Hey guys! No prompt this week. Just a freebie, fly-by-the-seat-of-our pants kind of installment. I had some technical difficulties this week with my email account. I wrote about it yesterday, but in case you didn't read it, I basically am unable to get into my nighttempest email and therefore have no communication with my other bloggers. If all else fails and no one from Google contacts me back I'll have to set up a new email, which will really friggin suck. But I have to do what I have to do, I guess. *grumbles*
On with the show. I'm not sure if any of my other bloggers were able to see the message yesterday, but I'm posting their links all the same. Enjoy and I'm so sorry to my blogger buddies for the inconvenience. You can virtual-slap me if you want. :P
Hugs and stuff,
Flash Fiction Friday Bloggers:
The Great Mage (Week 10)
The Dragon clawed up the surface of the temple, clicking and scratching across marble. His winged entrapment tightened 'til there wasn’t enough room to fight back. Fia’s mane turned the color of snowy flames. Aneris screamed from the power she emanated. He realized then that her power was tied to Seth’s soul, resembling the rings that were tied to his magic. She was Seth’s backup strength, molded to his heart, and his last ditch effort at life.
Seth gave everything he had to hold off the pain of the Dragon’s fire. And Fia fed the Knight what strength she had to give. If Seth drained them both, Fia would surely die, and Seth in time. Aneris was the only one who could get them out of this, with his magic and his smarts. He turned his otherworldly glare to the Dragon and stepped out of Seth’s shielding touch.
Imagining a bubble of fortification around himself, Aneris used what precious magic he had to defend himself from the flames. He had no idea how long he had, but he figured not long. He knew of the magic eating him from the inside, fighting off the dark arts trapped in the Dragon Shifter’s body. His energy nearly depleted, Aneris held up his rings and closed his eyes.
“Viam monstra,” he bellowed. Show me the way.
His eyes opened to greet the Black Dragon’s red stare. Golden runes poured from Aneris’s rings, thousands of them. The runes danced in circles around the Dragon’s body and wings, closing in until they embedded into the smoky magic clinging to his scales. The Dragon roared his rage. Thunder clapped in the distance, shaking the temple’s foundation.
The runes squeezed the web of magic clouding the Dragon’s mind. Aneris wheezed, forced to his knees. His arms shook under the weight of his powers. His eyes stung from the smoke. Dark magic, Sylvius’s spell, attempted to transfer to Aneris and he fought for his life. Stay awake, he thought. But his lids were so heavy the task was near impossible. He screamed through his teeth. Seth was behind him, still rebelling against the Dragon’s flames to keep them alive while Aneris worked.
The runes grew in size, stealing the darkness from the Dragon’s skin. Black scales scattered to the flames, revealing dark blue scales that resembled waves of midnight in an infinite ocean. Aneris crawled forward. He heard the Dragon’s heart in his mind, still crippled by the spell. He had to save this innocent creature who didn’t know what he was doing. The Dragon continued his attempts to fry them to a crisp.
Aneris reached out, dragged into the pool of water that glowed from the pool. His boots and leathers soaked, with his cloak weighed down by water, Aneris allowed his rings to fall down his arms to touch the Dragon’s chest. Pain sliced through his body; the magic so dark it hurt. Aneris’s skin shined, humming with the last of his power—a warning to stop before he took his last breath.
He couldn’t stop. He had to take away the Dragon’s pain. It was part of Aneris’s purpose, to free this fantastic creature from his prison. Aneris imagined his fist curling around the Dragon’s heart. He pictured the same ancient runes encircling the organ, squeezing the darkness out for the heart to be pure once more.
The rings on his arms flickered. He had seconds before his body failed him. Water overflowed from the pool. A thin sheet of liquid covered the marble, spilling over the sides where the Ghouls fought to penetrate the Dragon’s rings. Aneris sensed the Dragon’s torment, the tearing of his wings; teeth sinking into his scales.
The Dragon tipped his head back. Something akin to a scream filled the air and Aneris cried with him. They were connected—Aneris’s magic resided in the Dragon now. He, too, felt every rip and slash. Their leathery cage trembled and glowed so bright Aneris could hardly stand the light. The water gushed, soaking all of them to the bone. It sprayed and splashed. Aneris chanced a look over his shoulder at Seth and Fia.
Seth kept his blade up, but his stance was defeated. Fia had lowered herself to the marble, slowly wheezing fire as Seth drained her to keep him, his mate alive. Aneris wanted to cry. He didn’t know how they would survive this. That was up until the pearl lifted from the water, casting a prism of colors against the Dragon’s wings. It spun around, rising higher into the air. It stopped just shy of the Dragon’s eyes and burst. The Mage’s world became nothing but white. He was momentarily blinded.
Aneris’s hand burned against the Dragon’s skin, and yet he couldn’t move away. He focused on the runes engraving themselves into the Dragon’s heart, counteracting the dark magic. A pure source of magic paved through the creature’s body. Aneris knew without a doubt the pearl had entered the Dragon’s body, somehow drawn to the beast and its predicament.
The temple shook. Water continued to burst from the shallow pool at an impossible volume. And then Aneris fell away from the Dragon. His back hit wet marble. Magic snapped back into his body, but it was only dull throb; not enough to restore the loss he’d taken. The pearl’s light lit up the Dragon when Aneris was able to see again, silhouetting the runes in the beast’s heart. With his eyes barely open, the temple rising into the sky like a dream, and water trying to drown the Mage, Aneris looked at the Dragon.
“Aneris,” Seth begged, going to his knees. His hand slapped against Aneris’s fingers, but the Mage couldn’t look away from the Dragon.
Those blue scales shimmered. The beast’s eyes flashed a warm gold as if the mind inside had returned to itself. The Dragon shifted in a split second. A blue-scaled man of muscular proportions floated in the air. He tried to speak while reaching for Aneris, but his body fell from the air and tumbled over the edge of the temple, taking the pearl’s magic with him.
Silence scared the Mage. And then he heard a splash—a splash?
“Aneris, hold on. Please, my mate. Don’t leave me here.” Seth gripped Aneris’s hand, shaking him.
Like his batteries had died, Aneris gave a final shudder. His breath rolled out of him in traces of golden runes. His rings went cold against his skin. The Mage had one last glimpse of the stormy clouds parting to reveal a vast sky full of wondrous stars. Then his mind went blank and his eyes glossed over.
“Aneris!” Seth shouted. “Aneris, wake up…”
Seth went silent, looking down at his mate. His skin was cold to the touch. His eyes were filmy; a look of the dead. Across his banded chest was the leather sash he wore. There was the medallion with the black stone, encircled by the White King’s insignia. Within the stone, the moon floated as if it were real. It flashed a reminder of Aneris’s promise he would never fulfill. Next to the medallion, the vials strapped to the sash were almost empty, thrumming different colors of liquid. The red vial shimmered brightest. It was empty now. What they had thought were potions weren’t potions at all. Seth understood now.
What happened in the LARPing game had indeed been made real here in The Silver Realm. He’d always known that, but looking down at his lover and seeing Aneris’s life reduced to a simple vial of health like in some videogame, made him angry. “This isn’t a game,” he whispered in anguish. “He is a person. He is my mate.”
Seth tried to warm Aneris’s cool fingers in his palms. “Please…”
Fia softly huffed near them. She drank the water off of the marble rooftop in attempt to regain her energy. Numb to the core, Seth observed their surroundings. He hadn’t thought about the silence, or the lack of Ghouls trying to eat their faces off. He let go of Aneris’s hand to stand in awe. A vast lake surrounded the temple. Water lapped at the base of the black marble structure. Torches dotted the water in a circle around the sacred house, casting fiery images against the dark, still waters.
The Ghouls were gone, lost beneath the water. The air was pure and clean. The sky was full of stars, and in the distance, the mountains were now a lush green. Seth flipped his visor up, where sweat and ash dirtied his face. He ran a hand through his sopping black hair, turning in circles. “What have we done? Aneris, wake up. You must see this!”
He turned back to his mate and crouched. “My love, you must hear me. This is not how you end. I will not allow it,” he sobbed. “You pleaded with me, remember? You said you had a purpose here. Was this what you intended? I don’t think so. You said you wouldn’t leave me. How will we finish our quest? How will I ever make you mine?”
Seth was about to lie next to his mate and his loyal horse and give it all up. He would stare at the sky, holding Aneris’s hand until his energy faded and he joined his mate in the stars. But a wet slap interrupted his plans. He snatched up his sword when a hand appeared from the opening in the roof. A head of dripping black hair bobbed up the stairs and then a blue scaled upper body joined it. Trudging slowly to the roof, a Dragon Shifter turned his yellow eyes on Seth.
Seth pointed his blade at the intruder. “Stop. Come no further.”
“I will not harm you,” the Shifter rasped. “I have done enough harm for one lifetime.” He walked with unsteady feet to the edge of the temple roof.
“Who are you?” Seth protected his mate’s body by putting himself between the strange Shifter and Aneris.
“My name was forgotten long ago. I am only known now as the Black Dragon. But as you see, I am not black at all.” Through long dark tendrils, Seth saw yellow eyes look to him.
“What other Shifter did you see here this night, Red One? Of course it is me. And for my life I took his. Kill me if you so choose. I will not fight you, for I deserve this death for my weaknesses.”
Seth gritted his teeth. Tears spilled over his lashes. “Why would you do this? Why side with that… that… I cannot say his name!”
The Shifter turned to face Seth. Naked and wet, the only thing besides his eyes to stand out was the Water Elemental rune outlined in his chest. “I would never side with the dark. The temple was raided by Sylvius and his men. We stood no chance in that war. I lost my mother, a powerful Water Priestess. I tried to protect them all.”
“Water?” Seth looked from Aneris’s body to the Shifter.
“Shit. You’re—by the Goddess.” Seth dropped to his knees. “Aneris! Wake.” He shook his mate. “It’s him.”
Aneris remained motionless. The red vial continued to glow. Words began to swirl in the glass tube. Seth cocked his head. “He who captures the Red Knight shall be granted an extra life. You have stolen his heart. There is no captivity greater in the universe,” Seth read.
“The Gamemaster.” Seth bounced with sheer joy. He looked up to the Shifter, his tears flowing freely. “Tis a wonderful game we play!”
To be continued…