and destroying.

Dresta had even heard stories of humans bewildering faeries with dark majic, twisting their minds so that the faeries believed they were friends. She heard one story of a female faerie from the realm of D’snai who became so besotted with a male human, she allowed him to keep her in a lantern inside his house, only letting her out when he wanted her faerie fire or her majic. It made her sick just to think on it. She would bet an entire cache of acorns that some nasty human had made up this story just to torment any faeries within earshot.

She was closing in on the village, and to her surprise, something was happening. Many large wagons were being unloaded in the village square. She stayed in the beams of sunlight, so that any human looking up would assume a bird was fluttering high above their heads. No human was looking up, however. They were immersed in their task of unloading the huge barrels from the wagons. They called out to each other in their guttural voices, such an unpleasant cacophony.

Dresta saw a weak spot in the slat of one of the barrels, where a small drop of liquid was beading and getting ready to drop. She aimed a small bolt of faerie fire at the spot and a second later, the entire barrel imploded, sending out a massive gush of watery brown liquid. The Human carrying the destroyed barrel was covered from head to toe and stood motionless as he tried to figure out what had happened. The other humans around him pointed and yelled, angry at him for whatever they assumed he had done wrong to waste their precious cargo. His face turned red as he sputtered his innocence through the liquid still dripping down his face.

Dresta snickered, waiting for them to turn on each other, but the man’s expression changed as the liquid got in his mouth, and suddenly he was smiling and laughing. He yelled out something else, and the other humans around him joined the roaring laughter, slapping their knees, and each other’s backs.

Destra frowned. That was not supposed to happen! She darted closer, making sure to stay in the sun beams. She got a whiff of the brown stuff and fire burned through her nose. Sneezing and coughing, she fluttered up high again. She didn’t know what the brown water was but she sure didn’t think anything good was going to come out of it being there.

An abrupt banging caught her attention. A male human opened the door to his square abode built from dead Trees and the wind caught it, slamming it against the wall.

The moment she saw his face, she knew terrible, terrible things were going to happen. His hair was like a field of wheat, rippling golden and full in the sunlight. His eyes were the sparkling green of summer grass dotted with morning dew. His lips were as lush as rose petals. She felt sick. She felt excited. Her heart leaped like it might burst out of her chest.

She was in love with this beautiful, dangerous human, and knew, without a doubt, her father was going to kill her when he found out.

– – –

Congratulations again to Rebecca L. Fisk! If you’d like to enter our monthly writing contest, check out our forum for more information. Happy Writing!

Title image by milemarker.
 

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