FFfAW: Greeting the Four

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Photo prompt © Yarnspinner

Greeting the Four

The seats had been placed with utmost precision: north, south, east and west, each one carefully aligned. Veraen nodded in satisfaction.

“Anything else, Sir?” his assistant – Jaeden? Jened? – said, and he gestured in dismissal, shooing the man out of the sacred space. He’d spent too long in preparation to let the bumbling fool ruin things for him.

He alone would greet the Four.

Veraen recited the invocation with practiced ease, excitement growing as power gathered. Figures began to coalesce, unbounded energy taking humanoid form. He fell to his knees as four sets of eyes turned upon him. Four voices spoke in unison.

“How dare you?”

What? No! That wasn’t right! He tried to speak, but no words emerged. He tried to move, but his limbs were weighted, immovable.

“Greetings, Great Ones,” his assistant – Joren, he now recalled – said. “May I approach?”

As Joren strode past he dropped a page before Veraen’s frozen form. Instructions to avoid insulting the Four filled the sheet. The torn edge and Joren’s smirk told him exactly why he’d never seen the page before…

Word count: 175

To read the other entries or to submit your own, click the little blue frog.

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This post is for Priceless Joy’s Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers challenge. This week’s prompt was provided by Yarnspinner. Thank you, Yarnspinner!

It seems like forever since I last wrote a piece of flash fiction – though its actually only a little over a month. That month, however, has been insanely busy. I’m now living in a house in Lincoln (UK) with my sister and my teenage nephew, rather than in the village with my parents. Luckily, for a countryside loving girl like me, we’re right on the edge of a green stretch, with fields and woods only a few minutes walk away, so it doesn’t really feel like I’m in the middle if a city. I’ll try to share some pictures soon!

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed the story. Hopefully it doesn’t feel too rushed – it was originally over 300 words long, so a lot had to be cut out of it! I’d love to know what you think.

FFfAW: The Lady’s Advice

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The Lady’s Advice

“You need to hold your head up high, child,” the lady said, lifting Gilli’s chin with elegant fingers. “Keep your spine straight and your shoulders back.”

“I can do that.”

“Act as if nothing anyone says or does bothers you. Confidence is essential. You must remain cool, calm and collected at all times.”

Gilli nodded, repeating the words like a mantra. “Cool, calm and collected.”

A kind smile softened the lady’s face. “Just remember, the Choosing is never wrong, and you’ll be just fine, my dear.”

***

“Cool, calm and collected,” Gilli breathed aloud as she roused herself from trance, the lady’s words continuing to echo in her ears.

On the wall before her, the painting – the only decoration in an otherwise stark room – glowed with an ethereal light, the spirit bound within canvas and paint making her presence clear.

Gilli rose to her feet, wrapping a sense of self-confidence around herself like the royal cloak she would soon don. After all, the lady was correct: she had been Chosen, and the Choosing was never wrong.

Word count: 175

To read the other entries, or to add your own, click the little blue frog.

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This post is for Priceless Joy’s Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers challenge. This week’s prompt was provided by me.

The picture is a photograph of some of the waxwork figures in Warwick Castle. These depict a dinner party from 1898 that was hosted by Daisy, the Countess of Warwick, and that was attended by the Prince of Wales (later Edward VII) and a young Winston Churchill.

I’m incredibly behind at the moment in both visiting blogs and responding to comments left on my own posts, so I’d like to apologise to everyone who has paid my blog a visit recently. Unfortunately, this is unlikely to improve any time soon. This is because I’m about to move house. My sister and I have been talking about getting a place together for a while now, and we’re finally actually doing so. We get the keys on Wednesday, after which we’ll have a lot of decorating and moving in to do…

TLT: Visions of Unicorns

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Photo prompt © Fleur Treuniet via Unsplash

She loved to watch the unicorns as they took their ease amidst the meadow flowers. They shimmered with an allure that drew her eyes time and again. And if no one else could see them – well, that was their problem, really, not hers.


This post is for Sonya’s Three Line Tales. This week’s prompt is by Fleur Treuniet, via Unsplash.

 

FFfAW: Testing Times

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Photo prompt MajesticGoldenRose

Testing Times

Gretnya gripped her husband’s hand, writhing anxiety choking her as the final calf was led into the testing area.

Please, she prayed to any deity listening.

“It’ll be fine,” Brindel said. “This time it’ll have worked, you’ll see.” The tremble in his voice contradicted the confidence of his words. She squeezed his hand tighter.

The strange sickness had swept through the herds with rampant disregard for the livelihoods depending on them. In the space of a month the carcasses had piled high. Two winters later and smoke from the pyres continued to hang, a heavy death cloak, over the plains.

Faced with ruin, many tribesfolk had left, seeking work in the distant towns. The few who remained continued to try every spell known to the mages, desperate to protect the remnants of their herds. Hope lay with the young. Surely something, eventually, would stop the disease from taking hold.

Please, let it be this time, Gretnya prayed.

Finally, the mage emerged from the testing pen. His expression told them more than words ever could.

Word Count: 174

To read other stories, or to submit your own, click the little blue frog.

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This post is for Priceless Joy’s Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers challenge. This week’s prompt was provided by MajesticGoldenRose. Thank you!

I actually have one word free in my story this week, and I was tempted to put an extra one in the final sentence, before the word ‘expression’. I couldn’t decide which one to use, however – ‘joyous’or ‘stricken’. They leave you with very different endings! In the end I decided to use neither. You can all decide for yourselves whether the results of the test are good or bad.

I hope you liked it.

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FFfAW: The End?

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Photo prompt © Shivangi Singh

The End?

“It’s finally over.” Jonin’s voice held a mixture of relief and sorrow as he gazed at the courtyard below.

Helleni hummed her agreement. Leaning into his embrace, she watched in satisfaction as the final cobble was laid. Only they and the workmen were aware of the crypt hidden beneath the stones – and no word of it would be spoken. She’d make sure of that.

The past five years had been filled with turmoil, as Fenrin sought to claim his brother’s throne. He’d used every scrap of dark energy at his disposal to remove Jonin from power. Not even death had halted his quest.

“He won’t escape now,” Helleni reassured. “The crystal will hold him for hundreds of years. We’re safe.”

“Because of you, my love.”

She smiled as Jonin’s lips met hers in a tender caress. With every kiss, further tendrils of control tangled his heart.

Once, Fenrin had promised her power. He’d promised her influence. Eventually, she’d grown weary of waiting.

Now she knew – if she wanted power, she had to take it for herself.

Word Count: 175 words

To read other stories, click the little blue frog.

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This post is for Priceless Joy’s Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers challenge. This week’s prompt was provide by Shivangi Singh. Thank you Shivangi!

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FFfAW: Unexpected Consequences

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Photo Prompt – Grant-Sud / Flooded Out With Books

Unexpected Consequences

Adrugian gazed wearily over the arid landscape, the insistent beat of the sun sapping energy he could ill afford to lose. He knew the villagers below didn’t understand why he traipsed so often to the heights. He’d seen the looks they exchanged. He’d heard their snide comments. Unfortunately, the truth was something they could never comprehend.

He sighed, tossing a pebble over the edge and listening for its faint spolsh into the distant trickle of water. Sometimes it seemed only yesterday he’d learned to skim stones, standing at that very spot. Back when the river had filled the canyon to brimming. Back when the rains still fell.

They’d been so young, then. So naive. All they’d wanted was to halt the devastation of the spring floods. They hadn’t realised the effect their rituals would have.

Now, only he remained…

Adrugian gasped as sudden pain tore through his chest. He slumped backwards, shadows darkening his gaze. He knew his time had come, but a smile formed as he took in his final sight.

Clouds gathered above.

Word Count: 175


This post is for Priceless Joy’s Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers challenge. This week’s prompt was provided by Grant from Flooded out with Books.

To read the other entries click the little blue frog.

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I’d like to both thank and apologise to everyone who has visited my blog recently and left either likes or comments. Whilst I’ve been trying to put together posts, I unfortunately haven’t found the time to respond to comments or to visit anyone’s blogs. Sorry! Hopefully, now the kids are all back at school, work will quieten down somewhat and I’ll finally manage to catch up. I have to admit that all ll I’ve wanted to do with my free time over the Christmas holiday is curl up with a book!

Just to warn everyone, though, I am intending to get stuck into editing the novel I wrote during NaNoWriMo during January, so my blogging might not be as frequent as it has been in the past.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season, whatever festival you were celebrating.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐

As it’s nearly midnight here, I’m afraid seeing what everyone else has written will have to wait until tomorrow morning…

Night night. 🙂

FFfAW: Susceptible

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Photo prompt – Joy Pixley

Susceptible

Willow spotted the pair long before they reached her. The man was perfect, open minded and curious. The woman was more… problematic. She exuded confidence, carrying a fixed world-view that prevented any tampering to her thoughts.

But the man was too good to ignore.

“Come,” she whispered into his mind. “This way.”

He stopped, his vacant gaze turning towards the doorway where Willow glowed enticingly. The woman continued on, unaware of her companion’s distraction.

“Follow me.”

The woman’s frantic voice drifted from below as Willow led him steadily higher, but it was distant, unable to infringe on the enthrallment entwining his thoughts. Soon they’d reach the portal. Soon she’d be able to return home.

“Come closer.” She ignored the approaching footfalls. “Quickly.”

“James!” The woman pounded into sight. Cursing, she dragged him away from the banister onto which he’d climbed. “What the hell are you doing?”

Willow’s hopes disintegrated along with her hold on the man’s mind.

“I… I don’t know,” he said.

The shaken pair retreated. The portal continued to drift in mid-air, demanding blood.

Word Count: 175

To read the other entries, click the little blue frog.

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This post is for Priceless Joy’s Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers Challenge. This week’s prompt was provided by Joy Pixley. Thank you, Joy

FFfAW: Captivated

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Captivated

Raedan’s hands clenched around the gift box as he listened to the announcement. Lady Seleste had chosen her suitor.

And it wasn’t him.

Everyone else faded into insignificance as she glided across the hall. With each tilt of her head, each flash of a smile, she set his senses reeling. She’d captivated him from the first. Now he had one final chance…

“A gift, my lady.” He knelt as she passed.

He didn’t see her companion until a masculine hand intercepted the box and flipped it open. His protest died in his throat as he looked into a familiar face. He wanted to flee – knew he should flee – but his body refused to obey.

“So this is the man who thinks to own me?” Seleste’s disgust burned.

“Indeed.” The treacherous wizard at her side lifted the gem he’d enchanted for Raedan free. “This stone was intended to control you.” He pinned the delicate confection into her hair. “Instead it will control him. My wedding gift to you, my love.”

Unable to do otherwise, Raedan followed in their wake.

Word Count: 175

To read the other entries, click the little blue frog.wpImg


This post is for Priceless Joy’s Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers. This week’s photo prompt was provided by Jade M. Wong. Thank you Jade!

CB&W: Sunlit Leaves

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They hide amongst the sunlit leaves, with only hints of movement to betray their presence. If you watch carefully you might see a darting shape, there and gone in the blink of an eye. But listen. You can hear them: the swish of fluttering wings; the pattering of tiny footsteps on branches. And there – the tinkling of laughter as they peek down at you in curious amusement.

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This post is for Cee’s Black and White Challenge. The theme is still trees.

CB&W: Trees

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They huddle beneath the sheltering branches, hidden from view by tangled growth. Soon they’ll have to move – their pursuers won’t have given up so easily – but for now they sleep in restless slumber, recovering their strength for the struggle ahead. Their dreams are haunted by dark figures who laugh as blood cascades over a barren landscape.

The spirit of the oak tree cradles them close, concealing their presence from any who might continue to search. Each anxious whimper is hushed by the whisper of wind through leaves; each fear is soothed as the oak’s indomitable strength, drawn from the depths of the earth, pours through them.

They’ll awaken refreshed and renewed, their hearts filled with all the courage and determination they’ll need to complete their quest.

Their benefactor’s role will pass unnoticed.


This post is for Cee’s Black and White Challenge. This week’s theme is trees.

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