Short Stories from the Elements – Light

Last but certainly not least,  It’s Light’s this week. Enjoy!

‘Our scouts confirm they are on the march. They are expected to attack at these points within the hour. We need to re-enforce those lines.’ Reaching across the table, the man pointed to a large map. The other generals around him nodded in agreement.

‘But we simply don’t have the man power right now to hold those,’ one spoke up, laying his large feathered hat on the table, ‘We need to move the Fire mages to here. Then funnel the Dark forces to hit this section.’ His finger darted across the map as quickly and assuredly as he spoke.

‘Good thinking Dane!’ another broke in, ‘If they were there, we can hit them with the Lightning squadron and take out a good portion of their forces.’

‘My Lords!’ a frantic messenger boy ran into the tent, bowing hastily before continuing, ‘It’s reported that the Dark are within sight. Captains are awaiting your command.’

‘Take this to them,’ Dane ordered, quickly jotting down the plan on a parchment, ‘Spread the word quickly. They must be in these positions for this to work.’

The messenger accepted the parchment and ran out again.

‘Well Lords, shall we join them.’ Gesturing outside, Dane reached down to collect his hat. Moving swiftly out of the tent, the men broke up, each of them mounted their steeds in turn and rode to re-join their section of the forces. Taking in a deep breath, Dane lingered for a moment. He had been fighting this war for years. It was always the same. The dark would push forward in the winter when the ice is at its thickest. They take from the mountains to the fields, right up to the river. Once it becomes summer and the ice melts, the light forces would re-take that area up the mountains. Then winter would come again and the cycle would repeat itself. This section of the front was in a perpetual stalemate. Neither force gaining any land against the other. A stupid and pointless tug of war that neither side was willing to abandon.

Tightening his grip on his hat, he leant forward, placing it on his head. He ran his finger around the brim and took a deep breath. It was time to start again. He raised his head and blinked. Twice. Stone surrounded him. An arena of a time lost past. It’s rocky walls left to rot and crumble. There were others, sitting to the side. They watched Dane with wary eyes, obviously expecting something and from the blood splattered across the ground, he knew what was coming.

Short Stories from the Elements – Fauna

Fauna has taken over the blog this week. Read more below.

Gripping the strap of his bag tighter, Lokum swung it over his shoulder with a sigh. It had been too long. He looked out over the sandy beach to the mass of wooden huts on the other side of the trees. The image stirred one word in him. Home. It had been fifteen years since he left these sandy shores. He was just a child thinking himself a man last time he set foot on this beach. With great ambition for grand adventures, he had set off on the first boat to the mainland. The Trinity Islands were just too small compared to the world.

Now he had returned. Lokum glanced up at his companion. He had meet Zygmog a few days after he had landed at Port Taroona. A skilled hunter and fierce friend, Lokum was glad for his company over the years. Had it not been for Zygmog, he may well have died a few times. They had developed a close bond. Sure, Zygmog was sometimes loud and quite smelly and he always insisted on the best food but Lokum had learnt to compromise. A skill he didn’t developed till long after he abandoned these sandy shores. When you have a companion so big, it was either compromise or get bruised. Returning his gaze to the huts slowly coming into view, he frowned slightly. The tribes of the Trinity Islands were a sheltered people. They may not have seen one such as Zygmog before.

‘Now remember,’ Lokum spoke up, breaking the silence that had gathered between them. ‘Be nice. And patient. They may be a bit nervous of you to start with but I’m sure with time they will accept you.’ Zygmog simply rolled his eyes with a sigh. He was used to people reactions of him. He had stopped caring long ago. Most people judge by appearance and his was truly fearsome. Lokum was one of the few who had actually given him a chance.

‘You’ll like it here,’ Lokum smiled as his mind wandered back, ‘The fishing in the river is amazing. You’ve never seen such fish. It takes two men to bring them in but they are worth it. The meat is always so tender.’ Grinning, he reached out to his companion and gripped his shoulder gently. His fingers disappeared into the dense fur.

‘I think it would be best if you stayed out here to start with while I go in and tell them about you. They may react badly because of your… um’ Lokum struggled the find the right words, ‘well… because you’re a Dryphis bear and that’s a little scary.’ Zygmog paused to regard his friend down the length of his long snout. Gripping his shoulder once more, Lokum set out through the trees. Finally home again. So many things he never suspected he would miss flashed through his mind.

An errant gust of wind hit the loose sand, blowing it up and into Lokum’s eyes. That he didn’t miss as much. Cursing under his breath, he quickly wiped them clear. Glancing around, he noticed Zygmog was by his side. However his village had disappeared and in its place stood broken stone and jungle. Taking the wind in deeply, he smelt sweat and blood. A fight. The tang of the blood suggested humans. Turning, he had already identified the people at this back and moved into his stance.

Short Stories from the Elements – Lightning

Our instalment this week is Lightning. Enjoy!

The light from the moon was very bright tonight. He would have to factor that in. He slowly crawled forward, his form barely visible as he gazed down at the scene below. The night was silent, the only noise came from the river running along side the courtyard. Such a peaceful scene could easily make one feel safe. Lance knew better. A door opened below. Six figures slipped out, extremely concious on their surroundings.

‘Did ya get it?’ One hissed, ‘Did ya get da gold?’

‘Quiet!’ Another growled back, ‘I got it. Don’t cho worry your sweet ‘ead ’bout it.’

‘Come on. Let’s get back.’

Slowly standing on the roof top, Lance drew a deep breath between his teeth. For every one honest person in this realm, there were two scum bags. But he really shouldn’t complain. These people were the reason he got paid. If they didn’t exist, he would be out of a job. A small frown creased his lips as he raised his gaze upwards. Very few clouds meant he would have to do most of the work himself. Closing his eyes, he released his breath, feeling his power growing around him. He kept his breathing low. A dark smile cover his face as his buzzing hands told him he had enough energy built up. He would have to use it wisely.

Taking a few steps back, Lance dashed forward. Hitting the edge of the roof, he launched himself up into the sky. He raised his hands above his head, feeling the crackling building between them. He felt the heavens react, sending a bolt of lightning across the night sky. It hit his arms, spreading over his entire body. Falling back to the ground, he struck two of the thugs on the back with his legs, transferring the bolt through them. Unable to cry out, the two men dropped like stones. They would not be getting back up this battle. Turning on his heel, Lance moved his attention to the other four. They stood shocked for a moment, unable to comprehend their comrades had been felled with a single hit.

‘What ya waitin’ for!?’ the leader yelled, gripping a bag and backing up quickly, ‘Kill ‘im!’

Pulling a rough sword from his waist, a thief clutched it with white knuckles. He charged Lance, chopping around and screaming at the top of his lungs. Lance simply sighed heavily. Great. Amateurs. Ducking under the wild flailing of the blade, Lance twisted, kicking his leg out and into the stomach of the man attacking him. The sword dropped to the pavement with a clatter as it’s wielder quickly followed. His eyes searched for the leader who was trying to escape down an alleyway as fast as he could. The other two were behind him, moving closer. The closest thief took in a long, deep breath. Gritting his teeth, Lance knew that wasn’t a good sign. Spinning around, he leapt towards a wooden box on the side of the courtyard. Just in time as he felt the flames heat his back. Fire elemental. Powerful but takes a while to charge fierce power. Very similar to him. Luckily he still had some charge left. As soon as the flames receded, Lance vaulted the crate. Lashing out, he sent two electric blue bolts flying down the courtyard. The fire man dodged the first one as Lance knew he would. The second hit the ground near his foot. Travelling along the trickling of water in between the tiles, it hit his leather boots funnelling the voltage straight into him. With a gasp, he soon joined the others on the ground.

Lance was feeling quite good about himself at this point. Only two left. He turned to face the last man standing near the river however the torrent of water about to hit him blocked out everything else. Damn. Water Mage. He wasn’t going to be able to block or dodge the stream rushing towards him. In these situations, he fell back onto his mantra. If you’re going down, take as many as you can with you. Summoning all his remaining energy, he thrust his arms into the torrent and unleashed his spark. Even as the water blew him off his feet, he knew his electricity would travel fast down the line and shock the caster. Hitting the stone ground, the water threw him back. The force eased quickly. He did get the Water Mage. Gasping, he slowed climbed to his feet. He was utterly soaked. Running his hands through his wet hair, he paused a moment. Had he been hit harder than he thought? He quickly checked himself. No head injuries and he was still dripping which meant he hadn’t been knocked out at all. So how did he come to be in this stone arena.

Short Stories from the Elements – Metal

Hi Guys, get ready for Metal!

Sparks flew as the hammer met the metal. Narrowing his eyes against the bright spray, he struck it again. The noise echoed around the great space. Pausing from his work, Baras straightened, slinging the great hammer over his shoulder. His eyes took in his apprentices below, toiling at their own forges. It was tradition to have three and as head of the Triforge, it was fitting he had the three best blacksmiths from the land. Having said that, as the years passed, he noticed that his apprentices were getting sloppier and sloppier. This last batch was almost painful. They believe that just because metal was their element, they could be fantastic at shaping it. Baras knew it took more than magic. And he was in the midst of teaching them this. He spotted one of them start to make their way up to his forge from below. Built into the lava flow, it was the hottest forge in the realm. Only Baras had the honour to forge from it.

‘My lord,’ his apprentice panted, bowing as he approached him. Baras acknowledged him and gestured him closer. Moving up, he held out the fruits of his hard labour over the last week. A glimmering sword. Accepting the hilt, Baras held it up, inspecting it thoroughly. Gold filigree twisted around the hilt, joining the blade above the guard. The blade, long and tapered, had black sheen and silver ruins etched down its length. It was beautiful but…

‘This is worse than the glaive blade you showed me last week. There are two faults in the hilt and three along the tang. This is simply not good enough. Should this blade suffer a blow in battle, it would splinter, break and its wielder would die.’

‘But,’ his apprentice protested weakly, ‘It’s just so… hard. I’m a high metal elemental and you’re not allowing us to use our magic.’

‘Forging is done with muscles, not magic.’ Baras barked back, ‘When you can show me you’re competent without your magic, then you can start to use it. It’s fundamentals. You must get your basics right before you advance. We are in a war. All the armour and weapons produced by the Triforge is used to outfit our finest and bravest warriors. If we show any weakness, any faults, we will lose and that simply cannot happen.’

‘I’m sorry, Lord Baras,’ his apprentice bowed deeply, ‘I will try harder.’ Turning, he scurried away back down to his forge and his team.

Baras watched him go, still gripping the ornate blade in his hand. It was beautiful but what use is a painted mule in a war. He moved back to his own anvil and threw the blade into the red hot lava spewing around his forge. It hissed and bubbled. The metal slowly melted and returned to the earth. As the lava heaved and spat, Baras was enwrapped in a blaze of boiling air. Taking a deep breath in, he covered his face, turning from the glow. A suddenly cool breeze froze the sweat covering his body. Strange. Standing straight, he surveyed his surroundings with a quiet unease. He preferred his forge to this ruined arena. He hated the cold.

Short Stories from the Elements – Poison

Greetings again. This week we will be meeting Poison. Enjoy!

 

Turning her face to the sun, Kahsan smiled. It was such a beautiful day. A light prayer on her lips thanked the Gods that most of her duties were outdoors. She had already been working very hard today and was feeing utterly exhausted. She was just walking home now. Work had started unusually early today. She was happy to be finished. Turning into a side street, Kahsan tucked her hands into her flowing sleeves. The city was bustling this time of year. The harvest was coming in, traders arrived in droves to sell and buy wares. With so many people, it was easy to get lost in the crowd. But Kahsan had grown up in this city. She was used to the crowds and knew many short cuts through the back streets. Laughter in front of her brought her gaze up. Ahead in the alley were four men. Wearing nice, neat clothes, these men were obviously nobles visiting the city for the festival. Residents could not afford such lavish attires. Glancing up at them as she inched past, one smiled down at her. Dropping her gaze again, she continued down the alley.

Suddenly she held her hand to head, swaying wildly. She stumbled to the side, clutching at the stone wall and trying not to fall.

‘Hey, are you alright?’ She felt a strong hand steady her shoulder. The men had noticed and turned back to help her.

‘I’m okay,’ She murmured, her voice faint, ‘Just dizzy. I guess I worked a little too hard today.’ Gripping his forearms in her hands, she raised her gaze to his piercing, light green eyes.

‘Where do you work?’

‘In the farm just outside the walls. I collect eggs and help out where needed.’ His eyes were unnerving her. She pushed herself away from him, falling gently against his friend behind her.

‘Do you need a healer?’ he asked, holding her steady.

‘No, I’m…I’m fine.’ She tried to explain, ‘I’ve always been very delicate. I must have spent too long in the sun. But I’ll alright now and I’m almost home.’

‘Do you live alone or do you have someone with you?’ Another one of the men spoke up.

‘Yes,’ the first agreed, ‘you don’t want to be alone right now in case you collapse again.’

‘I live with my sisters.’ Bowing slightly, she started to move away, ‘If you will excuse me, my lords, I simply have to get home.’

‘As long as you’re sure you’ll be okay.’ Bowing in response, the men turned and started back along the alley.

Pulling her hood up over her face, Kahsan slipped her hands back into her sleeves. She walked swiftly down the alley and around the corner. Breathing a deep sigh of relief, she drew four change purses from her sleeves. Ignorant nobles. Stealing from them wasn’t even a challenge. Tucking the purses into her deep pockets, she drew her hood close and glanced back around the corner. The alleyway was empty. The men had continued on their way none the wiser that they were significantly poorer. Chuckling to herself, she brought her head back around. A slight breath escaped her lips as she raised an eyebrow in confusion. A strong wind hit her, blowing her hood off her head. She made no effort to stop it as she stared at the stones around her, utterly bewildered. Why was she suddenly in a bloodied arena surrounded by ruins?