Writing Prompt: Day 228

228.jpgDay 228 of 365 Days of Writing Prompts: What is your character’s go-to wish?

Shannon: I wish I could find a place where I belong, one where I don’t have to change who I am to fit in.

Erin: Every day I wish for a happy surprise and when I’m looking most days I get one.

What did your character wish for?

2 thoughts on “Writing Prompt: Day 228

  1. It was a lovely mid-summer morning with the crimson sun creeping up over the mountain range and the ice and water moons falling gracefully on the opposite side of the world. Stars disappeared in the pale purple sky as it lightened to a periwinkle and fluffy alabaster clouds rolled through like seafoam at the edge of a massive beach. I watched the streetlights from my small brick house to the castle gradually fade as the world began to wake up; though electricity was a commodity we’d mastered, the kingdom didn’t like to waste it lighting places where the sun would brighten naturally. From my window on the second floor, I could see the baker across the street kneading his buns and the florist down the way arranging spectacular bouquets on either side of her doorway for all to see.
    I yawned loudly and leaned against the window frame as something, or multiple people, caught my eye on the other side of the village, slogging through the slums at the edge of the forest. Though it wasn’t uncommon for the castle guards to take their trainees through the poorest of our citizen’s place to call home, it was strange for them to be moving so slowly. When they paused and the sunlight glinted off shiny helmets, I squinted to see what they were doing. After eyeing them for a few long minutes, there was a loud commotion from downstairs, followed closely by a good deal of shouting, and I was yanked from my contemplation of the royal guard’s morning work.
    With a deep sigh, I straightened the linen dress I had on, threw my cotton apron on over it, and headed down the rickety stairs. As my footsteps echoed in the humble house with mud floors and wood panelled walls the raucous ceased and I found my father and brother pretending to have been sharing breakfast at the kitchen table. There was a bruise darkening under my little brother’s eye and my father appeared stoic and angry when I carefully crossed to the kitchen to pump some water for tea. Eyeing them both as I passed, I got the impression that the black eye was a deserved consequence of something he’d done, though I didn’t dare ask what had happened just yet. I quietly pumped some water into the pot and headed for the fireplace, which was stone cold from the night before.
    Father huffed furiously to no one in particular as I broke up some kindling, slamming the door on his way out. For a moment Kyle and I lived in silence; we’d grown up with father all our lives and there was an unspoken understanding about how he operated. When a husky voice called over the gentle crackle of a growing flame, I turned to eye my brother warily, “I just got in a few minutes ago. I was out with Viv all night and father was pretty mad that I yawned coming in the door. I actually thought he might do worse than this,” he admitted, leaning against an ancient chair to watch me tend the fire. After a minute, he added with a familiar chuckle, “Can’t you just make that happen, anyway, Gem?
    I could help but laugh; yeah, I could start a fire using the magick I was born with, but it felt good to use my hands for something when all I really wanted to do was strike the two most important men in my life. “Yeah, Ky, I could just make a fire, but then I’d have time and energy to give you a second black eye,” I croaked, placing the pot on the hook to boil and heading for the front door. Without glancing at my idiot brother, I yanked on my supple leather boots and slipped out the door and into the fresh morning air.
    All around me the world was going on with people heading to work, peddlers selling their wares, and voices raising and lowering in the din. I locked the door behind me, wishing I could make my brother stay clear of the wench, Vivian, and headed around back to our garden patch. Every house on this street backed on to their own slight plot of land for growing minor crops or raising poultry. With neat little fences to divide each into his own section, I admired one of our neighbour’s rose bushes that were growing out of control and attempting to strangle some of the plants near them. I advanced on our herb garden and hunted around for the mint plant; it was forever being overtaken by some of the more aggressive herbs, though it was one of the most popular. Plucking a few leaves, I skipped back around the front door and fumbled with the lock for an excruciating moment.
    Tossing the leaves into a few ceramic cups Kyle had set up on the kitchen table, I went to check on the water. “Did you see the castle guards making the rounds this morning? They seemed to be giving the slum a hard time; I watched them stop at a few different tents for quite a while,” I muttered, making conversation with the farm hand as he dozed on the table.
    “Mmm, mmm-mmm-m,” he answered, rolling over to eye me through sleep, “I did, actually. They were talking pretty loud at the tavern last night. But I don’t remember a lot of what they were saying, I was kinda putting away the ale pretty good with Viv,” he mumbled, eyes drooping dangerously. Really, he should have already been off to work, but the poor boy had been up all night and needed to rest before he was around anything as angry as the cattle he cared for.
    Rolling my eyes, I carefully removed the pot from the flames as the water boiled and poured it into the cups without spilling a drop. With the pot back on the bottom shelf, steaming on the cold stone floor, I rifled through our potions to find the one to relieve sleepiness. It smelled strongly of anise and some kind of earthy herb that I was never able to place as I added a few drops to Kyle’s tea. After waiting a few minutes for the tea to steep, I forced a mug into his hand and my brother moaned groggily as he chugged it in two gulps.
    “What did you put in this?” he asked a moment later, eyes wide and shoulder rolled back.
    Considering for less than a second telling him the truth, I made a face and shrugged my shoulders, “What on earth do you mean? I didn’t do anything to your morning tea. I do think, though, that you’re doing to be late for work,” I nodded to myself mischievously as he bolted out the door without another word.
    With the two men gone off to work, I leaned back in my own chair and considered waking mother, though she didn’t get home from the castle’s laundry room until very early in the morning. Sighing, I decided to tend the garden before I went off to classes; I was taking classes to learn all sorts of modern things like mathematics and how electricity worked. Out the door I hurried again, ignoring the enormous rose bushes, and plucking my shovel from its place beside our gate. I was just getting to my knees when a commotion arose in the street and I was roused from my duties. Clutching the shovel loosely, I peered around the house at a cluster of royal guards standing about in front of another house, most looking bored out of their minds. When they saw me, one of them made a shooing gesture and I retreated back to the garden to go about my own business; the castle guards weren’t to be messed with.
    After a long, tense while someone cleared their throat behind me to get my attention. With one last slash at the arunda, a leafy herb that could cure most flu-like maladies but could also kill in large doses, I stood up and wiped my hands on my apron. Standing in front of my gate was the group of soldier in shiny hats and with heavy metal swords hanging at their sides.
    The front one, who carried a booklet that he kept leafing through, waved me toward him while shooting irate glances at some of his colleagues. “You! Are you Gemma Vox?” he called at me in a gruff voice.
    When I hurriedly stalked to him, hands nervously stuffed into my pockets, I nodded, “Yeah, I mean, yes, I am Gemma Vox, sir.” I always forgot how you were supposed to address royal guards since no one really talked to them, unless they were members of the royal family.
    “Do you mind if we speak in private?” he asked, smoothing his tone a little and adding a subtle smile for good measure.
    With another nod, I slipped past them and unlocked the door, holding it open for the leader and two other guards to enter as the rest milled around idly. I shut the door gently and curtsied at the soldiers in my house, offering in a sweet voice, “Would you like some tea? Any of you?” There was a general muttering of dissent from the guards, so I shifted anxiously in my outdoor boots as they peered into the cupboards and shelves in the small Vox family common room.
    “Gemma Vox, you have been identified as someone with magickal potential by the fairies of the forest, as requested by the royal council. As per this request, any and all peoples under the age of twenty-five who have shown magickal potential will submit themselves for evaluation,” read the leader monotonously, flipping through the pages as his eyes scanned the words.
    Blinking rapidly, I scoffed and asked, “What does that mean? Why, why are we being asked to, to, well, to submit to that? What kind of evaluation?” Horrible thoughts of armies of powerful magickally-adept people scorching the lands came to mind, but I quickly dismissed it.
    “Well, as you know, the next in line for the queen’s throne is not in this realm currently, which means that Princess Natalie is in the position to fill in any and all royal duties the next in line would otherwise be fulfilling. Now, some of those duties require magick to be used and, as she is relatively inept in that department, there was a decision made to bring on a Wizard Aide for the princess until such a time as the rightful next in line returns.” Still reading directly from the pages, the soldier’s expressions hadn’t changed, as this obviously wasn’t new information to them. Taking a deep breath, the leader continued, “This will be a difficult task, determining who is most capable of the magickal people in our kingdom to aide our princess, but we have sworn to bring every person who fits the criteria in.”
    Without thinking, I blurted out, “Well, can’t the fairies just read the springs like they do for every heir and be done with this?” Horrified, I leaned against the stair railing and internally smacked myself for questioning the royal council.
    Clearly, though, I wasn’t the only one to ask this question because the leader sighed and recited, “No, because the fairies are devoted to the current next in line as well as the queen herself, so they can’t be impartial in the reading; they could just choose someone they know the queen likes, for example. This kind of situation has never arisen before, so there isn’t a set procedure for going about it. Aurora’s exile wasn’t expected and this wasn’t foretold before.” His demeanour had changed since they entered the house; it was possible that thinking about the sticky situation all of Cor was in because of the attempted assassination of Aurora was causing the guard stress, though he might have just always been uptight. “Will you come or will you not?” he asked finally.
    “No, I have things to attend to; schooling to allow me a better career,” I answered defiantly.
    With another deep sigh, the guard made a note and tried again, “What is your go-to wish for something we could do that would allow you to attend this evaluation?”
    “My only wish is that I can work with my family and finish my schooling to go on to better, non-magickal, things,” I spoke in little more than a whisper.
    Another note went down in the book, and the guards left without another word.

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  2. August’s wish has been confusing to most of his friends. His brother understands it to some degree, but he doesn’t think August is going about it the right way. But once he met the Lord, it became less of a wish, more of a prayer.
    Balance. In life, in his emotions, and in any situation in his control. August knows that too much of something, or too little of something, has a negative impact on a person. Stability is hard to find in the life of someone with a secret identity, but he eventually finds what he seeks.
    For Heather’s faith shows that in the situations outside his control, God is all he needs to feel the balance he craves.

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