October 23, 2018, 04:37:04 AM

Author Topic: [Oct 2018] - Small Magics - Submission Thread  (Read 248 times)

Offline xiagan

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[Oct 2018] - Small Magics - Submission Thread
« on: October 01, 2018, 11:49:02 AM »
Small Magics

Watercolor: Afghan Cobbler by Zarrakan

We often read stories about magical prodigies, arch mages, evil necromancers and so on. Stories, where a character is predominantly defined by their magic. She may be the cook of the party but mostly she's their battle mage. He may be a loving dad but nobody cares because of his ability to raise undead armies.

But what about those who only got lesser magics? Magic practitioners who got one specific talent? Those who aren't strong enough to throw fire or heal sword wounds. The midwives, goose girls, vagabonds, tinkers and fish mongers?
Those who don't (and can't) use their magic for saving the world-style events or to get admitted to the university but who use it to do their jobs better? Help their communities in a small way or simply have a (maybe even unknown) advantage at surviving?

This contest is to put them in the unfamiliar spotlight. This is their stage. Saving a baby might not save the world but for its parents it might mean the world.


1. This must be prose or poetry.
2. The story has to be about a practitioner of small magics (see above).
3. Prose must be 500-1500 words long.
4. Poetry must be 100-750 words long.
5. One story per person or writing team (not per account).
6. You will be disqualified if you exceed the limits, full stop. That's why they're called limits.
7. Your entry can't be published somewhere else before.
8. This is a writing contest, not a "I have written something like this ten years ago" contest. So if you happen to have a story that fits one of the themes, I'd like it to have a mayor overhaul/edit. Work for it. ;)
9. Please add your story's word count and, if you have, your twitter handle.
10. Please put your story in [ spoiler ] tags to make the thread easier to handle. :) You can find them above the smileys under the B.
Bonus rule: We consider voting in a contest you're taking part in a given. Others take time and effort to read the stories - you should do the same. A small community like ours lives from reciprocity and this contest needs stories as much as votes. 

If you want so submit your story anonymously you can do so by sending it in a personal message to @xiagan.

Entry will close October 31st/November 1st, 2018 and voting will begin somewhere around the same time too.

All members are eligible to join. If you are not a member you can join here. Sign up is free and all are welcome! :)

The winner will have their piece displayed on the main Fantasy Faction website sometime in the next months.
Submitting a story counts as published. The author retains all rights to their work.

Remember that this thread is only for entries. Discussion or questions can be posted here.
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Offline Jake Baelish

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Re: [Oct 2018] - Small Magics - Submission Thread
« Reply #1 on: October 09, 2018, 09:01:28 AM »
Better With Bread

1500 Words

Spoiler for Hiden:
Granny had been baking bread for decades even before Pom came along. She’d been doing it another decade since. She’d grown increasingly fragile and withered in that time. It pained Pom to see her so.

“It really did work wonders,” said the spritely man across the counter in awe. “I mean, I’d heard stories of the famed Granny Curie and ‘Better With Bread’ Bakery, but hadn’t thought it possible until today.”

“You enjoyed the bread then?” Granny said.

“Oh, we all did! The whole family. It was only when I woke up this morning with no aches that I realised my back pain was finally gone! Astonishing!”

“We are glad to have been of service.” Granny winced, a hand pressed to her spine. She quickly recovered her smile. “You won’t be needing another. Though can we interest you in any of our more ordinary wares?” She gestured around the earthy space of the bakery and its rows of wooden shelves adorned with loaves of wheat, rye and even barley bread.

“Indeed,” the spritely man said. “I think I shall, anything to help.”

Pom, from his seat in the corner, grinned when the man’s gaze came to him, then went back to kneading his own dough in silence.   

Pom could make bread rise the old fashioned way, with yeast, and the taste would be all the same for it. When Granny Curie made it rise though, it performed miracles even ordinary bread couldn’t achieve. Something about the kneading, Pom knew that much. And seeing her now, hobbling back to the kitchen, he also knew it took something from her, each and every time.

Pom, slumped over the counter with the midday heat, juddered upright on hearing a clattering of footsteps.

Three men entered. Flanking the leader were two overly armoured guards, such as would bring a fright to any humble baker boy. Between them stood an elderly, imposing gent with a big bushy beard and pointed red hat. His girth suggested a wealth befitting one sent from the upper echelons of palace life.

“Granny,” Pom yelled without greeting. “There’s people from the castle here.”

The boy retreated to his corner and gingerly kneaded his dough.

The elderly man winked at him. “No need to be coy, lad. No one’s in any trouble. We just have urgent business with your Granny, is all.”

“And what business would be so urgent, they’d send the great Reza Lamak?” Granny inched her way to the counter looking only marginally improved. Pom brooded alone, kneading, quietly. 

The wizard sighed. “You may have heard, that one of the king’s nieces has recently been struck with some uncertain affliction. A young girl, one of His Majesty’s favourites. I forget her name, there are so many. Can’t even move. Girl’s been confined to bed for weeks. She may not last the night, poor thing.”

Granny grunted and cast a glance at Pom that put the boy on edge. “And this is not something which the great Reza can be of help with?”

“But that I could. This is beyond my abilities, I’m afraid. We wouldn’t be here at all if not for the desperation of the king. We need one of your miracle loaves. You would be paid handsomely, of course.”

“How handsomely?”

Reza paused while one of the guards wittered something in his ears. “A thousand gold crowns, to be paid on any immediate and noticeable improvement in Her young Highness’s condition. And a further five thousand upon the princess’s full recovery.”

Pom near fell out of his seat, earning him humorous looks from the guards. Five thousand gold crowns! A thousand alone was worth ten years’ solid graft! His heart set to explode before noting Granny’s less than enthusiastic response.

The old woman nodded solemnly. “I’ll see what I can do.”

Pom caught the eye of the old wizard – Reza, Granny had called him – and something he saw there alarmed him. His concern was reflected in the older gent’s deepening frown.

“We’ll need some time to fire up the oven again,” Granny said.

“No bother,” Reza said. “I’ll have one of the men wait here.”

Granny waved a frail arm. “No you won’t. He’ll scare off the customers. Come back in a few hours.”

“As you will.”

Pom was up the moment the intruders had left. Followed her into the kitchen. “You can’t do it, Granny!”

Granny dropped into a solid oak chair. “Heavens, boy, why not?”

“Don’t you see how it makes you? This is not like the others. If you fix the girl, it could be the end.”

“Pom, dear, I’m old already. I’ve surely not long left in this world in any case. Fire up the oven, would you?”

“No! I won’t let you.”

Granny rose. “Do it myself then, shall I?”

“No!” Pom jumped to the oven without further protest. “I’ll do it. Please, Granny, don’t hurt yourself.”

As Pom began burning wood, Granny went on. “You remember when you came to me? A scruffy little street urchin. Couldn’t have been more than five. Cheeky then as you are now.” She’d moved to the baking counter now and begun mixing, lest Pom get in the way of that, too. “You are the only family I’ve ever known. I didn’t bring you in to leave you destitute when I’m gone. Five thousand gold! That secures you for life. You must be sixteen already, or near as. Old enough to claim full entitlement as my adoptive kin.”

“I don’t need it. You taught me everything you know.” He flung a few more blocks into the oven.

“Not everything. Not that which can’t be taught.”

Pom slammed the oven door shut. “I don’t need to know that. Nor do you. We have healthy savings. We make enough money from ordinary bread to stay where we are. You bake the best bread in town!”

Now it was Granny’s turn to be angry. She put the mixing bowl aside and turned to Pom waving hands caked in bread mix. “Listen. You heard what that man said. There is a young princess, a girl, perhaps your age, perhaps younger. And she needs my help. If you know anything about me, boy, it ought to be that you know I will do what I can, when I can.”

Pom strode to the door to the shop. “You think of her but not of me?” His voice caught. “The king has lots of nieces. I only have one Granny.”


Too late, he was gone before the first tears came.

Granny, heart pounding, soggy hands shaking, returned to her mix and tried to believe she was doing the right thing.

Once ready, she kneaded the dough thoroughly, feeling her life force soaking into the soppy substance which each flop and fold. She’d no idea how she’d come to possess such power, or if it could ever be used for anything beyond easing back pains and rheumatism. All she knew now was that it could set Pom up for life; she’d have given everything for that boy. She would.

Pom, meanwhile, kneaded his own dour dough. He loved the process. It eased his own stress and tension like nothing else. Didn’t need magic for that. The move to King Street had been the pinnacle of his and Granny’s success, so he’d thought. He’d been a skinny little runt when Granny found him. Still was really, though his belly had gotten near as doughy as the bread since things got good.

He couldn’t imagine life without Granny there for him: scolding him, working him, comforting him.

When the scent of freshly baked Granny Curie bread permeated the air, Pom hopped from his stool at the counter and found Granny dozing in her chair.

“I’m sorry,” she said. “Pom dear, could you hand that to the guard when he arrives? There’s a good lad.”

The guard came late that afternoon and took the loaf Pom gave him with a gloomy expression.

“Please,” Pom said. “If for any reason this shouldn’t work out as my Granny expects, don’t be angry with her.”

The guard nodded. “Worry not, lad. None expect as much. Not even the king, gods be true.”

Pom smiled. “Send our best to the princess.”

That night, Granny, who’d been more sickly than ever, finished her bread supper with much energy and good cheer. “That was truly delightful, Pom. It’s good to know I’m leaving the bakery in safe hands!”

Pom looked to Granny with eyes all innocent.

It was then bells rang out from the castle, and all across the city. Bells of sorrow.

Granny raised an eyebrow. “Perhaps that bread was a little too good?”

Pom came to her in silence, hugged her tight.

“My Pom; what have you done?”

He pulled back a little, though she held him close. “Granny, if you ever knew me, you’d know I could do nothing else.”

And though she tried, Granny couldn’t help but smile a little.

He smiled too, then hugged her again.
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Offline JMack

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Re: [Oct 2018] - Small Magics - Submission Thread
« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2018, 12:44:56 AM »
1,498 Words


Spoiler for Hiden:
Mama led her two boys deep into the Blackwood, following a faint fairy trail that seems to wander in circles. She stopped frequently to rest. The boys danced around her. “Real fairies?” asked Aulie breathlessly. “Fairies aren’t real,” Padden scoffed, imitating their da.

“Shh.” Mama put a finger to her lips while she pushed aside a mat of vines to reveal a twilit grotto tucked behind an ancient ash and a moss-clad cleft in the land. She sat the brothers down on a bed of brown leaves and brought out four cups and a clay jar she'd brought in a hamper. “Many years ago,” she said, “my grandfather’s father, his name was Carbin Hode, was a trapper and hunter here in the Blackwood.”

“Da’s a farmer,” offered Aulie.

“Yes, sweet. I married a farmer, so you’re sons of the field. But my da and and his da were men of the forest.”

Aulie and Padden shared a wide-eyed look. Their ma had a da? They only knew their da’s da. He was a hard man who answered any mistake with a mean smack. Like their da did, but even worse.

“Now,” Mama continued. “Carbin Hode was checking his traps one day when he came across a fairy caught by the leg and dangling from a tree.” She touched the bole of the ash. “This very tree.”

“Fairies aren’t real,” Padden said again, then “Ow!” when the normally peaceful Aulie punched his shoulder.

Mama was silent until they settled. “Your great-great-grandfather struck a deal with fairy, then set him free. In return, the fairy gave him a small magic, and promised that any child of his, and any child of his children down to seven generations could come to this hidden place and receive another magic. Just one. And it could be used just once, for one small thing. One little wish.”

The talking tired her, so she let the boys think a while.

“Did you get a magic from the fairies?” Aulie asked.

Mama’s smile had sadness mixed in. “Yes, sweet.”

“What happened to it?” asked Padden.

“I used it to catch the eye of a handsome lad.”

“Was that Da?” the boys asked together.

“Well, maybe it was and maybe it wasn’t, but what’s done is done, and what’s done isn’t always what we think it is.” She ignored the boys’ confused looks, while setting out four portions of bread and butter on little plates. “My question, though,” she said after the food was ready, “is whether you want your own small magic. It’s all I have left to give you. But you don’t have to take it. It might even be simpler for you if you don’t.”

Aulie nodded first, then Padden. Their eyes filled with tears, and they rushed into their mama’s arms, babbling.


When she died, they buried their magics under a stone near her grave in the church yard. “What good are they, anyway,” said Padden.

“We should have used them before she…” Aulie trailed off.

“She told us not too.” Padden kicked dirt over the shining things. “They’re not real, anyway.” Aulie sprang at him, and the two rolled on the ground, throwing punches.

It was that way from then on. While their father drank and raged and the farm went to weed, the brothers ignored each other or fought when they couldn’t stand it anymore.

The day sixteen-year-old Padden ran off, Aulie found his brother’s magic dug up and gone. Good riddance, he thought. Maybe now he’d have some peace. He walked home, kicking stones. Peace. He’d not get any. Da would be waiting, and only Aulie would be there to take the brunt of him. The summer wind gave him shivers.

He stopped dead in the road, one foot forward, one foot back.

The fairy’s magic. Aulie wondered what it could really do. Maybe it could trip a man, send him sprawling. A man could get himself killed, falling. Or maybe it could make a horse kick, catch a person on the side of the head. Just a little wish and he’d be free, too, just like Padden.

Aulie shook himself. I’m such a coward, he said to himself, and continued home. He went around to the barn. “I’m back, Da,” he called.

His father lay stretched out unmoving in the yard. Aulie’s heart caught and stopped. Then he saw the empty bottle by his outstretched hand and heard a long, drunken snore. Aulie marched to the horse trough, scooped up a bucket of stinking water, and flung it across the old cuss’s face.

Da rose yelling and spluttering, scrubbing water from his eyes. Aulie stood frozen, open-mouthed, gripping the bucket. “You!” Da roared. “You’re dead, boy!” If he’d not been reeling drunk, he’d have caught Aulie in his first lunge. Instead, his boots slipped in the fresh mud, sending him sprawling again. He struck a rock in the ground headfirst with a sound like a melon splitting.

Aulie stared, sickened. His world spun. A man could trip. A man could get killed just from falling. All it took was a little magic.

But he hadn’t used it. He knew he hadn’t! But he’d wished it. Maybe that was enough.

He found himself running, back to the church, back to the place they’d buried the magics. He dug and dug, searching, dreading. He only stopped when the pastor’s daughter followed the sound of weeping and took him shaking in her arms. The magic was gone.

Aulie tried to live with what he’d done. He fixed up the farm. He courted the pastor’s daughter and carried her over the threshold. He dreamed of children, but somehow they didn’t come. He tried to be a good man in spite of himself. He loved his wife, and hoped she loved him in return; but he sensed more than saw the wall between them.

The year that Aulie bought his neighbor’s orchard and was voted onto the village council, a stranger rode up to the farm and dismounted. He looked with wonder at the white-washed boards where rough logs had sided the house, the orderly yard where only weeds had grown, and the trim woman throwing seed to a cackling flock of chickens. She shaded her eyes against the sun.

“Can I help you? My husband’s just around back.”

“Anna? Is it Anna Millman?” asked the man.

“Not Millman, not for a while now.” She looked the stranger up and down. Then the feed dropped from her apron as her hands came to her mouth in an O of surprise. “It can’t be Padden, can it?”

Padden smiled at being recognized. “I heard Aulie took a wife. I'm pleased it’s you.” He remembered Anna, remembered they’d smiled across the pews at each other on a Sunday. Who knew what might have happened had he stayed.

Anna took Padden’s travel bag. “Don’t just stand there, Padden Fields. Aulie’s in back. I’ll put another chicken in the pot for dinner.”

Padden found his brother clearing a stone from the shoe of a stolid plow horse. Aulie straightened. A rare smiled creased his lips, then was gone. He clapped Padden on the shoulder. “You look good, brother,” he said. “You’ve done well.”

“You grew taller than me,” laughed Padden. “When did that happen?”

They waved to Anna and walked to the church. Da’s headstone was next to their mother’s. Aulie had kept them both well-tended. He said a prayer over their graves while Padden stood back. They sat under a tree by where they’d buried the fairy magics.

“You used her gift well,” said Aulie to his brother, eying his well-made clothes and polished boots.

Padden looked away. “Oh, certainly,” he said. Then he shook his head. “Actually, no. I never used it. I thought to, many times.” He licked his lips. Aulie saw a vein throbbing in his temple. “Both of them.”

“Both?” The weight on Aulie’s heart shifted.

“I’m ashamed, brother. Truly ashamed.”

Aulie turned away, feeling tears come for the first time since da’s death.

“I came back that same day.” Padden’s voice had a ragged edge. “And I stole your magic. I was selfish, stupid. I wanted to hurt you.” He brought a fine linen handkerchief from his pocket and unwrapped two tiny glowing spheres.

Aulie hands clenched. His jaw ached.

“Will you forgive me?” Padden pleaded. “Say you will.”

A vision of their mother’s face came to Aulie. She wouldn’t want them at odds. Not even with their da, dead as he was. “What’s done is done,” he said. “and what’s done isn’t always what we think it is.”

He placed his magic on their father’s grave, and broke it under his shoe. When he stood back, a lily shoot broke free to kiss the air.

After a moment, Padden set his down on their mother’s side. A little magic. What could it do? He thought of Aulie and Anna and the old house, so empty of children, and made a wish.

« Last Edit: October 10, 2018, 11:35:07 AM by JMack »
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Offline Jenny HJ

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Re: [Oct 2018] - Small Magics - Submission Thread
« Reply #3 on: October 10, 2018, 10:49:51 PM »
This was a fun topic! thank you  1490 words including the title.


Spoiler for Hiden:
The warmth of the autumn sun on his back heated the well-worn armour up to a boiling point. The fragrance of unwashed warrior and dried blood filled his nostrils. Greasy knots of grime in his hair were entwined with burrs and twigs. Light reflected off Reen’s gauntlet in a multitude of directions, the reflections were dull from the many dents and patches. Small rust spots had appeared and there were positions his legs could no longer reach due to the cracks in the plate.
He had been busy this summer. It was his first campaign, and he had helped subdue the ravaging hordes of wolven in the briarwood, along with a fair number of villagers. He wasn’t sure why they were so desperate to brawl, but it always seemed to happen to him. Now he could enjoy a triumphant arrival home.

As the youngest son of a duke, in a lower house of the nobility, war might be his only chance to shine. He had watched his older brother Nepe return from battle looking like he had barely broken a sweat, his glorious blonde hair shining, his armour not having seen any action. All the women at court had fawned over him. Just imagining how they would react to a real hero who had actually seen conflict, caused the corner of his mouth to twitch upward with anticipatory thrill.

Mid morning they arrived at the first village of the city ten. The hardened soldiers amongst his group peeled away, heading for a rough looking building at the edge of town. Reen checked his coin pouch, enough remained for lunch  at the main tavern, so he wandered off towards it. The rotund landlord accommodated him with obvious satisfaction, offering him many fine delicacies and excellent Ale. Sated and happy, Reen rode out an hour later to rejoin his band.

He couldn’t put his finger on what was different at first. Then realised their horses seemed somehow cleaner.

The same thing took place at the next village, the old-timers peeled off right at the entrance, and when they reconvened their weapons were looking fresh.

By the time they reached the third village that evening, Reen’s curiosity was eating him up. He followed the others as they went to an older building on the outskirts. One by one he watched the men present a token at the door and disappear through the entrance.

“Good evening. Do you have your HMRC membership card?” The woman blocked the threshold.

“HMRC card?” Reen repeated back at her.

“That’s the one. Did you not sign up when you joined the Army? Or do you not have benefit privileges?” She peered out at him squinting into the light at him until another of the company, Jed, elbowed him out of the way.

Ee’s our current nobility. Nepe’s brother.“  He gave a big wink at the old woman and flashed a card. She stepped aside to allow him to go in. Reen could feel his fists clenching and a freshly chipped tooth was hurting due to his tightly clenched jaw. The woman’s eyes widened, and she licked her lips greedily as she studied him. “Hair, beard, armour, stench, weapon, and your horse is as unkempt as you are too?’

Reen nodded, “Yes,” then standing up taller he raised his chin and pushed his shoulders backward. Her smirk told him he was failing to look any kind of impressive. “So madam, what is the HMRC and why should I pay you?” he asked.

“Heroes Magical Repairs Co-operative.” She said looking very proud. “You pay us, and we fix you so you can look like a returning hero, rather than a grisly.” She paused and stepped back, “stinking mess. - what is that?” She asked, pointing at something buried in his beard.

“Um” Reen responded.

“My, my - aren’t you are the eloquent one? I assume that as you are Nepe’s brother,” Rolling his brother’s name around in her mouth as if it were a delicate wine. “You have the means to pay for full repairs?. Would you prefer a one stop treatment - or graded recovery as you get closer to the city?”

“One stop.” Reen replied, and lighter by a substantial quantity of coin, he entered through a dimly lit hall, into a large open chamber.  Purple seats were arrayed around a rug in the middle and queues of people snaked towards small side rooms. There was one door with no queue. He knocked politely.

  “Enter,” spoke the scrawny young girl. She was sat on a wooden milking stool and aside from a whetstone, he could spot no other tools. “Weapons services, let me see the damage,”

Reen handed his nocked weapon over, “Wolven woods?” She inquired.

“Yes, and a few bar brawls.”

The  girl nodded. “Excellent. How do you want it? As new, or a few nicks to imply bravery?”

“Nicked?” Reen replied, feeling his eyebrows crease together, he caught her eye and could see she was smiling. The girl picked up the whetstone, and gently ran it along the edge of the sword, at each passing he could see a small but noticeable improvement. He shut his open mouth before she looked up at him. That would have taken him far more than three wipes. Returning the now sharpened sword to him, she gestured towards the door.

“Go now. There’ll be others waiting” Reen walked out to the sound of gentle laughter from behind the door.

The next door had a queue, and as he went to join it he saw Jed in front.

Jed turned with his nose wrinkled. “A could smell ya before I saw ya, you need that line now Cap’n.” Pointing to a short line containing the dirtiest patrons of the HMRC.

“They are all filthy!”

“So are ya- that’s the line for the cleaning magikers. Do us all a favour and go there next Cap’n, Please!“ Jed held his nose in mockery and waved him away.

“NEXT” came a shout in front of him as a young woman called someone over. Several minutes passed, and people in front entered filthy and left the rooms clean. As he reached the front of the queue a fourth door opened and an elderly man poked his head out, pointing a bony finger at Reen.

“You’re up next.”

Reen stepped into the room. In front of him was a steaming hot tub of water, Soap and no towel.

“Your clothes go in that one. You go in this one,“ he gestured.

Following  instructions, Reen climbed in and washed. The soap cleaned him, but tangled up his long, matted hair even further. He watched the old man swish his clothes around in the other tub, take them out and lay them on the floor. Steam rose out of the clothes which dried within moments. The old man caught him staring.

“We heaters can’t make  fire, but I can dry clothes well!. Get out, you need to be dried ready for the grooming team.”

Water ran off Reen’s legs as he stepped out, and as a blanket of magical warmth draped around him it made his skin tingle. True to the elderly magikers word, the clothes and Reen were dry, and he got dressed in moments.

The grooming team made the knots in his hair and beard slide out easily with only a couple of comb strokes. His unidentified beard object turned out to be a mushroom, and he soon had his golden flowing locks and beard back.

The armourists pushed the metal of his cuirass back into shape gently and as they stroked it, the rust disappeared. It wasn’t perfect, but to an observers eye, it was clean and shining. They assured Reen it needed a true smith to check it over before battle, and he should be gentle with it until he had seen one.

As he came back to the central room, he spied Jed half way through the same queue.
“What is this for then?” he asked

“It’s for the magikers of the bedroom art. If ya know what I mean.” He winked at Reen. “They’ll make ya feel like a proper Hero.”

Reen laughed, stepped back and scanned the room for a clue to sleeping accommodation. He spotted a small counter.  It cost him yet more money, but he secured a room for the night.

They entered the city two days later, triumphant and successful, a whole summer of campaigns and not a mark on their armour. As he led his men, Reen saw upturned faces and waving handkerchiefs. Drunk in the admiration of the masses, he decided that the returning Hero look was betterafter all. As they marched towards the barracks, they passed a small house he had never noticed. It was on the corner of the road leading to the Fellowship of High Magic.  Small writing on the swinging sign said,

HMRC assessment centre,
New members welcome.
 Positions available, apply within.

« Last Edit: October 12, 2018, 04:40:09 PM by Jenny HJ »

Offline Slaykomimi

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Re: [Oct 2018] - Small Magics - Submission Thread
« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2018, 10:07:55 PM »
1022 Words long, warning, it could be too harsh for some people, please tell me if it is too much or let someone remove it since my activity here decreased heavily due to work.

Muis little prayer

Spoiler for Hiden:
It was a silent night at the fields of Goha as a small group of carriages rode on. They went through the night, lined up like ants on their march watched upon by the stars. No one dared to break the silence, not even the lively crickets who are comon at this time of the year. Inside the carriages everyone remained silent, even though they were awake and worried about their future.
Inside one of the carriages is a group of kids, none older than twelve. They sit around on hay to keep them warm with their legs chained to each other. The end of the chain was mounted to the roof so no one can run away. The kids all look depressed, knowing the fate they met, all of them were kidnapped and are now transported to a farm to work as slaves.
Among them is Mui, a little girl at the age of 7, her parents were killed in front of her eyes and she kept on weeping. The other kids kept on telling her to remain silent or else the adults will come and punish them. The only one kind to Mui is Rao, the oldest kid in the carriage. He told the other kids to repose as they don't know what she's been going through and they would surely act the same if they would share the same experience with her. And so, everyone remained silent, waiting for their destiny to arrive.
Many hours passed till they finally took a pause from traveling. The slave traders gave little bread and cheese to the kids and tell them how nicely they behave. Some of the kids started to smile after being praised and fed with cheese, some of them never had a slice of cheese in their entire lices. But Mui kept her sad face, tears never stopped rolling down her crestfallen cheeks. The campfire started to make crackling noises while everyone ate, pushing Mui to burst out a loud cry.This of course dissatisfied the slave traders and led them to punish the kids by beating them with long wooden sticks.
When they went back on their journey, everyone was mad at Mui, even Rao who used to protect her. She seeked for comfort in his arms but he pushed her into the dirty hay. Everyone glared at her and some of them even threatened her. Mui covered her mouth with her hands but her it sotears kept rolling down her cheeks.
Most of the kids finally felt asleep, but Mui kept awake, she couldn’t sleep due to her grief and fear. When the carriage went over a larger rock she hit her head and started to cry out loud again, waking the others up. They quickly pushed her to the floor and beat her up, one of the kids even showed her his pocket knife to scare her even more. What hurt her most was that Rao was the first one to hit her and also the one who hit her most. Hate filled the eyes of the kids as Mui´s tears wet the floor.
It was a long painful trip during that night. Besides the horrible pain that Mui felt from her loss and wounds, the most hurtful feeling was the hate of all the other kids. Her tears stopped and her face went to an blank expression. Her pure eyes filled only with agony and sadness are now empty.
In the early morning the carriages arrived at the cliffs of Mohi, besides its size it is known for the long bridge built by the ancient tribes who once populated the area. It is remarkably stable, made out of giant logs and many ropes, crossing the cliffs over a large distance, there were many researchers still puzzled about how they managed to build such a sturdy bridge that lasts hundreds of years.
The sun rised allready, showing all the carriages filled with many slaves that are about to be sold  and to be transported to far away lands. Many of them already accepted their fate and just waited for their life in slavery. As the sun started to wake up the people on the journey, the kids noticed that Mui´s face was dry and her gaze was barren. They had nothing left, so they started to mock her. Mui´s hair got pulled and she got pushed arround, thrown into the dirt and spit on. She kept laying in the dirt and the kids just smiled. Even Roa enjoyed the misery of the little girl.
While everyone cheered each other on how well they made fun of Mui, she suddenly started to get to her legs. She stood still with her head hanging down, facing the hay covered floor. Her Lips started to move but no one heard her silent words. With no hope and energy left, she dropped down to her knees, her arms hanging limp at her sides as her words continue. While repeating the same words, her head raised and looked up to the ceiling of the carriage. Both arms started to raise and her voice became louder and louder.
The driver of the carriage started to look back as he heard the chanting of the little girl. He was frozen by the shock, not able to move or warn the others as it became too late. Muis prayers to the dragon god were answered and she was granted with power. Although her frail weak body couldn’t handle more than casting a single spark, it was more than enough to set the hay afire and torch up the whole carriage in seconds.
A giant fire spread over the whole bridge, devouring all and everyone crossing it. Some were too slow and got caught off guard, others who saw the fire panicked and jumped down into a pit that seemed endless. The Work of hundreds of years ago was gone within minutes, and with it all the slave traders, the captured ones and of course Mui too. As soon as the fire started, it also ended, leaving nothing but a big gap between two giant cliffs.
Truly, if there is evil in this world, it lies within the heart of mankind.

-Edward d. Morrison