Before the War Ends

“You will die before this war ends. Are you sure you want to fight this fight?”

I looked at the floor and considered his question. Moans from the wounded nearby hummed through the makeshift healing house. The moss blanketed cobblestone was stained with the blood of the fallen and those who took refuge during the few breaths of peace that a small victory created. The cursed arrow that struck me three days earlier had been replaced by a blackened scar. I could pinpoint precisely where it pierced my flesh, on my right side, just below my lungs. The healers tried to help, but they were not as skilled as the elves in their magic. For me, a half-elf, my aura was unknown to them. I would not survive the journey to any of the Elven Kingdoms without facing an onslaught of enemy forces. Deep down, I understood that I would not heal from this wound. The necromancer who shot me had been slain in battle and even the man sitting across from me knew that the only cure would have come from someone who now lay dead. My back ached as I felt the fiery pain spreading across my ribs. It was difficult to breathe, but it would all be over soon.

“If I was human, this would have killed me already,” I said, attempting a smile but nothing more than a wince fell on my lips. “But because I’m still half-human… I’m faced with mortality.”

“Are not we all?” my friend responded. He rubbed his tired eyes as the sound of battle lingered in the air. It was far in the distance, but that did not mean it was over. In fact, it had just begun.

Magic was no longer enough in this war. Necromancy had become the stronger tool and even our best mages could not stop their advances. Each causality was simply more ammo for our foe. It was only the specially trained Demon Hunters, like myself, that stood a chance at vanquishing them entirely. We sold our souls to walk the line between the living and undead, good and evil, dark and light. A beacon for good, but at a price. When this curse finally consumed my mortal body, I my soul would spend eternity in the Nothingness – a barren wasteland for lost souls and the Demon Hunters, overseen by the Goddess, Cazadora. She spends eternity battling the Demon Hunters against one another to appoint a Champion, but she is never satisfied. Even in death, I will fight for the rest of existence, but anything was better than this pain I now felt.

“There are so few of us left Nadir,” I explained. “I simply cannot abandoned those who stay and fight. After all we have trained for. The vows we took to protect the world from this dark magic… If it may be the end of me, then I will gladly accept my fate. However, I will not take my final breath until I vanquish Mirdra.”

My thoughts faded as the curse tried to take ahold of me again. Mirdra was one of the Necromancers who started this war claiming that she had been cast aside for too long. But little did her cult of followers know, she was once a Demon Hunter. Only a few of us who had lived long enough to remember her still knew this secret. She delved into Necromancy when age began to take a toll on her skill in battle. After numerous warnings from my kin, they finally banished her and revoked her vows in an ancient ritual that had seldom been used. Even my friend, Nadir, was too young to remember these events.

I stood up and shook off the haze of darkness as the curse settled just below my heart. Sunrise was when the winds of death would take me, so I had to be swift. I knew that Mirdra would meet me on the battlefield, so I would not waste another minute in the healing house.

“You are leaving?”

“I am returning to battle.”

With a nod, I left behind the small town of Kamin for the final time and entered the scorched earth only moments later. My silver blade was drawn as I summoned a protective shield against the evil that tainted the land. I would use some of my remaining strength to summon Mirdra from whatever depths she was hiding. A few of the ancient spell, but no one who had a chance at living another day would use it.

A single word will call upon your enemy and drag them into view, read the ancient text. Price to pay for the Hunter will be steep. A hunter turned prey in the eyes of the gods, someone who does not have the discipline to stalk their foe.

“If I use this, I will be prey for the Cazadora in the mortal world,” I whispered while striking down the corpses that tried to break the ranks of good. “But with my time so limited, I will be her prey soon enough.”

A deep breath and a knee to the ground, I placed my hands upon the blackened earth and spoke the word to summon Mirdra.

Nagade.”

Suddenly, the earth began to quake at my feet. I felt the connection between me and my enemy as she neared. Just as I opened my eyes, the Necromancer rose out of the ground in a plume of black smoke. The evil smile on her face was filled with familiarity.

“Dara,” she said. “You look a little worse for the wear, don’t you?”

“Hello, old friend.”

“I can heal you from this curse,” she said. “And not just the one placed on you by my men… The curse of mortality. Cazadora will never have you if you join me.”

“You know that isn’t true after summoning you here. Face me and accept your death as I have accepted mine.”

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HI EVERYONE! I hope that you enjoyed the past holidays and have a safe Holiday season upcoming. I wanted to throw in a little writing prompt to keep with the theme of darkness as the days are getting shorter and colder here. I am three chapters into the first draft of Prowess and am very excited as to how it’s coming along.

A great way to take some time for yourself with the upcoming days off could be reading Purpose and Preservation! 😉 Or, perhaps, you are trying to check off a few people on Holiday gifts? What better gift than the gift of imagination. Click on the Bookstore tab above for links to purchase it! All of your support is greatly appreciated and helps me get one step closer to realizing my dream of becoming a full time author. And please, if you have read any of my books, go onto the Amazon page and rate it 🙂 Each review really helps me out.

A Poetry Prompt

Good Morning Everyone!

I’m waiting for my Beta Readers to get back with their comments about Book 2! I need to get working on a synopsis and book cover design, but that’s about it. I may do one more edit prior to publication. But, as always, I will keep everyone updated!

Until then, I’ve come across a very short, but powerful writing prompt. Here we go!

We will never be those children again.

A gun in hand. A trembling finger,

Truly too afraid to pull the trigger.

Hiding in ruins and sleeping in tents,

Dreams crying out in a silent lament.

Moon and sun both burn so bright,

Awaiting the moving shadows in the night.

They come with fire and they bring death,

Waves of men, coming like an eternal breath.

Cries of children like mourning birds,

Their cries through the world, remain unheard.

But we go on, forever more.

This is who we are, the product of war.

Quick Update from My Absence

Hi everyone! My deepest apologies for being so distant on here lately. I’ve been working on finishing Preservation‘s final edits, working on the Writing Class I plan to eventually roll out, and adjust to a new position at my full-time job. I’m planning on, hopefully, setting some time aside this weekend to write from a prompt or two for everyone here! My posts will be more sporadic until the New Year, but I will do my best to stay up on posting something!

I need to de-stress somehow! 🙂 I miss all of my followers and look forward to getting back into the swing of things after the holidays.

Red Flames of Mist

Sorry I haven’t been posting as frequently as usual! I’ve been trying to get editing done for Book 2 of The Wanderer Trilogy. It is still in the works, but I hope to have a solid update for everyone soon.

Standing against the back of Summer in wake of Autumn’s chill,

I find myself yearning for a world of whimsical fantasy.

My eyes open and behold a fiery land just beyond my reach,

Mists ripple in waves pass overhead, red and pink and yellow.

Ablaze the sky above, Arise the morning sun.

Harvest Moon to Harvest Sun, greets with eerie beauty.

I am present to it’s wake and sentinel to it’s arrival,

Autumn is here, Autumn is here, I announce to the Earth.

Roots spread from my soles, take root and ground me to the infinite below.

From my crown, a tingling cloud reaches up to greet the sky,

Connecting me to the infinite above.

The sky above becomes more calming as the sun rises more,

But beauty still remains, only a glimpse of the moments before linger.

Standing against the back of Summer I greet Autumn’s chill.

Like an old friend it wraps me up in it’s embrace,

The future is uncertain, Winter’s blankets will find me soon.

For now I relish the moments that nature beholds it’s true beauty.

That the end of green has arrived, but will come again.

I await the season’s, one by one, and stand witness to it.

The Wild One

Pine and Fir trees conceal numerous stories that become myth. A light flickering through the treetops, people speak of witches and spirits lingering from history passed. Sometimes, hushed whispers and bone-chilling winds come up from the depths and scare the livestock and the people in town. Many travelers do not dare come this way. They stay along the main road and avert their gaze to the sign reading: Corpse Cove.

The name of the town itself should be daunting enough, but it’s people tend to keep away from the affairs of outsiders. Those who have read the newspapers coming from this lonely town flock in interest. And those who live in Corpse Cove happily oblige their deepest fantasies for a fee. Murder mysteries derived from true events and horseback tours of the recent fire that wiped out a third of the homes, the townspeople thrive on death. Perhaps they are obsessed with it, as it is all they know.

A quaint Inn sits nearest to the forest with the windows strategically built to view as much of the treeline as possible. The most expensive room sits atop a tower, up a winding staircase, and perched high enough to see for miles. Claims of mysterious glowing orbs dancing over the horizon just before nightfall and sounds of drums and singing are carried with the wind. All of these and so much more make Corpse Cove ripe for spirit activity.

But it wasn’t always named this way. When the town was first inhabited twenty years ago, a settler and his wife named the land Harristown. Maude and Earl Harris, along with a few of their close friends and relatives, began to build. When the town was christened, so were the Harris’. Maude was pregnant.

However, it wasn’t a joyous time for everyone in Harristown. Earl’s mother, an eccentric by the town’s standards, never cared much for Maude and believed that her grandchild would deface the ‘good Harris name’. So, she devised a plan. Late one night, a raven came to her windowsill, sat upon it, and beckoned for her. She followed it deep into the forest, black as pitch. Suddenly, she spotted a fire. No one was around except her and the raven, that, when she turned to look back at it, had transformed into a grey fox with a woman standing beside it. Both had silver eyes glinting against the flames.

“I know what it is you request of the spirits of the forest,” she said in a low, melodic voice. “We require sacrifice as payment.”

The old lady swallowed the lump in her throat, but the first person to come to mind was Maude. No, that would be too obvious. “If I decide to sacrifice the child?”

“She will become us,” the spirit explained, though her mouth did not move. Her voice came and went with the wind. “If she has done no wrong, this will be the end of Harristown as you know it. Heed my warning or do not, that is your choice.”

But the old woman choose her own path. Clouded by hate for Maude, she allowed her son to raise the child for three years to keep suspicions at bay. On the evening of the child’s third birthday, the Spirit’s wolf awaited the old lady and the toddler at the forest’s edge. No tears were shed until dawn when Maude and Earl found that their daughter went missing. They believed that a thief stole her in the night, and they weren’t entirely wrong.

For months they searched surrounding lands, always returning to Harristown for comfort. On their final search destination, Earl’s mother decided to go alone.

“Perhaps she is in Ashville,” she offered. Still, only she knew where their precious daughter had disappeared that night. Earl begged to accompany her, but she refused.

Two days passed when the old lady returned down the dirt road to the wooden sign stamped with her last name. Something was different as she turned off the main road and began the mile ride to the town. It was the smell. She remembered it as fresh maple and wildflowers, but not this time. This time, it smelled like smoke.

“Help,” it was Maude’s voice coming from the bottom of the hill. “Please help us. Earl… the others.”

“If she has done no wrong, this will be the end of Harristown as you know it. Heed my warning or do not, that is your choice.” It echoed in the old woman’s mind.

The moment her carriage turned towards the hill, her eyes widened. Smoldering remains of over half the town came into view. Maude was slumped over next to the horses, crying hysterically. Her legs were badly burned.

“I’m so sorry, ma,” she wept. “I tried to save him, but he wouldn’t leave the house. He said he saw her, ma. He said he saw our daughter.”

“What?” The old woman’s heart started racing and her palms became sweaty. “That can’t be possible. It’s been months. She’s gone.”

Suddenly, the widow screamed and pointed to the forest. Her hands were shaking violently. “No.”

“That’s impossible,” the old woman said. But again, the Spirits warning repeated in the back of her mind.

The two women stood there, flabbergasted as a very young girl with fiery red hair wrapped in messy braids stood at the threshhold. Perched on her shoulder was a raven and just beside her was the fox. All three of them had bright silver eyes. But it was what the girl said that terrified them.

“I’m sorry mommy. I had to tell you, but you wouldn’t listen. She left me here to die and now I must take you all with me.”

***

Although the town changed it’s name since that day, the stories did not die with Maude and Earl. Years have passed and it is still a bustling town with a dark past. But that is the charm. None of the spirits in the fire were laid to rest and their remains still haunt the town. Maude and Earl can be heard weeping in various places around town and seen on the full moon nights. Their specters glide through the streets, calling out to their lost child. Other townspeople can be heard screaming in pain from time to time. But the most noted ghost is that of Earl’s mother. They claim she is the most active because she was banished from the afterlife. Everyone who comes to Corpse Cove has seen her in one way or another. Mirrors reflecting her likeness, a shadow of a shuffling hunched woman through hallways and the streets. But on the anniversary of her grandchild’s birthday, she can be followed.

Her path? The very same she took all those years ago. From the home of her son to the treeline. Those brave enough to follow can find her weaving around trees that have since fallen over to a small clearing – a perfect circle. Some claim that the remnants of a fire still burns, but only the coals. The old woman’s spirit sways back and forth for an hour, dwelling on her choice and leaving to her home. Only to return with her grandchild and disappears again.

Tales say that the child still lives within the trees, raised by wolves and the Spirit who spoke to the old woman. Her red hair – a reminder of the havoc she caused her family and the town she should have grown up in. Even still, you can see her glowing persona just beyond the treeline, watching over Corpse Cove.

But those are just stories right?

Thank you all for reading! I hope you enjoyed and I would love to read your take on the 3 prompts above. 🙂