Prompt for September 30: The Challenger


[Prompt from . This excerpt is from a novel series idea: Hand of Fate series.]

“And that is how it is done.” Corvinous wore a large smile, a rarity in and of itself.
Amicus was hunched over, his hands gripping his knees for support. Though he was breathing heavy, I could see a smile on his face as well as he shook his head back and forth, sending his blond curls flying.

“Yes. You are right,” he sighed. “No one is a match for your skill, Anti.”
They both began to chuckle. Chuckle! When I first met these warriors, they all seemed like war and death had turned them all into stone. But apparently stone can still laugh.

“Let me have a go.”

The laughing stopped. Everyone turned to look at the gate of the stadium. Still wearing the rags Todd found him in, Ossin had his sword—his father’s sword?—in one hand and a large shield in the other. He was biting his lip and his body bent to the side while the arm holding the shield began to shake.

Neci and Silvia were standing behind him. Silvia was holding Neci back.

The light and smile vanished from Corvinous’s face. In an instant, he was the same hardened warrior I saw when I first came to Aemilia. The same shiver returned to my shoulders at the sight of his gaze.

“You want to challenge me?” Corvinous asked. His voice, calm and quiet, traveled through the silent arena. “I am the antistrategos of the Morphia, the pentestrategos of the Candrian army.”

Ossin clenched his teeth. “I know very well who you are. I long to fight.”

I looked from Crispin to Vitus and back. Someone had to stop this madness. Corvinous looked like he was in his late twenties early thirties. And Ossin? He was only a teenager. Maybe just a little older than me.

“Give the boy a chance,” Todd called from the armory door. “It was not long ago that you humored a young fox in his rage, if I recall.”

I blanched. “Cris, do something.”

He shook his head. “Todd is right.” Louder, he called, “Do not spare the lad.”

“Here here,” Amicus said, stepping away from the center and towards us.

As Ossin walked towards Corvinous, my stomach felt like it was eating itself alive.


Prompt for September 29: Hidden Gems


[Prompt from . I’ve been playing around with this idea for some time.]

A darker grey glinted slightly amidst the dull ash. I bent down to get a better look. Brushing off remains of furniture and human flesh, I found a simple ring of keys, each made of simple iron yet were wrought into elegance.

The house had no such locks. Every door handle was crafted with the modern edged piece of metal. But the keys spoke for themselves.

I fingered each of the five keys in turn. One was longer and more slender than the others. If it wasn’t for the ends, I would have mistook it for a hairpin. I turned it over and over in my hand, successfully rubbing the dirt and grim into the ridges of my skin. Skillfully scratched into the metal near the knob were two cursive letters: R.J.

I pantomimed unlocking a door. R.J. had done just that several times in whatever time the key was made. Strange how something so small could host so many memories.

As if I was standing in front of a cave, a gust of wind assaulted me as a large box of light opened where I had turned the key in the air. The light hurt to look at, the wind stung the exposed skin of my face and hands as I tried to block it. I heard a high keening whistle all around me.

The red behind my lids vanished. My skin began to feel normal if a little wind burned. When I opened my eyes again, I saw a large expanse of pine trees and a brick mansion instead of ash and death.

Prompt for September 26: The Premium


[Prompt from . From a novel idea: Alchemic Maiden. I apologize for the delayed post.]

I had never before seen meat that wasn’t cooked and garnished on a china plate before me. There was blood everywhere. Blood and flies. I could see the bones, the feet, the heads. The poor lamb’s eyes stared unblinking right at me from their forgotten place next to the butcher’s red-soaked worn leather boots.

“Best premium lamb around!” the teller shouted. “No finer. Not even on the king’s table!”

That I would have to argue against.

Prompt for September 25: The Leaf


[prompt from ]

It was a brighter red than little Collin’s hair. An oak leaf, with all its points and harsh lines. I kept thinking that it should look cruel and harsh with its many planes and edges. But, like all in nature, it didn’t. It could very well have been a young boy on the precipice of manhood, all limbs and the like. Before the voice would drop, before the muscles would plump. There was a certain kind of charm in the potential for greatness.

But the leaf had fallen from the tree. Turned red and fallen. It would never grow into itself and become something great, something people could’ve stood for.

Never got the chance.