I took an unplanned hiatus from this blog and the online world in general over Christmas. Things at home didn’t entirely go to plan, so family became my focus. And actually, I think it’s done me good to have a break. I am beginning to feel my writer batteries recharging and ready to face my writing works again. This blogbattle story was a gentle starter, I think. Hope all my readers had a good Christmas. 🙂
This week’s #blogbattle word prompt is gift. This is run by Rachael Ritchey over on her blog Writing Rachael Ritchey. I encourage you to check out her blog, and this challenge.
1.1000 words max
2.fictional tale (or true if you really want)
3.PG (no more than PG-13) Content – let’s keep this family friendly!
4.Your story must contain the word(s) from the theme and/or be centered around the theme in a way that shows it is clearly related
5.Go for the entertainment value!
6.State the Genre of your story at the top of your post.
7.Post your story on Tuesday, by 11:59 PM PST
8.Use the hashtag #BlogBattle when tweeting your story, put a link back to your #BlogBattle Short Story in the comments section of this page, and/or include a link to this page in your own blog post (it creates a “ping-back” which will alert me and our friends to your #BlogBattle post)
My genre: Fantasy
Here’s my entry for this week:
Back inside the Tree, Winter and Birch were greeted by the Queen. She met them at the entrance to the main room, where the small streams met in the centre to form the pool. “Where have you been?” she asked them.
Winter screwed up her courage and said, “We went to look at the stream and the trees over the other side of the river.”
“Whyever would you want to do that?” Her eyes widened, as if she couldn’t believe they’d done it.
“Because we know about the curse,” Birch said, his tone firm.
Now her eyes narrowed. “What do you know?”
“That none of you can leave here or the water will dry up, that magic has stopped flowing here and you’re only just surviving, and that it was caused by a fairy who lives over the river, but we don’t know why she did it. Would you like to tell us?”
Winter was surprised at Birch’s boldness. This was a Queen! And he was interrogating her!
The Queen looked taken aback. “How dare you speak to me in such a manner? And who told you such things anyway?”
Winter’s desire to protect Tango moved her to say, “That’s not important. We know. And we just want to help.” She also hoped to take some of the sting out of Birch’s words.
The Queen looked steadily at her, and was silent for a long moment. “Very well, so you want to help. What do you propose? Do you think we haven’t tried everything? We have negotiated, threatened, tried to fight magic with magic… None of it has worked. What can you offer?”
Winter didn’t know. Her mind froze up and she couldn’t think of a single thing. Then Flame appeared behind the Queen, and cleared his throat, making her turn to him. “Perhaps I can suggest something,” he said.
“And that would be?” the Queen asked, sceptical.
“Well, if we knew what prompted the curse in the first place, that would help, but maybe the fairy would listen to someone on the outside.” He shrugged. “I do have a few other ideas, but they’re dependent on what the cause of all this is.”
The Queen gave him a sharp-eyed look, then looked at Birch and Winter. “Very well,” her words were sharp as well, “all three of you come into my private rooms, and I’ll explain.”
She turned and led the way. Winter scrutinised Flame as she walked between and and Birch. He was looking confident, but still eyeing the water warily. She wanted to ask him what his other ideas were, but doubted he’d tell her anyway. He seemed to like to keep things close to his chest.
The Queen’s outer room was just as Winter had expected. Plain and simple. She had a few cushion seats that were decorated in the ordinary style, some lights hanging from the walls and ceiling, and a low table to kneel at that was surrounded by cushions. “Please,” she said, “have a seat.” There was nothing of the lavishness of other Queens about her.
Winter had mixed feelings about that. Whereas it was nice that she felt approachable, there was something of their magic missing. It made her miss home and her own Queen.
Which reminded her, she had to find a way of making the Queen aware of Tango and her gift without getting her into trouble.
They sat on scattered cushions, kneeling, hands in laps, in a rough circle.
“The argument began,” the Queen said, getting straight to the point, “about the water in the River. It changed. And so the plants grew more slowly, and weren’t the same. Everything began to wither. We believed the Reed Clan were to blame, and they blamed us. But what could we possibly have done? We live with the water, it flows through our home and keeps us safe. They do not. They take it for their own gains. They could easily have poisoned it.” There was strength in her words, but Winter thought that perhaps she didn’t believe them as she once had. There was little conviction in her eyes.
“I don’t think either side poisoned it,” Flame said. “I have seen this before. Something must have happened up the River, at the place it flows from.”
“Can you fix it?” the Queen asked. There was hesitant hope in her voice.
“Perhaps. I would have to fly to the place and see what it is first.”
“Then you would have our gratitude. Truly.” She didn’t look as if she could believe it. And there was still that note of hesitancy in her voice.
While she was in a relatively good mood, Winter took her opportunity. “There is also another matter, Your Highness. There is a fairy here called Tango. And she has a gift.”