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).

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Crow #writephoto

The crow was out there in the dead tree cawing loudly again. I pressed my forehead to the condensation covered spare bedroom window and searched for him. In the early evening, storm coloured garden, the sooty bird was difficult to spot unless you knew where to look for him.

I forced on the highest branches which were bobbing in the wind and there was the crow. He was silhouetted against the dark grey sky, his head thrown back, cawing continuously. It was hard to tell if he was sounding an alarm or just making a racket to disturb me.

Stepping back from the window, I rubbed my aching head and reminded myself there was nothing I could do about the crow. He was just another problem I’d inherited from my recently passed mother. Turning on the TV to try and cover some of the crow’s noise, I got ready for my night shift on the building site.

When I was ready to leave, I went to the back door which we’d always used as the front door. Yanking down the handle, I tried to rush outside but a black mass flew in my face. I shouted, twisted away and tried to grab the thing. Feathers whipped my face, claws scratched my arms, a sharp beak tried to peck at me.

I stumbled outside, almost tripping on the step. Catching my breath, I turned and looked into the doorway. A single black feather lay there. I peered in and spotted the crow hopping around the kitchen. He was busy making himself at home amongst my mother’s pots, pans, glass bottle collection and tatty books.

Swearing loudly, I slammed the door and left. Getting in my car, I drove to work, my head all full of that damn crow. My mother had made him a pet, having found him as an abandoned chick and now he refused to become wild again. I had tried capturing him and taking him far away and to animal charities but he always ended up coming back.

Arriving at work, I tried to become calm again but it was so hard when I knew the crow would be waiting for me. Taking deep breaths, I went about my shift which thankfully was quiet. I finished at six am though with the dark winter sky and the sun having a lay in, made it seem like it was still the middle of the night.

Coming home, I felt tried and once through the door, the annoyance started again. The crow was waiting for me, perched on the back of a chair. He watched me with beady eyes and I swear if he could’ve spoken English he would have demanded I leave.

Sighing, I pulled up the chair next to him, carefully and sit down.

‘How about we just become friends?’ I suggested.

He put his head to the side, seeming to consider me then give a slight nod.

‘You respect me and I’ll respect you,’ I added, ‘and now I’m off to bed.’

Getting up, I clopped upstairs in my work boots the soft cawing of the crow following me.

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2018/01/11/thursday-photo-prompt-crow-writephoto/ with thanks).

Window #writephoto

 

Pressing my hands to the lattice window, I imagined I was touching the red roses that were blooming on the other side of the clouded glass. I could feel their soft, velvet petals warmed by the sunlight and breath in deeply their heavy perfume.

Resting my cheek on the cold glass, the realisation that I could no longer recall the smell of flowers disheartened me. Sighing, I turned away and went back to the massive bed which dominated the tower room which was my cell.

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2018/01/04/thursday-photo-prompt-window-writephoto/ with thanks).

Blue #writephoto

It was nice to sit by the lake, watching the lapping waves and the cold blue evening sky above. A dusty layer of snow lay on the ground and at some of the lake’s edges thin ice had formed. Winter’s chill was heavy in the air, promising more snow in the night but for the moment it was safe to be outside.

There was hardly any noise, just the distance sound of late dog walkers, joggers and cyclists, like myself. I could hear the soft cracks of the ice as the water moved underneath. Looking at a patch close by, there was a glazed spider web pattern of crazing across the smooth surface. It seemed almost artistic.

Turing my face to the sky, I wondered how badly it would snow tonight. The clouds were slowly coming in, turning everything darker. I felt a drop of wetness then it started to sleet. Balancing on my bicycle, I watched the icy rain fall into the water. Little ripples bobbed on the surface and on the ice the sleet seemed to start sticking.

It was time to go home.

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2017/12/28/thursday-photo-prompt-blue-writephoto with thanks).

Thaw #writephoto

The hills were cover in snow and it didn’t look as if they were going to thaw anytime soon. The bad winter the weatherman had forewarned had had us all laughing but now he was the one in fits of laughter. We had all just had enough already, England wasn’t made for this kind of thing! Still, it had been the white Christmas written into every song and pleaded for by children. To me though, it just made the coming New Year and January feel even bleaker.

(Inspired by; https://wordpress.com/post/thestoryfiles.wordpress.com with thanks).

Mists #writephoto

He watched the mists rolling across the field and patchy woodland from his bedroom window. He was still in his pajamas, the blue and white stripped ones that his wife had brought him last Christmas. His lower back ached and so did his upper legs, as if he been sleeping on a pebble beach instead of the well worn soft bed.

He did the morning exercises like his doctor had told him too. The bending and stretching helped a little but he’d still need some pain killers to get through the day. Perhaps, he’d take a bath later, if he remembered though he already knew it was going to be another day inside; watching TV, reading, napping, cooking then falling asleep on the sofa.

Watching the mists would entertain him for awhile and if it cleared up maybe he’d go for a walk. It didn’t though. Just like the snow and ice the other day, the mists hung around as if they were happy to be there. He didn’t really mind, it was interesting to see how the mists give everything an out of focus look.

In the evening, it was nice to see that the mists even softened the too harsh Christmas lights coming from other peoples’ houses. He looked at the small tree his daughters and grandchild had set up for him before the front window. The lights were on a timer so he didn’t have to do anything. He and his wife normally put the tree up and placed the children’s presents under for them to open on Christmas day…

This year, he’d be going to stay at his eldest daughter’s for a few days. Then his youngest daughter was bringing her family for New Year’s week. He was looking forward to seeing everyone and having the company. It was going to be just what he needed to being some brightness and colour back into his life again.

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2017/12/14/thursday-photo-prompt-mists-writephoto with thanks).

Portal #writephoto

 

The end of the passage way glowed a warm light colour. I trailed my hand over the smooth wall as I walked along the flagstones. I could hear muttering voices, soft music and I smelt pine and fire. Ahead, the walls seemed to move away and room was opening.

I paused as I saw snow start to fall and I realised that the joining walkway had an open day at the end of it that was open. Yet, I couldn’t feel the cold coming in. Walking on, I entered the room and saw a massive space before me. There was a large fire lit and blazing off heat, there was a huge pine tree, heavily decorated in the corner and so many people filled the room!

The party was in full swing but it was like I had entered a portal to Christmas land. Everyone was dressed up in themed and not so themed costumes or else they were wearing normal clothes that were jazzed up. The full sounds and smelts hit me, rolling off me and dragging me in.

I smiled, no longer feeling the weight of the heavy dress surrounding me and hurried in to join the festivities.

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2017/12/07/thursday-photo-prompt-portal-writephoto/ with thanks).

Magic #writephoto

Winter arrived over night whilst everyone slept. The forecast had said it might sleet but they didn’t predict the thick blanket of snow that lay on the ground and trees. Looking out of my bedroom window, I felt torn by the view. It was amazing, the snow made the woodland and fields magical, like a fantasy land. However, leaving my front door and going to work was going to be hard.

Telling myself it might not be so bad and maybe it was only a little dusting over icy ground, I got ready. Before I left though, I put the TV on and the news that in the area I lived in was totally snow covered didn’t make me feel any better. Still though, no snow going to stop me!

Stepping out, my boots sink ankle deep into the snow, breaking the perfect surface. The air give me a cold hug and my breath misted before me. Birds were singing in snow draped branches and only the middle of the stream was flowing by. A part of me knew it was bad, but I walked to the driveway.

I got in my dad’s old Jeep which had been a joke thirty-fifth birthday present but I actually really appreciated it. Turned out a Jeep was a urban-countryside vet’s best friend. It took a few minutes to prepare for travel then the engine turned on the second try and I set off.

The tyres crunched under snow, at first finding it hard to grip but then getting there. I took it easy, not fast and trying to see the outline of the road. I got about a few miles away and then I saw a bank of snow up ahead and I just knew the wonderful Jeep wasn’t going to make that.

Leaving the engine running, I got out and walked over. There was a dip in the road here before a small bridge. The snow had filled the dip, finding support to make a raise. I looked to other side but there wasn’t enough gap between the trees to get by. Other thoughts ran though my head; getting a shovel and digging, calling neighbouring farmer to plough me out or walking.

A flake of snow spiralled passed me. I watched it join the others at my feet. Then looking up, I saw the dark morning sky start to rain down snow. It fell slow and gentle, melting on my warm coat or drifting through the trees to add to the ground. I had a flash back to childhood and playing in the snow.

It wasn’t enough to distract me though and I stepped back to the Jeep. Once in, the snow began to fall faster and thicker. I slowly turned around and drove back home. Defeat isn’t a word I use but there was no other way to put what had happened.

Once home, I phoned in work and found that so many other people were stuck too that the lead vet had closed the practise. Hanging the phone up, I felt a little better. Sitting at the kitchen table, I watched the snow dancing and tried to capture that ‘magic’ feeling from childhood again.

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2017/11/30/thursday-photo-prompt-magic-writephoto/ 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.)

Haven #writephoto

The sun rose over the little seaside village. The bright yellow, orange, pink and purple colours giving the clouds a rainbow haze against the dusky blue sky. I drove home from my night shift watching as the darkness faded to light and another late autumn day was born.

Glancing over at the sea, it looked calm today. The dark blue, cream topped waves lapping against the crunchy sand shore. The rising sun creating beams of light as the clouds moved. There were no boats or people to be seen just yet. It was too easy to see why this place had been called Haven.

Entering the little road that led into the village which was made up of a handful of fisherman’s cottages, one shop, post office and four holiday homes, I drove past them all and to the larger house that stood by itself on a hill. Originally built for a Navy Admiral who had only lived in it a few years before being lost at sea, the house had then become a hotel and local pub. When that failed, my great grandparents brought it and made it a family home.

Parking up, I just had the energy to get out and make my way into the house. The smell of the sea was heavy and there was sand in the hallway again. Going upstairs, I took everything with me then abandoned it on the chair in my bedroom. I got into bed naked, loving the freedom and feel of the cold sheets.

By the time the sun was fully up and most people were too, I had made a nest out of all the bedding, I settled back and was almost asleep. A car horn sounded and voices shouted. I looked across at the window but of course I couldn’t see anything due to the black out curtains.

I had to wait until the neighbours had driven off or gone back inside before trying again. Being exhausted after a twelve hour shift on the hospital ward helped and I was asleep before I even knew it, safe in my own little haven.

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2017/11/16/thursday-photo-prompt-haven-writephoto with thanks).