The Bonus

_ I originally started Motivation Mondays for the same reason that I wrote Jade Dreams.  I love stories.   I have a special place in my heart for short stories and fables like those in The Blue Fairy Book, The Book of Virtues and the tales of the Arabian Nights.

It was reading Stephen King's Dark Tower series that put into mind the idea "What if all the stories are true?"  I studied the similarities between Arthurian legend, the Spear of Destiny, Beowulf, the Song of Roland and more.  From that research Jade Dreams was born

This week I wanted to give everyone a gift just for stopping by so I'm offering a coupon code for Jade Dreams at Smashwords

Promotional price: $0.00
Coupon Code: VM94E
Expires: February 15, 2012

Just visit https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/64151 and enter the coupon code when you purchase the book.

Alright, enough with the self-promotion, on to the contest.

The Judge

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This week's judge is J P Sloan

Please show your support by visiting his blog where he describes himself thusly:

"I am an author of speculative fiction, daily honing my craft and striving to maintain my sanity."

The Prompt

_An ancient legend tells of a sword and stone, but this was something different.

The Rules

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_
  1. Story must continue from the prompt. (This means the prompt is the first sentence of the story.)
  2. No more than 500 words (not including the prompt).  No less than 100 words.
  3. Any genre (in fact an unexpected genre will get you more points.)
  4. Entries must be submitted by Tuesday Noon EST
  5. The winner of each week's competition will be invited to judge the following week and post the winner's badge similar to the one on the right.
  6. Have fun!

1/8/2012 10:01:14 pm

“An ancient legend tells of a sword and stone, but this was something different.” The storyteller’s rich voice lifted over the gathering. “Guided by the great mystic, Merlin, young Arthur pulled Excalibur from a stone and united the Ancients of Old Earth.”

Merlin? Arthur? As in Camelot and the Knights of the Round Table? I couldn’t help grinning. I’d loved the Arthurian tales as a child. It seemed his tale had grown even more awe inspiring in the last nineteen thousand years.

I closed my eyes, just letting the flow of the story roll over me.

“And so we know the tale of a great king, and his enchanted sword in the stone.”

The air crackled with anticipation as the storyteller hunkered down.

“But what about the man in the stone?”

Susurrating excitement sifted through the audience.

“Discovered some five thousand years ago, the man in the stone sleeps on, never changing. Never waking. Is he man? Is he god? Who among us will wake him? Who among us will unify our tribes?”

A man in a stone?

I heard something moving toward us. Eight young men guided something along the path. I made out the low purr of a motor just as they came into full view. A hover cart barely cleared the ground, born down by the massive weight it carried. Hydraulic lifts tilted the thing to about sixty degrees.

Thank God I was sitting down. My legs trembled, and the world went briefly dark. Worried hands pushed my head between my knees, calm voices gently urging me to breathe slow and easy.

Willing myself to face this without passing out or barfing on my own lap, I sat up. The whole world spun around me at least once, but I didn’t keel over. I just stared, blinking my way through the sharp sting of tears.

Encased in sedimentary rock, the tempered shield of a pod revealed a peaceful face. Just to the right of his face, bio indicators glowed a steady green.

Alive. The man inside, found five thousand years earlier, was alive.

My stomach flip-flopped, and my breathing hitched into something gasping and scene-making. Several faces turned to me, but the pod’s markings held my undivided attention.

EASA EA-55-V-15RT.

Echo-Alpha-Five-Five-Victor. I knew the sequence by rote, had heard it more times in recent months than could possibly be healthy.

Gaea’s Ark. Pod fifteen.

RT for Ryan Terneus.

“Oh, my God,” I moaned. “Ryan.”

I bolted up and ran forward. It took some doing, but I pried the control panel open and entered my authorization on the tiny keyboard beneath the cover.

“Wake up, please,” I whispered.

Forever passed before Ryan took his first breath in nearly twenty thousand years and shifted in his sleep. I pressed the manual release and opened the pod.

I turned at the collective gasp and found thirty some people dropping to their knees in front of me. The storyteller took my hand, eyes shining with reverence.

“We are yours, Great Lady.”

@caramichaels
500 words

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1/8/2012 10:34:52 pm

An ancient legend tells of a sword and stone, but this was something different. He knew that to achieve greatness he had to cast aside all doubts, seize the tools and weapons in his midst, and rise above his fears. Like King Arthur, he would soon sit upon his mighty throne, but first he had to master the skills that would make him great.

He pulled the helmet from his sweaty head, letting loose an abundance of black tousled hair, and placed it on the ground next to his mighty war hammer. He unfastened his cape, setting it neatly in the confines of the winged helmet. Finally he pulled off his chest piece and sat it delicately beside the rest of his gear.

He took a step up, inspecting the foreign surroundings with wavering confidence. He recognized some of the equipment and peripherals around him, but he was uncertain of their purpose. An oddly-shaped bell-like device with a short wooden handle. Another handled object shaped like a tear drop with long wiry bristles. He did not think he would need to utilize them, but their mere presence was discomforting.

He could do this. He would do this!

Lowering his pajama bottoms and training underpants, he sat upon his toilet seat adorned with images of Mighty Thor and Iron Man battling their enemies. Shouting out triumphantly for his Mommy or Daddy to help him tidy up, he was a proud warrior.

Adam had finally mastered the potty.

246 words
@rastrohman

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1/9/2012 01:24:53 am

HA! That's funny. :D

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1/9/2012 03:30:54 am

“An ancient legend tells of a sword and stone, but this was something different.”

“Yeah, you have no idea,” Corlith grumbled to himself as he sat back and rubbed his eyes.

Researching the ancient legends of his own people was hard enough. He didn’t need to get into the Arthurian legends of the humans. While his brother was happily ensconced in marital bliss, Corlith was buried up to his balls in dusty scrolls and cracking leather tomes.

Balls being the main reason I’m here.

Nothing in his literary explorations had given him any insight into either ending the curse the Demoness had placed on his testicles, or locating one of the three things he remembered her saying about the curse during their, or at least his, post coital bliss.

How in Hellwinds am I supposed to find a mythical creature to solve a real life problem?

He growled and tried to ignore the nearly constant ache in his groin. He hadn’t come in two weeks, but the ache told him he’d have to soon or he’d kill someone.

Or castrate myself.

At this point, that didn’t sound like such a bad idea.

Rising from the chair, he stalked over to the window and leaned his head against the glass. The sun hadn’t risen yet, but the sky glowed with its promise heralding a new day. He just wished it heralded the answers he sought, too. He exhaled a half circle of condensation onto the window and drew a lopsided smiley face in it, trying to find some humor in his predicament.

Yeah, not bloody likely with my balls aching.

He was about to go back to the books when a flicker of movement in the brightening sky caught his attention. He swiped the glass with his hand to clear the fog and searched for the large flying object. What the hell had it been? Dragons hadn’t been seen in their world for millennia and the wyverns wouldn’t migrate back this direction for another few months.

Corlith waited, his aching testicles forgotten as he held his breath to keep from fogging up the window.

And waited, and waited.

He exhaled in disappointment, laughing derisively at himself.

“You hoped it was a gryphon, didn’t you?” He shook his head, his laugh dying in a painful moan. He had to find some solution soon or he’d go insane.

A shriek of tortured stone and a shower of sparks outside the window made him jump back with a shriek of his own. At great shadow blotted out the light as something large filled the space beyond the glass. Corlith staggered backward until he hit the desk, sending the tomes and scrolls cascading to the floor. His heart pounded against the walls of his chest as a face peered into the room from the portal.

Fluorite green eyes set in a white feathered face with a wickedly curved beak scanned the room and froze on him, the head tilting to one side in curiosity as great black talons gouged furrows into the window ledge.

“Holy shit, it’s a gryphon!”

500 #WIP500 words!
@SiobhanMuir

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1/9/2012 05:16:20 am

An ancient legend tells of a sword and a stone, but this was something different. The weapon in this lost hangar was easily thirty feet tall, though Alan noted what appeared to be a giant sword in the weapon’s right hand. The dust was so thick it felt like trying to breathe through a wool blanket—only without the warmth. This place was freezing!

“So…?” Fay rocked from her toes back to her heels, cutely waiting for Alan’s reaction.

Alan shook his head as he stared at the ancient machine before them, “Does it even still run?”

Fay giggled and skipped toward the mechanical giant before spinning back to Alan with her hands behind her back, “Of course he still runs! Would I have brought you here if he didn’t?”

“Why did you bring me here?”

Still rocking cutely Fay glanced at the face of the dormant machine behind her, “Because you can pilot him.”

“This thing supports mental linking?” Alan frowned, examining the giant for signs of the necessary transmission and reception devices.

Fay shook her head, “The pilot rides inside the cyber knight.”

“Great,” Alan scoffed, “so if I fall in battle I’m actually dead.”

“When have you ever broken link with a damaged cyber?” Fay giggled.

“I like to have the option,” Alan crossed his arms. “Besides, my GX-76 can probably outperform this old junker in all parameters.”

Fay shook her head, but didn’t say anything this time.

“Come on!” Alan snapped, “This thing doesn’t even have liqui-metal plating! All the joints are hard, vulnerable, and the movement must be jerky at best!”

Alan hadn’t meant to yell at Fay, but this trip hadn’t exactly been quick or easy. They went through a lot of dangerous space to get to this tiny asteroid. Of course, what had he really expected? Of course a legendary weapon was going to be old. Obsolete.

“My father built this cyber,” Fay whispered.

“Your father?” Alan stared blankly, “This thing has to be at least one hundred years old!”

Fay nodded, “Half again that.”

“What?”

Fay walk back to the ancient weapon and ran a hand delicately over as much of its shin as she could reach.

“Also, he’s my brother,” Fey turned back to Alan with a seriousness he hadn’t seen from her before. “But unlike me, he needs a pilot. Please, free my brother from his sleep!”

397 words
@DavidALudwig

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1/9/2012 05:39:11 am

In the correct order.

An ancient legend tells of a sword and stone, but this was something different. This was not a sword jutting from the boulder but a shiny golden tree limb. Laurie reached her hand out to touch it but stopped just before her fingers caressed its smooth, gleaming surface.

“What else did you wish for Suzy?” Laurie asked, turning to face Suzy.

Suzy blushed and stammered. “I, uh…”

“Come on Suzy, what did you wish for?”

“I wished that we would have to rescue the faeries before we could go home.”

* * * *

“Starlight, star bright, the first star I see tonight…”

“You’re such a dork. You know that doesn’t do anything, right?”

“Whatever,” the younger girl protested. “How do you think I got the doll set?”

“Mom and dad were getting you that for your birthday already.”

“How do you think they knew?”

Laurie did not know how to respond to Suzy’s logic. They lay in the lawn watching the night sky erupt with stars. Laurie was twelve, she knew more about magic and wishing than Suzy; wishing on something doesn’t make it happen. Both girls drifted off into peaceful slumber under the stars.

The chirping of birds gently woke them. The sweet morning smells of clover and flowers glazed by dew met their noses. Laurie smiled and allowed her eyelids to bounce open. Suzy stood next to her, still as a statue. She felt Laurie stir in her pink sleeping bag.

“It came true,” Suzy giggled. “I knew it would.”

“What?”

“My wish on the star last night, it came true.”

Laurie sat up, her head spinning from side to side. The girls were in the middle of a forest. Birds flew from branch to branch, chirping and cocking their heads looking for breakfast. Laurie could not make her mouth make coherent sounds; it opened and closed as little grunts and squeaks came from her throat.

“What did you wish for?” Laurie could finally ask Suzy.

“To go to the Enchanted Forest where the faeries live and we’re here.” She laughed and bounced on the soft ground. “Come on, let’s go find them.”

“Give me your hand,” Laurie said. “We should stay close; we’ve never been here before.”

“Yes we have, you just don’t remember but you will.”

Suzy did as Laurie requested and they walked hand-in-hand through the forest. They stopped to eat raspberries and drink from a crystal-clear stream. Ahead they could see a clearing.

“I don’t understand,” Suzy said. “We should have found them by now.”

They stepped into the meadow. Dragonflies bobbed in the breeze, then darted away. In the center, a large boulder sat, the babbling brook wound around it into the swaying tall grasses.

“That’s never been there before,” Laurie said, suddenly remembered their voyages to the Enchanted Forest.

Suzy smiled. “You remember. I knew would eventually. What’s that sticking out of the rock?”

@ChuckWesJ
484 words

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1/9/2012 07:11:24 am

Leggo My Eggo

The tiny bell above the curio shop door tinkled gleefully.
Scott loved to hear that sound. It was the sound of a by-gone era when merchants actually cared about who walked through their doorway. They cared to stock the very best, not cheap junk from Malaysian sweat shops.
He strolled quietly through the curio shop, keeping his hands behind his back. Just like mother taught him when surrounded by things that are both old and valuable.
“Good evening,” The shop keeper wheezed as he came through from the dark arch leading to the back room.
Scott smiled and nodded. The shopkeeper was content to watch as his only customer circled the store three times, looking for the single best item in the store. Scott kept coming back to one piece set aside on a long mantle in the back. A misshapen egg made of foggy amber that seemed very out of place with the polished silver trays, delicate ceramic of hand made china and deep brown wood of antique colonial dressers. Something caught his eye on each pass and drew his gaze deeper each time.
“Can you tell me about this piece?” Scott pointed at the large amber egg. Inside the fossilized sap, he could barely make out the shape of a small brass ring.
“I can. It’s a rather old piece that I collected from a gentleman in Ireland back in 1919. He was loathe to part with it, it has a colorful history.”
“I love that. Can you be more specific?” Scott couldn’t help but notice the man’s drooped shoulders and constant wheeze. He was sick, dying in fact from the unnaturally pale hue of his skin.
“An ancient legend tells of a sword and stone,” he said.
“But this is something different,” Scott said.
“It is. But you understand that most legends are allegories. A sword is not always a sword. This egg, the last owner insisted, was something of the same sort. It’s a test of worthiness.”
“How much?” Scott had to have it. The sparkle of mystery had hooked him, and the old man knew it.
“Make me an offer. But do so carefully, your character and intent will be known by your words. Whether you own the egg or own the object inside are two entirely different things.”

385 words
@zombiemechanics

I ran out of time but it was fun to write anyway. :-D

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1/9/2012 07:24:35 am

An ancient legend tells of a sword and stone, but this was something different - or at least of different proportion. The Excalibur Mining Company had been digging in this area for decades, but had only now discovered the incredible shaft.

"How far down does it go?" the foreman asked, trying to decide the best way to proceed.

"Hard to tell, yet," answered the engineer, "but the initial readings and calculations suggest that it may go all the way to the mantle - maybe even farther."

"That could actually help us and save us a lot of work. What do you make of the shape of it?"

"Well, I doubt this could be a natural formation: it's too regular and very smooth. It looks as if there had been something man-made in here and then it was just pulled straight out."

"How could that be possible? We've been here for years and nobody else had done any digging in this area before we started. Besides, look at that shaft: if there had been something in there it had to have been massive!"

"An ancient legend tells of a sword and stone, but this was something different," said the engineer as his gaze extrapolated along the line of the shaft. "Maybe it wasn't a legend and wasn't that different, after all."

219 Words
@LupusAnthropos

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1/9/2012 07:48:14 am

“An ancient legend tells of a sword and stone, but this was something different. They tell of another sword that didn’t belong to a future king but to a future warlord. He was a bastard and had nothing to do but to torment people. Plus he had a little-AHHHHHH!” Gemma clutched her arm as she fell back, the dagger pummel against her chest as she staged back, blood staining her shirt as she fell back onto the floor. A cough and she groaned.

“really? That’s what you have?” Terri folded her arms.

Gemma stopped groaning and opened and eye before sitting up, pulling the dagger from behind her side and arm. “What? Is the blood the wrong color? I played around until it looked about right.”

“The blood is fine, it’s your death that I’m worried about.” A snort and Terri sat down on the stage, looking over the script. “Who gave this to us to use, anyway?”

“Don’t know. It was in the mailbox when I got here. Are you saying that our lovely high school won’t love to see us put on some badass sword fight?”

“You’re kidding, right?” Terri gave her friend a wry look before turning the book over. “Hey, there are some words on the back here. “Ego vocare te, Gerslate? What is that supposed to mean?”

“You’re asking the wrong person. This is why I haven’t taken any languages because I can never keep the conjugation correct. It’s why Mrs. Santos suggested I take something like Drama.” Gemma grinned. She glanced grabbed at the script and looked at the words. “Let’s see how badly I can butcher this. <I> Ego vocare te, Gersalte. Ego te voco, magus, ad novum terrarum. Ego vocare te, Gersalte. </i>” She shrugged and handed it back to her friend just as the sky rumbled and a chill wind ran through the gym.

Terri shivered. “What the heck? Did they turn off the heat?” She got to her feet. “Let me see if I can find Mr. Benedict.”

Gemma waved to her and the temperature dropped again. She rose to get one of the coats in the prop room and saw a large circle of blackness, a clawed hand was planted, curling into the wood of the stage.

“Oh…crap.”

379 words
@solimond

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1/9/2012 07:50:03 am

correction to follow rules

The Standing Stones
An ancient legend tells of a sword and stone, but this was something different. It had jewels encrusted on its tang. The blade what I could see of it was topped with quillon (a circular part) and guard with a nice grip. It was made of silver and bronze quite tarnished. But I’ve gotten ahead of myself. I had had always wanted to visit Stonehenge and then my dream had come true, for I stood in the centre of Stonehenge. As the sun came up and shone on the stones, I felt one with the stones. The air around me whirled and I felt dizzy as the world seemed to shift. Before my eyes the stones seemed to become new again.
“The great warrior comes. See I summoned him sisters.” I heard but although I heard English I knew it was in ancient dialect. Before me stood three women their hair hang long and luxurious hung down to their ankles Each had a different hair colour, one had fiery red hair ,one brown almost black and the other golden like the rays of the sun.
“He looks scrawny.”
“Yes far too skinny and no muscles.” commented the other.
“I used the right spell. I know I did he will be able to remove the sword.” she said pointing to a sword stuck in a huge stone.
The sword was quite spectacular as it had jewels of ruby, emerald, and diamonds encrusted on its handle and I felt the need to touch it but I held myself back.
“What is your name boy?” the brunette asked.
“Arthur.” I answered.
“Good you have done well. He even has the right name Morgana.” The blonde commented.
“Well boy there it is. Get on with it.” said Morgana the redhead
I put my hand on the hilt and pulled with all my might, but it wouldn’t budge.
“You’ve failed Morgana he’s the wrong Arthur. Send him back.” said the brunette
“I think he’s handsome, might we keep him.” said the blonde touching me.
“No you know the rules. We might borrow from time but they must all go back,” Morgana proclaimed.
There was a flash of light and then I found myself on the ground in the centre of Stonehenge.
“See here you are trespassing.” said a voice over my head. ”And now you’ve knocked some of the stones down on top of you. I should arrest you but looking at the scrape on your head, I’d say you’ve learned your lesson. Do you want me to call an ambulance sir?”
“No I’ll be fine.” I said holding my head.
I wondered if my head injury explained all of this and reached in my pocket for a handkerchief to stem the bleeding of my head. To my surprise I found ruby from the sword in my pocket .I smiled looking back at the Stones.
@SweetSheil
480 words

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1/9/2012 09:46:48 am

Title: Guardians

An ancient legend tells of a sword and stone, but this was something different. It was still a battle of good versus evil, except with a shepherd’s crook in stead of a sword and a womb for the stone.

In a small town in Maine, a woman returned after being gone since she was a small child. She had no idea of the evil that was laying in wait for her. A small group of men, overtaken by a timeless evil, had killed her parents and now were after her.

She was the ultimate Creator. She was the last daughter from the Original. She was the symbol of woman, of she who brought life into the world. The men were Destroyers. They reigned with delight in chaos and death.

What the Destroyers failed to realize was that without life there was no death, and vice versa. Life needed death and death needed life, as long as there was always more life to sustain the next cycle. If the destroyers ever truly won the war for good, it would be the end for everyone and everything. The Creators knew that and strived to always be one step ahead.

Until they almost weren’t.

When the Destroyers killed the last daughter’s parents, they thought they had gotten an edge. What they didn’t realize is that there were protectors out there.

Hope was in sight.

A man stood up for the last daughter and kept her safe from the evil that tried to get to her, to make her crazy, to kill her. He was a guardian.. With an innocent shepherd’s crook, his symbol of his protection and strength, he stayed the wave of evil until the last daughter was strong enough.

In an epic battle, she released the men from the evil that held them. The spirits of the Destroyers were free, but without bodies, they could no longer harm her or anyone else. The last daughter was free to fulfill her destiny and create new life the only way she knew how.

@MLGammella
340 Words

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1/9/2012 10:09:55 am

Satan's Hand
by Lisa McCourt Hollar

An ancient legend tells of a sword and stone, but this was
something different. This was no sword that stuck out of the rock, but a hand, completely formed. I fell to my knees before the artifact, completely in awe. It was Satan's Hand and my search had finally come to an end.

Gingerly, I reached out to touch it. The flesh was mummified and I hesitated, concerned that I might damage the talisman. I had pursued it's wisdom for over fifty years, forsaking even the woman I loved, to learn the secrets of the jewel that was held within it's grip; knowledge that I had coveted, since first learning of it in the Book of Shadows.

To describe the gem would be impossible. Everyone saw it differently. The thing spoke to each person, reaching into their souls, searching out the desires of those that it would possess. Legend had it that Lucifer took it from God in the final moments of the battle, before he and his followers were cast outside of Heaven's gates. This was the Jewel of God, which would grant he who held it, Eternal Life.

I touched it and a jolt of electricity shot through my body, transforming me into my lord's image. I was no longer alive, yet I wasn't dead. I became something in-between, so that I could serve him better. For a thousand years now, I have passed between hell and this world, collecting souls for my master. It has become easier over the years. So many things to tempt the weak with. That is why I am here today.

That boy over there. He is only ten, but he is going places. No one knows this yet. You can't tell by looking at him. His hair is greasy and it hangs in his face. The girls make fun of him and the boys regularly use him as a whipping board. This is why he will be easy for me to manipulate. He wants the power to make them stop. He wants to make his tormentors bow before him and jump at his command. I can promise him this and more. All he has to do is agree to serve Lucifer and the world will be his.

Ah yes, he sees me now. None of the other children do. They are blinded to my presence as I walk up to the boy whose name will be known and feared for generations after he is gone.

I speak to him. "Hello Adolf"

Word Count: 419
@jezri1

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1/9/2012 06:58:31 pm

An ancient legend tells of a sword and stone, but this was something different. This was a sword in her dad’s study, resting on the seat of the big leather armchair, as common as an umbrella. The little girl tiptoed towards it, her bare feet cold on the wooden floor.
She’d been upstairs sleeping when a sound (she couldn’t tell if it was a thud or a yell) had woken her. So she’d come downstairs to look for her dad.
Moonlight, from the open window above her dad’s desk, reflected off the blade, giving it a slight glow. She reached out to touch the hilt and shivered a little in her thin white cotton pajamas.
“Ughhhh!!!” This time it was definitely a yell. It was a man’s voice. Maybe her father’s? The little girl couldn’t tell. She had never heard her gentle father yell before.
“Daddy? Michael?” The girl forgot about the sword temporarily and walked out of the study, calling for her father and brother. Her mother and her six other siblings were at a wedding. Her father had stayed home with her and Michael who were both sick with nasty summer colds. Their nanny, Miranda, had been sent away the day before. No one would tell her why.
“Daddy?” The little girl yelled out. She was in the hallway and moved slowly, hearing the sound of her footsteps in the quiet house. “Michael?” She heard something hit the floor in the basement. The little girl ran to the kitchen and pulled the door that led to the basement open. She stopped at the top of the stairs. “Daddy? Michael?” There was no answer. The girl stood on her tiptoes and tried to reach the light switch on the wall. She flicked it on. Light flooded the room, but from the stairs she still couldn’t see anything.
The little girl moved quietly down the stairs. “Daddy? Michael?” She was at the bottom of the stairs when she turned the corner and saw the man with the long knife.
He had the long knife at her dad’s throat and her dad was on his knees. His white shirt was ripped and blood poured on it from a wound on his head. Her brother, Michael, stood a few feet before the man. Michael held an identical long knife between his two hands, directly in front of him. From where she was standing the girl could see that the front of his pajama bottoms was wet.
The man looked directly at her. His large blue eyes swallowed her. “Well,” he said in a low throaty rasp,” what do we have here?”

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1/10/2012 12:16:47 am

An ancient legend tells of a sword and stone, but this was something different, and there was little time.

Ursula leaned cautiously out of the cell door and looked from side to side. There were no guards in the dungeons of Fallhorn Keep. There really was no need. The few prisoners here were old and feeble, and the cell doors were solid and strong.

Cradling the stone in a fold of her robe, she moved briskly to the dungeon steps and up. Again she made sure no one was in sight as she exited the stairwell and made her way down the corridor.

The evening before, the King had decreed that the Fallhorn Keep would surely fall on the morn. The siege had simply gone on far too long and regretfully, unknown traitors from within had made defense futile.

Later in the evening, once the Keep was silent and sleeping, her Master had come to her with a strange tale.

Long ago there had been a prisoner held in Fallhorn Keep because he had a magic stone of great power. The prisoner had hidden the stone and never revealed its hiding place even under torture. Eventually he had died and all thought that the stone was lost forever.

But then, several nights later, something strange had happened. The prisoner had appeared to her Master in a dream. The prisoner revealed that he had loosened a brick in one of the walls of his cell and hidden the stone behind it. At first her master ignored the dream as it couldn’t possibly be true. But then the next night, the prisoner had returned in her Master’s dream and had told him again of the stone’s hiding place imploring him to keep it a secret.

Questioning his own soundness of mind, the Master had made his way to the dungeon and to the cell where the prisoner had been held. Once there, he had found a loose brick just as described in his dream. And sure enough, behind the loose brick, he had found the stone of power. He had left the stone there since it had been hidden for so many years already, knowing that no one else would look for it there.

After telling her this tale, Ursula’s master had instructed her to find the stone and told her what she must do.

She now made her way in darkness to the Hall of the Dead. As she entered the Hall her skin prickled.

Along the walls stood stone warriors in ancient armor, each holding a sword. At the far end there was one statue, taller than the others, facing the doorway to the Hall. His right hand held a sword, point down, and his left hand was held out, palm up.

Ursula stepped up to the statue and placed the stone in its left hand.

Ursula felt the air change. It throbbed with power. There was a deep humming sound. Suddenly, the statues moved. Simultaneously they all knelt. And then the statue in front of her spoke.

“We are yours to command.”

Word count: 499
redshirt6 aka Robby Hilliard


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1/10/2012 12:28:13 am

An ancient legend tells of a sword and stone, but this was something different.

For one thing, it wasn't ancient. Maybe middle-aged, but well-preserved. Definitely put in some gym time and took care of itself. Not every epic is steeped in history and mystery, and they all had to start somewhere.

Any myth that needs the lever arm of fabricated antiquity probably falls down on its own merits under close examination, anyway. If it's unbelievable if it only happened yesterday, there's no sense lending it weight and gravitas just because it ostensibly harkens back centuries, millenia, or even further. The journey of a thousand miles may begin with a single step, as the saying goes, but that saying cleverly elides the fact that somebody had to find their shoe behind the couch, tie their laces, and then make sure they hadn't forgotten and left the tea on before setting out.

No, this legend was crafted within living memory, first inscribed by men who walk the earth today, and whose deeds had included both the great and the humble since its inception. Innumerable wars had come and gone, leaders rose and fell, but even these mere mortals were still among us, their lives measured in mere decades, no greater than the citizens who know their words by heart, so well-known that even to glance upon them was the merest ritual, their freight of meaning subtle and sublime, poignant and pervasive.

It doesn't take eons for a legend to become legendary. It merely needs truth.

"Batteries not included."



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@etcet

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1/10/2012 01:09:56 am

And that does it for this week's Motivation Monday. Thank you all for participating!

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