YEAR TWO

Page
Portal Button. Elongated rectangle. Rings of colored light emanate from the center. Inset on the left, an embossed circle with the Storyfeather feather logo, a feather quill shaped like the letter "f" with a drop of ink hovering below its tip. To the right of the image, the words "Objects of Power." At top right, the word "Year." Below "Year," the numeral "2."

NOVEMBER 2014 TO NOVEMBER 2015

Every year’s short stories (mostly) follow a theme. That started in Year Two. A few stories into the year, I realized that they had something in common. And I realized that having a common theme to focus on helped me decide what to write, gave me an additional challenge, and made the brainstorming more fun. A lock of hair, a chair, a raincloud, a spoon. Anything could be an Object of Power.

Welcome to the second year of Storyfeather.


Below are the titles, primary genres, and taglines for each story in the order it was originally posted.

  • READ button opens story post where you can read the story.
  • LISTEN button opens podcast episode page where you can hear the story, narrated by Nila over music (and the occasional sound effect).
  • GO TO THE END button jumps you to the bottom of the page. It’s a long way down, and depending on your device, important navigational links may be below the page or in the sidebar.


When a young woman sells her soul to the Devil to gain extraordinary musical talent, her best friend tries to save her by finding a rare instrument that was made in heaven.


Digital drawing. A sword standing vertically with the hilt at bottom and blade pointing up. The sword is seen in white silhouette, surrounded by a glow. The base of a blade is inscribed with an ornate pattern of curving and looping shapes.

A grieving man seeks vengeance on the gods and forges a weapon that they cannot withstand.


It is a time of feast and a time of famine. What happens when the Cornucopia finds its way to earth?


Digital drawing. A coin standing on its edge with the “heads” side showing. A tiny frog seen in right profile sits in front of and to the left of the penny. The frog’s tongue is directed up at angle and is wrapped around the body of a dragonfly, seen from the top with wings extended.

A young man picks up a penny one day and his luck begins to change…and change, and change.


Digital drawing. Two figures in outline and silhouette on either side of the image which is divided by a straight line down the middle. The stylized featureless figures are facing forward and seen from mid-thigh up.  They appear nearly identical and symmetrical. The figure at left, wearing armor, holds out the right hand, flat palm facing forward. The figure at right, wearing a coat, holds out the left hand, flat palm facing forward. Lines, thin and barely visible, connect the two outstretched hands.

Two royal brothers are linked by enchantment in a way that no other twins are.


Digital drawing. An abacus split into three sections. One main section at bottom has seven rows of small beads all of the same size and shape. The beads of the bottom row appear golden; above that are silvery beads; and above that are coppery beads. The four rows at top have plain rocky beads. The top is split into two uneven sections. The section at right has three rows of dark beads, slightly larger than the beads at bottom. The section at left has two rows of rough stones of different colors and shapes but of equal size.  All the beads are equally spaced.

Dreams are not precise or discrete. They cannot be measured or calculated…can they?


Digital drawing.  Three free-floating keys positioned vertically with their bows (heads) at top. At left is a silver key, the bow is shaped like an open diamond, crossed with four equidistant bars and set with an oval green gem. The bits (bottom) have jagged edges. The middle key is golden, the top shaped like a stylized sunflower petal motif with nine petals, set with an oval black gem, bordered with smaller over petals. The bit has a generic key shape. The key at right is obsidian, the top shaped like asymmetrical bursts of rays in front of a symmetrical burst of rays, set with an oval red gem. The bit is shaped like a solid helix.

If time is eternal, then only those who are eternal can govern time.


Digital drawing. A heraldic shield shape in which is depicted a single storm cloud from the bottom of which drop five glowing bolts of lightning, the middle one extending all the way down the shield.

A magician once discovered a spell to capture a raincloud, and he became the salvation of his land…and its doom.


Digital painting. Free-floating elephant head with tusks facing forward.

A submariner gets lost during a scouting mission and ends up making a discovery that could change, or destroy, the world.


Digital drawing. Four figures sitting on the ground in a circle. Three figures are seen in black silhouette.  The fourth is depicted in outline.  Smiling, she sits in the background facing forward, cross-legged.

A little girl is the namesake of a storytelling knight whose only weapon is a set of magic spoons.


Digital drawing. A badge, a five-pointed star with round caps at the tips, labeled “Sheriff.” It’s surrounded by five insect-like shadows. Behind the badge is a circle with swirling lines and a glowing edge.

A small town awakens to a big problem: they’ve all been exposed to a rare and exotic form of radiation.


Digital drawing. Silhouette of three identical human figures standing and facing forward, two in a line and the middle one slightly behind the others. The figure at right and in the middle are casting shadows that are angled behind and to the upper right.  The figure at left has no shadow.

A medical examiner is in the midst of investigating an inexplicable mass murder when her favorite detective disappears.


Digital drawing. A reddish-orange beetle seen from the top with its legs splayed out. A fiery glow surrounds the beetle.

On a remote island, a researcher finds a strange link between two animals and an even stranger link between myth and reality.


Digital drawing. Stylized silhouettes of four figures seen from the back entering a cave mouth. The figure at far left and far right are in the foreground and seen from shoulders up. The two figures at center stand further in the background and are seen from waist up. The figure at far left holds up a torch in both hands. The figure at center left holds a baton or stick in the right hand. The figure at center right holds a torch in the right hand and points out with the left hand a glowing object before them in the center of the image. The figure at far right stands and watches.

A well-to-do adventurer sets out with his friends to find and acquire an ancient and mythical treasure.


Digital drawing. Composite image. Center left, foreground, a curving vine or stalk with a smaller vine curling around it extends up.  Foreground, center left, a blue bird, seen from top, with small barely visible figure riding its back, flies up along the length of the stalk. Further vines drop down from top of frame. Looming behind the stalk is the hazy brown silhouette of a bear, head at left of image, and body extending down out of frame. Behind the bear at right of image is the gray silhouette of a man seen from waist up facing forward and to the left.

Cob never liked being a giant. What if his wish to grow smaller was granted…and twisted?


Digital painting. The neck and head of a gray wolf facing forward. The head floats just above an empty chair, also facing forward.

A plague of demonic creatures descends upon an isolated town, forcing the townsfolk to protect themselves by unleashing an ancient power.


A privileged girl locks herself away in a tower to escape the expectations of others and discovers her true power.


Digital drawing. A hazy outline of a head facing forward, featureless except for two green eyes. A large bulbous tear drops from the left eye.

Is the doctor with an uncanny healing ability a suspect, witness, or patsy in a crime against her husband?


Digital drawing. Five frogs. At center is a sitting green frog seen from left flank, three-quarters view, facing left. Around the central frog, clockwise from left to right are as follows: a three-colored frog seen from the top with three limbs bent forward and the right hind limb out and to the side; a small sitting red frog, three-quarters view, facing right; a small sitting turquoise frog, three-quarters view, facing left; and a black frog seen from the top with three limbs bent forward and the left hind limb out and to the side. Each frog has a dim “glow” underneath them.

Five mages from the House of Frogs and their unlikely ally battle an ancient evil.


Digital drawing. At left, a thin figure in white silhouette seen from the back and from knees up faces a mirror with a gumdrop shape—oval at top, flat at bottom—and curvy frame. The mirror shows a reflection of the white silhouette.

A young woman who was raised in isolation learns a terrible secret about her identity and her purpose.


Digital painting. A glass bottle, tall and cylindrical with a wide mouth sits on a dark patch. Inside the bottle lies a yellow ball that’s emitting a yellow gas, which rises up and slightly above the mouth of the bottle.

A group of materials science technicians stumble upon a new substance with impressive and bizarre properties.


Digital painting. A rough circle made of various kinds of teeth from different animals sitting next to each. The five teeth at bottom are squatter and appear to be bicuspids. The teeth at the top of the circle are long and straight. Inside the circle is a carnival or fair. A Ferris wheel is visible at center. A tent at left. Balloons and another tent at right.

A people who once had and lost the mightiest teeth in the world make oaths and bargains to restore their former might.


Digital drawing. Black silhouette of a figure facing forward, seen from waist up, standing behind a table. A large book sits before the figure, who has opened the cover with the left hand. The right hand is held with palm braced against the tabletop. A barely visible mist appears to be rising out of and spilling down from the inside of the book.

A novice museum employee, assigned to catalogue a room full of documents, finds an intriguing book of spells and stories.


Digital drawing. A roughly depicted figure seen only from the torso, hands at the side, wearing a belt with a buckle. The buckle is decorated with a labyrinthine pattern with a pebbly border. The figure stands before a crossroads.

While his brothers inherit their father’s wealth, Mesos inherits a belt buckle and a challenge.


Digital drawing. Gray silhouette of a figure in left profile, with knees drawn in up in a “fetal position,” head pointed to the left, bearing a bucket on their back. The figure floats within the body of a sea jelly or jellyfish.

Humanity relies on the gods to heal disease, but the gods are stretched thin.
What does one man do to help his people when the gods cannot answer every prayer?


Digital drawing.  The head of a blue daisy seen from the top and surrounded by rings of glowing color.

Felicia, named for her mother’s favorite flower, learns there is more to every flower than its pretty petals.


A major accident at a premier research institute causes a junior archivist, who loves her job, to question her role as the gatekeeper to knowledge.


Digital drawing. A human figure at bottom right, seen from the back in dark silhouette stands before and faces a large glass tube containing squid-like creature.  The creature faces the human.  A mass of tentacles are entwined below the creature’s head, with one arcing out to the left.

Agent Mars Dietrich has been asked to find proof in myth and legend of a real and inescapable threat to the planet…with help from an atypical partner.


Digital drawing. Composite image. At bottom foreground, two figures on sandy ground. One in white silhouettes stands within a large bubble with one hand held out to the right. One in green silhouette stands outside the bubble, facing the other figure, with one hand bent.  At top, the hazy silhouette of a ship on lurching waves under a sky filled with lightning.

A sailor, tossed overboard during a storm and fated to drown, is rescued by a people who live on the seafloor and make grand plans for him.


A recipient of a remarkable new blood substitute benefits and suffers from the wonders and horrors of the revolutionary treatment.


Digital drawing. A girl seen from the back waist up. Her voluminous dark wavy hair covers her whole back. Her head is turned back so that her eyes and nose are visible, and her crown, silhouetted against her dark hair. Her mouth is hidden behind a thick lock of hair that falls forward over her right shoulder. Her bent right arm is raised to her side. Her sleeves stops at the elbow. Her bare forearm is constructed out of wood with small gears at the wrist.

High Princess Leonora is certain of her path until her fairy godmother casts a spell on her that changes the course of her destiny.


Digital drawing. Three human busts in black silhouette seen in left profile. Noses and chins appear slightly different to distinguish each person. The one at right has a pony tail. The one in the middle wears a high collar. The one at left has short choppy hair.

The youngest and only living heir to the northern kingdom is invincible, but only to physical harm.


Digital drawing. Gray silhouette of a figure facing forward and wearing a long coat, boots, and a hat, with right arm raised to touch the edge of the hat. The gray silhouette of a cat stands beside the human figure. Both are surrounded by a glow, and stand in a dark misty forest of bare-branched trees.

When three children are captured by a pack of greedy goblins, they decide to summon a rescuer who may be even more dangerous than their captors.


Digital drawing. Hazy red silhouette of a werewolf crouched and facing forward, right arm drawn back and clawed hand curled, and left hand, reaching forward, claws gripping the ground.  A chain is draped over the wolf’s left shoulder.

A wolf-like creature is savaging the residents of a quiet township, and no one knows how to catch or kill it.


Digital painting. A bottle with three tiers. The bottom two tiers look like two loaves of bread stacked on each other, the upper loaf slightly smaller. The top looks like the neck of a horse, long and slightly curved. The bottle is capped. Behind it are depicted stylized layers of flames.

An acquirer of valuable goods, young Azzam has just acquired something powerful and dangerous.


Digital drawing. Foreground, a golden egg lies angled to the right on a round pillow, which sits on a pedestal, only the top of which is visible. Behind the egg is the dark silhouette of a figure seen in right profile holding three eggs in front of himself. At right, another dark silhouette, seen in left profile, wearing a high-collared dress, hair in a high bun, one arm drawn back and bent. At far left, a third figure facing forward and to the right, holding out a single egg in his outstretched left hand.

Before leaving home to explore the world, Finden receives an odd inheritance, a pocket that produces fresh eggs.


Digital drawing. A simple cup, its surface swirled with many colors, handle at right.

Professor Taryn Langley studies myths and legends about the magic that can restore one’s youth. What does she discover?


Digital drawing. A bare-branched tree.  The two lowest and also longest branches appear like arms reaching out, one to the upper right, and one to the lower left.  The ends of the branches even suggest the shape of fingers.

What happens when someone rediscovers a seemingly ordinary childhood souvenir?


Digital drawing. A pendant shaped like a flattened donut and made out of tiger’s eye. The donut-shaped stone is hung within a bail, a metal piece through which a chain could be drawn. The bail is shaped like an elongated trapezoid with rounded edges and is inscribed with an ornate design.

The necklace at the center of Agent Mars Dietrich’s newest case carries an ancient curse.


Digital drawing. Composite image. A figure in black silhouette seen in right profile, holding up and looking through a telescope. The figure’s hair is in a bun, goggles are set on her forehead, and a scarf streams back behind her from her neck. Behind the figure is a hazy outline of an enlarged telescope angled so that the eyepiece is facing right. A repeating lattice pattern is seen on the surface of the lens.

A dreamer and adventurer, born in the midst of war and change, finds her greatest treasure.


Digital drawing. A bright sphere with dim spots within, glowing with a diffuse light that surrounds the sphere, and diffuse spokes and points of light that emanate outward. Barely visible at the bottom of the frame are the black silhouettes of a figure on each corner, seen from the back and shoulder up.

The crew of the Harbinger travel through a possibly artificial anomaly at the edge of the Helios solar system.


Digital painting. Two stylized figures. A wolf, standing with body in left profile and head turned to face forward. Patches of color suggest eyes, nose, and neck. Behind the wolf stands a human figure in a red cloak with the hood drawn up. The cloak’s bottom blows to the left. The figure’s face is not visible in the hood’s dark shadow.

A red-hooded alchemist and a king among wolves sit by a winter fire after one of their many adventures and speak of the curse, the death, and the enemy that brought them together.


Digital drawing. Two figures in a circular frame. At left, a woman in a long dress and in right profile stands before a cook pot at her feet. Both arms are outstretched, the right holding something that is branching up and the left hovering over the right. The figure at right faces forward, left hand resting on the hip, and right hand offering a pot containing a sapling.

A young woman eats some shallots she cooked in a witch’s pot that she got at a garage sale, and she starts feeling the effects.


Digital drawing. Within a horizontal oval ring, a symbolic depiction of a flame. Above the flame are wavy vapors. Below the flame is a stone. Below the stone are three drops of water. On either side of these elements is a hand palm directed to center, fingers loosely held.

To attain a prestigious new rank, a worker in the great Company must pass a seemingly simple—one might say elemental—challenge.


Digital drawing. Stylized silhouette in black against a red background of a man in a long coat and a top hat, seen from waist up, facing left. His hands hold flute or pipe in front of his face.

A group of explorers search for the Pied Piper of Hamelin’s pipe, for it may contain the secret to defeating a monstrous enemy.


Digital drawing. Center bottom, dark silhouette of a figure seen from the back and waist up rising up from a bank of clouds, climbing a barely visible ladder. Tree branches or roots hang down from top of frame.

What happens when Charlie Sodona finds and climbs an invisible free-standing ladder that reaches up into the clouds?


Digital drawing. Stylized silhouettes of three figures. At center, a girl sitting on the ground on her knees, facing right. Her left hand is extended to the ground. Her right hand is held to her chest where her heart is visible. Flanking her like mirror reflections of each other are two ogres, large muscular humanoid figures holdings spears that are pointed at her head.

If a fairy with magical powers asked you what service he could render you, what would you ask for?


Digital painting. Stylized. Two ships on the water seen from the port side. A smaller ship in the foreground and a much larger ship seen only as a hazy shadow in the background.

Lost at sea, starving, and thirsty, the Midnight’s crew comes upon a derelict ship and the opportunity to scavenge.


Digital drawing. Center foreground, a half-melted candle with a rainbow-colored flame. Silhouettes of humanoid figures stand around the candle.

So long as the enchanted candle burned, Vesta’s husband was still alive. But the flame died and she mourned.
Then one day, the flame reignited.


Digital drawing. A butterfly seen from the top. Silhouettes are visible in the wings. The one at right holds up one hand, which has a glow around it.

A little girl is terrorized by the monster in her closet, until she makes a special friend.


Digital drawing. A figure at bottom foreground, wearing a large spiky crown, seen from the back and waist up reaches out with her right hand. Before her and to the right, swallowed in shadow is the black silhouette of a chimera, a mythical creature with the body of a lion, a goat’s head rising from the lion’s back, and a serpent for a tail. Stylized black flames burst from the chimera to the figure, parted by the upraised hand.

The gods are fallen, and without their influence, the mortal world is in chaos, until a hero fulfills a prophecy…


Quarantined after a government agency detects something strange in her backyard, a young woman soon finds herself in the middle of a most extraordinary case.


Photograph of a collage. Squares of equal size bearing grayscale ink drawings that represent each of the fifty-two short stories posted during of Year Two of Storyfeather. The squares are arranged in five rows mounted on a black piece of cardstock and then framed. Copyright © 2015 by S.L. Patel

Another year of stories done! I drafted another “thank you” post.