We’re already on Day 3 of A Tale of Dice and Fire! I was much happier with yesterday’s story than Monday’s, but I also noticed a couple of habits I seem to slip into when writing short stories, so today I’m trying to mix it up a bit and give myself an extra challenge.
Today’s dice are obviously JK Rowling fans as we’ve rolled a child, an invisibility cloak and a tree, so let’s cast aside the inevitable temptation to think of Harry Potter and the whomping willow and see what we can do!
As usual, once I’ve written my story I’ll post it below. And don’t forget – if you join in the challenge – even just for one day – post the link to your story in the comments below this post so I can tell everyone else about it!
By the time the witch had eaten my brother and cast me out of the gingerbread cottage, into the bitter snows of winter, I no longer remembered my parent’s names. Nor my own. Not that it mattered. Thin as a withered stick and clad in rags, I didn’t expect to last long by myself in the forest anyway. The ground was hardfrozen, unforgiving and not a berry was to be found in the winterblasted brush as I wandered. I’d given myself up for dead, huddled grimly against the rough bark of a tree when she noticed me amongst her roots.
She saved me, the Oakmother. Lifting a root, she swept me down into a hollow at the base of her trunk. It was warm and the oaklitter layered on the floor was soft. I slept. When I woke, I heard her branches rubbing together in the wind. They told me how to grind the windfallen acorns to paste and mix it with water. The acorn milk kept me alive, as I lay in my cosy bower that winter, dreaming and listening to all the things the Oakmother told me about the ways of the forest, the creatures who called it home and her role as guardian over it all.
When the snows melted and the spring came, we celebrated the turning weather with fragrant blossom bunting. I felt safer, stronger and longed to wander the forest and see for myself all the things the Oakmother had told me about. But she bade me be cautious. Humans were well known in the forest for their destructive ways. The Oakmother gave me a cloak, sewn delicately from oak leaves of all sizes and shades. It rustled as I put it on. “There now,” the Oakmother whispered “Now you are part of the forest, my little Acorn. No evil shall spy you while you wear this cloak. Those who would harm you will see a sapling, a thicket, a carpet of leaves and nothing more.”
I went forth and learned much that summer – the real ticklish spot on the trout that swam the stream, the true name of the prince of the deer and more. But at summer’s end, as I explored a bramble patch, I heard for the first time in many moons a scream of terror from a human throat. The girl came crashing through the brush, heedless of the trail she left. Behind her, came the huntsman, the bane of the forest in hot pursuit. Unthinking, I shot out a hand as she passed the brambles and yanked her into the space underneath. She tried to scream, so I covered her mouth and pulled my cloak over the both of us best I could. The huntsman lost the trail and went home disappointed.
When it was safe to come out, I brought her to the Oakmother. Together we showed the girl, whose skin in fear was white as snow, the Hollow and we set about making her a cloak of her own, lest the huntsman returned. And so it began. Once I was alone, but now I have many sisters who have fled and found comfort in the Oakmother’s embrace. We patrol the forest night and day, and we know just how to deal with huntsmen and their like.
The Wizard’s Apprentice – Dorristheloris
Gone – MabisMab
Day 1 stories
Princess Ironheart – Dorristheloris
Breathe Easy – Mab is Mab