Thursday photo prompt: Poised #writephoto

For visually challenged writers, the image shows a leaf-strewn flight of stone-cut steps descending into a hole in the ground. Poised to ascend…or descend… is the dark silhouette of a strange figure.

Lisa finally awoke as the sun rose in the East. Apart from where Alicia’s spell held, it carried no warmth.

Lisa immediately recognised Alicia as her Queen and was eager to add her magic to the summer spell to keep the army of men moving through the unholy winter. She told Rachel what had happened at the lake, and they both were relieved that the Vampires were no longer inside her head.

The next day’s march would bring them to meet their allies , the Elves and the Dwarves. They would be a force to be reckoned with once joined together.

Ewan and his armies were poised for battle. The war had begun in earnest. Reports of battles and skirmishes were constantly arriving. Losses and gains. For now the Vampires had the upper hand.

Rachel approached Alicia mid morning as they traveled towards the elves strong hold.

“Have you heard anything of my race, they seem to disappeared” Rachel enquired bringing her horse alongside Alicia’s. Alicia looked at Rachel and smiled, “they have all travelled north, sick of being hunted by men and Vampires alike” she took a breath and then said. ” Do you think, Rachel, that they could be persuaded to join us against the Vampires” Rachel looked at her long and hard. “I doubt they would listen to me, they cast me out for loving Mathew and being pregnant with his child.” Alicia, reached out and touched Rachel’s hand. ” You have been true too your race, you have lost Mathew’s child I feel they will listen to you. They do not trust men as far as they can throw them but they have always been close to the Dwarves and Elves. I know you can win them round Rachel. They will all be killed by Vampires unless they unite with us.”

Rachel thought and then agreed to search out her kin and do her best to win them over.

Rachel lowered her head and thought, then replied quietly.” I will try. ”

Just then Lisa joined them, she looked pail and frightened. Alicia shouted to Ewan, “Vampires, Lisa and I can feel them they are almost here.” Then sky grew dark and it was raining blood, the Vampires were upon them.

*******

To be continued.

If you wish to read Lisa’s and Rachel’s story up to this point you can find it here.

This is part of Sue Vincent’s Thursday Photo prompt. #writephoto.

Thursday photo prompt: Poised #writephoto

For visually challenged writers, the image shows a leaf-strewn flight of stone-cut steps descending into a hole in the ground. Poised to ascend…or descend… is the dark silhouette of a strange figure.

Tick tock pocket watch

Who’s coming up the stairs

Tick tock stop the clock

Alice’s new friend appears.

Moving fast, Hurry hurry

Milliners licking lips, in a flurry

Time for tea, guests unaware

All laced with Mercury, mousey sleeping in his chair.

Jam tarts Queen of Hearts

Keep her smiling don’t let things fall apart.

Tick tock, chip Chop

Look out it heads off.

Alice is sleepy now

Home in bed wipes her brow.

Tick tock pocket watch

Who’s coming up the stairs?

**********

This is part of Sue Vincent’s #writephoto.

Thursday photo prompt: Frozen #writephoto

Rachel felt the temperature drop as she and the scouts neared Ewan’s camp. She spoke, telepathically, to the men as they rode behind her. “Feel this cold, know it, see this bleak landscape, know it. This is no seasonal weather this is the herald of war.”

The men heard her and the youngest, again, answered her. “What do you mean Rachel” he asked. Rachel told him how the evil vampire winter spread across the land from where they had travelled killing everything in its path and wake. She also told him how Lisa had cast an eternal summer spell around the Witches Tower. Sadly the evil winter had broke the bounds of that spell and invaded the tower grounds causing them to flee to find Ewan and his armies of the son’s if men. The winter was obviously catching up with them.

Rachel upped the pace feeling that there was more happened than just the vampire winter rolling in. The men too felt a sense of unease.

As they approached the camp they could see the land before and behind them to all horizons frozen and dark. The men were chilled to the bone.

Then as they reached the camp they found themselves on green grass, the frozen ground simply stopped.

“Lisa is working her magic” Rachel thought. As they entered the camp Rachel called to Lisa but she did not answer. Rachel was beginning to worry when a new voice spoke to her.

“Rachel” said the voice. “Lisa sleeps for now but not for much longer, the originals of the vampires tried to enter her head . Luckily I was around to save her” “Who are you?” growled Rachel adding “and how did you know Lisa, or my name come to that!”

The voice gently laughed and replied “I am Alicia known to Leona as Grandma, Queen of the witches and an elder to Lisa.” The voice was warm and calming, “I am here to help Rachel, hurry we need to talk” Alicia stopped speaking as suddenly as she had started.

The scouts lead their horses to food, water and shelter and whilst Rachel sort out Ewan, Lisa and Alicia.

She found them all in Ewan’s tent. Ewan discussing tactics with a worried looking Calador. As she entered the tent the two men looked up. “Your back at last any news ” Ewan snapped. Rachel’s eyes flashed red as she changed into human form replying as she did, “your men have a report for you” Scanning the tent she asked “Where is Lisa” from behind a screen to the left of where the two men were working came Alicia’s calm and gentle voice. “Here Rachel she is here sleeping” Rachel went round the screen and asked of Alicia, “Is she okay” the older woman smiled “She is indeed Rachel she will wake within the the hour. Meanwhile you and I must talk. ” The two women left the tent ..Rachel looked at the temperate evening and asked. “How long can you hold this spell” Alicia replied “As long as I need and when Lisa wakes she will help me and we can transport the temperature where ever we travel.”

Rachel shivered looking out to the frozen waste surrounding the camp perimeter and thought. ” We could not hold it before”…”You did not have me before ” Rachel heard Alicia’s voice in her head.

So the war had started there was no going back.

*******

To be continued.

If you wish to read Lisa’s and Rachel’s story up to this point you can find it here.

This is part of Sue Vincent’s Thursday Photo Challenge #writephoto

Thursday photo prompt: Mirror #writephoto

For visually challenged writers, the image shows green trees that ring a still pool. The sun shines brightly through the branches, casting a perfect reflection…and on the surface of the water, rainbows dance.

Mirror.

Lisa was missing Hope she had not been separated from her since she had given birth to her. It had taken all her strength of will to leave her with Leona.

As the sun rose higher in the sky she went to fetch water from a near by pool. When she arrived it was silent and still, the water deep and blue. The trees and the bushes reflecting green with the blue sky framing the pool. Lisa was captivated by the stillness and the beauty of pool.

Setting down the pots she had with her she knelt and looked into the water. Of a sudden it went black and Lisa felt cold, colder than she had ever felt.

The waters began to swirl and bubble before clearing. As she watched the water she became aware of four faces looking straight at her.

Lisa jumped back in horror realising that she was looking at the faces of the Originals of the Four Vampire Houses. At first she thought they could see her, and she drew back in fear.

To her relief they seemed not see her. she could hear and see all that they could. Following their line of sight she saw that they were inside a cave, filled with thousands of Vampires, some sleeping, some feeding on poor unfortunates, some having sex but all looking evil, so evil. Really this concerned her because she knew that individually they where not wholly evil. Mathew he was tender and gentle with Rachel. But these creatures of the night seemed to be infected with a hate and disregard for all except themselves. Their eyes devoid of all feeling or any soul. they might of had left in them. Any vestiges of humanity that they might of had was now long nollified by sheer blood lust.

A chilling thought struck Lisa, Mathew had been traveling with these soulless creatures. How was he fairing, was any of his tiny new born spark of humanity left.

As she watch she heard the ancients discuss their plans though she could not understand everything they said because they were using the old language.

She listened carefully to what they were saying committing every word she recognised to memory.

As she sat there a mist seeped into the the clearing unoticed by Lisa. Encircling and chilling her to the bone. Too late Lisa knew what was happening. The four ancients looked straight at her from the pool their eyes glowing red . The mist engulfed her and she felt the coldness of thousands of hands clawing at her and heard a thousand voices screaming for blood and war.

At that point Lisa fainted. Of a sudden the mist was gone and the pool cleared . Once again it became serene and beautiful a mirror reflecting it’s green and blue surroundings. A perfect rainbow danced on the water and all was calm under the sun.

The waters parted and a woman emerged from the centre of the pool. She approached Lisa, she washed Lisa’s blooded body then lifting her, she bore Lisa and her pots back to were the army was camped.

***********

To be continued.

If you wish to read Lisa’s and Rachel’s story up to this point you can find it here.

This is part of Sue Vincent’s Thursday Photo Challenge.

Thursday photo prompt: Journey #writephoto

For visually challenged writers, the image shows a green hill against a misty, grey sky. Across the top of the hill strides a strangely proportioned figure. His head is bowed and he is carrying a staff.

Journey

So the sons of men marched into the unknown. To meet the the Elves and the Dwarves who were gathering in the west. Their journey had begun.

All day they they traveled, the men singing songs of war to keep their spirits high.

Rachel had resumed her wolf form and joined the scouts as they rode ahead to get the lay of the land. She had stopped at a stream to drink from the refreshing water when a cry went up.”Giant on the hill” “No” cried another “It’s Death”

Rachel howled in irrigation and raced up the hill to see what these cretins were making all the noise about. At the top hill she saw the lone figure striding against the wind, striding but not moving.

Immediately she recognised what this was. Laughing inside her head at the ignorance of these scouts she ran down the hill to join them .

Pulling the cloak from the youngest of the men she shifted in to human form and deftly covered herself. “That is neither a giant nor Death ” she said calmly to the scouts as they looked on in awe at the stark figure on the brow of the hill. ” This is a warning mark , my kind erect, these figures to alert any pack of Werewolves that men who hunt us are in this area. We build the figure of a man striding the land with staff in hand, head down following our scent.

The scouts where stunned, then one ventured to ask, “There are men who hunt Werewolves? They actually hunt you, kill your kind?” Rachel looked serious and her eyes flashed, “Yes” she replied taking a deep breath. “These men hunt us but they catch only the weakest , youngest and oldest of us, they do not ever attack any of us that are healthy and strong” Flashing her eyes amber at them she added, “They are cowards.”

The men were stunned by this revelation and ashamed too. “Come said the head scout let’s return to camp my stomach thinks my throat has been cut” So they mounted up and headed back to join the army of the sons of men. The youngest man picked up his cloak from where Rachel had dropped it as she had changed back to her wolf form. As he did he reached out and ran his hand along her back. Rachel froze and was about to turn on him when his words stopped her in her tracks. ” I am sorry for my kind” he whispered, “I could never attack, the young, weak or old of any race.” Rachel spoke to him gently straight from her mind. “I believe you, you have learned a a good lesson today. One word of wisdom, never afford those feelings to a Vampire they are never vulnerable however so they appear”

The young man nodded, and mounted his horse. They all rode back in silent thought, Rachel reading their thoughts satisfied that these men at least we’re on a good journey.

**********

To be continued.

If you wish to read Lisa’s and Rachel’s story up to this point you can find it here.

This is part of Sue Vincent’s Thursday Photo Challenge.

Thursday photo prompt: Within #writephoto

The morning came cold but bright bringing hope to all in different ways. Ewan was addressing the troops. Lisa was saying goodbye to Hope surrounded by Leona’s children. Lisa turned to Leona and asked “how will you feed her I had not thought of that?”, Leona laughed “same as you ma dear see, Jem here he’s coming up eight months trust me girl I have enough milk to go round.” Lisa hugged her thanking her deeply. Leona’s kind eyes searched Lisa’s face. “Don’t worry my dear I knows this ain’t no normal child, no more so than you be a normal woman. Don’t you have any fears me grandma was one of your kind. ” Lisa’s eyes widened “then you must be too” a sad smile crossed Leona’s face ” Nay ma dear not me, grandma took me and me Ma in when I was born, Ma had been used by some passing ‘Gentry’ and she was thrown out for havin’ me!” “Oh!” sighed Lisa. ” It’s fine” smiled Leona ” Grandma was great she taught us both the ways of her craft and we did well in learning. So I know more than most about Hope. ” Lisa felt a wave of relief spread over her, ” Is your grandmother here” she asked. “Nay ma dear she left Ma and me when I got the job here, said she’d see us at some time , whatever that meant …we never saw her again. Me Ma is still here though so I have got help with the running of this place and the children, Ben me man, he is good but always busy bless.” Lisa smiled and handed hope over to Leona knowing she would be safe within this woman’s care.

Rachel was waiting for Lisa in the courtyard , she smiled as she saw her friend approaching, “Is Hope settled are you happy to leave her here, you could still stay.” Lisa took a deep breath and replied ” No I am fine, Hope is in the best of hands I could of hoped for, no I am needed, my powers and your powers will be invaluable to these sons of men.”

Ewan joined them leading two horses one black and one grey. “Ladies” he announced, ” The black for our witch and the grey for our grey wolf,” he paused for a second then added, “Do you ride Rachel, no offense I didn’t think to ask” Raising an eyebrow Rachel cooley replied. “Of course I do ” Looking at Ewan’s embarrassed face she burst out laughing. “But not all the time, as I need to run”

So with Ewan at the front of the possession they moved off across the bridge. Lisa and Rachel following then the men, followed by the supplies and the fit younger women to cook and tend to wounds. The older woman stayed behind with the children. They were a sight to behold, these brave sons and daughters of man going forth to fight evil.

Lisa looked back to the window on the second floor of the castle to see Leona holding Hope, her mother at her side, she blink she was sure she had seen a third woman there smiling …yet when she looked again she was gone.

Ewan looked back and said, “We need to meet the Elves and the Dwarves by full moon that gives us three days marching.”

*********

From within the cavaness cave Mathew looked out on the bright day he thought of Rachel and their lost child. Once again he felt the long forgotten pain of regret. Standing there in the shadows he wondered if he could keep up this pretence of being one of the hoards. A young female approached him ” Come” she said, “You have not fed for days, I have saved a couple of prize speciemens for you the female is with child too. Then I have a hunger only you can sate.” Mathew knew he was out of excuses and if he wished to remain un-noticed he would have to be seen to comply to form. So he turned and followed her to feed and satisfy her lust. All the while pushing down the self loathing he felt within.

***********

To be continued.

If you wish to read Lisa’s and Rachel’s story up to this point you can find it here.

This is part of Sue Vincent’s Thursday Photo Challenge.

Thursday photo prompt: Destination #writephoto

For visually challenged writers, the image shows a path between an avenue of trees. Shadows from hidden sunlight fall across the path, but mist obscures the way forward…

Destination.

When morning took hold it was bright but very misty. Calador shivered as he watched the mist roll up to the ramparts obscuring the road ahead. Though there was sunlight is was pale and held no warmth. The trees that lined the road cast shadows across the short distance he could see.

Wrapping his cloak around him Calador felt the damp but above that he felt a dark menace that he could neither see nor pinpoint. The mist enveloped him, in it he heard the voices of thousands of Vampires, evil beyond his darkest dreams, and humans and animals screaming.

Just as this grew unbearable something touched him on the shoulder, he jumped. Swinging round dagger drawn and ready to defend himself he was shocked to see his sister, Erin.

Wide eyed she stepped back “What is it” she asked, “Are you afraid of your own shadow” she suddenly stopped speaking, hearing the voices in the mist too.

A wind suddenly threw them together, Calador dropping his dagger so as not to stab his sister. The wind dropped as suddenly as it has arisen and the two elves stood in the silence, the voices and the mist all gone.

*********

Lisa stood looking out of the castle window and watched a new day dawn over the loche, Hope, to all intent and purpose, was sleeping peacefully in a basket by the fire. The child was asleep but in her sleep she was watching over everyone.

Ewan burst in the door making Lisa turn to face him. He bowed and bade her good morning, “Has the wolf returned yet” he asked. “Not yet” Lisa replied, “But I sense she is on her way” Ewan shouted for the women who worked in the kitchen and asked for some food to be brought up as quickly as possible. This done he woke the sleeping boy by the fire and told him to stoke it up.

Lisa sighed with relief as she saw a huge wolf approaching the drawbridge. Passing through all the troops that were eating and readying themselves for the long march to meet the elves. None of the soldiers or their women approached the wolf as she loped through their mist, a few dogs fell in behind her but she saw them off with a look.

Ewan met her at the bottom of the stairs with a robe, he dropped it to the floor and shouted, ” I hope it’s your colour” as he retreated up the steps.

Rachel growled but her yellow eyes turning blue as she transformed once more to her human self, smiled. She put on the robe an electronic blue edged in gold.

Joining the others she ate heartily. After their meal it was decided that she and Lisa would accompany Ewan and the army of men to meet the elves and that Hope was to stay at the castle in care of the cook and her husband, two of Ewan longest serving and most trusted servants. The cook and her husband already had a large family of ten children, what better place to hide this special child. In a large and loving family.

Preparations underway to leave early the next morning Rachel went to sleep while Lisa cradled Hope and told her why she had to leave her here , the child already knew, she knew everything. Soon Lisa too was sleeping tired after the nights vigil.

No one, except maybe Hope knew what lay ahead or where their destination was.

******

To be continued.

If you wish to read Lisa’s and Rachel’s story up to this point you can find it here.

This is part of Sue Vincent’s #writephoto.

Thursday photo prompt: Clarity #writephoto

For visually challenged writers, the image shows a seashore with a clear, turquoise sea, bordered by small islands and a rocky headland .

**********

Rachel chose to stay in lupine form until she established what was awaiting them. They followed the boatman up the stone steps. Rachel in her present form hated steps they were difficult with paws and claws. Much worse was the smell filling her nose.

Lisa was nervous too and held tight to Hope, feeling Rachel’s discomfort she rested a hand on her back showing her she cared.

They reached the top of the steps and entered a huge dimly lit hall with a huge fire place at the far end containing a roaring fire.

Rachel looked around recognising , tapestries, a huge long table with benches either side. Armour and paintings adorned the wall, all this along with the stench she had encountered the moment they had entered the castle confirmed they were surrounded by humans.

Lisa though her sense of smell was not as keen as Rachel’s had come to the same conclusion purely from the surroundings.

As they stood in the doorway a man rose from a chair near the fire and turned to greet them.

“Ladies and Hope, greetings, come warm yourselves by the fire. I have been expecting you. Rachel would you not be more comfortable in human form?” Asked the the man smiling and gesturing to the top of the table by the fire.

“Ask him who he is ” Rachel spoke telepathically to Lisa. “We are choosy who we dine with sir, who are you” Lisa replied, adding “how do you know the wolf’s name.”

“I am Ewan king of men , I was visited by an Elf named Calador, who told me to expect you and the child Hope. I am here to help you all I can.”

A thousand questions formed in Lisa’s head the foremost being where is Calador?

Before Lisa could speak Rachel grabbed a cloth from the table and deftly covered herself as she morphed in human shape. “How do we know we can trust you? ” She demanded of Ewan.

“Mathew was here he left you this letter, he had been at the rallying of four houses of the Vampires.” Ewan handed Rachel the letter. He continued “He was well and had seen Roman and Q at close quarters… He was hiding in the throng in plain sight and was as yet unseen.” He finished and waited for Rachel to reply.

Rachel thought, then she looked at Ewan, “When he came, where had he been and where is he now”

“He had been at the gathering on Silverman beach, twenty miles from here, after our meeting he left with the savage hoards of Vampires as they headed off to war. Which is where I and my men will be heading as soon as I hear from the Elf and Dwarf warlords.” Said Ewan sitting down again.

Lisa sat down and unwrapped Hope who reached out for Ewan who smiled and took her into his arms. Lisa smiled and said ” Rachel I believe this man is honourable. Hope accepts him. I believe we may too.”

Rachel’s eyes flashed yellow, “Maybe” she said as she made for the door, ” Silverman beach you say Ewan?”

“Yes, but they are months gone” he replied.

Rachel dropped her cloth and letter at the top of the stairs , she ran down them changing to a wolf as she did.

She swam the loche, and covered the twenty miles to Silverman beach. The smell of Vampires filled her nose and lungs fifteen miles before she arrived there. It sickened her but she ran on.

Arriving just before the dawn she ran up and down the beach looking for Mathew’s scent. Finally she found it.

Again she howled at the sky. “Mathew my love where are you.”

Many miles away Mathew looked up to the horizon and answered Rachel.

**********

To be continued.

If you wish to read Lisa’s and Rachel’s story up to this point you can find it here.

**********

This story grew from a Thursday Photo Challenge which is run by Sue Vincent of Daily Echo. Well I stopped writing this story about a year ago to think about expanding it. So far the stars or rather real life has been against me but today’s photo prompt has inspired me to pull up my socks and work on this story….. It may not be a novel but I do feel it is something.

**********

This is part of Sue Vincent’s Thursday Photo Prompt. #writephoto.

Thursday photo prompt: Castle #writephoto

For visually challenged writers, the image shows a silhouetted castle in the half-light, set in a lake surrounded by hills.

The Castle.

The road had been long and fraught with danger. Yet as she stood on the shore looking out to the castle she felt she had come home.

Night was falling and the light was faint enough for her to linger a while here by the lake. As she breathed in the cool evening air the sound of bagpipes carrying across the loch.

Looking back on all that had happened in the last three years leading up to the war. Rachel wondered was Mathew safe , had Calador reached the high council of the Elves, where were Corvo and his winged friends, there had been no news from them for days. With regret she also wondered had Fay found piece since her savage and beastly death.

A muffled sound to her side made her turn. Lisa smiled at her, “Hope is awake and hungry how far is it to that castle” Rachel replied with a smile then said, “it’s about a mile around the shore but I feel there may a quicker way.”

Rachel threw her head back and howled like the wolf that she was.

To Lisa’s surprise they witnessed a boat being launched and rowed towards them by a dark figure.

The boat was with them within minutes and the robed figure assisted the three of them aboard. Rachel had assumed her wolf form. As such she was sharper, faster and stronger. So she could protect Lisa and Hope better if there was any trickery afoot.

The boatman ferried them swiftly across the loch to the covered landing stage. After he had helped the witch and her child out of the boat and the wolf had joined them. He said ” They await you in the Great Hall.”

Telepathically Lisa and Rachel wondered what lay before them up stairs in the hall. They had been traveling for six months . They were tired and if truth be told unsure of what or who they were about to meet.

Cradling Hope closer to her Lisa followed the, Lupine, Rachel up the stone steps.

**********

To be continued.

If you wish to read Lisa’s and Rachel’s story up to this point you can find it here.

**********

This story grew from a Thursday Photo Challenge which is run by Sue Vincent of Daily Echo. Well I stopped writing this story about a year ago to think about expanding it. So far the stars or rather real life has been against me but today’s photo prompt has inspired me to pull up my socks and work on this story….. It may not be a novel but I do feel it is something.

**********

This is part of Sue Vincent’s Thursday Photo Prompt. #writephoto.

Thursday photo prompt: Span #writephoto

For visually challenged writers, the image shows a a view between two trees of a rapid river tumbling over stones beneath a bridge. The banks are lush and green, and the water if spanned by a simple arch of stone, all overgrown with a green carpet and shaded by trees.

Span

He stood on the bridge and enviously watch as the water rushed and scrambled away. He had long since given up all hope of escape.

What if , he thought to himself, what if he had never found this accursed glen. Not ridden to the centre of the bridge, not halted his horse to to speak to the beautiful maid.

She had had the most piercing blue eyes he had ever seen and blackest hair, raven coloured. Oh! Her lips ruby red demanding to be kissed. She had offered him a drink from a golden Challis which he had been compelled to take.

Immediately he drank from the draft he knew all was not well. He started to feel dizzy and she helped him down from his horse. Smiling and whispering what delights she had in-store for him.

He fell into a deep sleep and had strange and wonderful dreams where she made unending love to him. When he awoke she was gone, he could not clear his head nor could he move.

He tried to move but he was rooted to the ground and his horse had turned to stone. Struggle as he may he was stuck fast as he looked down he could see he was changed. He was a tree he fought to move, he tried to shout but nothing happened. His trusty steed was frozen in stone, thankfully still sleeping.

For years he tried in vain to seek help but no one passed his way or came to his aid. He ranted , he raved to himself he cursed the day he ever set eyes on the woman . He tried as often as he could to escape but all for nought. Hundreds of years passed but still he remained.

All thoughts of escape were pointless now, he had done what had done and that which was done could not be undone. He was was here, turned into a tree, and his horse a rock by his side.

From a distance it was not easy to see him but close up or through binoculars you could make out that this tree looked like a man trying to escape, next to a stone horse with a long black tail.

No one ever visited the glen these days it was too far off the beaten track. It become over grown . If you expand the photo below you might see the Knight and his trusty horse. I wonder if we all wish him and his horse free we could save them.

This is part of Sue Vincent‘s Thursday Photo Prompt.

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