Prayers

A-Z April Fantasy Flash Fiction, part 16. Character: Arancia.

Have you read the previous parts? Please do so :3

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Prayers

For the first time in so long, I said my evening prayers. The last time had been together with my family, gathered around the fireplace, holding hands. Nobody held my hands this time, except for the Good Lord. We were going to battle. The “we” meant Legande, his men, and also me.

The thought alone was enough to make me tremble. I was not ready. I would never be ready for such reckless violence that a fight entailed. My very soul rebelled against the thought; they could not send me, why would they, I will not go, this had to be some mistake!

Yet, it was not. I silently cursed the fireball that had so suddenly shot out from my hand two days ago. I had not been thinking at all, only wishing for a fleeting moment that I could not only give away this formidable strength, but use some of it myself. With a careless gesture I found out that I could not only gift new life, but also death. The fireball had appeared as I snapped my fingers, and it had flung across the castle courtyard, hitting an unfortunate man, who died on the spot.

Legande had witnessed this, and though the loss of the man aggrevated him, it was obvious that he was pleased with this development. Fire, as I later learned, was the vampires’ weakness. Our people had always struggled to bring those monsters, the spearhead of the ‘Nairan fighting force, down. I now presented yet another new hope. Normally, my age and my gender would have both exempted me from fightig, but this was now out of the question.

I watched the men as they prepared themselves for the our last night in the castle, before being shipped off to the front. Most of them seemed calm, perhaps too calm even. As if death’s claws were already around them, but would only suffocate them if they resisted…

This is not our last night, I tried to tell myself, but to no avail. My pulse beat a loud, frantic beat and did not let me sleep. I sprung out of bed, and spent the night pacing on the battlements instead, imagining what I would say to the Good Lord, in the event that I was killed, and I met him in the afterlife.

Killer

A-Z April Fantasy Flash Fiction, part 11. Character: ShaRo

Please do read the previous parts! This is a continuous story. :3

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Killer

Guards ran at us from all directions. Their heavy boots thudded on the stone courtyard floor with each footstep, their breaths heaved the air this way and that, their pulses gallopped, the blades of their pikes cut through the air with subtle whistles. I waited patiently for them to close the distance, their slow, mortal’s strides stretching far into time. I saw Jaé grow impatient beside me, she could not yet stand her ground. Her drive to fight, the ever-present beast, was new to her, and was trying its wings. She launched into attack, growling like an animal.

“Alarm! Vampires!” Someone screamed, as Jaé reached the first guard. She was on him before he could even swing his weapon, catching his neck and breaking it in one smooth movement. What followed was a glorious massacre. Jaé was a relentless killer, spurred on by the monster’s instincts that were still new to her. She would of course have to learn to control herself later, when we returned home, but now I made no effort to stop her. There was no better weapon than a wild, young vampire.

I watched Jaé leap from one man to the next, and they were slammed into the ground by the throat, one by one. It was always the same brute, simple move; it showed that Jaé was new, and had no experience. She relied only on the physical advantages my bite had given her. The agility to dodge the flurry of pikes, and the strength to end the pathetic mortal lives with a single throw.

She barely left anything for me to do. The few guards that did reach me, died cleaner deaths than Jaé’s victims. I used my claw, a sword-like, natural weapon that could be extended from behind my fingernails. I would show Jaé how to use them later. Against the weak ‘Nōrian humans she was already more than well equipped, and no matter their numbers, we were no match for them. I slashed out at the two last remaining guards that had not yet fled, or been killed, while sidestepping a pike stab. Both of them collapsed to the ground, separated from their heads.

An odd silence descended on the castle. We stood in the middle of a bloodstained mess. Jaé seemed to come to her senses and she looked at me, her eyes golden nowke mine, expectant and curious, though also somewhat confused.

“Come, NiikKaShi.” I addressed her by her designate Flag. “Let’s go home.”

I spread my wings wide, and with three powerful beats I already cleared the battlements and soared above the ocean. I did not need to look behind me to know she followed; her wings whipped up a magnificent windstorm.

Jovial

A-Z April Fantasy Flash Fiction, part 10. Character: Perandes

Are you peeps reading the previous parts~? Do so here!

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Jovial

After that spectacle of pitting Legande against the guards, the king waved everyone away from him.

“Not you, High Ambassador!” He called after me as I bowed my head and was about to turn on my heel, “Pray stay a moment longer.”

I could hear Arancia chattering excitedly to Legande, their voices fading into the distance. The three guards limped off, muttering amongs themselves, then gruffly shouted at a subordinate to fetch them new pikes. I obediently stayed, and his highness waited for the noise to die down before he spoke again.

“Well done, High Ambassador. I believe you have discovered the solution to a grave, long-standing problem of our nation.” The king announced in a sombre, stately voice, unbefitting the jovial expression that invaded his otherwise immaculately controlled face. ” As you undoubtedly know, we have always had a significant disadvantage in battle against our southern neighbours, despite our numbers, and perhaps more importantly, our superior technology and sorcery. Those beasts were created to thrive in the barbaric condition of war, it seems, and our soldiers cannot keep up with their physical prowess.”

I nodded approvingly. The king grasped very well, for his young age, what made the war against Súthenaira such a perpetually fruitless venture. Súthenaira was the land of the Faekind and the Beastkind, the immortal races of the known world. There, they allowed all manner humanoid monsters to live, as long as they could fight for the land, like Shifters, Serpents, or even Vampires. There had been reports from Escaton castle that a young Sylph had been captured some weeks ago, who had survived a jump from the highest tower into the icy ocean, and had almost escaped on several occasions. They were all vicious creatures.

“Our enemies are indeed the most vile kind of fiends, and it seems like this Legande man now resembles them.” The king concluded, “It may be an unsavoury thought, but in order to defeat the monsters, we may need some monsters of our own.”

“That is a wise insight, your highness.” I replied with a bow. These had been my very thoughts when seeking out Legande. Though it pained me to see his resemblance to the vicious ‘Nairans, it also gave me hope; perhaps I would not need to see again a massacre such as the one I survived. Perhaps, after milennia of struggle, this evil folk from the south could be defeated once and for all, and our people could finally live in peace.

The king studied my expression once more, before he announced in his most regal tone, “Then it is decided. Have the sorceress girl raise an army of soldiers from the dead, and let this man Legande train them. Soon, with divine aid, we may finally have our long desired victory.”

Glorious

A-Z April Fantasy Flash Fiction, Part 7. Character: ShaRo

Dear Readers, this is the 7th installment of a continuous story! Please read the previous parts over here!

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Glorious

The war raged on our northernmost islands, where the ‘Nōrian invasion had landed. Knowing we could not fight the vastly superior, modern ships of their fleet, we had let them disembark, taking our chances on land instead. They had the numbers by far, and it was a monstrous piece of brute force. We were outnumbered, but had the advantage of the familiar ground, that had been specifically prepared to repel invaders. The front did not push far inwards before it came to stagnation. What followed was the deadly game of endurance and consistency, a war of attrition. They attempted to hammer at our defences, but we eluded them wherever they went, and struck back from where they least expected it.

Six weeks after the start of the invasion, I was to fly off my course again, to Escaton castle behind the enemy lines. A Joou, a Shadow, had gone missing on a mission there some weeks ago, and there was good reason to believe she was being held captive. Of course they’d normally send another Shadow on such a rescue mission, but most of them were busy around the front, or behind the enemy border, my KanCHo apologised, and this rescue was going to be a little different from the usual. They needed knowledge of the area and the defences, they needed a vampire, and they needed one who was old and strong enough to change someone. According to the records, she just turned fifteen today, the commander assured me, so everything was being done by the book.

Getting into the castle was harder than I had anticipated. The ‘Nōrians compensated for their dull, human senses by the sheer number of guards spying in all directions. I circled overhead, flying high out of sight, waiting, looking for an opening, until I found the one the captured assassin had most likely used; a window at the bottom of the tower, accessible by climbing the cliffs from the water. The window promised a convenient entrance; it was likely close to the dungeon. I veered away with the next gust of wind, plummeting into the depths and plunging into the ocean.

The guards, though vigilant, did not spot me approaching under the murky surface of the water. The crags of the cliff obscured my climb to the window. I listened for guards on the inside but there was not one nearby; the wretched stench and screams of the dungeon kept them away.

I swung inside, and landed silently on my feet. The dungeon was just ahead, behind a locked but unguarded solid wooden door. A noble effort, but no match for my kind’s strength. I pried it open, and the lock was bent beyond repair as I slipped inside. No doubt someone would notice eventually, but soon that would not matter.

I found her at once. Hanging from the ceiling by a chain, between the grey stone columns, racks of grisly instruments, and spiked cages, she was no more than a limp rag. Gaping wounds, an array of stabs and slashes told of the torture she had been through. Her light blonde hair almost glowed in the dim darkness, but was streaked with crimson smears of her own blood. Her heart still faintly beat, though there was not much strength left in her. The dungeon echoed with screams; it seemed another unfortunate soul was in session at the moment. A perfect backdrop. Nobody would suspect anything until it was too late. Keeping to the shadows of the columns, I inched closer and closer, careful not to attract the attention of the other prisoners, who were scattered here and there, tied up on the floor, or locked in a cage, all bearing the same gory wounds.

The girl was still more alert than I expected, a great feat considering the condition she was in. She gasped as she saw me climb a column beside her.

“Who are you?” The whisper was barely a breath.

As was customary, I gave her my formal designation. ŌuekKaShiAn NaiRaShan CheeRionTe ShaRoOuNaiGo Borderguard of the Turqoise Flag, named ShaRoOuNaiGo.

She replied with her own designation. NiikKaShiAn Joou CheeRionTe JaéAnJoou. Shadow of the White Flag, named JaéAnJoou. She was indeed whom I was seeking.

“SeonTéGaai, SaeKi”.  Hold on, archer. “This may hurt, but freedom sometimes does.” I whispred as I leaned closer to her neck. Her feeble heartbeat beckoned from below her skin. I drowned out the tempting sound from my mind, steadied myself, and before either of us could hesitate, bit her.

The raw strength with which she screamed as I withdrew into the shadows startled the surrounding prisoners. They stared at her with wide, terrorised eyes. The interrogator walked by to see what was going on, but, seeing her, just sighed, bored, and went back to his victim. Only I knew that Jaé was not dying, but being reborn, and nobody knew I was here. Only I knew that this painful, new-found strength was turning her into a glorious monster.