Ink Slingers Guild

The Dead Man’s Prize

The second exercise from the last meeting – enjoy:

Jacket, sordid, compass,

He pulled his jacket tighter around himself, edging through the sordid dwelling, eyes searching for the compass even as they smarted from the noxious fumes rising from the rot and mold.

Broken furniture was piled haphazardly against the wall, and only a little light managed to get through the paper taped over the cracked windows. A pair of rats scuttled away from the sound of his footsteps, and he ducked into the next room, which was just as bad as the first. A pile of rags in the corner turned out to be a body, and it was only after he prodded it with the toe of his boot several times that he realized it was dead. He turned away, and out of the corner of his eye, he saw the weak gleam of light on metal.

Turning back to the corpse, he saw the box wrapped in its arms, and his lip curled in disgust. He took two steps and retrieved a piece of wood with a jagged edge from the corner where it lay, and used it to prod the box away. Rigor mortis locked the dead flesh around his prize, and he groaned to himself. Closing his eyes, and steeling himself, he reached down to pry it loose.

Before his hands reached it, something smashed into the back of his head, and everything went black.


If you want to check out more of my writing, the first five books in the epic fantasy series Guardians of the Path are available on

❤ DragonBeck


The Cursed Creation

So you can tell that I’m back in the swing of things because I post this in a timely enough manner that I actually remember which word was mine (yay!).

Forge (my word), hoard, buzz,

It was sundown before the smith’s apprentice boy ran up and informed Jayden that the item he had commissioned was ready. Jayden followed the boy down to the forge, watching the shadows deepen. The vague worry that they hid something sinister sharpened with each step. He couldn’t see them, and had no way to prove it, but he knew they were close. They had found him.

He could do nothing but hurry the apprentice along. The soft light of the lantern spilled from the large doors, night bugs buzzing in lazy circles.

The smith was a large man with a close-cropped beard. He was seated by the fire, his broad shoulders bent, and frown on his face as he stared down at the wrapped package on his lap. He stood quickly when the apprentice cleared his throat, both glad and anxious to see Jayden.

“I have what you asked for,” he said, and held out the package, dropping it into Jayden’s hand as if it were hot.

Or cursed, Jayden thought, and smiled.

He handed over the price, the last of his share of the dragon’s hoard, but it was worth it. Now, he thought. Now they can come.


❤ DragonBeck

Voices from the Past


I’m getting back into the swing of things, and I’m going to start posting my writing exercise for your reading pleasure!

And I am revamping my mailing list – look out for a new novella that you’ll be able to download when you join my VAD (Very Awesome Dragon) Reader’s group (is that name too much?)!

Anyway, the title is “Patchwork Magyc”, and it will be available in the next month or so, to tide all you wonderful people over until the release of book 6 (which I promise is coming!). 🙂

Until then, enjoy this little bit I wrote with the following words:

ghost, fork, coma,

He walked into the great hall and was immediately accosted by childhood memories. The table was the same, but covered with dust instead of the lace cloth his mother always insisted they used, and the knives and forks of silver for a special occasions. The gilt-framed portraits of his ancestors hung on the opposite wall, so they were able to join in for dinner in what became a creepy ritual and a never-ending source of rude jokes for him and his brothers. He wandered past the chairs, his fingers tracing the carved wooden frames. Some of them were covered in white sheets, making them look like lumpy ghosts, the souls of those tortured in the underealm.

“Henry!” a voice called from the next room, and his head jerked in that direction, a frown on his face. He was sure he had been the only person in the house.

“Henry!” the voice called again, and he took a step towards it.

“Henry!” The voice was almost sing-song now, and like a man in a coma sleepwalking towards the shadow of a nightmare he couldn’t escape, Henry walked through the doorway, and peered into the corridor that led from the dining hall to the kitchens.

It was empty.


❤ DragonBeck

The Link – A Stories My Friends Started

Here’s another one from the vaults of time – a Story I wrote for Stories My Friends Started – this one is kind of cool because I took several of the writing exercises I do every fortnight with the Ink Slingers Guild, and wove them into one tale 🙂

For my dad, with love ❤

The Link

His heart was pounding at the speed of light…there wasn’t much time left. No, scratch that; there was no time left. Harvy glanced at his watch as he yanked it off. Half past ten. He was going to be late. His clothes followed his watch. He didn’t want to call undue attention to himself, and wearing outlandish clothes was a great way to do that. Harvy thanked his stars that he had packed the night before.

The message had been brief and to the point. It was happening soon. They were needed. Harvy thought of Leva. It was a shame that he had to bring her into this, but she was the only one he could think of that would be resourceful enough to carry on if he was…well, he didn’t want to think about that.

A sound outside made Harvy freeze, ears straining. He didn’t hear anything more, but he knew it was time to go. He let himself out of the back as silently as he could. Crouching close to the ground, he ran along the thick shrubbery that passed for a back yard. Harvy had a moment to be pleased that he was never home to care for his garden; then three pairs of shining eyes glared at him from the other side of the fence.

* * *

He was late. That was not a good sign. He was never late. Not for the important stuff. Leva was hesitant to go on without him, despite his injunction of last night. She glanced down the path into the trees and decided she would wait a few moments more. The pack on her back hardly weighed anything thanks to Harvy’s spartan packing list. A blanket. Water. A knife. Nothing superfluous. Leva sighed and tapped her foot, thinking of all the useful items she wanted to bring but couldn’t.

“Things that were set in motion long ago are coming together, and we have to be there by yesterday,” Harvey’s voice echoed in her thoughts.

He hadn’t had time to give her more details, but his eyes had burned intensely and something in his manner had struck a chord deep in the place that knew the right thing to do, even if her mind couldn’t make it make sense.

“Hey!” Harvey’s voice came through in the real world. “What are you waiting for? I told you to go without me if I didn’t show up!”

“I know,” Leva said turning around, and her jaw dropped.

Behind Harvey’s six-foot frame was a pack of something that looked like rabid wolves, but Leva was fairly certain wolves didn’t have wings or glitter that flew from their paws as they ran.

“What the….” she started to say.

“No time!” Harvey said, catching her around the waist and throwing her towards the path. “You should have left when I told you to!”

* * *

Ferma had been given several clues, but the slave with the raven hair was the key to all of them. He strode through the crowded market place, using his long legs and broad shoulders to clear a path. The auction was held on the plateau, in full view of the city. Ferma stopped behind a huge pillar and glanced around. He didn’t want to be noticed or worse, recognized.

The row of people in chains looped around the arena twice, and Ferma started to panic slightly. He didn’t have time to look over all of them! He looked up next to the auction block. A fat man was entering the slaves into the register one by one, the camera an old model that still flashed and clicked, and he had to lick the back with his fat, purple tongue to stick it next to the entry of the slave’s name. Ferma looked at the next slave in line, and his heart stopped.

A small girl with dark skin and the blackest hair he had ever seen stood in chains so large it seemed she should be able to slip out of them with ease. Across the distance of the arena, Ferma caught her eye, and his knees went weak. That was the one!

His eyes widened as a thin man in a dark cloak and a wide-brimmed hat took her arm and led her away, towards the white palace on the hill. Ferma started to follow, determined to keep her in sight, but his view was blocked by a familiar red uniform, and he looked into the cold eyes of the woman with the scar, already planning how not to die, again.

* * *

Harvey’s grip was too tight on Leva’s arm, but when she glanced behind her and the wolves and their weird eyes that smoldered with green fire, she didn’t mind so much.

“How much farther?” she panted, trying to keep up with him.

His eyes stared grimly ahead. “The portal should be here, should be close,” he said.

As he spoke, Leva felt like she had just ran into a brick wall. The world took on a glossy hue. It looked like a huge cartoon bubble, all shimmery and bouncy.

“What’s happening?” her voice stretched out, warped.

Harvey didn’t answer and suddenly they were falling. Leva opened her mouth in a scream, but no sound passed her lips. Then they were in the middle of a crowded market. Leva tried to keep her balance, feeling as though someone had just pushed her, and she stumbled into a woman in a red uniform.

“I’m so sorry,” Leva started to say as she pulled herself upright using the woman’s very muscular arm.

When she looked into the woman’s eyes, all words fled from Leva’s mind. The cold glare was enough to freeze blood, and the scar across her eye pulsed with rage.

“Get out of my way,” the woman snarled.

Leva was grabbed on both sides. To her left was Harvey. To the right was a man she had never seen, tall, handsome, in plain clothes with a gold chain around his neck.

“Run!” they both screamed, and Leva was swept off her feet into a crowded street.

* * *

Aniph walked with the man in the black hat. She wasn’t worried about the chains or the man with the picture machine. By tomorrow morning, her face would have faded from the book and the ink that marked her name would be gone. Her kind were impossible to remember or keep in mind for very long. Even the physical world couldn’t hold an impression of them.

The little fairy creature didn’t like coming here, but this was where she was to meet the man who would save their worlds. And just as promised, he had found her with no problem.

A rough tug on the chains pulled her onwards. Somehow Aniph knew that now was not the time to get free. The man would soon be in danger; he did not need to be distracted. The fairy kept turning though, trying to see. Now there was another man with the first, and a woman. They were running. A second woman, a giant in red, was fighting to come after them. That as not part of the plan. Aniph decided that contrary to her feeling, she should go to him now.

The chains let her go as gently as a mother puts down her baby. The man in the hat didn’t even notice she was gone until it was too late. The fairy made her way through the crowds towards the beacon that was the woman in red, because that was where the man was.

Aniph found the man fighting to get past two tough old men. She touched his elbow, but even when she concentrated, she couldn’t find his center. That wasn’t how it was supposed to be. The little fairy knew despair. Then someone grabbed her elbow. A dancing rain of sparkles and music exploded in her head. Aniph swung around to find a man who was desperately trying to blend in, but his style was definitely not from around here. Beside Aniph’s childlike stature, he seemed very tall.

“Corlax elehtrast nonstras tem pax ter lexum,” he said.

It took Aniph a moment to translate the horribly garbled version of the mostly dead fairy language the man was attempting to speak.

“Perhaps we could just try this,” Aniph said, switching to the common tongue he would undoubtedly be more able to express himself in.

“Good idea,” the man was relieved. “Now we just need to get out of here, and we can have a proper conversation.”

“I can help with that,” Aniph said.

* * *

One moment, Ferma was fighting for his life to get away from the woman in red, wrestling with two stubborn men who seemed to think he wanted a better view of the slavers’ wares. Then he was in a cool, green paradise, the silence pressing on his ears.

“Where am I?” he asked no one in particular.

“This appears to be the emperor’s private garden,” a voice said beside him.

Ferma swung to see he was not alone. Another man, a woman, and a child stood behind him. The man and the woman were looking around, enraptured as he was with the beautiful garden. The child was equally enraptured with the people. Ferma focused on her and realized with a shock it was the slave.

“You!” he cried.

“Me,” the creature said, turning alien eyes on him. “You.”

“Me?” Ferma said uncertainly.

“Stop. What is going on?” the woman interjected.

“Perhaps we should do introductions,” the man said. “My name is Harvey. This is Leva.”

The woman gave a curt nod.

“I’m Ferma Du Tari Ver Sarathael.” Ferma didn’t know why he gave the last part of his name, but he felt it was important.

“My name is Aniph,” the creature said. “And you are mine.”


The fairy frowned. “You are for me?” she tried again. “From me?”

“Corthain,” the man called Harvey said.

Aniph looked pleased. “Yes. Corthain.”

“What…is…that?” Ferma said.

“Yes, what is that?” Leva demanded. “Does that have anything to do with the things…”

“Yes,” Harvey cut her off.

Aniph came forward, eyeing Harvey curiously. Ferma watched the pair; it slowly dawning on him that they knew more of what was going on than either he or the woman did. Then he wondered if they would bring more clues, or the answers to the ones he already had. They did both.

* * *

Harvey waited, holding very still as he allowed the fairy to approach. He didn’t want to spook her. There was no telling how long she had been in this plane, or how well adjusted she was. Leva had no such compunction.

“I still don’t understand what’s going on,” she said. “Where are we? Why is there a child here? Who is this man? Do you know these people?”

“Leva, please, you’re making my head hurt,” Harvey said. “We are…well, it’s difficult to explain, but we’re somewhere important and that’s what matters. The child is older than all of us put together. She is a creature of Fae. This man is her Corthain. Her other half, if you like. And while I know them, I don’t really know them. That is, I’ve never met them.”

“You realize how little sense you’re making?” Leva said, the first stages of panic making her eyes bigger than they already were. “Did you give me something? Is this some kind of trippy hallucination?”

“This is all very real, and if you calm down and breath for one moment, I’ll explain everything.”

Harvey saw that he was holding her arms so tightly his knuckles were white, but Leva was so freaked out that she didn’t feel it or didn’t think to protest. He released her, checking to make sure she was breathing like he had told her to. Then he turned on the man named Ferma and held out his hand.

“We haven’t been properly introduced, Mr. Du Tari.”

The Corthain reached out tentatively and gave Harvey’s hand a quick shake. The electric jolt he received when he touched Harvey’s skin made him squeak and convulsively grip the other man’s hand.

“What the…” Ferma said, yanking his hand back and giving it a shake. “Who are you?”

“My name is Harvey Seth Ver Gurrod,” Harvey said. “And I’m the Link.”*

* * *

Leva still wasn’t sure this wasn’t all a very bad dream. Harvey had gone beyond scaring her. She was now officially terrified to the point of not caring. The wolves could come back, and she’d probably be okay about letting them sniff her hand and then scratching their ears. Or maybe not. Using a lot of very strange words wasn’t helping her state of mind. But Ferma apparently didn’t know what that meant either, so that was comforting, if she didn’t think about it for too long.

“The link?” the man in the black hat was asking. “I don’t understand.”

The fairy was interested in a different part of what Harvey had said. “Ver Gurrod. Not Ver Huntentes?”

Harvey shook his head. “No. That’s a long story, and we’ve no time for it right now.”

“I can make time for it,” the fairy said, holding up her hands.

“No, no, no, that’s okay,” Harvey said quickly, grabbing her wrists and bringing them down. “We don’t want to do anything rash. We’ve all met up, and that’s a good occurrence. Almost a perfect occurrence, if I do say so myself. More than I could hope to expect, really…”

“Wait. Why do you sound like it’s a lucky happenstance that we ended up here?” Leva asked. “What might have happened instead?”

“Do you know how many autonomous entities there are in the universe? And how many particles those entities influence? And how many universes, independent and otherwise, there are? If you take all of that, do you know how many different possible and actual occurrences occur in any give instant of any give time continuum? To many for a normal mind to fully comprehend.” Harvey turned back to Aniph. “Now, I don’t want you messing with an already messy set of circumstances, alright? We’re going to do this thing, and we’re going to get it done right, but that’s only going to be an actual occurrence if we do things logically and systematically.”

The creature of Fae (whatever that was) nodded dutifully, gazing at Harvey with her very unusual eyes. “Very well, Ver Gorrod. Now, what of the Corthain?”

“Yes, what of the Corthain?” Ferma tried to cover his nervousness with a laugh.

“You don’t know what that means, do you?” Harvey said.

Ferma shook his head.

“Do you know what is about to happen?”

Again, Ferma shook his head.

“Do you know anything about anything that is going on?”

“I know I needed to find her,” Ferma pointed at Aniph. “And…that’s about it.”

“That’s a start,” Harvey said, setting his arms akimbo. “I’ll do my best to explain.”

Leva smiled. Finally.

“You and Aniph are the Corthain for your worlds. Together, you are the…well, let’s just say you’re the ones who are going to fix things up when they go wonky.”

“When…?” Leva asked. “No if?”

“When,” Harvey said firmly. “And when is unfortunately now. I am the Link. I help you to communicate and work together, in a manner of speaking.”

“That is why I can’t hear him,” Aniph said.

Harvey nodded as if that made perfect sense.

“And what do we have to do?” Ferma asked. “All I know is that I get given the task of finding out why the water is going rotten, and one thing leads to the next, I’m being hunted by a demon in a red uniform…”

“Speak of the demon,” Harvey muttered.

In the entrance to the garden, partially hidden by a row of green hedges with big golden flowers, stood the woman in the red uniform. She glanced across the garden, searching. Even from here, with the cover of the plants, her eyes stung Leva.

Then a large canine animal appeared at the woman’s side, wings dragging on the ground, sparkles remaining where its paws touched. The woman petted the wolf and pointed into the garden. The wolf sat down and scratched its ear with a hind leg, making its wings jump and flop. The woman scowled, and from her fingers came a bolt of blue fire, which ignited the fur of the wolf. It set off with a howl.

“There is something very wrong with that woman,” Leva whispered.

“How does she always find me?” Ferma moaned, shrinking back.

“She’s her own type of Corthain,” Harvey said. “Not really someone we want to mess with.”

“So you’re a Link and they’re all Corthains, and that’s a creature of Faith…”

“It’s just Corthain, and she’s a creature of Fae.”

“Whatever. The point is, what the heck am I?” Leva said.


“Backup for what?” Leva said heatedly. “I have no idea what’s going on!!”

“You’re the backup Link,” Harvey said. “You know, in case anything happens to me.”

Hope you enjoyed that – if you would like to leave your own “Story Starter” for one of the Ink Slingers, just click the link:

If you think I should continue the story, just comment below and let me know!

More soon!

❤ DragonBeck

Image by Stefan Keller from Pixabay

The Forest Prince (cont.)

Here’s the second writing exercise from the last meeting, as per a special request, it’s a continuation of an earlier continuation exercise, The Visitor and The Forest Prince.

Drown, snort, suitcase

The water rushed over her head, and the clutching hands around her ankles dragged her deeper into the forest pool. She fought, but it didn’t do any good – the creatures were at home in the water, and much more powerful than she was. When her vision began to blur and her lungs began to override her determination to hold her breath for as long as possible, she was sure she was going to drown.

Then someone grabbed her hair, pulling her up while speaking words of power. The creatures below her shrieked, but let their prey go, and retreated into the depths. She was hauled out, first by hair and then her arms, and she lay on the bank, snorting and gasping. When the burn in her lungs subsided, and she saw who her rescuer was, she though perhaps it might have been better to let the little water demons take her.

“Oh, it’s you.” she said.

“What, no words of gratitude?” the man who was not a man said, an impish smile playing over his lips.

“As you’re the reason I’m out here on the run, no, I will not be thanking you for anything,” she replied, wringing water out of her hair, and getting to her knees, fully prepared to march into the forest. Her hand was on her suitcase but his voice stopped her.

“I heard you met my brother.”

She turned to face him, shock and anger vying for supremacy on her face. “And?” she demanded.

“I hoped you’d tell me how that went,” he said.

“Well, you hoped wrong,” she said.

“Did he find it?” the forest prince pressed, going so far as to grab her arm.

She pulled out of his grip. He whispered the words of power, compelling her to stay, and she stopped, just out of force of habit. She had spent so long trying to hide that his words had no effect on her that she still went through the pretense without thinking.

“I want you to tell me what happened,” he said sternly.

She turned to face him once again, and raised a brow. “How do you know he didn’t tell me not to say anything?”

“Because you would be in excruciating pain right now,” he said. She shrugged.

“He didn’t ask me to say anything,” she said.

“So what what happened?”

“Nothing happened,” she said. “He came, and asked where you were, and I told him I didn’t know, and that was that.”

He gazed at her, doubt in his eyes as to whether he though she was lying or telling the truth. “Where are you going?”

“Far away from here,” she hefted the case and held it close to her chest. “Far away from you, and your family, and this forest, and this whole mess.”

“And what do you think that will get you with what you’re carrying?” he asked, smiling slyly.


So, should I continue? 😀

❤ DragonBeck

The Fairies’ Creation

Here’s the flash fiction writing exercise that we did at the last Ink Slingers Guild Meeting – it was just Lisa, Desi and I (Desi bough ceviche and it was delicious – first time I’ve ever tried it).

nose (my word), chrysanthemum, floral,

Henri’s nose told him the problem before he even stepped foot in the room. The thick, putrid odor of decay and death poured from behind the door. He swallowed, turned the handle and stepped inside. The window was open, allowing a fresh breeze to come in from outside, but even the pleasant floral tones of the chrysanthemums from outside couldn’t mask the cloying stench that clung to the room.

“Is that it?” he pointed at the mass in the middle of the room.

The constable who had accompanied him nodded, and looked like he was trying to stop from puking. Henri couldn’t blame him, though in truth he had smelled worse in several of his many cases. Henri made his way to the rotting pile of black tendrils spilling out of the clay pot. He looked around the room for something that would allow him to examine the thing in more detail, and his eyes fell on the poker beside the fireplace. He motioned to the constable to bring it, and hefting the iron rod, he prodded the slimy ropes piled over the sides of the pot like noodles. They hissed and shrank back, and Henri also took a step back, just for good measure.

“Doesn’t like iron,” he muttered. “Not a good sign.”

“What was that sir?” the constable said through the handkerchief he held over his own nose and mouth.

“Fairies,” Henri spoke louder. “One of their creations.”

“Ah,” the constable didn’t look afraid enough of this pronouncement. “Can you get rid of it, sir?”

Henri considered the question. “I might be able to.” He also might just aggravate it and cause it to take over more of the flats, but he didn’t think the constable needed to know that.


❤ DragonBeck

A Piece of Always

We just did one exercise at the first meeting of 2019, so we had some more words and more time – Enjoy!


table, bridge, effervescent, reality, time, particle,

Helden stood on the bridge, looking down at the effervescent water frothing below him. Cosmic thoughts weighed heavy on his mind, thoughts that tried to mold the factors of time, reality, and chance into a solution that would not end in darkness for all. A presences at his elbow drew his attention, and he looked into the bright eyes of Prince Beron. The boy was small for his age, and pale. His mother kept him locked inside, fear for her frail son restricting the very things which might allow him to become stronger – sunlight, fresh air, and physical activity.

“What troubles you, Master?” Beron asked, showing the mental acuteness and attention to detail that would make him a great king one day, if not for his older brother.

Helden smoothed his face into a benevolent smile.

“Nothing, my Prince,” he said. “Just the slow thoughts of an old man.”

Beron gazed at him, his expression showing his disbelief and displeasure at the lie.

“You are not an old man,” the prince said. “Age has little to do with years of your life, and more to do with the life in your years.”

Helden started. “Where did you hear that?”

“I read it in a book,” Beron said, and leaned over the end of the stone rampart, smiling with delight at the stream below.

Helden snatched at the thoughts as they flitted in random patterns, disturbed by the boy’s words.

“What book is that?” Helden probed further.

“It was in an ancient language,” Beron said, and smiled proudly. “The librarian helped me find a table of linguistics to translate it, and the title is A Particle Of Ever. A strange name, but I find things always seem stranger when you look back on them.”

Again, Helden marveled at the precocious prince, and the fate that would keep him from becoming the man he should be. Except if that book was truly what Helden suspected it might be. The more he thought about it, the more he was certain it must be.

“What is it, Master?” Beron asked.

“That is not the correct translation,” Helden murmured, his thoughts at once darker and yet more hopeful. “The book is called A Piece of Always, and I think I need to see it right away.”


❤ DragonBeck

The Wizard’s Price

And this one is the last one from 2018 – a nice little piece that grew into two, with some more new words. Enjoy!

concert, figurine, customer

Fred walked into the store, taking his top hat off as he crossed the threshold into the cool interior. “Sir?” he called out. “Madam?”

Of it’s own accord, the pipe organ in the corner began to play an enthusiastic concert, causing Fred to wince at the volume of the slightly out-of-tune moans.

“Sir?” he tried again, though he found he was unable to compete with the sound of the instrument.

Fred took a step forward, and the shop fell deathly quiet, not even the echo of music lingering.

“We have a customer!” a pretty voice trilled from nearby, and Fred looked around to see a tiny creature with glittering green wings perched right at eye level on the shelf to his left.

The fairy gave him a wide smile, deep blue eyes blinking at him with warm contentment. “He’ll be out in a minute,” the fairy said, with a knowing nod towards the back of a shop.

“I see you’ve come for the figurine,” a voice melodious with deeper tones issued from the gloom, and then a man with a goatee wearing a vibrant red cloak stepped into the dim light.

Fred nodded, playing with the hem of his hat nervously.

“You have the price?” the wizard continued, arching a brow impossibly high.

Again Fred nodded, and pulled the small pouch from his breast pocket. He held it out to the wizard, fully intending to relinquish it and claim the tiny treasure he sought, but something made him hesitate, and he clenched the pouch tight against his chest.


luddite, shiny, reimage,

Luddite (one of my new favorite words): (noun) “a person opposed to new technology or ways of working”, from early 19th century: perhaps named after Ned Lud, a participant in the destruction of machinery, + -ite1.

And reimage: (verb) to create a new image of (someone or something): such as to form a new mental picture of (someone or something), to impress a new conception of (something) upon a group of people, or to create a new representation of (something, such as a story).

The other definition is a computing definition, and I enjoy that irony of the juxtaposition of the two words above.

Fred leaned against the bars of the cage, his eyes closed as he tried to hold on to the reimage of his life as it might have been had he just handed over the thrice-cursed price to the wizard. A tiny metallic tapping made him look up, and the fairy waved at him from the other side of his prison, her shiny wings beating furiously to keep her airborne. The cage itself hovered without visible support over the gaping abyss below. Even after several weeks, Fred still did not know her name, and though the fairy frequently professed a desire to help him escape, she also claimed to be such a luddite that she could not manipulate even the simple gears within the lock that held him fast. He closed his eyes again and leaned back, then yelped at the sharp pinch on his arm.

“I’ve got something important to tell you,” the fairy said, her voice low and urgent. “Pay attention.”

The faintest flicker of hope kindled in Fred’s chest, and he turned to face the little creature. Her eyes were wide, and alight with an emotion he had never seen: terror. “What’s wrong?” he demanded.

“Shh!” the fairy chastised. “Keep your voice down. She might hear you, and she’s much worse than he is.”


Now that we’re all caught up with last year, time to finally turn the eyes to the future…and see that January is almost over *gasp* Where did the time go?

❤ DragonBeck

The Oldest Tomes

This one I was very pleased with – I think this could go somewhere cool.

policy, calendar, cube

The glowing cube hung in midair, shooting off random beams of colored lights. The three hooded figured were bathed in the unearthly light, though their faces remained hidden in shadow. As one, they raised their arms high and began to chant, and the cube responded to the sound. It spun, faster and faster. The beams of light became a blur, and then a grid. Points of light resolved into a map of stars and a celestial calendar appeared. The chant increased to a constant hum, and the cube stopped moving. It dropped to the ground with a discordant bang, and the chamber was thrown into darkness.

A single candle was lit, and the flickers of the flame threw dancing shadows onto the bearers face, making him look older and more careworn than he ordinarily was. His two companions removed their hoods, and they gazed wordlessly at each other.

“You saw it too?” the first finally spoke, hoping he misread the horror in their eyes. When both nodded, he sighed, and rubbed his chin.

“You know what the scripts say,” the second – a woman – said. “We cannot contravene the policies of our forebears.”

“That is not what the oldest tomes say,” the first countered, his voice soft with reluctance.


Let me know if you’d like to read more – I’m considering making this the start of my Ink Slingers Guild anthology story this year!

❤ DragonBeck

P.S. For a fun collection of short stories (mine has dragons and ancient flying contraptions), you can get the latest anthology here!


Distracted By Cakes

Okay, so I’m still catching up from the end of last year – 2019 is turning out to be my best #AWizardIsNeverLate year ever.

Here’s another writing exercise. One tip that I use to free up my mind and get the words to flow easily is starting with the hardest word (for me) and fit the other ones around it. In this case “cliche” is not an easy word for me, or one that I would ordinarily choose to put in my writing. So I came up with a cliche – pixies have notorious sweetteeth (yes, that is a word) (and I got “dessert” in there). “Baleful” is easy-peasy in fantasy – villains anyone?

dessert, cliche, baleful

“Nina,” he hissed. “Nina! Come one we have to-what are you doing?”

“Hmm?” she looked up at him and blinked.

His eyes flicked to the display in the window behind her, and he sighed. Towering mounds of fluffy white icing draped in tiers of chocolate sponge with roses of spun sugar on top, tiny delectables dusted with edible glitter, and a dozen other desserts tantalized through the bakery window. Though it was the middle of the night, flame-less candles lit the entire display.

“Now is no time to get distracted by cakes,” he said, yanking on her arms.

“I wasn’t getting distracted,” Nina pouted. “That is such a cliche. You think that just because I’m a pixie, I can’t resist a treat.”

“It’s not a cliche. It’s a fact of life,” he said. “Now, come on! We don’t have much time.”

The pair ran down the side of the street, their footsteps sounding loud in the darkness. They rounded the corner, and skidded to a stop, the baleful creature crouched and waiting, red eyes glowing. A forked tail twitched behind it, and an ominous rumble grew in its throat.

❤ DragonBeck