I did not think I would be writing another short story so soon. I have suddenly got the feel for it and enjoying the quick bursts of joy that come from completing a work in such a short time scale.
The following story is of a Fantasy genre. One that I love to read but not great at expressing in words. However, once the idea stuck I knew I wanted to try it. This is more of a test, dipping my feet in the shallow waters of the genre I like but not ready to see if I sink or swim. Time will tell…
I hope you enjoy the short story and as always, feedback is most welcome.
His magic was dying, and so was he.
It wouldn’t be too long until the sun settled in the east, the auburn sky took over and the last day of Sten Desi had passed. He ran a thin frail hand through his long greying beard as he looked down on the Forest of Whispers. There was a time, many moons before, where he had spent the evenings trekking through the woodlands, darting between fir trees, stepping over broken branches, skipping past traps left by hunters and finishing off at the River of Whispers. That was the part he cherished the most, but in his weak state, would fail to reach.
It was the location where he laid his wife Bloss to rest in a midst of flames, with the water and trees a perfect background. Sten could remember it clearly; the flames reflecting off the water, the trees standing tall as if guarding the proceedings, the heat of the fire against his face and the rose petal decorated white robe he wore for the ceremony. It was the outfit she requested he wore on special occasions and that night it suited.
Sten stroked the red scar that stretched from his right eye to the corner of his lips. It had long since healed but was still tender to touch. The emotional scars and wounds remained from that tragic day with Zeri, the wolf’s eye. Sten cursed himself for thinking of such an evil and refused to let his last thoughts be of that monster.
His mind moved on to the children and young adults who frequented the river in the evening. They would play at the river, sing, tell stories of the magic that once ruled and participate in salacious activities when the dark took hold. The days had long gone since he treated them to a firework show, performing acts that tested their imagination and his prowess. He would always have a new act to show off, but would send them away happy with the Freedom of Light, a blistering shower of red and blue sparks. Entertaining strangers was the only way to take his mind off the past that haunted him.
Sten flexed his fingers and felt them tingle. His life would soon pass, his magic departing him each moment he spent on top of the hill. He thought of the dark days spent as the King’s right hand man, defending the kingdom, his battles with Zeri, and the beast itself, Deno. The days of light and hope shined through the darkness; from the moment he met Bloss, her stubbornness on their wedding day that led to more trouble than it was worth to the poignant days of her passing. His reverie continued as his mind drifted to the moment he was outcast by the man he had served his entire life. Sten gritted his teeth. Everything happened for a reason, he knew that. Sten held back the tears. He would be strong, for Bloss.
He felt his left leg throb with a numb pain. The pain amplified in each scar, in each wound. Sten had been told it would, by a man long departed from the world.
All for it to end now, Sten mused, as he looked at the dimming sun which allowed the auburn sky to peek through.
Sten pushed on the hilt of his sword to lift himself up from the crumbling log he used as his seat. The sword had served him well but was now more of a prop, a walking aid, than a weapon. His left leg almost failed him as a pain shot through from his foot to his hip. His vision dimmed and Sten took it as a sign to take in the beautiful landscape one last time.
The top of the trees wavered a little within the forest, as if they were swaying to a tune in unison. The forest stretched out for miles, filling the land he could see. Beyond the forest, the golden tip of the Kingdom’s palace was visible which complimented the dim red sky. The spire pointed towards the gods in the sky. Sten chuckled at the thought. The gods…they were no gods, they were not even men.
Sten looked down at his feet. Droplets of water spread over his black scuffed boots. He touched his face at the realisation tears had been flowing. Sten coughed, sighed and let out as much breath as he could muster. Time was almost up. As he stood upon the hill, gazing over the wilderness, a flicker of light shone through the trees. His eyes failing, he pushed from within and felt a sparkle of magic rise from his stomach. Sten’s eyes cleared, gaining a sight that he had not had in years, but making his body weaker.
The light flickered once more. Sten narrowed in on the location. His heart skipped a beat, not from his failing body, but from what he saw. From his vantage point and enhanced sight, the flicker of light was emitting from nearby the River of Whispers. Sten smiled. It was a sign from Bloss, he knew it. Sten closed his eyes and allowed his aural senses to take over. He could hear them. They were dancing, playing on wooden instruments and some were daring a swim in the River. Sten’s smile grew.
Oh Bloss. You are right, Sten said in his mind, thank you.
Sten opened his eyes and his hearing muted. The sign was enough for him to understand what he needed to do. If he was to pass, there was only one way that fitted his exit. He was to give everyone enjoying the night one last spectacular event.
Sten let go of the hilt and closed his eyes. The sword thudded to the ground next to his feet. He took in a deep breath and the aroma of bonfire filled his nostrils. Bloss’s favourite scent.
“I will be with you soon, my dear.”
Sten raised his hands in the direction of the forest, pushed from within and thought of nothing but red and blue sparkles. Sten opened his eyes as he felt the magic depart from his body one final time. Red and blue lights spread from his finger tips in the direction of the forest. His body started to switch off, the flickers of light slowing in motion and swirling in the sky.
His knees buckled, his heart stopped, the magic drained from his soul and the life from his body. His limp form crashed to the floor, a cadaver in the night, as an array of red and white lights swirled, sparkled and exploded, lighting up the night and giving the kingdom one final night of magic.
The children danced, they sung, and watched on in awe, for they would never see such a sight again.