This month’s prompt is an interesting one.
Magic isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. For example, there are 20 spells for making tea but none to save yourself from falling off a cliff.
Let us, begin…
Magic isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. For example, there are twenty spells for making tea but none to save yourself from falling off a cliff.
At least, that’s what played over and over in Sebastian’s head as he balanced on the slippery crag, body plastered to the unforgiving rock, each gust of wind threatening to dislodge his grip. Rain fell in torrential sheets from the dark expanse of clouds blanketing the sky, soaking through his woollen coat—making it feel as if it weighed another ten stone. He shifted his weight, trying to find better purchase on a small ledge just off to his left, but his boots slid along the slick surface, nearly tumbling him into the gully.
A laugh bubbled up through his chest, breaking free as nothing more than a murmur as the wind whipped through the opening in the cliff, drowning out any other sound but its echoing whistle and the rattle of what remained of the wooden bridge he’d been crossing. Inappropriate or not, he had to admit, his current situation was funny. Bone deep hilarity that would either end as a tale of his greatest adventure, or the markings on his epithet.
He laughed again when he realized it was most likely the latter. Not that he should have found his last moments of life funny, but… It was more the circumstances of how he’d gotten himself into the deadly situation to begin with.
He knew better than to trust them. To put blind faith in their ability. After all, most of them were just skilled at reading people. Noticing subtle changes in a person’s facial expressions or how to draw out information all the while making it appear as if they’d received divine guidance. But he’d been desperate—more than desperate. This had been his one chance to track down his brother’s murderer, and Sebastian hadn’t been willing to simply give up. He had magic. Was it too farfetched to believe at least some of these so-called fortune tellers also possessed abilities.
Of course, he’d picked the one without an ounce of magical essence. But that was just becoming obvious now. At the time, he’d thought…
He sighed. He really hadn’t been thinking at all. After a week of tracking the man he believed had struck his brother down, his spell had simply vanished. Either it’d been blocked, or broken—hell, for all he knew a much more powerful mage had rewritten the damn thing and his prey was now stalking him. Either way, Sebastian had ridden into town without a clue of where to head to next.
So he’d taken his only other option—he’d asked a gypsy. And now—now he was trapped on a crumbling ledge a few hundred feet above a rocky gorge doing his best not to tumble to his death.
Sebastian released a calming breath. He was a mage. His magic was real. Surely, he could remember one tiny spell that would save his hide, yet again.
A metamorphosis spell.
He shook his head. They were notoriously long and overly complicated. The chances of him getting every pronunciation and intonation correct while barely holding onto the ledge or hurtling to his death seemed unlikely at best.
A great plan, except for the part where he could only induce it within a few feet of the ground. Once he stepped off the ledge, the spell would fail.
Maybe he could manipulate the rock? Mentally carve out a set of steps or…
The wind eddied around the protrusion next to him, blowing him off balance. He shoved his fingers farther into the cracks, trying to flatten his body as best he could. But the searing cold crept up his hands, numbing them to the point it took all his concentration just to wiggle the tips. One more blast like the previous one, and he’d fall.
Sebastian grunted, drawing himself up. Metamorphosis it was. He’d just have to concentrate—ensure he didn’t make a mistake. He inhaled, mentally working his way through the spell, when pieces of rock and dirt sprayed down from above him, stinging his skin as they bounced off his face. He looked up, wondering how this day could possibly get worse, when a rope bounced over the outcrop above him, settling into place beside his head.
He stared at the offering. It wasn’t a regular rope, the shiny golden strands glowing in the waning light as sparks of energy arched off the surface. The rope swayed in the breeze, snapping with apparent annoyance when he didn’t grab it outright. The end curled toward him, more of the strange arcs brightening the small circle of space.
He sighed. While this appeared to be a miraculous answer to his prayers, he knew better than to believe it was anything other than another trap. Though, not falling to his death meant he’d be alive to create another escape plan.
He reached for the rope, cursing when the end snaked toward him, twirling up his arm then around his chest. He tried pull free, gasping when it shook him off the ledge, keeping him suspended above the gorge for several frantic heartbeats before bobbing him upwards. He bounced along the rock, groaning as pain ignited across his ribs and limbs only to be dumped on his ass in the mud.
The sloppy dirt soaked through his pants, tripping him twice before he finally gained his feet. The rope uncurled, hovering in front of him then winking out. Sebastian flicked some of the muddy water off his clothes, scanning the small clearing when a shadow moved out from the thicket of trees just off the winding path. The cloaked figure walked along the flattened stones, a golden glow colouring his hands. He seemed indifferent to the rain, the searing chill of the wind, as he headed toward Sebastian, stopping several feet away. A battle-scarred sword hung around his waist, the hilt poking out from between the edges of his overcoat. He raised his head, tilting his hat back just enough to expose his face to the yellow light.
Emerald eyes stared back at him.
He quirked his lips, allowing one side to lift into the beginnings of a smile. “Sebastian Thatcher. I’d say this meeting is long overdue.”
Sebastian grinned, allowing his magic to burst across his palms and up his limbs, surrounding him in an ethereal blue glow. He took a single step forward, the muddy water hissing as his power heated the air around him. “Lucian Charlemagne. Just the man I’ve been looking for. Raise your guard and prepare to die.”
That’s it for me. Now check out what the other ladies did with the prompt.
Jessica Jarman | Bronwyn Green | Gwendolyn Cease
Deelylah Mullin | Siobhan Muir