Photo by Jamie McInall via Pexels
When Taen Janir’s beloved horse was killed, I knew it meant trouble. I never guessed how much.
Janir tasked Mage Kei with creating a mount that could never die. Kei was fast. Before I’d prepared a contingency plan, Kei presented his masterpiece: a steel horse.
It moved stiffly, requiring commands for each step. Janir wanted it smarter, smoother, more alive.
I should have stopped it then.
Pleased with Kei’s next version, Janir commissioned more: one for every first-sword.
It made me miss when his mother was taen. She listened to me, sometimes, and her crazy ideas were relatively inexpensive.
The steel horses exuded strength and intimidation, filling the mounted first-swords with borrowed pride. Accustomed to real horses’ snorts and head-shaking, their still silence unnerved me.
Even as they attacked, they made no sound but crashing metal, crushing flesh.
Kei eventually froze them–temporarily, until he could fix it.
I knew the dark magics he’d used. This could not continue. Kei wouldn’t listen. So I stopped him, permanently.
Now, from exile, I live on rumors.
Janir pressures his new mage to revive the horses, to harness them at any cost.
Run. You don’t want to learn what that cost will be.
Word count: 200. Written for this week’s Sunday Photo Fiction prompt. Thanks to Susan for organizing, and apologies for not being able to contribute in many weeks. Also, thanks to JS Brand for submitting the original photo, below (which was super interesting but not quite “Eneana-friendly” enough to use for my header shot). Click on the link to read other stories inspired by JS’s photo, and to join in with one yourself!
Photo © JS Brand