Hello! I am still alive, still kicking. Just… going through some career reassessment at the moment, and getting back into Tabletop RPGs. It takes up a lot of my time.
But hey, I wrote a silly fantasy snippet from a writing prompt, and I’m in the habit of sharing those, so here you go!
Len tapped his foot on the cold stone floor, fidgeting with his pristine green robes. Two hours. It had been two hours, but still the pale yellow light shone on the circle in front of him. It shouldn’t have taken this long. Perhaps if he’d hired someone better, they could proceed.
A long exhale sounded from within the circle, and Len started. His aching knees nearly gave as he stepped into the circle, the light receding before him. It revealed a young elf, hardly eleven years of age, sitting cross-legged. The boy was trembling, catching his breath after the ritual.
“Kennan, did the divination work?” Len asked.
The elven boy nodded, unable to speak yet. His body was readjusting to the real word, but Len had not the time.
“Finally, I found someone pure enough,” he muttered. “Pure enough to seek the knowledge from above.”
“It’s- it’s so vast,” Kennan breathed.
“Yes, well, what did it say?” Len snapped. He knelt next to Kennan. “What did you learn?”
“It’s so huge!” Kennan said, eyes staring at nothing. “And- -made of cheese.”
Len lightly slapped the boy’s face, then growled, “I know that! Everyone knows that! But why? And how has it not spoiled?”
Kennan looked up, brushing his own cheek with a look of bewilderment on his face. “She said something about there being… no air, and that meant it couldn’t spoil.”
“Nonsense,” Len spat. His fidgeting legs ached, and he relieved them by pacing back and forth. “Any fool can see that there’s no wax covering the surface. It’s clearly some kind of spell, and no mortal could cast a spell to displace that much air. What, is she… you said ‘she.’ The moon is a she. Is she a god?”
Kennan swallowed and shook his head. “If she was, she would know why she was… was created.”
Len clutched his hair. “By the light of the stars, tell me you didn’t just say that.”
Kennan didn’t reply. He only watched as the mad wizard’s pacing grew more and more erratic, until Len launched a fireball at his desk. The pinprick of light that he’d thrown erupted violently, splintering the timbers of the desk and incinerating wood and scrolls alike. And well it should. They were all worthless, the product of research that had led him here, to this dead end.
“Folly, curses from the nine hells!” Len cried. “What am I supposed to do now? The Cult of the Pale Moon ascends from underground, as my vision told me. What am I supposed to tell the king about the source of their power, if I do not know where the great ball of cheese came from? What is it that drives these people, what gives them their strength? So long as the moon stands a mystery, we shall fall!”
Len whirled on Kennan. “Did she say anything else, boy? Anything at all?”
Kennan flinched, stumbling back on the etched chalk circle. “No, no,” he said. “But they know, don’t they? The underground cult thing?”
Len’s eyes narrowed, burning with intensity. Again, he’d lost his decorum. And for good reason, but to disastrous results. Months of work destroyed, a secret released to a child. “Forget you ever heard that, boy. Do you have something to say, or not?”
“If the thing I didn’t hear about knows, then you could learn from them?” Kennan spat out.
“And am I just going to ask?!” Len thundered. The sky out his tower window flashed with lightning to match. “I, the greatest arch-wizard in the kingdom, just walk up to them and ask what the source of their power is? Rubbish, child.”
“You could… could infiltrate it and spy? Pretend to join?”
Len’s eyes narrowed. “I am no spy.”
The elven boy was frozen on the floor. He had nothing else to offer, it seemed. Len curled his lip and turned away.
“But then,” he mused. “Nobody else under the king’s command would understand. That may be the only way.”
“So you’ll do it?” Kennan asked.
“Begone,” Len snapped, pulling a small bag of coins out of his robe and tossing it to the young elf. “You were pure enough to enact the moon ritual, and for that I have paid you. For nothing more. Keep this matter to yourself unless you fancy a home in the king’s dungeons.”
Kennan swallowed and pocketed the bag, then sprinted for the stairs to the tower.
“Cults,” Len spat. “I hate them. Why can’t everyone treat knowledge for what it is, and stop worshiping every great ball of cheese they find in the world.”
Shedding his robes, the wizard pulled on a simple tunic and breeches, then donned a moon amulet. He mused all the while as he packed a shoulder bag with spell focii and rations.
“Of all the elder gods and fiends beneath, they choose the moon. The moon of all things. Mystery incarnate. There must be a way to counter those that draw power from it. There must. I just need a source, just a little more knowledge.”
As he left the tower a few minutes later, he looked up at the round yellow-white ball in the midnight sky. It was ever-present, not hidden at all, but unreachable. Why would cheese be up there? What sort of magic kept it aloft? Even the moon herself did not know.
“Nonsense,” he muttered, hefting his shoulder bag. And then the wizard left the tower the king had given him and drifted off into the treacherous night.
See you around!