Captive Bride

The Volandums had absurd ideas about how to treat a captive princess. I mean, golden chains? Really? Were they showing me off to the people, or were they showing off their own wealth to me? I honestly wasn’t sure anymore.

My mount’s hooves clopped against the flower-strewn pavement of Dezmond’s central street and I briefly let my gaze wander, taking in the towering stone buildings, mapping out routes, exits, dead ends. They were crowded now, with cheering citizens greeting their returning king. Oh yes, and the Elentisaren princess who’d been the price of peace and would become their queen.

I gazed steadily at the faces passing by. Returning each insolent stare with defiance. Each slur with a smirk. Each fragment of pity with determination. But many of the gazes were ones of wonder. Or perhaps they were just staring at my ridiculous white fluttery dress. Loose bits of gauze flew about my waist and a heavy necklace hung about my bare neck while taches of gold fastened my sleeves. All in all, it wasn’t a dress I’d be able to slip away in without being recognized.

But, mostly, my gaze rested on the guards surrounding my mount. An especially grim soldier led my horse, but others closed in on all sides. Two before. Three on each side of me. Four more behind. Not as if they thought I could escape, but I couldn’t help relishing in their worry over the almost mystical legends surrounding the Elentisaren Phoenix, otherwise known as the most deadly woman assassin in history. They seemed to think she’d not stand for her princess being taken by Volandums. And that she’d be coming after me.

Ahead of me, the Volandum king shifted in his saddle. His gaze swept over me for the dozeneth time. And, for the dozeneth time I met his stare with a glare of my own and the slightest curl of my lips.

His own smile creased his beard as he turned away.

The Volandums respected strength. Already the king was well pleased with the spirit of his bride-to-be.

Except all the Volandums lacked one small detail.

And, as the castle of Dezmond loomed over us, I permitted my smirk to deepen. The Volandums thought they were welcoming a bride. Instead they were providing the Phoenix of Elentisa safe passage into their most guarded fortress.

They’d been right about one thing. I wasn’t about to let my cousin, the princess, surrender her freedom for peace.

I was the Phoenix. And I was here to bring Voland to her knees


Flames of Resistance

The moat was nearly dry, all except the pool surrounding the causeway up to the castle gate. It was deep there yet. Hopefully it was deep enough.

Fathren tried to swallow, but his tongue stuck to the roof of his mouth as a hot wind swept over the dry parched plains. He told himself it was from the rationing of water, but the dust raised by the invader’s armies wasn’t helping either.

“Ready?” His whispered cracked.

“Ready.” Three soft voice replied from the dry grass about him.

Fathren nodded his fingers tightened around his bow as his breath hissed rapidly though the cloth covering the lower half of his face. They had one chance, the four of them. If they failed, they’d die. If they succeeded, they would be branded destroyers. But at least the invaders would suffer a bitter blow.

Already the steady tramp of feet were echoing along the brush filled moat surrounding the castle. On the wall, the sun glinted off silent troops.

Fathren closed his eyes for a long moment, then drew an arrow. “On my mark, and may the Prince be with us all.”

“May the Prince be with us.” His companions’ voices were accompanied by the swish of arrows.

Fathren tensed, measuring the distance of the approaching soldiers. The troops in the moat. The horsemen behind his party in the tall grasses. The dryness of the grasses.


He raised one hand.


Fathren sliced his hand downward and leapt to his feet, springing to the middle of the causeway. Focusing, he breathed on the tip of his arrow and his heart leapt as it flashed into a flame.

“Draw!” His voice seemed to echo along the battlements even as startled cried from the wall reflected the shouts of derision from the invaders.


He focused toward the brush just beyond the lead troop, feeling rather than seeing his friends fall in place behind him.


His string sang as the arrow cut through the air. Shouts burst into a confused babble and Fathren spun, a single glimpse assuring him his companion’s arrows had found their mark while anger ripple through the walls above. But it was the only way. The lord would have surrendered if given the chance. Surrendered, and been slaughtered.

He’d not have the chance.

And, as Fathren followed his men, leaping over the causeway to the murky pool beneath, he only hoped the flames already catching hold on the plains and enveloping the invaders would be enough to save them all.

Beautiful Chains

They were beautiful. And they were deadly.

Delicate scars twisted down the right side of her face and her arm in flower-like swirls, but no matter how softly the star lamps glimmered gold against the emblazoned pattern it didn’t change their purpose. Their power. Their weight which kept her grounded on the forest floor and stilled the fluttering of her gossamer wings.

Her feet ached. Her throat and eyes burned. Her fingers itched for the bow which had vanished from them nigh a week past. But still she press on, slipping through the forest shadows, ignoring the thorns which tore at her tunic and ripped at her legs. A breeze lifted strands of auburn hair, tossing them into her eyes. She brushed them back, her breath coming in quick heaves.

She had until dawn; she had to reach the clearing. If she did; if the Witnesses were there, they’d take her in until her innocence was proven. Until the chains glinting from her skin were removed and her title of archeress of the forest was returned. Until she could return and save her people from the mysterious darkness closing them in.

Behind her, in the distance, a wolf howled. She shivered, pressing forward. Slowly the sun sank. Slowly she sensed the glimmer of the sun on the horizon.

And then she was there, the clearing opening its welcome arms about her. For a moment she swayed unsteadily, then wearily sank to the clipped turf even as a Witness fluttered into view.

“What do you wish for?” The questioning voice was high, like spring bells.

“Sanctuary.” Her voice broke and for the first time she let her gaze travel up her arm to the brand emblazoning her supposed crime of treason. Tears started to her eyes. It wasn’t true. It wasn’t true. But danger was upon the whole forest and she could do nothing. And it was her fault. “Sanctuary and judgment.”


This story is set in Aslaria, my Legends of Light land. The wingmaster idea is based off the Song of the Sword, my current WIP, but this event took place about a hundred years before Song of the Sword.

He should have known. He should have guessed. The finding of the legendary wingmaster’s blade should have given him more than a hint that something was wrong.

But the late spring snow, the early darkness, and the encroaching mist sweeping through the Melody Realm had been enough to deal with. Even drawing on the power of the song in the Melody, it had been all I could do to beat the joy stealing fog back towards the south. It had been an everyday enough occurrence that I should have known the sword was for something else.

Something worse.

But I’d relaxed. I’d attended the celebration like a normal citizen of Aslaria instead of one of the few who knew about, much less could entered, the reflection realm of song. And I’d left the sword in my lodging.

The swift beat of Frithren’s wings during a jubilant dance was the first sign something was terribly wrong.

He’s here.

The words sent ice though my veins and I pulled away into the shadows even as the lamps flickered out. And, under the startled cries, which I knew would soon turn to pleas of fear, I could hear the heavy drumbeat of the traitor’s song.

The traitor. As I dashed into the night, snow falling gently around my, I racked my brains but could come up with no name to couple to the shadow who had been sweeping though the country. A rumor, may thought it was.

I’d thought it was.

Except he was real. And he was here.

I snatched up the wingmaster’s sword, my vision blurring then clarifying as I saw the real realm and the Melody at once. My chest tightened as I glimpsed the mist, seeping in about the castle walls. But there was no time to deal with it now. Summoning the song, I dashed back to the great hall.

Silence met my ears. Silence, mingled with the recent memory of bloodshed and weeping. And the traitor’s faint song.

I choked at the sight. The motionless bodies. The stained floor. The lifeless hall.

I staggered back outside, my sword hanging limply from my hand. Frithren’s wings beat against the air and I turned, lifting my hand for the messenger falcon.

He’s headed south. Frithren declared grimly.

I nodded and swallowed hard, then closed my eyes. The Prince forgive me. I’d been given the sword, and I’d failed before I’d even started. I’d failed, but more would die unless I could stop the shadow. Clenching the sword, I took a deep breath, then turned toward the south.

And I ran. Ran through the night. Though the snow. Though the mist. Though the song. With death behind me, danger ahead, and an oath throbbing though my blood, I ran towards the fulfillment of my doom.


I’d been a professional luremaster for years; dragons, lions, great wolves. I flattered myself I knew monsters. I knew how they thought, how they moved, how to enrage them. And, with Ice Mane beneath me and a mist lamp in my hand, I could take on anything Alisara had to offer.

Then I met the Shade Griffin. Yes, the legends said his wings carried night and his great clawed feet shook waves of snow from the mountainsides and sent them thundering down to smother whole villages, while his beak could easily devour several oxen at once. I guess I didn’t believe them. I should have.

It was one of the arrogant knight heroes who’d hired me. All I was to do wake the beast, frankly not the best way to start any attack but hey, the knight was paying me good gold. I just made sure he paid me before we started out into the northern wilds. Anyhow, how hard was would it be to wake a Shade Griffin and then luring him down the mountain to the ambush where the knight was waiting?

I’d sat easily on Ice Mane and lifted a silver trumpet to my lips. The fact I had to wind the thing seven times before there was even a rumble from the gaping cavern should have given me some warning. And the Griffin’s first steps, shuddering the whole mountain side, did make me hesitate.

And then I saw him; wings made from living shadows, eyes as bleak as a starless night, legs as thick as pillars and a body which would crush have a village.

Ice Mane spun, tearing down the hillside so quickly I reeled, barely keeping my seat. Behind me, mist spun from my lamp, but there was no need of that now. We were hurtling into the darkness, barely keeping ahead of the Griffin’s easy stride.

And, as I pressed myself on my mount’s one final thought surged back and forth though my brain. Why, oh why, hadn’t I chosen to bait the fiery fen serpent instead?

Call Name: Golden Sapphire

Area 7A: Sector 3C

1154 hours

Golden Sapphire, be alerted, Black Fury has been spotted heading east by northeast towards your sector. ETA 30 seconds. Repeat, Black Fury has breached Silver Ruby and is flying low. He must not be allowed access to the core. Repeat, he must be stopped. ETA 20 seconds. Golden Sapphire –

“Golden Sapphire reporting in,” Zevlina’s pulse quickened but she lifted the silver wristlet holding a humming crystal to her lips even as she slapped her boots against her dragon’s sleek blue sides. “Golden Sapphire reporting in. Heading to east. Will not allow Black Fury further access.”

Golden Sapphire, be alerted, a lancer is in your vicinity. He’ll lend his aid.

“Wonderful,” Zevlina muttered to herself, turning Sapphire’s head toward the breach and swaying easily as the beast wove though the gold-lit trunks.

Golden Sapphire, be alerted, a lancer –

“Got it.” Zevlina cut the voice off. A lancer indeed. Of all the numerous arrogants, lancers were by far the worse. And if it happened to be Quivlan…

A high shriek echoed through the air and Zevlina shifted her own javelin as her mount burst into a clearing. The deadly black figure of the Black Fury twisted it’s slender body upward, it’s wings flaring then folding as it spun towards her. Quivlan darted under Sapphire, angling his lance towards the Black Fury and Zevlina lifted her wrist to her mouth one last time, clenching her own lance ad the shimmering black skin of the dragon filled her sight.

“Command, be advised, we have found the Black Fury.”

Heroes Inc.

Another flash fiction scene; I love the possibilities behind this one:

“Ready?” Katlyn questioned.
I scowled as I tugged at the cloak hanging heavily from my shoulders. “Do I really have to wear this?”
Katlyn rolled her eye. “They’ll be waiting for a knight, a prince. And you want to go in jeans and a t-shirt? Honestly, Haden, one would think you don’t care what impression you make.”
The slightest of smiles curved my lips as I glanced about the huge domed room where white lights flashed off steel walls and great fans. “And in the meantime, I look like a complete fool here. The last hero got to wear black leather and a mask.”
“And that’s less conspicuous?” Katlyn shook her head as she moved about me, checking the straps of my armor.
“Besides, leather would be highly impractical.” Daven didn’t glance up from the set of controls as he spoke. “Jamenson was traveling to the planet Varintena in the Gloom Realm. You’ll be in the Cember Realm, and you’ll be glad for the extra garments once you step onto the Seda.”
“Don’t doubt it.” I pulled my sword part way out of my sheath. Notwithstanding the cloak and tunic, the sword was a cool touch.
“There will be high winds, maybe even sand storms,” Daven continued to ramble. “You’ll be entering the Seda about an hour before dawn, and our intelligence puts a party of Zenovian rangers on a ridge to your left.”
“And now…” Katlyn stepped back, tilting her head as she inspected me. “Is Hero 7C ready for deployment?”
I chuckled, then took a deep breath. “Ready.”
“And…opening.” Daven tapped a button and the wall before me slowly began to split in two, divided by a brilliant blue light.
“Expected operation time five weeks!” Daven called over the noise of a rising wind. “Be back by then!”
“You bet!” I raised one hand in an informal salute, squared my shoulders, then stepped forward.
For a brief moment, the blue humming light of the Realm Gate surrounded me, then I was through. Wind dashed sting bits of sand against my cheek and immediately I was glad for the cloak. Not that I’d admit that to Katlyn.
Below me the blue glow begins to fade, but I don’t look back as I continue deeper into the Seda, ready to lead yet another nation to victory against the dark forces of evil.

Hunters of Shadowfen

It wasn’t nearly as large as the villagers had made it out to be. As big as cottage, certainly. If one counted the snaky tentacles along its huge humped back, it might almost rival two cottages. But it wasn’t twice the size of the town hall as the energetic alderman had insisted. Certainly not large enough to earn a monster rating. More like a beast, second class.
I drew a soft breath through parted lips and turned my head again, peering over the rim of the rickety canoe toward the creature slowly pulling itself from the depths of the Shadowfen. Its stumpy, scale-covered legs splashed water in all directions as its claws sank deep into the mud. The tentacles on its jaw rippled as the beast moved its head back and forth slowly, sniffing.
“Dorian?” My sister breathed out the word at my elbow.
“It’s working,” I replied, my eyes drifting to the light at the prow of the boat. My hand closed about the smooth staff of my javelin. “I think it’s blind, but it can probably sense the heat…and hear and smell.”
Tanla shifted next to me. “Big too. How fast do you think it can move?”
I titled my head slightly as the creature paused. Its dim eyes shifted the shadows in our direction.
“Looks like we’re about to find out. Ready to run?”
Tanla’s teeth shown white in the dim light as she grinned. “Ready.”
“And who knows?” I raised my eyebrows as she unwrapped a sling and prepared a scale-piercing stone. “Perhaps if we take care of this thing, the council will send us after a real monster.”
We both stiffened as the beast snorted, then our gazes met.
I nodded slightly. “Charge.”

Shadow in the Night

Another random scene, or flash fiction as I’ve heard them called. The scene turned out differently than what I expected when I started it, and by the time I was finished I decided it needed a book of its own. When and where, I don’t know, but someday I’m going to write this story.

“What have you done?” Magden staggered back as the dark figure withdrew his glittering blade from his chest. A weakness he’d not felt in an age and a half course through his veins. “I carry the blood of dragons. No mortal blade can slay me.”
“Except this isn’t a mortal blade.” The moonlight glinted off a grimacing mask as the dark figure stepped to the edge of his cloaking shadows. He chuckled as Magden’s own blade slipped from his gauntleted fingers and he stumbled to one knee. “This blade is forged in the fires of Fate herself, and purged with the three-twined blood of king, dragon, and warrior.”
Magden drew a sharp breath, blinking away a mist which hovered before his eyes. It couldn’t be…how, by all that was pure…?
“There are few…who can wield such a blade.” The words fell between his labored breathing.
“And only one who is as dark as I.” The figure lifted a booted foot, shoving Magden in the chest.
Magden muffled a groan as he crumpled on the pavement of the narrow street. Gritting his teeth, he forced himself up on one elbow just as silver flashed in his vision. A mask clattered, spinning on the stones only inches from his face. Slowly Magden lifted his gaze to the cloaked figure as cold terror settled in his bones.
“Darow.” The word fell from his lips like the name of death itself.
The figure inclined his head slightly. “Didn’t think you’d recognize me after all these years.”
“You thought I’d forget?”
“It would have been better if you had.” Darow shrugged and sheathed his sword. “But greater things are breaking with the tide of night. Things you cannot stop. Or perhaps I should say, could not stop if you weren’t already dying.”
He should have known…should have suspected. The rumors…the age of peace…it was never meant to last. Magden shook his head weakly as Darow turned away. He’d failed…failed again, and the united nations of Karisa would pay the price. Darkness swept about him, cloaking the dim lamps, cloaking the street, cloaking the retreating figure. But still he heard his nemesis’s final words, drifting with an evening breeze.
“Good night for the final time, my brother.”

The End

Another random scene from Ravelry. I was quite pleased with this one, based off the picture below.

She wasn’t ready, but it was coming anyway.
She could feel it in the trembling of the earth beneath the feet of hundreds of armies. She could hear it in the faint clashes echoing from the beginning of the age. She could taste it in the saltiness of tears and smell it in the smoke of a thousand homes.
The end…The end was coming.
Taking a deep breath, she stared upwards, facing the last gleams of light which sliced though the tall trees. The last gleams of the last day of the last age…
How many had she lost? How many had bled and died? How many were still suffering?
The light blinked out, but resolve hardened in her heart and she finally brought her gaze to the forest floor. To the small chest lying there. And to the iron key in her hand.
The end. The end. The end. The words throbbed though the air about her.
The end was coming.
Her hand didn’t tremble as she crouched, twisting the key in the lock then throwing it into the brush.
The end was coming.
Slowly she rose, lifting the trunk.
Around her the winds quickened, carrying with them the thunder of battle, the weeping of woman, and the last cries of the wounded.
Resolve crystallized into grim determination.
She was ready.
Without hesitation, without trembling, she slowly lifted the lid of the chest. Blue mist billowed out, tossing in the wind and curling away.
Slowly, she closed her eyes as the earth stilled and the sounds faded.
All was silent except for the moaning of the wind.
The end had come.