My brain decided to challenge itself this week, so if this goes bad… I’m blaming the voices inside my head.
I was scrolling through Pinterest, as I always do, and I was thinking that I needed something different. Something new. And exciting….ish.
So, for the next three weeks, I will be compiling a short story made out of three separate writing prompts. (I hate myself for this idea already!)
Commencing part one sequence….
It was just a name. One single, simple name. And yet that one name had the immediate power to invoke fear on all who heard it. To curse those who dared to speak it.
For centuries, they lived in toil and anguish. Subdued by their rulers, who warred against themselves for the throne. Brother against brother. Father against son. Blood against blood. And in the fight for the crown, one rose from the ashes. Utterly famished for what she believed was rightfully hers.
She was the most vicious of her kind, her hair flame and her eyes an unrelenting winter. The villagers whispered and murmured of her beauty, painful and cruel. She was a disease, consuming all in her wake. It was her name which held the most authority, for with it carried all the things she had done to ensure this was her land. It was a reminder that she was not to be underestimated. Ever.
She was more than just some pretty-faced princess. She was death itself.
But he didn’t fear her. Or even hate her. How could he be afraid of someone he’d never even seen before? It would be like being afraid of the wind, just because someone told him it might become a tornado some day.
Besides. He had much more important things to concern himself with.
Dus rubbed his temples. He knew the inevitable was upon him, but wished to linger all the same. He glanced around at the musky back room he’d had to himself for these past eight years. He would miss all of it, from the lumpy mattress to the chipped, rotting desk covered in books.
He’d gathered what little belongings he had, mostly tattered pages, his father’s sword, and an urn that contained the remains of his dearest friend.
The old man had taken ill rather suddenly, through the course of the night. It was there that he had made Dus swear to complete the man’s last dying wishes.
He turned one last time to take in the humble estate, with it’s mossy walls and overgrown weeds. It would be taken over by someone better suited for it while he was away. Though he knew he was most likely not to return.
He climbed on his horse and ventured off, following the map his mentor had left behind. As they trotted along, he read the scribblings etched in the margins. His friend was a scholar and physician, though in his deteriorating age he was mostly just cranky at the world before him. He tried to read in between the lines, to see the hope and curiosity beneath the madness.
He’d promised the man two things, as Dus watched the life go out of his eyes. He would travel to the fountains of Garicton to pour the ashes in the water. And he would search for the legendary Sword of Morality.
The first part was easy, but the latter- not so much. The sword was a myth, a bed time story. Nothing more.
No one waved him off on his quest. No one wished him well. He wouldn’t expect that much from the people who’d ridiculed him all his life. First, because he was the son of a war criminal. And second, because he was taken in by the town loon.
As he passed the last of the farmlands and headed for the vast wood, he tried his best to remember the tales of old that he had studied while under the tudorship of his now deceased mentor. He recalled that the sword was said to be enchanted by the last known sorcerer. To vanquish all evil.
Of course, the sword vanished before it could be used. How rather convenient.
Dus had never craved adventure as most do. He was perfectly contented reading books and studying medicine. He was a physician’s apprentice- the idea of venturing off for an imaginary weapon seemed like an unnecessary waste of time.
He would journey as far as he could, and then he would settle in an outlying village. From there he would live out his days helping others. Maybe he would even meet a pretty girl.
As night approached, he set up his camp around a nearby creek. He watched the stars peek through the branches, as he leaned against the base of a wide trunk and nibbled on some bread and cheese. Crickets played their music, and his horse lapped at the flowing stream.
He might not have been fond of the nature of his quest, but he did rather enjoy this part the expedition.
Until, of course, it was ruined by a heart-piercing wail and the earth shaking beneath him. He flew up, unsheathing his sword from his belt. He would kill whatever monster was with him, in this wood. He would do it without hesitation. His shaking hands, however, said otherwise.
“Move and you die.”
He felt the cool metal against the nape of his neck all too late, his knuckles turning white as his grip tightened.
“Who are you? And why are you here?”
“I am Dus of the Eastern Plains.” He immediately answered, his life being more important to him than being labeled a coward. “I’m traveling to spread my friend’s ashes in the fountains of Garicton.”
He left out the part where he just so happened to also be on a journey to find a magical, non-existent sword. Although, he suspected such a weapon would be useful in this certain predicament.
“Turn around. Slowly.” He did as the voice demanded, painstakingly aware of the blade now at the base of his throat. He dropped his sword when they commanded him to, and he was forced onto his knees.
He looked up.
Before him was a figure in a cloak, the fabric stained and dripping with a dark liquid that splattered against the ground. He suspected it wasn’t wine.
The stranger lifted their hood, a sea of red waves glittered against the pale moonlight. Her silver eyes were daggers, cold and piercing. Blood gleamed across her skin, and even though he couldn’t have been sure, he had a feeling it wasn’t hers.
And just like that the storm had come and the tornado was before him. She needed no introduction. He just knew.
She was the ruler of this land. Bringer of darkness. Pure, unadulterated evil.
TO BE CONTINUED
***Writing Prompt: A hero embarks on a journey to find a mythical artifact that can destroy all evil.
Tune in next week to find out what happens!! (Or don’t. It’s okay. I’m not going to go cry and hide in a hole underground for the rest of my life if you don’t. 🙁Not 😢At😥All😭