Monday, May 20, 2013

Prompt: Book, fire, horse, redhead, summer (use at least 3 of these)

Leah jumped down from Bramble’s bare back and unclipped the reins from his halter. He would happily graze on the summer sweetgrass in the meadow until she was ready to return to the Hold.  She hugged his neck and patted his flank to let him know he was free to roam.

The thick rope reigns served double duty as her support for climbing the massive oak. She tossed one end around and picked it up on the other side, then held the knotted ends to brace herself walking up the trunk. She could climb faster than any boy in the Hold, no matter that her mother sniffed disapproval and her father shook his head in despair. What did she care for suitors? She didn’t need a man to rule the Hold after her father. He was going to live forever anyway.

Reaching her favorite broad branch, Leah draped the rope across it and stretched her legs along it, leaning back against the tree. Movement caught her eye above, and she looked up to see squirrels chasing madly through the branches. She smiled at their antics and looked around for any other visitors in the tree. Sometimes there were crows, and she would drag her fingers through her thick red hair to offer them strands for their nest. Once there had been a hawk. They had observed each other silently for long minutes before it opened its mouth in a scree that she could feel against her eardums, although she could not hear the sound. It lowered its head in goodbye and stretched out its wings, launching into the air in a graceful glide across the meadow. How Leah wished she could follow.

No one but the squirrels today, and they paid her no mind. Leah settled back and closed her eyes as she held out her hand, palm up, concentrating on the book she had left carefully placed on her study desk. She visualized the size, the color of the binding, the yellowing vellum, and the weight. She felt the weight in her hand and opened her eyes. Grinning, she hugged the book to her chest, then opened to her stopping point. She had done it! Lugen would be proud. Her father might even give her a nod of approval.

Leah lost all sense of time when reading. The sun dropped low over the far trees across the meadow, and she never once lifted her head. Something filtered through her awareness, though, and she finally looked up. The squirrels were gone. She looked around. Something wasn’t right. What? She took a deep breath and coughed. Smoke? Fire! Where? She couldn’t see it, but the bitter smoke stung the back of her throat.

She looked across the meadow for Bramble and didn’t see him anywhere. Stuffing the book in her pouch, she grabbed the rope and slid down the tree faster than ever, burning her hands on the way. Still no sign of Bramble, but surely he was not far away. She stuck her fingers in her mouth and gave a piercing whistle as she started running towards the Hold.

(TBC perhaps)

Dogs in house:

Time writing:
~30 minutes

May word count:


  1. Prompt: Book, fire, horse, redhead, summer (use at least 3 of these)

    It was the redhead who brought me my horse this time. I smiled at him, but the boy ducked his head and passed across the reins without a word. I pulled at my gloves--a nervous habit--then mounted.

    The Horsemaster nodded, though he was scowling. "Have a good ride, Highness."

    "I will," I said, fighting to sound polite and not desperate, and kneed my mount out the wide barn doors. Out in the summer sun, I breathed a sigh of relief. But it wasn't until the barn and the palace vanished behind the swell of the hill that I was finally able to relax. This Prince business was far more difficult than I had expected.

    "Not a walk in the park, huh?"

    I started at the ghostly figure pacing me. "You promised--"

    "I promised you a life you couldn't imagine," the fantasm said. "Did you imagine this?"

    "That's not what that means. And why does everyone hate this Prince so?"

    "It means whatever I say it does. I said it."

    I was too tired to argue, or to pursue my missing answer. I only had five more days left before the real Prince returned, and I still had not found whatever secret my insubstantial employer was sure was hidden somewhere in the palace. I should have bargained for far more than the pittance he was paying me plus the experience of living as a Prince for three weeks.

    Time writing: ~15minutes

    1. Very nice beginning! I confess, I thought it was a female character at first - pulling at the gloves somehow led me there. Good "genie" style bargain! This is one I'd like to see continue! :)

  2. Great description, and I really got a sense of her personality. Nice "everyday" magic with the book. I'm not entirely sure if her father living forever is flippant or if he's actually immortal, though (pitfalls of the speculative form...).

    1. LOL Peril indeed. I meant it in the can't-imagine-his-dying sense, but I suppose it could work either way, certainly at this point. Thanks! :)