by T.G. Ellis
This is flash fiction from the fantasy world in which my Might & Mercy podcast is set.
Adomar gasped, stepped backwards and as the corner of the desk stabbed his hip, he yelped. A portal apparated upon the wall before his very eyes.
Then, remembering where he was, he cursed himself. Fool! Dawdling in the study of the most powerful woman in the Order.
Still, he could not tear his sight from the majestic bronze runes that had appeared and undulated as sorcerous energy carved a passage through space, into this room.
Well, that’s how he thought it worked. Teleportation wasn’t taught to failing apprentices. As far as he knew, it was not supposed to be used outside of spaces designed to withstand the spatial distortion. Let alone upon the wall of a study within an unwarded tower.
Magic was like bottled lightning and teleportation was particularly disruptive to reality.
Yet, here appeared a portal to another place, through which stepped two hooded figures. They were so engrossed in their conversation, that they did not immediately notice Adomar.
If he stood perfectly still, maybe they would walk on by.
One was stout; certainly a dwarf. The other was taller than most, but not quite tall enough to be a giant, and, by the sound of her voice, a woman. Both wore sorcerer’s gloves, though Adomar was not sure why he noticed that.
“You’ve seen the proof of our commitment?” the dwarf asked.
“You have given me much to consider indeed,” the woman replied.
Then the two hoods swivelled towards Adomar. Before he could bolt, a lance of ice sprung at him from the palm of the dwarf’s hand.
“Wait,” the tall one commanded and the tip of the lance stopped just as it drew blood from Adomar’s forehead.
“You said this place was secure,” the dwarf growled and pulled down the rim of their hood, as if to hide their face.
“Nobody will know what happens here.”
“He has seen too much.”
As ice drew hot blood from his skin, Adomar held his breath and stood perfectly still. The tall figure removed her hood to reveal the head of his order, the Deanna, who promptly fixed a stern look on him.
“I said: wait.” the Deanna flicked her wrist and the lance of ice evaporated.
The dwarf grunted, and Adomar now realised why he had noticed the gloves. The shape of the dwarf’s fingers were odd — long — crooked.
He trembled, held in place by the Deanna’s gaze. She seemed to be considering something important, but all Adomar could hear were the frantic thuds of his heart trying to slam itself out of his chest.
Then she spoke. “You present me with a dilemma, Adomar of Thessaris.”
“You… you know who I am?” Adomar stammered.
“I can take him with me; no one will know,” the dwarf said.
Adomar knew that what would happen next, would change his life.
The Deanna ignored the dwarf.
Instead, she winked at Adomar, clenched one hand into a fist as she turned to the dwarf and plucked at the strings of an imaginary instrument with the fingers of her other hand.
Golden lashes snared the dwarf and stifled his scream. Blue flames — so hot Adomar broke sweat instantly — flashed, and turned the dwarf to ashes that fluttered to the flagstone floor.
Trembling, Adomar drank in the sight of skilled sorcery with his mouth agape.
As the Deanna turned her attention back to him, Adomar’s knees buckled and he gulped in big breaths of air.
A droplet of blood fell from his forehead and splattered upon the flagstone. In that moment, in the smears of ashes and blood, Adomar understood his fate.
“Come,” the Deanna said as she raised his chin gently with gloved fingers, “we have much work to do, you and I.”
If you want to hear me read this story, listen to T.G. Ellis reads on YouTube