Tuesday, February 7, 2012


This week’s theme was Swords and Sorcerers and Dungeons and Dragons and MAGIC! We were include the following words: Forest, fortress, flying, forever, and brimstone, and keep it under 1500 words. It was a lot of fun trying to create these images and weave a story around them. Please enjoy.


Soldana was afraid. Being adjudged evil and outcast and forced to reside alone in a small shack on the edge of the forest delighted her to no end. Keeping company with the malevolent spirits and hideous creatures her power allowed her to control brought only rapture to her cursed soul. No. It was not the adulterers who sought a potion to forever silence their demanding mistresses or the aging wives pleading for an enchantment to make them appear to their husbands as still young and desirable that caused her this overwhelming fear. It was the gentleman who had come calling on this, the darkest of nights and who now sat before her. Lord Dolwin of Millcroft, eldest son of the High Priest, Caulder, who she, along with all in the province, knew lay dying.

“My Lord, forgive my impertinence, but I cannot, and will not, use my power to hasten the death of your father. Good Sir, it is true I am already damned for my deeds, but to aid in the killing of a High Priest would certainly bring thrice the torment in the afterlife that my soul is already destined to endure.”

“You stupid cur, I should draw my weapon and open your throat for your insolent manner. No one refuses me, you miserable slug. Never forget that. But for once in your worthless existence, a spot of good fortune shines upon you. It is not my father whose end I seek. He is already very weak, and his soul will leave this world before the hour is done. I am certain. It is Albert, my younger brother, who you must destroy. And it must be done at daybreak and he must suffer great pain and fear for all the injustice he has visited upon me.”

Brother against brother, Soldana thought. No taboo there, but still it troubled her. She knew of these two. The eldest found disfavor with the father because of all his cruelty and corruption. The youngest was kind and loved by all. He even saw to it that the soldiers never assaulted her person or plundered her supplies. Word was he offered prayers for her salvation and begged forgiveness for her sins. Wasted effort to be certain, but still. She wondered why his death would benefit the elder. Surely Lord Dolwin was first heir to the father’s fortune and high standing. The younger brother would gain nothing until death of the eldest. That was the law of the land.

Her attention was drawn back to Lord Dolwin, who was opening a pouch and placing two chains, each with a jewel-encrusted pendant attached.

“This round one with the small diamond, this is the one my brother wears to battle. This is the pendant I want the spell on. He’s off at sunrise with his brigade to the hills of Toradunne to deal with some bandits who have been desecrating the churches there. He wants to remain at our father’s side until the last, but I’ve taken steps to ensure father will breathe his last well before morning. Protecting places of worship is the duty bestowed on the youngest son, and when he wears this, I want his sword to fail it’s intended purpose. I want the enemies to run him through and through again without him being able to raise a hand. He will die slowly, his life’s blood staining the churches’ aisles crimson. Then, they shall all be damned and I will be avenged.”

“And the other, my Lord? The large triangular one with the rubies and emeralds?”

“Mind your curiosity, witch. But it matters not if you learn it’s significance. This is, was, our father’s. You see how he mocks me even as he dies. This should be mine, but it was already given to my brother. He keeps them pouched side by side, but the one I will claim as mine will remain at the Manor when he takes his leave.

So. I’ve had enough conversation with you, servant of the Almighty Evil One. Do you need to touch it to enchant it? Quickly now. I have to place them both back with his belongings.”

“Sir, I do not wish to anger you further, but I cannot render his sword a passive companion. If he thrusts, it will deliver its wound. But, since you desire fear and suffering, I have a solution I feel will please you. I have a pet. He is as large as 10 men, with teeth as long and sharp as your sword. His claws grasp and tear and once the victim is rendered defenseless, he begins to feed until not a trace remains. He can penetrate any fortress, flying on black leathery wings to do his assigned duty. Close your eyes, Sir, and the spell will be cast. When the chain is applied, it will tighten and the clasp will be permanently secured. My pet will then seek as his living feast, he who wears the chain.

The smell of brimstone was overpowering and Dolwin knew true evil was near. He smiled. Soon, he thought, very soon, and I will have it all.

Dolwin awoke and asked his aide about his father. Died shortly before dawn, he was told, as had been arranged. At Dolwin’s command, the aide had added the poison to the High Priest’s cup of water. No point letting him linger. Put him out of my misery, Dolwin thought. He decided he’d have the aide executed later. Wouldn’t want him to suddenly develop a conscience.

On the writing table in his suite, he noticed a pouch with a note. Within the pouch was the gold chain and the large pendant, the rubies and emeralds filling the room with flashes of colored light. He read the note.

Brother, I have taken my leave to bring the bandits to justice and to send each one to the God he has defiled. I remained with father until the end, and his last wish was that I present his beloved pendant to you. He never understood the distance between you and he, but he respected your need for it. He hoped you would accept it from me as a symbol of his love and devotion to you. Your servant, Albert

Dolwin dropped the note and grabbed the chain, put it around his neck and fastened the clasp. His right hand cradled the large pendant and he sighed. Well, he thought, Albert will be permanently gone and I will have this too. Good fortune certainly has shone its light down upon me this day.

He heard an unnerving flapping sound and went to the window. Heading directly toward him was a creature straight from the depths of Hell itself, mouth open, teeth bared, claws reaching…

Dolwin felt the chain tighten around his neck. He grabbed the clasp, but it would not release. She couldn’t have, he thought, she wouldn’t have… As the nightmare landed on the balcony outside his window and made its way inside the room, Dolwin screamed. Once.

Soldana shut the door of the creatures’ pen. It was home now, today’s duty completed. As she made her way back to her shack, she smiled. She knew she had done the right thing--the honorable thing. This time. She decided never again though. Bad for business…


  1. Intrigue so well done! I'm not surprised, though. :-) Your descriptions were dripping with darkness and you created a tale with satisfying poetic justice. I particularly liked the last line and the indifference it carried with it. Just another job.

    Thank you, Joyce!

  2. Wow! This is great! I love the character of Soldana. So demure and unassuming, and yet--this hides her intelligence and her control of the situation. Dolwin is an interesting villain: an excessively ambitious megalomaniac. And the demonic creature: I like how you treated him. Not too much description. Just enough to get the sense of its horribleness. Also, the idea that Dolwin suffers from his own evil intentions is very stirring. Thanks!

  3. Excellent character development! Soldana was very intriguing and I found myself imagining her quite beautiful.

    As for the evil Dolwin, I pictured any number of American politicans.

    Great story!

  4. Never trust women who live in small shacks on the edge of forests...!

    Athough the last line suggests it was all in a day's work, Soldana knew which side her bread was buttered and left way to the throne to the kinder of the two brothers, regardless of her own beliefs!

    Smashing tale, as always Joyce! :-)

  5. Tense! Joyce, this was a treat to read. You could write a seires on this!

  6. Flannery, Thanks for your comments. Glad you enjoyed my little tale. Soldana was a character I loved creating. Sure, she had a lot to fear from the authorities in the land, but she found a way to eliminate one big threat. There's a lot of strength here. Good for her!

  7. Jason, Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting. So happy you enjoyed my story. There's a lot more to Soldana than Dolwin anticipated. He was used to total control, but this time, he met his match. Done in by his own ego. Quite fitting, I believe.

  8. Beach, Thanks for your comments, and I'm so glad you enjoyed it. I liked Soldana and you're right about her appearance. Exotic and mysterious and quite beautiful. Easy to be cast as evil and accused of being in league with the dark side. Of course, it was all true, and she certainly can hold her own. As for Dolwin, I believe your assessment of him to be quite accurate as well. Love the picture you painted of him. He'd probably fit quite well on any poster in an election year!

  9. Sue, Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Glad you liked it. I had a blast writing it. Soldana was afraid of Dolwin, but why continue to live in fear. Simply eliminate the cause. He handed her the means himself anyway with his inflated ego and delusions of grandeur. You have to wonder who'd really end up in charge in the end!

  10. Ingrid, Thanks so much for your comments. It was so much fun coming up with this one. It would be fun to see where this goes with Dolwin out of the picture, wouldn't it? Hmmmm...