short story, story promptCynthia has a dark past that she tries to forget, but the arrival of the powerful Magician at the manor stirs up old memories.


Cynthia shooed the brown and white hen away from the nesting box and collected the last egg. She carefully placed it in her basket and exited the small pen, being careful to close the gate behind her. Those pesky birds loved to take any opportunity to escape. She didn’t feel like chasing them half a mile down the road. Especially not Clucks-Alot. That chicken hated her. She threw a narrow-eyed glance at the offending chicken as she headed back towards the manor house.

The misty morning grew brighter as the first of the sun’s rays peeked over the horizon. Cynthia marvelled at the way the sandstone of the manor glowed a rich golden colour where the light hit it. She’d always loved mornings, especially here. This quiet part of the kingdom was secluded and far enough away from any towns that the roads were infrequently travelled. The master of the manor was rarely in residence, leaving the skeleton staff in peace. Exactly as Cynthia liked it.

She pushed away the dark thoughts of her past that threatened to surface. She’d already lectured herself many times that she would no longer think of that time in her life. Nothing from her past had made the journey with her to the manor, except for her necklace with the hyacinth flower pendant. For some reason, she couldn’t bring herself to part with it. Everything else, though … well, those mistakes were done and gone. No point in lingering over them. Not when they brought such pain to her heart. She could already feel it beating faster than usual and took several deep breaths before heading inside.

She was almost knocked over the second she closed the door behind her. One of the eggs tipped from the basket, smashing on the stone floor.

“Oh! Cynthia, I’m so sorry!” Flustered, Sophie eyed the mess on the floor. As the only other house maid of the manor and with a bubbly personality, Sophie had quickly made Cynthia her best friend. The last year had been a lot more bearable with the other girl around.

“Sophie, what’s wrong? You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”

“The Magician is coming! We need to get the house ready!” Sophie pulled a rag from an apron pocket and swiped at the broken egg. “He’s going to be here in just a few hours. There’s so much to do!”

“Calm down!” Cynthia caught Sophie’s arm to stop her scurrying off. “Who’s coming to the manor?”

“The Magician!”

Cynthia shook her head. “Who is he?”

Sophie gave her an odd look. “He’s the master of the manor. He’s coming home!”

A shock went through her spine. In the year that she’d been at the manor, the master had never been back. She’d half-expected to never see the man. A sense of unease settled in her stomach, making her wish she hadn’t already eaten her breakfast.

She took a shaky breath. “Well, I supposed we’d better get to work.”

Sophie nodded and hurried towards the kitchen. Cynthia stood still for a moment longer. For some reason, she felt like she should know this mysterious Magician. A vague memory stirred from the place where she’d buried her past. Why should I know this man?

A Ruby and Leliana tie in! 😉

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