Category Archives for "Sword and Sorcery"

The Cinder Witch

Alis was snippy, grumpy and cold. And while the first two things on that list may have been more common than she would readily admit to, the third was not. She hated the cold. Maybe it just reminded her of all the nights when she was a child when there was no fire to keep them warm. There was a reason she had staked a claim to one of the desks near a fireplace in the library. That spot was her spot and everyone knew it. Alis wasn’t shy about being an unrepentant harasser to ensure that the desk was always hers. She had mastered the art of awkwardly hovering in order to get other researchers to leave, but she also wasn’t above just demanding the seat either.

Thankfully her status gained from saving the university from a dragon had assured her a permanent fire-side spot. She no longer needed to fight the other students for it. It was the closest to her own office she was going to get, being south of thirty in an environment run by rank obsessed old people.

But at this moment the joke was on her, as that same renown now had her traipsing through the forest. She shivered, colder now than she ever would have been at home, even at a less ideal desk in the dead of winter.

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A Midsummer’s Party

All around her the sounds of celebration and excitement echoed from the stone arches. Alis sat virtually alone in the library, seated at her favorite table. Looking out the nearby window, she could see across the grounds from her desk chair. At this time every year classes took a break at the height of the summer. For two weeks there were bonfires, games, and feasting. This year was no different. Dozens of students lounged in the grass, drank, and played games. Alis never participated in these celebrations. She liked to watch them, though, as she sat in the library thinking about her various studies.

The formless and the dragons still dominated much of her free time. She was fascinated by them. She was plagued by a lurking sort of anxiety after the incident at the University months before. It felt as if the world was taking a deep breath and standing on the edge of a cliff. Too soon would be the plunge, the chaos of the coming storm.

But even before she felt the impending doom of an unknown foe, she had not participated in the festivities much. It had once been a time for leisure reading, maybe some organizing and napping. She did attend dinners, and bonfires on occasion. But fun for her was a new book, not a party. And now she was driven to spend her off hours gathering what information she could in case the shadow creatures returned.

This may, in fact, have been completely crazy. She didn’t know. But the topic was a ripe research area even if none of these things came to pass. There was little scholarship on the Formless. She was determined to fill it out so that in five hundred years, the University would not be caught unawares again. Assuming the doomsday didn’t come before then, that is.

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Down the Dragon Hole

There was a sword-wielding buffoon on the library shelves again.  It took Alis a moment to notice him as this was unfortunately a fairly common occurrence.  The shouting caught her attention.  Libraries were generally meant to be quiet places, although wizard libraries were less quiet than other types of libraries.  But the loud booming voice of a bulky man shouting about the God of War and Victory stood out over the rest of the noise, even if it took Alis a moment to notice it.

Alis made an irritated noise under her breath and reluctantly turned away from her tome to properly scold the warrior. Honestly, she didn’t even know why they allowed such men into the Library. They never used it correctly anyway.

“Sir,” she called out, only a little bit polite. He did not acknowledge her. Alis sighed again, and stood up. This was ridiculous. She was a librarian. She had better things to do than deal with this.

He didn’t seem to hear her. He waved his sword around his head, trying to get the attention of the various wizards around him. They ignored him – as they should. They shouldn’t have to interrupt their research for this.

Sighing again, even louder this time, to make sure that all the students could see how put upon she was, Alis stood up and started to make her way closer to the warrior.

She couldn’t see his face very well, but he wore a full set of scored and worn leather armor, with dull chainmail beneath it. She was vaguely impressed that he had scaled up the library shelf so high and so quickly in that get up, but she squashed the thought. It was still rude and disruptive, no matter how physically notable the action was.

“Sir,” she said again, now that she was closer. This time he did hear her, and turned to look down at her. He had a bearded and handsome face, with blue eyes and shoulder length wavy brown hair. Of course he was handsome, weren’t they always? Did they even let ugly men join the ranks in the barracks downstairs? Rather than appreciating his appeal she dismissed it derisively.

“Are you listening? You need to get out!” He shouted down at her in a commanding voice. She ignored her body’s initial instinct to listen immediately to him.  He had obviously had command of troops before; he knew how to make people listen. But she wasn’t going to listen.

Now the other people in the library were beginning to take notice. Some of the younger students looked nervous.

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