Saturday, September 7, 2019

Storytime Saturday Presents: "Better The Thorn" by Guy Donovan

As explosions went, Lash thought it was the prettiest one yet. It was certainly the largest. She squinted against the brilliant glare and heat, her coarse goblin lashes whisking together. Even so, she glimpsed several tumbling and flailing Fae warriors silhouetted against the blast’s colorful flames. Yellow shifted through orange and red before fading to an oily black. The seemingly living way in which the flames roiled and writhed never ceased to fascinate her.

Plasma, she thought, shielded from the effects of her handiwork by a thick tree trunk. The humans call it plasma, I think. Or was that something to do with their blood?

Whatever the humans called it did not matter, she decided. Only the staggering variety of their deadly weapons did. She stole all she could from them to use against her enemies in the world of Faerie. She was, after all, a goblin, and killing Fae was what she did. She had just returned from her latest trip to Earth when the Fae patrol had stumbled into her on the way back to her fortress home. In order to escape them, she’d had to sacrifice the wagon loaded with corroded steel drums of kerosene, but she had many other caches of deadly weapons squirreled away in that wood.

The shrieks of the dying punctuated the survivors’ moans as she scrambled higher up the tree, her claws sending shredded bits of bark flying through the air. Near the top, she leaped for the next tree over, using her momentum to bend it toward yet another. Snagging a branch, she spiraled her way back down into thick, autumn foliage that concealed her from even the sharpest-sighted Fae on the ground.

At the bottom, Lash spied her enemies through a gorse bush’s prickles. While the roughly two dozen survivors tended to the dead or injured, a pair of tall and stately Fae conferred. Of all the golden-hairs, those two most concerned her. One was clearly male, and she knew him to be an adept by the Rowan staff he carried. The other’s elaborate, shining armor, feminine by its shape, identified her as the captain of the patrol that had found her there in the Goblin Wood. When the captain removed her gleaming, winged helmet, Lash’s black heart skipped a beat.

Is it? she thought. Then, No…it can’t be!

The Fae captain and the adept both looked like all the others of their hated race. The same even, angular features. The same golden hair. But their ears…those were the true means of identifying individual Fae. The captain’s ears were familiar to her.

Look for "Better The Thorn" in the upcoming anthology, Dreamtime Damsels and Fatal Femmes, by the Dreamtime Fantasy Authors!

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