[ My arch nemesis and I provided each other with some writing prompts. This is the fourth one she gave me. The limitations are it must be serious and non-canon to the story in which both our characters appear. Her prompt is below:

Alice shows up in Mage’s moors with a message for her. What is the territory’s reaction to having her there, and how does Mage welcome her? ]

The raven seeks her first, for it can travel over mountain and forest, valley and field. When it finally reaches the shore of the frigid sea it lands upon her shoulder and whispers in her ear of the things it has seen. The woman turns her back to the white-capped waves and begins to walk inland.

The caribou seeks her next, for it is strong and surefooted, and can travel great distances. When it finds her walking across the frozen tundra it bows its great antlered head in offering and carries her for a time. The woman bows her head to the creature in turn when they part.

The snow cat seeks her next, for its home is among the rocks and crevices of the mountains. When it finds her following an icy path along a cliff edge it walks at her side so she will not slip. The woman tells it stories of seagulls and narwhals and fat spotted seals as they walk.

The wolves are the last to seek her, for they guard the base of the mountains and let none pass without their master’s say. When they find her descending the foothills they greet her with a chorus of howls as bright and flowing as the aurora borealis. The woman greets each of them in turn, alpha to omega, and then bids them show her the way.

When the traveler seeking her reaches the edge of the forest, the woman and the wolves are waiting. The traveler bows her head in deference, for this is not her land, and calls out, “Greetings, Lady of the Wastes.”

“Greetings, She Who Finds the Lost,” the woman replies. She steps closer and the wolves fan out around them both in lazy, alert circles. “What brings you on such a long journey?”

“The shadow in the south grows darker,” The traveler gestures back the way she came, and even from here the horizon’s edge seems dim. “Foul creatures creep forth and ill deeds are done by moonlight. We are no longer enough to keep the evil at bay… already many of my companions have fallen in battle against this thing. It spreads over earth and water alike, destroying everything in its path. It is like a plague, unstoppable and infectious.” She draws in a tense breath, steps closer. “Your land is untouched now, but it will not remain that way for long. Watcher in the North, will you fight with us?”

The woman turns, surveying the edge of her expansive territory. The only blood spilled here since her arrival so long ago has been in the dance between predator and prey. It is a savage land, cold and cruel, but a pure land subject only to nature’s harsh laws. The presence which grows in the south is not natural and its laws would not be harsh; they would be catastrophic. She cannot allow it to touch her realm.

“I will come, yes,” The woman gestures to the pack and from its ranks approach two wolves, one sleek and white and the other muscled and black. They come to stand on either side of her as their brethren disperse, melting back into the shadowed foothills. The three turn as one to the traveler and the woman draws up the hood of her dark cloak. “Let us seek the source of this plague and wipe it from the earth.”

2 thoughts on “#1543

  1. This is beautiful. My favorite line is “When they find her descending the foothills they greet her with a chorus of howls as bright and flowing as the aurora borealis.” Your dialogue is spot-on. I hope you get your larger story published soon for the rest of us to read! -Cheri

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