Big Sky Montana © Matthew Kennedy via Google Maps
“I’ll only come partway.”
Gamali pulled his bony wrist from Hani’s wrinkled fingers. “I must go alone. In case it fails.”
“But at your age–”
“I can still get up a hill.”
“If this succeeds–”
Hani grinned. “You’ll be famous.”
“–We can protect our city.” Gamali pushed several notebooks toward his friend. “Keep these safe. In case…”
* * *
Gamali scanned the valley. Nobody nearby. Nobody endangered. Except himself.
He’d studied this for years. Fine-tuned the equations. Prepared it flawlessly.
One last look.
* * *
Hani paused at the explosion’s perimeter: grass on his side, the hill beyond denuded, dry dirt.
He crossed. The air sizzled, goose-bumping his arms. Hani found Gamali’s ring, nothing else. He cast detection, seeking… It fizzled. Tried other spells. Nothing.
It had worked. The circle was shielded.
Hani shuffled home, wheezing with the effort. Now, if he could just decipher Gamali’s terrible handwriting…
Word count: 152. Written for this week’s What Pegman Saw challenge. Big thanks to Karen and Josh for hosting. Click on the link to see other stories inspired by this gorgeous scenery, or to write your own.
I’m two words over this week, but that’s after cutting almost 50. I just couldn’t get it any tighter without risking (more) confusion. Plus I already cut my favorite special effect: an eerie magenta mist clinging, sticky, to the hill, and only slowly peeling away to reveal nothing but dry, pale dirt, everything organic within the perimeter destroyed.
World-building note: This is how new spells are developed and tested, and why there aren’t more super-powerful spells. Unless you get them perfectly right, they can backfire, and the more powerful the spell, the greater the destruction if it goes wrong. This is also why the Trained are so obsessive (and possessive) about their spellbooks and arcane notations, and why the Old Crafters keep doing every single gesture of their ancient rituals exactly so, even if half of them are probably useless, because they don’t know which ones are vital.
I’ve been out of touch lately, and missing my blogging community. (Hi everyone!) Work is really crazy, as we try to get too many deadlines done with not enough staff. But I couldn’t resist this gorgeous view that Pegman took us to this week!