By D.C. Ward, Chris Wright and Andy Wright
The second Fifteen Minute Fiction Challenge sees all three Sentient Ink authors pitted against each other for the first time. That’s three authors with only a randomly generated genre and title to prompt fifteen minutes of writing. The clock stops for nothing, so that’s planning, writing and any internet searches. Please let us know how you think we did by commenting or voting for your favourite.
Random Genre: Fantasy
Random Title: Final Children
Final Children By D.C. Ward
The Wise of Tendris, the forever-ruling council of a once sun-kissed, and now ice-plagued world, had been reduced to just eight members. Together they trudged perilously through leagues upon leagues of snow and ice, charming a path as best they could with a lick of flame from their crooked and flaking wands. Days of climbing, falling and fighting with the white hounds and frosted drakes of the mountains eventually ended with a lonesome patch of surviving meadow, where green tussocks and resilient flowers battled the cold. Within the field was the Forgotten Ruins – their escape and their hope.
The eight Wise, four men and four women, turned to their four young followers and in turn kissed their foreheads, for they were their children. The Wise wore smiles that were wet with tears, their joy anchored with loss. But this world was no longer theirs. They were people of warmth and life, of which their children were the last, but their young in turn would be the first of winter, and through them the Wise would live on, until summer returned.
Final Children by Chris Wright
The knock on the door was like daggers in her heart. She rebelled at the sound of it, and cowered at its call. She didn’t move at all. Frozen like a statue, she stood in her hall, praying that she’d dreamt it and the Gods would see fit to chase her nightmares away. But the gods were unkind. They had little time for the likes of her. Little time for anyone but them. What her Joren would become. No. She couldn’t think on it, couldn’t bear to contemplate it. But it crashed down upon her as the knock echoed starkly through the sparse, wooden hut.
“Mother, the door,” Joren said in confusion, his brow knotted thoroughly at his mother’s fear.
“Yes…” she whispered. “Yes I know. Go to your room, my darling.”
The third knock was ceaseless and full of insistence and she felt herself move with well-learned deference. She shut her eyes tight at the feel of the iron of the knob, but twisted it open and looked upon her son’s fate.
The sight of him almost did for her, almost put her over the edge. Clad in his robes of the darkest maroon, hood turned up like a blood-soaked monk. How apt it was, she thought to herself, but found no humour in it.
“Cassandra…” said the priest beside the blood-robed man, catching her eye for the first time.
She allowed her plea to trail off into nothing as she realised the priest stood powerless to intervene. So great a man, so wise and sure and yet here he sweated in his gods-forsaken duty, stood like a child by the tall, dark man of the order.
“You are honoured, Madam,” the man spoke in a rumbling, grizzled timber. “Your son has been called.”
“Your grace, please,” Cassandra muttered, finding courage unknown against her son’s calling. “Please, he is but a boy. A few more years.”
“The Final Children do not wait, good woman.”
His words were soft but his tone wavered none.
“You are honoured. He will be great. A leader. A man beyond men. A king. A god. Young forever and wise beyond knowing; a Final Child of the Cordinus Realm.”
Final Children by Andy Wright
“Will you sit down for once?” James said, as Mary ran around in a circle her arms outstretched.
“Zoooooom,” Mary said in response, her bare feet padding over the lush green grass.
James sighed at the seven year old’s behaviour, before standing up himself and walking the few feet to the cliff’s edge. He looked down at the peaceful ocean below and wondered for the thousandth time how something so beautiful could be the only thing preventing him from seeing his mum and dad.
How did we get here? he wondered, also for the thousandth time. How could it be that seven children, with no connection to each other, ended up on the same tiny island in the middle of nowhere? Well, four now, he reminded himself.
He looked up and his hand searched for his sharpened stone as he heard rustling. He momentarily relaxed when he saw Sam and Mike run out from the treeline, but the looks of terror on their faces were enough to make him think again. They were followed into the clearing moments later by a bounding, snarling creature; too big for a warthog but too lithe and quick for a bull.
Sam and Mike threw themselves to the floor and James readied his stone for a fight. Mary, though, stood where she was, smiling at the creature as it pounced at her. Just as James was about to call out, a deep droning noise boomed out of their unlit campfire. Blue fire spewed forth and seemed to search out the beast. It sizzled away to ashes in seconds, with barely time for a whimper.
“Do you have to leave it to the last minute every time?” James panted towards Mary.
“It’s more fun that way,” she replied in her sing song voice.
“Fire is a new one,” Mike cut in.
Mary smiled. “I never know how it’s going to happen. It’s fun to find out though.”
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Read Challenge 1 | Challenge 2
Or if you feel like something a bit longer, but still fantasy, try The Demons’ Cry