story prompt, short storySaskia and Crowen have the crucial task of ensuring that no beasts from the dark forest can escape to wreak havoc on the city below. Most of the time, it’s not too challenging – they’ve been trained for it, after all. Lately, things have been changing. The monsters are getting bolder and tougher to defeat…


“Saskia! We’ve got another one!” Crowen’s voice was powerful enough to ring clearly into the small cottage.

Saskia leapt for her glaive. She hadn’t even had time to take off her armour from the previous fight. Rushing outside, she headed to the edge of the dark forest. “They’re getting bolder. What is it this time?”

Crowen held his sword and massive shield ready. “I didn’t get a good look. It headed deeper into the forest when it saw me. But it was big. One of the biggest I’ve ever seen.”

“Do you think it’s going to try an attack?”

He shrugged. “Why else would it be lurking at the edges of the forest?”

Saskia tried to peer between the tree trunks into the gloom. The last crescent of the sun was disappearing behind the wall of the vast city below them. It was hard to see anything in the fading light.

Night Eyes,” she whispered. The spell immediately shimmered in front of her eyes, enhancing her ability to see in the dark. “I’ll scout to the left, you go right,” she told Crowen. He nodded and prowled away.

Saskia moved to the very edge of the forest to maximise how far in she could see. Purple runes glowed at the tree line. She made sure not to touch them. They were the best defence the city had against the monsters from the forest depths. The runes kept all but the most powerful beasts in the forest, making sure they couldn’t escape and cause havoc in the city below.

As for the powerful ones who were able to negate the human mage spells and cross the barrier, that was when she and Crowen sprang into action. They’d already defeated one of the monsters today, she mused. Fighting two in one day was almost unheard of. At least, it used to be. It was becoming disturbingly common lately.

Movement in the trees snapped her head upwards. Seconds later, she rolled away as a demonic creature twice her size jumped out of the branches, silver claws reaching for her.

Darting away, she lifted the black whistle from the chain around her neck and blew hard. The piercing tone would bring Crowen to her side in moments.

The creature snarled, blue eyes blazing unnaturally in the evening darkness. She’d never encountered a forest beast like this one. Her years as a Guardian had taught her to study every enemy and search out their weak points. She deflected a swipe of it’s claws with the long blade of her weapon and watched it carefully.

It stood on hind legs that rippled with powerful muscles, so probably a very fast mover and likely a high jumper. The chest was broad, but not so heavily muscled, the arms appearing much the same. Long talons grew from the tips of it’s fingers – it’s primary weapon.

It’s fast, but not overly powerful, she surmised. Crowen and I can easily take it out.

Moonlight glinted off a smooth metal surface and she smiled to see the bulky shape of her Guardian partner heading her way. Time to get this fight started.

Aurora Flare!” she shouted. A bright circle of light appeared beneath the monster’s feet, blasting upwards in a brief, blinding flash. The beast howled in fury, lashing out randomly. She kept her distance, knowing that the disorienting effects of the spell would only last a few seconds.

It was all the time Crowen needed to get into place. “Harmonious Blade!” His sword hummed and flickered, becoming almost ghostly. Sprinting towards the forest monster, he didn’t slow down as he ran the blade along the back of it’s knees. The spell allowed the sword to do double the amount of damage it would normally inflict.

The creature staggered. Letting out a low pitched growl, it turned glaring blue eyes on Crowen. Saskia frowned as he froze in place, staring back at it.

“Crowen! Crowen!” No response.

The monster lifted a clawed hand and struck her partner forcefully. Crowen grunted as he was sent flying. She held back a gasp. He’d been hit by worse. He’d be fine. She just had to keep the monster away from him for a few moments.

Gaia’s Chains.” Root-like growths twisted from the earth, snaring the monster’s feet and climbing it’s legs. In a matter of seconds, the roots had twined around half the beast’s body. With it’s mobility impaired, this was her chance to strike.

She nimbly darted into range and swept the blade across it’s chest. The deep gash spurted a rotten-smelling black liquid. Saskia dodged out of the way before it could retaliate with it’s claws.

From the corner of her eye, she could see Crowen shaking his head clear and getting to his feet. Thank Gaia.

The monster let out a low growl and lifted it’s head to the stars. Her eyes widened. The injury she’d just inflicted was healing itself. After only a few seconds, the wound was completely gone.

What kind of creature is this? She’d never seen one that could regenerate it’s health.

Undaunted, she rushed in, using her speed to score two more blows before dancing out of it’s reach. The monster jumped high into the air, breaking the hold of her root spell. Shockwaves ran through the ground as it landed only a few metres away from her. Blue eyes blazed into hers.

Move! I have to move! Her body was locked in place, just as Crowen had been. Silver glinted in the dim light as the claws swept towards her lightly-armoured body.

“Saviour’s Shield!” Crowen leaped in front of her, his shield glowing brightly. The monster’s attack slammed into the shield and the spell caused the attack to rebound, hurting the monster instead of them.

“This is going to be harder than I thought,” Saskia panted.

Almost like a game world! This one’s quite long, almost 1,000 words… 😀

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