I regret to inform you that this isn’t a Starry Heavens post, but it is some fiction to tide you over. I have about five hundred words of the Festival post left to write and I have been assured that some of you fleshy things crave more, so very much more. My little hedonists. Now this story was written a while ago for a NaNoWriMo long since past. It never came to fruit and has since languished on my computer stick-y thing (USB Stick). I have just rewrote and edited it for your consumption, isn’t your God-Queen so nice? I believe you will enjoy it, you may find that the magic system is similar to the one in my previous post Creativity. You could almost say that it was a dry run for my current work in progress, a story tentatively titled Sky-Fire. I hope you enjoy my loves.
The night was a thick mantel across the sky, lightning raced across it like a storm grey velvet shot through with silver thread. Rain fell in cold sparse patches making the way slow and every step an ordeal. The torchlight hissed and sputtered in the rain making the numerous shadows jump and dance. The travelers had long since dispensed with speaking, trying to conserve as much energy as possible for their flight; the sickly sweet scent of rotting vegetation hung heavy in the air, an acrid perfume. “Oh Fine!” An annoyed male voice rang out, the stress from the long trek weighing heavily on his words. With a flourish of his hand a small ball of pale flame flared to life as a half formed word fell from his lips causing the torch flame to completely disperse, taking with it the flickering orange light and replacing it with dim blue hues. The soft light illuminated his face in the dark in a way that the flame ever could; it was magic born flame and was an abomination.
“Liam!” A feminine voice hissed, her voice tense with stress and fear. “Put that out right now. Relight the torch.”
“Come on now Meara, it’s just one witchlight, hell it’s not even that big. What? At most someone is going to think it’s a will o’wisp or some of the fair folk dancing in their rings.” He smirked an unprecedented confidence and smugness coloured his words. He walked on ahead, the witchlight bobbing above him like a glowing coronet and his chest puffed outward in vain pride. “Who’s going to come investigating, some highwaymen? They’re scared of their shadows and flame and wind are our friend.”
“Liam, I believe it to be best to err on the side of caution, while yes it may look like a fairy courts procession one witchlight does not a dozen fairy lights make. Do you have enough strength to glamour and create a dozen lights?” Nicholas said as clever smile played at his lips, he tugged at his sleeve and wiped some of the mud from his hands. “We should stop for a moment anyway, we should rest for a bit and conserve our strength; we’ve been afoot for hours and now is as good as any.”
Nicholas sighed as he dropped down onto a relatively dry patch of ground at the base of an old growth oak; he didn’t give either of them a choice, they were going to stop at his command. He pulled at his ruffed sleeve once more, tearing it in the process; he groaned and wiped the moisture from his brow. “Meara, love, I believe you’re going to have to change. You’re skirts are causing more trouble then their worth. I’m sure between Liam and I, we’ve got something you can wear and still be decent.”
“We need to find fresh water before I even think about changing, I mean have you seen the state we’re in? All of this mud and grime and filth.” Meara said as she sat down on the arch of an exposed root. A lock of hair falling into her eyes and she huffed a bit before digging into her pack. “Did either of you pack anything to drink? I mean, I managed to hide some milk; I’m no quite sure how fresh it is but it’s better than nothing.”
The boys watched as she piled her hair high on her head a few pins between her lips as she hummed quietly a tune reminiscent of the French acting troupe that had passed through the town a month ago. Liam sat down across from her his eyes focused intently on the curve of her pale supple breast as he riffled through his bag blindly reaching for the whiskey hidden amongst the tangled nest of clothes and loose shillings clicking in the dark. “Uh, I’ve got some whiskey, it’s fresh, if you could call it that.”
“Oh put that away, you’re fumbling about like a lost puppy.” She said with a laugh, her eyes a pair of shinning emeralds in the magic born light. “I don’t feel anyone nearby, Do you Liam?”
A strange glazed look crossed Liams’ face as his two companion felt something brush across and then through them. He reached out with magic looking from the branches and stems of the plants. Perspiration dotted his brow, Meara and Nicholas did as they’d done a thousand times before; no spell or incantation needed. They made the connection first with each other, their minds brushed for a moment before they fell into the wellspring of power that sprang forth from between them. It was like being wholly made of light and taking breath for the first time; they got lost in the reverie for a sweet moment, falling into the pulse of the power that made up the whole of the other. Grey eyes met green in the pale witchlight and the pair shared a sly smile, in unison they reached out and made the connection. Meara being the forever mother hen took up the mantel of strain to let Liam concentrate on the spell he wove. Nicholas held the power for a moment, his every cell vibrating with power unimagined by those who bore no magic. He watched with eyes unseeing as Meara sat across from him, her spirit shape shining the iridescent green of the sea, it was almost orgasmic the rush of power flowing from him directed down the channel between them and into Liam. The power surged into him like brilliant arc of lightning , the witchlight flared into a large luminescent globe constantly shaping and changing, one moment a greem flower and the next a cube in the deepest shades of purple.
The world distorted, everything seemed to glow and hum with power; they watched with a thousand eyes and angles magnified and twisted beyond compare, some higher than high and others lower than the dirt and mud they’d trod across an hour before. The tension visibly drained from their bodies their backs once ramrod straight and rigid where now bent and bowed; a sigh of relief came from Nicholas’ lips as he leaned into the tree flanked on each side by the large root system. He pulled the ribbon that bound his hair into loose ponytail, the black hair cascaded down his shoulders making his pale face stand out stark against the inky blackness of his silken hair.
“It seems like we’re mostly alone,” Nicholas trailed off a yawn making his normally alluring features a cartoonish mock up of his true visage. “might be good to sleep for a few hours.”
“Yes, it’s probably for the best.” Meara said sounding half asleep.
“I guess I’ll take first watch.” Liam muttered a sour look on his face making his aquiline nose look much more hawk-like in the pale sorcerous light.
“Liam, We’re fine.” The dark-haired Nickolas said his voice soft and seductive like velvet as he worked to keep a smile from his face. “We’ll just bank up a fire which will keep most creatures a way.”
Liam shrugged, a large swath of mud glistened wetly in his cropped blonde hair as he pulled himself up from the muddy ground he’d staked out as his. He grunted and pulled out a few blankets made of dour grey fabrics and brown yarn, mostly torn and threadbare; he tossed them over at Meara who mucked around for dryer wood in the surrounding brush. She breathlessly hummed again and abandoned her work and started to arrange the blankets into a nest mindful to put more on the ground and to the trunk of the tree. She pursed her lips at the state of things, they’d each fled from their house and home, they had nothing but what they could carry; a few blankets, clothes, and a few shillings between them.
Nicholas circled a Blackthorn looking for handholds in the weak light, he sighed in frustration as he reached out with magic power and conjured with a thought a witchlight; the globe of devilish light cast a twisted light illuminating the aged tree. The light brought the tree into stark relief it’s thorns a sinister threat.
“Liam, lend me some of your tree shaping skill will you?” He asked as he stroked across the bark mindful of the sharp thorns.
He felt a warmth spring unbidden inside of him, staving off the Autumnal chill; He gestured at the high branches and made as if to pull them down by sheer force of will. “Come here.” Nicholas ordered his voice distorted as if by the still of winter. The tree bent and twisted being shaped anew, it turned In on itself curving, the black wood groaned and shifted and the fire burned through him; the tree was like pliable clay on a potter’s wheel changing and shifting to his will alone. The connection snapped and the fire gone. “Thank you.” He muttered his head throbbing from the strain of unfamiliar magic.
Liam snapped small branches and tossed them toward the smile accumulated pile of wood and debris that Meara had collected, he uncoiled the rope from around his waist the rough texture scratching at his work calloused hands; he tied the packs together and hung them high in the branches. Meara walked the boundary of the camp a flashing iron blade in her hand glittering red with blood, glistening red droplets fell like rubies from her slashed palm. The air stilled and crackled with power, words of protection and warning spilled forth from her mouth along with the acrid tang of magic raced across her taste buds. Nicholas plucked sloes from the twisted branches, the thorns scratched at his hands as he caught up the berries in his outstretched shirt like a basket. The blood thrummed hot in his ears as the golden lattice of energy flared around their camp before quickly disappearing; they were safe, for the moment.