This is another flash fiction piece inspired by Uninspired Writer picture prompt. I wrote this one fairly fast but I think it could develop into a good story. In the spirit of traditional fairytales, Star-Fire is more of a telling than descriptive or flowery prose.
As always, any critique is appreciated. Please remember this is not perfectly edited and is only a means of personal inspiration. Thanks for reading and enjoy!
There is a legend in my clan. It tells of a siege against our valley and an evil prince whose name is long forgotten. Our people wielded no weapons and our magic that only shone at night was naught compared to the prince’s steel and savagery.
The chief was murdered before he could return our people to the sky from which we came and which only an elder had the power to perform.
The story has passed over a thousand tongues through the generations, each time a bit more fantastical than the last. But the one truth that remains unscathed is the story of the chief’s daughter who gave her virtue to save her kin.
On the eve of the greatest battle to ever threaten my people, Ka’te, the chief’s daughter and most prized beauty in her clan, walked through the prince’s camp and fell to her knees in front of him. Her hair like starlight hung over her face as she begged for the safety of her people. The prince laughed. He lowered himself so his eyes were locked into hers, a smirk forming in the corner of his mouth. He watched black tears cascade down her pale face, leaving sparkling residue in their wake.
He brushed her hair behind her ear and cupped her face with a calloused hand that was made for wielding a sword. “I’ll take you first. Then, the rest of your people.”
And he did.
The prince took hold of her arm and forced her to walk until he realized there was no need. Ka’te’s feet moved on her own accord toward his battle tent. Inside Ka’te gave herself to the prince freely and in doing so she cemented an ancient bond.
For whoever of star-fire offers themselves freely to another gives their entire being as well. Her soul was now the princes. But the prince had accepted her offer and unknowingly returned the gift, and Ka’te was not surprised when their souls spoke a common tongue. Death.
The prince dozed without worry, for who could escape the clutches of his army? When Ka’te slipped from the tent she did so without fear. Siphoning from the prince his resolve to conquer the world, her inner light radiated like the sun, dazing any who looked her way. The power would not hold forever, but long enough.
Once out of the camp’s perimeters she started up the north mountain, into a cavern that passed the mountain’s timeless heart, and across the Bridge of Eowyn where we buried our dead. She found an empty tomb and once within she condensed the light inside her until it became a force so powerful it turned inward and devoured her whole. She was lost in the emptiness.
The prince and his army turned to dust, and those disloyal to the prince’s his cause fled with their lives intact.
The story traveled and warded off any who thought to harm us. We’ve lived in peace since the day Ka’te gave her life. But we lost our essence. We are no longer people of star-fire, but the blandest of the human form with nothing but stories and legends to protect us.
The lip of the cave opening shrouds us in darkness, the bridge of Eowyn seemingly stalled in time in front of us. The smell of moss and earth and humidity saturate the air, a welcome exchange to the dank cavern walls.
No one has made the journey up the mountain since the time of Ka’te. No one has been worthy enough to be buried among our ancestors. But now my people have been threatened again. It’s thought that if Ka’te is restored our essence will be too, and with her, we may finally be delivered to the stars from which we came.
A few steps are all it takes but the silence permeating from the undisturbed tombs ahead swallows my courage. Relief floods me when Joseph speaks, reminding me I am not alone. “Only a fool would cross that bridge,” he says.
“It’s lucky I’ve brought a fool then,” I laugh, pushing him gently towards the wooden slats.
He grins, but it quickly fades to a straight line. He takes my hand in his and kisses my knuckles.
“You are Na’te, daughter of our chief and my dearest friend. You are no fool but the heart of our clan, and when it is done you will both step out into the moonlight.”
His words draw me to my full height. I place my hand on the rope that tethers the slats together, but it also connects the past to present, Ka’te to me. I steady my weight onto the first step and it creaks under my foot, but when it holds a flicker of confidence blooms in my chest.
“May your light burn bright, my friend,” Joseph says behind me.
My next words are for Joseph, for me, but mostly for Ka’te. “May you use it to guide you home.”
I take a step forward.