Tag Archives: short story

Burning – Dragon Bait (Part 1) – Free Fantasy Fiction


 Dragon Bait is the first of two pieces of short fiction I am featuring during this A to Z Blogging Challenge. Enjoy!

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Smoke. The scent jolted Varik out of his doze. He stared blind into the darkness, his body sweltering in the unexpected heat. A red glow lit the doorframe.

His bare feet thumped down onto a stone floor as he rolled out of the hard bed and slammed his mental protections up. Fire. The monastery burned. Sweat trickled down the muscles of his stomach, to the waistband of his breeches, and he fumbled in the dark for his satchel. The acrid stench of smoke thickened.

With a hastily tied bundle thrust beneath one arm, he heaved the pack onto his shoulder, grunting at the effort. One strap snagged on the purple ridge running the length of his pale forearm for a moment before he shook it free. A thin line of fire ran up the doorframe without sound.

Dragonfire.

The beautiful red flame spread inexorably across the wood, banishing the darkness. Varik seized the handle and threw the door open. The hot metal seared his palm with white agony. The scent of burning flesh filled the small room, and he bit the inside of his cheek to stop from crying out.

As the heat hammered at him, he lurched through the door and into a colonnade melting in the inferno. He took care to keep well clear of the flames. In the distance, sandals clapped on flagstones, and unseen priests shouted. Firelight flickered eerily around him; smoke choked his throat. Head down, holding tight to the pack, he burst free of the colonnade and into the grassed area beyond.

Varik dropped his bundle and leaned against an ornamental pylon, coughing. His burned palm throbbed. The taste of blood filled his mouth from the bitten cheek.

Somewhere in the night flew a dragon, intent on destroying the thief; somewhere in the monastery lurked the thief, intent on retrieving the satchel.

His fault, for risking a few hours of precious sleep. On the other hand, if he hadn’t, the thief might have come upon him unprepared. His gratitude for being alive left him guilt-ridden, as though he didn’t have more than his fair share already.

But he wasn’t away free yet, and his gaze scoured the flame-ridden darkness for any sign of his hunter. Gooseflesh prickled the skin of his chest.

Nothing; not even a hint the Ishafal thief lingered near.

His sword belt rattled to the ground as he unwound his cloak from the bundle of rescued possessions. Strips torn from the ragged cloak hem served as a bandage for the burn on his hand, and he pulled a shirt over his short-cropped dark hair, fastening the sleeves tight at the wrist to hide the ridges on his forearms.

Dragonfire ran up the stone pylon next to him. The odd, sharp scent of melting stone filled his nostrils, and sweat poured down his face. Red, baleful, sparks floated free like fireflies in the night. Varik heaved the satchel from the ground moments before a spark landed. So much condensed death in one bag; so much power.

With his hand reaching to pick up the sword-belt, he stared. His stomach dropped.

The dagger sheath lay empty. 
‘Dragon’s blood!’ Varik hurled the cloak away.

His sole defense against the Ishafal, the dagger’s magic had been entrusted to him by his Fury handler when she failed to talk him out of accepting this mission. Foolhardy, she called it, and him too grief-stricken, too guilt-ridden, to be working in the field. Though a man ignored the daughter of a demon at his peril, Varik risked it. Some things you have to do yourself. 

He turned back towards his room, but the entire colonnade slumped in the heat, stone melting and running like molten metal. The blaze consumed the door.

He clenched his jaw. Done was done. While the thief hunted him through the monastery, he could afford no wasted time. At the thought, his gaze searched the shadows again. She had to be here; she had to be the reason the dragon attacked. Whether dragons were unthinking animals, or sentient creatures, it was certain they’d go to the ends of the earth to burn an Ishafal to cinders.

She must be here, but where? Was she close? He buckled the belt on, taking no comfort in the weight of the sword, and retrieved his cloak before moving on.

A priest leaned on the next pylon up, breathing hoarsely in the ash-laden air. Blood pooled at his feet. The charitable thing to do would be to help the man, but he didn’t dare. Though the monastery couldn’t survive, some of its inhabitants would live if he kept moving, drawing the thief, and the dragon, onwards. His gaze dropped to the spreading pool of blood, and back up to pleading eyes riddled with pain.

‘I’m sorry.’ The whispered words probably didn’t carry to the dying man, and he tried to make his voice louder. ‘I’m sorry.’

Sickening guilt flooded him, and he broke eye contact with a sharp turn of his head. Most likely the man couldn’t be saved, and the burden of his death rested on Varik’s shoulders.

His footsteps dragged as he moved off through the flame-lit darkness, leaving the dying priest in his wake.


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Follow the link to read Dragonflame: Dragon Bait (Part 2)
**AUTHOR’S NOTE: This fiction piece is part of the A to Z Blogging Challenge and has not been to an editor.**
If you enjoyed this post, please feel free to check out my previous posts if you haven’t already. If you’re finding yourself here often, you might like to join as a member, sign up to the blog through RSS or email, or sign-up to my newsletterCheck out my March Newsletter if you missed it.

Don’t forget to share the love and spread the word on Twitter, Facebook or StumbleUpon (or other social networking site of your choice) if you know other people who might also enjoy this.

Thanks for stopping by and visiting with us!

A to Z Blogging Challenge

At to Z Blogging Challenge
I participated in the A – Z Blogging Challenge in 2012 and I’ve decided to throw my hat in the ring again this year. Last time I featured it on my other blog, Somebody Has To Say It, but this year it will be here on Flight of the Dragon, so the vast majority of the posts will have a fantasy bent. I will consider venturing outside the fantasy genre by special request, so if there’s something you want me to blog about, here’s your chance!

Here’s the topics I’ve got planned so far and the remaining available letters:

A – Audiobooks – My New Love Affair

B – Burning (Dragon Bait Part 1)

C –

D – Dragonflame (Dragon Bait Part 2)

E – The Emperor’s Soul – Book Review

F – Fever (A Monday Morsel Post)

G – Guilt (Dragon Bait Part 3)

H –

I – Ishafal (Dragon Bait Part 4)

J – Joust (Dragon Bait Part 5)

K –

L – Little Girl of Death (A Monday Morsel Post)

M – Mercy (Dragon Bait Part 6)

N – Narrators Make or Break an Audiobook

O – Outlining for Plotters

P – Protestations (Love Enough – Part 1)

Q –

R – As yet unnamed (A Monday Morsel Post)

S – Sentenced to Death (Love Enough Part 2)

T – Twitter and Roundteam

U –

V –

W –

(Monday) X – eXcision

Y – You Must (Love Enough – Part 3)

Z – Z-Plan Castle – Castle Fraser

As you can see, I’ll be doing my usual Monday Morsel features, and I also have two short pieces of fiction planned. 

Now’s your chance. Got an idea? Shoot!

If you enjoyed this post, please feel free to check out my previous posts if you haven’t already. If you’re finding yourself here often, you might like to join as a member, sign up to the blog through RSS or email, or sign-up to my newsletter. Check out my March Newsletter if you missed it.


Don’t forget to share the love and spread the word on Twitter, Facebook or StumbleUpon (or other social networking site of your choice) if you know other people who might also enjoy this.

Thanks for stopping by and visiting with us!

Carole Ann Moleti Talks Witchcraft and Beltane

Carole Ann Moleti


Today I’m welcoming Carole Ann Moleti to talk about witchcraft. Her short story, Mishmash Magick, appears in the anthology Beltane: Ten Tales of Witchcraft

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I’m always amazed at how all religions celebrate similar feasts at about the same times. The Jews and Christians celebrated Passover and Easter in late March, just as the Spring Equinox occurred. The Orthodox Christians are in the middle of Holy Week, with their Easter this coming Sunday. I shouldn’t be surprised since we’re all descended from the ancients who adopted new customs and beliefs as the wheel of time turned.

Beltane: Ten Tales of Witchcraft was assembled with great care by Rayne Hall to celebrate a varied interpretations of witches and witchcraft by different authors, some of whom are witches, and others like myself who know, love, respect, study, and write about them. I’ve made many friends on this journey to understanding and appreciation of the Craft.

It’s also amazing how my real life’s work informs my fiction, and vice verse. I’m deeply involved in doctoral study right now, and it has nothing to do with witches. It’s scholarly research—related to my clinical practice—but the furthest thing you can get from fantasy fiction and creative writing in general. But I just found out what I’ve been doing all my life is a scholarly form called ethnographic research! The investigator immerses herself amongst people or a practice to study the lived experience to gain greater appreciation. Who knew?

I’ve had lots of practice—and learned a lot by watching and experiencing. Midwives have long been associated with the use of herbs and potions, as well as with witchcraft. Most of my colleagues are not witches, but before the advent of modern medicine, women were called upon not only to assist with childbirth, but also to use their knowledge to heal any number of ills, both physical and psychological, in men, women, and children. When the outcome was not good, or the one expected, the midwife was often accused of witchcraft or sorcery.

Modern midwifery practice embraces all belief systems and incorporates the use of herbs and alternative medical practices and, as such, Wiccans and those with less mainstream religious and spiritual practices often seek our services.

Though divination and connection with ghosts and spiritual beings lies outside the grasp of my mind and abilities, watching those who have the gift do their work has convinced me that all humans have the capacity to use parts of their brain in the same way, but few have developed it. 

The first step is opening one’s mind to the possibility, then embracing it with a peaceful, accepting attitude. But in order to transfer that into credible fantasy and paranormal fiction, writers must, at the very least suspend disbelief and, at best, understand and accept it themselves.

In addition to mining my experience and harvesting story ideas from dreams, I’ve applied my research and journalistic skills to writing paranormal romance and urban fantasy. I begin with the facts. Huh? We’re talking paranormal, right? 

Herbology, alchemy, astrology, tarot, and divination are as old as history. Prayers and offerings to deities in exchange for favors, intercessions, and miracles are part of most religions, as well as the belief in an all-powerful being or beings that manipulate events.

I value among my friends and clients many witches, energy healers, and spiritualists who have taught me much about their beliefs, and allowed me to experience how rituals (including births conducted in settings where the space is conducive to spiritual and metaphysical connections) generate energy, and how it is channeled to produce the desired effect or outcome.

I’ve carefully followed the instructions of a santera on the use of teas, banishing and cleansing, potions, offerings of fruit and burning scented candles to heal both physical and emotional distress (much the same way people use aromatherapy and many Catholics light votives and pray to saints). Just last March I learned to perform divination with stones from Sew Magical at Lunacon. I’ve studied astrology and Tarot with Mary O’Gara. Witchcraft and magic with Rayne Hall and Deborah Blake. Eastern healing traditions and meditation with Nan Gilbert. Yoga with Ronnie.


Natural phenomena, like observing a woodland full of blinking fireflies, gave me pause to consider the possibility that fairies really do exist. I’ve talked with ghost hunters about their research and practice and learned how to monitor for electromagnetic activity. I’ve felt them and been amazed (but never frightened) by them.

I approach research for my paranormal fiction as a respectful traveler who wants to enter the culture to best experience it. Showing up with a camera, pad, and pencil will not allow you to obtain the information you need, nor the context required to translate it into a compelling plot with believable characters. If you’re going to ask readers for leaps of faith, you’ll need to open your mind take a few yourself.

Bright Blessings!

Check out Carole’s writing on her Amazon author page  http://www.amazon.com/Carole-Ann-Moleti/e/B007ASNBVK/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_2

Follow her on Twitter or Facebook and watch the book trailer for Beltane: Ten Tales of Witchcraft below.

 

If you enjoy Beltane: Ten Tales of Witchcraft, check out other anthologies in the Ten Tales series, including Spells: Ten Tales of Magic featuring my own short story A Magical Melody.