A Game of Charms

This week’s flash fiction is actually not a Chuck Wendig challenge (say what?!). It’s just a fantasy story thought up by myself. So without more introduction, here’s my story (it is 1000 words, like most of Chuck’s Challenges).

The market stall exploded in a shower of wooden shards. Tattered pieces of silk rained fluttered gracefully to the muddy ground like rainbow coloured birds.

The smell of charred wood and fabric filled the air. A woman bent down to pick up errant vegetables that had fallen off the counter-top of the neighbouring stall in the explosion. “They should have rules for this sort of thing,” she muttered under her breath as she picked up an apple and squash.

A shadow cut off the light above her.“What was that you said, madam?” an icy cold tone washed through her and she tried not to shudder as she stood up, clutching the vegetables to her chest as if they could protect her. She took a step back,  trying to distance herself from the harsh gaze of the magician. It didn’t do well to cross a conjurer. They had power – as was evident by the state of the market stall next to hers which was now just splinters and rags.

She  willed herself to look in his eyes that were such a light blue as to be almost white. She tried to smile, but it died on her lips under his stare. “I-, I’m sorry?”

“You said something just a moment ago. About myself and my,” he paused and cast a disdainful look over his shoulder, “colleague.” The woman took the opportunity to tear away from his eyes and toward what he had been looking at. A figure dressed entirely in black moved away from them, towards the town. He wore a long black overcoat the flared out behind him like a cape. And it was then she realized she was dealing with the nice one and secretly thanked her stars. When she looked back at him, she saw he was staring at her intently.

“Oh, well, I wasn’t really thinking, to be fair. I was just…taken aback.” She dropped her eyes and looked at the hem of her dress that had become muddied when the two magicians were…what were they doing exactly? Besides destroying half the Sunday market that is.

“But didn’t you just say that we should have rules?”

“Yes, well, I’m not really sure what it was the two of you were even doing…”

The man arched a brow. “Besides destroying your town’s little marketplace you mean?” a small smile tugged at his lips and the woman wondered if he had read her mind. She didn’t know much about sorcerers at all, so she supposed it was possible.

“To be a good sorcerer, you have to train. You have to practice. That is what we were doing.  Sometimes there are,” he gestured to a couple of stray fruit still on the ground, “casualties.”

“But,” and then she stopped herself. Was it wise to talk back to a wizard? Probably not.

“But?” This time both eyebrows rose.

“But what is with the whole good versus evil?”

The man tossed his head back and laughed loudly. The woman glanced at the few people brave enough to pick their way through the remains of the market place, who looked away as she met their eyes. “You obviously don’t know anything about wizards, now do you?” he smiled, and this time the woman didn’t feel threatened.

“It is because I am good and my counterpart is evil. It is simple as that, no more, no less. If there is no darkness in the world, then there is no light. We have just as much right to exist as the other. And I think that in the end, I will triumph.”

The woman just barely stifled a laugh in reply, and sighed.  That old nonsense, she thought. “Do you not think that is naïve? That you, that good will win over evil?”

This time the man took a step back from her and regarded her warily. “I am confident in my abilities.

The woman brushed a stray strand of hair of her forehead and tucked it behind her left ear. She smiled widely. “Are you sure about that?” She dropped her protective shield of a couple apples and a green striped squash back to the upset earth and raised her left hand up and stretching her arm out almost straight in front of her. Her right hand she held close to her chest.

“Let’s test your theory.”

The good wizard jumped backward and flung his hands out in front of him, crouching down slightly and holding his arms up.

A brilliant blue ball of light materialized in front of the woman’s outstretched hand. It sizzled with a blinding white around the outside. With the smallest flick of her wrist, the ball flew towards her opponent. It caught him on the left shoulder and spun him around, sending shoulder length blond hair flying upwards. He stumbled and fell to one knee, but pushed himself up and away before a second ball of energy came straight for where he had just been.

She could see the sweat break out on his forehead, even from where she stood, and saw the energy forming weakly between his hands. His was entirely white, unlike her sapphire blue. And she knew the dark clothed ‘colleague’ of his, his magic would be entirely void of colour, like a black hole of swirling magic.

“So what would your friend say about me, then?” she said with a small laugh as her next burst of energy made him lose what he had been building, and she saw the white ball wink out like a snuffed flame.

He raised his pale eyes to her grey ones. “I thought you were a myth!” he cried, trying to summon another energy ball. She could see his hands were shaking.

She laughed again. “You thought grey sorcerers were myths?”

He nodded. “A wizard who could change from light to dark at will…I don’t know how that’s possible.”

She smiled. “You said the dark man was your colleague. But ou obviously don’t know him all that well. If you did,  he would have surely told you about me.”

The man looked confused. “Why?”

“Because I’m his sister,” she said, and threw one final orb at him.

“And today I’ve decided to follow in his footsteps for a change.”

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