NaNoWriMo 2016: Day Twelve

Word Count: 1,832

Daily Reward: Once Upon a Time

illustration by Ruggy

illustration by Ruggy


Well, I was trying to make my characters have a nice conversation and get to know each other a wee bit better. But they weren’t having a bar of that, and tried to get a little bit too close.

So I threw a magickal storm at them.

Until it happened, I didn’t even know that the Deadlands produced random magic storms.

And now Daniel’s oldest sister has realised that they’re having a wee affair and she does not approve at all. Oh dear…


“Kataryna,” he half-growled. “Ye canna know how much I want ye.”
“Oh,” she replied, <edited for smut>. “I think I have some inkling.”
A rumble rolled across the sky. The sky suddenly flashed a vivid and startling white, illuminating the garden and the Shaped framework of the gazebo. Kataryna’s fur crackled with static electricity, tiny sparks dancing iridescent violet between their fur.
“Oh fer the love of Elysia,” Daniel groaned. He rolled over, snatched up the picnic blanket and dragged it over them. “It’s a kraakin’ magick storm. We’ve gotta get inside, behind the wards.”
The clouds, barely noticed earlier, but now clustered above like conspirators, suddenly split open, disgorging their contents, great torrents of water. Droplets pointed around her, transforming into tiny, translucent frogs that hopped about spasmodically, only to burst with a spray of water.
“What the hell?” Kataryna fumbled to draw her shirt back on, as water gushed down around her, plastering her pelt to her body. Together they scrambled to their feet, him holding the picnic blanket over them. Not that it prevented much of the water. Another low rumble. For a flicker of a heart beat, Kataryna thought she saw a giant bird spread its wings across the sky. A jagged shaft of lightning arced out to strike the rod atop one of the towers. Sparks, incandescent purple, blue and red, erupted outward, like petals unfurling from a fiery flower.
The two of them hurried across the flower garden, colourful sparks descending around them, whilst the bubble-frogs hopped or popped around their feet. The air smelt sharp and sweet, of ozone and vanilla. The key suddenly squirmed in her hand, its body twisted like a caterpillar and it drove its teeth into her finger. Kataryna squeaked in surprise and pain, fumbled amid it slipped from her fingers.
“I’ve dropped the key!” She fell to her knees, scrabbling in the pebbles, trying to grab it as it wriggled away from her flailing fingers.
Another lightning bolt scythed the sky, striking the gazebo. It flared a vibrant white and began to twist and stretch as though it were alive, a giant pale spider with far too many legs.
“Dinna fret,” Daniel shouted to be heard against the deluge. “It’s just an illusion. It canna hurt us.” Kataryna’s fingers grasped the silver key. It wriggled once, but she drove her nail into it, and it stilled. The living gazebo extended one of its support-beam legs and ripped up a rose bush, sending it tumbling across the garden. Kataryna screamed as it flew straight towards them. Daniel wrapped his long body protectively around her, took the key gently from her shaking fingers and inserted it smoothly into the lock. It turned with a click and the two of them tumbled through. Behind them, the rose bush vanished in an explosion of sparks. The rose bush may have been an illusion, but the sparks were real. She could feel their stinging touch as they rained down around her, even through her saturated fur.
“I thought you said I was immune to illusion!” she screamed. The ground beneath her suddenly turned liquid, and she lurched forward, falling on her hands.
“No-one’s immune to a magick storm!” Daniel howled. He leaped over the patch of molten ground, and scooped her up in his arms. “Are ye hurt?” his tone gentle, although she could sense the panic.
She shook her head, mutely, staring out at the transformed garden with wild eyes.
Wind whipped and howled around them, whirling leaves and petals, the tiny sparks of doomed fyreflits and lightning-ash. The rain hammered. Trees groaned, waving their branches as though trying to fend off the lightning that jumped and sparked around them. Thunder boomed and rumbled, the immense low intonations shaking the earth.
Daniel reached the nearest tower, lowered Kataryna to the ground beneath the shelter of the portico. Above and around them, the protective wards glowed faintly, holding back the worst of the storm’s cinematic pyrotechnics. Out over the garden two of the trees seemed to be fighting with the gazebo, trying to push it back into the boundaries of the rose garden. Daniel drew her close to him, pressed his muzzle against her cheek. “Come on,” he said. “Let’s get ye inside and dried off.” She glanced at him, his fur sodden, plastered to his body and his braids framing his face like ragged string.

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