by James Munz
Short story, flash fiction
|Standing atop the withered cliff, Selendre gazed outward across the diseased land. The earth had been infested; shades of jade and emerald had been corrupted and now looked to be a deep pestilent purple. Even the drum of thunder was weak as it echoed somewhere in the distance underneath the veil of hazy orange fog.
Dark magic swirled around Selendre’s staff as she stood motionless, draped in a black robe. Training in The Cult ever since she was a child, she had developed her skills as one of the most cunning and ruthless Deathspeakers of them all. And now, she had even impressed herself with how well her unstable spells and potions had catapulted the land’s life into destruction.
She turned around and had only gone a handful of steps when it caught her eye—a solitary tree, dressed in dazzling green needles. It stood nearby and had apparently been unscathed and unbothered by what had consumed the land the past few days.
The shock snapped Selendre to. She coiled her fingers around her staff, bringing it up in front of her. She focused her mind and voice into a spell, clipping each syllable with disdain. The staff murmured back to her and began to glow purple as a noxious circle of decaying energy surrounded it. She recited the last of the spell and, at once, the energy shot out to the tree to engulf it.
She walked towards what remained of the tree. It wriggled and became a pale purple as it twisted itself into its new form. The obliteration of everything living was a part of life, Selendre reminded herself. Everything living dies. The Cult was simply here to shape the two into a state of unliving, a state that was more fit for them to rule over.