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Re: [Jul/Aug 2017] - Story Generator - Submission Thread This is my first submission in the Monthly Writing Contests, please go easy on me, hope you enjoy.  :)

2-1-5-1-5-1-5

1496 words

The Holy Thorn

Spoiler for Hiden:
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 OK?”

“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,” replied the Bishop as his 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 cord in Lilith.  They unsettled her.  She could feel something was wrong but knew the importance of this 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.

September 01, 2017, 01:30:23 PM
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Re: [Jul/Aug 2017] - Story Generator - Voting Thread Thanks for the votes everyone really appreciate it, all the entries were great and enjoyable to read! Can't believe I won on my first try ???? ????
October 01, 2017, 10:06:31 AM
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Re: [Jul/Aug 2017] - Story Generator - Voting Thread @ScarletBea hi sorry only just saw this now, yup I changed my name hope that's OK ???? yes I will definitely be entering again, currently working on a story for this months Contest ????????
November 26, 2017, 09:56:51 PM
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Re: [Nov 2017] - Water - Submission Thread sorry, literally right on the deadline, not my finest work I didn't even have time to edit it or check over it and totally not satisfied witht he ending or the fight scenes but read away and make what you will  :)

1084 words.

In Darkness Dwells.

Spoiler for Hiden:

Lilith touched the glowing blue amulet that hung in the hollow of her throat.  It was warm to touch and pulsed faintly with the life that was contained within it.  She smiled ruefully as she felt the nix brush against her thoughts, worry and fear reflected in them.  “Don’t worry little nix, we are nearly there.”

The sorceress then quieted her mind and sought out their pursuer.  She felt the vibrations through the fetid and murky waters of the London sewer system as she summoned her elemental magic.  The Bloody Gentleman was not far behind them now, making no effort to mask his presence.  Instead, she felt something else.  Another vibration in the water, smaller but quicker in pace. 

She tightened her concentration and tried to hone in on the new presence.  She recoiled immediately, pain searing through her mind.  She released the elemental magic and briskly ploughed through the putrid waters toward her destination, her rising anger blocking out the remnants of pain.   

Damn that bastard, he summoned grindylows to track us.

The entrance to the lost river was somewhere ahead, she could feel the magic of the gateway thrumming through the waters that sloshed around her boots.  Once she reached it, the nix would be safe and she could deal with the Bloody Gentleman.  She recalled what she knew of the mercenary.  His reputation was well known among her peers, a man with a tragic and violent past.

They had crossed paths several times and had each left their mark upon the other.  But today, today he would not best her.  The life of the little fey safeguarded in her amulet depended on it.  Lilith had no idea how the water fey had ventured into this world and was puzzled even further that it would end up captured and sold on the shadow market.  When this business was done, she swore she would track down the buyer who had tried to purchase the nix.

But right now, I have bigger issues to contend with.

She felt the first of the grindylows cutting through the water, coming directly at her from behind.  The sorceress kept up her pace as she waited for the water demon to strike.  It was then she sensed two more waiting ahead of her at the next junction of the waterways.  She cursed under her breath and summoned her elemental magic once again as she drew Arondight from its scabbard over her shoulder.  She drew the spell into her with several quick and precise gestures with her hand and fingers and held it at the ready as she waded through the miasma of piss and shit that curdled in the water.

All three grindylows attacked simultaneously as she reached the junction, long spindly arms and sharp spines jutting from their greyish skin as they erupted from the water.  But Lilith was prepared.  She cast the elemental spell she had been holding and froze the air around her, catching the grindylows in mid strike.  Three quick slashes of her blade and there were three decapitated demons left in her wake.

Lilith continued through the labyrinth of tunnels, taking each turn at the gentle urging of the nix as it brushed against her thoughts.  Finally, they reached the gateway.  She could see it clearly at the end of the tunnel, glowing brightly through the gloom of the sewer, the light of Avalon cast into the mortal world.  She basked in its glow briefly, her own fey heritage reacting to seeing the immortal light.

But the presence of a horde of grindylows quickly brought her back to her senses.  She touched the amulet around her neck and muttered the words of release and the nix melted from it, a fluid azure liquid light that formed in the water before her.  It took the form of a serpentine dragon, its scales midnight blue and glowing with an inner light.  Its crystalline eyes were a warm ivory hue and they looked upon her full of gratitude and compassion.

Lilith urged it on, waving her sword at the gate, “Go now please, before the grindylows come.  I’ll hold them off.  Go on, go!”

The little water fey hesitated for a moment but then whisked away into the water as the grindylows crashed down the tunnel towards them.  Lilith spun around to face them, Arondight glowing brightly in her hands as she gathered her power and roared in challenge at the water demons, “Ventus ignis!”

Azure flames lanced from Arondights blade and erupted down the tunnel, encasing the demons in fire and water and boiling steam.  Lilith heard nothing but the deafening roar of the fire and steam until she sagged to her knees, her strength utterly spent.  Moments later, the steam cleared enough for her to see what she had wrought. 

Nothing remained but sludge and the shattered bodies of the grindylow.  She would have heaved at the carnage she had inflicted had she the energy left to do so, but it was all she could do to lift her head and cast her eyes upon what remained.

Without warning she felt a blade upon her throat, “Not bad little sorceress, but you should have known it wouldn’t be that easy to kill me.  Now, where is the fey?”

“Fuck you Gideon, I released it back to Avalon.  You’re welcome to enter the gateway and try and recapture it.  But I hazard that you would not last five minutes before the Knight of Seasons is on your tail.”  Lilith knew there was very little she could do to defend herself now.  She was at his mercy.

But despite that, she smiled.  At least the nix got away.

As she readied herself to face Gideon’s wrath, the tunnel was filled with a warm azure light and a haunting melody that touched her deep to her very soul.  The sorceress laughed as she realised what was happening.

The Bloody Gentleman spun around and dragged her with him, the blade still laid across the flesh of her exposed throat.  Before them was the nix in all its glory, glowing bright and filling the tunnel with its song.  Its ivory gaze settled upon Gideon, who fell back against the intensity of its glare before a shaft of azure light lanced from the fey and struck the mercenary squarely in the chest.  He fell back with a cry, and was washed away with the rising current.

Lilith met the eyes of the nix and smiled. 

They had saved each other.
   



December 02, 2017, 12:01:51 AM
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Re: [Feb 2018] - WASIASGYNDL - Submission Thread So in writing this, I decided to do two things I normally hate doing when writing...writing in First Person POV and writing without an outline.  I just had an initial inkling of an idea, the opening sentence rolling around in my head and this is what happened when I tried to put it into words...I think once I go back to this with my usual fervour and a solid outline at some stage down the line it might actually make a decent story, but for now I hope you enjoy this effort.

Word count; 751.

For your consideration, RED DEATH UNDER RED SKIES.

Spoiler for Hiden:
I remember when the sky turned red.  Not the beautiful crimson wash of the sunset that faded to orange hues like flames across the horizon.  No, this was something far removed from beauty, a sinister thing that foreshadowed that which came after.  I remember a baptism of blood as death stalked the earth, craving the taste of flesh and the sweet ecstasy of the scent of fear. 

It was my greatest shame, a moment of fear that caused the near extinction of man and the rise of a malevolent force unlike any seen since primordial times.  I had left the Well unprotected, and the consequence was a walking death that could not be fought. 
Their true name had long been lost to the decay of time. 

We simply called them the Old Ones.

First came the Scourging, the reaping of humanities strength as monarchies fell and our own armies turned against us, their will taken from them as they slaughtered their own.  Kingdoms were left in ruin as the people fled, herded in fear as death preyed upon every man, woman and weeping child without mercy.  In the end, despair corroded every last shred of hope and the will of humanity was extinguished.

Looking back now, there was much I could have done to help, to protect those in need and ease the pain of those beyond it.  But my pain knew no end and while despair gripped its claws around the heart of man, its claws had long clutched at my own breast.  I was paralyzed, unable to move passed the loss.  All that was dear to me, lost in a single night of blood and retribution, leaving only death and regret.

I had left the world to burn.

I broke the sacred vow I had sworn to uphold.

Thus, I was cursed to wander the world for eternity, hand in hand with the broken shards of the world.

In the aftermath, all that remained became the Desolation, the corrupted domain of the Old Ones.  They continued to hunt the remnants of mankind while they consolidated their power.  It was then that my will began to fail.  My shame faded to nothing and from nothing it was a lonely path to the darkness of the void.  I do not know how long I lingered there, alone, lost in the shadows as my identity was slowly stripped away, my memories, my life and even my name, lost to the dark corners of time.

But my shame remained, that burning memory of failure reminding me that humanities near extinction was as much by my hand as theirs.  I was trapped, forever haunted by the choice I had made.  I believed it right at the time, but my fear had cost the world.  If only I had closed off my emotions, my feelings could not have influenced me.  I could have been the protector the world needed.  I would have made the cold, logical choice and allowed them to die, so that the world could live.

Over and over I was forced to relive this despair, no relief from my pain.

It was then I heard the voice, deep in the recesses of my self-loathing, the warrior I had once been raging against the shackles I had struck upon him.

Fight...pick up your sorry ass from whatever shit hole you have let yourself crawl into...avenge what was taken from you.

No, I could not.  Just let me rot here, there is no hope.  Who am I now?  My name, my memories, they have faded from thought.  What am I now only a husk of the man they had loved before I let them die.

You did not let them die.  You broke your vows; you fled the Well because you knew it was a lost cause.  You tried to save you family.  They were stripped from your arms. 

Now, avenge them.

FIGHT!


Could I? 

It surprised me how much it burned in me to fight again, to avenge what was taken from me, from humanity.  The fires of vengeance roared through my veins, demanding release.  Demanding blood.

With my baptism of fire, I felt it all.  I felt the pain of the world, the cries of mankind in their perpetual misery as they prayed endlessly.  I could hear them all, man, woman and child alike.  Humanity prayed for a saviour, a messiah to guide them through this dark era.

Instead, they got me.

My name is Drazan of Anarra.

This is how my story began.

February 28, 2018, 11:28:59 PM
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