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Monthly Short Story Winner: Story Generator

This month’s stories were all crafted using the Official Bea and Xia Story Generator™.

2017 JUN Story Generator (small)

Rules:

1. Entrants must go to Roll Dice Online. Choose number of sides 5; number of dice to roll 7; number of rolls: as many needed to find the perfect theme.
2. Prose must be 500-1500 words long.
3. Poetry must be 100-500 words long.

This month’s winning story was by Jonathan Ryan, with “The Holy Thorn”. Congrats on your win, Jonathan!

You can find all our entries here.

And now on with the story!

– – –

Return of the emperor by Raphael-Lacoste

“The Holy Thorn”
by Jonathan Ryan

Lilith found the silence draped over the Lady Chapel unsettling. It lay across the ruins of Glastonbury Abbey like a thick, smothering sheet. Only the soft whisper of the wind could be heard, the amber leaves of autumn fluttering along the courtyard in its wake. The surrounding countryside was hidden in thick morning mist and grey light that preceded the coming of dawn.

The silver haired sorceress was impatient to see this meeting through and return to her grandfather in London. The old wizard had not been sleeping well lately, screaming and thrashing awake covered in cold sweat, whispering of terrible nightmares of the world set ablaze.

It worried her.

“You’re awful quiet this morning, Lilith,” Bishop Edmund Godfrey said. The aging cleric came up behind her, silent as a wraith despite his fifty something years. He smiled as he stopped at Lilith’s side, glancing sidelong. “Everything okay?”

“No, you’re Grace. I’m worried about Grandfather. He’s had trouble sleeping the past few weeks, terrible nightmares. He asked after you though, thinks you’ve forgotten about him.” Lilith smiled as the Bishop chuckled.

“I couldn’t forget about that old bastard even if I tried. You should see the marks I bear from his cane. A stern teacher he was, but a good one. I’ll never forget his lessons.” The Bishop’s cool green eyes became distant with reminiscence. “As the first student of the Vatican sent to study magic, he made sure I was well trained and disciplined.”

“I return to London in a few hours, I could carry a letter for you?” Lilith suggested as the cardinal continued to gaze into the past.

Remembering himself, he glanced sidelong at Lilith. “Yes, I would appreciate that.”

They began walking together in companionable silence through the chapel. Her violet eyes strayed to the high arch overlooking the nave, the faded scrollwork of the tall windows and the weathered stone of the fractured walls. The vast ruination of the abbey was a primordial presence looming over the countryside, home to many of Britain’s ancient legends.

Time to return another legend to its home.

“Grandfather sent me here to give you something. A token of goodwill in these tense times.” Lilith produced a long thin piece of wood, almost black. It was perfectly straight and smooth, the grain perfectly shaped along its length. She offered it to the Bishop. “A wand crafted from the fabled Holy Thorn of Glastonbury, returned to where it belongs.”

The Bishop glanced at the proffered talisman, his expression unreadable. The Catholic Church and the wizards of the White Council had been at odds for many years now over the usage and regulation of magic. Recently, these tensions had escalated into violence. “A token of goodwill? Others will see it as a bribe.”

Lilith considered the Bishops statement, the soft trickle of water from the holy font calming her thoughts. “I joined the Blackguard in order to protect magic and its many artefacts. These years of tension and the growing animosity between the church and the council have complicated my work, the Councils work, and yours too I’m sure. I am here, now, to try and mend this rift. The Church and the Council need to learn to trust one another again.”

Bishop Godfrey took a moment to gather his thoughts, gesturing to Lilith to follow him through the Great West Door into the abbey grounds. “It is difficult when you are young Lilith. You view the world in a different light as opposed to us older, more experienced generations. When you come to my age, have seen things that challenge your beliefs, it is then that you truly come to understand the way of things.”

His words struck a chord in Lilith. They unsettled her. She could feel something was wrong but knew the importance of the assignment. She trusted her grandfather’s judgement, and she trusted the bishop. He was grandfather’s friend after all. These reasons conflicted with her feelings, yet she still offered the bishop the wand.

He accepted the polished length of wood from Lilith. “Take this for example, we know where it comes from, but what is the source of its power? What about that sword you wield, Arondight? Surely not something earthly I would think.”

“I have heard their power referred to as holy fire by the higher Wizards. My sword especially, as it’s considered one of five holy blades bestowed upon mankind by the White Lady. But we did not find any special properties in the wand.”

“Yes, holy fire, that would be an apt description,” Bishop Godfrey mused, turning the wand over in his hands as he examined it.

Lilith nodded as they stopped at the hawthorn tree that replaced the Holy Thorn itself upon its destruction during the great purge. They gazed upon the beautiful flowers of the tree in early bloom. Daybreak was fast approaching, its radiance chasing away the last remnants of night. Lilith moved away, her weary mind already craving the sanctuary of her bed ahead of the long journey to London. “I leave it in the hands of the Church. Keep it safe.”

“I’m afraid you cannot leave.”

Lilith thought she heard him wrong, but as she looked back her reply died on her lips. Bishop Edmund Godfrey had the wand of the Holy Thorn pointed directly at her. The wood glowed with eerie white light but she felt no magic emanating from it. A knot of fear began to twist her stomach. She had left Arondight behind, leaving her unarmed.

“Magic must be eradicated. Its blight upon the world brought to life by that demon wizard you worship, your precious Merlin. I was sent to study with you, but not to bridge the gap between our creeds, but to learn how to rid the world of you for good.” The Bishop was resolute and committed to this belief. He gripped the wand tighter, its glow flaring bright, “I am the weapon of the White Councils destruction, guided by the Will and Word of God.”

Lilith barely registered the attack, her finely tuned instincts guiding her ahead of conscious thought. She dove behind the hawthorn tree, as a massive concussive force of light tore through the tree itself. It disintegrated into a shower of splinters that sliced dozens of cuts into her skin as she hit the ground hard.

Godfrey strode around the crater were the tree had stood and levelled the wand at Lilith. Her battle instincts kicked in as she instinctively raised her shields and deflected the assault. The power of the Thorn was strong but was nothing she hadn’t dealt with before.

She regained her footing and manipulated her shield into a sphere of azure fire, hurling it at Godfrey. He may have studied under her grandfather, but she was a trained battle sorceress. His raw power would only aid him for so long. He deflected her attack but she had expected it, giving her precious moments to construct a quick dirty spell that allowed her to manipulate her inner time, enabling her to move at double speed.

She moved around the Bishop, watching as he moved in slow motion, completely oblivious to her spell. She ended up behind him as the spell expired, her arms wrapped around his neck as he stuttered in surprise.

“But how? How did you disappear like that? It’s not possible.” He writhed beneath her but her grip was ironclad. Godfrey was going nowhere, he was at her mercy.

Lilith smiled in satisfaction. “You may have talent Godfrey, and a surprisingly powerful weapon. I would love to know how that works by the way; we found nothing particularly magical about it. But I am a battle sorceress; I have years of combat experience. You should have killed me instead of jabbering like an idiot. Now, drop the wand.”

The wand fell from his grip as his arms fell limply at his sides. “It isn’t magic you pagan bitch. It is the Will and Word of God, guiding us in a holy war to eradicate magic. He the Most High empowers us. Destroy it, I would expect no less. But I will return to claim your life. It is God’s Will.”

“No you won’t,” Lilith said as she snapped his neck.

His body fell to the blasted earth where she left it. Lilith snatched the wand up and eyed it intently, judging its potential for ill intent. Finally, her decision made, she strode toward a hill overlooking the abbey and drove the wand into the soft loamy soil. As the sun crested the horizon, the Thorn split as roots burrowed deep into the earth. Branches sprouted from a trunk that ascended toward the golden hued sky. Green leaves unfolded from their buds with the white blooms of a freshly born hawthorn, the new sentinel of Glastonbury Abbey.

Despite the events of the morning, Lilith smiled as she returned to the abbey.

The Holy Thorn was home.

– – –

Congratulations again to Jonathan! If you’d like to enter our monthly writing contest, check out our forum for more information.

Happy writing!

Title image by Raphael-Lacoste.

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Monthly Short Story Winner: Story Generator, 10.0 out of 10 based on 4 ratings
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3 Comments

  1. ScarletBea says:

    To all of you who like writing and getting challenged to write by a specific subject, come to the forum and give it a try!
    Jonathan was a newbie and he won, we vote on the quality of the stories — as you can see from all the winners — so everyone has a chance.
    Good luck 🙂

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