Tag Archive: 100 theme challenge


Her back was pressed to the railings, the setting sun throwing long shadows over the scene. It looked like a god-damn movie.

The police cars were at the edges of the bridge, blocking off anyone else from coming on, as the officer evacuated the people who had already driven on, leaving empty cars all around her.

Her hand was slippery, but she gripped the gun even tighter, eyes flicking back and forth to either end, as she spotted both uniformed officers, and men in suits, the ones that she had been running from all this time, advancing towards her.

Shit.

There was a megaphone, an officer saying…something. She couldn’t hear the words, even though there were being yelled at her. Probably something about putting the gun down. Hell no, as soon as she let herself get caught, that was it. Game over.

And she still wasn’t sure what the game even was.

She gritted her teeth, gun coming up fractionally, and she saw the ripple of response through the officers, as they took cover behind cards and doors. Shit, she didn’t want to hurt any of these guys, they were just cops, doing their jobs. It was the suits that she was afraid of, wanted to go away. Clearly, if they could get the cops of side, then it was bigger than she had anticipated.

The sun set her hair on fire as it set below the edge of the world, everything in reds and oranges and burning colours, urgency in the very air as this played out. And she could see how it would all end here.

Unless…she flicked her eyes over the edge of the railing. This bridge wasn’t all that high, it probably wouldn’t kill her. She glanced back at that slowly advancing teams.

Damn it.

In two steps, she had turned and was over the fence, air whipping past her, screams from the bridge. Shit, it was higher than she had thought. And it was high tide.

Kelly took in a huge breath, and made sure her heels were pointing at the water. She’d read somewhere that surface tension was often what killed people jumping into water. And then it hit her.

Tumbling, down, the air being squeezed from her lungs, she gripped onto her bag and her gun, even though her instincts said to let go. She kicked, but didn’t know which way, she couldn’t see anything, the water was pressure in her ears, her eyes stung as she opened them and could see only bubbles.

The air was being squeezed from her lungs, she didn’t know why way was up, but at least it was calm down here. No screaming sirens, or men in suits. Maybe it didn’t matter anymore.

There was pressure around her neck, something fierce, but she didn’t quite care anymore.

Until something stomped onto her chest, and she woke up,  hacking up her lungs, screaming from every inch of her body as she spewed water out of her lungs, someone pressing down on her chest.

She slapped the hands away, and rolled onto her side, curling around her lungs as they sucked in air, great bit whooshing gasps.

“You crazy bitch, what the hell were you thinking?”

“Gates?” Kelly rolled back over and looked up at him. “What the-?”

“You’re bloody lucky I decided to follow you when I saw you sprint past. Come on, stand up, you need to keep moving or you’ll die of hypothermia. Seriously, jumping into the Illinois?”

“I didn’t want to shoot the cops.”

Gates looked at her, something between incredulous and exasperation, “Here,” he swung his jacket off and wrapped it around her shoulders, “Come on, I know a place.”

“No I am not going to tell you the details of summoning spells. This is an overview to tell you some bits and pieces you might not know. I am not teaching anyone on how to become a Blood Mage,” Francesca gave a steely glare at the person who has asked until they shrunk back down into their seat, and tried to make themselves as small as possible.

“Anyone else have a question that isn’t idiotic?”

There was a pause in the auditorium, and then a couple of tentative hands.

“You,” Francesca jabbed the chalk at a random girl in the audience.

“How might we recognise a summoning taking place? Are there any distinct feature of the magic used or does it just look like a normal ritual?”

“Now that is a good question. Triangles.”

There was a puzzled silence, and frowns around the audience, as Francesca turned to the board and drew some quick shapes, “So in most casting magic, when you want to draw your paradigm, you use circles and squares. Circles are used for continuation, enclosing and energy, and squares for stability. However, blood magic, especially demonic magic, relies on instability, and thus triangles are drawn. Circles are still used for power though.”

There was rustling, as more than a thousand people scrabbled to take notes. Francesca turned, and crossed her arms again, waiting for the next person to put their hand up.

“You.”

“So, how many triangles are used for a summoning?”

“Again with the details. Details are not your friends here.”

The two of them were side by side, sweat dripping their brows as they rounded a corner, and skidded to a halt.

“By the deeps!” Meg’s first mate exclaimed.

Flames covered the tunnel in front of them, dancing, writhing, the heat rolling off onto them, and more sweat dripped down and out.

“We’re going to die. Trapped in this bloody magical cave. We’re going to bloody die.”

Meg backhanded him, a smart slap on his cheek. “We are not going to die Hector.”

“There’s a fire in front of us, and a flaming monster behind us! Not literally flaming, but it might well be when it catches up to us!” his arms were gesturing wildly, his hair failing out of it’s usual neat ponytail.

“Trust me.” Meg held out her hand to him.

“With what?”

“That,” she nodded to the fire in front of them, “we’re going to walk through it.”

His eyes went wide, and his mouth slack, “Are you mad?”

“A little, aye.”

“What makes you think that we won’t just roast to a crisp?”

“A badly worded trade and a bit of gut instinct.”

Hector ran a hand through his hair, pacing the short distance of the corridor. A roar echoed back from where they had come through, and he threw a glance that way.

“To hell with it, I’m a bit mad too,” Hector reached out and took her hand.

Meg took in a deep breath, and stepped through into the fire, leading her first mate behind her. It was probably only ten paces of so, but the warmth of the fire as it surrounded them was immense, almost no air for them to breath, but the fire didn’t burn them as they stumbled through and out the other side.

Hector took a few paces, and then collapsed to his knees, shaking all over, “I don’t know how you did that cap’n, but I ain’t complaining.”

“Like I said, badly worded trade. You should never really trust Djinn’s.”

A roar echoed from the chamber, closer than before. The two pirates looked at each other, and then pushed to their feet and started running again.

“Some days, I wonder if this is what normal pirates have to go through.”

“Where’s the fun in normal?”

88 – Pain

The air up here was thin, but just about breathable. For humans anyway, the dragons had no problem with this height. Wisps of cloud washed over her helm, as the ascended just a little higher, listening to the muffled noises coming from their target ahead.

Just a little further, she passed to Ryuu.

The airship they were tracking was just in front of them now, it’s bulk visible as a dark shadow in amongst the clouds. They pair of them glided up, hoovering above it, as it slowly moved through the misty clouds.

Tuning into Ryuu’s sharper vision, she could see the figures on the deck, including a number of them beneath an awning, trying in vain to keep the wet fog from the table they were using. And on the table, was the artefact that they were tracking. Rachel knew it was a compass, but it certainly didn’t look like any compass she had encountered, here or back home.

Ready? she asked her dragon, and felt his chest rumble, as she drew his wings in, and they fell silently out of the sky.

Their precision was impeccable, as Rachel detached from Ryuu’s back, landing on the deck a few short paces from the awning. Short sword out, she slipped in, rolling over the table, scooping up the compass before they had registered that something was happening.

Dodging round a deck hand, she had to bring up her sword to deflect the blow of a guard. Spinning him round so that his back was to the awning, a step wrong on his part sent him tumbling back into the table, over the deckhand she had just avoided, papers and objects flying everywhere as the table overturned. Beautiful confusion.

She sprinted towards the other side of the deck, where Ryuu was flying round to. From her left, came another guard, she was almost at the edge, all she needed to do was jump. She sidestepped, raising her sword to parry the blow, but this guard was good, he caught her parry, twisted her sword away, it clattered to the deck and she heard more than felt the ripping of her flesh.

Ryuu’s scream echoed round the ship, his clawed hind legs grasping onto the side of the ship, splintering the wood. His flame spurted over her head, as Rachel sank to the deck, one arm clutching the compass, as the other pressed against her stomach.

There was a crunch, as she could taste blood and bone in her mouth. She reached out, and felt Ryuu’s scales, and managed to find the strength from him to push up, clutching onto his side and she clumsily swung up and over, a hefty streak of red splashing against his dusky scales.

As soon as she was on his back, he leapt off the ship, his claws taking a chunk of it with him. Rachel sank onto his back, laying against the rough scales, gasping for air as the pain set in.

Your pain is great, Ryuu’s head swung round to sniff at the wound.

Hospital. I need a hospital.

In your world?

It’s bad, I don’t know if they could fix it here.

Can you bear the jump?

Rachel struggled, but removed her helmet one handed, putting both that and the compass into a saddle bag, I’ll have to.

She gritted her teeth as Ryuu drew in his wings, diving at a shallow angle to build up speed, a ripple in the sky ahead marking their portal. In mere seconds, they were passing through, and the pain exploded in her side again, whiting out her vision.

87 – Food

Rana laughed as she slowed Duchess down, walking her as she looked around the place. “Over there, that looks like a good spot. You brought a picnic right?”

“Snuck out from the kitchens fresh this morning.”

Rana laughed as they walked the horses over and gave them a drink of water. They let the horses graze as they set up a blanket and Caleb spread out what he had stolen from the kitchen’s that morning.

“So, you’ll stay in touch right? I mean, there’s not a range on these amulets is there?”

“No. They should work over any distance. I’ll keep in touch, although I think it’s just going to be a lot of travelling. It’s going to be fairly boring without you there to keep me company.”

“Yeah. You know, I could just come with you.” He gave her a sly look.

Rana looked at him, and then pushed him away with one hand, sticking her tongue out at him. “Your parents would flip out. And you do have things to do here.”

He sighed. “I know, I know.” He raised his hand defensively. “It’s just I wished I could come with you. Even if it’s just fetching a book for Gaius, it’s still an adventure.”

“I’ll try to no have too much fun without you there.”

“You really think it’s not going to be fun?”

“Not really, but I’ll still try.”

“Liar.”

“I know. But what can we do? I mean, I want you to come with me, but I know that your duty has to come first.”

Caleb sighed. “Yeah, duty. I want to be a good prince, but I just don’t get a lot of time to do my own thing, you know? I’d love to come with you for a few weeks and just camp out under the stars every night. That sounds amazing, even if nothing else happens. Just to be out of the city for that long.” He sounded wistful as he talked.

Rana reached over and squeezed his hand. “Maybe some other time. And at least you’ll still be in range of a warm bed and good food. I’ve got travelling rations, which look dire at best.”

“Enjoy this picnic while it lasts then.” Caleb said as he handed her a dish full of fresh fruit.

They lingered over the food, talking to each other until eventually they had to part as the sun was moving through the sky. Caleb gathered up the remains of the picnic, and they both mounted up. Turning Duke back towards the city in the South, Caleb said his goodbye.

“See you when you get back. Try and be in time for the ball, okay?”

“Sure. Caleb?” She walked Duchess up to Duke and leaned over to kiss Caleb on the cheek as he turned to her. “Try not to get into too much trouble without me, okay?” She said as she turned to the North and clicked her tongue to get Duchess into a trot.

She forced herself to not look back at Caleb, who had raised a hand to his cheek, looking utterly confused at the parting gift.

The click of the door finally unlocking was so soft they almost missed it, blinking sleepy eyes open as a figure exited the room and closed the door behind them.

Their fiery red hair was obscuring their face, but her shoulders were hunched, tight muscles and dried rivers of blood down the arms betraying the pain that she was in.

“Is the prince…alright?”

“As well as he can be. Don’t worry, he survived the change.” Her voice was soft, low, but there was something behind her words. Something barely contained.

There was an awkward moment of silence, and then Willow turned away from the door, footsteps leaving bloody smears and drops as she went. The two wolves that had been on guard duty had to suddenly scramble up from the floor and make haste to keep up with her.

“Should you be moving? I can smell-”

“Don’t worry about me,” again, in her voice, was that barely contained emotion.

Flint gave his pack-brother a glance, but Rhys just shrugged at him.

Willow strode through the corridors, ascending the stairs until she reached the main level of the castle, and weaved through rooms, ignoring both people that fled her path, and the mixed looks she received. She didn’t even slow when she entered the throne room, startling the royal family.

“Willow, is Adam?” The queen half rose, fist clenched at her throat.

“He’s fine,” Willow said, closing in on the trio, “No thanks to you.”

Fast than the eye could see, she grabbed James by the throat, and tossed him onto the table, a heavy slam reverberating around the room.

His blue eyes looked shocked, but the wrong kind of shock. The shock of being found out. They met hers, and a little bit of fear crept in as he realised that her eyes weren’t green anymore, but were blossoming with the red of her fire element.

“Tell me why. Why would you change you own brother into a vampire?”

85 – Spiral

“Seven. It’s all about the number seven.”

“But there are six labyrinths.”

Sage pulled a piece of paper towards her, dipped the quill and started to sketch out the continent. “The number six represents to sum of all humanity, man and women, heavens and earth, fire and water, it’s balance. Seven means that you add in the soul, so as well as everything material, you also represent the spiritual.”

“There’s that much meaning behind numbers?”

“There were for the progenitors,” Sage’s hand flicked the ink over the pages, the land now recognisable, as she drew in symbols for each of the labyrinths, “They didn’t build these on a whim you know, there are reasons and meaning behind almost everything that they did, even if they are not obvious.”

“And is that what you’ve been doing? In labyrinths for all these years? Looking for the mearnings?”

“Technically, they’re mazes.”

Reagan rolled his eyes, “We are all aware of that. However, we are not all aware of a seventh labyrinth. Maze. Whatever, how on this earth could there be an unknown labyrinth?”

“Remember what I said about the numbers, humanity and spirituality,” Sage drew in the last symbol for the seventh labyrinth, in the middle of a continent, and then drew in a dotted line between all of them, “heaven and earth.”

She held up the drawing so that Reagan could see.

“A spiral. The labyrinths make a spiral.”

“But you wouldn’t think it, unless you knew about that seventh labyrinth, the one that represents-”

“Earth. It’s underground, isn’t it?”

Sage gave a rare smile, “Maybe you scholars aren’t all as idiotic as you seem.”

Vesper slipped a dagger between the door crack, gently raising the latch on the inside of the door, before slipping into the room.

There was the soft sound of a quick scuffle, a muted “What the-?”, and a flump. Adrianna paused for a count of five, and then slipped into the room herself.

“Did you kill him?”

Vesper was kneeling beside the body, two fingers on his throat. “No, I merely knocked him out. That should buy us enough time.”

“Did he see you?”

“Not enough to recognise me.”

“Excellent,” Adrianna said, rifling through the pile of papers on the top of the desk. Vesper stood up and started from the other side of the desk, looking through the untidy mound before starting on the drawers.

“Here.”

Adrianna reached over and took the paper, with the seal of office flashing from the corner of the page, and skimmed the contents, her brow furrowing as she did so.

winter-fantasy-landscape“Not what you were expecting?”

“No. It isn’t,” she folded the paper over and slid it into her dress.

“I thought we weren’t going to steal it?”

“Origingally no. However, I have no desire to be left out in the cold, and this document would assure that I would be.”

Vesper’s mouth twitched into a wry smile, “But you don’t feel the cold.”

“That is entirely beyond the point.”

83 – Heal

She leaned over the sink and spat, bloody spittle covered the white ceramic of the basin.

Wiping her mouth with the back of her hand, another dark smear appeared, causing her skin to prickle as it dried.

Fucking asswipe.

She narrowed her eyes, clenching her teeth and taking in a deep breath through her nose. Gripping the sides of the basin with her hands, the trembled ever so slightly, and just around the edges of her eyes, a corona started to glow.

The slice across her chest stopped bleeding, the edges becoming smooth rather than rough, and slowly, as in a special effects show, it started to close together. Zipping together from one end to the other, soon it was just a harsh red line, as bruises and scrapes across cheeks and knuckles yellowed and scabbed, before fading away to pristine skin.

Kali let out a breath as the wound on her chest, which a mere minute before would have been considered traumatic, faded away from a scarlet line, to a thread’s width, to nothing.

Her hands unclenched from the side of the sink, and she looks at herself in the mirror, rolled her arms in their sockets, and bounced on her feet. Nothing like a little healing to make a girl feel good as new.

She turned around, stepping out of the bathroom, pulling on the cord to switch the light off. The main room was only dimly lit, which made the multiple pools of blood on the floor almost look simply like odd shaped rugs. Or, they would, if there wasn’t another body lying there, still bleeding.

Kali walked passed it, only pausing to deliver a short kick to their chest.

“Dickhead.”

And with that, she kept on walking, out of the room, and out of the building.

She was curled up, dust floating down and settling on her fur. Fur.

She opened her eyes, the world covered in yellow and greys. The light was speckled around her, a little cave of rubble surrounding her.

Her mind should be panicking, but it wasn’t. Or rather, she could feel the edges of it there, but it wasn’t overwhelming. It should be, because, as she looked down her snout, she examined a brand new body, but one that felt familiar.

Okay, deal with that later. For now, there was a good portion of castle on top of her. She nosed and sniffed, pads of her feet sensing movements. There was a thin layer, and she pushed through it, leaping off a slightly unstable slab, and sliding down the debris avalanche.

Her hands scraped on the floor as she breathed in fresh air, the sudden change of body causing her to stumble, limbs awkward.

She looked around, destruction and detritus sprawled over what use to be a bustling castle.

“Hello?” She called out. “Hello?”

Lydia climbed to her feet, and quickly moved her speed up to a run. “Can anyone hear me?” She was looking left and right, seeing collapsed entrances and sunken floors. She reached the keep, and although the doorway was intact, the rooms within were jumbled together with furniture and floors.

“Arabella? Can you hear me?”

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