Tilting Focus

“A fool spills his blood where a wiser would not waste it.” — Beneebian proverb

Splash Josian flickr see file

Photo credit: Josian

Baran sat cross-legged, staring at the heavy glass floating before him, wobbling.  He’d thought casting the spell would be the difficult part.  And it was.  Of the five original apprentices, only he had come this far.

But this was harder.

Behind him, Asdor clucked.  “Keep it steady. You need to concentrate, boy.”

Baran focused, tipping the glass slowly to pour the liquid drop by drop.

“Careful, now.  This isn’t a race.”

Asdor banged something against the floor and Baran startled.  Liquid sloshed onto the floor.

“Out there, you won’t have the luxury of quiet.  Get used to distractions, tune them out.”

The old man made other sounds, but Baran studiously ignored them.  The glass was half empty when he began to worry.  Asdor had not harangued him for some time.

Baran ventured a word, letting it slip out softly to not disturb the spell.  “Asdor?”

No response, only a slight gurgle.

Asdor might be fooling him.  No, he could not take the chance.

When Baran twisted back, the glass fell, splashing, shattering.

He scooped the unconscious man into his arms and raced to the temple.

Later, Asdor smiled weakly. “Another lesson almost too hard-won, boy.  Focus is fools-blood without priorities.”

Word count: 200.  Submitted for this week’s Sunday Photo Fiction challenge.  Thanks as always to Al Forbes for hosting, and for providing the original photo prompt, below!  Click here to see the other stories, and to submit your own.

SPF 157-05-may-22nd-2016

Photo ©  A Mixed Bag

19 thoughts on “Tilting Focus

    • They always do, these 100 or 200 word pieces. You can’t ever cover a full “story” in them, but I try to include enough hints about the characters and their setting to give the reader an interesting glimpse.

      Although come to think of it, the same is true when I have 5,000 or 10,000 words to work with. There’s always something bigger around and behind and past it.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, glad you enjoyed it! These challenges are great practice at starting with a “cool toy” and making it about people. In this case, I saw the original photo and realized that you could tilt a glass like that using the spell mage hand. Then the question is always, where’s the story there, who are the people involved? So I’m glad what you noticed were the people!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Aw, thanks Al! I haven’t had as much time as I’d like to be doing flash fiction lately, and the photos from my regular challenges haven’t been giving me any immediate inspiration that I could quickly zap out. So I told myself, whatever Al posts this week, I’m going to write it up, no matter what. And then you chose this hard one! But hey, I managed. 😉

      I can definitely see the Yoda-Luke similarity, although I hadn’t thought of the specific scene with him raising his ship from the swamp until just now. For the record, you can’t raise a whole ship with the mage hand spell Baran is using — it’s a strictly zero-level novice spell, five pounds maximum. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • Not even the droid then 😉

        It’s actually getting harder and harder to choose a photo. I see some that I like, then when I go back and look, I have used either that one or one similar before. I’m trying to stay away from animals at the moment.

        I have had a mental writing block for a while. The odd one I get flies in but often back out just as quickly lol

        Liked by 1 person

      • Nope, lifting the droid is straight out!

        I imagine picking those photos would be hard, yes! I think it’s fine if you’ve used a similar one before. Have you thought about branching out and using public domain photos instead of only your own? I hesitate to suggest it because if it were me, I’d spend the next week lost, looking through countless pages of photos.

        Good luck with the writing block. Got to grab those ideas when they first fly in!


      • I like that. I think that’s as it should be. The very foundation of magic should be complex and only available to a select few. Otherwise magic becomes commonplace. Nicely done.

        Liked by 1 person

      • There are several factors that make magic relatively unusual and limited in Eneana. I didn’t want a high magic world where the magic-users ran everything and everyday life was just totally infused with magic. It’s too easy then to veer either into a world that’s super-fairyland-ridiculous or one where magic is common and boring, like electricity.


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