short story, story promptAs a sorceress, she has to follow strict rules in order to protect those who don’t have magical abilities, but in order to save someone’s life, she breaks them all…


 

I absently flicked my hand at the window on the far wall, opening it in the vain hope a waft of cool air would find its way in. The room was stifling in the scorching heat of the Ardencian summer.

I stripped off the long, black silk gloves. I’d get in trouble for that if anyone saw me without them on, but the library was deserted at this time of day. A sorceress was not supposed to take her gloves off in public. It made the common people feel safer, as if the thin material could save them from powerful magic. The only thing the gloves achieved was preventing a magic-user from making skin contact and using the forbidden magics of mind-control. A sorceress could still hurt people with other magics with her gloves on.

Fanning my face with a thin book, I tried to concentrate on the massive leather-bound volume in front of me. The words were handwritten, rather than printed, making the task of reading the cursive script a much more headache-inducing one.

I sat back with a sigh. How did anyone get any work done in this heat? For once, I wished my prowess lay in the elemental magics rather than the more industrial magic of metals. I could make steel bend to my will and copper form itself into shapes, but none of that could cool me down. What I wouldn’t give for the ability to conjure a cool wind at this point.

I slammed the heavy tome shut. Intricate metallic inlays decorated the leather front cover. It was supposed to be a book about the deeper magic of metal mages, but whoever wrote it had appalling handwriting. I used the metal on the cover to lazily send the book back to the top shelf I’d retrieved it from. It slipped back into place neatly. I glanced at the other books scattered on the table. Shame I couldn’t do the same for them. I was going to have to put them all back individually. By hand.

With a groan, I pushed to my feet. The sooner I got it done, the sooner I could find a refreshing drink and one of those Ardencian pools of cold water to soak in. Master Jin’wae wouldn’t be happy with me, but I’d win him over. I always did.

I piled the books into my arms and began the trek around the library shelves. I turned into the final aisle and bumped into someone.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t see you there.”

The young man gave me an easy smile. “No damage done.” His eyes widened as he caught sight of the tiny tattoo at the corner of my left eye, the one that marked me as a sorceress. His gaze fell to my bare hands. Damn, I should have replaced my gloves before wandering around the library.

He took a cautious step back. “Please don’t hurt me.”

I rolled my eyes. “I’m not going to hurt you. I have no idea how mind-control magic works. Besides, just don’t touch me and everything will be dandy,” I snapped at him. I was growing tired of having to wear those gloves in this heat.

He paled and took another step away. I shook my head and replaced the book, turning to leave before he could irritate me any further.

An ear-popping boom shook the library. A shock wave sent me flying backwards, crashing into a shelf. I shook my head, trying to clear the dizziness. Through the haze of dust, I could see four figures heading my way. I hid my bare hands behind my back, but they didn’t even look at me as they passed.

“That’s him,” one of them said, his voice muffled by his brown mask. “Knock him out and take him.”

I peered around the corner and saw them surrounding the young man. He was crouched in a defensive position, eyeing the four other men. “Leave me alone! Why are you people chasing me?”

One of the men conjured a flame and tossed it towards the young man. I gasped. Attacking a non-mage was against the Sorcerer Code. It was worse than taking your gloves off in public. I closed my eyes and focused on the metal in the room. In my mind’s eye, I could see it glimmering. Calling to it, I directed it to start attacking the strange men. I couldn’t let them hurt an innocent who couldn’t defend himself against magical attacks.

With cries of surprise and pain, the men backed off under the metallic onslaught. I dashed forward and grabbed the young man’s hand. “Quick, it won’t stop them for long.”

I pulled him towards the hole in the wall and pushed him out. “Run! I’ll hold them off. Find somewhere safe.”

He stared at me. “You saved me. You’re a sorceress, but you saved me.”

I huffed at him. “What they were doing was wrong. Now, run!

He turned and took off down the street. I turned my attention back to the library.


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