Short Story: Forever

Idea

No prompt here. I don’t want to say too much… just, I hope you enjoy. Let me know what you think.

~ Effy

Forever

Even before the handle clicked into place–the sound of my impending, eternal loneliness–I knew she was never coming back.

Hours ticked away, then days. She’d never been gone this long. I tried to remember the many times she’d said she was leaving before, but always she’d come back. Maybe this time she wasn’t. It had been forever. Surely, she’d forgotten me. Surely, she’d moved on.

I tried to occupy myself. Only pacing worked, and even that helped little. It didn’t calm my mind, but at least it kept me moving.

I began to cry, big mournful howls of distress. She was never coming back. I shouted the unfairness at the closed door. I begged it to open. I wished only to see her face peek around it, her smile at seeing me.

That smile, that was what I lived for.

I started to panic. Maybe there’d been an accident and she couldn’t come back. Maybe there had been an atomic bomb or a zombie apocalypse. Maybe she couldn’t return. Maybe she was hurt. Maybe everyone was dead, and I was the only one left alive anywhere.

I had to get out.

I frantically clawed at the door. I butted it with my head, my shoulders. I tried to squeeze beneath it, willing myself into the tiny gap that shone light from without like a beacon, calling me, taunting me. I held my breath and tried again, hoping if I made myself as thin as possible, I might fit through the crack.

Nothing worked. I panted from the effort.

I got a drink, but grew angry at the mocking bowls, my only companions. I splashed the water. Ha! Water! Take that! I splashed some more. But it continued to mock me from the floor.

The realization occurred to me that if the world had not ended, and she did return, she’d be angry at the mess. My eyes darted around anxiously. The towel! Mop it up! Quickly! I smeared the towel all over the floor. The water soaked into the fabric. Phew.

But the towel was a mess of wetness, and offended my senses. So I stuffed it in the furthest corner from me. The wet mess spoke to me, and told me she would know… if she came back, which seemed less likely with every passing second.

Why, why did she leave?

Just when I felt I could take no more, I heard a metallic rattle. Keys! And the wiggle of the doorknob. And the movement of the door.

Ohmigod! She came back!

As her face smiled down at me, I knew the greatest happiness of my life. I covered her with kisses. I shook my tail until I was sure it would fall off. She said happy, loving things to me.

I love you, I told her, never leave again.

~ Ender

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

This story and all related material are the original works of Awaiting the Muse and Effy J. Roan AKA Effraeti. All rights reserved.
Creative Commons License
Awaiting the Muse by Effy J. Roan AKA Effraeti is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Based on a work at https://awaitingthemuse.wordpress.com/.

Presentation: Lovecraft Meets Warcraft

Lovecraft Meets Warcraft

New and exciting things! This weekend I finished my presentation for my Horror and Science Fiction class. I created it on Lovecraft and Warcraft, and how the former has influenced the latter. I discovered how to create a video directly from PowerPoint. I also uploaded this as my first ever YouTube video.

The only downside, I had to cut the videos I was planning to use. I couldn’t figure out how to get them to play in my PP to video (I’ll probably research that later), and my video was too long to record it on Screenr, which is the one screen capture website I’m familiar with.

Anyways, here’s my video! After it, I will include the videos I watched while creating it.

Enjoy!

~ Effy

Lovecraft Meets Warcraft, By: Effy

WoW Lore: Old God Secrets, By: MrRhexx

The Lore of Titans and Old Gods, By: Nobbel87 (Parts 1/2/3)

Flash Fiction Friday: Out of Place

Deep Forest

I’ve been trying to get better about writing in the morning, to get into a routine. My recent boost of energy combating my recently diagnosed anemia is helping tremendously in that regard. So this was a prompt not related to any classes. I found it in a Writer’s Digest Creativity Workbook:

Take a typical setting for a horror or fantasy novel–a creepy old house, a castle–and jot down ideas for atypical characters and situations that might take place in that typical setting.

Long, long ago, when I first started writing in my world of Dadreon, I started a story about a college girl from Michigan who finds a door to my fantasy world. So this seemed the perfect opportunity to re-introduce her and her strange companion and guide.

~ Effy

Out of Place

Krista awoke to deep forest sounds and dead leaves in her hair. The concert of crickets and songbirds should have been soothing, but the sounds and accompanying sights set her on edge–she’d not been near any large stands of trees, only the thin walls of pines between sects of farmland, separating crops and acting as windbreaks. Huge, old trees–so large they blotted the sun and left only dead leaves and needles to gather beneath them–went as far as Krista could see in every direction.

Her mind fought to recall what had led to her waking here. She remembered the school day. She remembered her conversation with Derek–that made her wince and the dull ache return to her chest. She remembered going for a walk. Then, she remembered the farmhouse and the sudden storm and… the door.

“Shit.” She expelled the word like a breath, quietly but with a mixture of emotion. She wiped her sweating palms on the thighs of her jeans and tried to take everything in.

Krista felt around for her backpack and found it beside her. It seemed intact, all of her books and even her wallet still there. So she’d not been robbed in her sleep.

“Hello,” came a sudden greeting.

Krista spun around and met the gaze of an odd creature that had not been there seconds before. She had never seen anything like it, and instead of replying, merely stared.

About the size of a small retriever, it sat on its haunches much like a dog and even cocked its head curiously. Instead of a dog’s muzzle, it had a much longer snout, resembling something more like a crocodile’s mouth, but fuzzier, and with two giant, lower tusks protruding from between its lips. Intelligent black eyes watched her and its tiny, round ears twitched and swiveled, taking in the sounds all around them. Instead of paws, the creature had hooves, small and delicate like those of a deer.

“What…?” Krista whispered.

The creature’s ears pointed forward and it perked up, and seemed to… smile? “Hello. It is a greeting. Usually a similar greeting is spoken in response.” The creature, who spoke perfect English though with a strange accent, made a sudden noise like a chuckle, apparently amused at its own attempt at humor.

“You talk,” Krista said. She wasn’t sure herself if it was a statement or a question.

“And so do you!” the creature replied, chuckling some more.

Krista found herself fascinated with the movement of the creature’s lips and only realized her quiet staring when it once more spoke.

“I have never met a human face-to-face, but I have seen them often enough to realize you seem out of your place. Between that and seeing you have no weapons, I thought it might be safe to approach you and see if you are needing help.” The creature continued to study her.

“Maybe I have a weapon in my bag,” Krista bluffed. She thought quickly and realized, despite the overused phrase, “The pen is mightier than the sword,” that was unlikely to be the case here. Did it think her weak? Did it toy with her before attacking? It seemed benign enough, but she had no experience with any such creature.

“Perhaps, but if so, that would seem an impractical place to keep it.” It continued to chuckle, apparently quite amused by everything both of them said. The sound was disarming, but Krista remained on edge.

“You seem to know what I am, strangely, but what are you?” the girl asked.

“Oh! Skipping right to introductions. Very well. I am a kzaar. My name is Xye.” It smiled, the oddest expression Krista had ever seen on an animal. Then again, she had never met a kzaar before.

“I’ve never heard of any such thing,” Krista said. Xye’s smile faded. “I’m sorry, I don’t mean to sound rude. I’m just a tad disoriented.”

“Indeed. No offense taken. It’s just that not many of my kind still exist. So not many have heard of kzaar.” Xye’s eyes wandered from Krista to her bag and back again. “By what are you called?”

“Krista. Krista Kunom,” the girl replied. Somehow the exchange of names settled her nerves, and she began to look around again. It did not help her bearings any, but she had to try something.

“Well, Krista-Krista Kunom, it is a pleasure to meet you.” Xye’s smile returned.

It was Krista’s turn to laugh. “No no. It’s Krista Kunom, but most of my friends just call me Kris.”

“Kris then,” Xye replied.

“Okie, so now that we know each other. Where exactly am I? Am I still in Michigan?” Krista asked, still not sure she was ready for the answer.

“Hmm.” The kzaar’s face crinkled in an amusing display of thought. “I’m not familiar with that city. This forest is the Lost Vale. The nearest human city is Weir, but it’s quite a walk, several days. The elves have a city closer, Haliaetus, but I’m not sure how welcoming they’d be to one of your kind.”

Krista’s stomach did a somersault inside her. She was not in Michigan anymore.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

This story and all related material are the original works of Awaiting the Muse and Effy J. Roan AKA Effraeti. All rights reserved.
Creative Commons License
Awaiting the Muse by Effy J. Roan AKA Effraeti is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Based on a work at https://awaitingthemuse.wordpress.com/.

My Favorite Story Lines

Fantasy Architecture

One of our assignments for creative writing was to go through all of our past writing and find some of our favorite lines. So I went back to the older pieces on my blog, previous to this class, and picked more than I needed. I figured it would be fun to share them here as well. Most of them are from my older, WoW fan fiction, because I reread through all the short stories that have made it to their own pages on the blog. This exercise made me realize how behind I am with making my short stories into their own pages.

I might have to go through again at some point, and pull lines from some of my newer pieces.

Along with lines from our own work, our next task was to share our favorite first lines from other books or stories. I chose my three favorite books, which all happen to be part of a series, but they were introductions to my favorite series.

Enjoy!

~ Effy

Favorite Lines From My Stories

Ancestors:

The night creatures awoke and made their noises, forming a symphony that surrounded her like the arms of the forest itself.

The Firebird and the Sunwalker:

He felt the warmth of the Firebird inside his breast and from there forward, even during the storm and the dead of night, Heraqawa always felt the sun upon his face.

Love and Sacrifice:

The elements cried today. They cried for the return to the Earth of their companion and voice.

The Harvest Witch:

This was when she most felt alive, with the ebb and flow of life and death all around her, it speaking to her in ways other than with words.

Savoir-Faire:

The evil that emanated from the place was palpable and hit one not unlike a stale wind from deep underground, one that reeks of death and rot.

A Picaresque Apologue:

Lupine features once more formed a savage grin, his fangs glistening in the poor light of the empty street, most of the gaslights shattered or burnt out.

First Sight:

The enemy of my enemy is my friend… or at least a tolerated employer.

Deciphering Chimera:

The morning sun was shining gloriously somewhere.

Tiny Dreamer (this story was updated about a year ago from its original version):

The light was new and signified somewhere unknown, and that made it both fascinating and frightening.

Favorite First Lines

The Crystal Shard, by R.A. Salvatore:

The demon sat back on the seat it had carved in the stem of a giant mushroom. Sludge slurped and rolled around the rock island, the eternal oozing and shifting that marked this layer of the Abyss.

Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card:

“I’ve watched through his eyes, I’ve listened through his ears, and I tell you he’s the one. Or at least as close as we’re going to get.”

The Gunslinger, by Stephen King:

The man in Black fled across the Desert, and the Gunslinger followed.”

Writing Prompt: Hope

Daffodils

This week’s assignment for creative writing included a few writing prompts. I decided on this one:

Describe a landscape as seen by an old woman whose disgusting and detestable old husband has just died. Do not mention the husband or death.

I had already been contemplating a piece about spring and new beginnings. So this was actually a perfect prompt to fuel what was already bouncing around inside my head. One of the things that got the idea into my head originally was finding this quote, from my former online game, Dark Age of Camelot, on a page about the Sylvan race:

The forest has suffered much, and will suffer more. But it is pain we are accustomed to, and in the springtime everything is born anew.

What a beautiful way to look at adversity.

As I was writing it, the piece decided it wanted to be a poem. So I went with it.

~ Effy

Hope

Breathe every rich
Piece of soil.
Gaze upon every brown
Blade of grass.
Touch the rough bark and
Greatness of trees.
Listen to every hopeful
Trill of songbird.
Absorb every warming
Ray of sunshine.

Spring sings with
The potential of life,
The hope of growth,
And the promise of
New beginnings.

That clump of dirt–
A daisy waiting to bloom.
That dead patch of grass–
Fresh, green blades waking.
That skeletal maple–
New, tender leaves waiting.
That glorious birdsong–
Potential new life forming.
That warming sun–
Awaking those who slept.

This woman, no longer young,
Stands ready for a new beginning.
Shedding the skin of past lives,
In fire consumed and reborn.
She is the phoenix.

She is the rich, black sod–full of potential.
She is the blade of grass–now able to inch forth.
She is the maple–reaching for the sky.
She is the songbird–singing of new life.
She is the sun–warming the faces around her.
She is the spring.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

This story and all related material are the original works of Awaiting the Muse and Effy J. Roan AKA Effraeti. All rights reserved.
Creative Commons License
Awaiting the Muse by Effy J. Roan AKA Effraeti is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Based on a work at https://awaitingthemuse.wordpress.com/.

Writing Prompt: A Recipe for Disaster

Spaghetti Dinner with Bread

Now I want spaghetti…

Oh man. The worst thing to do to me when asking me to write something is to give me no parameters. I have literally spent all my spring break vacation fretting about doing my next creative writing piece, because my teacher gave us a “free choice” piece.

What’s that? I should write the last part of the Shattering series? I should finish that story line? Hahahaha! Obviously you don’t know my uncanny ability to procrastinate–especially when it comes to finishing something, especially when it comes to finishing a story.

There’s a really great reason why I have taken to writing short stories, even though I, personally, prefer novels. It’s because short stories can be left hanging, to a degree. Short stories don’t have to be technically “finished” to still be mildly satisfying.

Finishing something is kind of frightening. I mean, I can write beginnings–get your attention, I think I’ve got that down. I can write middles, as long as I don’t get too long and wordy and start boring even myself. But endings? Endings are terrifying. Endings are the culmination of everything. Endings have to wrap up all that came before. The best endings leave you thinking. But more than anything else, endings have to be satisfying. Endings are only good when you finish, put the piece down, and say, “Wow, that was worth my time to read.”

So the last piece of the Shattering series is currently about one paragraph long…

Instead, I started flipping through these two GREAT new books that were suggested to me by Max, my creative writing teacher. 642 Things to Write About and 712 MORE Things to Write About–they’re two big books of writing prompts. Yay!

Saturday morning, I was caught in an “Oooohhh” moment in the first book, by this prompt:

Write a recipe for disaster.

And I started writing. And the piece amused me so much, I have decided I’m going to turn it in on Tuesday for my assignment, and I’m going to post it here today.

I know, I know. Finish my last story for the Shattering. Well, at least this is related, right??

~ Effy

Recipe for Disaster

Ingredients:

1 benevolent creation god, Yargonae
1 easily manipulated god, Bael
1 dark and envious god, Zaeriin
1 group of dark beings, Old Ones
1 planet, Dadreon
1 sleeping Father of Dragons, Rhaegar (separated)
A pinch of sunlight
5 Dracolords–Sapphire, Ruby, Emerald, Onyx, and Quartz
1 temple, to Yargonae
1 polytheistic race, elves
1 monotheistic race, humans
Arcane magic (separated)
A dash of abyssal creatures–Rusc, Nagaesh, Ilmaer

Directions:

Start with 3 gods–1 benevolent creator (Yargonae), 1 easily manipulated (Bael), and 1 dark and envious (Zaeriin). Stir them and bring to a boil of anger and envy and then separate and set aside.

Take 1 group of dark beings (Old Ones) and imprison them within 1 planet (Dadreon). Take a sleeping Father of Dragons (Rhaegar) and add to the dark beings, incorporating until well-blended and inseparable. Set aside, separating one scale from Rhaegar. Use the previously stirred Yargonae to transform the Rhaegar scale into a Sunstone. Add a pinch sunlight until the refracted beams create 5 Dracolords (Sapphire, Ruby, Emerald, Onyx, and Quartz). Use a little more of the stirred Yargonae to bring life to the created Dracolords. Set the Dracolords and the created Sunstone aside in 1 temple to Yargonae, until needed later.

Take two races–1 polytheistic (elves) and 1 monotheistic (humans). Blend the races together until there is adequate animosity and distrust created. Add some Bael and Zaeriin influence as needed, until the consistency is just right. The races should be just starting to war with each other. Once war has broken out, add in some of the arcane magic until just the right level of instability is created. Set aside the rest of the arcane magic until later.

Take the previously stirred Zaeriin, and use him to destroy Bael in a mixture of deceit and betrayal. This will cause additional distress in the set aside humans, increasing the instability in the race mixture. This and the previously added arcane magic should begin to degrade the integrity of the temple’s defenses. To speed up the degradation, add the remainder of the stirred Zaeriin to the mix, along with a dash of abyssal creatures (Rusc, Nagaesh, and Ilmaer) and the remainder of the set aside arcane magic. This should bring our combination to an adequate boil of chaos.

Add the previously created Sunstone. If everything has been incorporated correctly, this should cause the Shattering of the Sunstone and the Dracolords, and a following cataclysm–waking Rhaegar and the Old Ones and forever changing the face of Dadreon.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

This story and all related material are the original works of Awaiting the Muse and Effy J. Roan AKA Effraeti. All rights reserved.
Creative Commons License
Awaiting the Muse by Effy J. Roan AKA Effraeti is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Based on a work at https://awaitingthemuse.wordpress.com/.

Prophecy

Ancient Ruins

My most recent assignment in creative writing was to create a piece including either rhyme or repetition.

I pondered on this for a while, and I was close to writing the last piece of the The Shattering series that I’ve been working on. But as I sat down and tried to brainstorm for the last part, I realized that having a better overall picture of what was happening and what it would lead to would be more helpful.

I decided writing the prophecy attached to this event would be the best next step. Prophecies in fantasy may seem cliche, but I knew there would be one I referred to later in my stories (which I think I mentioned in the piece Erkada). Also, prophecies are a big part of mythological apocalypses and I’m trying to better tie my fantasy world together with some true mythology story feel. So many of the things we are discussing in mythology will be present in this piece and the final piece of The Shattering.

Prophecies are usually presented in poem fashion, so that they are easier to remember. I figured both rhyme and repetition would make it even easier–and a god piece to turn in fr my assignment.

This is a prophecy given by Dionnae, the goddess of future and prophecy, to Yargonae, the king of the gods. It was prophesied long before any of the events in The Shattering and vaguely covers the events spanning over 1000 of Dadreon’s history.

~ Effy

Prophecy

From golden light on pedestal,
The call of envy beckons.
The Shattering, and darkness falls.
What once had slept–awakens.

Consciousness, the jail it breaks,
And turns steel bars to dross.
Cataclysm, earthquakes, hurricanes.
What once held order–chaos.

Fae races scattered, battered, broken,
Their ancient forests cut and blighted.
The peak of society, left to ruin.
What once was prosperous–divided.

Land and water, mountain and tree,
Man and beast, made haggard.
Gemstone lords, left torn apart.
What once was whole–shattered.

The bowels, awakened,
Heave violent bane.
The ground, snaking Sapphire,
Writhes in pain.
The mountains, cut deep,
Ooze Ruby blood.
The oceans, once calm,
Rage Onyx flood.
The sky, mournful,
Wails with Quartz breeze.
The forests, in fear,
Tremble Emerald leaves.

Soothe golden serpent back to sleep,
And bind the darkness, ancient.
Rebuild the bars of dream’s black jail.
What once had slept–made dormant.

But what is done is not undone.
No spell or chant be spoken,
To heal the wounds of worldly ruin.
What once held order–still broken.

A thousand years of chaos brought,
Order usurped, most unrighteous.
A thousand more, if not restored.
What once held light–now darkness.

Hope, it lies in mortal breast,
Burdened with talent, dormant.
Restore the gem, and lords alike.
What once lay shattered–make brilliant.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

This story and all related material are the original works of Awaiting the Muse and Effy J. Roan AKA Effraeti. All rights reserved.
Creative Commons License
Awaiting the Muse by Effy J. Roan AKA Effraeti is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Based on a work at https://awaitingthemuse.wordpress.com/.

Flash Fiction Friday – Dragonhoard

Treasure Hoarding Dragon, by Alexstoneart at DeviantArt

Today’s flash fiction is inspired by a writing assignment prompt from my creative writing class. Our assignment was to write a persona piece–a dramatic monologue from the point of view of a “character.”

Well, I happen to like dragons, just a little bit.

So the idea of writing from a dragon’s point of view was fascinating. While brainstorming WHAT to write about, I stumbled across the burning question: Why do dragon’s hoard? Money would mean nothing to them–I doubt a dragon is going to go buy something from a human when he can take it by force. Unless they were to take a human form. But I decided on a red dragon for this piece, because I liked the idea of a fiery personality and a burning desire to hoard treasure. And I decided that my red dragon, unlike my green dragon, Cernunnos, would have no interest in taking a human form. He would not stoop to appear as their equal.

As the piece progressed, I realized my poetry study in creative writing is rubbing off on me more than I thought–the form of my prose was taking on almost a poem structure. There was a recurring theme of the dragon being obsessed with chaos. The prose was starting to look, in some places like: long paragraph –> sentence –> long paragraph –> sentence –> etc. So I decided to accentuate what had begun mostly by accident, definitely unconsciously.

Let me know what you think of this piece that is somewhat different from my usual.

Oh, and I promise I’m working on the end piece to The Sky Crumbles. This was for a school assignment, and took precedence.

~ Effy

Dragonhoard

Life is chaos. All order is destined to end in chaos. None know this truth better than dragons. No dragon knows this truth better than I, Pyrrhus, the Red.

Humans–the pests, the parasites–spend the whole of their insignificant, speck of a life trying to figure out the order of things. They study. They name. They label. They categorize. They seek to understand. They cram things into containers that represent how they wish those things to be and act.

Chaos defies understanding.

It is all for naught. There are things that exist that cannot be named, cannot be categorized, cannot be ordered. Only dragons realize that chaos is the natural way of universe, because we were born of chaos. Order can only exist for so long. In the form of structures and governments and civilizations, order eventually crumbles.

Chaos remains. It trumps order.

Chaos started everything. Once, only chaos existed. Ask the gods, if you can find them. They sought to organize the chaos. They created a perfect world with perfect creatures living in perfect harmony. For a time, that perfection held and they watched their world march perfectly along, and they thought the order would last.

Chaos that sleeps, eventually awakens.

Chaos can take many forms. In the case of our little chunk of rock, Dadreon, chaos took the form of primordial creatures the gods tried to hide away. These old ones sat in prisons created and maintained by the dreams of Rhaegar, the Dreamer–Rhaegar, the Father of Dragons. They hovered in an existence somewhere between life and death–unable to live while imprisoned by Rhaegar, yet incapable of dying.

Chaos never dies. It waits, infinitely patient.

The old ones awakened, and flooded the world with all forms of chaos–the mountains bled, the oceans raged, the sky wailed, the forests trembled, and the ground writhed. The old ones were bound once more, but not before changing the very face of Dadreon. Eventually, they will awaken again, because order is too organized, too much of the same.

Chaos is the contrast the universe demands.

Even beauty requires contrast. If all were the same, there would be no beauty, for their would be no difference. You cannot enjoy the beauty of a flower if every flower is just as beautiful. Just as there would be no good without evil. No love without hate. No light without dark. No male without female.

Chaos is both the binder and the divider.

Once I believed that order could be maintained, but after nearly a thousand years of existence, and the lessons chaos has taught me, I know better. My one remaining joy comes from teaching the lesson of chaos to the humans. They build; I destroy. They amass wealth; I take it. They wonder at the order of things; I deliver the inevitable chaos.

Fire is chaos. It destroys order. Fire burns without thought of who or why.

Then, the humans rebuild from the chaos, try to restore their order–until the next time I show them the futility of it. But humans are like petulant children. They don’t learn. They think they can rebuild their structures stronger, more resilient, but I always show them the errors of this flawed logic. It is a cycle I will eventually win.

Chaos is patient. Dragons are patient.

In the meantime, I take their baubles. Humans make pretty, albeit useless, items. They prove better at making items of gold and gemstones than they do erecting buildings that stay standing. They string themselves with gold and gems, thinking they shroud themselves with wealth and power. The gold, the jewelry, instead creates a cloak of jealousy, making others want what you have.

Amassing riches brings chaos.

To possess riches, you have to be strong enough to defeat those envious of it. I take, I hoard, because I am stronger than the craven humans. I protect what I take. But I also do not tempt chaos.

Chaos favors no one.

I remember the first time I beheld the luscious glitter of fire on gold. It occurred the night of my first raid on the humans. Their capital originally stood just north of the Dagger Cliffs, in a protected valley. Not protected enough.

Not from a dragon’s eyes or a dragon’s wits.

I caught them unawares, unprepared for my chaos. I breathed. The city burned. I watched. Humans fled or blazed like paper–a flash, then gone. I brought chaos. The humans screamed as their precious order shattered.

They tasted peppery and ashen on my tongue.

The castle of the human king beckoned me. It screamed order and I spewed chaos in retort. Stone and mortar melted beneath the heat of my flames. As the towers flowed like lava, I caught sight of a golden glint among the black.

A burning sun in an ebon cosmos.

The falling structure had revealed beneath it a pile of treasure as I had never seen–a mountain of gold coins and among them sparkling gems. Some of the gems winked from the hilts of brilliant swords or decorative boxes or broad necklaces, others glinted among the disks of gold. My eyes filled with sparkling carnelian, garnet, citrine, agate, opal, hessonite, spinel, amethyst. But it was the gold that most dazzled me, flashing like tiny flickers of flame.

In that moment, I knew envy. I had to make it mine.

So I made the human king’s castle my lair. I left the humans to seek a new capital. I sealed myself away from covetous eyes. I counted my riches. I buried myself in a mountain of gold. I slept in a sea of aureate wealth.

Greed became my food. But chaos was ever my god.

For many, many years I found my contentment there. I did not seek out the humans. I slept. I dreamed. Both in and out of my dreams, I counted and I recounted. But my riches tempted the greedy.

The return of chaos was inevitable.

Each would-be thief and murderer announced himself “hero” and “dragonslayer” just before meeting my terrifying gaze. Then, their legs and wills turned to water, and they perished in a wave of dragonfear and a wall of flame.

One after another they came. One after another they burned.

Enraged by their audacity, I sealed up my treasures beneath a layer of melted stone and sought out the new human city. Two, three, four villages smoldered in my wake. But my rage still burned.

My inner fire accommodated.

Only when the human city once more fell into blackened ashes did my fury falter. Once more the humans fled before my enormity and the chaos I spewed upon them. Once more I found treasures beneath the human king’s castle. I swallowed all of the hoard I was capable, and flew off to add it to my own.

Still I know chaos. Chaos is all-seeing.

That has become the cycle of my life. Sleep, kill, burn. It is almost an order, but I know better. All semblance of order left this life with my mate, Seraphine. Stolen from me by the insect-like humans while protecting our brood. Buried alive along with all of our eggs. I remember her terrified cries of pain. They haunt my dreams.

Together since our creation, I have no other.

Life is chaos. It is cyclical. The humans brought it on me and in turn I bring it on them in an ever-revolving cycle of chaos.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

This story and all related material are the original works of Awaiting the Muse and Effy J. Roan AKA Effraeti. All rights reserved.
Creative Commons License
Awaiting the Muse by Effy J. Roan AKA Effraeti is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Based on a work at https://awaitingthemuse.wordpress.com/.

Flash Fiction Friday – The Sky Crumbles

Solar Eclipse

Just a quick intro today…

This is the third part to the stories posted recently:

Part 2 & 3 are actually meant to intermingle, but I separated them for posting, so that As Darkness Rises could be short enough to turn in for my assignment. They will go back together as intended when all the parts are complete.

Enjoy Part 3!

~ Effy

The Sky Crumbles

“The situation goes from bad to worse,” Sapphire said to his siblings, hissing the words through his sharp teeth.

“This new arrival troubles me more than even this war between the elves and humans,” Ruby agreed. She slowly shook her large, horned head. “What are those dark creatures?”

“I fear there is someone else behind this new development,” Emerald said with a frown on his muzzle, flicking his golden eyes to each of his siblings in turn.

“I have a thought of who,” Onyx replied, her usually lively countenance serious.

“Zaeriin,” Quartz said, reading the look on her sister’s face.

Onyx nodded.

The five Dracolords continued to watch the battlefield. The conflict had been moving closer to the the gates of Bethel, but stalled with the appearance of the gaping, black hole and the dark creatures spewing from it. Details proved difficult to discern through the sooty black fog, all the the Dracolords could see were vaguely humanoid shapes scrambling around and colliding chaotically.

The dark creatures from below continued to multiply.

“We must do something,” Ruby insisted.

“We’re already too far from the Temple,” Sapphire said.

“Maybe we should return,” Onyx said, her voice less certain than usual. She glanced from the battlefield to the Temple of Yargonae, still shining and golden behind them, unaffected by the darkness screening the battlefield below.

“As this darkness arises, it continues to spread,” Emerald said. “What if it continues toward the Temple?”

Before the others could answer, the end began.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Zaeriin climbed the mountain of steps up to the Temple of Yargonae. Usually, the Dracolords would have sensed his approach and barred his way long before this point, but they stayed distracted with the battle from above. He could see their shimmering rainbow still spanned across the heavens.

Yet the great aspen doors remained sealed. Zaeriin cursed under his breath and glanced behind him, in the direction of the battle that raged just out of view. He could hear the growing terror as his dark minions from below sliced and slithered their way through the elves and humans. The inky cloud still hung there like low, thick fog, enveloping the whole of the battlefield.

Other than his brother, Yargonae, only Zaeriin knew the origin of the creeping darkness. Only Zaeriin knew of the existence of sleeping, dreaming horrors in the depths and how to use them.

But Zaeriin’s patience was at its end.

Thankfully, he didn’t have to wait much longer. He saw the first magenta flashes flicker over the walls of Bethel. Zaeriin knew those sparks of light meant the humans were fighting the approaching darkness with arcane magic–magic the young and irresponsible Bael had blessed them with but had never shown them how to use responsibly.

With a raised hand, Zaeriin felt along the weakening aura holding closed the doors of the Temple.

“Soon…” he hissed.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

“Finally!” Zaeriin hissed.

He shoved both palms against the stout aspen doors of the Temple, and felt the rush of sweet success as they parted. Warm air and the scent of hot metal and spring flowers wafted against him.

Zaeriin crinkled his nose.

Then, his visage immediately brightened when his eyes fell upon the Sunstone. His goal was finally within reach.

One step. Two steps. Three steps. The footsteps came quickly and without thought.

Zaeriin moved within arm’s reach of the Sunstone. The rays of the sun glittered off its perfect topaz surface, causing the gem to twinkle and warble a mournful tune.

It was as if the Sunstone knew the fate awaiting it–awaiting them all.

Zaeriin flinched. The gem seemed to be asking him, begging him, to walk back out.

“No! Not after all this!” Zaeriin roared, gesturing behind him with one wide circle of one arm. “I’ve waited too long. I’ve come too far. You belong to me!”

No, Zaeriin. The Sunstone is not yours. Never will it be yours. As the voice invaded his mind, he watched a swirling grey vapor drift between him and the gem. Seconds later, the vapor coalesced into the looming form of a large, shimmering black dragon, forcing Zaeriin back several steps from his prize.

“Onyx, don’t stand in my way.” Zaeriin glared into the Dracolord’s yellow eyes. The jealousy built within him again, so hot he forgot all other emotions. She had spurned him. She had denied his advances. She had claimed her heart belonged only to Umaesh, god of the moons and stars.

Zaeriin’s insides burned, a building volcano of vehemence.

“You will go no further, Zaeriin.” Onyx met his eyes steadily, her head high and her muzzle elevated. She stood on all four of her muscular legs, toes tense and talons clicking against the smooth gold and grey swirled marble beneath them, her tail twitching restlessly.

“My feelings for you won’t stay my hand,” Zaeriin promised. “Remove yourself, or I will kill you. I will let nothing stop me.” His gnarled, sharp fingers clenched and unclenched at his sides.

Onyx’s lips curled, and she bared her pointed teeth.

The Temple became cloaked in blackness. With the sun blotted out, the Sunstone ceased its singing and silence fell. The abruptness of it was deafening. Onyx found herself disoriented.

But Zaeriin was in his element.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

“You should not have come alone,” Zaeriin said, his voice reverberating through the air.

Onyx spun towards his voice, snarling and flailing with claw and tail and snapping maw.

A moment too late, she saw it for the deception it was. Something sharp pierced her breast, in the spot where her scales were thinnest and her body least armored. So sudden did it strike her, her breath caught in her throat. So deep did it cut, it pierced her lung and her heart beneath it, denying her any further objection.

Zaeriin dispelled his darkness, and watched as Onyx slumped forward. She wheezed a few final breaths and growled in the direction of her attacker. Then, her head thumped heavily to the marble, in the growing puddle of her garnet-colored blood.

Allowing himself only a moment’s reflection, Zaeriin swallowed down any regrets. Then he tore his gaze from one source of his envy to the other.

The Sunstone had begun to sing again, a melody dreadful and forlorn.

Zaeriin reached forward. A tiny tremor in the marble floor gave him pause. He hesitated for only a moment, then grabbed hold of the gem. A greater vibration shook Zaeriin, seeming to originate from the Sunstone. He took a firmer hold of it. The walls of the Temple began to shudder and cracks appeared in their flawless surfaces.

Zaeriin stood mesmerized, gazing deep into the Sunstone. Deep within the gem were swirling masses resembling tiny cosmic clouds, and within them twinkled tiny stars. Now that he held it, the Sunstone seemed to trill with a higher pitch than before.

First dust, then pebbles, then large sections of the plastered walls and columns began to crumble and collapse around him. A large chunk fell to the floor, narrowly missing him and breaking him from his revere.

“I think that is my exit cue,” Zaeriin murmured.

The Temple groaned and rumbled with discontent. As Zaeriin moved toward the doors, more chunks of plaster fell, now joined by the stone and mortar beneath it, quicker and in larger pieces than before. A jagged hole marred the ceiling, and it made the sun’s rays unpleasantly harsh and condemning.

Zaeriin clutched the Sunstone protectively to his chest. As he reached the aspen doors, the gem wailed and flashed hot pain into his chest.

Crying out, Zaeriin tried to hold on, but the burning gem tumbled from his covetous fingers.

The Sunstone hit the marble and shattered, letting loose an ear-piercing wail. It was a scream of fear, a howl of pain, a cry of anguish.

And it woke Rhaegar, the Dreamer, from his slumber.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

This story and all related material are the original works of Awaiting the Muse and Effy J. Roan AKA Effraeti. All rights reserved.
Creative Commons License
Awaiting the Muse by Effy J. Roan AKA Effraeti is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Based on a work at https://awaitingthemuse.wordpress.com/.

Horror Fiction Project – As Darkness Rises

Black Tentacles, by Archanor on Deviantart

The short story piece, The Sunstone, that I published last week is continued here.

This piece is a continuation, but it is also a piece written for an assignment. I mentioned that I was drawing inspiration from my Creative Writing, Horror & Sci Fi, and Mythology classes. Well, this one is horror inspired. We are responsible for 3 projects this semester, and one is a “creative” project. It was intended to allow students with less writing interest to express themselves through other forms–sculptor, painting, video, etc. But I asked if I could write a piece of fiction, and was given permission. (Yay!)

Yes, I won’t deny there are some Lovecratian influences here.

I hope you enjoy. I don’t have an assignment planned for the third part, but it will get posted here soon.

~ Effy

As Darkness Rises

Tendrils of darkness blotted out the climbing sun like a morning eclipse. They snaked around it, and constricted, until its light became a mere chilly glow. Yet still the sun hung there, though bloated and red, its rays diffused in the sudden ominous gloom.

The source of the creeping darkness spewed from a split in the soil, forming in the center of the battlefield. It swirled like sooty smoke. The ground seemed to fall away at the edges, disintegrating back in upon itself into the abyss below.

The sudden appearance of the crevice swallowed those closest in terrifying swiftness. The darkness below did not discriminate between elf or man–it ate any who had stumbled too near. Soon it gaped like a giant, hungry maw, its throat black with rich soil, crumbling clumps of earth forming its jagged teeth.

Mere feet from having been swallowed, a young elven soldier pirouetted his arms to regain balance and scrambled backwards from the edge of the approaching underworld. He first saw the dark talons that clawed the edges of the black hole. They looked wet, even slimy, catching the little bit of light breaking through the black fog and creating a sickening sheen on greyish skin.

As the glistening creature crested the edge of the maw, the young elf tried to scream at the sight of it, but the sound caught in his throat. A moment later, the sinewy nightmare reached out, a frenzy of slashing talons and fangs, and cut off any further protest in a gurgle of bubbling blood.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Gennerd, commander of the elven forces and their allies, could not see the source of the first screams of terror. He could only feel the creeping chill they sent shivering down his spine as elves and men screamed and then were cut short.

Chaos built in the center of the battlefield. It rippled through the ranks like a dark wave.

Gennerd could not tell if the screams were elves or men, but it didn’t matter. From the change in the battle’s tone, it seemed obvious whatever had changed it affected both sides. From the darkening of the sky, despite the sun that still shone there dimly, he could tell it was more than the barbaric humans were capable of, even with their rudimentary grasp of arcane magic.

“Illandra!” Gennerd called. “Zenadi!” Neither of his commanders were close enough to hear him over the cacophony. Solace, his patience pegasus companion, shifted beneath him, sensing his anxiety, and ruffling the feathers of her white wings.

With a curse, Gennerd urged Solace forward, cautious. He did not coax her into the air, for he mistrusted the darkness gathering there. He did not like going in blind, for he feared what he could not identify, but his soldiers needed direction. They needed reassurance.

What reassurance he could offer, he was yet unsure.

The rainbow that had arched across the sky earlier could not be seen. Whether that meant it had disappeared or just been hidden from view by the smoky murk, Gennerd didn’t know. But the hope it had given him faded with it.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

“Again!” Warlord Kerl snarled.

At his command, another volley of amethyst-colored bolts of energy arced high into the sky, the premature dusk–twoscore of them. The missiles fell among the elven ranks as well as among these new, darker creatures.

Kerl was certain they were some form of fairy-folk summoned by the hedonistic elves.

The commander of the human legion yanked the reins of his yellow palomino and the nervous beast turned, shaking its black mane anxiously. Kerl kept the horse pacing circles behind the lines forming his last hope of destroying the elves. These elves with their pathetic attempt at stalling him from finally eradicating them and their trees and their many gods.

As Kerl prepared to order another volley, he scanned the scorched, torn sod and the scattered bodies tossed around like rag dolls. Those bodies were only men and elves. The dark creatures seemed unaffected. In fact, they were grouping in slithering swarms of shadows, snaking through the remaining ranks of humans between themselves and Kerl.

His horse neighed in fear, its ears flattened, its eyes wide and rolling erratically. Kerl snapped the reins and tried to get the beast under control. Then he realized one of the dark creatures had slipped through the mages, slicing and half-devouring a few along its path.

It clawed at the leg of the terrified horse. As it grabbed a hold, the beast’s leg began to turn a ghastly grey, a sickness of the flesh that crept higher the longer the dark creature kept hold. The horse’s legs gave out, and Kerl rolled away just short of being crushed.

As the horse hit the ground, it shrieked, an ear-splitting sound that dissolved into a gurgling bray.

The dark creature that had brought it down gorged on its horseflesh, making stomach-turning slurping and crunching noises in the process. Kerl sat back in a horrified stupor, only shaking himself from it when the dark creature looked up and Kerl finally got a good look at it.

It resembled an emaciated man, one caught in a blistering fire. Charred skin, now dripping with blood, clung like saturated cloth to its bones. Its eyes burned with cerise hunger and dripping fangs lined its ravenous mouth.

Kerl stoically concluded in that moment, just before the thing pounced on him, that this was no fairy.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Gennerd saw Kerl’s horse go down, shrieking, and grimaced. He may have disliked his adversary, but no one deserved such a fate.

He and Solace had reached the main fray, but the majority of the dark creatures had turned toward the humans and their mages. A viscous black wave of slithering bodies formed a wall between Gennerd’s elves and the remaining humans.

Another volley of fuschia bolts of arcane energy flew through the dark sky. Gennerd frowned. Even he could see from where he and Solace watched that the missiles were ineffective. The only thing they accomplished was drawing more attention to the casters.

Unknown to Gennerd, they also weakened the magical bounds of the Temple of Yargonae within the walls of Bethel.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Gennerd regrouped the remaining elves. He found Illandra, his second in command, and Zenadi, the commander of the fairy troops. Both he told to reorganize their soldiers and go wide around where the humans made their final stand–though, that stand was more of a failed attempt to flee without their warlord.

The elves’ only hope lay in leading the dark creatures the rest of the way from Bethel. Whether it would mean anything without figuring out how to seal up their hellish hole, Gennerd didn’t know.

The elves and fairies made their way around the wave of slithering blackness as Gennerd watched from Solace’s back. The dark creatures took notice immediately and divided.

They attacked the elves with a ferality like he’d never seen.

There seemed to be two different types of the dark creatures. One resembled an atrophied human, its skin charred and crumbling and clinging to its bones like wet cloth. They crawled with a dexterity that belied their frail-looking builds and ravenously devoured anything in their wake. The other creatures were half-man, half-snake abominations. They had dark greyish, slimy skin, stretched tautly over sinewy humanoid torsos and whip-like, snaking tails. They hunted with reptilian eyes and impossibly fast, slithering movements.

“Prepare yourself, Solace,” Gennerd whispered to his pegasus mount, but it was as much an encouragement to himself as to her. He patted her neck, and she snorted affectionately.

The diversion went as well as could be expected. The black wave slithered farther from Bethel’s gates, and the dark creatures seemed to have stopped emerging from the gaping, black hole in the open field.

But before Gennerd gave Solace the command to charge in and past, to draw the dark creatures farther still, his mount whinnied fearfully. The commander turned and froze in similar terror.

Several yards away stood the most hideous creature Gennerd had ever seen. Not even his darkest nightmares could have conjured this thing. It possessed a bulbous, slimy head and giant, milk-filmed eyes that looked blind. The thing’s face resembled a squid, multiple tentacles coming down and covering where its mouth should be. It was cloaked in a voluminous black robe with a tall collar that came higher than the dark creature’s squishy-looking head.

Solace, usually the most patience and steadfast of mounts, paced and whickered and tossed her head. She seemed on the edge of madness and too terrified to even flee.

Gennerd, similarly affected, wished she had bolted. Anything to carry him away from the squid creature.

Instead, it took several paces forward, and then made a gesture with one delicate, glossy hand. A number of elves stepped from the swirling black fog behind the creature. They raised their weapons and charged Gennerd and Solace.

The pegasus seemed mired to the ground. She stomped her hooves but made no headway in any direction. Gennerd’s arms were lead and would not obey him to guide her.

The elves, his soldiers, quickly swarmed Solace. She screeched in terror and pain as their weapons tore into her.

It was only then that Gennerd saw the empty looks in the eyes of the attacking elves. Even had he a voice to shout at them, he knew it would not have reached a rational mind. Their eyes had the same milky-film as the tentacled creature and their expressions were slack and vacant.

Somehow, this abyssal creature had stolen their minds.

Gennerd tried to scramble away as Solace fell beneath him. The elven soldiers grabbed him with dozens of fiercely biting fingers, and dragged him before the squid monster.

No scream would come to his lips, but it echoed over and over in his head.

The large milky eyes, from within the cephalopod face, drew his gaze into their depths and held him. He felt his mind seized as if by ice cold fingers and barred within a dark place. The frigid fingers plucked away his memories, one by one, piece by piece, stretching them out like stringy tendrils until they all floated in the air like dull streamers. The remnants of his strung-out memories were sucked away, and Gennerd was left with petrifying nothingness.

Then, a gurgling, sloshing voice filled the void, whispering things, and Gennerd’s shattered mind clung to every word.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

This story and all related material are the original works of Awaiting the Muse and Effy J. Roan AKA Effraeti. All rights reserved.
Creative Commons License
Awaiting the Muse by Effy J. Roan AKA Effraeti is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Based on a work at https://awaitingthemuse.wordpress.com/.