December 2005 - January 2006
The more recent drabbles are at the top
Here are five drabbles set in the same AU. This AU is very soon going to be expanded into a long story. At time of writing this (May 2006) I'm about 90 percent done with it.
"Do you remember," Simon asked, "what it was like… before?"
Barney chewed his dry bread. Sunlight. Colour. Smiles.
"Of course, you were just a child. I envy that, sometimes. It's worse, remembering."
Barney smiled. "But you're wrong, Simon."
Sunlight dancing on water. Children laughing. A leaf in autumn. A brush moving on canvas, and mother's smile.
"Memories are like paintings," he said. "They make the world seem less bleak."
"Or make the darkness seem darker." Simon curled his chained fist. "Things won't change. Better not to hope."
But the overseer returned, and there was no more talking that day.
He was chained at last.
The lords of Darkness lurked behind every throne. The four who stepped from behind the curtain were a power not even he could resist.
The least of them turned to the brown-haired general who thought he ruled the land. "Oh, well done, sir. This will shatter them forever. Their last sorcerer." His grabbed Merriman's chin. "The last of your kind, Old One. Think on that, in your eternity of despair."
Laughing, they blasted him out of time, but they never touched his secret, locked in his heart. It, too, was chained.
Not the last. One remains.
In the mirror
Once, he had been unloved. Once, he had been powerless.
Then the foul sorcerers had come, to make him their slave. They wanted the world to stay as it always had been, but why on earth would he want that? That world was teasing and loneliness, and so he had raised his sword, turned on those false friends…
And the world had fallen into place around him.
Those who had once teased him now fawned on him, or trembled. "It's better this way," he said.
The face in the mirror looked back at him, and did not know how to smile.
Far below her golden balcony, a man was on the run, shot at by Pendragon's men.
Jane turned away, and the same man appeared before her, dirty and bloodied. Jane clapped her jewelled hand to her mouth. "How did you…?"
Sorcery. It had to be. But weren't the sorcerers dead? A sorcerer from the Resistance. But her brothers had already… It would break her mother's heart if she… That's why she had married…
"Please…" Leave me, she meant to say, but, "Please save me…" The words wrenched out of her throat.
He nodded once. "But another first." And then he was gone.
The most feared man alive stood alone on a threshold.
Will readied himself in the shadows. For years, Merriman had forbidden Will from doing this, but Merriman was gone. Will was leader of the Resistance now, the only Old One left in the world…
And very possibly a monumental fool.
Fifteen years ago, the Dark had come rising, and the Dark had won. Cruelty and terror had claimed the world, but Will had never given up hope, and never would, until… Unless…
Taking a deep breath, he stepped forward. "Hello, Bran."
Bran raised his hand. "Will Stanton," he said, and he smiled.
This one was written for a challenge about someone taking care of someone who is sick
"You'd think an immortal would be immune to
Will concentrated on breathing. It was no longer just a cold, of course. He had done too much, too soon. If Bran hadn't come after him...
"Stupid," Bran was complaining. "Can move mountains, but can't even cure a cold."
"You wouldn't believe... what it does to a spell... coughing at a crucial point. Turn you into a frog, or something."
Will's attempted smile must have looked ghastly. Bran's own smile faded. "Let's get you home, Will."
But I am home, Will thought, as Bran raised him up. He did not say it, though.
This was written for a challenge about Forgiveness. It has now been expanded into a longer story.
"You were never going to tell me."
There was a stillness at the heart of fury, more terrible than screaming.
"Our life. Everything. You're a... thing. And I'm..." Bran shoved Will onto the stony ground. "I will never forgive you."
It was true. Will closed his eyes, crafted a lie, and spoke a word.
Bran turned round. He had been walking away, before.
"Forgive me," Will whispered.
Bran chuckled. "Bit dramatic, aren't we? Anyone can fall."
Will could not take the proffered hand. Darkness was in him now, like worms in a pure white shroud.
Anyone can fall, but some must not.
A midwinter challenge, about Will's birthday…
The darkest day
Mankind once burned fires at midwinter, and huddled in
fellowship against the terrors of the darkest day.
Now it was the Old Ones who gathered round a flame, as tremulous as those they once protected. Nothing moved but a pair of hands, carving a shape in wood. Nothing sounded, until the oldest of them spoke.
"He is born."
There were no smiles, not for this one. This was the last of them, their end. The time of darkness was almost here.
As the lords of light huddled against the darkness, men scurried in fearless isolation, and thought they ruled the world.
Note: This came out of some thinking I've been doing lately about midwinter. Of course, in 101 words I can barely scratch the surface of the things I wanted to convey, but my musings are here, if anyone wants context.
Rather silly, this one, about comfort food…
Ice-cream. Soft and white, sweet and light, with white
chocolate chips that crunched joyously, like an enemy's bones. Sweetness that
flowed like marrow. Vanilla lightness that melted to nothing, and was devoured
The Rider smiled. The goody-goody forces of Light had once again thwarted his entirely justified Rising, and his day been terrible beyond imagining, but no defeat was too terrible to be eased by ice-cream.
"Hah! Think I can't devour the Light, do you?" He waved the empty pot at an imaginary enemy.
Ice-cream. Soft and white, sweet and Light, and now entirely consumed by one of the Dark.