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Category: Short Fantasy

Short stories in the fantasy genre.

The Witching Cities: Epilogue

The Witching Cities: Epilogue

Through her window, past the leisurely snowfall settling upon the barren flowerbox, Eri could see in the far distance the two remaining walls of Eriahmys glinting against the noon sun. In the ten generations since the failing of the Witching Cities, Eriahmys had dulled down to brass and steadily transformed to fit those residents who chose to stand by their home, even without the magic of a Witch to sustain its greatest wonders. The other cities had fared similarly, though Illymere became naught but ruins and Selemay relocated to a less disaster-prone part of nature.

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The Witching Cities: Chapter 6

The Witching Cities: Chapter 6

Among the Ruins

The Partners stared after Lusa and Selemay long after they’d departed from the library.

“I mislike this idleness,” Ahlbrecht griped. “Surely we can be of more use than this.”

Speaking to himself, Jehf said, “Perhaps we can be. Eriahmys told me of this city’s history through yesterday’s evening. She didn’t mention a path to the first city, but… she said the first building she ever raised for herself, rather than for someone else, now lies outside the city limits. I think it is the place I found her when we first met.”

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The Witching Cities: Chapter 5

The Witching Cities: Chapter 5

The Witch of Illusion

In all the long history of the Witching Cities, no Witch had appeared before the citizens of another Witch’s city. It was Lusa’s idea to break with the tradition, and Ardis contributed new looking-glass, the Witches stringing the massive ovals of liquid silver together and suspending them in their cities where the citizens might easily see them. Vrai and Faux none of the Witches could reach, and so Illymere alone did not see the new covenants formed.

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The Witching Cities: Chapter 4

The Witching Cities: Chapter 4

Covenants New and Old

A third messenger had fulfilled her quest and stood now at Ardis’s side, greeting Ahlbrecht through the mirrored apparatus with a wiggle of her fingers. In Lusa’s crystal tower, Ahlbrecht could feel that the cool of the city had retreated somewhat since their departure, and it seemed to her that the tower itself was somehow smaller, slender like an icicle in late season. Past Ardis and the third messenger—Camrys—a sea of tiny lights, some streaking through darkness and some sparkling in a vast array of colors, stood against a gathering night. The details of Ardis and Camrys’s immediate surroundings Ahlbrecht could not discern, but she thought she heard a hum through the mirror.

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The Witching Cities: Chapter 3

The Witching Cities: Chapter 3

The Great City

The hall running parallel to that which Jehf and Ahlbrecht had taken was similarly closed by deteriorating ironwork which fell away like ash with a brush of Eriahmys’s fingers. She and Lusa crossed the threshold, their gowns untouched by the metallic powder. The sconces in the hall awoke in Eriahmys’s presence, flashing into ethereal light. Intuition told Lusa what this place had been and why it remained in hiding beneath the city; her own original temple also remained standing, though none had visited it in many human lifetimes. Many doors fringed off the hall ahead of them, but the Witches examined none of them, instead moving steadily toward their goal, even as the hall began to incline little by little.

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The Witching Cities: Chapter 2

The Witching Cities: Chapter 2

Eriahmys

Ahlbrecht stood at attention beside the Witch of Ice—who insisted that Ahlbrecht call her Lusa, though Ahlbrecht could not bring herself to do so—as the Witch spoke to another of her siblings, the Witch of Winds. Wherever the orbiter resided in the city of Selemay, it apparently opened onto the sea, for the Witch’s hair wisped around her oval face into tangled confusion and the cry of gulls punctuated her every statement.

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The Witching Cities: Prologue

The Witching Cities: Prologue

Once, in the far north, there was a witch of vast primordial power who shared a dream with a human. Together, they built a magnificent city at the edge of the tundra, whose light became a beacon to all humanity. Craft and knowledge crystallized in the utopia birthed by the witch and human’s covenant, but a day came on which the covenant was broken, and the city was destroyed by the armies of man, its people massacred. With the dream shattered, the witch returned to her city’s ruins and sequestered herself among the graves for time uncounted, slowly passing from human memory in all but the sparse myths shared among the races of men. There she waited, bound to the ashes of the once-great city.

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Renewable

Renewable

Janice had considered the possibility of life after death from an early age. Raised a Catholic, she had examined the concept of heaven and hell and, with a child’s logic, found it implausible. Heaven, as it was described to her in church and in the religious classes following mass, seemed no heaven at all. The thought of an eternity of lyres and singing the Lord’s praises filled her with a lethargic ennui. As for hell, its basis as a world of pain and suffering didn’t ring true for her: how did one inflict mortal harm upon an immortal and, indeed, immaterial soul? Surely the loss of the corporeal body meant a corresponding forfeiting of bodily woes?

So Janice sat in the pews of her small suburban church watching the rapturous belief of Father Reilley as he spoke of the afterlife that all good Catholics would enjoy while the fans spun lazily on the high ceiling and the third light from the altar flickered almost when Janice willed it to. In this way, religion died for Janice.

Accordingly, Janice spent many an evening lying in her bed, staring into the darkness above her, trying to stretch it into oblivion, into eternity. Sometimes she would try to morph the darkness into the belief in the afterlife that had been handed to her, but even the wobbling shadows of her imagination could not subdue her skepticism. Always, she would close her eyes and, listening to the buzz of silence, imagine instead what not existing might be like, seeking out the memory of the time before she was born.

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