The Shadowhunter – The Perpetual Nightmare

To many having being cursed with reoccurring nightmares would be a problem, but Laurena relished every opportunity that presented itself. It was the same one over and over, of her mother Elenanor. Even awake she can clearly remember the day her mother died, as clearly as if it just happened the day prior. She was on quest of vengeance over the the death of both her parents and no one could stop her, the nightmare would only perpetuate the hate that boiled inside her.

…the panic in the twelve year old was quite clearly evident to her by the thumping of her heart even if she knew nothing of the reason. It was about to explode out of her chest. Along with her mother, they had reached their home in the poorest district in Umbran.

“Common hunny…quickly!” Elenaor was much faster and agile than her teenager and done her best to keep her at the same pace.

“Mum your hurting.” Laurena tied running running through the streets as fast as her mother but could have not kept up. Her hand was held tightly, which felt like her arm almost about to be yanked out of the socket…

A Day prior Laurena’s father Raenes attempted a kill contract assigned by the Shadehunter guild, he had failed. It was meant to be a simple run, no different than the ones before. A rather disgusting vocation to some – the basis for the negative notoriety of the Shadehunters, to those outside Umbran that is. To the Umbrani it was little more than a job, one that brought home the standard going rate. A few hundred aurams for a life, that was just enough to keep their family going for awhile. Death was apart of their culture, one where only the strong survive and the weak are culled…or those who could afford to have another killed.

…with out trying even explain the situation to her child Elenanor rushed through their home without stopping. Dashed up the creaky wooden steps into Laurena’s bedroom, her mother prised open a secret wooden panel of the wall towards the back room. It used to be for storage but when their daughter was born it was converted into the only bedroom. Elenanor shoved her child into the tight space as much as possible, to the point that a bare supporting frame dug into the side of her, the adrenaline would stemmed the pain.

“…you must hid here my dear…and don’t make a sound!” Elenanor was panting from the terror that had beset her.

“But….mother?” asked Laurena as she tucked her knees to her chest even though it hurt to breathe.

“…No honey! Be quiet…and don’t move…promise me you won’t say anything…regardless of what you hear!” Elenaror knew time was short.

“Mother…what’s happening?” Laurena still confused in her inquiry.

“…Promise me!” Elenanor pleaded as she draped her necklace of the Goddess Noxia around her daughters neck. Laurena nodded as tears rolled down her cheeks.

“I love you!” Elenanor whispered. The loud crash of the front door had indicated to her that time had now ran out. She closed the wooden panel in front of her child.

“BITCH! Where are you?!” Bellowed a low rumbling voice in the next room.

Elenanor had unsheathed her sword and stood ready in the centre of the room as the door was almost smashed off it’s hinges.

“There you are you whore! You think you and you husband would get away with it?!” The large brute had found out who she was from one of the locals, undoubtedly sold out by a neighbour.

“Where’s my husband?” Elenanor asked even though she didn’t want to know.

The brute chuckled. “You mean that worthless skinny fuck. Who’s neck I snapped like a twig.” A deep sense of remorse flooded Elenanors entire body as she knew he had not lied or exaggerated .

“Nooo! You bastard!” Elenanor didn’t even try to contain herself. The rage over her spouses death built up and she lunged at the tall brute hoping to avenge her husband.

Her quick feints and deft attacks would have been enough for most, even without all the years of training and being a member of the most ruthless guild of mercenaries. The larger built up body of of the overbearing man-statue had far more experience as a fighter, proving to be too much for her.

Without even drawing his greatsword that was firmly sheathed on his back, he had knocked the blade from her hand and grabbed her by the neck with the other. Eleanor struggled to free herself from his grasp, trying to pry his hand away for one minute gasp of air.

A shallow gargling sound poured from her mouth and with one tight grip of his hand, a distinct crack echoed through out the house. Her hands dropped to her sides as he let go and Elenanor’s lifeless body fell into a motionless slump. He looked down at her corpse with a side worn smirk.

“Humpf, not worth my time…but no one fucks with Lugo.” He scoffs and walked out.

It’s at this point that Laurena wakes from her nightmare, something that used to be accompanied by a scream of terror, but after some months it fell silent. The same one that wanted to escape on the actual day of her mother’s death.

She still remembers covering her mouth with both hands, in an attempted to not scream out in pain, hoping to not attract Lugo to her location. Laurena had unfortunately bore witness to the whole event through the crack in the wooden panel. Paralysed with grief knowing how badly she wanted to help but couldn’t.

To see her very own mother, killed so effortlessly was unbearable. Specially from the woman who taught Laurena how to hunt and kill just as soon as she was old enough. It was the Umbrian way. Taking the life of another way often key to survival and it was the responsibility of the parents to ingrain it on their offspring as soon as possible. How could she even contemplate avenging her parents if they was meant to be the best hunters Laurena knew, let alone ever have the strength to do so.

She just caught glimpse of her mothers killer – who she at least now knew by name and one she would never forget. She could see he wasn’t human, a “Stonekin” in fact, remembered from one of her parents stories. His wide broad face was clear to see even through the slimness of the cracked panel. She done her best to remember his appearance as best she could. He was the first she had seen so up close and the tales of the Khryosians would allow her to recognise their appearance with little effort.

…for several hours Laurena sat their in her hideaway. Crying into her arms hoping that at any moment her mother was going to pull her out and hug her and say everything was alright. She never did. Her body remained in the same position, drained of all life and had turned paler than her Umbrian skin was already. No amount of wishing or praying would change it. Laurena knew now that she was now alone, from now on she would be on her own to fend for herself.

After she built up the courage to venture forth, she prized open the panel. She could see her mother so much more clearly. The deathly stare of her face with the her eyes still wide open was still worn. For a moment Laurena could have thought that her mother was still alive and merely jesting, but the realization would soon sink in that her mother would no longer be able tell Laurena just how much she loved her…

She awoke and sat up. She caressingly rubbed the Noxia pendent around her neck. The last parting gift from her mother brought some comfort from her dreams but it would quell them. As disregarding of passed on loved ones the Umbrians were, Laurena couldn’t help but feel nostalgia.

Even looking onto the side of her cabinet sat a painful reminder. Her training sword she had as a child. On her twelft birthday, the “coming of age” day that all Umbrani go through is to be presented with their first proper weapon. Training had been done with dull toy-like imitation and used just as a child would. It couldn’t cut through bone or flesh but sharp enough to cause pain from a lack of concentration.

Her parents trained her well in survival but not how to cope with their untimely departure, that was never in their nature as good Umbrian parents. Every new day was perpetuated with the searing pain of losing her parents, renewing her vigour to find her parents killer. She knew it was only a matter of time the Lugo would return to Umbran, as she could never afford to travel beyond the furthest edges of the continent Mortister.

She wouldn’t stop to avenge her parents, it was just a matter of time.


Laura Steel © 2014

The Ex-Communicated Champion (Part 1) – The Long Road Ahead

Across the open plains of Luminter the lone Champion walked. The open plains that stemmed from the horizon were never ending. The only furniture that would break up the monotony was the odd farmer’s house. All of which barred his entry for fear of being brandished criminals themselves. Hedgerows and fences marking their assigned plots of land, stretching out over the rolling hills. The path itself was cut up with bridges that provided the necessary passage over the man-made streams which provided irrigation to the farmlands.

It hurt to walk the long road. He had such an ache in his heart that he could feel building up after every step he took. Having being branded an exile by his people was undoubtedly unbearable. The family he saved was all the justification he needed, no ounce of regret would ever have a foothold in his mind.

He knew that the only way forward could lead him into unknown dangers but that was all the more reason to push forward. To break away from the harsh religious dogma of his former Order. Their strict laws prevented him from doing what was right and honourable. Even if his reputation was officially in ruin, the Solarani would always remember the hero that stood up for his beliefs, something that has rippled through the hearts of others.


Prompt: http://jeremysdailychallenge.wordpress.com/2014/08/11/picture-this-monday-11-august/


 

Laura Steel © 2014

 

The Wandering Poet (part 1) – Atop Mon’Aurum

Packed with supplies and tools, a rather exhausted poet Gredoe, from a small town in the eastern continent sits down to catch his breath. Among the clang of pots and tenting equipment is his pockets of pens and parchment. Collecting his second wind took longer as he wanted as he looked back onto the canopy of the of forest he had just walked through and the cliff he had to scale reach the mountain top of Mon’Aurum.

The cold was starting to nip through his thick clothes. The light was dimming and he knew he had to set up camp. But he knew he couldn’t.

“I should unpack…but I will just get this down…” Said Gredoe to himself.

Inspiration had struck and his instinct was to grab his writers tools, not the ones to survive.

“Now where was that pen?” He dumped down his back pack without a thought of care over it’s contents.

“Ahh here we go.” The pen held in his right hand had touched down on the parchment that was stored in a leather bound case which was caressed with his left.

“Oh my yes!” His ideas sparked the front of his mind like a crowd trying to fit through a narrow door.

“Brrrr, just wish it wasn’t so cold!” Mumbling to himself like the madman his home town proclaimed him to be.

Even at this altitude and temperate, it was too much for even the excitement to block. There was however a far pressing matter to attend too.


Continued: Poems of the Wandering Poet (part1)

Poems that were inspired as a continuation of this flash fiction.


Laura Steel © 2014

Prompt:  http://jeremysdailychallenge.wordpress.com/2014/07/23/challenge-wednesday-23-july/

On the run

On the run


For one such renowned respect to be found with the blood of another Solarian on their blade could never be contemplated. But there was an unspoken love for those who dedicated their lives to protect those of others.

The Knight Raezial was in such a position but allowing the deaths of innocent people with out a fair trial could not be tolerated, even from a death sentence dictated by an Inquisitor towards a family, which was still within the confines of the law.

The law itself was considered to have been abused by many, examined often about it’s validity. It was, however, by many, considered as such from the peasants of the town of Forasurb, to even the scholars of Solaris; although the latter never spoke out about it in public.

The razored edge still dripping with the viscous bodily fluid of their superior put them in a very difficult position. She had broken the law, unquestionably and without remorse – but in many eyes justified. Knowing her fate was sealed, she had two choices: hand herself in – or run.

She knew it wouldn’t be ideal, starting a new life outside the region of the Order’s influence would be a welcome reprieve and would permit a career in helping those in need outside bureaucratic interference.

A much relished distraction for someone who had grown tired of the laws that seemed so unjust – to those it was designed to protect. She wouldn’t be the first to do so in the Orders existence. She made her choice with the cheered praise of the crowd, even when they knew that had lost another champion, just like Lord Ayron.


Laura Steel © 2014

Prompt: http://jeremysdailychallenge.wordpress.com/2014/07/18/fridays-threesome-18-july/

The Vigilant Guard

Many of the guards stood watch over the palisade, scanning the horizon of ocean waves west from the town of Urbemare for pirate ships and beyond.

Bare iconography from one of the now forgotten cities that laid leagues under the reflective expanse, the armour would overtime turn black through reaction to the open air, constant cleaning was required as a formal discipline.

Staring out towards the sea, across what was once the ancient sunken continent of Mersusea, one of the oldest serving guards Jareth.

His heart was heavy with grief over the loss of his partner, still after many years. After hearing the news he wanted no one else in the village to suffer the same pain and heart ache, adorning the towns armour with pride.

Some part of him wished for his lover to return, unknowingly from what was to be at the time an ill fated fishing trip. At the time of his partner’s death, Jareth was likewise a fisher, held back due to illness. Something he regretted constantly.

Duly protecting all from harm, his vigilance would always be torn between protecting those under his care and hoping that one day he would be reunited with his love.


Laura Steel © 2014

Prompt: http://jeremysdailychallenge.wordpress.com/2014/07/14/picture-this-monday-14-july/

The witch of Asperia forest

Witch Lake 2


Located in the inner most centre of the forest of Asperia lived a lone women who locally went by the only name Alacia. A rather young women who had been chosen by the Coven of Striga and trained in their ways, upon finding out her rather proficient aptitude in magika. Previously a peasant girl, she was saved from the monotony of her previous profession of weaving.

Much like her counterparts in other places in the world, who were studying exotic plants, fungi and rare animals, in the hopes of drawing from them their various Aspects – the elements of life. She would use her new knowledge of magika to study the wild life of the large open lake in the middle of Asperia. Focusing on the Ichthyology of the lake due to it’s unique properties.

It’s true depth was unknown and the acidic waters proved to be fatal to all but the life that had evolved within. It had been suggested that it had formed from a now inactive volcano, it’s caldera now the basin in which life thrived within the cloudy caustic liquid.

She would document her findings in tomes of various sizes depending on what she discovered, hoping one day to be recognised fully and admitted into the Coven for her commitment to furthering the knowledge of the world’s wonders and the Aspects.

Everyone’s assumptions on the origins of the lake’s strange properties however were gravely underestimated …


Laura Steel © 2014

Prompt: http://jeremysdailychallenge.wordpress.com/2014/07/13/sunday-photo-fiction-july-13th-2014/

Savior

Cowering

Among the citizens of the morally dead only a few could survive the anarchy unimpeded. The virtuous that were trapped with in the cities walls: the unfortunate population that would suffer the most. Paying the price for their unavoidable choice of where they could live.

The evil laughter of malicious men and women generated nothing but a profound sense of paranoia and dread in their victims. Would they be the ones to end the suffering – or merely prolong it?.

It would take a brave soul wading through the darkness. Carving the blacken hearts from their still standing corpses. The corrupted wake that thickened with every passing day, was cut through when she took the lives of the sinner’s.

Justified by those who she had saved, their conversations praised her heroism, her violence was a continued albeit welcomed cruelty. In the grand scheme of things such celebrated acts would leave no real lasting mark on the wicked. Unlike those who had wrought pain on the innocent.

Cowering families would stare up through tears at their saviour with awe. Such strength used to fight the unending evil the city breeds. Their lips quivering with fear, ushered two simple words that any good deed requires. “Thank you!” was spoken, yet left no sound to be heard.

Every one slept easier, for each of her deeds done brought salvation unto them all.


Laura Steel © 2014

Prompt: http://jeremysdailychallenge.wordpress.com/2014/07/11/fridays-threesome-11-july/