Slave Elf Part 38: Flash Fiction Friday

Energy Ball 001 by ISOStock, www.DeviantArt.com

Part 1 here.

Part 38

They took the rest of the day to prepare and send out the pigeons. The next morning, Delia put on her own clothes, washed and repaired by Phara. Phara had made them a big breakfast and then went out with them to saddle up the horses.

“Be careful,” Phara told them as they settled into the saddles. “Come home to me.”

“We will,” Aduello told her.

Kaya blew her a kiss. “Stay well, Mother.”

Phara blew one back. “You as well. And you, Delia.”

“Thank you.”

Aduello kicked his horse forward. Kaya and Delia did the same. Delia waved to Phara. Then settled into the ride. The trip took just two days. Much better, Delia thought, than the five-day slog had been to Aduello’s.

They made camp in front of the gate. After they had supper, Aduello stood, staring at the gate. “It’s very complicated.”

Delia stood beside him. “Yes. And strong. It took both Kaya and I to break the one at Iyunno’s.”

“Before you knew about fire.”

She nodded. “Yes. Tomorrow will be interesting.”

In the morning they packed everything onto the horses and Kaya led them up the road a little way and hobbled them, so they could graze. When she returned, her father and Delia were building up the campfire. They all brought wood from the forest and threw it on until it was taller than Aduello.

“That should be enough,” Delia told them as she brushed her hands off. She took a sip of water and stared at the gate then sighed. “Time to do this. Kaya, build a shield please.”

Kaya nodded and began to mutter under her breath.

“What shall I do?” Aduello asked.

“Keep watch. We’re going to be focused on the protection spell. I don’t want anyone sneaking up on us.”

He nodded.

Delia took a breath and looked at the fire. She urged the fire to come to her, just like she did in Iyuno’s. The warm glow reached her, and she began to feel stronger. More, more, she thought. The fire filled her. She felt invincible. Maintaining the connection with the fire, she turned to face the gate. Kaya had the shield up, large enough to cover all three of them. “I’m starting.”

She raised her hands and using a spell slightly different that the one the Mage taught her, began to try and take down the protection spell. It was hard, and a trickle of sweat rolled down her temple and another down her spine.

“You’re doing it, Delia! Keep it up,” Kaya said.

The yellow tendrils were unravelling but there was a long way to go. She wondered if she’d have to take out every single tendril. The gate was nearly clear, but she wanted the whole spell removed.

“The fire is going out,” Aduello told her.

“I don’t know how long this is going to take. Can you find more wood?”

“I’ll go now.” He hurried off.

Delia kept working. More and more of the yellow tendrils disappeared.

Aduello came back and threw more branches on the fire. He stood beside his daughter. “Shouldn’t it break soon?”

“We don’t know, Father. The last one blew back on us.

“I can feel it weakening,” Delia said. “But it’s putting up a fight, just like last time.”

“Shield is ready,” Kaya said.

Delia pulled as much power as she could from the fire. Sweat dripped from her chin as she took more and more of the yellow tendrils out. She could feel the protection spell tremble. “Get ready!”

Just as she yelled the words, the protection spell snapped. The shield Kaya made protected them from most of the blast but still they were all knocked down. Kaya lost the shield spell. Delia lay on the dirt of the road, eyes closed.

“Are you alright?” Kaya hurried to Delia.

“Yes. Just resting.” She opened her eyes and rolled to her feet. “Aduello? Are you alright?”

“Yes. Fine.” He got up. “That’s quite the blast.”

Delia dusted off the back of her trousers and shirt. “Well. Let’s take a look, shall we?”

Aduello and Delia, kicked dirt over the remains of the fire while Kaya went for the horses. By the time she got back, the fire was out and the rocks of the fire ring were kicked back to the side of the road.

They mounted up and rode inside.

 

Thank You! Come back next week for Part 39.

731 Words

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Slave Elf Part 37: Flash Fiction Friday

Elf’s houses by nikyelisey httpsorig00.deviantart.netb9d8f2010008a8elf__s_houses_by_nikyeliseyev.jpg

See Part 1 here.

Part 37

Dappled sunlight, tinted green after shining through the leaves of the tree, danced on the wall opposite the bed. Delia was so comfortable she simply lay and watched the light. It was the smell of bacon that lured her out of bed. She dressed after splashing her face and went down to the kitchen.

There she found Phara, Aduello, and Kaya at the kitchen table, mugs of tea in front of each. “Did you sleep well?” Kaya asked.

“Yes. Thank you. I don’t think I moved all night.”

“Please sit,” Phara said as she stood up. “I’ll get you some tea. Breakfast is almost ready.”

Delia chuckled. “The smell of bacon was the only thing that could get me up.”

Everyone smiled. “I felt the same way,” Kaya said and sipped her tea.

Breakfast was friendly, and Delia and Kaya insisted on doing the cleaning up. Phara finally relented when the two young elves shoo’d her out of the kitchen. It didn’t take them long to finish and they found Kaya’s parents in the library.

“Good. You’re done,” Aduello said. He closed the book he was reading. “I’ve been giving your father, the king, some thought, Delia.”

Phara motioned to the chairs. “Please sit.”

“What have you been thinking,” Delia asked.

Sandy the dog got up from under Aduello’s desk to get an ear rub from Kaya, then lay down at her feet.

“King Ucheni had fallen back from the fight at Iyuno’s castle. That much I know. I also know that Iyuno attacked the palace.” Aduello scratched his chin. “My theory is that Iyuno’s forces harried the king all the way back. The question now, is where is the king?”

Delia nodded, her hands twisting in her lap. “And why a protection spell over the palace?”

“Tell us about this protection spell,” Phara asked. “I’m not familiar with it.”

“We weren’t either, Mother.” Kaya leaned down to pet Sandy and was rewarded with a tail thump on the floor. “It was something Iyuno had done. Master Kaepli figured it out and had us all practice building it and taking it down.” She nodded at Delia. “Princess Delia was the strongest of us at it. She was the one at the gate, with me, trying to take it down. Then the black elves began erupting from hidden tunnels and we were cut off from the army. I had been knocked silly when the protection spell whiplashed back on us. Delia got us away but more of the black elves came from another tunnel and captured us.” She sighed. “If I hadn’t been so weak, Delia could have gotten away.”

Delia shook her head. “I don’t think so. Iyuno had it all planned out. I was going to get captured or killed, one way or the other.”

Kaya gave Delia a smile of gratitude. “Perhaps.”

“What are black elves,” Aduello asked.

“Oh. That’s what we called the elves following Iyuno. Because they all wear black,” Delia said. “Iyuno and Iyuno’s nephews, Ceinno, and Nethene are all very powerful and I figured out why. That’s how we escaped.”

Aduello and Phara leaned forward. “Do tell.”

“They can draw power from fire.” Delia clasped her hands. “I had wondered why they didn’t use the magical lights like we did. They had torches all over the castle. The magic lights are so much cleaner and safer, I didn’t understand why they didn’t use them. Then the day before I broke out, I saw Iyunno with my magic sight, power was flowing from the torch to him. Then they made a mistake and didn’t take the torches with them that night. I pulled power from all of the torches they’d left until I could break my bonds and get free.”

Phara’s eyes were wide. She looked at her husband. “Did you know this?”

He shook his head. “No. But that was a remarkable escape.”

Kaya nodded. “She came and got me, and we got out. Neither of us think that the other black elves could pull power from fire. Just the two nephews and Iyuno. And now Delia.”

Delia smiled her gratitude at Kaya. “I think I want to go back to the palace and break that protection spell.”

Aduello nodded thoughtfully. “I can see where that makes sense.”

“But won’t it whiplash back on you like at Iyuno’s?” Kaya asked.

Delia shook her head. “I’ll build a bonfire and have a lot more power than we did the last time. I have to know what’s in the palace.”

“Do you think your parents are in there?” Kaya looked at her friend with concern.

“Perhaps.” Delia shrugged. “Perhaps no one is there and Iyuno put the spell up as an annoyance. I don’t know. But it’s a first step.”

Aduello nodded. “I’ll send some pigeons out with a question, where’s Iyuno. We could hear back within a few days.”

Delia pressed her lips together. “Good. We have a plan. May I borrow a horse?”

“Of course. I’ll go with you,” Aduello said.

“You’re not leaving me behind. I can help,” Kaya said as she stood up.

“I’ll pack you some food,” Phara said. “And stay here to receive the pigeons.”

Delia smiled. “You are all so kind.” She felt a little weepy, and sniffed back tears. “Thank you.”

Kaya placed a hand on Delia’s shoulder. “You’re my friend. What else can we do?”

 

Thank You! Come back next week for Part 38.

898 Words

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Planning or Winging It: Monday Blog Post

Newest News:

Oh my gosh! It’s 2018 and the current topic of conversation in the author sites is planning for 2018. Goal setting is another name. And have you heard about the “word of the year” thing? It’s enough to make your head spin. Bottom line: what do you want for your new year? I usually make this huge, long list of things I want to do and generally, I get it all done. This year, however, I’m going minimalist. I want to do the rewrite and edit on my Zoe Ohale series book 2, Troubled Campus. I wrote the think April 2017. Time to get that bad girl done and out the door. I need to also rewrite and edit Mystery at the Reunion. I only wrote that in November but still—my mystery readers are waiting for it. I have the first book of my All About Bob series written. That was two years ago! But I think I want to write all 5 planned books, get them edited and release them one after the other. That way people who like the series can just dive in. Along with all of that, stop brainstorming my Christmas story and actually write it. Then, I want to release my Gulliver Station series as a box set for both ebook and for paperback. I’ve actually already began that process. Two of the books are reedited and the ebook book set already started on the formatting. Two books down, two to go. Then I have 2 major events and one minor one scheduled. The Phoenix Comicon starting May 24th and the Payson Book Festival, July 21st. My tables are already reserved for both of those. Then I’m scheduled for the Mesa Book Festival, about December 8th. Then, I’m getting healthier. I’ve mentioned I’ve started eating a Paleo diet to help with my Celiac and Hashimoto’s diseases. Food is the key for me. But in addition to eating better, I’ve upped my exercise. I’m already a week in and I can feel that I’ve lost weight.

Finally, there’s that word of the year I mentioned earlier. I started hearing about it last year. You choose the word for the activity or characteristic you want to focus on for yourself during the year. Some people choose FOCUS. Some choose DETERMINATION, or COMPLETION, or any other number of words. For me, I’m choosing FORTUNE. I did some work on this last year but this year, this is my focus. I have a pretty good back list of books. I have some great contacts in the author world. Now to get my stories out in front of you, the reader. What’s it going to take? Extra work in reaching my audiences. Encouragement for readers to leave reviews. Getting my name out in front of the right people for the genres I write. It’s not going to be easy, that much I know but it will be worth it.

http://magikstock.deviantart.com/art/Camel-1-319794644

Saying all of that, I’ve been working on my stand-alone fantasy story, Slave Elf. I’m at 50,000 words, a novel, and I’m loving where this is going. I’m nearing the end but I have one more twist to throw in there before wrapping everything up. It may be another 10k, it may be more, I don’t know but this story has been leading me a merry chase for months now. I hope you’re enjoying it. Once I have it done, I plan on cleaning it up, getting a formal edit and releasing it.

I’ve made a calendar for 2018. It’s for sale at http://www.lulu.com/shop/connie-cockrell/my-calendar-2018/calendar/product-23462179.html. The photos were taken by my husband of places around Arizona where we live and hike. If you haven’t gotten your 2018 wall calendar, check it out. I hope you like it.

It’s officially 20 days until my first Vision Board workshop. I’m getting everything prepared and I’ve already sent out my first emails asking people to come join me. Hoo!

Giveaways:

The Christmas Giveaway is over. There are 70 authors giving away at least two prizes each and there’s $160 in PayPal cash for the grand prize winner. The winners will be notified shortly.

We’ll be starting the Lovestruck Authors and Bloggers Valentine’s Day giveaway in a few days. This is a great way to find new to you authors. Check out http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways-and-prizes/ and click on the Rafflecopter link to enter the new contest. Books, ebooks, jewelry and more is being given away. You don’t want to miss out.

I have a January giveaway, Ring in the New Year with Killer Mysteries, hosted by author Anne R. Tan on BookFunnel.com. https://books.bookfunnel.com/free_mystery. It will run from January 5th to the 21st. Lots of new to you authors are also in the giveaway. Click that link and find some great mystery stories.

Shout Out:

Here’s a shout out to author Abby L. Vandiver. https://www.facebook.com/authorabbyl.vandiver. Abby does a ton of promotional work with other authors, including me! She writes mysteries so if you’re a mystery lover, check out her books.

 

Where Will I Be?

Check my website, http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/where-will-i-be/ for my next engagements.

I’m already scheduled to go to the Phoenix Comicon May24th – 28th.

On July 21st, I’m scheduled for the Payson Book Festival.

Newsletter Sign Up:

Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I’ve put sign-up gifts on both the regular and the Brown Rain newsletter sign-ups. That’s right. If you sign up for my newsletter you get a free story from me. Be prepared for fun and contests! Click on the video link for a short video from me. Hear what I’m working on. Join my “A” Team to be the first to read my books and hear what new books are coming.

Don’t forget to follow my blog, too. Different material goes in the blog as in the newsletter. You can share both, so spread the word!

Newest Book Release:

Mystery at the Book Festival released June 1st and I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Smashwords, today! You can also see all my books on http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/my-books-and-other-published-work/. If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a short, honest, review on the site where you bought it or on Goodreads. It’s critical to help me promote the books to other readers. Thanks in advance.

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Slave Elf Part 36: Flash Fiction Friday

Elf’s houses by nikyelisey httpsorig00.deviantart.netb9d8f2010008a8elf__s_houses_by_nikyeliseyev.jpg

See Part 1 here.

Part 36

They hustled through the woods as best they could in the dark, circling around the castle until they were headed in the direction of the camp on the road they’d come in on. “What if they aren’t there?” Delia asked Kaya?

“Then we’ll head home. Not much else to do if we don’t know where they are.” After a moment she asked, “Your strength?”

“Fire. I saw Iyuno drawing power from fire. That’s why they have torches all over instead of the magic lights.”

“Oh my.”

“Yes. I puzzled over those torches from the first.”

“You think all of his forces can do that?”

“I don’t think so. Just Iyuno, Nethene and Ceinno.”

They walked along in silence until they reached the spot where the camp was. Delia looked around at the spot where her tent once stood and sighed. “It’s going to be a long walk home.”

“You’re right.” Kaya took a deep breath. “Let’s walk farther tonight. I still feel too close to that castle.”

Delia nodded. “Agreed.”

They headed off side by side, stopping very late to sleep. They woke at dawn and continued on their way. It took ten days to get back. They stopped on a hillside overlooking the valley where the palace was. “It doesn’t look like it’s under attack. Maybe Iyuno lied about fighting with my father. Maybe he’s not dead.”

“It would be just like Iyuno to tell us that. Making us grieve.” Kaya crossed her arms. “Let’s go. I’m looking forward to something to eat besides berries.”

Delia laughed. “And just splashing my face in cold streams.”

As they approached the gate, Delia felt as though something was off. “The gate is shut. Why would that be?”

Kaya shook her head. “I don’t know. It’s always open during the day.”

Switching to her magical sight, Delia gasped. “It has a protection spell over it. I can’t feel anyone inside!”

“Oh no,” Kaya said. She grabbed Delia’s arm. “Don’t go any closer.”

“What happened here?”

“No idea.” Kaya turned to leave. “We can’t stay here.”

“Where did everyone go?” Delia felt crushed. She so wanted to find her mother, take a bath, eat, and she wasn’t sure in what order.

“We’ll go to my family’s home.”

Delia nodded, fighting back her tears. “Of course.”

She followed Kaya back down the road. Her feet hurt and she was hungry and worse, she didn’t know if her parents were alive or dead. And what about Mage Kaepli and Sisruo? The tears leaked down her face.

Kaya put an arm around her shoulders. “We’ll figure it out, Delia.”

Delia nodded but at the moment, she just felt exhausted.

It was another five days before they reached Kaya’s home. Even in her exhaustion and hunger, she was amazed at the woodland setting that Kaya called home. The house was in a huge tree. They climbed up stairs that wound around the trunk until they reached a platform. Kaya opened the door. “Mother! Father!”

A dog came running, it’s whole body gyrating in welcome. Kaya squatted down to greet the dog. “Sandy, Sandy. Hello, girl. Hello!”

“Kaya!” An elf appeared in the doorway across the room.

“Mother!” Kaya left the dog and hurried across the room. She embraced her mother in a bear hug. “I’m so happy to see you.”

The two hugged and hugged, finally separating. “This is my friend, Princess Delia. Delia, this is my mother, Phara.”

Delia stepped forward extending her hand. She felt shy and a little out of place. Phara wrapped her arms around Delia. “Welcome. Welcome.”

When Phara finally let her loose, Delia had to sniff back tears. “Thank you for the warm welcome.”

Phara looked at both of them. “We heard you were captured or lost.”

“We were captured, Mother. But can we tell the tale later? We’re starved.”

“Of course. Of course, how silly of me. Come. We’ll get you something quick, then you can bathe and we’ll eat again. Your father is out in the woods.” She patted Kaya’s arm. “He’ll be so happy to see you.”

After a quick snack of bread and cheese, they bathed and Kaya loaned Delia a dress. They finished at supper-time and Kaya led Delia to the dining room. There they found Kaya’s father.

“Father!” Kaya dashed across the room and in a repeat of earlier with her mother, embraced him in a huge hug.

She introduced Delia. “My father, Aduello.”

He shook Delia’s hand, clasping her’s in both of his. “Welcome. Thank you for bringing our daughter home.”

Delia could only nod she was so overcome with the warmth of her welcome.

“Sit, please. Your mother is bringing out dinner.”

They sat and he poured them each a glass of wine, just as Phara brought in a platter of roasted venison and vegetables. “There. Eat till you’re full.” She beamed at the two of them.

Delia could hardly restrain herself as she loaded her plate with meat and vegetables.

Phara left and returned with a bowl of gravy. “This should help.”

Delia poured a generous amount on her food and passed it to Kaya. “Thank you so much. It’s been a very hungry fortnight.”

After dinner, they retired to a study. There, Aduello poured more wine and they all sat in front of the fireplace. “Are you ready to tell your tale?”

“We are,” Kaya said. She related the whole story to her parents and when she finished, both of her parent’s faces were full of worry. “But what happened to the king and the palace? Do you know?”

Aduello shook his head. “We know the king left the battle at Iyunno’s castle, but the entire army and the king just disappeared. The palace was attacked by Iyunno’s forces, but no word has come about what happened. And you say there’s a spell over the palace.” He sat back in his armchair and sighed.

Delia didn’t know what to think. “No one returned from the battle and no one escaped from the palace? Are they still in there? Frozen or worse?”

Phara shrugged. “We just don’t know.”

Delia rubbed her finger at the spot between her eyes. “I’m too tired to think.”

Phara and Aduello rose. “We’ve kept you up too long. Rest. We’ll figure this out in the morning.”

Delia stood. “Thank you for taking me in.”

Phara gave her a hug. “Don’t be silly. We welcome you.”

In her room, Delia climbed into bed in her borrowed nightgown and stared at the ceiling. What happened? Were her parents alive or not?

 

Thank You! Come back next week for Part 37.

1092 Words

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Slave Elf Part 35: Flash Fiction Friday

Moon and Clouds by Randy Cockrell

See Part One here.

Part 35

She ran, Kaya following, hit the guard with a magic blast and with her magic, began to raise the portcullis. The clanging and banging brought more shouts. She saw Kaya look behind her and throw a blast at the first black elf out of the kitchen door.

When the gate was four feet off of the ground, Delia charged forward, Kaya on her heels. She let the portcullis drop as soon as they passed. “We have to get into the woods and hide.”

Panting, Kaya said, “That didn’t work so well the last time.”

“It will this time.”

They covered the half mile of open land quickly though Kaya was tiring fast. “Where?”

“There.” Delia pointed into the woods. It was the wrong side of the castle from their old camp but they needed to hide first.

Into the woods, Delia led them. She held Kaya’s hand and passed some of her strength to her friend. Kaya nodded and ran.

Delia used her sight. She could see the tunnels the black elves used. There, she thought. On the granite outcropping. She pulled Kaya to a granite mound and hid behind some boulders. She lifted one to make an impromptu cave. They sat, out of breath, listening.

“Will this work?” Kaya asked.

“Yes,” Delia whispered. “Shh.” She used her sight to follow their trackers. Iyunno was so angry, she could feel him from here. Delia pulled her magic around them, making them as granite. For hours they could hear the black elves casting back and forth. Ceinno and then Nethene riding by berating the black elves.

By dark, the hunters had retreated to the castle. Delia pulled her magical hide down. “Let’s go.”

“You have strength after all of that?”

“Yes. I’ll tell you how once we get farther away.”

 

Thank You! Come back next week for Part 36.

299 Words

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Slave Elf Part 34: Flash Fiction Friday

alnwick_castle_by_americamarten-dbomzh2 via DeviantArt.com. https://www.deviantart.com/art/Alnwick-Castle-706511126

See Part one here.

Part 34

There was no time to worry about Kaya or her mother that day, or the next, or the next. Thirsty, she couldn’t but help drinking the metallic tasting drink. She could tell the first day that it was making her compliant. She fought anyway.

The first day was the hardest. She tried making fireballs and sticking them to her tormenters when they neared. They responded with fireballs of their own. Soon her arms and legs were covered with burns. What of her long, black hair they didn’t tear out, they finally shaved off. She had to endure the humiliation of her bowels releasing after so many hours on the table. They made especial remarks about that.

By day three she had to resist quietly, reserving her strength for that only. There had been no food at all and just the tainted water. She pulled strength from inside, strength she’d built up all of her childhood as a slave. She was quiet, obedient but still, despite the drugs, her thoughts were her own.

Day four, Iyunno came to see her. He stood at the end of the table, staring. She realized as his eyebrow twitched that she must be a sight. Ravaged head, arms and legs, blood stained hands and wrists and what skirt remained. Gaunt, she suspected, after no food.

She’d been using her magical sight since the beginning. In this lull, she realized that the fire was bending toward Iyunno. When she looked at Ceinno and Nethene, the same was happening with them to a lesser degree. Were they feeding on the energy of fire? Why hadn’t she seen that before?

“You’re not as pretty as you once were, neice.”

She didn’t answer. What was the point?

“My nephews seem to think you’re more compliant.” He stroked his chin, then shook his head. “No, you’re not. You’re waiting.” He sighed. “Much stronger than I thought.”

On either side of her the two elves began to object. Iyunno raised his hand to stop the protestations. “No. She’s still stronger than you.” He turned and left.

The day was particularly trying after that. When they finally left, Delia rested as best she could. Today’s terror was a beating by invisible forces from face to feet. Everything hurt even more than before. Hunger woke her after a while. They’d forgotten to take the torches! They were getting confident in her weakness.

Could she draw strength from the flame? She studied the flame nearest her. Would the protection field over her allow energy in like it did air? Delia did her best to push all thought of her pain away and concentrate on the fire. Feel it, she thought to herself. Look at it, coax it to you like a shy kitten. Delia trembled with the effort, but she could see a tiny arm of flame move toward her.

Come little flame, come. Don’t be shy. You and I will be great friends. It seemed to take forever but she shoved that kind of thought away and concentrated. “Come,” she whispered.

The barest thread of flame tickled the protection field. “Come,” she whispered again. In it flowed through the field’s mesh. It touched her arm, but it wasn’t hot. A warmth spread through her making her dizzy. The aches and pains began to ease away. Ribs she hadn’t realized were broken, eased and her breathing became easier. Stronger, she called more of the flame’s energy to her. When that torch burned out, she called on the next.

She could feel the space around her, as she grew stronger. It felt as though she was the owner of the universe. Delia moved her sight outside the walls of the dungeon. It was nearly daybreak. Servants in the castle were beginning to stir, making the fires in the kitchen, preparing food. Her sight ranged through the castle. She could see Ceinno, a human female huddled, naked at the foot of his bed. Nethene slept alone but in the corner, a wretch of a boy, wrapped in a ragged blanket, whimpered in his sleep. Iyunno was in a tower room, already up and at the window, staring out at the brightening eastern sky.

Kaya was in the dungeon, a quarter of the way around the castle, chained to a wall, asleep on a pile of straw.

As the last of the torches gave up the last of its power, Delia gave a heave and the protection spell broke along with the heavy leather straps holding her down. She surprised herself by stepping lightly from the table and to the door. They hadn’t bothered to put a protection spell on it, so she opened it and headed for Kaya.

Iyunno was sure to have felt her punch through the protection spell. She hurried along the corridor, more than surprised that there were no guards. Delia smiled. They’re mistake, she thought. She broke the spell on Kaya’s door and scurried across the dark room. Startled awake, Kaya cried out.

“Hush, it’s me.” Delia took the cuffs in her hands and at the elemental level, broke them from Kaya’s wrists. “Hurry, we don’t have much time.”

Kaya moved quickly, falling behind Delia. “How’d you escape? They told me you were done.”

“They’re mistake. Later though. Iyunno must already know we’re about.”

With her sight, Delia led the most direct route to the back of the castle where the servants already had doors open to the morning air.

She could hear Iyunno calling out. “They know. Hurry.”

Along the way, any torch she found she drained quickly, though they were few and far between. They burst into the kitchens. Servants ran out of the way, screaming.

Delia said, “Hurry, the black elves are on their way.”

“How…” Kaya started.

“Later. Hurry.”

They ran out into a small courtyard. Delia spied the small gate to the outside, a sleepy elf standing guard. “Come!”

 

Thank You! Come back next week for Part 35.

982 Words

Find more of the Forward Motion Flash Friday Group here: http://www.fmwriters.com/flash.html

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Slave Elf Part 33: Flash Fiction Friday

Celebration by S Tar Maiden via DeviantArt.com

See Part 1 here.

Part 33

Iyunno placed his napkin on the table. “I do hope you’ve enjoyed your meal. It will be the last for a while.” He nodded and the black elves surrounded Delia.

Her heart pounded as her hands grew slick.

“No!” Kaya leapt up.

At a simple wave of Iyunno’s hand, she froze, face in a grimace of both anger and fear.

That made Delia even more afraid. “What are you doing?”

Iyunno sniffed as both Nethene and Ceinno chuckled. “We’re going to bring you over to our side.”

Delia’s head shook no of its own accord. “No. No I won’t.”

“We’ll see.” Iyunno nodded again and one of the black elves grabbed her arm.

Her magic exploded. The elf holding her flew back, his sword flying through the air. Delia rounded on the others, using the push she’d just hit Ceinno with on the other black elves trying to surround her.

Ceinno and Nethene slid around the table, surrounding her and held her with their magic. She fought, but they held her arms to her sides and aside from a trembling whole body shield, she could do nothing. They walked her, Kaya still held in stasis, out of the room and to the dungeon. They shoved her onto a wooden table, slanted so one end was on the floor with a small platform for her feet and strapped her to the table. Helpless tears of anger and fear and frustration leaked from her eyes as they tilted the table up to a forty-five degree angle and wrapped her in a protection spell.

They laughed when they finished. “Not so much after all,” Nethene said.

“It took two of you to wrestle me down here,” Delia said. “And me with just a few months training.”

Ceinno made a movement with his hand.

Delia strained for breath.

“Careful, little one, or I’ll set the grid so small no air will get in.” He waved again, and her breathing became easier.

She glared but said nothing.

Nethene turned to leave. “Sleep well. We begin in the morning.”

Delia watched them leave, shutting the door and soon, a protection spell covered it. It was dark. She tried to remember what was in the room as they forced her into it. She closed her eyes to avoid the oppressive absence of light. On the wall behind her a table. There were things on it but she hadn’t really seen them in her struggle. To her right, a stone wall, not a few feet away. On her left, she tried to remember, but nothing came to her. A larger space than on her right. In front of her was the wall with the door. No windows, though it was dark, perhaps there was one on one of the walls but she just didn’t see. More tears slid silently down her face, dripping into her ears or along her jawline.

She sniffed and did her best to stop crying. Her heart was still pounding from the fight and the fear. What happened to Kaya? Is father really dead? What can mother do to defend the castle? What did Iyunno mean he can force me to turn? Delia struggled against the straps. She could feel her wrists grow wet and slick. Bloody, she thought, and tried to pull her hands through the straps. It didn’t help, they remained in place.

Delia grew tired with the struggle. As well, she wasn’t really standing and wasn’t lying down. The board at her feet wasn’t wide enough for her whole foot, just her heels and that was wearing as well. Her back began to hurt as well as her now injured wrists. She wished she could wipe her eyes and nose. Everything was a discomfort or pain.

It finally occurred to her that the protection field would hold her in place. When she tried it, it didn’t shock her as other protection fields had. She closed her eyes and tried to rest, a steady drip, drip, drip, from behind her a strangely comforting sound as she fell asleep.

At the sound of the door being unlocked, she woke, her eyes gummed together by last night’s tears and sleep. She squeezed her eyelids together then forced them apart just as the door opened. It was Ceinno and Nethene. They were followed by black elves with torches they put in brackets on the walls on each side of the bed and behind her.

Nethene clucked as he approached the table.  He clucked softly. “What’s this! Blood?” He looked over her to her right wrist. “And on this side too.” He shook his head. “Look Ceinno, she’s damaged herself.”

Ceinno shrugged. “She’ll heal. But look at her face! She must have been crying all night.” He laughed. “Afraid, little one? Afraid?”

If she hadn’t been so thirsty she’d have spit, then thought better of it. It wouldn’t get through the protection field anyway. Then she was surprised when Nethene took it down.

Her eyes must have shown the surprise as Nethene chuckled. “You think we’re so afraid of a child that we’d leave it up while we’re standing right here?”

Her mouth was too dry to reply.

Ceinno came back to her side from behind her. He held a mug to her lips. “Drink, little one.”

She tried to shake her head no but Nethene grabbed her by the hair and Ceinno forced her mouth open and poured the liquid in. Delia sputtered, water flying in every direction. It was water and she swallowed some but there was something else in it. Metallic tasting. Ceinno laughed. “There will be more, little one. Oh yes. And you will drink.”

“May you die a horrible death,” Delia managed to croak out.

They both chuckled. “Excellent,” Nethene said. “A good sign, there’s still fight in her yet.”

 

Thank You! Come back next week for Part 34.

969 Words

Find more of the Forward Motion Flash Friday Group here: http://www.fmwriters.com/flash.html

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Slave Elf Part 32: Flash Fiction Friday Post

alnwick_castle_by_americamarten-dbomzh2 via DeviantArt.com. https://www.deviantart.com/art/Alnwick-Castle-706511126

Find Part 1 here.

Part 32

She woke at a noise. It surprised her how quiet it was in this dungeon. No outside sound at all, until now. A scrape out in the hallway. Delia sat up and waited. The sound of a key in the lock made scraping noises then the door opened. A black elf with a torch, she still didn’t understand why when they had magical lights, stepped into the room followed by another and a third remained in the hall.

“Come,” the one without the torch said. It was the same unpleasant tone as they’d used the night before. Was it night? Had she slept away the entire day? She rose and stepped to the door. She wished she’d had time to at least splash her face. It felt sticky from her dried tears. No matter, no one was going to look good after spending the day in a dark hole.

Again she was led to the dining room. Again, Nethene, Ceinno and Iyuno were already seated, each enjoying fine glasses of red wine while they waited. Iyuno waved her to a chair. Just as Delia was seated, Kaya was brought in. Delia grinned with pleasure. Kaya didn’t seem to be any worse for wear and better, they sat her beside Delia again. The two clasped hands and nodded.

Delia was seated next to Ceinno again. The evil radiating off of him was palpable. It made her stomach turn.

“I’m glad to see you both well,” Iyuno began. He nodded at one of the black elves. He stepped forward and poured each of the newcomers a glass of wine.

Delia reached out and picked up her water glass, draining it before putting it back. Iyuno raised an eyebrow but nodded to the elf, who refilled the water.

“Your antics this morning could be heard all over the castle.” Iyuno raised his wine glass to them. “Too bad it didn’t work.”

Delia had a moment where she wanted to retort that it had been working but Kaya grasped her hand in warning. Delia drew a deep breath and gave her friend a brief nod. “Why are we here? Are we hostages?”

Ceinno chuckled which made the hair on Delia’s arm rise.

“No. Not exactly,” Iyuno said. His voice drawled in laziness.

Delia didn’t like the way he drew it out. “Then what? It’s certainly not for our sparkling conversation.”

It was Iyuno’s turn to chuckle. “Your time with the humans has made you sarcastic. Very charming.” He traded glances with Nethene.

Nethene nodded. “We are studying you. The only raven-haired elf! We want to see what you can do. I’ll have to say the day was a bit of a disappointment.”

Delia dug her nails into her palm to resist a retort. Beside her, Kaya drank her water with a nonchalance Delia envied. She picked up her wine and sipped, hoping she looked as uncaring as Kaya. “So sorry to underwhelm.” She looked around the dining room with her magical sight. All of the doors had a fine mesh of magic over them. The black elves had dark brown auras. Iyuno, Nethene, and Ceinno’s were all black. Apparently in his own company, Nethene didn’t bother to project the false aura. The wine and water didn’t have any magical properties. That didn’t mean they weren’t poisoned. Delia made a mental note to see if there was a way to see poison. If she got out of here alive, anyway. “What are you looking for?”

Nethene shrugged. “Something worthy of a prophesy.”

“What do you think of my protection spell?” Iyuno leaned forward, eyes on Delia.

“It’s very strong,” Delia offered. “But I’m new at magic. I don’t really have a frame of reference.”

Iyuno looked to Kaya. “And you? You’re twice Delia’s age. What is your opinion?”

“My skills tend more toward the healing arts.”

Iyuno fell back into his chair. “I saw you both at the gate yesterday. Neither of you fool me. And with the door to your room this morning? I could feel the power. Who was working on the door?”

“We both were,” Kaya spoke quickly. “A combined effort.”

Nethene frowned. Delia could see he was skeptical. “I could feel a shield.”

Delia shrugged. Kaya took a sip of her wine.

Iyuno waved to a guard. The elf left the room and shortly, several elves came in bringing plates of food. Delia’s stomach growled immediately. Ceinno laughed as he placed his napkin in his lap. “The body can be such a traitor.”

Delia couldn’t help but blush. Kaya gave her hand a squeeze. They ate quickly. Delia still wanted to know what Iyuno was up to. When he finished his food and one of the elves took the plate away, Delia asked, “Where is my father?”

Iyuno looked toward her, picking up his wine. “He’s dead.”

Delia stared at him. A feeling of overwhelming grief washed through her with such speed she stopped breathing. She hadn’t known him that long. The strength of the feeling surprised her. Again, Kaya squeezed her hand. Delia nodded. It was possible that if these three were in here having dinner at their leisure, that her father was dead, and his force destroyed. Tears sprang to her eyes. “You lie.”

Iyuno shrugged. “We march on your father’s palace now.”

An instantaneous fear for her mother swept over her, replacing the grief. “Why?”

Nethene snorted again. “Iyuno is the rightful heir. The elves will proclaim it or they will die.”

“Liar,” Kaya called out. “Liar. Anyone can see by looking at the three of you that you are not fit to rule the kingdom.

Ceinno reached out a hand and made a grasping motion. Kaya’s hand flew up to her neck. She began to turn red, choking.

“Stop it!” Delia turned on Ceinno and with a push of her hand, knocked him out of his seat to go sliding across the dining room floor. The black elf guards were on her in an instant, swords out. Nethene leapt from his chair and had both hands out in front of him. Delia could see the magic, all black and ugly, swirling between his hands. Kaya collapsed into her chair, leaning over the table, coughing.

“Stop!” Iyuno held up a hand.

Nethene looked as though he’d been slapped, but he let the black magic die away. One of the guards helped Ceinno up. He dusted himself up and sauntered back to the table. “You see, cousin, uncle, how powerful she is.” He sat down and picked up his wine glass. “She has strength. She’d be a powerful ally.”

Delia’s eys went wide. “The is no way.”

Iyuno laughed. “Of course there is.”

 

Thank You! Come back next week for Part 33.

1114 Words

Find more of the Forward Motion Flash Friday Group here: http://www.fmwriters.com/flash.html

 

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Slave Elf Part 31: Flash Fiction Friday

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Part 1 Here.

Part 31

Delia brushed her hands off over the plate and walked to stand in front of the door. Kaya did the same and stood beside her.

“So yesterday, I was blasting the castle gate but needed a shield to protect against a back lash, so I stopped to build a shield and you did your best to hold the blast. That didn’t work, or we wouldn’t be in this mess. I suggest you build a shield and I attack the door.” Delia glanced at her friend.

Kaya nodded. “Sounds like a plan.” She drew a deep breath and held out her hands. “Ready.”

Delia could feel her hands sweat. She brushed them off on her pant legs and took her own deep breath, turning on her magical sight. The yellow lines were there, same as on the gate. Would Iyuno build as strong a protection spell on this interior door as on the castle gate? Nothing to do but find out.

She raised her hands and used the spell Kaepli had taught them. “It’s still not right. Same as yesterday. I need to modify it. I’m not sure how.”

“You’re so strong I forget you’re new to magic.” Kaya nodded. “Inch your spell one direction or another. That’s what Master Kaepli taught us. As a mage, we’d have to do just that, discover how to make or break a spell. This is that time.”

Delia nodded, but she had no confidence in her ability to do what Kaya said. How do I move the spell one way or another? She tried adding a color to her spell, like an aura, but aside from a spark or two, nothing happened.

“You can do it, Delia,” Kaya encouraged her.

Delia could feel her breath tremble with the effort. Master Kaepli had made it look so easy. She tried applying more power, but other than her magical force increasing in brightness, that didn’t work either. She could feel drops of sweat start to trickle down her temples. What else could she do?

She heard voices on the other side of the door. “They’ve heard us, somehow.”

“To be expected. We’re generating a lot of power. One of them was sure to notice.”

Delia continued. What did she mean by inch the spell. Actual movement? Despite the noise from the hall, she decided to try and move one of the spell threads. She picked one at the center and eased it out of the golden lines. Her green spell began to vibrate.

“That might be it, Delia. Keep going.”

Delia took another ragged breath. This was harder to do than anything she’d done before. She moved another thread, then another. She panted with the effort, but she could see the golden lines begin to vibrate as well. She was on the right track! Delia had begun to move another of her threads when she and Kaya were knocked across the room with a magical blast. She and Kaya landed against the wall. Delia felt like soggy bread as three of the black elves burst into the room, Nethene behind them. He stared at them as they helped each other to their feet.

Nethene tucked his hands into the wide sleeves of his robe. “I told Uncle you’d try to break the spell.”

Delia wiped the sweat from her temples. “You didn’t think we’d just docilly wait here, did you?” Her words sounded more defiant than she felt.

Nethene snorted. “Of course not. I expected you to try something. Now we’ll have to separate you. A bother for us,” he sneered, “unpleasant for you.” He waved his hand. Three more elves came into the room. “Take them to the cells.”

“No!” Delia cried out.

Kaya raised her chin. “You will not win, traitor.”

Nethene laughed as the black elves led them away.

Delia ended up in a subterranean cell, no windows, and with only one of the magic lights she found in her father’s palace. At least she wasn’t in total dark. She had no way of knowing where Kaya was put. There was a straw pallet on a rope wooden bedstead with one blanket. A bucket in the corner served as the toilet and a rickety wooden stand held a pitcher with a horn mug and a round of bread. Delia lay down on the bed. She was so tired, she didn’t know how she’d managed to walk all the way down here.

Tears came to her eyes and leaked down her face onto the rough mattress. She already missed Kaya. What was Iyuno’s plan? Was she to be traded somehow? What about Kaya? She dashed the tears away, a sudden anger filling her. Was this what she was now? A pawn? It was worse than when she was a slave. At least there she’d had some freedom of movement, of thought. The tears came again, and she cried herself to sleep.

 

Thank You! Come back next week for Part 32.

816 Words

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Slave Elf Part 30: Flash Fiction Friday Post

Purple by Dinky03 http://www.deviantart.com/art/PURPLE-14567744

See Part 1 here.

Part 30

Delia traded a glance with Kaya and approached the table.

“Welcome, niece.” The man at the head of the table rose and gave a small bow. “How nice to finally meet you.” He motioned to the table where two places were set. “Join us.”

Delia didn’t want to sit with these elves. There was no need to switch to her magical sight to see their auras, she could feel the evil permeating the room. Despite that, her stomach growled, betraying her to her great-uncle. She sat in the indicated chair as he smiled at her. Kaya sat beside her.

“Isn’t this nice.” Iyuno sat back down. More black elves appeared, carrying plates of food and placed them in front of each elf then left the room.

Delia’s stomach growled again at the aroma of the food in front of her. Some sort of roast meat alongside of root vegetables, and gravy over all. She looked up from her plate to her uncle. “Why are we here?”

Another smile spread across his face. “Why, niece! To meet you, of course. I never understood why your father sent you away. And to humans?” He shook his head. “A trial for you, I’m sure.”

Nethene and Ceinno both grinned at her. She could feel her skin crawl. “I survived.”

At that the three elves laughed. “Indeed, niece. Indeed. I hear you’ve learned to use your magic quite well since you’ve returned.”

She could feel her hand forming a ball of fire. Delia quickly shook it away. “Well enough.”

Iyuno picked up his fork and knife and cut into his roast. “Please, eat.”

She traded a glance with Kaya, who shrugged. Delia nodded and picked up her fork. The others had already begun. Would her uncle poison her? She didn’t know but she was famished and decided to eat. She stabbed a piece of potato and put it in her mouth, hardly chewing before she swallowed it. If it was poisoned, would she taste it? Would it kill immediately? Before she could think about it anymore, she cut a piece of the roast and ate that. Kaya followed suit.

Delia ate quickly as the three elves made small talk. They never once mentioned the battle that had raged outside of the castle. “What happened to my father?”

Iyuno put down his cutlery. “Happened?”

“The battle. What happened?”

Her uncle chuckled. “Nothing happened. Nothing at all.”

Infuriated, Delia looked at Kaya. She shook her head. Delia turned back to her uncle. “There was a battle. What happened?”

“Oh, that.” Iyuno picked up his goblet of wine and sipped as Nethene and Ceinno chuckled. “We won.”

Delia froze. Her father was dead? How else would this evil monster be sitting here? She reached out and picked up her goblet. It was water. She drank it all then placed the goblet carefully on the table. Was he playing a game with her? Kaya reached out and put her hand on Delia’s shoulder. Delia blinked back tears. She wasn’t going to believe Iyuno. “Then you have no reason to hold us. Let us go.”

“I think not.” Iyuno’s voice was cold. “No. You’ll stay with me. He raised his hand. Three black elves appeared at the door she’d come through. “Take them to their room.”

Delia and Kaya rose and went with the elves. They traveled a different direction from before dinner and were led to a furnished room this time. They were locked in and with her magical sight, Delia could see a protection barrier put up on it. The windows, too were protected. There were two beds with night clothes for them laid out on each. Delia went to one of the glassed windows and looked out. There was a crescent moon, low in the sky but she couldn’t see much else in the dark. She wrapped her arms around herself. What had happened?

Kaya stepped beside her. “He’s lying, you know.”

Delia nodded. “Yes. But about what? He’s sitting in his castle with his two favorite followers having a quiet dinner. None of them were injured. At best the fight was a draw and father retreated to our camp to regroup. At worst, he’s dead and the army scattered. Iyuno could be the new king for all we know.”

“Or your father defeated the black elves and has retreated into this castle. A prisoner. Your father doesn’t know we’ve been captured.”

Delia pressed her fingertips to her temples. “Then he’s worried sick about where we are.”

“Perhaps. Or perhaps Iyuno sent him a message saying he has you.”

“That’s not better, Kaya.” Delia pounded fists on her thighs. “Not better at all.”

“No, it’s not.” Kaya put an arm around her friend’s shoulders. “Let’s clean up. They left us a pitcher of water and wash cloths. We’ll get some sleep and make a plan in the morning.”

Delia nodded. In bed and the familiar magical light off, she wondered at her uncle’s use of torches. The magical lights were so much cleaner. Then her mind drifted to what her father was doing. If he wasn’t dead already. Those thoughts churned for a long time. She didn’t know when she drifted off but woke to sunshine streaming through the windows and a black elf leaving a breakfast tray. Kaya was already up and dressed, watching the elf as he left.

After the door locked she turned to Delia. “You’re awake. Good. Breakfast is served.”

“Sorry I slept so late. I had a hard time getting to sleep.” Delia tossed her blankets aside and got up.

“I know. I could hear you thrashing around.”

“I’m sorry I kept you awake.” Delia splashed her face in the remaining wash water and got dressed.

“No matter.” Kaya examined the tray. “A pitcher of water, bread, cheese and apples. Not bad.” She plated the food and sat down at the table. “A little butter for the bread would have been nice.” Kaya ripped a roll in half and pulled a bite off, pairing it with a bit of cheese before eating it.

Delia joined her at the table. “I suppose if he didn’t poison us last night he wouldn’t poison us this morning.”

Kaya laughed. “Probably not.”

They ate companionably, in silence until the food was gone. Kaya leaned back in the chair, mug of water in hand. “So, what’s our plan?”

Delia shook her head. “We can try and break the spell on the door and sneak out.”

“Sounds good. Let’s give it a try.”

 

Thank You! Come back next week for Part 31.

1087 Words

Find more of the Forward Motion Flash Friday Group here: http://www.fmwriters.com/flash.html

 

 

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