Explore short stories and musings

  • The Curse of Beauty
    It is hard to determine gifts from curses when dealing with the Folk. Even their most well-intentioned of gifts can turn unexpectedly sour, leaving the victim wondering if it had been a cruel trick all along. Be it speaking gold or a magic flute, anything freely given by the Folk carries risk. And a childContinue reading “The Curse of Beauty”
  • Tree Song
    I am a savior of lost souls. I am release, I am relief. I call to those who need me most. Weary travelers, desperate mothers, fearful children. I welcome all. Criminals, runaways, vagabonds. If you are scared, or tired, or lost, I will take those awful feelings away. Even now comes a weary child, drawnContinue reading “Tree Song”
  • Trial By Fire
    There are some ceremonies people view as little more than simple tradition or formality. The Trial was not one of them. The Trial was a very real, very dangerous ritual that determined who would join the temple as acolytes. Candidates were not chosen lightly, for the Flame could harm or even kill those it didContinue reading “Trial By Fire”
  • The Birth of a Mermaid
    In the quiet hours on a moonless night, a desperate man carries a limp form gently to the water’s edge. Cradled in his arms, he places her hand in the water and sings softly to her as he waits. It does not take long for a blue-tinged hand to take hers, and a head liftsContinue reading “The Birth of a Mermaid”
  • For My Father
    Her father had hated the thought of growing old, of losing himself to a failing mind and body. How many times had he insisted “Just take me out back and shoot me” with a smile on his face? The older he got, the less it sounded like a joke, and the more it stabbed atContinue reading “For My Father”
  • Vinesickness
    She did not remember going into the forest. She didn’t remember the thick, unseasonal fog that swirled around her feet, or the strange sense that she needed to go, despite the dangers. She did not remember the night she was stung, and in truth the night would always be a mystery to her. But sheContinue reading “Vinesickness”
  • In the Shadow of the Forest
    There is, some say, a door of sorts that opens in the woods. It is there when the sun has just set and any remaining light disappears before it reaches through the trees. It is never said which woods, and if pressed, many will admit that it could be any woods. In truth it isContinue reading “In the Shadow of the Forest”
  • Frost
    Written Nov 26, 2021. Prompt: winter is on my tongue It is dark. It is cold. A sliver of moon glows unexpectedly bright on the untouched layer of frost. There are no clouds in the sky, no lights in the windows. Everything is still. The perfect stillness is broken only when a slight figure stepsContinue reading “Frost”
  • Forest Born (part 2)
    The human mother awoke to the high-pitched wail of the abandoned baby, when the rays of the sun had just begun to stretch above the horizon. She pulled him from his cradle and rocked him, but still he cried and screamed. When she’d tried to feed him, he had bitten her, and when her husbandContinue reading “Forest Born (part 2)”
  • Search
    Late into the night, so late that it is almost morning, a single soul lies awake, surrounded by books and loose papers covered in scrawled notes. She is searching. She has to find him. He’s lost. He’s in danger. She flips frantically through the pages. Her eyes burn, her head pounds. She takes a shakyContinue reading “Search”
  • Song of the Island
    Along the coast of the mainland sits a line of sleepy islands, home to generations of sailors and their wives. Every year before the sailors leave for the season, the Islanders row out onto the water and light candles in little bowls, one for each sailor. These are good luck charms, wishes from their familiesContinue reading “Song of the Island”
  • Musings 4: Too Many Ideas
    It’s a common joke amongst writers, that we can’t focus on a single story concept without being distracted by several others. This often leads to dozens of started works and no finished products, which can be hard on a person’s sense of accomplishment. I had this problem bad. I had shelves filled with notebooks thatContinue reading “Musings 4: Too Many Ideas”
  • The Wists
    When the humans first started to fear us, they avoided our realm. When they realized that they could use our magic and our land, they began negotiating. Caravans of ambassadors and gifts swarmed our forests. They offered us food we did not eat, cloth we did not wear, and tools we did not use. TheyContinue reading “The Wists”
  • The Prince’s Death (part 2)
    The next night, I met Prince Oryn in the tack room, long after the stable hands had gone to sleep. He was cross-legged on the floor, braiding hay. Silently, I sat down in front of him. He set the hay in his lap. “You said you’d make me look sick. How real is it?” IContinue reading “The Prince’s Death (part 2)”
  • The Prince’s Death (part 1)
    Prompt: When I was younger I used to pray to every falling star to make me a bastard, now I just hope to die before I’m forced to wear the crown. “Your parents are expecting you, your majesty.” I told the prince, standing in the doorway to his chambers. He was sitting curled up onContinue reading “The Prince’s Death (part 1)”
  • Forest Born (part 1)
    In the wild corners of the world, home to strange magic and ancient creatures, lie great forests and fields seldom seen by human eyes. And ruling over these lands are those few are brave enough to name. Called the Folk, the Fair Ones, the Good Neighbors, the Fey could almost be mistaken for humans untilContinue reading “Forest Born (part 1)”
  • Chosen Bride
    In the palace of the emperor lives an honored group of maidens, known for their beauty and prodigious skill. Families of every background can send their daughters to court in hopes of joining them and eventually finding a husband. Men of the court took pride in affording the many services these women offer, among themContinue reading “Chosen Bride”
  • To the Wolves
    Written 8 November 2017 One night, in an act of desperation and extreme sorrow, I literally threw myself to the wolves. Just after midnight, I ran, leaving my shoes and cloak behind. I continued deep into the forest until I was exhausted and my toes were numb. Lost, tired, and melancholy I curled up againstContinue reading “To the Wolves”
  • Into Battle
    Prompt: “My sword is bright. My arm is strong. My grip is sure.” Written 11 November 2017 I stepped quietly into the tent, adjusting my armguard and watched as the soldier knelt, eyes closed with his sword in his hands. “My sword is bright” he chanted. “My arm is strong. My grip is sure.” IContinue reading “Into Battle”
  • Reflections
    Written 11 September 2017. We looked at ourselves in the full-length mirror, thinking the same thing: our bodies emulated our positions better than our robes. My many braids sparkled with the gold beads threaded in them, shining out of the black. The sun painted on my forehead stood out on my gray-tinted skin. My roleContinue reading “Reflections”
  • Coronation
    Prompt: The moment the king set the crown on her head, the ancient statue crumbled. Written 21 February 2021 An hour before her coronation, Princess Senka sat cross-legged on the floor, trying to do magic. Eyes closed, she tried to reach out and feel for the magic she knew must be around her. When herContinue reading “Coronation”
  • The Changing of the Season
    Prompt: this is not the deal I made. Written 18 February 2021 Twice a year, nature holds its breath as the courts change power. Summer and Winter meet beneath the ancient weeping willow, and they exchange gifts as their people find common ground in music. The rhythm of Winter sings to the twirl of Summer’sContinue reading “The Changing of the Season”
  • A Warning
    No prompt Written 19 February 2021 There are many tales of the Folk, many of them contradictory. Some say they are honorable, but follow a code separate to the laws of humanity. Others say they are impulsive and cruel. They are impossibly beautiful, or they are unnaturally angular, with too many joints. There are storiesContinue reading “A Warning”
  • In the Water
    Prompt: she stood on the end of the pier, took a deep breath, and jumped into the freezing ocean. She was going to get answers, no matter what it took. Written 6 February 2021 (character inspired by Disney’s Ursula) It was a gray and oppressive sky that hung over her as she walked up theContinue reading “In the Water”
  • The River’s Monster
    Prompt: Don’t believe the words of a water spirit. They can never be trusted. written 5 February 2021 In a particular forest, on a particular morning, wanders a man who once had a purpose. Long ago, when the green of his cloak was still as bright as the leaves around him, he had a questContinue reading “The River’s Monster”
  • A Guide to the Stone People
    Prompt: The stone people were not very pretty, but they would help a stranger in need. Written 3 February 2021 Half a day’s ride from any border town, there lies a cave in the side of a hill. To find the right hill, you must look for the one that is always in shadow, noContinue reading “A Guide to the Stone People”
  • Burning
    Prompt: Never trust the sun. It will always burn you written 7 February 2021 He approached the gleaming palace slowly, squinting as the setting sun reflected on its golden roof. He loathed having to return here. The place held memories of nothing but shame. To his great humiliation, the guards recognized him and let himContinue reading “Burning”
  • Birthright
    Prompt: They painted her in shades of crimson for the ceremony, until every inch of skin blazed like a dying ember written 25 January 2021 She didn’t understand why they painted her skin with such tenderness. She was about to burn, and the paint would neither protect her nor survive the flame. One look fromContinue reading “Birthright”
  • Fallen Stars
    Prompt: the old man stares hard at you, seeming to see into your soul. “I will tell you your future.” he says, “but first you must tell me mine.” written 7 January 2021 The night market was alive with music and magic. Dancers in silk skirts twirled between stalls selling amulets, potions, and all mannerContinue reading “Fallen Stars”
  • The Witch’s River
    Prompt: I should have drowned, but the river took pity on me and carried me home written 4 January 2020 I don’t remember what I’d been running from. All I remember is that I didn’t hesitate to fling myself off that cliff to get away from it. I should have drowned. More than that, IContinue reading “The Witch’s River”
  • Gemini Dance
    No prompt. Written 27 December 2020 She walked the edge of the ballroom, watching as the glittering skirts twirled a mesmerizing swirl. As the music sped up, it became more and more difficult to see the dancer’s faces, and panic rose in her throat. She cursed herself for ever letting her sister come with her,Continue reading “Gemini Dance”
  • Old Magic (part 2)
    Written 8 October 2020 She never asked his name, only called him “boy” or sometimes simply shouted insults or swears to get his attention. He took no offense from this, and only retaliated by calling her “hag”, a name that merely made her laugh. They were immune to each other’s venom, and fell into anContinue reading “Old Magic (part 2)”
  • Old Magic (Part 1)
    Prompt: she had quit eating hearts a long time ago Written 30 July 2020 The townspeople stayed away from the cottage covered in vines. Erected long before the town, it sat half a mile away from any other building. Many rumors flew about her and her garden. Every plant was poison of some kind, everyContinue reading “Old Magic (Part 1)”
  • The Queen’s Spellcaster
    Prompt: When she arrived, all conversation ceased Written 7 October 2020 He had heard so many tales about the Queen’s royal spellcaster that he no longer knew what to expect. The only thing that stayed consistent was her mask, said to be made of bone. It covered her entire face, with two holes for theContinue reading “The Queen’s Spellcaster”
  • Autumn’s King
    No prompt. Written 25 December 2020 On the first true day of fall, when the leaves have turned but not yet fallen to the forest floor, the King begins his search. He is unmistakable, shrouded in a cloak and carrying an oak staff. His antlers curl around his head to form a crown that cannotContinue reading “Autumn’s King”
  • Musings 3: Message and Escapism
    Some stories have a message, a lesson to teach. Some do not, and they are equally important. These stories provide entertainment, and escape from a world that needs lessons taught and morals shouted from pages. Of these two brands, I am afraid I only ever write the one. My stories hold no grand truth orContinue reading “Musings 3: Message and Escapism”
  • The Forest
    No prompt Written 22 December 2020 Before you enter the forest, stop a moment and take note of the wind, the sun’s position in the sky, the sway of the trees. Before you set foot in the shade, to hunt or hide or fight, you must check to see whose territory you are entering. IfContinue reading “The Forest”
  • Musings 2: The First Line
    They say the first line, first paragraph, first page, is the most important part of your book. They’re wrong. You don’t write an engaging, fun, interesting “first” part, and then get lazy the rest of the way. The entire book should be the most interesting. You don’t want your reader to say “The first pageContinue reading “Musings 2: The First Line”
  • Of the Sea (version 2)
    Prompt: “I’ll come meet you where the stars meet the sea” alternate version of previous post. Written 8 September 2020 It was the last thing he’d said to me, before he left with them, in the middle of the night. They didn’t look at me, only flanked him as if he were very valuable. OrContinue reading “Of the Sea (version 2)”
  • Of the Sea (version 1)
    No prompt. Written 24 August 2020 She lived with her husband on an island ten miles from the mainland. Perhaps “island” is too grand a word, for it held enough space for a house, a spacious garden, a copse of trees and no more. Her husband was a sea-loving man who made his living asContinue reading “Of the Sea (version 1)”
  • Musings 1: Notebooks
    Welcome to the first of my musings. These will be posted regularly alongside my short stories. I encourage all readers to let me know their opinions on every topic, because that is all these are: my opinion. Notebooks. In the writer’s community, beautiful notebooks are seen as these holy objects, to be collected and thenContinue reading “Musings 1: Notebooks”
  • To Breathe
    Inspired by Leigh Bardugo’s Language of Thorns. Written 31 July 2020 She knew, as all children did, that toys could will themselves alive in a way a child’s imagination couldn’t. True, the dreams of a child filled their chests with air, brought movement to their stiff limbs and opened their painted mouths. But a childContinue reading “To Breathe”
  • Frozen Folk
    Prompt: Their home was cold, their hearts were winter, and they spoke in frost. Written 24 May 2020 The child walked up the steps to the large home. He shivered. Elsewhere, it was early summer, but here, winter ruled. It was their way. Their home was cold, their hearts were winter, and they spoke inContinue reading “Frozen Folk”
  • The Matchmaker
    This story does not have a prompt, but was inspired by the matchmaker scene in Disney’s animated Mulan. Written 9 June 2020 She sat quietly as her mother combed her hair and her sister painted her face. “Don’t be nervous. The matchmaker is fair.” said her mother. “She isn’t cruel.” “She’s quite judgmental.” her sisterContinue reading “The Matchmaker”
  • The Pirate
    Prompt: “It’s going to be so awkward”//”Just find a hot pirate to hit on to pass the time” Written 20 February 2019 “Ok, I’ve got to go in and make this deal alone. I need you to stay here until I’m done.” he said, pulling his bag off his shoulder. I slumped. “So I haveContinue reading “The Pirate”
  • The City that Forgot
    Prompt: By noon, the flowers had reached her knees. Written 9 July 2020 Everyone is warned to avoid the attention of the Fair Folk. They are volatile, fickle, and nigh impossible to understand. And they don’t like being seen without permission. If you are born with the Sight, you must live carefully or risk beingContinue reading “The City that Forgot”
  • The Emperor’s Bride
    No prompt. Written 25 December 2019 Teagan sat in front of her mirror, one servant braiding back her hair, another brushing pigments on her face. She took several deep breaths in an effort to steady her nerves. Her engagement to Emperor Anselm would be officially announced at the start of the ball that night, andContinue reading “The Emperor’s Bride”
  • The Reed Pipes
    Prompt: “The marshes stank of rot and old magic, smothered beneath the fresh scent of spring Written 20 January 2020 She hadn’t wanted to go to the marsh today. It was misty and that meant that the Fair Ones would be watching her. But her mother needed the herbs, and so Asura took her basketContinue reading “The Reed Pipes”
  • A Changeling’s Sister
    Prompt: she felt the weight of the world on her shoulders, and the weight of her sister in her arms. [written 29 September 2019] “Evie!” she screamed, stumbling as she ran to her sister’s side. When she reached her, she fell to her knees, cradling her head in her arms. “No, no, no! You’re gonnaContinue reading “A Changeling’s Sister”
  • Welcome
    Welcome to Pen Name Not Found! Before we get started with the dragons, an introduction is in order.

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