April - May 2006

 

The most recent drabbles are at the top

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This one was written for the "Gifts from the Dark" challenge.

 

Gift-bringer
 

Snow fell in jagged shards of crystal. The day had ended with blood in the western sky, and stygian darkness encased the world like a shroud.

The Rider stood tall. Gifts, he had. With gifts would he own the hearts and souls of mankind. The staunchest heart, the purest spirit, could ever be turned by avarice. An acceptance, once given, could not be gainsaid. A contract made in ignorance could bind a soul forever more.

After this night, the world would fall to darkness inescapable.

The Rider took up his reins, blood-red robes lashing in the banshee wind. "On, Dasher. On, Dancer..."

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This one was written for a challenge relating to the rumoured Dark is Rising movie.

 

 

The critics' verdict

 

The Dark is Rising (PG) concerns a young American wizard's attempts to save the world from magical terrorists by collecting mystic symbols. (Tie-in trading cards are on sale, with the slogan, "Gotta collect them all.")

 

While the acting is tolerable (Nicole Kidman as Merry is particularly good), the animation is poor. Herne (voiced by Julia Roberts) is a pale imitation of Bambi, and Cafall (Eddie Murphy) is the most annoying talking animal yet seen on screen.

 

This movie is a shameless rip-off of Harry Potter, even down to having the hero discover his magical powers at eleven. Warner Brothers should sue.

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This one was written for a challenge for drabbles set one year after the end of "Silver on the Tree."

 

 

Two paths

 

Will drifts home one day to find that a year has passed.

 

He's unsure where the time has gone. Christmas passed without carols at the Manor, and there were no garlands at the Dawsons' for May. Stephen is away, and the teachers drone of things he already knows.

 

He is alone. Everyone has forgotten.

 

The garden path shines with sunlight. But the path I walk  is barren and grey, and ends in desolation.

 

A bird sings.

 

But…I… can… change… it.

 

"Mum!" he calls. "Can I ask a friend to stay in the holidays?"

 

"Of course."

 

The path forks, and he will take the path of gold.  

 

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The following are four drabbles concerning Bran's childhood. Four of them are AU, and one is "real." I was musing about how differently Bran's life could have gone, had certain people made different choices.

 

Lost prince

 

"Bran the Bastard," the bad men shouted. "Child of a dead bitch, and prince only of lust and lies."

 

He did not understand. His followers hurried him away, and hid him in huts, beneath itchy cloaks. "We are still loyal," they said. "We will avenge your father's murder and help you regain the throne."

 

The first time they presented him with an enemy's head, he cried. They frowned and turned away, and soon were laughing with each other over mead.

 

They called him "sire." That had to mean the same as "bastard," for they, too, left him alone in the dark.

 

 

Beloved son

 

"… and he told me about King Arthur," Bran gabbled. "He was a great king, but Guinevere disappeared, and he looked for her all over, even in fairyland, and bad men took over the country, but he's still there, looking for her, and there's a boy staying with Mr Evans, and can I…?"

 

"No!" His mother grabbed him. "Don't go out without me again, Bran. I will not lose you. I gave up…"

 

Bran struggled. "I just want…"

 

"No," she cried. "I love you more than anything in the world, Bran."

 

He squirmed in her embrace, but could not break free.

 

 

New boy

 

The first lesson Bran learnt at school was that he was different. 

 

He had always thought that mothers were things found only in stories, like wizards, but the other children said that everybody had one, stupid, and he was weird because he did not.

 

He looked weird, too. A pretty girl screamed when she saw him, and the boys laughed at him. "Such a pity," the teachers said, but the big boys pinched and kicked.

 

 "It doesn't matter what they think," his Da said. "Stop crying, boy. We don't need other people."

 

And grown-ups always told the truth and were always right.

 

 

Chosen heir

 

His crown chafed. He saw boys in the distance, but was not allowed to play with them.

 

"People… whisper," his father explained. "I have to demonstrate my faith in you. They have to see you as prince, so that one day they will see you as king."

 

"Don't want to be king."

 

Arthur smiled sadly. "Life is harsh for those chosen by the Light, but the Dark is harsher. At least you are loved. Many do not have that."

 

Bran thought he could do without love, if he could run through the grass, a dog at his heels, and free.

 

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This one was written for a challenge concerning Will's early childhood.

 

 

Strangers

 

"And how's Will today?"

 

Will scurried to hide behind Paul.

 

"He's a bit overwhelmed," Paul explained. "He started school today."

 

"Don't talk to strangers," Will hissed urgently. "Teacher said."

 

"Mr Dawson isn't a stranger," James jeered. "Strangers are people who look strange. Everyone knows that."

 

"No, James, Will is right." Farmer Dawson went on one knee until Will peeped out, old friendship outweighing new fear. "It is wise to be cautious, Will. Not of me, but of some."

 

He kept them there until the rider on the black horse had passed, then sent them on their way with shiny apples.

 

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This is a rather silly one, for a challenge about the Book of Gramarye

 

 

First draft

 

"…and then," he read, "came the Rider. Isn't he scary? I wonder what noise he makes."

 

Frowning, Merriman turned the page. "…and flying," he read. "Ooh, that sounds fun! Can you flap your arms like a bird?"

 

His frown deepened. He turned to the end. "…you must fight the Dark, but don't forget to wash your face first, or the Dark will triumph, and we don't want that to happen, do we?"

 

Merriman turned to the Writer. "Um…"

 

"You said it was for a child," the Writer protested.

 

Sighing, Merriman rolled up his sleeves. "I think we'd better start this one again." 

 

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And another silly one, for the "Merriman takes a holiday" challenge

 

 

Out of Office reply

 

Merriman Lyon is out of the office out of Time.

 

Dark minions should direct all threats, cackles and dastardly revelations to Will Stanton.

 

Friends of the Light should direct all reports of the incipient end of the world to Will Stanton.

 

Wild Magic creatures should direct all rules disputes to Will Stanton, who will be taking over as chair of the Wild Magic Strategic Planning Group.

 

If you're Will, stop emailing me, and stand on your own two feet.

 

If you're the plumber, I gave up waiting. Will Stanton will settle my bill.

 

If you're Nimue, IM me at hotsexywizard69.