Thursday, October 3, 2013
Flash Fiction Friday! The Great Mage: Week 12
It's Friday, so that means it's time for some flash fiction. Woot! As usual we bloggers are allowed 2,000 words every week to continue our story while incorporating a prompt. This week's prompt was:Morphing Object – A key object in the chapter/story has (or gains) the ability to morph into a completely unrelated object (returning back to the original form or morphing at will is up to the author)
I chose to do my prompt a bit differently, using it near the end to carry into next week, so I hope you enjoy the tiny cliffhanger. Who doesn't love a good cliffy? *sniggers* After you read this week's portion of The Great Mage, make sure to stop by the other wonderful bloggers and see what they've cooked up for this week's prompt. Have a great weekend everyone. *Hugs*
Flash Fiction Friday Bloggers:
The Great Mage: Week 12
Aneris knew the true reason he couldn’t meet Seth’s eyes was because he wanted his mate to ravage him senseless, but if Aneris dared to meet Seth’s gaze for one second longer he would make a public spectacle of them both; a memory that would forever be burned into the public’s eye. This realm was too new for him to be that audacious. These creatures mingling with humanoid beings lived by rules and traditions he didn’t want to mess with. He and Seth had enough problems as it was. A naked roll in the middle of Doeoak’s Crossing might have penalties they couldn’t easily avoid.
Nevertheless, Aneris radiated with longing. He caught his mate’s bemused smirk out of the corner of his eye, followed by the Dragon Shifter’s hand subtly waving back and forth under his nose. Their sexual tension had an odor to it, one that apparently could be sniffed by others. Aneris flustered, whirling around until he faced the door to the inn. “Seth, can we talk inside… alone?”
“I’d recommend the stable. I believe your horse would like a hug too.” Gwinny smirked, ushering them towards the speckled grey stone structure next to the inn.
A roof comprised of rotting logs and roughly severed branches peaked under a blanket of muddy brown hay. The hay was tied down in thick bundles to provide a little shelter for the horses and livestock belonging to the occupants of the inn. The stable looked dark and flammable with the torches so close to that much hay. But Aneris would take the darkened stalls over the stench if it was possible.
“We’ll have the stable boy bring you your supper. Go. Rest a while before the Tracker comes back with news from the King. You won’t get much rest after that.” She nodded like the news wasn’t anything out of the ordinary. Roan’s lips peeled back with a growl, his eyes trained on the dark path leading out of the center of town. Aneris imagined the Tracker being much like the postman at home and the Cerberus chasing the poor man down the street like a mutt with an attitude.
He grinned and took Seth’s hand, avoiding the curious stares from the Knights and the citizens of Doeoak. “Are they still looking?” Aneris asked once they were safely shrouded in the obscurity of the stables.
Seth looked over his shoulder. “Yes.”
Seth yanked Aneris into an empty stall, uncaring of the irritable growl in the stall next to them. The hay beneath their boots was damp and slippery. And the smell wasn’t very romantic, but Aneris couldn’t fault the animals for that. He only cared about the familiar body in front of him and the solidness of Seth’s arms as he traced them with his fingers. The cool metal of Seth’s breastplate greeted Aneris’s chin and he sighed against it while they embraced in the dark.
“I think that’s a silly question,” Seth said, his voice stung with broken sentiment. “You died. When we brought you here… When he flew us into the square… Aneris, you weren’t breathing. I thought maybe I was wrong about the Gamemaster’s gift, another life for you. I thought… Dammit, Aneris, they saw you as dead as I did. And yet… here you are in my arms, breathing and speaking with that luscious mouth and seeing with those eyes I live to witness.”
“Stop that.” Aneris colored again. He felt heat in his cheeks. “You don’t have to say things like that. I understand.”
At the back of the stable a loud whine tore through the dark. A whisper of orange and red paced against the shadows. While Aneris wanted to comfort Fia, he was sure Seth needed to hold him just a little longer. They’d been through quite the journey in their short time together; then again the bond they’d forged carried the strength of many lifetimes. And the beat of their hearts were synched. Not even in death had their ties been severed.
Bringing his hands up blindly, Aneris rewarded his fingers with Seth’s face. His lips were silken beneath Aneris’s fingertips and damp where Seth pressed a kiss to the Mage’s palm. His jaw was strong, perfect as Aneris slid his hands along both sides of Seth’s face to card his fingers through his mate’s hair. He knew it was black without seeing, black as midnight without any stars to violate the purity of his coloring. His fingers trailed down the back of Seth’s neck, gliding them across sweaty skin until the knight’s armor cut his exploration short.
The Red Knight soaked up the touches with harsh breaths and his motionless hands on Aneris’s back. If the Mage was a betting man he’d say his mate’s eyes were closed and Seth’s imagination placed them somewhere else, somewhere free of war or prying eyes just on the other side of the stone wall, somewhere free of death and full of light. A place they could just be together.
Tugging his mate down, Aneris waited until he felt Seth’s breath across his lips before he took the plunge and kissed him. Words were useless when he could simply put how he felt for Seth into a kiss. It didn’t matter where they were or who could hear them. All he valued was the man wrapped around his body and the kiss Seth gave in reply.
As if he’d been in shock about his passing up until now, Aneris finally let his fear out. He could have died and never seen Seth again. Knowing he’d have died to save his mate did nothing to tear away the longing he’d always have from wherever death would take him. He’d always pine for Seth and Seth would be an absolute wreck without him.
They held each other up. One was the walls and the other was the roof that kept the elements at bay. They were each other’s home and it was now that Aneris knew without walls, there would be no reason for a roof. They needed each other. He could not die again. He would not be separated from his lover anymore. They would fight together or they would die together, if only to know one more lasting kiss that would resound into the hereafter, where their love refused to be forgotten.
Tears slid into their kiss, salty and clean against their tongues. Seth slipped his hands under Aneris’s cape, digging his blunt nails into the Mage’s shoulder blades in agreement with his mate’s love language. “You make me a weak man where I thought I was strong,” Seth uttered against his lips.
Aneris pushed onto his toes, hugging Seth’s neck. “And you make me strong where I was weak.”
“Then we are a perfect match.” Seth smiled against Aneris’s cheek. “I cannot lose you again. I am not man enough to go on without you. Forgive me for failing you, my mate. I should have—”
“Fail me?” Aneris loosened his arms to rest his hands over Seth’s shoulders. “Seth, you stood up against dark magic, a fucking Dragon the size of a mountain. How do you think you failed me?”
“We Shifters are to protect our mates, or sacrifice ourselves so that they shall live on. I allowed you to die.” Seth hissed, putting space between them.
“Seth, don’t go there. I’m alive. I’m here.” Aneris fished for Seth’s hand until he found it, yanking hard until Seth was back against him. “There’s nothing you didn’t do right. You didn’t fail me. You stood by my side until the end and that’s all I could ever ask for. You can’t protect me from death if it’s coming for me. Not even the Gamemaster can stop death if it’s my time to go. That doesn’t make you weak, Seth. That makes you strong, that you would fight for me with your last breath. What would make you weak is if you let what happened change all that you’ve done to make yourself stronger. Right now, I’m here, alive in front of you. Focus on that and maybe we’ll get through what’s coming our way.”
“War,” he snarled. “We’re going to war with the Black King. He has made the first move.”
“And we’ll take him on together. I’m a big boy, Seth, and I have a few tricks of my own to give me protection.” He wiped the stray tears under Seth’s eyes away. “But I still need my trusty knight at my side to give me the courage I need. I’m afraid that’s one thing magic can’t give me.”
“Courage, is that all you need from me?” His arms circled Aneris’s waist.
“I can think of other things, but now isn’t the time and this certainly isn’t the place. I do owe you one, though.” Aneris kissed the metal sculpted to Seth’s chest. “And I promise I’ll make it worth the wait if you can be patient.”
“I’ve waited a long time to have you, Aneris. I believe I can wait a little longer.” Seth kissed the top of his head. His body flinched when Fia began kicking against the weak timber of her stall. Her flames brightened with impatience. “I think you might want to pay our dearest Fia a visit. She worries as much as I do.”
Aneris chuckled and pulled on Seth’s hand. “Oh all right, Fia. I’m coming.”
Seth had filled Aneris in on the Dragon Shifter and his tragic tale while they waited for supper to arrive. The Shifter in question had yet to come into the stable. But his presence wasn’t exactly welcome at the moment. Their alone time was valuable and they soaked up as many minutes in each other’s company as they could. Aneris was shocked to learn they had found the White Lady’s true love, although it made sense, seeing as how his gut had told him Death Valley held a great reward. He smiled at the missing piece to his puzzle and was just about to formulate their next plan of action when a small boy of maybe eight or nine pushed open the stall gate.
Fia gave a warning huff to the child, but let it go when she saw the water and apples he put in front of her. Silently, looking at the ground, the dirty boy ladled soup out of a metal pot into two wooden bowls and bowed, before he exited. Aneris frowned at the handkerchief that fell from the boy’s pocket and went to alert him before he got too far, but stopped when the fabric fluttered over the hay floor.
Holding their stew, Aneris and Seth watched in amazement as the seemingly normal handkerchief wisped around in an unnatural dance before falling in Aneris’s lap. A tiny puff of smoke had Fia struggling to stand in her small confines. She made a squealing noise, and tried to nip at the offending smoke curling up her nose. When the smoke scattered, a tiny white dove was perched on Aneris’s knee, craning its neck at the wooden bowl of stew. The handkerchief was gone.
Seth smiled and bowed for the bird, confusing Aneris. Confusion turned to fear when the bird, in an insignificant voice said, “It is only polite to feed me after such a journey, and oh what a journey it has been, Master Aneris.”
To be continued…