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A-Z Name Prompts – V

Hi, friends!

It’s occurred to me that I’ve been rather terrible at posting these little prompts. My apologies :/ To be honest, I completely forgot to do the poll for this one two weeks ago, and then I almost forgot to do the poll again last week. There’s been so much going on recently that writing short prompts just hasn’t been a priority.

But I’m here now, so let’s get on with it! 🙂

Here are the results from the last (and very late) poll:

I blame the low numbers on me not doing it sooner -.-

As always, if you want to use the prompt go ahead! If you publish it please let me know so I can be nosy ^-^

***

Verrill

(m.; loyal)

Loyalty was everything. Loyalty was the only honour that mattered. Verrill had grown up believing it, and he’d sat by his Da’s death bed swearing it.

But loyalty was difficult when your king told you to slaughter a village of women and children.

“Your orders, captain?”

His men stood behind him, awaiting orders. Thirty women and five children knelt before him, heads lowered in fear and whimpering, awaiting his judgement.

He had come so far. Just one more step.

He wasn’t sure he wanted to take it.

“Captain?”

His men had never seen him falter. He’d been raised to the rank of captain because he acted quickly and always–always–for the benefit of his king.

He had been against the creation of these villages in the first place. They were breeding grounds, a means for his king to control the population, and they were wrong. He hadn’t voiced his concerns. It wasn’t his place. His king would have Verrill hunted and executed if he sensed any sign of disobedience.

But to kill 25 innocent people because they hadn’t birthed enough children?

Every good man had his limits.

“Captain? Orders?”

Verrill stood straight. “These people are traitors to our glorious king. I will kill them myself.” He swallowed. He’d never been a good liar, and his men knew him too well. “Go watch the camp. I will return when I’m done.”

“Captain?”

“Go back, and leave me to it. Now.”

He didn’t miss the glances his men shared, but they did as they were told. Loyalty was the only honour that mattered, after all.

He waited until his men were out of earshot, and sheathed his sword.

“Leave this place. Never come back here.”

The women didn’t get up. Bloody Mercy, they were too scared to even try to run for their lives.

He sighed. Dropped his sword as a sign of goodwill.

Finally, they looked up.

“Get out of here. Now. If you leave the country, the king can’t touch you.”

They stumbled to their feet, and, still whimpering, ran with their children in their arms.

Verrill knew he’d done the right thing. If it saved lives, it had to be right.

He just hoped none of his men would question the lack of blood on the soil.


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A-Z Name Prompts – U

Since Wardens of Archos is out TODAY (what?!? show me!), this writing prompt will be trilogy themed 😉 Or it’s trilogy world themed, anyway. Which isn’t to say that there’ll definitely be more books set in this world in the future 😉 *wink wink* Totally not saying that. At all. *ahem*

This week’s prompt, chosen by you, is:

As always, if the prompt speaks to you feel free to use it 🙂 If you do, please link back here so I can be nosy ^-^

***

Ulric

(m.; power of the wolf)

A quiet forest just outside Maishi Hou in Midoka wasn’t the most logical place for a Tramuran to move to, Ulric had known that. The magic was everywhere here, sizzling in the air and glowing through the leafs. And no one tried to stop it. It made him nervous. It made him uneasy.

But it was beautiful and it was wild, unlikely Tramura.

This untamed magic hadn’t tried to harm him yet, whereas his daughter was dead because of Tramuran bandits. All his life he’d been taught that magic was evil, but it was swords that had killed her, not spells.

He felt a weak tug on the bait and reeled in his catch. The lake outside his little cabin held few fish and nothing exotic – not by Midokan standards, anyway – but it gave him everything he needed. Fresh water, fresh fish, and the serene calm Tramura had lacked.

It gave him peace.

At night, sei came out to dance on the water; beautiful, glowing lights unlike anything he’d ever seen. He’d hid and slept high up in a tree during his first night, they had spooked him so much. When he’d woken in the morning, one night-wisp was resting on his arm. It had scared him awake and he’d almost fallen out of the tree, but the sei hadn’t jumped or laughed or run away.

That’s when he had realised that there was nothing to fear here. Magic was as dangerous as the swords the mercenaries back home carried – deadly in the wrong hands, but harmless if left to itself.

“What have you got for me today?”

He could hear the warm smile on her voice. He had never imagined he’d sell fish and herbs to a mist woman one day. Back in Tramura, he’d have been burnt alive for helping a sorceress.

“Nothing much, I’m afraid. They’re not biting as much today, but I’ve got you the leafs you wanted They’re inside on the table, help yourself.”

He got up and turned around, meeting her dark eyes. Anei Rin reminded him of his daughter; maybe that’s why he didn’t mind what she was. Or maybe he just finally knew better.

He followed her as she entered his small cabin, and left the meager catch to dry outside.

“How are your studies going?”

She didn’t turn around. It was a sore subject, but he felt rude not asking. He had a feeling not many people did.

“They’re not. How much do you want for these?”

“You can have them,” he said. “They’re worth more to you Mist Sorcerers than they are to me.”

“Mist Women, Ulric, not sorcerers. It’s not the same. And I’m neither, anyhow.”

“You study in Maishi Hou. I don’t know any others, true, so I can’t compare, but you’re a Mist Woman to me.”

Anei Rin examined the herbs and smiled, but it was false. The sparkle had left her eyes.

“Don’t let them hear you say it. I’m a failed experiment to them.”

He cringed at the deep loathing in her voice. “That’s not–”

“How much? I refuse to take them for free.”

He sighed. Anei Rin was too stubborn to back down, he knew that. Just like his daughter.

“Just the usual price. Two quarters will do.”

She nodded, and pulled the leather pouch from her belt. The movement exposed her shoulder, and revealed the black vine-shaped tattoos underneath. Anei Rin hated them, said they were useless, even blamed them for her inability to use magic, but he knew better. He felt something every time he saw them.

Her tattoos were magic, and they were dangerous. His inexperience with the gift made it more obvious to him, perhaps – he didn’t see her as something to study, he just saw what was and felt what his gut was telling him.

Rin wasn’t his daughter, but he’d protect her all the same.


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A-Z Name Prompts – T

Happy Mond- Happy OCTOBER, friends! I don’t know about you, but I’m glad September is over :’D It was my busiest month this year – which is why I didn’t get this prompt out two weeks ago, and it’s still only short :/ (read: extremely short) (Honestly, I feel like I’ve written a blurb rather than a short story) (Which is impressive since I hate writing blurbs) I spent most of last week formatting Wardens of Archos, so that’s where my time went 🙂

Here’s the prompt you voted for:

As always, if the prompt speaks to you feel free to use it. If you do, please link back here so I can be nosy 😉

***

Tertia

(f.; third)

I am Tertia.

Third of my name.

Third daughter to my father, the third king to a doomed world.

Third star in alignment.

Third army ready to march. Third and final enemy ready to fall.

I am Tertia, third of my name. Saviour of Stars.

I will either save this world, or it will die with me.


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A-Z Name Prompts – S

Happy Monday, friends!

It’s a busy start to the week for me, so today’s intro is going to be even shorter than usual. Let’s hop right to it:

Today’s winner is:

As always, if the prompt speaks to you, feel free to use it. If you do, please link back here so I can be nosy 😉

***

Sybil

(f.; Oracle)

“Are you sure she can help me?”

“Yeah, definitely! What’s up?” Vince punched him in the shoulder. “Don’t you trust me?”

Dan smiled but knew he couldn’t hide his nerves. He didn’t believe in people who read your fortune or saw your future in tea leaves or things like that. Of course, anything worked on Vince, but Vince was superstitious as hell.

It wasn’t that he was starting to have cold feet. You couldn’t really change your mind when you’d never believed something would work in the first place, unless you were proven wrong. So why was he nervous? He’d been indifferent this morning, but actually arriving on the oracle’s front lawn and staring at her violet door had changed something.

“Come on,” said Vince. “The sooner you go in the sooner you’ll know if any pretty girls are coming your way!”

Dan sighed, but waited behind Vince while his friend knocked. He wasn’t even sure how he’d phrase his question.

“Why bother knocking? Doesn’t she just know we’re here or something?”

“She sees the future, mate. She’s not a CCTV camera.”

“Fair enough.”

A middle-aged woman answered the door. Dan had expected someone in a long flowing dress and oversized earrings, maybe with a flashy choker and bright hair, but Sybil looked normal. Just jeans, a t-shirt, and brown hair tied back in a short pony tail.

“Good to see you again, Vince. And you must be Dan?”

He shook her hand. “I am. Nice to meet you. Can I call you Sybil, or…?” Vince hadn’t mentioned a surname.

She laughed. “Oh no, I’m not Sybil! Please, if you follow me, my daughter is waiting for you in the conservatory.”

The house looked normal, too, but then he wasn’t sure what he’d expected. A bright red trailer in an overgrown garden, maybe? Not family photos on the walls, or potted daisies on the tables.

Dan had to admit to being disappointed. Vince had oversold it.

“Go on in. I’ll get you boys a cup of tea.”

Before Dan could object–he preferred a strong, dark coffee–she was gone, and Vince ushered him inside.

A little girl no older than seven sat at the centre of the bright glass ceiling conservatory. The floor and walls were white, and under the sunshine she almost looked angelic with her light blonde hair, pale skin, and tiny frame.

The table was empty. No tarot cards, or anything mystic.

“Erm…”

“Please,” said Sybil, “take a seat.”

Her voice was childish, but her tone was more mature than any he’d ever heard. Vince gave him a nudge, and Dan sat in the chair opposite her.

“Now what? Do I tell you my life story, or do you tell me?”

She smiled, warm as the sunshine filling the conservatory.

“Relax, and let me in.”

“I have no idea what you mean. Let you in h-”

The room disappeared, and everything was bright. No glass roof, no white painted walls, no singing of birds outside. There was nothing around him, even his own body had vanished. He couldn’t see her, but he knew she was there, searching, prodding, tugging until–

You are not like other humans, are you? You know you’re not, but you don’t understand it. That’s why you didn’t know how to ask your question. You don’t know who you are. Go to the forest ten miles south of here. Find the pond at its centre. Don’t tell your friend. Come alone. It’ll be our little secret.

The conservatory was back, and Dan sagged into the back of the chair.

“Exciting times are ahead. Embrace chance when it presents itself.”

“What the–” The hell had happened?

Vince clapped Dan on the back and grinned. “See, I told you she was good! Exciting times, mate! I told you, you meet a girl!”

So Vince didn’t know. Sybil smiled at him and gave him the smallest nod.

“Thank you. I, erm, I guess we go now?”

“Yeah, come on. We got to find this girl you’re going to meet!”

Dan hadn’t even known there was a pond, but he knew the forest. Should he go? He didn’t understand what happened, but his whole life had been like that. If there were answers in the forest… But what if there weren’t? What if she was a con?

He sighed as they stepped outside, and Vince chatted away about going to town and meeting the girl of his dreams. If Sybil was a con, there was no harm in looking. Vince had paid for this, and then it had only cost him a tenner. If she was a con, she wasn’t exactly an expensive one.

Dan had nothing to lose, and answers to gain.

“Listen, mate, thanks for this, but I think I’ll pass on going into town. I’ll see you tomorrow, yeah?”

“What? But it’s–”

Dan slammed the car door shut, and drove. Vince didn’t live far away, he could walk back.

The forest wasn’t far, and it was still early. He could reach the pond by lunch time, and see for himself whether there were any answers to be found or not.


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A-Z Name Prompts – R

It’s time for another writing prompt, my dears! 🙂 I had fun with this one, which is why it’s a little longer than my usual prompts. Don’t worry if you’re short on time, though, it’s still pretty short 🙂

This week’s winner is:

 

As always, if you fancy giving it a go feel free to use this prompt. That’s what it’s there for, after all 😉 If you do, please link back here so I can be nosy.

***

Royale

(f.: regal one)

Royale swore when she slipped in the fresh mud, and landed on her butt. Curse breaking into her own castle at night; her favourite trousers were ruined. Fabulous.

“You okay?”

“Fuck off, Jude.”

“Hey now, is that any way to treat an old friend? Come on,” he held out one hand for her, “let me help you up.”

She scoffed and pulled herself up. She didn’t need help. She didn’t need anyone.

“Stop fretting over me like I’m a five-year old. I can look after myself.”

“Yeah, I just saw how well you–” One glare shut him up. His humour was the last thing she needed tonight.

“Let’s just get on with it, shall we? The gate won’t be unguarded for long.”

“Your wish is my command, princess.” He did a terrible curtsy bow, and straightened when she shot him another glare.

The gap in the wall was tight, but she’d squeezed through worse–and certainly filthier–over the last ten months. Some thorns and spider webs wouldn’t get in her way now she was so close to coming home.

For the past ten months, she’d been on the run. She’d picked up Jude along the way in return for his silence–her disguise had been good enough to fool everyone else, but he had recognised for what she was. Princess Royale. Heiress to the throne. (Her parents had had a flare for the dramatic, calling her Royale and her brother Prince. Prince Prince. He was definitely off worse than her). Now she just needed to sneak in before her brother realised she was back, stab him in the throat while he slept, and sit on her throne by morning.

Royale–or Roya, as Jude had come to call her against her every wish and warning–brushed the webs off herself as Jude squeezed through the gap behind her.

“Welcome home, Princess Roya!” The fool was grinning. Like this was his big moment instead of hers. Although, she had to admit, she had imagined her big moment with less dirt and just a little more gold. Still, that could be rectified. Just as soon as she got to Prince the prince the idiot.

“Shut up and let’s get moving.”

“You have a plan, I take it?”

“You think I’d just walk in without a plan?”

He shrugged. “No, but I hoped you’d finally share it with me.”

She frowned. Jude had proven useful, but she couldn’t be sure that he wouldn’t alert the guards if he knew. He’d been as loyal as any stranger could be, but most people were opposed to regicide. As far as he was concerned, she might as well have been here to talk it over with her brother over breakfast, or midnight pastries.

“You don’t need to know. In fact,” she pinned him against an ivy-covered stone wall, “there’s no need for you to come any further than this. I’ll go the rest of the way myself.”

He sighed. “Ah. I see. That presents us with a problem now, doesn’t it?”

She was too stunned to back away and too stunned to cut his throat. This didn’t sound like Jude. There was something deep inside his voice, something old and primal, and it made her shiver.

“Who the fuck are you?”

Jude-not-Jude smiled. “Haven’t you wondered how I saw through your disguise when we first met?”

Understanding washed over her in the same instant that a hazy fog stretched in her mind. She backed away but only found more ivy and cold stone.

“Stay away from me!”

“I’m afraid I can’t.”

“Are you helping my brother? Did he sent you?”

He chuckled. “No. Your brother doesn’t even know I exist, but he’s beginning to suspect. You’re coming with me, Royale. I imagine you’ll struggle, but I advise against it. I’ll take you bruised or not.”

“Like hell I will!”

She should have run. She should have tried, at least, but the impossible nightmare before her was already warping her mind. Running seemed like a good idea; she just couldn’t remember how. Her legs felt too heavy for any movement. A hot bath and a nap–that’s what she needed.

Her knees went weak, and she fell into his too-human arms.

“Why?” Her voice sounded muffled, but his was clear in her mind.

“Because the prince can’t die tonight, Roya, but neither can you.” It grinned, so much like Jude and so different to him, too. “Trust me, dearest sister.”

There was so much she needed to know. Why had the monster from their nightmares let them come this far only to kidnap her? Why had it travelled with her for the past six months? And why had it called her sister?

But her mind went numb, her vision turned dark, and her world went silent.


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A-Z Name Prompts – Q

This is going to be a short one, friends. I didn’t have a lot of time last week to prepare this in advance, so I’ll have to improvise even more than usual ^-^

This week’s winner is:

Where were you all this week? :O Is it because the prompts were too similar? It’s probably because the prompts were too similar. My baby name book has 2,001 names in it but not even one whole page for Q!

If the prompt speaks to you, feel free to use it. If you do, please leave a link here so I can be nosy <3

***

Quillan

(m; cub)

I watched them from the cool shade underneath the thicket. The early morning sun was still weak with no real heat to it, but the men ahead of me were sweating from the heavy crates they were moving. I had no idea what was in those crates; not once had they dropped one, or talked about what was inside. I couldn’t smell anything, so it probably wasn’t food.

One of the men looked my way, and I sank deeper into the soft moss and thin branches. I’d been out here almost every day for the past ten moons, and they hadn’t spotted me once. I had learned a lot from them in that time – that I’d never fit in with their society, for one. Not that I wanted to. I looked like them and I could think their words, but I’d never tried saying them out loud before. The other day two people had shook hands and clapped each other on the back, and I wasn’t sure why they’d done it. It was similar to the way my pack brothers and sisters nuzzled each other in greeting, but I knew nothing about their ways. For all I knew they had threatened each other; although, I couldn’t imagine how a threat could be effective without growling or baring of fangs.

The men disappeared around a corner and silence fell once again. I’d watched them often enough by now to know their routine. They’d be back soon for more crates until the sun stood high enough to blind me and drive me out of my hiding spot. I wanted to inch closer, but I didn’t dare. I wasn’t supposed to be so close to them in the first place, but I wasn’t going to get answers by hiding forever.

I quickly scratched my ear, and turned around. My pack leader wouldn’t be happy if he knew I’d come this close to human territory, but it was the only place that held any answers for me. Many moons ago one of the men had killed one of my brothers, and left him to rot. I couldn’t figure out what the point of the kill had been. We killed to eat, to survive. We fought to assert dominance, but we didn’t kill just because we could. The whole pack would be weaker for it if we did that – but the man had done it, and the loss still hurt.

Maybe, if I learned to use their words not just in my head but out loud like they did, I could pretend to be one of them for long enough to learn their ways. Perhaps there had been a reason behind the kill, after all. A reason only humans understood.

Our pack was weaker for the loss. If there was no reason, I could still stay long enough to take revenge.


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A-Z Name Prompts – P

It’s time for another biweekly prompt, friends! I just did the maths (pre-tea, tho) and there are only 10 more prompts left to go after today :O So at this rate we’ll currently finish in early December… *ahem*

I’ve started thinking about the serial that will follow these, and am quite excited because it’ll be my first real delve into short stories. I’ve got an idea for it and a notebook to plot it in, now I just need to do it 🙂

For now let’s get back to these little prompts. This week’s prompt is…

Not gonna lie, I was hoping Pell would win. That could have been so sinister, friends. But you want Purity, so let’s see what I can do with that… *ahem* *no ideas* *halp*

As always, if the prompt speaks to you feel free to use it. If you do please link back here so I can be nosy :3

***

Purity

(f.; virtue)

Her hair fell into the snow, white on white, almost invisible under the pale light of the moon. The rest of her followed, first her legs, than her arms stretching out tentatively, then the length of her back, and finally her head. The humans called this cold, but to her it meant comfort, home, and an understanding deeper than they could fathom.

The humans called her Purity, too, after the crisp perfection of first snow, even though her name was far more complicated and more ancient than that. None of them would have been able to pronounce it and she didn’t want them to know. Her name was sacred. Names held power. Hers was too special to be known by humans.

She stretched out, snow moving up beside her in soft clouds rather than melting. Her own body was cold if she wished it to be, and she didn’t mean the snow any harm. The humans were right about this – first snow was pure, and perhaps she deserved to be named for it, after all.

Not long now.

Her white dress embraced her small form sure as any satin could. It was the colour of winter, and she was the season’s child.

A dark shadow moved towards her. She could sense him approach, heavy footsteps on undisturbed snow. She knew why he was here. She felt no fear.

Not long now.

This was as it had to be. She had served the season well for a thousand years, but all things must come to an end. She would live on, without the human’s awareness. They would miss her. They wouldn’t understand. It could be dangerous for him if they knew.

Not long now.

His heavy footsteps fell silent by her side.

“It is time, sister.”

“Then set me free, brother.”

It was her turn to become the snow fall. It was her turn to become the pale pink sky on a winter morning. It was simply another way of life, and all life had beauty to it. The humans wouldn’t understand. Their souls couldn’t do what she did. Not in the same way.

He lay down next to her, a brother holding his little sister in his arms, and cradled her.

“I shall follow you next year, when it is my turn to become the night.”

He was a shadow right now. His footsteps in the snow were silent to human ears, but she knew. The cold winter breeze sang to her, the ice of the frozen branches overhead whispered her news.

“Then we will rule winter together once more, brother.”

He stroked her long hair away from her slim face, and kissed her eyes. “Sleep well, sister. Not long now.”

His shadow whispered to her, and she felt herself fade until her soul had become one with the ice and the breeze.

It snowed. He smiled.

Not long now.


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A-Z Name Prompts – O

Happy Monday, everyone! How was your weekend? 🙂

I’ve been thinking about what to do with this space once the name prompts are over. We are over halfway there now, and the alphabet doesn’t last forever, you know! #rude So I was wondering if you were up for a weekly serial? It’d receive more work and editing than these little prompts right here, but not as much as my books (I’m not paying my editor for a full developmental for a serial! I mean, come on… I’m a poor kitten, and my familiar eats a lot). Hands up if you’re interested, please! *mememememe*

But let’s move on to these prompts while we still have them, shall we? Today’s prompt is:

 

Thank you to everyone who voted. These wouldn’t happen if you champions didn’t vote for them every other week <3

As always, if the prompt speaks to you, feel free to use it! If you do please link back here so I can be nosy ^-^

***

Osric

(m.; divine ruler)

Osric looked down upon his world, and shuddered. Then he shuddered once more because he had shuddered at all; when had he become so human? So vulnerable? Only a thousand years ago he wouldn’t have shown his emotions so obviously. To err was human, but he was supposed to be better than human. He was supposed to be grander, more powerful, more beautiful, than they could behold. But he wasn’t, and he knew just who to blame.

Osric searched the village below, and found him easily.

“Bring me my sword.”

His servant, a being similar to him but ultimately powerless, hurried to get the weapon. Even his staff were stronger than the average human. They never did anything as mundane as shudder.

“Your sword, my lord.”

Osric held the golden weapon out in front of him where he could see the full length of its cold metal. It warmed at his touch, and he could feel his wings respond in turn. It had been too long since the last war. Too long since the last time he had stretched his feathers and carried his sword into battle.

But that was good. He couldn’t shudder as well as develop a lust for pointless blood shed. It was too–

He sighed. Perhaps this was exactly what he needed. How long had it been since he had last walked among men? How long since he had last left the Observatory?

“I will be gone for a while. Only contact me if there are problems.”

His servants bowed their heads in respect.

Osric stepped outside, walked over the edge of his gardens, and let himself fall.

Humans would think him a god, but he was nothing of the sort. He hadn’t created this world, split continents, or commanded mountain ranges to rise. He was old, but he was not a creator responsible for all this.

He landed on soft feet, cushioned by his wings, in the middle of a forest. Daren’s house wasn’t far from here. The sun had only just risen; if he walked quickly, Osric would reach his house before noon.

Osric’s sword melted into him and spread a welcome heat first through his chest and then his entirety. He doubted he’d need the weapon–humanity wasn’t due another war for at least two-hundred years, but he felt better carrying it.

Indeed, just walking this planet again made him feel better. He had been inside the Observatory for too many decades, watching Daren long enough to satisfy his curiosity but not so long as to rouse suspicion. It was time Osric went to see him in person.

It was time he loved again.


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A-Z Name Prompts – N

Apologies for the delay, friends. I meant to have this out two weeks ago but there were problems with my computer screen, and then the following week would have confused my neat and tidy blogging order, so it didn’t happen then, either. And there won’t be one in two weeks, because I’ll be on holiday then 🙂 Unless I’ll get one ready in advance… Hmm… Watch your my Twitter, friends!

This one was written over two sessions, partly on paper and partly right here, and I didn’t edit it a hell of a lot, so be kind and lower your expectations, pwease :’)

Here’s the last poll’s winner:

Thank you to everyone who voted! We’re halfway through the alphabet, so I’ll have to come up with something new soon-ish. I’m open to ideas 😉

As always, if the prompt speaks to you, feel free to use it. If you do, please link back here so I can be nosy! 😉

***
Naida

(f; water nymph)

I was an adventurer, you know. Not by trade or anything – I don’t think you can be – but I loved visiting new places. Seeing the impossible and the ‘dangerous’ was what had originally drawn me away from home and into the world. Over the past year I’d visited all kinds of haunted places, but now that I was almost back home, with my parents, I felt more lost than I had done in the middle of nowhere with nothing but a map and no wifi signal.

I wasn’t ready to go home. I just wanted one last adventure before it was back to the routine, you know? One last rush of discovery and freedom. So when I saw the signpost I’d jumped off the bus from the airport to visit the swamps which stretched out ahead of me now.

The legend went that a girl went missing in the swamps when she ran away from her family, like two hundred years ago or something like that. Her father wanted to marry her to some rich chap or whatever, and she didn’t want to. So she fled to the swamps and lured young men into her lair to spite her father. I didn’t believe the stories but they did add a bit of extra chill, and made any old ruin come alive. Or any old swamp, as it were.

I entered the swamps under the worried glances of the locals, and just wandered for a while. There was nothing specific I hoped to find, I just wanted to see another haunted place before my journey came to an end. This wasn’t the most exciting stop on my list, but it was better than ending my trip and getting a day job, you know? Grown-up responsibilities could wait another day.

I did get a little carried away taking pictures of creepy branches and things like that. I’d studied Photography before I went on this trip, and had taken my camera more as an obligation than an actual desire to document everything, but it had turned into a bit of an obsession. Maybe I’d develop the rolls to find a ghost on one of the frames – you never know, am I right?

As I said, I got carried away. One moment you’re taking pictures of some branches someone had arranged to look like a shelter or something, the next you realise the sun is setting and you have no clue where you are. I took one last picture of the arranged branches to prove that some locals did come here every now and again – probably to freak out travellers – and tried to find my way back.

“Are you lost?”

I’m not proud of the yelp that escaped me when I jumped.

A girl with silver eyes and silver hair watched me with an amused smile on her lips. I knew the locals had been lying! Or maybe she was part of the attraction? I wondered how much she got paid for scaring the wits out of unsuspecting travellers.

She laughed. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you. You looked lost, is all.”

I sighed. “Yeah, I kinda am. Could you show me the way out of here? Please?”

She smiled, and a shiver ran down my spine. It was the strangest feeling, like her smile was genuinely warm, but something behind it chilled me more than the late autumn weather had done all day. Just odd, you know?

“Follow me.”

I blamed my jumpiness on how idiot-me hadn’t eaten anything all day, and followed her back the way I had come. Or at least I hoped it was. Everything looked the same to me out here.

We were still walking when it got dark. If it hadn’t been for the full moon and the stars I wouldn’t have seen anything but the girl in front of me.

“Perhaps you should stay the night,” she said without turning around to face me. “We’re still a way off, and it’ll only get colder and harder to see. My place isn’t far from here.”

I shivered, but she was right. It was cold and I hadn’t brought a jumper.

“That’s all right, I’m sure it’s not–”

She turned around then, and I swallowed my words. The moonlight brought out her soft, pale features. Why could I see her so clearly when everything else was disappearing in darkness?

“Stay with me.” Her voice was a whisper. Something else was hidden underneath it, but I couldn’t figure out what it was. Loneliness? Lust? Hold old was she?

Then she stood right in front of me, and my eyes were drawn to her. I couldn’t look away, and I couldn’t help noticing that she was definitely a grown woman. Probably around my age, actually.

“Stay with me.”

I couldn’t speak, so I nodded. She smiled, and took my hand into hers. It was warm and freezing both at once. Something at the back of my mind told me that was wrong, but I couldn’t– Why was I here again? Wasn’t there something I’d been meaning to do? Somewhere I wanted to go? You know, I couldn’t remember.

“You want to come with me. Isn’t that right?”

I nodded. There was nothing I wanted more. She stepped so close I could feel her legs brush against mine, and leaned against me. Her bright silver eyes looked into my own, and it took my breath away how beautiful she was. Silver hair, pale skin, slender frame. And she wanted me to stay with her. Just me. Us. Alone.

She was so close I could feel her breath on my lips. I’d never wanted to kiss anyone so badly.

And then she kissed me, her lips freezing against mine, and emptiness poured into me.


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A-Z Name Prompt – M

Happy Monday, everyone! ^-^

It’s time for another writing prompt. And this week, it’s a draw!

 

Thank you to everyone who voted <3 If the prompt speaks to you, feel free to use it! If you do and publish your interpretation, please share a link with me so I can be nosy 😉

***

Mabel & Mather

(f.; lovable) & (m.; powerful army)

Mather sighed, and turned away from the soft sunlight that fell through the gap underneath the curtain.

Soft sheets around his bare legs. The carefree singing of birds.

His unit – his comrades – dying not that far away from him, wondering what the fuck had happened to him.

And what had happened to him? He had been the pride of his warlord. A real talent, he had been called, for having been made commander at his age. He was skilled, he was fast, and he had won every challenge posed to him. He had been meant to tip the scales of this war in their favour.

They’d skin him, gut him, and hang him from a flagpole if they found out that he had deserted. For an Aadhi woman, no less. But he loved her, and that was that. He knew that much after the three weeks she had spent nursing his injuries, even though he was the enemy. She could have left him for his wounds to grow infected and finally kill him, but she hadn’t had. She had saved him.

Perhaps his unit would assume him dead. It would be the easier solution.

Mather closed his eyes and pretended to be asleep when Mabel slipped back into the room smelling of strong coffee, and made her way to the bed. She moved on soft feet, like the world was her cushion. Every one of her movements was like liquid silk, her long dark hair flowing around her exposed back completed the image.

He felt the mattress move when she sat down by his side, and bent over. She kissed his temple. Soft lips to his rough scar.

“I know you’re awake, Mather.”

He smiled when he opened his eyes and pulled her to him.

He kissed her, slowly, savouring the moment. “How could you tell?”

“You breathe differently when you’re just pretending to be asleep.” Her finger teased the tip of his nose. “A woman knows, love.”

He didn’t want this moment to end. He wanted a life with her, somewhere far away, where no one cared that she was Aadhi and he was Zihran.

Her hair smelled of honey. The steady beating of her heart was reassuring against his calloused hand.

“I’ve been thinking.”

Mabel snuggled into him, and caressed his arms with her slender fingers.

“Is something wrong, love?”

“No. No, quite the opposite, actually.” He was a soldier, and he didn’t know how to be anything else, but Mabel healed people. She could do that anywhere. “Run away with me.”

His heart missed a beat when she stiffened in his arms.

“Mather, I can’t just leave them. They need me.”

He laid her onto her back, and leaned over her. “They’ll be fine, Mabel. They still have Catee, Sophie, Paula. You’ve trained them well.”

The smallest of smiles curled her lips. “That I have.” Her hand reached up, and stroked stray strands of hair away from his eyes. “Your hair is growing long. I can cut it, if you like.”

“Don’t change the subject. Please.”

She sighed. “Where would we go?”

“I don’t know. Anywhere. Somewhere we can be together without people staring. If we stay here, your people will find out that you’re hiding me, and my unit will find out that I deserted. It’s too dangerous, Mabel.”

She closed her eyes and frowned, like she always did when she knew he was right. “Give me one week, love. I need to prepare.”

He couldn’t hide his smile when he kissed her. “That’s fair.”

One more week, and they’d start over. He had been lucky so far, he knew that. His luck just needed to hold a little while longer.


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All writing belongs to the author, Sarina Langer

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