It's the first day of StoryADay May!!
Write a story in 30 minutes.
Choose a character. Back them into a corner where they must do the thing they would never do.
I swore I would never touch her.
We all did. That was the first thing we had to pledge. Before Lady Elira would relax the charms that guarded the massive wooden door, let us into her haven, her world.
I didn’t understand fully what I was pledging at the time. But it didn’t matter. I would do anything Lady Elira asked. She saved me. She saved us all, I imagine. Not that we talk about it. We’d all like to forget our weakest moments.
In the interest of disclosure, I’ll give you the gist of my moment. Bear. Huge black bear. My sword knocked away by a clawed paw along with two fingers. Moments from being dinner, Lady Elira blew the bear away. Vaporized it.
Then she returned my fingers, tucked me into her chariot and brought me to her home.
She offered me sanctuary. Safety. All she asked in return was that I not touch the maiden in ice.
I’d love to touch her.
I’d love to shatter the ice that surrounds her. It is so clear, so perfectly formed, that it looks like a thin pane of glass. I’d love to punch through it, lay my hands on the delicate beauty it encases.
Lady Elira says that a single crack in the ice would kill the maiden within. The ice keeps her, preserves her somehow. Without it, she will die.
So I don’t touch.
I can look at her, though. And I do. All the time. I watch her face. I imagine she listens to our conversations. I see flickers of amusement crinkle the corners of her eyes, tweak the tips of her lips.
I see the fire burning in her eyes. I imagine that it burns for me.
I watch her now. My dusty boots thrown up on the table, a mug of cider clasped in my hand. The chatter of Lady Elira’s men surrounds me. I am not part of it. I am in my silent bubble, my eyes locked on the maiden’s.
A crack of thunder peels at the door. The huge slab of wood splits down the middle, then crumbles into a shower of splinters.
My boots hit the floor. My sword swings free, ready to slice the intruder, protect the maiden.
The doorway frames the empty night.
The men and I look at each other. We shift, uneasy on our feet. It’s hard to fight what you can’t see. Harder when you don’t know if anything is even there.
I move. Ten steps take me to the foot of the maiden, put me between the empty doorway and her frozen form. I will die for her.
Benley steps to the doorway, tips his head around the frame, looking for the unseen enemy. He is greeted with a blast of fire. He is gone.
It will destroy her.
I have to get her out of this room, away from the flames that reach like tentacles now into the room.
I turn to face her. I have to move her. I have to touch her.
I spread my hands wide, tenderly brush my finger tips against the surface of her shield.
Her eyes light. I know I don’t imagine the burst of brilliance this time.
The ice shatters, falls at my feet. I open my mouth, a wail of despair already bursting from my throat as my eyes lift from the glittering ground to take in her face one last time.
Her hand snakes around my wrist. “The lady lies,” the maiden says as she spins and pulls me with her through the remnants of flames and into the night.