Motivation Monday - Starts with a prompt and builds from there.
This one allows up to 500 words making it the longest word count challange in the Week in Flash! Should be fun!
An ancient legend tells of a sword and stone, but this was something different, and there was little time.
Ursula leaned cautiously out of the cell door and looked from side to side. There were no guards in the dungeons of Fallhorn Keep. There really was no need. The few prisoners here were old and feeble, and the cell doors were solid and strong.
Cradling the stone in a fold of her robe, she moved briskly to the dungeon steps and up. Again she made sure no one was in sight as she exited the stairwell and made her way down the corridor.
The evening before, the King had decreed that the Fallhorn Keep would surely fall on the morn. The siege had simply gone on far too long and regretfully, unknown traitors from within had made defense futile.
Later the same evening, once the Keep was silent and sleeping, her Master had come to her with a strange tale.
Long ago there had been a prisoner held in Fallhorn Keep because he had a magic stone of great power. The prisoner had hidden the stone and never revealed its hiding place even under torture. Eventually he had died and all thought that the stone was lost forever.
But then, several nights later, something strange had happened. The prisoner had appeared to her Master in a dream. The prisoner revealed that he had loosened a brick in one of the walls of his cell and hidden the stone behind it. At first her master ignored the dream as it couldn’t possibly be true. But then the next night, the prisoner had returned in her Master’s dream and had told him again of the stone’s hiding place imploring him to keep it a secret.
Questioning his own soundness of mind, the Master had made his way to the dungeon and to the cell where the prisoner had been held. Once there, he had found a loose brick just as described in his dream. And sure enough, behind the loose brick, he had found the stone of power. He had left the stone there since it had been hidden for so many years already, knowing that no one else would look for it there.
After telling her this tale, Ursula’s master had instructed her to find the stone and told her what she must do.
She now made her way in darkness to the Hall of the Dead. As she entered the Hall her skin prickled.
Along the walls stood stone warriors in ancient armor, each holding a sword. At the far end there was one statue, taller than the others, facing the doorway to the Hall. His right hand held a sword, point down, and his left hand was held out, palm up.
Ursula stepped up to the statue and placed the stone in its left hand.
Ursula felt the air change. It throbbed with power. There was a deep humming sound. Suddenly, the statues moved. Simultaneously they all knelt. And then the statue in front of her spoke.
“We are yours to command.”
11-28-2011 Prompt: They'd come a long way, but their goal was finally in sight.
They’d come a long way, but their goal was finally in sight. Radkin Fallborn stood atop the mountain ridge, his cloak flapping in the wind, and shielded his eyes as he looked toward the setting sun. It was almost too late. Down below a figure on horseback could be seen racing across the plains, its robes flying out behind as it sped towards the approaching night.
If the dark mage could survive long enough to see the night, his powers would peak and this band of warriors would be helpless to stop him or her from escaping.
“Archers,” Radkin called.
Two dozen men and women stepped up to the ridge behind their commander, bows being bent and strung as they did so.
“Raven,” the commander said.
A young, thin girl stepped forward. Although her frame was light, she was tall. Her hair was so black it shimmered in the diminishing sunlight turning the red-gold to blue. Her high cheekbones and stern countenance could seem haughty were it not for the fullness of her lips and the ease with which they often smiled.
“My lord,” she said as she stepped beside him.
“The sun is setting behind the far mountains,” he said, pointing towards the mountain ridge on the far side. The blood red disc of the sun was just beginning to dip behind the very tallest peaks.
“Below,” he continued, “where the sun’s light is cut off by the mountain range, the day is dying.”
Raven looked to where Radkin pointed. Where the shadows cast by the distant mountain range touched the plains, night was falling. From their vantage point, the line of darkness could be seen advancing across the plain towards them as the sun sank lower.
“There,” Radkin said, indicating a point just before the line of darkness, “rides the dark mage.”
Raven’s intestines tightened as she saw the distance: over three hundred yards already.
“Arrows!” she called.
Her hands and arms moved reflexively drawing an arrow from the quiver on her back, the other archers followed suit. In one swift motion two dozen bows were raised skyward, their arches swaying in unison from center to left mimicking the angle and lean of Raven’s bow.
Below the dust trail was driven horizontal by the wind as rider and darkness raced towards collision.
Radkin grunted and for an instant Raven cast her eyes in his direction.
With a flick of his dagger a lock of Radkin’s hair fell, leaving an inch long bang.
It was both a challenge and a sign of confidence.
Should the archers miss, all of them would have to shave their heads to the length of the remaining bang. Radkin included.
Eyes front, her shaft flew. Instantaneously two dozen shafts followed, rising, blurring into the air, moving as would a murmuration of swallows. Wind gusts, left, right.
“One day,” Raven said as she turned away from the plains below, “I’m going to miss just to see your head shaved.”
Radkin snorted, barking a laugh.
In the distance the dark mage and its horse crumpled to the ground.