A round robin story is where someone starts a story and people take turns telling the rest. We haven't done this on our blog in along time. So I went through my morning morning writing and found two prompts that I could put together and make the beginning of a story. Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to add to it in the comments. When I get home tonight, I will copy and paste your additions to the original blog post. Today's story will probably be a fantasy, so lt those creative juices flow!!
The dark street went up gradually before her. Tall sterile buildings lined the road like cliffs in a narrow canyon. The road zig zagged with sharp corners and she walked cautiously wondering what horrors lay ahead. She held her breath at every noise and hurried wanting to get out of this village. Her heart was pounding like it knew of some impending doom. No one was around, no lights and no sounds came from the buildings that were unnaturally formed. Though she felt unseen eyes boring into her.
The kingdom had been taken over by a tyrant. Her whole family killed except for her. Her fate? To marry the monster to try to keep her people safe. What could she do? How was she going to protect the people when she could't even protect herself?
She moved forward through the darkness. She bit back a cry as she stumbled over something glittering in pale moonlight filtering through the dark clouds. Leaning down, she grasped the jeweled hilt of a sword. She breathed a sigh of relief. Now she had a way to defend herself. If only she had a place to hide.
She slipped the sword into her girdle and pulled her cloak more tightly about her shoulders. The path beckoned in the distance. Her destination lay beyond the imposing trees, buried within the crushing darkness of the forest.
Her heart pounded in her chest, growing more frantic with every step she took. But she wouldn't turn away. If her sacrifice would save her people, so be it.
With a steadying breath, she stepped into the trees.
"Halt, who goes there?"
The deep voice from behind made her heart jump. Could it be? She braved a reply. "Tobias, is that you?"
She turned just as the shadowy figure stepped forward. The dim light filtering through the trees obscured his features, but she knew him. She knew that confident stance, the physical manifestation of the valiant man inside. But she sensed something different about him now. Her heart's joyful leap at his presence had fallen into an unsettling gallop as waves of dread turned her initial relief into an icy chill. He spoke.
"You shouldn't be here."
It was not Tobias, her trusted friend since childhood. The voice a was close match, but the choice of words gave the specter away as an imposter. She felt the eyes again, pressing in from all sides. Little did she know they were gazing at her from a world other than her own.
She stumbled backward, dragging the tip of the sword in the dirt and offering a silent prayer to the heavens that this was not the man who had murdered her father. Not Gregor.
"Who are you?" She asked as he emerged from the shadows.
"You know who I am. It is you who sent for me." His words held a confidence she wished her own could possess.
"No, Gregor. I would never send for you." She bit her tongue to hold back the bile that surged in her throat as the image of her father's final moments assailed her.
"And yet here I am," Gregor said, examining the sword Karina wielded.
"I killed you," Karina gasped. "You killed my father and I took my vengeance."
She squeezed her eyes shut, hoping that when she opened them he would prove to be a figment of her already over-taxed mind. She opened them again to find he hadn't moved even an inch.
Gregor seemed to darken in the already pitch black night as he spoke again, his voice a growl. "You spoke the words of the spell. You called me back."
It was then the realization came to her how useless the sword would be against him. It was no match for the supernatural powers that had robbed her of the victory she thought she had won at their last confrontation. But how is it that he had returned? She felt no regret at his loss, and would not have uttered a syllable to restore him to life. The dark magic she learned as a child was something she chose to leave far behind her as she watched it take its toll on all those she loved. She was tempted to conjure up the resurrection spell when Gregor's soldiers slaughtered her family, but her grief would have only intensified to see them return as one of the soul-less ones. Now as she faced her nemesis, she was confused and conflicted. Who was the betrayer that brought him back, and will she now be forced to use the weapon she dreaded?
No! She would not succumb to the dark side. She would fight him again, and again, and again if need be, but she would never again use the dark magic that almost destroyed her soul.
"It is useless, Karina. You need only marry me to end this terror." His guttural voice sent chills up her spine.
He was the embodiment of all that was evil and he wanted her to marry him? To consign herself to the dark magic she'd sworn off. Her body stiffened with resolve and she gripped the sword in her hand not caring that it would be useless.
"I will never marry you!" With those words she raced at the monster with her sword held high.
He smiled and held up a sword black as tar. He moved his sword to block her strike to the right. At the last minute she lowered her sword and instead rolled under his sword and jumped up behind him. He spun in surprise just as she rammed the sword into his gut and twisted the hilt.
The sword in her hand suddenly began to glow white with all the intensity of a lightening strike. The features of the monster before her twisted and morphed until the white light seemed to come from his every pore. She closed her eyes as her enemy evaporated. When all went dark again, she opened her eyes and looked at the sword she still clutched with white knuckles. It vaguely glowed now, making her wonder if she had imagined the intensity.
She whirled around at the whisper of a voice behind her. Her eyes widened at the sight before her. It was her father. He wore his crown and was dressed in his best robes.
"Father," a sob caught in her throat. She started to run to him, then stopped. "But...your dead."
He smiled and the skin around his eyes crinkled up with the wrinkles she thought she's never see again.
"Yes, but I am always with you." He brought his arm up and pointed to the sword in her hand. "The sword is yours to guard now."
She suddenly recognized the sword in her hand as her father's sword. The darkness had hidden it's identity from her.
"But how...I mean...it killed him, but he was already dead." Confusion seemed to muddle her thoughts. None of it made sense to her.
"The sword is special. Kings through out time have kept it safe from evil. Gregor wanted you because he knew that I had bequeathed the sword to you in my dying breath. He also knew that only the sword could truly kill him."
Karina looked at the sword, then back to her father. "But why me? Why give the sword to me? Why not Tobias? He's stronger."
Again her father smiled, "You are my daughter. There is more to you than you know. But the sword will help you find your power."
"I must go now. Know that I love you."
"Go?" Sobs poured out there was so much more she wanted to know, but none of that matter because all she wanted was to be with him again. "Don't go! Don't leave me alone!"
"I will never leave you alone. I'm always with you." With those final words he disappeared before her eyes and she sank to her knees.
Tears coursed down her cheeks and she cried till there were none left. The soft light of dawn peeked through the trees before she finally rose slowly to her feet. Looking at the sword she made a decision. She would do as her father asked. She would guard the sword with her last breath, just like him. She would be the person her believed her to be. She wouldn't let him down.
With her head held high and the sword still clutched in her hand, she walked back towards the village and back towards the kingdom and the responsibilities she'd been running from.