To Be Free – Serious Short

“You don’t understand, if you don’t free me we will all be doomed-”

“Are you threatening your king!” the man with the crown demanded.

The weather-worn woman before did not tremble from his anger, merely bowed her head in exhaustion and weary resignation.

The king did not wait to see what she would say before continuing, “You are guilty of the crime of sorcery!”

A smile flitted across her tear-stained face as she finally looked up, “That’s why I came to Camelot.”

The king was not surprised in the least, “To destroy us.”

For the first time, the woman frowned, “No, to be free. You slaughter all with magic.” she seemed to take courage from somewhere and stood straight for the first time since she’d been brought before the king, “Surely you can bring permanent death even to a phoenix.”

There was stunned silence in the court of law, even the king found himself speechless at this declaration.

“Death is a freedom I desperately need.” the woman, no, the phoenix trapped within human form, “Please, King Uther, you must execute me.”


I’ve been thinking about BBC’s Merlin lately and the fact that King Uther was very anti-magic. He killed anyone even hinted at using or being near magic, including magical creatures who were born with magic and, at the time, were believed to have no kind of agency for themselves.

(I extrapolate the last comment based on the fact that animals weren’t believed to have a soul at the time and only those with a soul would have a mind and be able to actually make choices and thus have agency to choose for themselves what they wanted to do.)

What if someone came to Camelot, not because they wanted to attack King Uther with their magic, but because they wanted King Uther to know they had magic and kill them?

Well, I thought about it and this little snippet wouldn’t leave me alone until I wrote it. I was never certain just how it would end, but maybe now I can write on something else.

Different Phoenix, Different Ending – Reflections Traces Prompt #12

Sometimes she wondered how different life would have been for her had she the power to chose her own outcome. She had loved a man so much, much more than he had ever deserved, though that was something that she had not known until later in their life together. They’d had children, so many children and she thought they’d been happy.

It was only later that she learned there was more to life, their life, that she had not known about.

Her kind were often thought of as a blessing or a curse, depending on who was talking.

To her husband, she had been a blessing both in children, long life and in personal power. Those who came to their home to speak with her husband were always awed by his wife, though it was unintentional on her part. It was just what and who she was.

In many tales, it is said that those of her kind will die and then become reborn from their own ashes, ready to rise once again in glorious fire.

For her, she would die upon an altar, her children and grandchildren and great grandchildren around her and her husband standing over her. In her death, her children, some of whom were very sick, would gain some of her life force and heal from it. She had chosen this. She was old and if her death could have a purpose, then she would be grateful, even if it interfered with the original sequence of her kind’s death.

Her rebirth would happen not right away, but scattered throughout the lifetimes of her descendants. What she hadn’t foreseen was the outcome of that supposed one-time sacrifice. Every death thereafter would further seal her fate to what had once been her family but was now nothing more than her slavers.


Original concept for this particular story is actually a little old. I have some scenes for this story written down somewhere in another collection of shorts. When I saw the Reflections Traces Prompt for this last week, I thought of this story. It has no connection to my other long-standing story in Phoenix ‘Verse.

Bittersweet Heroes

In the end, she couldn’t have completely saved her children by herself.

The places that she sent them to, the people that were there were the real heroes for her children. There wasn’t always someone there to give her child to, but more often than not there was. Some of them spoke a language that she knew, but most didn’t. It didn’t seem necessary most of the time.

She would push her child forward, sometimes scooting the small bundle of pink across the floor carefully, so very carefully, and then look up into their eyes. Sometimes it was a man, sometimes it was a woman, different ages and races and sizes and all kinds of other things. most would look into her eyes long and hard and then down at the snuffling and mewling child either in her arms or on the floor.

Their eyes would invariably pause on her wrists and ankles, taking in the manacles there, fastened with no lock. The skin around them was scarred and inflamed and it was obvious that she would lose her hands in any bid to release her. The look in her eyes told them that even then, she would likely never be free. All she was asking for was the freedom of the child she was holding out towards them.

They were heroes because they took the child even though it was likely that whomever held the mother would search for the child as well. They did not know that he would be searching for too many children and would likely find not even half of them. They would be safe insofar as the people who took them in would see to.

These people that she did not know, would never know, would be responsible for her child, for her children, for each part of her soul that she was able to send away. They would be parents and she would likely never be mentioned to the child that was now their’s. That was fine for her; the less her children knew about where they had come from, the less danger they would be in. The magic that she’d used to send them away worked better when there were fewer who knew the details.

Ignorance was rarely a protection for anyone, it certainly hadn’t been for her. The irony that she would use what the sire of her children had used against her in order to stop him from harming her children (and they were hers, never would they be his no matter what their genetics would say) made this sweet enough to drown out the bitter.

“Thank you.” she would always whisper, even to those who would never understand her words.

She would lean down over the child, some would awaken in order to see her one last time (or a first time) and she would mumble a few words in her own language. The language of the Phoenix.


Written for this week’s DungeonPrompts.

http://theseekersdungeon.com/2014/01/16/dungeon-prompts-season-2-week-3-role-models-and-the-molding-of-personality/

If Only, If Only

Sometimes she wondered if life would have been easier if she had never been found, if she had stayed in her little world that never went further than the edge of the trees and had absolutely nothing to do with humans.

Or anything with only one form.

Beings that had one form and were able to sweet talk you into leaving your own home behind were trouble, just like her brother had always said.

Nothing good will come from the humans, little sister. He would admonish her whenever she wanted to hear more about what little he knew about the strange creatures that would seldom come to their little corner of the world.

She wished she had listened as she moved slightly and the sound of chains was the only reply to the movement.


Written for this week’s FreeWriteFriday prompt. Also the latest part of my Phoenix ‘Verse.

http://kellieelmore.com/2013/12/27/fwf-free-write-friday-quote-prompt-3/

Exists Only in Tales

Human beings often think that they are the dominant species on earth. This is both true and not true at the same time.

Let me explain:

Humans are the dominant species on earth insomuch that they seem to control the majority of the known world. They have power over what will happen to the wildlife around them as they can have it reduced to nothing more than a lumber mill should they so desire, as long as they have enough connections or money among their own kind.

Or have an ax and the skill, will and time to do so for themselves.

“You should never trust a human, fledgling,” her brother admonished her once the hunting party was gone from the wood.”

“But they didn’t harm anyone but what they needed for food, haven’t you always told me that this is the way of the world?”

“There is the way of the world, and then there is a desire for power. Men have fallen for less.”

“There must be some out there who aren’t that bad, surely!”

Then there are the men who have no power, but have enough brains to find a way towards power that no one else can take from them. A power source that they can bind and make near limitless in the possibilities of use.

Being able siphon the energy and very life-force of a phoenix can make one almost immortal, whether the phoenix is willing or not.

“Fledgling, I hope that you never find the difference between these two kinds of men, for I am certain that the latter exists only in tales.”

He Found Her

Sometimes things don’t go as you want. Sometimes things do go as you want.

And sometimes…things go even worse.

He wanted everything. His hunger was too great, he wanted all that existed, all that had existed and all that would exist. He would never be full, of that it was certain.

He had grand plans and ideas, but no power with which to start them. Everything he tried his hand at failed or if there was a return, it was too little to make much of a difference. He traveled the world as much as he could, trying to find something, anything, that would make a difference and give him the power he craved. He searched for magical items, for creatures and even for the gods themselves.

He didn’t find the gods, what he found was, instead, something far more great and yet so small.

He found a phoenix.

“You are alone here.”

She nodded slowly, not sure where he was going with this. She had never seen him before, had never seen anyone like him really.

“Are you a…a..human?” she asked hesitantly.

He smiled slowly, though he was careful not to show any teeth. “Yes, yes I am. Would you like to learn more about humans?”

She frowned, “No, my brother has always told me to say no.” she smiled impishly at him for a quicksilver moment, “But I have always wanted to tell him boo and do so anyway. I’ve heard so many different things about humans!”

He held out a hand to her, “Then let me show you.”


Written for this week’s Trifecta challenge:

It’s our last Halloween-inspired prompt of 2013, and we can’t wait to see what you’ve got in store for us.  Please remember that we are looking for the third definition of our prompt word.  Please also note that we need the word exactly as it appears below.  No tense changes allowed.  Good luck!

boo 

1 (interjection)
used to express contempt or disapproval or to startle or frighten

2 (noun)
a sound that people make to show they do not like or approve of someone or something

3 (verb) to show dislike or disapproval of someone or something by shouting “Boo” slowly

Won’t Leave You Behind

There are many tales in the world about gods and goddesses, about creatures and heroes and, of course, about monsters. But what about the ordinary people? They, too, have many tales, perhaps more than all of the others put together, but amongst them are some of the most vicious of monsters.

After all, if you choose to act a certain way than it could be said to be far more true than something acting a certain because they were born to do so.

There are things in this world, monsters and creatures and beings that could be called gods. They are not true Gods as they are far from immortal and even if they are close enough to that you must be capable of Life Creation in order to be a True God. But that is not the focus of our story.

Our story is about what stands between those things that are believed to be myths. For though we consider these things to be nothing more than figments of our ancestors imaginations or their poor attempts at understanding the world around us. What we don’t realize, what we seem to forget is that they do exist. Maybe not in the way that the stories say, but you know what’s always bandied about by the press.

There’s a kernel of truth in every lie.

Between those ‘myths’ and the rest of the population are hunters. They come in every shape and size and they don’t always work together. They use different tools and have different reasons for why they do what they do, just like anyone else in law enforcement. The difference is whether or not they are actively working with said law enforcement or working vigilante style. But, again, this isn’t completely what our story is about. Our story is really about one instance in particular between hunters and those ‘creatures’ they fight.

This is where our story begins:

There once was a little girl who wasn’t quite a little girl. She was little, yes, and she was female, yes, but she wasn’t what you think of when you think of the words ‘little girl.’ She is, in fact, only half-human.

Her mother is a ‘creature’ that hunters fight and kill should they ever come across her. Her kind are not always dangerous to humankind, but when they are it’s like Mt. Vesuvius erupting all over again for the first time. There weren’t many of her left known to mankind. This didn’t matter too much as she isn’t a main character in this story. This story, as I said, is about a little girl, not the little girl’s mother.

At one point during the day, the little girl, who we shall call Molly, was taken from her backyard. Her mother had been in the house working on dinner and had heard Molly’s short scream, but both Molly and her abductor were gone before she could reach the backdoor. Molly’s mother didn’t scream and she didn’t cry. She moved as quickly towards the phone on the counter to call the police before stopping and letting it drop limply to her lap.

She wasn’t even certain the police would be able to help, but she took a breath and reached for the phone once again anyway.

We’ll leave Molly’s mother there, in her kitchen, with a phone in one hand and the other clutched tightly to the armrest of her chair, knuckles white.

Molly, on the other hand, was sitting quietly in a chair with her own hands pulled tightly behind her back. Her shoulders were strained, but not enough to be too debilitating. Her captors must know what would happen should she become overly frightened or angry. She was frightened, but not angry and without the extra oomph that the volatile emotion would give her, her half-blood status made her vulnerable and unable to tap into what birthright her mother’s kind had granted her.

“What are we going to do with a half-breed? They’re practically useless unless they really believe in what they’re fighting for. There’s no time to condition her to what we want either, she’s too old.”

“What do you mean she’s too old? Look at her! She can’t be more than six years old! There’s still plenty-”

“You are a fool if you think the age she looks like is her actual age.”

The voices moved away from her door and she was tired and hungry and thirsty and wanted her mother. Another voice spoke up from slightly behind her.

“Don’t worry kid, we’ll get out of this.”

Molly turned her head as far around as she could and saw a man tied up to a pole stuck int he concrete ground slightly behind and to her left. She didn’t know who he was, but it was clear that he had taken at least one beating recently. What little of her birthright she could access like this told her that he was trustworthy.

“How do you know, mister?” she asked, her voice shaky.

He tried to smile at her, but failed in looking cheerful even if his eyes were full of faith.

“I’ve got people who’re coming for me. We won’t leave you behind.”

She nodded in response but didn’t say anything as the two voices came back and entered the room.

“I should think that they won’t leave you behind,” one sneered, obviously having caught the end of their little talk. “I should think that they’d do to you what they’re planning to do to us once the ‘back-up’ actually arrives.”

“If they ever do arrive.”

The man behind her was silent, but the scent that wafted off of their captors told her all she needed to know.

“I wouldn’t mind.” she stated simply.

There was a beat of silence as those in the room blinked. She had startled them; the creatures that had captured her hadn’t thought that anyone of their ilk would ever welcome a hunter in their presence, never mind being fine with being killed by them. Her fellow captive had stilled; he hadn’t expected her to be anything other than human, but he, too, was slightly startled with her calm acceptance of death at such a young-seeming age.

For she was young, maybe not as young in human years as she looked, but for her kind she was still very young.

“Mother always told me to seek out a hunter if I needed to be safe.”

“They would not keep one like you safe.”

Molly smiled, “But they would make sure that the real monsters who would come after me would never fully get me. I would be safe in Death’s arms.”

“Monsters like us, you mean.” one spat, looking angry.

“No,” Molly smiled as serenely as she could, “Monsters like the human who sired me.”

“Not even a crossroads demon can bring back an extinguished phoenix, my child.” her mother whispered.


Written for this prompt: http://writingworksinprogress.wordpress.com/2013/10/21/all-hallows-eve-writing-challenge/

This was a great prompt! Thank you bluebutterfliesandme for inviting me to take part!

Here are links to other participants:

Brenda – http://friendlyfairytales.com/2013/10/21/halloween-scene-haiku/