On Day 3 of my challenge, I have now two competitors (Yay!) You can still join in if you like. I’ve actually decided to extend the challenge to three weeks, allowing people that didn’t get to participate the first week a chance to try. I’m not sure I totally satisfied the prompt here, but I had fun with this. A little Jack Vance inspiration (RIP). Enjoy!
If you’re interested in joining the challenge still, you can email me at email@example.com.
Day 3 Prompt: Write a story about a battle without showing any actual violence.
“Was anyone hurt?” Jama said, staring down from the top of the black stone tower.
“No,” Mooth answered.
“A hundred unicorns just whipped through here going 150 miles per hour and no one was hurt?”
Mooth slipped a small piece of cake into his narrow mouth. “Nope.”
“Damn, these Yargolians are luckier than I thought,” Jama said, slurping from a cup of steaming tea.
“Yeah, sorcery isn’t what it once was.”
Silence. A unicorn neighed and galloped away.
“What do mean?” Jama bit his tongue. “Damn, that tea’s hot. I told Zen-Gola to make it lukewarm.”
Mooth rubbed his wrinkled hands together. “Those unicorns should have impaled the entire Yargolian host in one fell swoop. My incantation must have been off.”
“Oh well, it happens.” Jama knew that didn’t happen. He just wanted to make the withered old sorcerer feel better. He looked sad. Nothing was worse than a sad sorcerer. Except maybe a miscast Smafwelder’s Ten Thousand Unicorn Whirlwind of Obliteration spell.
“Not to me. The last time I miscast was when I was six.”
“What do you mean?”
“I don’t miscast. It’s not in my blood. My father Tazarian the Slug Lord never miscast. He obliterated an entire squadron of Gallumpian mushroom warriors by summoning a fire dervish. Think his name was Nathan.”
“Nathan? That’s a strange name for a fire dervish.”
The Yargolians mounted a half-hearted attempt to pick up their spears. Jama scratched his head, wondering why they hadn’t charged forward and killed the two sorcerers yet.
Mooth continued. “I think he was half-Orlathian. You know they have weird names like Peter, Steve, and Yaznakshirian.”
“My father’s name was Yaznakshirian.”
“Oh,” Mooth said.
The Yargolians milled about, bumping into the stray unicorns that were left in the valley. One Yargolian even smiled and stroke one’s mane.
Jama bit his bottom lip. The sun was going down. If the Yargolians reached the tower, Jama and Mooth would be toast. “So the battle’s not over?”
“I suppose not. I could try another spell, but the Yargolians look tired. There must be another wizard casting spells about.”
“Maybe they’re tired from dodging hundreds of swirling, screaming unicorns,” Jama said.
“Do unicorns scream?”
“No, I guess not. Do they swirl?” Jama laughed as a lightning bolt streaked across the sky and scattered some of the sluggish Yargolians, making them toss their hefty shields up in the air and stumble over each other, their legs tangling up like newborn calves.
“That was close,” Mooth said.
“Do unicorns swirl?” Jama repeated the question. He really wanted to know. In case he ever tried that horrid failure of a spell. He didn’t want swirling in the incantation. He wanted zithedra, the Mundrian word for living spears of death.“I’d say so. If propelled by sorcery.”
Jama spat off the tower. “So what do you think. Should we go have coffee or something?”
“Meh. Let’s wait and see if some real soldiers show up. Then maybe there can be a real battle.”
“You think they’ll come?” Jama smirked. “For two old sorcerers like us?”
“If they don’t want a plague of giant crabs to infest their capital, they will,” Mooth said. “The incantation is triggered to happen if I die. I thought you knew that.”
“Locundra-Mank’s Spectral Legion of Over-sized Crabs?”
Mooth waved him off. “No, no. The Wundering Walzac’s Skittering Squadron of Crustaceans.”
“Yeah, I’m quite proud of that being my Death Trigger.”
The Yargolians begin to fall face first in the mud, one after another.
“Who the hell is doing that?” Mooth slapped his hand against the stone.
Jama laughed. “You really don’t know?”
“I cast that two days ago. Just in case.”
“Rizan’s Sleepy Lightning Storm? I didn’t know you knew that.”
Jama rubbed his fingernails on his robes. “I know many things, my friend.”
The clouds broke a flood of pegasus came shuddering down. Arkalian warriors in brilliant mirrored plate round them downward.
“Our reinforcements?” Mooth asked.
“Yeah, let’s let them clean up. I want to find out more about this Death Trigger.”
“May want to steal, is all,” Jama said, pouring out the rest of his tea. “Coffee?”
“Nah, I’m feeling pretty tired.”
“Really? I thought the spell wasn’t supposed to work up here.”
Lightning jolted from the sky and almost scorched Mooth’s beard.
“Whoa,” Mooth said. “Are you sure it’s not supposed to–“
Another bolt shot down from the sky.
“Must have made a miscalculation,” Jama said. “We should go inside.”
“Seriously, I’m really–” Mooth yawned and slumped over the tower wall.
“Hey, don’t do–“
Mooth was rocketed off the wall by another bolt. The sorcerer went flailing down the length of the tower, screaming and yawning alternately all the way down.
“I guess I’m not the only one that miscasts,” Jama said as he imagined how he would rearrange the component room. More garlic that was for sure. Mooth was always hogging the garlic. “Oh well, more coffee for me.”