I felt a little nervous when my editor assigned me this project. Her exact words were, “Go and interview one of those centaur people and do whatever it takes to get the scoop”.
So, here I was, driving down a long, idyllic road, passing Luna Lake, coming up to a sign that read: “Town of Red Leaf, 30 miles”
Well, at least I was nearly there.
The town turned out to be a bustle of activity, clashing horribly with the peaceful surrounding countryside. Great construction cranes were putting up new, modern buildings and parking lots, interspersed occasionally with charming, red brick buildings that showed signs of being sc
The darkness was thick and suffocating, like a heavy blanket had been thrown on the world. He had to get over the wall, had to get across the border before the guards caught them. Behind him he could hear the whimper of his fellow refugees as they sought to hush the little ones before they attracted attention to themselves.
A shape to his right resolved into the comforting presence of his sister, Mira. She had an anxious look on her face as she glanced back over her shoulder with a twitch of her whiskers and a worried flick of her ear.
“This is going to take all night.” She whispered.
“Then it will take all night.”
The Sorcerer's Mansion
Mark stared at the tall house at the end of the long dirt track that led away from a rusty iron gate mounted in between two red brick columns. On the other side of the columns tall iron spikes sprouted like spears from the bare rock leading rapidly away in a barred wall four hundred paces on the left and two hundred paces on the right. There they connected to another red-brick column, each crowned with a snarling bronze wolf's head--faded green with age--and the side walls connected up to form a barrier between the outside world and the house inside. Through the bars he could see a dead brown lawn marched
Sylvie felt giddy, positively buoyant as she walked beside Stetson. The world seemed a brighter, happier place now than it had four weeks ago when they defeated Jacob. Today they’d be letting back in all the refugees who’d fled before the onslaught, and she looked forward to seeing all her friends and neighbors again.
The clean-up had taken much longer than expected; the bodies of the monsters were heavy and put off such a foul, acidic smell that they were pretty much toxic, preventing anyone from coming back until the creatures were placed in special containers made just for them and taken out by tr
Taryn woke to the feeling of something being jabbed in her arm. She stirred in the darkness and cracked her eyes. A shape loomed above her.
“Ow.” She muttered. “That hurt.” Her voice sounded rough and raspy.
“After all the damage you’ve suffered, a needle hurts.” A dry voice commented. “Well, at least you can feel it, and that’s something.”
Taryn muttered something and slowly focused on the figure. It turned out to be an old nurse, wiry and thin, tough as old tree roots and gnarled as witch trees. He had a white beard, and a gentle smile.
The Spirit Realm
For some time Sylvie lay in absolute darkness, unable to see or touch anything. She heard, as if through a locked door on the other side of a hallway or room, voices. They appeared to be quietly talking to one another, or maybe shouting at one another, but far, far away. Not heeding them, she struggled to go back to sleep.
But wait, if she was already asleep, then how could she go back to it? She felt confused, and tried to think logically about it, but nothing would come.
She tried to fall into slumber again, but she had the nagging feeling that something was wrong; it was as if she’d forgotten
The Second Battle of Red Leaf
The video quality they could see was poor, some sort of interference kept the screen from being crystal clear, but there was enough that Taryn could see the dozens of winged creatures flapping about the warehouse; or rather, where she assumed the warehouse should be.
“What is that?” she asked.
“I’m not sure.” Bengal grimaced, staring at the screen. Sweat beaded his brow as he tried to make sense of what was in front of him. “It seems like a black hole has swallowed the warehouse and put…that in its place.”
That was a shimmering, crystal pal
There Will Follow a Storm #
It seemed hours she’d been running, but she realistically knew that it couldn’t have been that long. They’d escaped the warehouse (the cloud hadn’t pursued them, as if unsure what to do now) and were now running through the main parts of town. No one seemed out on the streets except for an unshaven, rumpled man weaving on the sidewalk and singing some song only he knew in a badly off-key voice.
Sylvie grabbed him as well on the way by, though the smell of him nearly knocked her down; he was filthy and stank, as if he’d not bathed in a year!
“Yaaaah! The mad
Taryn couldn’t shake the uncomfortable feeling she got as she walked towards her house with Josh beside her. She tried to analyze it logically, but couldn’t find an answer, which was frustrating.
She sighed and walked into her house, which was brightly lit and the TV roaring in the corner. Her mother looked up from where she’d been glued to the couch and rushed towards her, looking very pale and frightened.
“Taryn, thank god you’re okay!” she cried, flinging herself against Taryn’s chest looking like a very young child hugging her mother.
“What is it?” Taryn
It turned out that there would be no need to talk to Taryn the next day, for when Sylvie walked out of her house (she’d decided she’d had more than enough of hiding) she found Taryn and Josh walking to her.
“Hi there!” she shouted cheerfully to the couple. “I was just heading over to your place!”
“Well, we’re here now.” Taryn said cheerfully.
Sylvie grinned when she noticed her hand in Josh’s. Perhaps last night hadn’t been so bad after all.
“So, what are you guys up to today?” she asked.
“We thought we’d come over and play s
Sylvie woke early the next morning feeling as if she hadn’t slept a wink and somehow practiced Jujitsu. Everything felt stiff and her eyes felt gritty and gummy as she rolled to her belly off the pillow and stretched.
With a heave she gained her feet and walked as softly as she could into the house, her hooves thankfully muffled by the thick carpet on the ground.
Relieved she’d made it that far without disturbing anyone, she walked into the backyard, not even really seeing the razor wire coils ontop of the plain wooden fence with outward-facing cameras and the occasional flicker of sh
Taryn felt the heavy trailer shudder to a stop and released the webbing that held her securely.
Stretching, she mused how much she’d missed the soft bed, three weeks of sleeping on the ground like her native ancestors was far more difficult then she’d expected.
The lessons had been…different. Her teacher, Running Water, appeared to be the terror of his students, demanding constant vigilance, effort and discipline in all aspects of his teachings, though he’d been famed for knowing all the spells and rites of his people.
Taryn had been held in awe by most of the class; she’d not only met hi
Warnings to friends
Sylvie sighed as she watched the crowd outside her window. They were so much easier to see with the trailer gone, and most had set up to try and catch a peek through her windows. Reporters, tourists, little kids, old grandparents and who knew who else seemed to be out there with some form of camera or other trying to snap her picture or gathered just because of the excitement. The agents kept them back past a hundred yards and occasionally police would try to break them up and move them along, but it didn’t seem to do much good. The better-off people and the reporters simply went further back a
Fall of Mirthonia
It was a cold and bitter wind that blew down the valleys and dales of Mirthonia. It shivered limbs and froze leaves, and made the inhabitants of that strange land shiver and pull their cloaks tighter around them. They glanced at the mountain that birthed it, perhaps a trifle unhappily, before continuing on their businesses.
The markets of Mirthonia were very grand, and despite the chill wind they were full to overflowing with shoppers and hawkers, merchants and goodwives, and other sorts. Here could be found any sort of strange and wonderful devices, the freshest foods, and the finest wines. It was the wonder of the world,
If only Marthong could have seen what was happening in the mighty capital of Calso, he might have cheered. The human king had received his message and was bellowing for his generals to make haste for the planning room.
The King of Calso was a blazing red-bearded giant with shoulders as big as an ox and a temper to match the color of his hair. It had been said that as a youth, the King had ripped the head of an orc off with his bare hands and hurled it more than a hundred yards to strike down the fabled Orc King Marzrog. Few would dare cross him, or do anything that might incur his wrath. So, as he strode down the halls towards the plannin