I’m going out on a huge limb here and posting a story that I probably wouldn’t have about six months ago. I’m of the opinion, though, that we don’t grow if we don’t challenge ourselves. I’ve never written anything in the fantasy genre and I’m not sure I’ve done the world justice, but at least I attempted it. You’ve gotta love challenge’s like Chuck’s this week where we had to click on a D&D character generator to get our prompt for 1,000 words of flash fiction. My randomly generated character was: “Spiteful elf bard from a cavern without echoes who has anger problems.”
I also managed to throw in Song Lyric Saturday where the lyrics were: “It’s all the same. Only the names will change” from Dead or Alive by Bon Jovi. And just to make things fun but really because I know I won’t post anything else today, this is also part of Just Jot It January. So, you have a threefer, if you will.
Special thanks to my boyfriend’s son who told me elves who live in caverns are dark elves and the elf name generator I clicked on to get some pretty cool names. The story is 977 words. Please be nice in the comments, although I always welcome feedback.
Ingemon’s boots tapped the floor of the hallway in an echoless staccato as he made his way quickly to the queen’s chamber. Anger billowed off him in waves and the Cavrillians who happened to notice him scooted out of his way or turned in the opposite direction in order to avoid him. No one wanted to cross paths with the bard. It had led to death in the past and those remaining valued their lives enough to get out of his way.
Cavrill was an Elven town located in a cavern in the High Mountains. The cavern itself was a maze of hallways and chambers with a river that ran straight through, ending a good many miles at a lake deep in the mountain. They were secluded, isolated from the world outside and with no one to fight and nowhere left to explore, their destructive nature turned inward.
Ingemon wasn’t the first to fight for a position among the Cavrillians, but his was the bloodiest. He had taken the role of historian and story-teller from Jarl over ten years ago in a slow, destructive campaign that eventually led to Jarl’s very public death, which was attended by their queen, who cheered him on with immense pleasure. She had taught her kingdom well the best way to survive in a brutal world.
When Ingemon crossed the entrance into the queen’s chamber, the guards on either side put out a hand to stop him. One dark glance in each direction and they removed their hands slowly to let him pass. Straitening even taller than his normal six feet, he made his way to the throne where the queen sat and kneeled in front of her, bowing stiffly in deference to her position, though it cost him much to prostrate himself for anyone, including the queen.
“My Queen, I’ve heard more whisperings.”
Ingemon’s nose met her black velvet cape as it swirled around her like a serpent guarding its treasure.
“Always my faithful servant.” Her voice slid across his ears and fell flat in the echoless chamber.
Girithil was a descendent of the original spider queen and her coloring reflected it. Her pale face glowed in the unnatural light, her ice-blue eyes hard and unflinching. She stood up and slowly glided around his prostrate form. Her cape slithered along the ground, her waist-length ruby red hair shimmering against it, moving with the cape as if in a dance. She reached out a velvet-gloved hand and stroked his silvery, black hair as it lay motionless around him.
“I’ve heard things, my sweet.” Her soft voice barely carried to the guards idling near the entrance.
“My Queen?” His head lifted up slightly, his eyes almost meeting hers but her hand pressed down on his head, pushing him back down.
“You know how whispering can be.”
“I do, Highness.”
She noticed his voice remained steady where others would have wavered by now.
“The whisperings are speaking your name, my pet.”
He let out a laugh that died almost as soon as it left his lips.
“Lies, my Queen. Nothing more than jealousy and spite.”
“Oh, of that I am certain. Mine were the first whispers that made their way through this cavern. But how am I to choose which are true? Have I not always acted on every one? Is that not how I’ve kept my throne?”
She watched him closely, her hand still holding his head down. He didn’t move a muscle that her eyes could see, but her hand felt the muscles in his neck tense and she knew. She was inclined to believe whispers, but it was always good to know one wasn’t wrong.
She dragged her gloved fingers through his hair before grabbing a chunk and yanking his head back. He heard the knife as she freed it from the strap on her thigh seconds before he felt the blade press on his neck.
She looked into his eyes and wasn’t surprised to see a blank expression staring back at her. He wasn’t afraid.
“You plot my death in order to take my throne?” Her dark red lips were inches from his face and her soft voice slithered across him, softly caressing his face.
“I will not deny it.” He remained still even as the blade began to bite into his skin and blood slid slowly down his neck.
“Lofty goals for a bard.” Her icy smile didn’t reach her eyes and her grip hardened in his hair, the knife biting deeper.
He didn’t respond.
“Guards.” They were by her side in seconds, taking Ingemon from her grasp, holding him steady as she slowly stood up.
Staring at the knife and the blood slowly dripping down the blade, she coldly passed sentence.
“We don’t have another historian and the stories must survive, otherwise you would be dead. Write them down and I may yet let you live.”
His eyes had darkened but his reply was soft, “Yes, your highness.”
Sneering at his words, she looked at the guards. “He doesn’t need legs to write, just make sure he survives. I didn’t forgo the pleasure of his death on my hands simply to have you kill him by accident.”
Both guards nodded their heads in acceptance of her wishes and she waved her hand in dismissal, returning to her throne with a sigh.
How she would have loved to squash his beating heart in her hands.
She couldn’t remember how many had tried to take her throne, but it didn’t matter. They were all the same to her and they had all met the same fate, all but Ingemon. She would visit him in a week to see how he progressed. She was still hopeful that his death was in her near future and she smiled almost gleefully as she stared at his blood shimmering on her knife.