It’s elemental, my dear

Day 09: Jittery
No Novel November 2020

A drawing of a woman made of lighting in a storm

lightning elemental by vij 8 via Deviant Art

Hands shaking, Kael drew the sigil as wide as he could, its intricate overlapping patterns turning the cave floor into a glowing tapestry of gold dust in the firelight. It took hours as he checked and rechecked the schematics. Each line had to be perfect or the summoning would fail. Or worse.

By the time he finished, the storm outside had reached its full furor. The afternoon’s far-off rumbles had turned into a night of crashing gales, pushing Kael’s nerves to the breaking point. Everything in him screamed to run, to abandon this selfish undertaking, to let her go.

But he held his ground. He may never have another chance. It was now or never.

Kael raised his trembling arms, one hand over the glittering circle, the other stretched towards the storm. His incantation was drowned out by the wind, but no matter. The tingle of electricity in his fingertips let him know it was working.

The next bolt of lightning veered off course and passed through Kael’s waiting hand, across his heart, down his opposite arm, and slammed into the sigil, fusing the stone into golden glass and filling the air with smoke.

Kael hit the ground, his body finally still.

Until an electric hand touched his shoulder.

The wizard jolted awake. Then he smiled, shaking now not with fear, but with joy.

Kael took his mother’s crackling hand for the first time since she’d been banished from this plane. And they stepped out into the storm—together.

This story is part of No Novel November, a daily microfiction challenge. If you'd like to know more and/or join in, click here.

Special collections

Day 18: Susurrus
No Novel November 2019

A girl in a library with magical glowing books - The reader by charlie bowater via Deviant Art

The dry, gentle rustle of pages accompanies me as I pass through the stacks. I’m new; the books aren’t used to me yet. They bluster inside their heavy covers, jump skittishly when I touch their spines, resist when they’re reshelved and their chains locked. But I ignore their spiteful susurrus and go about my duties: dusting and polishing, feeding and watering, grooming and reassuring.

By sunset, they begin to settle. I draw the curtains and tuck thick velvet blankets between their bookends, humming lullabies as I go. One hand on the door, I blow out the final candle and bid them goodnight. I tiptoe away, already anticipating the morning. Perhaps tomorrow will be the day they accept me as their Librarian.

This story is part of No Novel November, a daily microfiction challenge. If you'd like to know more and/or join in, click here. 

Our own personal fairytale

Day 16: Remember
No Novel November 2019

Illustration of a giant dragon breathing fire on a lone knight - Firebreath by drachenmagier via Deviant Art

“Once upon a time, there was a handsome prince. Being the eldest son, it was vital that he marry quickly and well. Other rulers offered their most beautiful daughters as a match, but he turned them all away. His parents began to worry. Would he be eligible to wear the crown when the time came?

“The search was interrupted by the sudden appearance of a dragon. Every knight volunteered, but the prince shouted them down. There had been a prophecy: His future bride waited in the clutches of the dragon. He would go alone or never marry, allowing the kingdom to fall into ruin.

“What choice did they have? He set out on the eve of the harvest moon, the ring of destiny in his ears.

“But when the prince arrived at the watchtower by the sea, he found no wyrmling but a gargantuan beast. It fell upon him with claws and teeth and flame as he retreated into the surf. Hemmed in by death, the prince marshaled his courage for what he hoped would be a fatal blow.

“But before he could strike, the dragon let out an unearthly scream and fell dead in the sand.

“A girl wielding a bloody sword emerged from behind the carcass. She thanked him for his distraction and offered to take him home since his horse had been eaten.

“They’ve been together ever since.”

The queen gripped the king’s hand as another spasm shook his failing body.

“I remember,” he whispered.

This story is part of No Novel November, a daily microfiction challenge. If you'd like to know more and/or join in, click here. 

More precious than gold

Day 14: Jewel
No Novel November 2019

Tall wizard tower in the forest painting - rapunzels tower by crazycolleeny

“This is not what we signed up for.”

“What do we do now?”

“I’m trading it for gold anyway.”

The three dwarves huddled in a far corner of the creaking turret, heads together, voices low. After a month on the road battling orcs, bugbears, and a particularly vicious shrubbery, they’d found what they were looking for.


It was supposed to be a simple quest: a standard B&E with a smidge of larceny. Not even the paladin had complained. Sure, taking out the wizard at the top of the tower had been tricky, what with the moat and no doors and all, but a lucky shot from the rogue had fixed that. When it came to transporting the loot, though, there were no good options.

“We could just leave it.”

“And risk someone else taking it? No.”

“Okay, then, Mister Charisma, you deal with this.”

“Fine, I will.”

The bard turned back to the center of the room where their treasure waited. The Jewel of Elrovius, prized for its rare magic, sold from buyer to buyer over the past year, stolen by this (ex)dark elf wizard, and sought for a handsome reward by its previous owner. He winced to look at it. So small, so dangerous.

Getting down on his knees, he addressed the Jewel directly.

“Did he hurt you?” he asked in the girl’s human language. She shook her head, bouncing shabby curls. “Good.”

“Are you taking me back to…him?” she whispered.

“No, dear. We will take you home.”

This story is part of No Novel November, a daily microfiction challenge. If you'd like to know more and/or join in, click here. 

The rager of the gods

Day 13: Envy
No Novel November 2019

Two green beer bottles in a bucket of ice via

Shots! Shots! Shots!

The gods sat in a circle around a bucket filled with ice and unlabeled bottles. With Hera away for the weekend, Olympus had become the site of an epic rager, complete with a dance floor and a mountain of ambrosia pizzas. Most of the younger deities had already passed out, but a handful of stalwarts remained.

There were three potions left, identical except for effect. Lust had sent Hephaestus and four demigods for a different kind of party; Wrath took Artemis and Aphrodite to the backyard; Poseidon was working off Gluttony in the kitchen; and Hermes had a Sloth aura that made them all sleepy.

Athena scrutinized the bottles. No matter what she drew, it was guaranteed regret in the morning. But what the Hades—what happens on Olympus stays on Olympus, right?

She grabbed one and knocked it back. The taste made her cough, acrid and sharp, and when she opened her eyes again, the world was bathed in green light.

She waited to see what else would happen. But as seconds passed, she realized that while she felt no different, the eyes of her friends had turned baleful and cold. Desire mixed with hatred.

No one said anything. They just stood up and left, one by one.

Athena sat alone on the throne room floor wiping away bitter tears. The effect was only temporary, she knew, but the ache, the isolation, the emptiness—the sting of envy—was all too real.

This story is part of No Novel November, a daily microfiction challenge. If you’d like to know more and/or join in, click here.