Another Featured Fiction prompted piece.
– ‘It didn’t begin that way, but then things rarely turn out as expected.‘
– Choker, Goblet, Wind
– ‘You find an antique box, transcribed with an ancient language – a language you shouldn’t understand and yet, somehow, you do’
It was supposed to be fantasy, adventure, fun type thing. Which I failed at. It turned out a bit creepy. But! It’s still fantasy, so that counts right? 😀
This was turning into a heist beyond all proportions. It didn’t begin that way, but then things rarely turn out as expected. A simple job, one item, that was all, but then Jax’s greed had kicked in and it had become just one more thing, ‘oh, no one’s going to miss that ruby encrusted choker’ and then, ‘a gold lined goblet won’t weigh me down much more’. Now Jax was dragging a sack of clinking loot behind him and he still hadn’t found the prize he was being paid to steal.
He was loathed to leave behind his stash, but he knew if he didn’t find what he’d come here to get, then his life would be forfeit. His fingers tightened around the top of the rough cotton sack, as though unwilling to let go, but eventually he pulled away and left the bag on the top of the staircase, beneath the open window he’d used as entry into the fine mansion.
With silent footsteps he clambered down the stairs and jumped over the banister, landing without a sound. His elvish agility and speed were part of the reasons he’d been hired in the first place. Blowing his raven black hair out of his eyes, he scanned the foyer but could see little in the dim light. He kept to the edges, running his slim fingers over the table tops and shelves with absent-minded intent. It was only a few more steps before he realised he’d found what he was looking for.
Twisting back he squinted through the deep shadows and saw the faint outline of a glass case. Inside was a box. Jax frowned and pursed his lips, he hadn’t seen the box as much as felt it, a low hum vibrating from it and tickling over his skin. Whatever it was, it definitely had magic.
With shaking fingers he touched the glass case and let out a drawn breath when no one came running. No magical barriers had been put up around it, at least that much was in his favour. Lifting the case off he placed it to one side and took a step closer to the box. It was small, not much bigger than the palm of his hand, but when he reached out to take it a sharp sting ran down his arm from his fingertips and he snatched his hand back and cradled it to his chest.
The reaction only made Jax more determined. He reached forwards and grabbed the box, the sides pressing into his fingers with an icy cold that made it seem as though it should have been made out of ice not wood. But there was no pain this time, so he uncurled his fingers and took a closer look at what he’d been sent to retrieve.
It was made of ash wood, light caramel in colour and engraved all over in some kind of symbols. Vibrations still emanated from it, a low thrum of energy pulsing out and making him shudder as it passed over his entire body. Feeling unnerved by the box, Jax was about to shove it in his jacket pocket when his eyes flitted over the carved symbols again and realised… he could read them.
Jerking the box closer to his strained eyes, his mind whirled as the symbols began to twist and form words before his eyes. He ran his thumb over the lid and held his breath until the symbols stopped and only clear words remained. The thrumming energy became stronger, each wave of magic pressing against his temples and crushing his lungs beneath the weight of it. Then he opened his mouth and did the one thing he knew he shouldn’t have.
He read the words.
“Kealah mon serai as fermon,” he whispered in breathless voice.
An icy wind snapped against him and Jax was pulled out of his thoughts. On the sudden wind grew small flakes of snow, until the whole foyer was white with a blizzard that had sprung from nowhere. The snow stuck to his body and clothing, each icy flake bitingly cold and he struggled against the torrent that had whipped up around him.
As the wind grew stronger and the snow covered his lean frame, the box toppled from his hand and fell to the round with a clatter, not moved by the gusts that made Jax stumble and fall to his knees. He looked like a snow sculpture, the cold sapping his energy and he took a deep breath against the blasts of wind.
When the owner of the house arrived home after a boring day of meeting with Royals, he paused to find his father’s prized possession in the middle of his foyer. The tall man bent down and picked it up, turning it over in his hands. It was the same as always.
He shrugged and moved over to the case where it normally sat. He sighed mournfully as he put the glass lid back over the odd looking, little box. It was the only thing left of his father, the man having disappeared without word or evidence of where he’d gone some years back. Now, the box remained a memory for all to see, a remembrance of the father and husband they still mourned for. The owner of the mansion turned away, frowning to keep back the tears. The confused thoughts still haunted him: Why had there only been that object left?
It was only a box, after all.