Today, I discovered that the amazing dancing violinist Lindsey Stirling (from America’s Got Talent) has a new album out. ‘Tis a good day.
This track in particular, Roundtable Rival, stood out as I was wrote today’s flash fiction:
Yup. THAT is Lindsey Stirling.
So with that, as well as this writing prompt,
here is this week’s short story.
It was there in the dusky, dusty chamber of the abandoned building that they made camp. Settling by the missing clock face, where the only shaft of light managed to edge in past the rusted hands, they got to work.
Mietha’s soldiers were trained for speed and accuracy, be it in battle or menial tasks like forging weapons. The best of them had had years of training in the sky children’s primitive technology. This time, they had one more thing on their side: Earth magic. It was not quite as advanced as that of the sea children, but here on this island in the human world, they were able to acquire what they needed from the black market.
Now, they set up their equipment: glass bowls and tin canisters, sandalwood for accelerated kindling, and rows and rows of bones meant for more meticulous arrangement later.
Their exiled general had been stranded at the island for long enough. In times like this, ranks were a secondary consideration, hierarchy demolished. And if anyone thought it was madness to trust in the two girls who would help conceal them from the rest of the human world, none of them voiced their dissent.
There in the quiet isolation of the abandoned building, with its crumbling walls and splintered roof shutters that let in the faint moonlight, the renegade rebels worked at twice their regular speed, creating more bodies for their disguise, their deception … never realising how close they came to being discovered by the white-tailed kite circling in the sky.
The Raptor, second in command to the missing prince of the renegade army, was having no luck with the bloodstone. After shifting into her human form and settling into a decrepit red-bricked building for more privacy, she had spent the better part of the hour trying to exhume the magic within the stone.
But the stone had a will of its own, and it was not relinquishing its secrets, no matter how she strained over it.
The Raptor — or Kivyn, as she was more commonly known among her kite family — flung the bloodstone across the room. It made a resonant clatter in the drafty, hollow quarters.
Curse these humans and their crude magic! How barbaric, how elementary — and not to mention messy — to use blood for magic.
It struck her as ironic that a Raptor, notorious for her ability to shred her enemies with her claws and blind them with her beak, would find something barbaric.
Time was running out for her. The monarchy was disintegrating back home, and the soldiers were rebelling. If she couldn’t find the crown prince, then the very least she could do was restore some order.
But prince or not, she couldn’t leave this world without Eylar. She didn’t know what he was to her, but she knew he was the only person she had ever trusted and cared for. And she would be damned if she let this world steal him away.
The rebel renegades froze at the sound of the clatter, the blood slowing in their veins. They were so close — it would be a terrible shame if they were forced to abandon their near-complete work now.
With renewed intensity, they completed the ritual. The sisters would be here soon, but first the soldiers had to get used to their new flesh, and learn to shift in and out with relative ease. It was tricky to grasp the intricacies of shifting — the best of them took weeks — but now they were to master their new bodies in the space of hours.
This rescue mission was doomed from the start, but they had to take whatever chance they had to steal their general back from the forgotten coast of Bastiron before the new emperor could recruit her — recruit being a far kinder term than what he would actually do.
This slaughter campaign was not for them, nor was annihilating the sea kingdom. What they would fight for, however, was the restoration of the old civilisation, the one that was now buried under this avalanche of hate and jealousy and fear.
When the rebel soldiers each stripped off their worn, battered bodies and stepped into their new flesh, so too did the Raptor shift into her creature self before taking off into the night in search of the blood she needed.
So opposing in their causes, but so similar in their execution. Chance was a concept often scorned by the renegades. But here they were, stepping into a makeshift life and taking all the chances they could to save their mangled home.