Sometimes writing prompts are easy. The words come into your mind and flow through your fingertips into an effortless masterpiece. Sometimes they don’t.
This writing prompt was the latter for me. I struggled to write it, and what I did write I didn’t love. However, writing prompts are an exercise, a way to practice and write without fear of excellence. Whenever I do a writing prompt I don’t go back and edit it, except for typos and punctuation.
Writing Prompt: 5 words; Gold, Tears (the crying kind), Bird, Steel, Fire
“One hundred gold pieces,” the prince spoke softly, “fifty now, and fifty when the task is complete.” The prince held up his hand, forestalling the Kelther’s response. “Don’t fail me. And I don’t think I have to remind you what will happen if you fail.”
“I do not fail highness.” Kelther replied. Working with nobles infuriated him. If he could refuse to work for them he would, but his position did not allow him to refuse the royals. He came when they called, and it galled him to no end. They treated him like a dog. If they only knew the full extent of his abilities, they would cower in his presence.
One day. Kelther told himself. One day they shall come to know first hand my power.
Kelther walked past the prince toward the open balcony. When he reached the parapet, he planted his foot on top and launched himself into the night. The wind whipped around him, tugging at his clothes, pushing against his chest in a weak attempt to stop his plummet. As he raced towards the ground Kelther tucked his arm into his chest and rolled, instantly he transformed from man to bird.
His spread his wings and soared away from the castle into the night. When he was a child, Kelther had been terrified of heights, while his friends climbed cliff faces and trees, Kelther kept his feet planted firmly on the ground. It had taken him years to get over that fear, even after he had earned his power. Now, his fear no longer held him. The sky’s were his friend and the wind his ally.
Kelther soared over the city of Gelden. The upper sanctions near the castle lit with fires all along the thoroughfares gave way to the lower sanctions where the merchants and artisans dwelt. The transition was slow, stone houses and tiles roofs transformed into sturdy wood structures with shingle roofs. He passed over the river Del that split the city. The light here flickered and sputtered from sporadically spaced torches.
His ears picked up the distance clang of hammer on steel. Even at this time of night the smiths worked their hammers and bellows. Preparations for the upcoming battle could not wait for daylight, every sword and piece of armor would be needed for what was to come.
He continued his flight past the walls and into the forest. He preferred it there. Out in the woods he could be alone. Kelther was a solitary man. He tolerated people, but only when his position required it of him. People meant work. He enjoyed his work, but not the people aspect. He enjoyed the thrill, the chase, the challenge. The satisfaction he felt when his job was complete made up for dealing with people.
Inside his cabin he went to his desk and began pulling out vials with practiced precision; moon tears, anitis venom, and tinnelweed. He preferred a quick death for his marks, but the Prince wanted a spectacle, and what the prince wanted, Kelther was required to give. Quickly and carefully he combined a few drops of each vial, the resulting mixture changed from bluish green to a deep red and then to clear.
He tucked the vial into the padded leather pouch at his side and headed back into the night.