short story, story promptSirantia has a chance to secure her place as a hero among her people – if she survives the mission, that is. No one who has gone before her has ever returned. Can she do what no one else has done? Or will what she finds in the ancient ruins change her destiny forever?


Defy them, the voice whispered. Ignore their orders. They are sending you to die. Defy them!

Sirantia tried to ignore the small, insistent voice. She was used to it whispering things to her. She also knew it wasn’t normal, that people weren’t supposed to hear voices in their minds. Ignoring it was the only way she felt capable of keeping her sanity, but it was a difficult task to stick to when the voice was always right.

Crouching behind a broken pillar, she scanned the empty courtyard before her. She knew in her gut that this was a mission she was not supposed to return from, though the Elders had certainly not said as much. They had simply told her the mission objectives and wished her the best of luck as if nothing was wrong.

The familiar anger and resentment bubbled up, but she pushed it down. She needed to stay calm if she was to have just a slim chance at surviving. No one had ever returned from the Citadel Ruins. Being sent on the ultimate mission to retrieve the Citadel Artefact from its depths was akin to being sentenced to death.

She must have annoyed someone high up to have been given the Artefact mission.

Defy them! They are trying to get you killed! Go home!

She shook her head. I could survive it. Just because no one else has, doesn’t mean I won’t. I could be the one who finally retrieves the Artefact and returns home victorious! I could be the one to claim the riches they have promised to the one who brings it back to the city!

The voice snorted. Who are you trying to convince? Me or you?

Trying to muffle the voice by humming a tune inside her mind, Sirantia cast another quick glance around the courtyard. Nothing had moved in the few minutes she’d been watching. She didn’t like the idea of going out in the open with no shadows to hide it, but she had no choice if she was to press on.

She crept out from her hiding place behind the pillar and sidled into the courtyard. Taking a deep breath, she dashed across the open space, keeping her footsteps as quiet as possible. Even in her soft leather shoes, the pattering sound seemed very loud. Reaching the other side, she crouched in the shadow of the huge door and got her breath back. There was still no movement, no hint of danger. It didn’t seem right. How had so many people gone missing from these ruins? She had seen no sign of them, no indication that they’d even come here. Surely she’d have seen something?

Easing herself into a standing position, she shoved at the door, surprised when it swung inwards easily, not even creaking. She slipped inside and closed the door behind her. Faint light filtered in from high windows, showing dark outlines of old furniture and broken statues.

Go back! It’s not safe! It was the first time the voice had sounded so desperate. Sirantia paused, but a faint glow at the end of the room drew her on. Turn back, Sirantia!

Mesmerised, she approached the glowing object. It floated in the air in front of her, faint sparkles of light surrounding it.

“A pendant?” she breathed. “This is the Artefact?” Apart from the fact that it was floating, it seemed to be more-or-less an ordinary necklace.

Don’t touch it! Get out of here!

Sirantia bit her lip. Why? I’ve come this far. If I can take it back to the city, I’ll be a hero.

She reached her hand towards the necklace. As her fingers touched the floating pendant, a shockwave sent her flying across the room. An old chair splintered as she crashed into it. Groaning, she sat up. “What was that?”

Now you’ve done it. Sirantia flinched. The voice was so much louder and clearer in her head than usual. She glanced to where the pendant had been floating, to find it gone.

Look down, the voice commanded.

She searched the floor. The voice seemed to sigh in her head. I meant, check yourself out.

Frowning, Sirantia glanced at herself. “What the …? What happened to my clothes?!” Her sturdy, practical, government-issued outfit was gone, replaced by a flowing, pale blue dress. She scrambled to her feet, even more disturbed when she saw her bare arms. Her skin had turned a few shades lighter than normal and tiny blue lights seemed to pulse along her veins, shooting through her body. “What the heck happened to me?!”

I told you not to touch the pendant.

Feeling something heavy at her throat, Sirantia placed her hand there. The cool, amber-coloured stone of the necklace rested against her collar bone. “I don’t understand,” she whispered.

I tried to warn you, the voice said. I told you not to come, but you didn’t listen. What you’ve done can’t be undone.

“But what have I done?” she asked aloud, bewildered.

You’re the Citadel Artefact, Sirantia. You and me, together. We form the Artefact that the Elders are after.

“You and me?”

There’s a reason you can hear me in your head, when no one else can. We share a bond. We are both two halves of a whole. When you touched me, we became bound together and our powers activated.

“When I touched you… you’re the pendant?”

Yes. Now listen carefully. We’re in danger. When I say run … Run!

Is this one of your favourite 500-word-story-starters? Click the heart to like it and it may become a fully-fledged story! –>  1

<– Day 112     #    Day 114 –>