Gosh this story is running away from me and becoming increasingly gory. I do apologise but it has a life of it’s own. Please people don’t forget to send me a sentence. I had to find my own today. Come on all my new twitter followers tweet a line to move this story where you want it to go.
We set up camp halfway up the mountain. An eclectic mix of tents and elaborate dwellings went up within minutes and soon the air was perfumed with a feast groaning on a pristine white tablecloth. I noticed that most people ate with their wands in their laps. I had not realised how even the magical cling to the old. I was relieved that my mother always cautioned against over reliance on a wand.
“Believe in yourself, Esereht. Know that your power is within not without.” She said it so often that when she died it became my mantra. My father had scoffed and said a wand was easier. They had a formidable argument when he gave me one for my third birthday. He was more interested in potions and spells than practicing magic anyway and left for the Mainland to continue his research when I was sixteen. There was little affection between us. That was my mother’s job and we both felt the emptiness when she departed.
After the first shift keeping guard we crept into our modest tent. Sleep was elusive as memories continued to swirl in my mind. Davalast’s arm encircled me as his breathing deepened. I felt safe in his arms finally slipping into oblivion.
We awoke and breakfasted hastily and resumed our hike up the mountain. We needed to get up and down before nightfall. The temperature had plummeted and we were now using magical energy to keep ourselves warm. Energy that may be required elsewhere.
We made good time and the brisk walk minimised our need for magical warmth. The steep hike started to plateau and the top of Sednasi was lush and covered with extraordinary flowers. Huge blooms of cerise and midnight blue clustered around a tree with bulbous seedpods hanging like Christmas decorations. Carpets of yellow and lavender covered the mountain floor. How would I know the sacred flower? Did I need to pick one of each?
The air smelt sweet from tiny white flowers twisted around thin-stemmed saplings. I reached out to touch one and it snapped at my fingers. I shrank back. The coating prevented any damage but those flowers were not as benign as they looked. I gazed around me and saw other witches and wizards looking alarmed.
“What is it?” I said walking over to a group clustered together.
“The damn thing bit me.” Said an annoyed witch I recognised but had forgotten her name.
“Me too but it couldn’t get through the coating.” Said Loracas, Maya’s husband. Maya and I were at school together and still good friends. Loracas was a bit of a whiner but she loved him so I tried to love him too.
I was relieved that my grandmother’s enchantment was effective when blood-curdling cries came from the tree. We all ran towards it and Golagand was stumbling in amongst the blooms. Blood gushed from his arms and his face was etched in pain and terror. Davalast walked onto the flowers to get to him and they snapped and bit at his ankles. He was well coated and they could not break the skin. He gripped Golagand by the arm and tried to pull him to safety.
“He’s stuck. They have his feet…. Oh God I think they’re eating him?” Davalast said.
“Shield yourself!” I shouted and stuck out with my hand. Fire licked at the flowers but they did not wither or release Golagand. Davalast was trying to hold him up but he was buckling at the knees as the flowers crawled up his legs. “Davalast get out of there. Everyone send a Muster spell. Together!” I yelled. Davalast scrambled away and we all directed a Muster Spell. It is an incredibly powerful spell that pulls everything together. We were trying to pull the flowers away from the boy. Golagand’s shrieking intensified as if it were pulling him apart. He fell writhing abruptly silent as the flowers covered his face and body. Our unrelenting strikes were completely ineffective and we watched in horror as within minutes Golagand disappeared.
To be continued…