Sunday, September 18, 2016

Two Free Fantasy stories from me

Two more stories by me. A brand new one and an older revised tale. Both are fantasy but of different types. "Mirror" is classic fantasy and the "Roamer's Burn" is something different.

The first one is 2,000 words exactly. I wrote it and then revised it a bit. It may still probably needs some work but I think it's good. The other is 856 words long and is a different type of fantasy. The shorter story is many years old even though it was revised a couple of months ago and partially again a couple of days ago.

A while ago I said I was doing a story for SaturdayScenes but I still haven't finished it. I am not sure how to end it. I think I am half way done, but as I said not sure how to go on. So it sits.

The first one was inspired by a picture someone posted to Google+

Here is a link to that pic

The page includes the writer's name.

Now for "Mirror" the first story:

The torch showed little. At least its smoke drifted back toward the entrance that led to this section of the catacombs. The special wrappings and plants burned very slow but still let out a light stink. Tenda had studied the very old, large bricks that this catacomb had been made of. They had greyed with age. It’s older even than the ancient building that stood above the doorway that had led down here. The whole place smelled of dust, mold and age-and old blood. A tiny light shone down further but most of this place was darker than a dragon’s gut.
As a warrior Tenda wore her half armor: breastplate, leather arm and leg coverings, but the coldness here still made her glad she had brought the cape and placed the cowl over her head. She secured it in a way that didn’t block her sight or hearing. The ends of her shoulder length black hair still escaped though, but it wasn’t a concern even when the strands caught in her mouth and she tasted the sweat and grim on it. She was used to that.
Her arms were bare except for waist guards-most people were surprised by how muscular her arms looked. They were as many men, a few women and a couple of monsters had found out.
She looked around. Silence lay everywhere except for her slight footfalls. The passageway was narrow, but she thought she could still fight even with her longer sword held in her left hand. And she also had enough room to run if she needed to. But, she thought, nothing should be here to run from. The brick walls had greyed with age, except for where lichen and mold grew.
What did the mold feed on though?
Her pack carried some food and smaller water skins, but it had room for any gems, artifacts or if she found what she searched for. So far she had found only some scrolls in one tiny room, the now rested in a pouch on her side. One looked newer than the others. She had no idea what they said. She had taken them for one never knew when something was important. Her impulses usually turned out right as if she had a gift to know things.
Two more turns and she found herself at a side niche. The light she had noticed came from a reflection of her torch in a mirror. Just like the ones used in a Lady’s bedroom or some of the better Inns. Bones of a strange beast made up its frame. A mirror? Down here? And five candles added to the light. A soot scent drifted around, and a very faint burnt wax smell. One candle had burned down to a stub, that would burn out very soon, two were thick. And one that was out lay on its side. The wick showed that it had burned but not for long. This might be the place marked by that strange symbol on the scroll-map she carried half stuffed into a pocket on her right side. She figured the symbol may mean “stay away” but it could mean X marks the spot too. Her skin crawled and she felt like she could jump at any noise.
It took her two-seconds to see that the mirror was cracked: three v shaped cracks along the center of the left side and a longer one that ran across the glass all the way to the other side. A disk shaped shelf stood in front of it. The candles and four other unlighted ones stood to the left A tapestry hung to the right. It had a circle with what looked like two decorative circles on it. Rips and faded colors showed that it was very old. The mirror and frame looked almost new. Except for that crack. Was the frame holding the mirror together? That made her wonder what creature’s bones they were. They didn’t look human. And was that a real skull at the very top? A small creature if it was. A shape under the bowl looked the same as the shapes on the tapestry. Skulls decorated the bowl. They may have been the same skull that sat on top of the mirror.
Her image stared back at her as she gave the mirror a quick study.
Something about that mirror isn’t right.
Wait, burning candles. That meant someone came here on a regular bases. She watched wax drip down one to join a pool of wax at the bottom. So that meant there was no spell here that kept them burning for years. Tenda half turned to look behind her. Nothing moved, no new shadows, no sounds or new odors.
But no sound and no movements. There had to be another way down here because the dust on the floor was undisturbed until she walked through it. She studied the darkness behind her with her ears as well as eyes. Her exposed skin, what little of it there was, might warn her too; of heat, or extra cold or air suddenly moving. Tenda sniffed, no extra dust or sweat or perfume smells either. Once a taste on the wind saved her from something bad in the air.
With an aborted shake of her head she turned back to the mirror. Turned her head back to the rear came back slowly. Before she realized she stood three steps back. Her body had recognized the oddness before her mind did. The thing that made her skin crawl lay before her not behind her. What had alerted her was the fact that her image’s head hadn’t moved when hers did. She thought it may not have when she turned back, when she tested it, she found it true. That had promoted her mind to see what she hadn’t noticed before. Her image was perfect; same sword held at the same position in the same hand, the same with the torch. The scrolls showed. Her armor looked the same as did her cape, and her belt looked right.
My eyes do not glow like that.
Neither did her cowl did not cover her face with shadows like her image. Plus her bosom wasn’t that large.
So what lived in her image? Could it take her over? Was it responsible for the blood on the walls that the mold fed on? Could it be her from a different dimension? Some wise and learned men thought there were such dimensions. Not this time she thought. Someone worshipped whatever was in there, that had taken her image.
The liquid in the bowl bubbled, the flames flared. How cliche she thought. But the image came her way even as she took another step backwards. It raised its sword-just like she would. If she fought herself she might win or they could kill each other or it could be even. But that larger bosom could mean larger shoulder and arm muscles.
The candles
With the barest of thoughts, Tenda took three steps closer and using the sword carefully brushed the candles until they rested against the glass. If that was what this object was made from. The heat seemed to fog the base of the image. It burned inside the mirror but not the glass.
Damn that will take too long.
She moved the torch toward the image. A breeze warned her but she reacted too slow. A force reached out from the mirror. It grabbed her around the middle. The image smiled even though she didn’t know how she knew that. The strong grip pulled at her, she stepped back. Her strength wasn’t enough though. The tentacle-or whatever it was-felt slimy on bare skin. It hurt where it touched and pulled, like that rope the Kinssie used to capture her two years ago.
It partially blocked her sword arm, so she couldn’t get a good swing at it. Maybe she could drop and go for her stiletto in the sheath strapped to her side.
The sword fell and bounced with a clear clank-it always sounded musical because of the quality of the metal. The loudness confirmed that it had hit the shelf and stayed there. Her arms snaked into the slit but, part of what wrapped around her covered it. There had to be a way to defeat it before it pulled her inch by inch to the glass.
A light flickered, she glanced up at it. The image of the torch was nearer to her. A look down at the candles. They still burned but not fast enough. She bet the mirror image of the flames didn’t burn hot. How she knew that she couldn’t guess but that meant her first plan…
Nothing else to do so she shoved the torch in her free arm at the glass, but even though the image stopped, she couldn’t get close enough to touch it. Flames caught on the inside but it moved closer again. Faster this time. It acted determined to stop her. She needed to break the glass, but someone had done that already and it hadn’t worked.
Her feet slid on the brick floor. The image lifted its sword higher and readied it to skewer her. Or slice her throat. She had to fight it that meant she needed her sword again. A step forward-a a stink of something awful that burned reached her nose. Sweat dripped onto her forehead, down her underarms before her padding absorbed it.
Tenda managed to reach down and grab the hilt of her sword. The smooth metal in her hand and she pulled it up in a sudden, strong swing. It hit metal, too close to her belly. The image backed up and stepped again toward her. She swung again and swords squealed as one ran against the other.
Someone had broken the mirror before so it could be done. But there was one thing that person hadn’t done.
She gathered her strength and determination: with a yell she lounged forward in a fast, hard sudden movement with all of her strength and swung. Not at the other blade though. A loud click, followed by a crack but not of glass. The mirror rippled, the whole image twisted, one side titled. Then it started to fall. At the same moment she used the blade to flick two candles inside the image then stabbed it again with the torch. The head of the touch went into the mirror, broke off. The being opened its mouth in a silent scream and reared back. The glass continued to fall. Flames started to fill the image it produced. It shattered as it hit the shelf then the floor.
Her body jerked as the pressure halted. Tenda took a long breath. Ashes came it along with air. She turned back to the broken pieces of the mirror. What was left of the glass showed dark. Wait something flickered inside like a flame. She looked at the shattered pieces and the cut bone of the frame. So her idea to cut the frame had worked. It had held the glass together even after it was cracked badly. Only one candle remained lit and what light the burning image produced.
As quick as she could move she got out her flint and managed to start a fire on what was left of her torch. It caught and the light grew. She held it up, spun around. Nothing was around her. With a shake of her head she continued down the passageway. The three scrolls still poked out of her pouch and everything else seemed okay. But her hands shook.
On the way out she found one more room and maybe what she had searched for. There was another door that led from a mostly dust free passage. She hurried out that way and found an old abandoned temple. She went back to her Inn to seek out a bath.


Second story "The Roamer's Burn"

The Being roamed, as his type delighted in doing. He enjoyed the long empty spaces and he walked carefree because he knew very little in his environment could harm or even effect him. And he didn’t care where he went, just so that he moved and saw new sights, listen to sounds he hadn’t heard before, and smelled new aromas-even if the last one was rare. Those little points of heat sometimes produced sounds he that either soothed him, or excited his emotions. Most of all he liked to stroll along. He didn’t care where he went. He knew he had lived for a long time and that an object could change by the time he got to it, but that could become something new.
After a long life not much was new to him, but certain objects and events he didn’t mind seeing twice or even three times. The same with sounds. Some smells and a couple of noises though he hadn’t liked and would ovoid if he saw what made them in time.
Of the three, or four, dangers he needed to look out for only one was plentiful. One he could barely see, for most were small and light didn’t escape from it, but he saw with other radiations so he could see matter, heat, and light being pulled into one. He had only seen two that were large enough to grab him, but the smaller ones could do some damage to his body and would slow him too much as he fought to get free of it.
A third one was rare also and very hard to spot. A tiny point of light would just expand for some reason he didn’t know. The rapid expansion could harm him. One had badly injured a fellow being a while back. That one had headed for a red point of light but it expanded suddenly before he reached it. This roamer had heard the expension and the cry of his follow being. He was one of five who came to the injured one’s aid. The last danger he didn’t like to think about, it was so bad. All of his type were terrified of it.
There was of course tiny hazards. They were small round areas of light and extreme heat. They lay scattered almost everywhere and were a nascence. He always had to watch to keep from stepping too close to one.
He passed by a small object as it buzzed past him. It looked cold. He didn’t worry about it even though he had seen it three times. It could not harm him. Sometimes when one passed through him it slowed while it moved inside him. It almost tiggeled.
They are were other beings and creatures and most didn’t notice him, or they were very good at ignoring him.
He had no name, for he didn't need one. Each member of his race knew each other instantly, when they happened to meet each other, or heard them cry out. He didn’t know his true age for his people didn’t care of such matters. He just wanted to walk and see, hear, smell what was there, enjoying the movement of his body.
He looked to one side spotted a new set of colored objects, maybe he would head over there to take a closer look. When he took another step forward the Being grimaced. Aww, what?
Intense pain: a burning sensation in his lower leg. He had experienced with pain to know the different types and what it meant. He moved his hand reached for his upper shin. He proceeded to rub the spot, that had somehow been burned. He thought he smelled burnt skin, but that could be his imagination.
He looked down as he was rubbing the burn, and saw that he had gotten too close to one of the very small cinders, or points of light. Damn, he let himself be distracted.
The tiny lights were leftover from a huge explosion, that had occurred ages ago. It had been powerful enough to kill a couple of his followers, and to send these cinders over most of the terrain. He had been too close to one before, and knew they were extremely hot, even this long after the blast. This one was a bit smaller then many, and he hadn’t noticed it. After he straightened he went on his way determined to be more careful.
Even though he had been near it he hadn’t noticed or even would have cared except as a curiosity, that very tiny particles hung near the cinder. If he had looked closer he would have seen that the third one from this spot of light had a color, for a layer of water covered almost three-fourths of it. When he strode away though, it was almost totally covered with ice. Few of heartbeats later it warmed, long strands of hard ice receded. Large patches of frozen water at both ends of the particle shrunk, water flowed again. The inhabitants of the tiny blue mote came out of caves, and rejoiced that the ice was disappearing.

The end

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