Angel at the Carnival

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Digital drawing. Two figures at center. Left, a toddler boy wearing overalls with a patch at the chest bearing an image of the hand-horns sign. The boy’s right hand is outstretched and is conjuring a cloud of cotton candy. His other arm is bent at his side. Right, an animal that appears to be half-dog and half-fish. The dog-like body is sitting up. The fish-like head is turned to the side with mouth open, displaying piranha teeth and a pointy outstretched tongue. The creature’s eyes are red. It has a long tail bearing fins, ending in a caudal fin. The creature wears a studded collar with a tag that reads “Angel.” Behind them is the hazy shape of a Ferris wheel with glowing lights.

“I know what it looks like to most, but he’s actually quite friendly.”

The woman named Irina laughed and tipped her head toward the toddler picking dehydrated marshmallows out of his cereal.  “I could say the same for him.”

She glanced down at Angel, who lowered his head and kept his mouth closed, trying to appear as harmless as was possible for him.  Angel was born of a dog, but he was…different. 

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One Wicked Warlock

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Digital drawing. At center, the shadows of two figures cast against a stone wall. The figure at left is reeling backwards, arms outstretched, left leg raised and bent, chest pierced with a long spiraling horn, neck entwined with a segmented whip-like tail ending in a stinger. The figure at right stands upright, face in profile, right arm outstretched, holding a vial out above the first figure’s face. The vial is filled with a glowing substance. A green glow appears at bottom right. The left and right frames of the image depict the faint outlines of brickwork.

There is a tall tower to the north.  It is made of stone that looks a common gray from afar.  But I have been close enough to see the stone shift hues, to glitter with the gilded veins of an otherworldly ore, to fade into a pale so utmost as to be nigh invisible.

A warlock once lived there, it is said.  Now the tower is abandoned.

But that does not mean is it safe.

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The Solar Pepper

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They say he did it because he asked to sit by an innkeeper’s fire one night and was denied with a lie.  The innkeeper said that there was “not enough fire” to warm the man who was dressed in rags and filth.  He appeared to be a beggar, but he was not a beggar.  He was a warlock.  And he was none too pleased by the innkeeper’s response.  It was no surprise that he should cast a curse.  What was surprising was that he did not just cast the curse on the innkeeper himself, but on the innkeeper’s entire country. Continue reading

Dragons of Verandering

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sf_wk6There are flames in the distance. There is a dragon in the distance. We must ride out to meet him.

It is said that the first dragon was born of hatred. And all of the things that follow hatred. Envy and greed. Bloodlust.

It is said that the first dragon was born from a person, right here in this very village. It is said that the first dragon was born of a curse. A curse that was meant to save, for some curses can save. Continue reading

The Protean Scroll

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Quill 146 Protean Scroll Image 1 FinalMarcus watched as the thief pulled a cylinder from her pack that was the size of her forearm.  He wondered if that was it.  She uncapped the cylinder and pulled out a roll of parchment.  Marcus held his breath.  But when the thief, Lily, glanced up at him and saw his expression, she smirked.

“This isn’t it,” she said.  Then she sighed.  Her hand flicked to her collar and suddenly there was something in her hand.  It was only the size of her longest finger.  A fine bit of parchment, it seemed.  Nothing special.  But that was it.  She was the one, the Only Honorable Thief.  And that bit of parchment was it.

The Protean Scroll.

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The Nowhere Coat

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Quill 143 The Nowhere Coat Image 1 Final“What’s special about this one?”  Tim asked his employer.  The seller had spun a story about it having belonged to a musketeer.  Tim didn’t know and didn’t need to know whether that was true or not to do his job.

Tim’s employer set his cane down on the table and carefully folded open the paper packaging.  He gazed down at the long coat.  He was wearing gloves as usual despite the mild, if overcast, weather.  He slipped the glove off his right hand and reached out to touch the coat’s dusty faded lapel.   Continue reading

The Merchant and the Magician

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Enchanted CandleIn those days, there was a magician who could cast a spell on a candle and link that candle to the life of a single person.  So long as the candle burned, there was hope.

Those families who had the means engaged the magician to cast this spell when husbands and sons went off to battle.  So long as the candle burned, their loved one was still alive.  The highest winds would not snuff out the flame.  But even on a quiet night, if the soldier died, so too would the flame on the candle die.  Those families would know of their loss long before word came to them from the battlefield. Continue reading

The True Tale of Jack Sprat

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Jack SpratHad they listened to their father, the children would have been safe in their beds on that blustery night.  But as it was, they were shivering before a pitiful fire no bigger than a candle flame and just as delicate, while a pack of goblins stood by the cave mouth arguing over what to do with their prize of three healthy children. Continue reading