Monday, 11 July 2016

246: Suppression

Over at “Web Fiction Guide”, GeneralRincewind posted a challenge in the forum, to write a short story (under 1001 words) on a particular theme. The theme of the day being “Fantasy Disabilities”, hence a story which “prominently features a character with some kind of disability, mental, physical or magical”. So, why not? Here's post 246.



When the silence fell, Amethyst was in the castle cafeteria. One moment, she was listening to the mutterings of idle conversation about her, and in the next moment, the entire room was enshrouded in unnatural quiet.

Many wizards stood up, pushing back their chairs. The wood made no sound as it scraped against the stone floor. Mouths moved, but no one could converse. Gestures were made, but no spells went off, seeing as most magic required a verbal component.

That’s why silence spells were highly illegal. Granted, most law enforcement paired a mage with a more conventional fighter - but there was no one conventional at the Annual Wizards Convention. Because who would be stupid enough to attack the highest concentration of powerful spell casters in the land?

Someone with a grudge, Amethyst reasoned. More to the point, someone positioned above the castle, able to extend the spell within a hemisphere below them.

She stood up. No one paid attention to her. For over twenty years now, no one had ever paid attention to her, except to mock her. Hence why she preferred to blend in. It helped that she was of average height and weight, that her short, dirty blonde hair was unremarkable, and that she kept the colours of her robes deliberately muted.

Of course, attention snapped to her as she cast her spell.

A few magic circles had gone off in the large room at this point. Amethyst thought she recognized a divination spell. But her circle was the brightest, since under the current conditions, her spell had the most power behind it.

She half smiled as she rose up into the air, controlling the winds swirling about her. Would this change the opinions of the others? Probably not. But that wasn’t important right now. The wind swiftly propelled her out the door and through the castle corridors much faster than she could have managed by running.

Wind was a low level spell. It required no chant to activate. Of course, refining it to the point of flight was hardly worth it, not when higher level spells achieved better results with less strain. Amethyst, contrarily, had taken the time to perfect her wind.

She rocketed out the nearest window. Not seeing anyone floating high in the air, she arced towards the tallest tower of the castle, robes flapping silently in her self-made breeze.

He saw her coming. But he didn’t seem to know what to do about it. He either hadn’t anticipated being attacked in that manner, or if he had, not that quickly. So he simply waved his hands back and forth, as if to say ‘go away’. Unless that was a spell he was casting?

Amethyst didn’t chance it. As soon as she touched down, she snapped her arms out, binding his hands behind him. In the time it took for the man to free himself from her simple restraint spell, she spotted the glowing orb on the floor, marched over, and ground it under the heel of her boot.

The cry of a nearby bird was drowned out by a howl of frustration.

“WHY? Why’d thoo do tha?” the man demanded. His hands, now free, balled into fists. “Thoo thtupid withzards wit your thtupid thpells - how could thoo even FLY wit no thpeach?!”

Amethyst lifted an eyebrow. She was surprised for two reasons. First, that he didn’t recognize her. Despite her efforts to blend in, she’d always assumed everyone around here knew who she was, and were secretly laughing at her behind her back.

Second, she recognized him. Not from the dark hair or the black cloak, it was the lisp that gave it away. Ned Schriff, the only other person to have had his application to the mages guild rejected four times.

“Who ARE thoo?” Ned demanded. She found she could only shake her head in reply.

His shoulders began to twitch, and he collapsed down onto the ground. “I jutht wanted to thow them... thow all of them... what ith like...”

Amethyst bit down on her lower lip. She understood now. But the others wouldn’t have known. Not really. This was all so sad. Part of her wanted to reach out and hug him.

She took a step forwards, but he scooted back and spat in her direction. Amethyst edged back. If her fifth application to the guild had been rejected, is this how she might have reacted? Is this what she might have become?

The sound of running footsteps ceased as two high level wizards reached the top of the stairs. Quickly sizing up the situation, one of them chanted a powerful bind spell, Ned’s whole body tensing up. The other approached Amethyst.

He regarded the crushed pieces of orb on the ground, then her. His eyes narrowed. “Is this some kinda scheme you two cooked up? To prove your worth to us?”

She shook her head, feeling a lump growing in her throat. Of course they would suspect her. Of course they would.

“The heck are thoo talkin about?” Ned sniped, unknowingly coming to her defence. “Why’d I work wit thome thtupid withzard?”

The older mage looked over at Ned, then back at Amethyst, then grunted in acknowledgement. “Come to the Great Hall once we get this guy squared away. There will be questions.”

Amethyst nodded, then turned towards the wall, preferring a view of the countryside. Behind her, she heard them pulling Ned to his feet.

“Tho who ith tha?” he said. “Thee wouldn’ thay her name to me.”

The wizard chuckled. “Oh, seriously, man? Everyone in the castle knows HER story.” She heard them begin to descend the staircase. “That was Amethyst Whinstone. The Mute Mage.”


Time 4 Backstory: 

The ‘fantasy disability’ theme had me thinking along several lines at first. One thought had been someone who used to have a way (or a person) to compensate for a loss, but who had recently lost that item (or person). Perhaps lamenting that fact in a bar. The idea wouldn’t gel. Then I considered someone who had lost their sense of smell, and along with it, all the memories evoked by scents. (Blindness felt overdone.)

 It was on Sunday, as I was putting together my latest math comic - which included looking up sign language - that the idea came to me. Not someone who was deaf, but someone who had to communicate through gesture. Magical gesture. With the magic itself normally being released though sound, like calling out one’s attacks.

 The whole story fell out from there. There were some places I felt could have written more, like having Ned or an accomplice after some artifact, but recognizing the 1,000 word limit, I refrained. It clocks in at 950. Feel free to let me know what you think below!

 Other short pieces of fiction on this blog include:
-“No Reason” (post #200, about time travel)
-“Time for a Superheroine” (post #100, also with a temporal theme)

 My longer serial can be found at: Time & Tied.


  1. This is great: simple and sweet! I've never heard of a lisp affecting y sounds before, but the idea of it affecting wizardry is very clever.


    1. Thank you! Short fiction usually isn't my forte. As to the lisp, I did take some liberties there because I wanted it to come across; maybe I overshot the mark. There's probably an interesting world behind the whole thing that isn't fully crystallized here.