Treacherous Trial

washington dc potomac river 2Photo © Abigail Indorf via Google Maps

The sunset silhouettes the unfinished structure on the far bank: a metal monstrosity, like a deformed sacred tree. When complete, the Magister and his Nine will use it to combine their powers against us.

They call us the Twisted, for the disfigurations our magical mistakes wreak. Our every experiment risks that. Or death. Without the mages’ secret knowledge, the only alternative is subjugation.

I wear my scars proudly.

For weeks, we debated over how to destroy this weapon. But the mages would simply rebuild. Instead, we’ll twist it. Make it backfire. The stronger the spell they try, the worse the result.

Or so we hope. We’ve never tried this.

We wait for darkness. Our guard’s job is to hide the evidence, if none of us survive to help him. He’s more nervous than me.

If I succeed, dying will be worth it. If I fail, death will be a mercy.

Word count: 150. Written for this week’s What Pegman Saw challenge. Big thanks to Karen and Josh for hosting this fun prompt! This week, Pegman takes us to Arlington VA. I found this cool shot looking over the Potomac river. Click on the link to see what images other writers found, and what stories they inspired. And as always, feel free to join in — everyone is welcome!

This story deals with the subject of having to experiment in order to come up with new spells (or at least, spells you personally haven’t been taught), which I recently touched on in this flash fiction story: Lone Wolf.

16 thoughts on “Treacherous Trial

    • I’d think twice too: there’s an awful lot of danger in Eneana! But then, when we write stories based in the real world, most of those are about the dangerous parts too. “I’m sitting at home having a lovely day and nothing’s going wrong” doesn’t offer much meat for a plot line. Which is a long way of saying that there are plenty of lovely places in Eneana that are not experiencing high death rates at any given time. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  1. This reminded me of your Lone Wolf story right away! I like that concept from the get-go. Today on reading it made me think of it as a metaphor for the marks life leaves on all of us. That is, if we’re lucky enough to survive them. Perhaps that’s your intention(?), In any event, I enjoyed this take.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Er… as of now, that was *totally* my intention, thanks for bringing it up! But really, that’s a great insight, thanks for that. And yes, I was intentionally riffing on the same theme as I’ve been thinking about the risks of magic in my world.


    • Good question — I don’t know! But now that Halloween is over, let’s go with a happy ending. In the next scene, our Twisted rogue magic users seem to be successful at sabotaging the device — at least, they’re only exhausted from it and not dead. But they don’t know for certain until later, when the Magister and his band of powerful mages (the real “monsters” in this story) try to use it against the poor downtrodden rogues (in some outright mean and nasty manner), at which point it backfires and kills them all! Or at least burns them out so that they can no longer do magic – Ha!

      Liked by 1 person

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