Hey guys! Here is this week's Flash Fiction Friday prompt:
Use three of the following items in your story this week however you wish:
spool of thread
I chose Christmas ornament, lighthouse, and ivy.
When you're done reading here remember to visit my partners in crime:
The Great Mage (Week 5)
Seth was quiet, guiding Fia down a deserted path in the woods. Aneris kept his hands on Seth’s hips. He looked over the perfectly spaced rows of thin white trees that stood like sticks stuck in the earth. The temperature had dropped an hour ago, upon entering a different part of the Silver Realm. The deeper into the woods they traveled, the thicker the fog covering the ground; the thicker the silence between Seth and Aneris became.
“Where are we going?”
“Somewhere before Death Valley,” Seth clipped.
“Isn’t there a way around it? Doesn’t sound very nice.”
“What, mage?” Not my dearest little mage. No warmth to his voice. Aneris knew Seth was angry. The reason thumped against his back with every step Fia took. The pearl.
“We’ll find White’s love. I promise.”
Seth growled. “Will we? Will we find the White Lady’s mate before you die? We don’t know anything about him, what he looks like, where he is—we know nothing! And there you went and gave away your life, Aneris, to a woman who knew you wouldn’t make good on your promise. So forgive me if your promise to me means very little. You’re going to die in Death Valley or by her water magic. You are going to perish, Aneris.” Anguish replaced Seth’s cold tone. His hand slipped over Aneris’s at his hip. “And so will I. For I can’t live in any realm without you now that I’ve known you. So know you will kill us both.”
Part of Seth, the Seth Aneris knew from their long chats deep into the night revealed itself to Aneris. To have a body to pair with Seth’s voice made their relationship real to him. Though Seth had hid his identity, among other things, Aneris was still drawn to him. Seth’s touch was a magic that had nothing to do with their surroundings or the power within the mage. Aneris rested his head between the dips in Seth’s armor, enclosing the knight’s waist within his arms.
“I’m sorry, Seth. I wasn’t thinking; I got caught up in the moment. Maybe the Gamemaster will help us. You said he brought me here to get rid of Sylvius, so why would he let me die before I’ve fulfilled my quest? I have until the next full moon. We have time, Seth.”
“Time I selfishly wish you all to myself without death looming over us.” Seth sighed, squeezing Aneris’s hand. “But after we rest tonight there will be no time to breathe. Your quest has only begun and if we wish to stop the war the Black King is using Sylvius to start, you must act quickly. I must guide you, meaning I need to focus.”
Aneris pulled his hand back. “You mean a purely professional relationship?”
“There is nothing professional about the thoughts I have for you, Aneris.” Seth looked over his shoulder. “I only meant to convey a sense of urgency to you. We have a few weeks at most to find the White Lady’s true love, find the Black Mage, and kill him before he helps the Black King take the White King. It will be war if that happens.”
“Not so loud. And that is what you do in your game, is it not? Here, in this place, the game is real. Therefore the death is true if you strike. The only way to take down Sylvius will be in death, his death. It is as your game began, and as it shall play out here. Do you not see? Our realm mirrors yours.”
“It’s just a game!”
“Keep your voice down.” Seth slowed Fia to a creeping pace. He scoured the trees. “We near Death Valley. Few allies reside near the edge. The others are dangerous to us and if we wish to stay with our friends tonight, it would be best we didn’t alert our enemies to our presence.”
“Others?” Aneris scooted up until he was plastered to Seth.
“You must be joking, Aneris. Of course there are others. Violent shifters, witches, Black Archers, Sidhe which are not your storybook Fae, and don’t get me started on…ah, well, you’ll see soon enough.”
“I don’t want to see.” Aneris shook his head. “I want to go home.”
“Buck up, my dearest mage. You are the most powerful of them yet or the barrier wouldn’t have opened for you. You were not merely summoned. You were drawn to this place to help, and I am along for the ride. You have the strength to do great things, only you must believe it so.” Seth slipped a hand between Fia’s ears, putting his gloved fingers right into her fiery mane. She stopped immediately as if they could speak to one another. She bowed her head and Seth sat back. “We’re here.”
“Where is here?” Aneris looked around, but couldn’t see much due to the wall of fog swirling around them.
“I had hoped they would choose to stay in the village during mating season, instead of migrating towards the White Kingdom for safety when the young were laid. It seems my hope brought us luck. I can feel them.”
“When they lay young? Who are they?” Aneris slowly looked up, following Seth’s gaze. He leaned back when Seth pulled off his glove and raised his hand into the air. A small flame flickered to life in his palm, startling Aneris. Tiny golden sparks twirled into the air, disappearing into the fog. “What are you doing?”
“Watch.” Seth’s smile grew as a wooden platform silently descended to the ground from somewhere unseen. Thick vines twined in ivy pulled tight from above. A man stepped out from behind the vines and crossed his arms. His smile was terrifying, full of sharp fangs and red leathery lips.
Aneris squeaked when the man’s red eyes flicked to him. Red and purple scales covered his face and powerful upper body. His long black hair blew with the fog. Aneris pulled his cloak up to his nose. “W-what is it?”
“You bring an Othersider here, Seth?” A deep voice rumbled from the man after he scented the air. “Nephew, what are you up to now?”
Seth laughed. He slid from Fia’s back, landing on his feet gracefully. “I seek shelter for the night, Uncle. No funny business, I promise.”
“He’s a pet of yours then?”
Seth whipped around, marching up to his Uncle. “Make no mistake, Uncle. He is no pet of mine or a plaything to disrespect. I seek shelter before we journey to the valley so we may rest before danger strikes. Should it be a problem that I bring my mate to your door, Outsider or otherwise, I will relinquish you of your hospitable burden and continue on my merry way.”
Aneris held onto Fia’s back, sprawling out as the horse lowered onto her knees. Aneris’s feet touched the ground. He looked to Seth for help. “What’s wrong with her? Did I do something?”
Seth’s Uncle stepped forward. “No. I did. She is acknowledging her master’s mate in his defense. And since the day she was born she’s been stubborn. The only one she ever let near was Seth, and now…you.”
“You ask that a lot. If you tried a little harder I’m sure you could answer your own questions. I would think Seth’s mate would be smarter than you seem to be.” The man’s protruding brow lifted on one side.
“Did he just call me dumb, Seth?”
“He’ll have to wise up if he’s to mingle with the tribe. You’re glad I was passing by when I saw your greeting. Should the others have come to fetch you they wouldn’t have let you in. Outsiders mean trouble in this realm. They mean something big is about to happen and as a race of trade and peace we don’t take kindly to being disturbed. Luckily for you, human, your mate is the son of my brother. For that reason alone I will grant you shelter tonight under the security of my tribe. Do not make a fool of me and ask such silly questions. If you do not understand, figure it out until you know. Have a little pride. It will serve you well when you finally greet Seth’s father. If I scare you, just wait.”
Like he’d just been told off by the mean girl at school, Aneris boiled with anger. His eyes narrowed into slits. He pushed his cape back, thrusting his chest forward. “First off, excuse the fuck out of me for not knowing where I am, who you are, or why that jackass over there is calling me his mate! I am not dumb. I was the class valedictorian in high school, thank you very much. And don’t call me human like it’s a dirty word. I’m a mage, not just any mage, but The Great Mage. Maybe you’ve heard of me?”
“A mage? You?” Seth’s Uncle covered his mouth and laughed. “Impossible.”
Aneris refused to back down. His eyes began to flicker back and forth, too fast to see. His hands rose, palms facing the creature in front of him. His head jerked back. His breath rapidly ejected from his lungs, only to seize and fill them again. He felt the Christmas ornament sized pearl at his back taking in the power he spilled.
“What is he doing?”
Seth just stood there with his mouth hanging open as his strong, tribe leader uncle panicked.
“Questions are for fools,” Aneris hissed. His voice filled with thick magic that poured into his hands like thousands of tiny stars. Fire burst from every speck, dancing in a circle around the scaled man before him. “So figure this one out.”
The human part of him took a backseat as Aneris discovered the magic inside of him. Even though his hands didn’t touch Seth’s Uncle, he could feel who he was in the air. Shifter. A Dragon Shifter with mighty purple wings bigger than the rest. He’d served in many wars, had many children, and disliked weakness. He thought Aneris wasn’t a match for his nephew. He thought Aneris would never carry a fire inside of him like Seth did in his blood. He thought they could never be just with a single look.
The human part of Aneris wanted to argue the entire relationship, that they were simply at the beginning and Seth had a lot of explaining to do, but the mage in him wanted to prove the shifter wrong. “A weak-minded outsider, you say? Then tell me how I could possibly do this.”
He thrust his hands into the air. With a simple thought he replicated the leader’s dragon form with fire. The dragon burst from his hands, growing in size until it grew too big to be caged by trees. It rocketed into the fog, burning a circle as it flew up and spread its wings. The trio watched as the dragon danced in the night sky, round and round until it nosedived towards Aneris’s ready hands.
The enormous form exploded into glittering dust the moment it touched Aneris’s skin. Gold rained upon them until the fog took over again. Aneris clapped his hands of dust and bent over to stroke Fia who was shaking. She stood under his gentle ministrations, then let him guide her to the platform. Aneris turned back to Seth’s uncle.
“Let it be known I am no fool, Heith, leader of the Death Valley Tribe and I can hold my fire with the best of them. Your nephew and I would like a room for the night and a place for Fia to rest. If that’s too much of a bother for you, then you’re a shitty uncle and I don’t want Seth anywhere near you. He’s better than that.” Aneris snorted. Golden dust puffed out of his nose and he reddened.
“By the moon and the sun, Setherum, what have you gotten yourself into now?”
To be continued...