Flash Fiction Anthology: Gods and Lore

Shattered by the fist of an old god, plunged and crumbling into the sea, the Dying Isles bore ancient scars. Drowned temples overgrown with slick fingers of seaweed loomed beneath churning turquoise waters: grand haunts for reclusive monsters. Violent tides abraded vestigial shores, succored by stinging winds. And dark magic lingered in the black hearts of a broken order.

***

Other scholars rarely fussed about the view from their cloistered offices. Redari was different. She watched the white marble city as she sealed the fate of dying words. Let her mind rest briefly from translating ancient texts into enduring language by observing the domed towers of the university and beyond. Stormfall, independent city-state and trading empire, undulated with the grassy coastal hills. From Redari’s vantage, she could see more than half the buildings and clean streets sparkling in dawn’s light. She could see the black-sanded coastline, the docks, and the bay disappearing into mist. Sea winds perpetually rattled the loose latch on her window and displaced puffs of dust that swirled through the air like grass tossed in a fast river. The smell of ink and paper combined with the inescapable scent of salt and rain.

Redari closed her eyes, shook her head, and returned her attention to the book on her desk, a crumbling mess of hoary history and outdated vocabulary on faded pages. Understanding of the past and knowledge for the future depended on people like her: scholars who dedicated their entire lives to the preservation of millennia of lore. 

Yet her gaze never stopped drifting to the eastern horizon.

***

Denizens of the gulf raised a monument to their mastery of oceanic trade. As if they controlled the tides. The god of seas cast it down in a vortex of wrath and wounded pride, and the voidmancer stirred in his shadow throne.

***

She tore apart the peaceful grasslands, weeping. Malice wreathed the dark horizon; mist curled from the silver river. Fickle child, to use power in such a way. 

The stars shuddered. Black stone and liquid flame burst forth from gashed earth, upheaving mountains: three ranges interwoven in peculiar form. A barrier and clear warning. Fury sculpted peaks harsh and impassable, sharper than a knife to the touch, high enough to rend the lofty domain of winter gods. A bitter sentinel of ice and onyx, hewn in agony. And guilt.

***

Fragile mortals. If the wound didn’t end them, the infection would. They could never be trusted to survive, even when the war was won and peace was on the horizon. Dythar relished throwing lines of them against each other until all dissolved to blood and bone; he thought of it as punishment for their loathsome weakness. He hadn’t agreed to create the feckless things. Sating his lust for chaos with broken crowns and crushed skulls was his Eineria-given right now that he was bound by their prayers. 

But it was only the beginning. A nascent existence. Slowly, arduously, these breakable mortals would try to outrun their own instincts. And one day, little wars would be all that remained. Subtle wars. The kind declared in the shadows, prosecuted with intangible weapons. 

Dythar was ready for them.

***

Lightning flashed deep within roiling black clouds. Icy rain pelted crashing waves to a thunderous rhythm. Goddess of storms, painter of winds, sister of the sea composed a sweeping symphony of longing and loss amid the tempest. The thread had snapped. Grief whispered in the gale. Dawn would not touch the isle where her brother had fallen to splintered fate.

***

Confounding: that was the only word for it. There was no geological reason for the Amarimah and Westwatch Rivers to split at the point they did. Zalim the mapmaker cataloged the unassuming flatlands surrounding the fork with an occasional shake of his head. Religion in Iotorath was sparse, and few still worshipped the old gods; he certainly didn’t. But these unexplainable, illogical, unnatural phenomena—surely it was proof that in eons past, the old gods had touched the world. And if they had once … perhaps they would again.

***

Bountiful green lands turned to scorched earth beneath dark clouds that no longer portended rain. Water vanished from the hearts of roots and grass; springy ground hardened until it cracked and split. Mortals praying to the goddess of storms knew not that she had abandoned them in grief to tides of dust and sand—only that their devotion had been cast aside, forgotten, as if it never meant anything at all.

***

Mortals said the gods whispered to each other from atop the peaks, though none living could withstand the frosted lance of their voices.

***

Lesser gods, children of gods, prostrated before Eineria for a thousand years and a thousand days in pursuit of a gift worthy of worship. Ever compassionate for the fate of her smallest creations, the mother acquiesced to grant mortals a sliver of her power. The young, petty gods heralded the bounty, and the elders, the old gods, faded from the world to linger amongst the stars.

One thought on “Flash Fiction Anthology: Gods and Lore

  1. you had me at ‘voidmancer’. what a enchanting look into the creators and creation of Eineria. I WANT MORE, Becca!

    Like

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