Almost Love #FlashFictionChallange

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When she woke up, the first thing she saw was the white rose he had left on bedside table. Picking it up, she saw a scrap of paper with I Love You written on it in between the petals. Smiling, she knew she was never going to forget him, he was apart of her now. If she ever wanted to see him again all she had to do was close her eyes and he would appear in black and white before her. Then they could travel to any dream they wished, living as they both wished they could.

(Inspired from; https://carrotranch.com/2018/02/02/february-1-flash-fiction-challenge/ with thanks).

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Distant #writephoto

There were once three companions, a dwarf, a gnome and a fire sprite, who decided to set off on an adventure to the Ice Capped Mountains to kill the red dragon, Usullen, and take his treasure. They believed together and with their magic weapons, armour and years of experience that they would easily be victorious.

The journey from their home town, took two whole years and was extremely difficult. They faced many monsters, bad weather, fell out with each other often and got lost. They all wanted to turn around and go home but their stubbornness wouldn’t let them give in.

‘I’ve faced worse then this!’ the dwarf said gruffly.

‘Then you can face Usullen by yourself!’ the gnome snapped.

‘Fine by me. All the treasure will be mine!’ the dwarf responded.

‘No! Only half,’ the fire sprite jumped in, ‘I have changed my mind again.’

‘If you are still going…I must too!’ the gnome grumbled.

There was a collective groaning around the campfire then since there was nothing else to say, they tried to get some sleep on the hard, cold ground.

The next morning soon after they started walking again, they got their first look at the Ice Capped mountains far in the distance. The sky above was grey-blue, heavy with clouds containing snow. The bare green landscape was dotted with snow piles and twisted trees. Continuing, they felt in better spirits as they neared their destination.

The trek up the mountains to search for the red dragon’s cave was the hardest thing they had done. The wind howled around them, chilling them and threatening to throw off the mountain side. The snow hit them, blinding them then sticking to anything it could and weighing them down. It lay thickly at their feet making the going hard and hiding rocks that they tripped over.

The fire sprite used his power to light the way and the snow that fell on him melted away. The dwarf and gnome were too frozen and tried to argue about it. They pushed on and soon all their hard work was rewarded when the fire sprite spotted a cave. At first it was hard to tell if the cave was the home of a dragon, it was big enough to be but snow drifts covered the floor and walls.

They went deeper into the cave. The fire sprite flying high above so that the dwarf and gnome could use their dark sight better. They all spotted a sword laying on the floor, the skeleton remains of its owner, close by. Being careful not to disturb the dead, they went deeper still. More bones, weapons and armour littered the floor. There was no doubt now that they were in the right place.

They felt the air getting hot and shadows of light appeared on the walls. They entered a massive cavern and looked down to see a hoard of glittering treasure below. Breath caught in their throats and they couldn’t believe their eyes. But were was the red dragon, Usullen?

Looking around, they couldn’t spot the dragon anywhere. Had they arrived whilst he was out finding food. Going down into the cavern didn’t make the dragon appear. The gnome and fire sprite began filling the empty sacks they had brought with handfuls of treasure. The dwarf, kept guard, holding him might warhammer and searching everywhere.

‘We can’t just take the treasure without killing the dragon. We are not thieves!’ the dwarf rumbled.

‘Maybe, someone else killed the dragon but they didn’t know where his hoard was?’ the gnome suggested.

The dwarf didn’t believe him.

Taking all they could carry, the companions left the cave and went back out. A snowstorm was raging, so they had to wait for it to pass. They found a side passage that had been blocked off at the back. They made a camp and had a small celebration. The dwarf though, could only taste bitterness in his mouth. He had so wanted to kill the dragon!

The gnome and fire sprite fell asleep, finally able to relax now their goal was complete. The dwarf started awake, lost in his own thoughts.

In the morning, the storm had stopped and the companions began their journey down the mountains. It was harder then before as now they were weighted down by all their treasure and they were all wondering where the dragon was. Though no one wanted to voice that for fear of cursing their good luck.

Finally, they got to the base of the mountains and began to walk across the snow covered ground. A loud flapping and a shower of snow had them all turning to the right. There before them stood a might dragon! He’s bright red, gold tinted scales shone, his gold claws dug deep into the snow and his huge head with bright golden eyes turn towards the companions.

‘Ah,’ said the dragon in deep, tree shaking voice, ‘thieves!’

‘No! Dragon slayers!’ said the dwarf, waving his warhammer.

The dragon looked at the dwarf, the gnome and the fire sprite in turn, ‘You are not worthy of my time,’ he replied.

With a big intake of breath, the dragon breathed out and before the companions could prepare themselves, the dragon turned the thieves to stone and left them there as a reminder to all future adventurers who planned to steal from him.

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2018/01/18/thursday-photo-prompt-distant-writephoto/ with thanks).

The Tree #TwitteringTales

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The Druid tree stood bare in a forest full of green. Only when a person of nature magic touched the empty soil at the base would the tree awaken. The branches would fill with green leaves and pink blooms then the trunk would open, revealing the secret grove of the Druids.

(Inspired by; https://katmyrman.com/2018/01/16/twittering-tale-67-the-tree-16-january-2018/ with thanks).

Winter Forever

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The world had never been the same since the Evil Knight had taken over. We were all trapped in a snowstorm of winter, waiting to be freed. I didn’t believe the stories that a princess would come and melt his heart, this was beyond fairy tales now. No, I was going to do it; the village blacksmith with muscles described like ships’ anchors and a mighty warhammer made of long lost dwarf metals which I had perfected for years. There was no failure in my mind, only the hope that I was going to change the world.

(Inspired by; https://bikurgurl.com/2017/12/06/100-word-wednesday-week-48 with thanks).

Bleak #writephoto

The winter had stripped the land bare. The only place to go which the snow didn’t cover were the rocks jutting out of the sea. It was there that I stood that day and wondered what we would do if the winter remained. The wind whipped the lowering tide up and spray wet my flushed cheeks. The sky was dusky and the clouds heavy with another snow storm.

With my gloved hands, I pulled my cloak tighter around me. I was use to the freezing chill now. We had suffered five months of this bleak weather. Balancing on the jagged rock tops, I walked across to the tiny temple which the out going tide had revealed. I had no idea who had built the four short pillars and roof but we had always come here to worship the Goddess of nature and the God of the sea.

Everyday since the snowstorms had started, everyone had visited the temples once or twice a day. They prayed that spring came and that the snow went away. I had gone to but then I just couldn’t face it anymore. So, whilst the starving town and village peoples knelt together and muttered prayers, I came out here, to the edge of the world to look for something else.

Entering the temple, I could see the sea on three sides. The waves were a tumbling mass with chunks of ice floating on top. I watched two larger shards bump together then ride away on the waves. Water was dripping off the columns and there was seaweed on the floor. I picked that up and tossed it away. There were some worn etchings underneath.

I wrapped my skirt and cloak around myself before kneeling down. I traced the patterns slowly. They felt familiar and yet I didn’t know what they said. Perhaps, they were nothing but a pretty design on the floor or maybe a prayer. I hoped they were much more though. A spell maybe, to call upon Goddess’ help.

Looking up at the roof, I could see the same patterns up there and they were clearer. The sea had done less damage up there. There was the imagine of the sun and moon coming together, the sea rising below them and a gust of wind moving them. Then there were other symbol pictures and things that looked like words. If only I could understand!

I hung my head and clutched at my skirt. Even if I knew what it said, who was I to cast a spell? There had been no wizards or witches here for years and the wise women and hermits I knew didn’t seem to be magic users. Hugging myself, I sensed the strange feeling in my stomach. It was warm, fluttering, almost like a warm breeze wanting to take me somewhere deep within myself.

Coming here made it stronger, somehow but no matter what I couldn’t seem to follow the warm breeze. I was too weak to reach it. I pressed my hands to the tiny temple floor and breathed in deeply. I willed that feeling to get stronger, even if I couldn’t do anything with it yet, I asked it to help in whatever way it could.

I believed as hard as I could then I felt a snowflake on my nose. Blinking open my eyes, I looked across and saw that another snowfall was starting. The waves were also rising up and darkness was fast approaching. Getting up, I wondered how it had gotten so late, it hadn’t seemed I’d been here long.

Saying a quick prayer, I left the tiny temple and carefully walked over the rock tops. The wind tugged at me almost as if it wanted me to go back and the snow was making the rocks harder to cross. The rocks gave way to dirt and grass which the snow covered faster. I stumbled on, the strange feeling inside of me gone and my mind only on getting home.

Something though seemed to be happening behind me. There was a blue circle of light growing. Perhaps it was just the sea coming back in? I paused and looked but it was hard to make out. The wind blew my hood down, I gasped an turned back again. Either I could open my cloak, remove my hands and put the hood back or I could keep the warm against my body.

The storm was growing, blinding me with snow flurries and forcing me backwards. I tripped on something and fell down. I pulled my hood up and huddled on the ground, hoping it would be over soon. I saw that blue light again and realised that it wasn’t the sea but magic!

I gasped and forgetting everything else, I reached out for it. The light was warm and fluttery, it ran though my hands then was gone. The wind dropped and the snow slowed. I wiped my face, there were icy tears on my cheeks. The blue light was gone and behind me at the temple was nothing.

I got up and walked home. The snow stopped before I got there.

And that was the end of winter.

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2017/11/23/thursday-photo-prompt-bleak-writephoto/ with thanks.)

Sight #writephoto

I peered through the viewing hole in the rock and the damp moors transformed before me. The pale grass became bright and lush, the washed out sky turned blazing blue and the other rocks in the distance shimmered. I held my breath and waited.

‘There’s one!’ I cried out.

A fairy with blonde hair, wearing a green filly dress and carrying a small wicker basket fluttered by, her wings a purple irradiant colour. Her toes skimmed the short grass then she flew away.

I gasped and took my face away from the rock. I rushed around it and looked for a flash of green or purple. There was nothing but a late summer butterfly, lazily hovering above the grass.

I scampered back to the rock and looked through the hole again. Behind me, I heard my grandfather chuckling.

‘You can only see the Fae folk through that portal, Harmony,’ he spoke, ‘they use it to get in between worlds, like I told you in the stories.’

‘And I believed you, grandpa!’ I spoke, my voice slightly muffled by the rock.

‘What can you see now?’ he asked, his voice full of laughter.

I looked harder, the vibrate colours of the moor and sky stinging my eyes. I saw two small figures walking through the grass. They were male, wearing brown clothes and brown caps. They were carrying cleaning tools and looked like they were on their way to work.

‘Brownies?’ I muttered, trying to recall what they looked like in Grandpa’s big book.

‘What was that?’ he asked quietly.

‘I think those two are brownies,’ I said, coming away from the rock, ‘you look grandpa.’

‘Alas, child, I can’t. These eyes aren’t what they use to be. I lost the sight gift a few years back,’ Grandpa spoke sadly.

I nodded thoughtfully, remembering one of the stories he had told me about seeing the king and queen of the fairies. That was the last time he had seen the Fae folk. I glanced back at the rock then asked, ‘do I have the sight gift, grandpa?’

‘Probably, Harmony. It has been passed on to all the Turner children but only some of them have embraced it. Your mother was only interested up until her late twenties. Then she got married and had you. She said she didn’t have the time anymore,’ grandpa explained.

‘She never talks about them,’ I pointed out.

Grandpa nodded, ‘she’s lost her belief. That’s the key to seeing the Fae peoples and everything else too. Having a hard belief in something will always make it real even if some times you can’t actually see it.’

‘Then I’m going to hold on to my belief forever, Grandpa!’

I smiled brightly and he smiled back then I turned back to the hole in the rock. Looking through again, I could see that other world taking shape around me and the Fae people going about their lives.

 

(Inspired from; https://scvincent.com/2017/08/31/thursday-photo-prompt-sight-writephoto with thanks).

Watchers #writephoto

Pausing on the footpath before the tall jagged rock faces, I got an odd feeling that I was being watched. Looking around, I couldn’t see anyone. The normal sounds of birds singing, the warm breeze shifting leaves and the water from the stream lapping still surrounded me.

I raised my head, noticing the small trees growing straight out of the rock alongside the grass clumps and moss. It was hard to tell if anyone was up there. I thought about shouting out, but that seemed pointless. Finding a boulder to rest on, I took out my drink bottle and phone. I took a few photos of the fantasy setting likes scenery and sipped my tepid water.

I had originally planned to walk the path between the two rocks and head further into the woods but now I was here, doubts were setting in. There didn’t seem to be much of a path and a lot of fast growing plants made the gap look smaller. Still, though it would take too long to walk around.

Feeling a little like Red Riding Hood, I set off again and past between the rocks. My rucksack scrapped against the sticking out stones and my boots chomped down on the undergrowth. Pressing my hands, against the rough sides for balance, I eased my way through.

The abrupt cries of two crows startled me. Stopping, I looked up and saw one of them -an old scrawny bird, on an rocky outcrop far above me. My breath caught in my throat as I realised the crows was rising an alarm. A gust of wind whipped up around me, pressing cold fingers against my legs. I felt a shiver run up my spine and my fingers began to claw into the passageway as if the rocks were moving into suffocate me.

I started to feel on the edge of a panic attack. I dropped my head and took in deep breaths, willing away the urge to get out and be far away from here. I tried to convince myself this was nothing but my feelings were telling me different. I needed to sit down but I couldn’t. Letting my hands slide, I felt then becoming grazed but I didn’t care.

The crows was screaming above me and I couldn’t hear anything but their shrill cries. I thought some wild tribesmen are going to appear and cart me off or a witch pop up and casting a curse on me. I tried to laugh it away, telling myself how silly I was being. Nothing was going to happen!

I focused on the ground, counting all the stones until they merged into one. There came the sound of something heavy shifting and groaning. I looked up, picturing a giant emerging from the rock face. Instead though, I saw a few small rocks tumbling down. Frowning, I turned my attention to that and saw a chuck of crag cracking away.

Rumbling vibrations came through the ground, shaking through me. Movement re-entered my body like water bursting through a dam. I spun and fled, pain shooting into my right ankle. Branches scrapped at me as if trying to hold me back, but I broke free and stumbled out of the pass. Landing heavily on sharp grass, I twisted and looked back.

A rock slide was happening! Close to where I had been bits of crag were falling and whacking the plants. The sounds were a mixture of rock on rock, crunching and snapping of greenery and groaning. Dust plumed, forming a creamy-yellowy cloud that puffed itself into the sky.

I lent back, breathing deeply and tasting grit in my mouth. When the echoing noises had faded, I eased up and inspected the now blocked passage. It was hard to tell and maybe I was being too dramatic, but that had been a close call.

A ruffing of wings drew me away and I saw two crows land on the boulder and stare at me.

‘Thank you,’ I said aloud, ‘you were trying to warn me, weren’t you?’

The crows eyed me, clicked their beaks and took off again, flying away over the treetops.

With a final glance at the pass which now seemed harmless once more, I turned away and took the longer route into the woods.

 

(Inspired from; https://scvincent.com/2017/08/03/thursday-photo-prompt-watchers-writephoto/ with thanks.)

Mask #writephoto

The orange and yellow flames rose, licking the red smoke which billowed into the night. Ewqor stared down at the burning wood and breathed in deeply through his mask. There was a heavy sweet scent mixed within the smoke, almost as if a meadow of flowers was burning.

He shut his eyes and let the magic take over. A tingling feeling shot all over his body then he was flying and the smoke was dancing all around him. Ewqor opened his eyes and saw the near future playing out before him.

There was the King on his throne, grey with age and worn down by the country’s responsibilities. At his side was the empty throne of his Queen, recently dead and standing next to there his eight daughters. The oldest four were married, Queens to other Kingdoms and with their own children. The other three were engaged to Princes far away but the youngest, in her early teens wasn’t ready yet.

It was her, that Ewqor focused on. The late flower from the Gods, as she was known as. The King and Queen had been too old to have any more children, but they had been blessed with Morning Lily. She was smaller then her sisters, with light pink hair and violet eyes but she hadn’t followed in anyone’s footsteps.

Living in the shadows of her mother and sisters, should have made Morning Lily nothing. Instead though, the people loved her unusually beauty and kindness. It was unlikely she’d sit on a throne, so her other nickname had become the Eternal Princess. Morning Lily seemed to have accepted this but through the vision, Ewqor could see is it wasn’t to be her fate.

He shut his eyes, controlling himself back and letting the smoke cover the future throne room. Ewqor gasped as he was slammed back into his body. He stumbled but quickly gained his footing. He raised his head and pulled off his mask. A light rain fell on to face and he felt refreshed.

Leaving his servants to put out the magic fire, Ewqor went to see the King. They had a lot to talk about.

(Inspired from; https://scvincent.com/2017/07/20/thursday-photo-prompt-mask-writephoto/ with thanks)

Flight #writephoto

Standing up slowly, Cindy felt the aching all along her back. Gritting her teeth as the pain grow worse, she stretched as much as she could. Pausing for a few moments she then wiped her damp and wrinkled hands on her dirty apron. Feeling tried, she looked around at all her hard work. The last corridor in the castle shone with cleanness, the only thing out of place was the wooden bucket and scrubbing brushes.

Letting down her long skirts which were damp from catching wet floors all day, Cindy stumbled over to a window and opened it. Warm, late evening air floated into her face and she breathed in summer deeply. The courtyard below her, hummed with other servants hurrying to finish their tasks before the sunset. Ignoring them, Cindy looked up, over the roofs of the stables and storage huts, the top of the battlements and beyond at the green fields there.

A longing to be out there filled her and despite her tried mind, Cindy remembered once when she was very young riding with her father across those fields. The mighty horse pounding the ground, the brush of her father’s soft clothes against her back and the delight of the rushing wind in her face. The imagine went as fast as it had come, leaving a bitterness for her to dwell on.

Cindy’s thoughts turned away onto tidying up, eating and sleeping. Easing herself away from the window, a movement caught her eye and she saw two pigeons land on a nearby roof. They hopped about for a few moments then took to the dusky sky once more. Signing deeply, Cindy wished she was a bird then she could fly away too.

 

(Inspired by: https://scvincent.com/2017/06/29/thursday-photo-prompt-writephoto-flight/ with thanks)

The Prince And The Pine Cone

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The booming knocking echoed throughout the quiet castle. Wondering who was at the door at this time on a miserable night, the guard hurried to find out.

‘Who’s there?’ he called above the wind.

‘A brave man, lost and weary from fighting and travel!’ a voice yelled back.

The guard peered through the small door and looked out into the darkness. He could hear armour clinking together and the shuffling hoofs of a horse. Taking a lantern he had brought down from the tower with him, the guard shone the light outside and confirmed the figure of a knight walking his horse in the heavy down pour or rain.

‘What is your name, Sir?’ the guard asked.

You could never be too sure about travellers theses days.

‘I am Prince Adrian Bardun, of the kingdom next door. Can you offer shelter or not?’

‘Right away, Sire,’ the guard responded and opened the gate.

The prince led his horse inside and they stood for a few moments under the keep, rain water dripping off them. The guard pointed out the door to the castle and agreed to take the horse to the stable.

The prince walked up to the door and knocked just as loud. A elderly servant opened up and after making inquires, let the prince in. He was given a chance to dry off for a minutes whilst the servant went off to announce him.

The swishing of a long dress and soft padding of shoes on the castle floor, brought the prince’s head up and he saw walking towards him a beautiful a young woman. Her dress was dark blue, her hair was long and golden and she had a small crown on her head.

He bowed to her and introduced himself, ‘I’m prince Adrian Bardun. I seek shelter. I became lost in the forest and lucky happened upon your castle, my lady.’

‘I’m princess Aurora. Welcome,’ she said then turned to the servant, ‘take him to the kitchen to get warm and give him some food. And get someone to make a room up for him.’

The servant bowed, ‘follow me, sir.’

‘Thank you, your highness,’ the prince said and followed the servant to the kitchen.

The princess waited then drifted back to her chamber. She was tried after a day of helping her people sort out their disagreements. Sitting down at her table, she began to brush her hair again. It was task she greatly enjoyed.

A knock came at her door and when she told whoever it was to enter, her adviser, Walden Duner, walked in. He was tall man with a long nose, wearing a dark red robe. He was in her father’s, the king’s, service and had been for a long time. With the king being away, he had been charged with helping to direct the princess.

‘My lady,’ he said and give a small bow.

‘Sit, please,’ Aurora said.

The old adviser gratefully sank down on a small stool.

‘What do you think of our guest, the prince?’ she asked as she turned back to the mirror and carried on brushing her hair.

‘I’m not sure about him, your highness,’ Walden answered, ‘I’m not sure he is a prince from the neighbouring kingdom. I haven’t heard of him before you see.’

‘Oh. What shall we do?’ the princess asked.

‘Well…there is a test we could give him to prove if he really is a prince,’ Walden spoke slowly.

‘Go on.’

‘We pile his bed high with mattresses and blankets then we put a pine cone at the bottom and if he can feel the pine cone then he’s a real prince.’

The princess laughed, ‘that’s so silly. It’ll never work!’

‘Perhaps, it is just an old wives tale….’ Walden trailed off.

The princess finished brushing her hair whilst she thought then she spoke, ‘okay, do it. Pile everything you can on his bed and put the pine cone in. Even if he doesn’t turn out to be a prince it’ll be really funny.’

‘Yes, my lady,’ Walden said and got up to leave.

Trying to control her giggles, the princess got ready for bed.

The next morning, the princess dressed quickly and hurried to the guest chambers. On the way, she asked a maid which room the prince had been given. Going up to that door, she knocked and waited.

‘Who is it?’ the prince’s voice spoke out.

‘The princess,’ she replied.

The prince opened the door, he was dressed in trousers and a half opened shirt. The princess had not been able to see him clearly last night and he had been wearing a lot of armour too. She admired him, taking in his broad shoulders and large chest. He was a tall handsome man with dark hair.

The princess smiled up at him, lost for words.

‘Good morning,’ the prince said.

‘Yes. Good morning…How did you sleep?’ she asked.

‘Not very well to be honest, princess.’

‘Oh. I’m sorry to hear that.’

The prince held the bedroom door open wider and said, ‘I was actually just trying to see why and I think I’ve found the cause. Would you like to take a look with me?’

Wide eyed, the princess nodded and stepped into the room. Straight away she saw the bed was piled almost to the ceiling with mattress, blankets and cushions. The four poster bed frame looked like it was about to collapse and the curtains were bulging off to the side.

‘What a strange custom your kingdom has, princess. Your adviser told me this was a tradition here for guests….He refused to explain it to me. Can you?’ the prince said.

The princess smiled, fully impressed by Walden and her servants. She looked at him shyly, taking his body in once more.

‘But surely,’ the princess said slowly, ‘that’s not the reason for your bad night sleep?’

‘No, but look under here,’ the prince said.

He walked over and lifted all the bedding up and laying in the middle of the first mattress that had been bought on was a small pine cone.

The princess picked it up and looked at it. The pine cone was still complete and didn’t seem to have taken any damage from the mountain of bedding. The prince let the bedding fall back into place with a huff.

‘That, my lady, is what caused my sleepless night,’ the prince said and plucked the pine cone from her hand.

‘Oh…You felt this? I wonder how it got there…’ the princess wondered.

‘I have no idea…another custom maybe…?’ the prince asked with a smile on his face.

The princess smiled back. She lend in close to the prince, her fingers touch the pine cone as her lips brushed his.

 

(Inspired from: https://mindlovemiserysmenagerie.wordpress.com/2017/05/25/tale-weaver-121-25-05-17-reversenaughty-fairy-tales with thanks.)