This story is by Terry Harrington and was part of our 2017 Fall Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
Pyris’ sunset tresses danced in the breeze as the colorful autumn leaves drifted across the ruins of Xandu. She paced, waiting for her enemies to arrive. This meeting was the best chance to end the hundred-year elven war.
Two of them? I told Shavoc to come alone. You can’t trust an ice elf.
Her sparkling scarlet eyes dropped when she recognized the unwelcomed guest.
Blah! A forest elf. I hate them. She couldn’t forgive them for killing her mother.
“My master told you to come alone, Shavoc,” she declared.
“This is my apprentice, Tygrin,” he replied, ignoring her comment.
Tygrin smiled, “I love your hair. I thought it was on fire.”
“Thank you.” Her lip curled. No! Don’t be nice. I hate you.
Something about him itched inside her. “My master is waiting inside, shall we?”
Aquanart pulled his wavy, seafoam hair from his eyes, “Welcome, Shavoc.”
After the introductions, he grabbed the two apprentices. “I should discuss this alone with Shavoc.”
They followed the stairs leading further into the castle. Tygrin pulled a wand from his leafy robe and pointed it toward the meeting room.
“Hollow Ears,” he called out.
Pyris tilted her head. “What are you doing?”
“I want to hear what’s happening,” he said.
“We shouldn’t,” Pyris protested.
“It’s our job to keep them safe.”
The room filled with Shavoc’s voice. “You have your hands full with that one.”
“I do. She is strong willed,” Aquanart replied, “she has been practicing magic her whole life; talented.”
Pyris squinted, clenching her jaw. They’re talking about me.
She pulled her wand from her feathery, crimson and canary robe. “Dispel!”
The voices stopped.
“You’re not listening to them talk about me.”
“I am,” he waved his wand. “Hollow Ears!”
“Did she really sneak into your chamber at Morning Glory?” Aquanart asked.
“She did,” Shavoc proclaimed. “Despite everyone attacking her.”
“Dispel.” Her wand glowed.
“Obstruct,” he countered. “Stop, I want to hear what they’re saying.”
Aquanart cackled, “I ordered her to get a message to you, not storm the castle.”
“Dispel,” she repeated.
“Obstruct! Knock it off.”
Shavoc laughed, “She scares the sun lights out of me.”
“Tygrin seems capable,” Aquanart remarked.
“He learned magic faster than anyone I had ever seen.”
Her grin grew. Ha! They are talking about him, now.
“Dispel,” Tygrin demanded.
“Obstruct,” Pyris countered. “We listened to them talk about me.”
“He has a thousand spells at his disposal,” Shavoc continued, “proficient with all of them.”
“Dispel,” Tygrin ordered.
He aimed his wand at Pyris. “Silence!”
“Dispel!” No, he didn’t!
Shavoc continued, “he is impressive.”
She waved her wand at him. “Sparks!”
“Leaf Storm,” Tygrin retaliated.
He danced in the small fire flakes that pelted him before he dispelled the magic; She flailed her arms as leaves swarmed around her before she dispelled it.
“Entangle,” he commanded.
Vines wrapped around her feet, tripping her to the ground and slithering up her legs toward her torso.
“Incinerate!” The vines disintegrated.
She bounced to her feet. “Fireball!”
The spell splattered across his chest, slamming him to the ground.
“Truce? We’re even,” he said, leaping to his feet.
“I won. Admit it,” she snapped.
“What? I won. I knocked you down first.”
“You gave up.”
“We could keep going if you want,” he laughed. “We knocked each other down. Even.”
“Errr! Fine. Can we stop listening, now?”
Tygrin waved his wand. “Dispel!”
The room dimmed as dusk set in. Shavoc and Aquanart emerged from the corridor.
“You both can…” Aquanart stopped and stared at the two apprentices. “Have you been fighting?”
“Yes, Master,” they answered in unison.
“More like sparring,” Tygrin added.
Her eyes pierced his glare.
“Well,” Shavoc interjected, “who won?”
“I did,” they answered.
“I won,” Pyris boasted.
“Not a chance,” Tygrin jabbed.
The apprentices scowled at each other.
“We tied,” they said in unison.
The masters bellowed a healthy laugh.
“Come back down. The others are waiting,” Shavoc ordered.
“And clean up, you’re a mess,” Aquanart added.
Shavoc turned to Aquanart as they left the room. “I would have loved to see that!”
Pyris’ long locks drifted gently in the evening breeze as she brushed fallen leaves from the balcony. It wasn’t the war that occupied her mind. It was that evil, leaf-throwing, vine-growing, playful, amethyst-eyed, Tygrin.
She smiled and hugged herself before realizing, wait, what? No! He’s evil. Wrapping me with vines? He deserved the fireball. That was rude.
“I should go tell him that.” She turned to march out the door.
“Tell me what?” Tygrin smiled as he approached her.
Her eyes widened in surprise. “What? Why are you here?”
“You wanted to tell me something.”
“No.” She shook her fibbing head. “Who, who said I was talking about you?”
Her face softened, gazing at his wild autumn weeping willow hair, swaying in the wind.
“Then who?” he smiled.
Her mind raced with thoughts of running her fingers through his hair, but the answer to his question never came.
“Shut up,” she frowned, turning away and closing her eyes. “I want to be alone.”
“No, you don’t. You were coming to see me.”
She stomped her foot. “No, I wasn’t.”
“Well, I came to see you.”
“You’re fun,” he gibbered.
I’m fun? “And you are annoying.” She spun and lightly shoved him away.
“You had to have felt the sparks between us?” he said as he moved closer to her.
Her hands naturally rested on his chest as his fell to her waist. A small flame burst inside her at the closeness.
“That was me, remember. I threw them at you.” What am I doing? No. Make him leave.
“You can’t tell me that wasn’t fun?” he brushed his fingers through her hair.
She backed up and turned away. I’m not falling for him. No.
“No fun at all,” she lied.
“I had fun,” he cooed.
She spun to say something but her mind stopped her before she could get a word out. Those gorgeous amethyst eyes. “No, I, I hate you!” She stuttered.
He smirked, “I’m getting to you.”
“No, you’re not,” she said, turning away, again.
She closed her eyes. Her nerves wanted to run, but her heart forced her to stay.
“Then look at me,” he urged.
“No. I don’t want to look at you.”
“You can’t look at me because you like me,” he bragged, pulling her fiery hair away from her shoulder and tickling her neck.
She shrugged her shoulders, but a smile formed on her face. “No, I don’t. You’re ugly.”
“Now, I’m ugly,” he snickered, “you’re hot.”
She scrunched her face. I can’t believe he said that. “I’m a fire elf, I’m supposed to be hot. I’ll burn you.”
“Go a-way,” she said with a grin. Her head didn’t turn but her pupils rolled to the corner of her eyes.
“If you want me to leave then I will,” he joked.
“About time!” No. don’t go. Play more.
After a few nervous heart beats, her smile grew larger. “You’re still here.”
“You will have to turn around to find out,” he whispered.
“Fine,” she twirled toward him, smiling.
His arms slid around her slim waist as his fingers glided up her spine.
She shivered, staring into his smiling eyes. His gazed pierced through her gleaming eyes and touched her heart. She couldn’t stop her hands from climbing his chest and wrapping around his neck.
“That’s better,” he whispered as he touched his lips to hers.
Her soft, butter skin leaped with excitement. She closed her eyes and melted.
Yelling and screaming echoed through the castle. They moved apart and ran for the door hand in hand. In the corridor, they separated to find their masters. Peace crumbled as each side retreated from the castle.
The next morning, Pyris sat weeping at the castle, wondering if Tygrin survived and would find her. She feared the worst.
“You miss me?” She bounced from her seat, throwing her arms around his neck. He elevated her from the ground and swung her around.
“I don’t want to be enemies. I want to love you,” Tygrin whispered.
A tear slipped along her cheek. “Forget the war. We should stay here.”
He tilted his head and frowned, “You know that’s impossible. Peace will come. I will find you.”
His crooked smile flashed before he pulled her tight against him. Their lips met in a long, passionate kiss.
She reached as he turned and walked away. A breeze kicked up and he faded in a sea of leaves.
She closed her eyes and envisioned her mother’s tender smile.
“I know, Mama, the war is evil, not the forest elves.” Her heart changed like the seasons.
“He’s the one.” Pyris fell – in love.