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October Short Story Prompt “Exotic.” #BlogBattle.

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Elysium

“If you hear a myth passed down from ages past, never assume it’s not based on something real.” Jeremiah Delalande, lecture extract from Elder Legends.


It struck me writing this scene that I’m actually well into an unwritten story arc. Not only this, but as I discovered quite some time ago this particular narrative (Dragon Stone and associated stories with the dwarf, Naz, and elf sorceress, Yish) blends into manuscripts already written as books. This particular piece has reached into these as lore referred to by a beast known as The Black. 

For those dipping in for the first time it might seem a strange read. To those seeing it through BlogBattle then that might be true too. Most are not linear stories. They flit back and forth in timelines. Often randomly. In this way my own head is piecing together character arcs, back story and a world build that’s starting to get too big. One day I shall attempt to write the actual story. Hopefully that won’t emulate Winds of Winter in terms of time….

 


ELYSIUM


“What it it?”

Yish was eyeing the ground. “Not sure Naz. Something’s amiss with the trail.”

They’d been following a gully for three miles trying not to discuss the Barrow Woods or the field of crows feasting on the dead. The stench had been foul. Nothing glorious in war when you trod the aftershock. Not quite the Elysium fields warriors aspired to find at the end. Clear who won too. Their side burnt bodies, the others didn’t. It seemed once Morgan had been found they retreated back south. No advance, no desire to push on even though there was precious little to stop them.

“In what way?” Naz scanned the mountain ahead. Home of The Black, a wyvern he knew of from folklore.

Then again the woods were too and they hadn’t been any less real. Something a cleric once told him in passing, “Ye can choose not to have faith dwarf, but that doesn’t make demons flee.”

True it seemed, without Yish he’d now be wandering the woods with the other lost souls.

“His tracks end at the foot of the mountain. Nothing left or right.”

Naz almost queried that out of habit. His eyesight, by comparison was flawed. “He climbed then.”

“It’s sheer though. I can’t see how.”

More his territory, “Mountains often have ways if you know how to read them. Get us there and I’ll get us up if need be.”

Yish cringed inside. Heights were way down her agenda of things to embrace. “It’s more than that Naz. I’ve been here before.” She continued to stare. Far away she could hear something tasting the air. It had their scent already. This she knew too.

“Then surely you know what’s there already.” More a hopeful statement, but he knew Yish well enough to sense something was wrong.

“Not yet, I’ve been here in the future.”

Naz opened his mouth finding no words to offer. Instead he spat on the ground out of habit and subconsciously stroked the haft of his axe.

“I can see a sorcerers haze where the tracks end. I think it’s Elder Magic, maybe a portal.”

“You think Ras passed through it?”

“No… maybe… when I entered it was unidirectional. I became stranded because the counter portal is…” it clicked home, “… up there.” She pointed up toward a ledge. “There’s a cave up there somewhere, concealed in the shadows.”

“But you couldn’t reach it because of your fear of heights?” Naz strained to see what was clear to her.

###

“We should reach the foothills by dawn.” Naz broke kindling and cast it idly onto the fire. A pipe clutched in his mouth with no weed to smoke in it, another habit once gained hard to throw.

Yish nodded. Her mind was flowing toward the looming crags. It was there watching them again.

He’s long gone chylde.

Naz looked on, he’d seen this before. Not quite the sorceress at work, but touching on the subject of thaumic influence.

“He came this way though yes?” She replied aloud. Naz frowned, but remained silent.

Aye, his sense of loss blinded him to the portal you will pass through one day.

“Is he safe?”

She saw a forked tongue snaking from a maw lined with teeth as long as her arm. It was as though she was sitting in palaver with the beast itself.

From this time yes, in another no.

“Cryptic dragon. What does that mean?”

It hinges on the girl. If she turns then worlds will fall.

“And you know this how?” Smoke drifted from its mouth. A gesture she took as mirth

You know the lore chylde. Of how my kind fell to yours.

“Not my kind, Dökkálfar. They were deceived.”

Aye, the girl again in one possible future…. or past.

“You speak in riddles Dragon.”

Time chylde. It flows both ways into what was and what will be from the here. Worlds separated by skins that few can see. Each connected and yet separate. The Elder Mages knew this long ago. Tamed it and forged bridges between them.

“The portals?” No answer was needed so none came. “How could Ras use this one though? I thought it was a sorcerers path.”

He was more than a surgeon. He knew of the girls ancestry and guided it.

“Was? You speak as though he is dead.”

In this world he is.

“And the girl? Why is she so important?”

Lore chylde. Search it. The answers are there.

“But lore speaks of darkness under a puppet witch dominated by an abomination tied to necromancy.”

Indeed. You miss a detail. Concealed in the myths are chronomancy and, now lost to your world, doors between world skins.

“Can it be stopped?”

Not here. That battle was lost. They have two pieces now. A third is a girl in another world. A twin become one.

“It’s hopeless then? We lack the skills of the Elder Mages.”

You have time to learn. There is one who can unlock all worlds. At the core of chronomacy time blinks. A battle seen through that glam runs to the next. The rest of time flows slower. Our kind fell thousands of years before you, The Elders followed, your battle has just run, the prison of ice is long in the future.

“I think I understand. But who is the person that can turn things to our advantage?”

You have yet to meet him.

“Then I will?”

Aye.

###

Naz sat long into sunrise waiting for Yish to return from a deep sleep. Half a conversation told him already their pursuit of Ras had ended and matters had taken a turn for the worse. He stared at the cliffs searching for the myth that she had clearly been connected to.

“Naz,” she sat upright, “I feel sick.”

He offered her a canteen. “It’s not illness is it Yish, more a case of despair.”

“It all seemed clear, now it’s very blurred. Ras is in another time.”

“Am I right in saying the girl is Morgan?”

Yish nodded. “We need to try and get her back and find Ras.”

“Anything else?”

“Find someone we haven’t met yet.”

“Should be done before lunch then.”

Yish looked at Naz. Their eyes locked and for the first time since the eve of the battle they laughed.

September Short Story Prompt “Conceal.” #BlogBattle.

If you’re a writer, or even if you aren’t, times at present are difficult with the Covid 19 pandemic. We’re here to help support writers during hard times.
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August Short Story Prompt “Tea.” #BlogBattle.

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Temporalis #BlogBattle

“Thaumaturgical archaeologists beware, there is a reason the Elder Mages are no more.” Jeremiah Delalande, lecture on the Philosophy of Magi.


 

Beneath the Keep, home to the Amanuensis among others, lies a Vault recording history as it arrives and moves on. Three senior figures have access, of which the Amanuensis is one. By comparing these fixed records with books outside its thaumaturgical fields it is possible to determine if history is changed. Several Guilds exist to deploy corrective measures if such temporal changes occur. Since chronomancy was banned several centuries earlier much of the knowledge has become here say and myth. Even the three book keepers have never encountered a time where time itself was failing.

 


TEMPORALIS


 

“Tea thaumaturge?”

“Your usual herbal concoction?” replied the Amanuensis.

Jeremiah Delalande grinned. “Of course, what else is there that could kick a mule in the dark?”

The magician nodded and cast a gaze back to the tome resting on his desk. It spoke of legends and, in particular, words that repeated over and over. Ordinarily this would not cause disturbance. Books in his library often changed, representing fluxes in time that altered paths. Destinies ever-changing representing decisions made deep in the past due to the banned art of chronomancy.

Books ever-changing. His mind stood awhile contemplating that, and a line from Delalande’s treatise entitled “On Chronomancy.” Deja vu is, if you like, a psychic alarum suggesting reality has fluxed.

That was disconcerting him now.

Jeremiah, have we not had this conversation before?

“Not to my knowledge, although pondering matters of many sorts often goes with tea, so it is not entirely possible some do recycle on occasions.”

The Amanuensis stared into his cup. A delicate affair of some antiquity, the exact age he could not recall, nor exactly when it became the prime vessel without which the brew suffered. “Your book suggests deja vu is not to be ignored idly yes?”

“Indeed,” Delalande was becoming intrigued.

“I have distinct recollection of this conversation repeating.” He considered this before adding, “Not this part, the initial discourse pre-empting the deja vu.”

“I see.”

“I rather think you don’t. Things are in flux. The Vault alarms have detected thaumic dissonance. The true chronological record has become corrupted.”

“Meaning?” Delalande peered over his tea. He was used to riddles and theatre from students, not from one of the three that had access to the Vaults time library. Deja vu was infective. It was his turn to have a sense of paramnesia. “The dwarf and elf. Is that the familiar haunting your cognisance?”

“You are catching on Jeremiah. Our previous conversation may well have occurred in a different phase of reality. One you now seem to have recollected.”

“But, as before, this means history has been changed and the future hewn from its true direction.” This part always fatigued his mind. “I feel I’ve asked this many times too, but if chronology has altered why is it our mental resources have not adjusted to memories within the new time stream meaning past recollections from the former have been erased?” He drained his cup.

“Perhaps they have. This conversation flowed differently last time. I mention this purely out of deep uneasiness. This deja vu is not based upon a recent realisation of something happening previously. This is happening concurrently right now in a different time continuum. Ours has just deviated from that reality.” The Amanuensis felt it pertinent to move onto the balcony. It was something his counterpart in the other wherever was doing about now.

The linguist followed. “I assume these conjoined conversations in different realities are quite normal to you Sorcerer?”

“I fear they will be.” He placed his hands on the balustrade and sighed. Two vistas blended back and forth. One he cared not for. That was ice and decay. Inevitable given the sequence of events leading to this nexus had not been unpacked. “Do you see the land of ice here?” He waved his hand showing the view he was referring to.

Delalande looked, squinted and looked some more. “No, I see merely what has always been during my lifetime. A green landscape beginning to show signs of summers end. It appears my limits of foresight are a memory flickering between two versions of this present. If not for you this might easily be an artefact of longevity of years and entirely inconsequential.”

“But for deja vu?”

“Obviously.”

The Amanuensis sighed deeply, turned and sat back into his favourite armchair. It provided a good view of his desk where two candles burned when the light of day faded and parchments needed researching. During colder times it also benefitted from an old fireplace. “The dwarf and elf are beyond the Cromlech now. That point of reference has become fixed. I feel they are inadvertently dislodging Elder magic during their research for the Guild.”

Delalande chuckled to himself, “Yes, the thaumaturgical archaeologists.” He felt the irony of ignored lectures. Leave Elder Mage artefacts alone. Their civilisation was advanced and we, by comparison, have just moved from reinventing the wheel. To dabble in unknown prestidigitation was at best unwise and bordering foolishness.

The head of that Guild dismissed such with arrogance and a degree of addiction. By no coincidence old texts on Elder artefacts already revealed disturbing side effects on those insistent on ignoring warnings. The way of the researcher come knowledge enthusiast. A thirst that blinded all to potential dangers. Something that had collapsed more than one civilisation he’d wager.

###

“Yish.”

“Yes.”

“Do you ever feel like someone’s watching your every move?”

The elf sorceress smiled to herself, “Like a guardian angel perhaps?”

The dwarf rolled his eyes, “Aye, that would be your familiar would it not?”

If she had been human Yish would have blushed. “That obvious Naz?”

Laughing he replied, “Far be it from me to mock such. The bond is enviable.” He let the mirth die, “But seriously, there have been several times it’s felt like eyes watch every move. Ever since the Cromlech. I can’t decide if it’s ghosts within the ancient places we visit or someone walking on our graves.”

“There will be many millennia for the living to do that when our times are over Naz.” She stooped to add kindling to a fire needing attention. “Somethings wrong though. Ever since the split by the Elder portal. You delivered to the Keep in ice and ruin, me to the scene of our routed battle where the dragon keeps vigil over the bones of its race.”

Naz nodded, “That seems long ago now. Ever find out what became of the girl?”

Yish shook her head. “Time is distorted. That was over a century ago. And yet, it’s displaced in my chronology. I drift between catching up with Ras and him evading us to die at the wyverns maw. It makes no sense. His book was written long after so we must have intervened.”

The dwarf poked the fire with little enthusiasm. “I have similar disoriented memories. The Keep I did visit, heard the Amanuensis from a distant place. All we knew was destroyed.” He paused as his mind wandered, “He asked of you. I think I told you. In one version of memory I did, in another not.”

“Somethings very wrong Naz.”


 

Causatum. #BlogBattle

When the soul pops out for a while the pains of life ebb away. Brief that time might appear, but welcome when the world is wretched and carnage sprawls everywhere.

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If you’re a writer, or even if you aren’t, times at present are difficult with the Covid 19 pandemic. We’re here to help support writers during hard times.
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Flux. #BlogBattle

“Never be rash enough to assume constancy. Civilisations live and die by their collective actions.” A Study on Enthology , Jeremiah Delalande.

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