Refuge (flash fiction)

Artwork: 3D Fantasy Art

Refuge

by Carol

375 words

Calmly Iloena raised her bow, aiming at the travelers walking on the road in the valley, watching the three men intently. She released the arrow, hitting the oldest of the men first. Quickly she killed the other two in turn. This was her land and she refused entry to strangers, a well-known fact. Even if the men had entered the area in all innocence, Iloena believed that the safety of her land and those she protected was worth too much; she would eliminate any threats.

The regal white unicorn galloped across the field to Iloena’s side, whinnying. She solidly patted the creature’s shoulder, comforting it as much as possible. Death always upset it. It seemed to grieve every loss of life, friend or enemy. It stared at Iloena for a moment, then ambled away.

It was rare that Iloena had to deal with strangers. Usually, the tales of giants and dragons roaming the hills discouraged foreigners, but there have been too many intruders lately. Most had turned back at the sight of a stray dragon or the howl of the wolves, but Iloena was uneasy.

Iloena trekked down the hill to a cottage nestled in the wood at a bend in the road. Leaning the bow against the wall, she knocked while she opened the door. The old woman at the table started to rise, but Iloena motioned for her to stay seated.

“I wondered when you would come. He’s closer now. I feel it. He wants them.”

“Why?” Iloena wondered aloud.

“You forget that these are not just beautiful animals and unusual people. They are magic, they each hold more power than we can begin to understand. If he could harness that energy, just imagine.”

Iloena didn’t want to. “I believe we’ll win in a battle should it come to that. Perhaps.”

Iloena nodded. Not all those who took refuge here were as gentle as the unicorns; many were dangerous, unpredictable, lived in a world where words like loyalty meant little. They would be the problem, should he arrive. They could as easily join him as fight against him, depending on his offer.

Iloena would have to make a choice, decide how much she was willing to sacrifice to make sure he never arrived.


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Dottie at Tink’s Place has a Monday Morning Flash Fiction challenge that I’m enjoying. I have to admit that I had trouble coming up with something for this one though. Each Monday a new picture prompt will be posted and if you choose to participate you post your story on Friday – 350 words, give or take.

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