Friday, October 25, 2013

Flash Fiction Friday! The Great Mage: Week 14

A little GoT humor for ya.  Graphic Art by: Sean Kearney


Hey everyone! 

Guess what happened this week? It snowed!  While some might be ecstatic to watch the first snow come down in little flakes, and race to get a cup of hot chocolate so they can perch behind their front window and ooh and ahh as the fireplace crackles in the background, I do not share in their Norman Rockwell moment of bliss.  My first thought upon seeing the first snow is something close to “Oh shit”.  And that is followed by a not-so-subtle, verbal, “Oh fuck no.”

I have lived in Michigan for a long time and repeatedly endured the lake front winters, that said, I am never prepared for the season.  One day the temperature is 65 and the sun is shining.  The trees are turning these gorgeous colors.  And then bam, guess what biatch?  It’s cold.  It’s snowing.  People are driving like assholes, especially the awesome fellas in Carhartt jackets; those manly man men with Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes peeing obscenely on the back of their truck window surrounded by their “I hunt all moving things” paraphernalia.  Cute.  Real cute when they're obscuring my visibility with their snowy backlash caused by their manly speed with their impenetrable truck forged from the hellfire of Middle Earth.  Or Chevy.

And then I’m buried under these “seasonal shift change” lists of to-dos.  Find snow brush to unbury my truck every morning.  Don’t forget to leave your wipers up so they don’t freeze to the windshield.  Avoid slamming back door too hard so snow from the roof doesn’t fall on your head, melt, and leave you screaming for mercy.  Dig out boxes of boots, sweaters, and other things needed to cover every inch of skin so that I can step out of my house without getting blasted with icy wind daggers.  Buy salt for the sidewalk.  Call snow plow guy and get that shit contracted.  Because I am not up for shoveling my satanically long driveway every time I need to leave my house.

Load up the iPod with soothing playlists for those drives of 25 mph on a 70 mph highway, because 2 hours of commuting at a speed that not even coffee could keep me from going insane requires relaxing tunes.  Then there’s the task of changing over all the bedding to more winter friendly sheets and thick down comforters.  Ever tried washing a down comforter that is three times as big as your washing machine?  Me either.  The Chinese lady at Lemon Fresh Cleaners charges me 80 bucks.  Somewhere in this world that kind of upcharge is illegal.  I will live vicariously through those imaginary people in that imaginary country who can launder their down comforters at a reasonable price.  But it’s warm and oh so cozy—too warm to leave in the back of my storage closet of Narnia where Christmas lights and “those jeans you’ll again fit into” go to die.

And that, boys and girls, is only the tip of the iceberg.  Maybe one day when I’m really good and pissed at winter I’ll share how I make it through the bad days of those six months of Eskimo life.  Hint:  Apple Pie.  And I’m not talking about Granny’s homemade crust filled with floured Honeycrisp slices either.  More on that later… ;)  Your inner backwoods yahoo will thank me.

While I sit and brood over the fact that winter has arrived, here is the prompt for this week’s FFF:

1.     Law and Order – Pick one of the five listed laws and apply it to a key scene in your chapter/story:

·        The penalty for a member of a lower class abusing a slave girl is a few years' imprisonment.

·        The penalty for a juvenile engaging in piracy is a flogging.

·        The penalty for a foreigner stealing corpses is a warning.

·        The penalty for offending a member of a certain bloodline is a considerable term of servitude.

·        The penalty for smuggling herbs is whipping.

I chose:  The penalty for offending a member of a certain bloodline is a considerable term of servitude.

Please note that Winter won’t be posting this week, so check back with her blog next Friday.  That’s all for now on my end.  Please visit our other talented bloggers and see what they chose to use from this week’s prompt.  Stay warm.  Have a drink for me.  Love you all.  *Hugs*




The Great Mage: Week 14


The Trolls were a breath of nature, beings created from the very essence of all things living and the earth that sustained mankind and creature alike.  Nothing like what Aneris had conjured in his mind of what a Troll was supposed to be, these creatures were massive yet docile and pretty in their own right.  Just as one would look at a tree with red leaves in the fall, and stop to think of how beautiful it was when every other season of the year they could have cared less, the Trolls embodied the joy of that special time and wore it on their skin with pride.

Even in the dark, barely displayed under the Fae lantern light, Aneris saw their clear blue eyes and felt their power.  He didn’t need the sun to gain perspective of their bodily significance.  He only needed to stare into their eyes long enough to feel the trees whisper around them, the water trickle through their veins like a tinkling melody, and the connection they had with every  living thing around them.  They had no need to be governed by kings and queens, or petty magical politics; the Trolls obeyed a higher power, and to them, the Earth was their beloved deity.

“Killian,” a Troll murmured, although his baritone voice was hardly quiet in the hushed forest.

In recognition, the mysterious Shifter went to one knee and bowed his head in respect.  “Powl, forgive my hasty summoning.  I meant no disrespect speaking your tongue or by offering modest offerings to your cherished god.”

The Troll known as Powl blinked, his eyes were large and wet, vividly blue like a slice glass taken from a romantic cathedral window.  Aneris couldn’t look away.  He wanted to reach out and take Powl’s hand to know the secrets of the water that filled the ocean and the lakes, the little creeks and streams and puddles he stepped in after it rained.  He wanted to know what the blades of tall grass said to each other when they rustled in the wind, and how the rich, dark soil under the leaves at his feet smelled so fragrant and familiar.

Powl smiled without looking at Aneris, but the Mage felt the humor directed at him.  Powl regarded the Shifter’s kneeling form and put a hand to his dark hair.  “Your actions and words speak as if I am a king.  If I were your ruler, and I took offense to this unexpected summoning, you would serve me for the rest of my days as punishment.”  Powl sighed.  “But I am neither king nor ruler.  I am a servant and a peace keeper, a guardian of the earth.  And you have served unwillingly for far too long to be indentured to any creature’s will again.”

Killian, the dark Shifter, looked up as if wounded.  His mouth opened in rebuttal, only to close when Powl carved a massive hand through Killian’s long hair.  “The lake has mourned the water for a very long time, old friend.  They have both kept watch for the day they could be reunited and you could serve the water once more, and the temple you gave up your humanity to protect.  Do not be upset, Killian.  We know all.”

The trolls grumbled in agreement.  No one in Aneris’s party made a peep, too riveted with Killian and the Trolls to utter a single sound.  Leaves rustled above, birds shifting closer to the meeting on tangled branches.  Fae lanterns hovered, bobbing gently midair.  Killian put his other knee to the ground and his hands covered his face.

“Nothing to be ashamed of, old friend—you have played your part.  You have served your elders and our mother well. Because of your will to live, you are now free to do the things you have had time to contemplate and dream of.  In return we will honor your request, as this summoning was meant to aid you on your journey, yes?”  Powl searched his brothers’ eyes to seek approval.  The Trolls surrounding Aneris and his fellow warriors nodded.  “Rise and tell us what you need.”

On shaky legs, Killian stood, yet still he hid his face beneath a curtain of dark hair.  “It is not for me directly.  And I need for you to understand I mean not to bring you to battle once we step—”

“Tsk.”  Powl hunched over, brushing Killian’s hair out of his eyes.  “A battle for the earth on which you stand is not born of peace.  Nevertheless, the earth is in peril.  As you said not minutes before, if the White King perishes so does the magic that feeds the lands and wills our hearts to beat.  Even if the Black King succeeds, what are we to do without our mother and our lands, Killian?  What are we, beings who nourish and listen to this home the earth has created, to do without a purpose and a lifespan that exceeds the stars and the moon?  It is not a life I would wish on my worst enemy.  The loneliness.  The longing.”

“What are you saying?”  Aneris blurted, and then gasped, backing up in the warmth of Fia’s fiery tail.

“I’m saying, Great Mage, that this is a battle we wish to be a part of, in our way, of course.  While we might not directly step into the fire, we can surely command the fire, so to speak.”  Powl’s innocent eyes narrowed, and for once Aneris saw the Troll of his Othersider imagination.  “You play a great part in this journey as well, Mage.  Your name has been whispered in the air for some time now.  And even our mother, though she may never admit it out loud, seeks your victory.”  Powl bowed his head and winked.

The White Lady, Aneris thought with a smirk.  Aneris looked down at the moon embedded in the stone on his sash.  It was a little brighter, a bit larger than before.  He gulped and looked up at Powl.  “So you’ll join us?”

The Trolls smiled.  One by one moving back into the trees. Only Powl remained within visual, and the heavy thud of large feet traveling along the overgrown path in the forest answered where the others had gone to.  Powl extended his arms to Aneris.  The Mage frowned in confusion.  But Killian was quick to remedy his misunderstanding.  “There is no greater rest than with the earth,” he said.  “And you, our leader, need all the rest you can get before the time comes for the unexpected.”

Aneris looked up at Seth.  The Red Knight sighed and smiled.  “He’s right.  You know he’s right.”

“I’ve slept enough, don’t you think?  I mean, I was dea—”

Seth pointed an angry finger at Aneris.  “Don’t you dare finish that sentence.  A Mage is only as good as his preparation.  There are no written spells or potions for you here.  Your body is your weapon, and your “weapons” are an extension of your body.  What will you do if you reach the castle completely drained from this journey, fighting your way through brush and mud in the dark with sore feet and tired muscles?  What good will you be to these people, to this land, or to your king?”

Aneris made to spit out a remark, but stopped.  He was tired.  His back hurt from all the twisting and turning.  His feet were sore from all the walking over uneven ground, up inclines, and down craggy rocks in the dark.  The more he searched for his abundance of magic, the harder it was to find that golden spark dwelling deep within his belly.  With a sigh Aneris surrendered whatever argument he sought to give and stepped into Powl’s embrace.

He was a bit humiliated at the thought of being carried like a child in front of herd of warriors, seeing Fia as a more graceful way of resting up, and Seth’s back as more familiar place to rest his head.  But as soon as he was lifted off the ground, cradled in Powl’s muscular yet soft arms, Aneris understood.  He smelled the salty cling of ocean spray in the air, although the ocean must have been thousands of miles, if not dimensions away from this realm.  He laid his cheek on Powl’s chest where the Troll’s skin was silky, the feel of rubbing his thumb along a rose petal and the scent just as sweet.  His body molded to Powl’s arms the same way a grassy plot on a summer’s day was the perfect place to lay around so he could watch the clouds roll by in the afternoon sun.

Powl was the embodiment of peace, of tranquility; a premier spot to be to meditate one’s mind and forget about their surroundings for a moment.  The Troll’s soul connected him to the earth, and established a lifeline of energy so that Aneris could fill his cup with dreams, and purge the very ferocity of his future battle with Sylvius.  A war to stake claim on the Silver Realm and send the lesser Mage to his death.

All of his flakey what-to-dos and how-to-do-thems were chased away in the basket of Powl’s arms.  Aneris’s head lolled to the side so he could catch one glimpse of his beautiful Red Knight before a heavy pull stole his vision and captured his mind so he could whisked away to the Land of Nod.

To be continued…


  1. I love this story-- but I wanted to comment on your 'I despise winter' rant. Your descriptions were spot-on... and I couldn't agree with some of them more! But, also being a long-time Michigander, I am in that small percentage where I actually look forward to the snow! We had about 1-2 inches each of the last 3 mornings... as well as it snowing fairly large flakes off and on all throughout the day.I will agree that people drive like assholes, and a commute that should've taken me 45-50 minutes took me an hour and a half. I hate the snow-blowing and shoveling, last year the end of our driveway had snow and ice build up so high you couldn't see over it... and it looked like a layered cake. But in the end, I prefer the sweaters and jeans and hoodies and hot chocolate and pot roast and snowmobiling......... I think you get the point! Lol! And those good things seem to make up for the crappy parts!! At least that's how it feels after I've gotten my Starbucks and am snuggled in my nice warm car watching the flakes fall down around me :) That is until that asshat in the 4-wheel drive monstrosity who thinks he owns the road decides to cut you off because everyone knows that having 4-wheel drive means you don't actually have to watch what you're doing or where you're going *lays on the heavy sarcasm and rolls eyes*. Then you wish for spring...... or maybe that you could get out of the car and punch that dickwad in the throat. Both are perfectly acceptable! Wink wink ;)


  2. Snow and winter is why I live in the south :) We may get so hot it makes the asphalt sludgey, but by George, if it ever snows, we SHUT DOWN and wait that shit out. We don't even HAVE snow plows here. We put folks on the backs of pickups with shovels and sand! lol Yup, I much prefer mild to warm, though I could do without the blistering heat about as much as you can do without snow, it seems.

    The story is lovely as always. I like seeing more about the black dragon/Killian. I can't wait for next week :D

  3. Haha! Loved your intro, I can only imagine snow and cold like that! I'm in Ireland at the moment, and here on the west coast we never get that much snow, just wetness all the time.. We're not called the Green Isle for nothing!

    Loved this week's entry, the descriptions of that magic with the earth were beautiful... Look forward to next week!

    - Faolin

  4. I never thought about trolls noticing landscape. Well done.
    I'm with you on the winter madness, Michigan has it worse than we do in Chicago. At least the Midwest has great food to lay down that protective layer of blubber. Keeps me warm!

  5. I was born and raised in Michigan and still don't get used to the Lake Effect. What's with that? We haven't gotten any real flakes yet being at the bottom of the hand. But we had a rather sarcastic weather demon. "It's not cold enough for snow so let's make it rain... But now I think it should be cold so let's freeze the rain to everything so people fall on their backsides. Mwahaha!!

  6. I too laughed at your winter rant! Been there, done that and that's why I live in Phoenix! The summers suck - Elaina described it perfetly :) - but the winters more than make up for it. Loved your take on the trolls, I've never seen them portrayed as benevolent before and I really liked that. Your description of Powl as he lifted Aneris in his arms, *sigh* I need me a Powl. Looking forward to next week!!

  7. I grew up in NJ so I guess I don't get the hate of a true northern winter. I think I was meant to be born as an ice fairy though because I love the snow and the cold and taking back roads to avoid the highway craziness even though its take double the time. I live in Florida so I can say that with complete honesty and knowledge of living on the other side. So even though you hate it enjoy it a little for those of us that are cold lovers but some how find ourselves in the hottest part of hell located in the states lol

  8. OH MY FREAKING GOD!!! I loved your intro! I couldn't stop laughing! People keep looking at me weird while I'm trying to snigger quietly while stuck in class. Yet, my shoulders are shaking up and down from barely, and I mean barely, suppressed laughter! I feel ya girl. I'm right there with you on the misery of winter. Though don't be making fun of the Carhart jackets! They are soooo warm! I LOVE my pink Carhart jacket that keeps me all warm in the middle of winter.

    While thankfully I don't live that far north where its already snowing, there was still that day last week where there was slight flurries. My response to the flurries. "No. No you are not snowing! No!!!!!! Come Back SUMMER I miss you already!!!"

    Another crazy thing that happened last week during the snow flurries and below 50 degree weather. I am walking around campus and I see people in T-shirts. I'm like, WTF is wrong with you people! I mean seriously. I've pulled out all my heavy duty winter clothes and your in a fucking T-shirt! No way. Then later that same day I see a person in SHORTS AND A T-SHIRT!!!! Which is crazy and I have no idea what is wrong with that person, at all! By this time I'm freezing from looking at all these crazy people wearing summer clothes. Yeah I want summer back too but I'm not insane!! :) lol

    Night, I can always count on you to make my day with your witty view on real life. Today started out crappy but after reading that intro, today is going to be so much better. Thank you for making me smile and improve my outlook on today! You are amazing!