The Magic of the Rose
A Fantasy Novella / Featured Story
The Magic of the Rose
Dashing young heroes and the beautiful women who love them are common enough in Fantasy. In The Magic of the Rose we explore different territory.
Root is a young mage whom fate has left with a deformed face, clawed hands, and stumps for legs. Yet love comes to us all, and Root's hopes center on his forbidden correspondence with a novitiate at the Abbey of Aranwae.
For her part, Fross knows nothing of love and, if asked, could not even answer why she responds to Root's secretive and impassioned missives.
When a series of murders, committed by a gruesome magic bring Root and Fross closer together, the fate of the Kingdom may hang in the balance.
When Root opened his eyes, a blurred form stood before him. It was Palgrave, and the mage held a flask of water in his hands. Root took the proffered drink, downing it by half without thinking, or knowing anything beyond its welcome coolness. He managed a smile, a voiceless "thank you" for the much needed draught.
About them, the sun threw down curtains of light across the mesa known as Land’s End. About a distant structure, the light coalesced into rainbows of stained glass and faceted, crystal windows. Together stone and glass rose to the height of castle towers, and Root recognized the place at once though he had never before seen it.
"The abbey," Root said. Though his thirst had disappeared, he finished the flask's contents as he admired the structure in the distance. Here the air had thinned somewhat from their home in the lowlands, and Root found his quick breaths dizzying and insufficient. It took a moment to get used to.
But before that moment passed, he felt the stirring in his belly.
His eyes grew wide. Was this poison? He turned to Palgrave and saw the answer in his master's eyes. Not poison, but magic!
With his strength worn away by the journey, there was nothing Root could do to resist the power of the elixir.
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