DragonSpark Speakeasy 166 – Eyes and Magic

17 Jun

“He taught me how to read in people’s eyes”, the old man remembered, “despite not having any himself!” He then chuckled with the broken laugh of an old smoker’s lungs. I was sitting at his table, his humble home slightly isolated from the nearby village, after having barely escaped death in the depths of the earth. I was carrying important cargo in my sack, one that required me to stay incognito until I reached the Guild. Deciding against taking the King’s Road, I stumbled upon this village while following the rolling paths that traversed the country. People here were hospitable, and maybe a little too desperate for change or unexpected visitors, as life in the country was monotonous. When the old man saw a weary traveller, dressed in a heavy cloak, a ball of fire lighting the way, his curiosity was soon inviting me to stay the night.

He lived with his son, his son’s wife, and memories from a lifetime of adventure, tales from the past dying to be brought back to life by his lips, provided an open ear was near. Clearly, his son and daughter in law knew the tales already, as they gazed at the two of us with a knowing smile from inside the house. Indeed, we were having tea outside, a low wooden table as sole furniture, grass below, the heavens above. Whereas my cup had already been emptied three times, my host’s was still full. His mind had control over his mouth right now, not his thirst. He told me tales of adventure, travel and glory. The man had been an explorer all his life, traveling to the ports of the world until he settled with his son inland, in the very house I was in now.

Seeing that my host was finally drinking from his cup, I turned my gaze towards the wilderness. A few feet away, a tiny waterfall was fuelling a stream. The dim glow of the town’s lights could be seen in the distance, behind a layer of trees. I sensed so much wildlife bustling around me, and the town was still lively with activity despite the summer night slowly creeping on its residents. I breathed a sigh. This was heaven compared to what I had seen in that cave. Until the day I die, I’ll never forget those glassy, unblinking eyes, or the way those creatures chased me throughout the ruins like shadows, their figure only lit by four deadly drops of colour in their face. Finding an exit out of there had been miraculous.

A shiver crawled up my spine. Once you see these things, they stay with you forever. Thrice on the road I had turned around violently, hands before me, magic ready to shoot out from them, expecting one of those beasts to be behind me, ready to attack, only to find myself starring at a tree, or at a passing peasant, colour suddenly fleeing his face.

Another sigh. I poured myself another cup of tepid tea and heated it with my magic. After emptying the cup and saluting my host, I grabbed my cloak and headed to the guest mattress that the kind family had set up for me. That night, my sleep was plagued with memories of the cave, how I fought the creature, how its articulations were abnormal, how it had clawed at my cloak, before turning it into crystal.

….Wait a minute… I’m sleeping in that cloak… Right?

I woke up, startled, to find that, actually, I was not. The cloak I had carried with me was gone, leaving me in boiled leather shoulder and chest plates above a silk doublet. My breathing was quick and shallow. My brow was covered with cold droplets. Around me the house was dark, lifeless. I could not feel the presence of the old man and his family. I got up, determined not to let panic overcome me. Once outside, I sent my consciousness out again. The bustling wildlife was gone. The whole forest felt inert. I projected it farther, to the town, or at least, where the town had been. I found nothing. No lights, no life. I opened my eyes. Beyond the low table was an all too familiar figure. It was the frozen, lifeless, crystal-like statue of the man that had welcomed me into the cavern. Except its face now held extra significance to me: it belonged to the explorer who had welcomed me into his home moments ago.


This is the sequel to my first post for the speakeasy, last month. After you’ve read this, I’d like to know something: Do you guys picture the protagonist as a man or a woman? How old is he/she? Whatever you think, thank you for your time, I hope you enjoyed, and I hope to see you around. Comments that do not answer the question above are much appreciated nonetheless.
For those who haven’t read the prequel to this (or forgot the thing entirely), here it is.


Posted by on 17 June 2014 in Dragonspark, Speakeasy


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29 responses to “DragonSpark Speakeasy 166 – Eyes and Magic

  1. thewizardsword

    17 June 2014 at 20:14

    Excellent take on the prompts! I love this one. I think the protagonist is a woman in her mid-20s. 🙂

    • DragonSpark

      18 June 2014 at 13:13

      Thanks for the complient and for the opinion. See you ’round

  2. imab00kworm

    17 June 2014 at 21:17

    I think the protagonist is a blondish young man, pretty, lonely, and sad/mysterious… what is he hiding?

    • DragonSpark

      18 June 2014 at 13:14

      We all have secrets… Some are darker than others.

      • imab00kworm

        18 June 2014 at 13:55

        Ooh! What’s your secret? What’s mine?

  3. jannatwrites

    18 June 2014 at 05:02

    Good questions. I read it again. ” one that required me to stay incognito until I reached the Guild.” makes me think that this could very well be a female. I’m guessing late teens. I’m curious as to the cargo being carried 🙂

    • DragonSpark

      18 June 2014 at 13:16

      How does a line make one picture a gender, I wonder. Anyway the “cargo” was the artifact of the prequel.

      • jannatwrites

        18 June 2014 at 15:06

        I may have interpreted it as a false clue… Only made a guess because you asked 🙂

  4. zeudytigre

    18 June 2014 at 10:01

    I liked the line ‘He lived with his [..] memories from a lifetime of adventure,’ I pictured a young man, maybe in his twenties. I would like it to be a woman though 🙂

    • DragonSpark

      18 June 2014 at 13:19

      Thanks, I kinda like that one too (even if I’m VERY biass, being the writter of the peice XD). Why would you like it to be a woman rather than a man? Furthermore, why did your subconscious label the protagonist as a man of your consciousness wants it to be a woman?
      Oh the beauty of the human mind;)

      • zeudytigre

        18 June 2014 at 13:43

        My first thought was it is a man. I would like it to be a woman as that seems more unexpected and I like twists. I dislike stereotypes – women who need rescuing (yawn). Strong, independent characters, whatever the gender, are much more interesting.

  5. Silverleaf

    18 June 2014 at 13:36

    Somehow I missed the first part, so I had to go and read that as well. Great story! I love the epic feel to it, a bit reminiscent of Lord of the Rings. I hope there will be more of this – it could become a series which could become a book! As for the main character, I imagine a young (late teens, early twenties) male with dark hair shadowing his face.

    • DragonSpark

      18 June 2014 at 16:00

      Fun fact: that’s why I wanted to know what you guys thought of the protagonist: I want to do more with this world so I needed him/her (It?) to have a gender and a face. Not really knowing what to do, being a little close to the writting to have a good overall view, I turned to you guys for help. So yea, there will likely be more.
      I’m glad you liked it Silver, and I’m super grateful you took the time to go back and read the prequel.

  6. Suzanne

    18 June 2014 at 19:40

    Nice continuation, DragonSpark! Love the sense of mystery about what’s real and what actually happened in the cave.

    To answer your question, I picture the protagonist as a young man with dark hair.

  7. DragonSpark

    18 June 2014 at 19:44

    Thank you for the comment and thank you for the opinion. Your weekly comment is always awaited with anticipation.

  8. S. J. Paige

    18 June 2014 at 21:46

    Great story, and great idea to continue it from last week’s prompt. I was thinking about doing that myself as I read everyone’s stories, but BAM! Someone beat me too it. 😉

    As for your question — I picture the protagonist as a young adult, male.

    • DragonSpark

      19 June 2014 at 10:08

      Actualy, this prompt the prequel was from last month, so you’re good! 😉 thanks for reading and thanks for the opinion.

      • S. J. Paige

        19 June 2014 at 15:19

        Last month’s, I meant last month’s. 😉

  9. Meg

    19 June 2014 at 00:50

    I thought I recognized the story from before — nice job weaving it into this prompt. I wanted to know more. One thing you might consider is sharing an example of some adventurous tale from the host (even if he isn’t real)…I do love fantasy and mystery and this is a good combination of the two. Also, I, too, imagined the protagonist as a young adult male.

    • DragonSpark

      19 June 2014 at 10:10

      Thank you for reading! I’ll take your suggestion into account if I ever re-write it, but with the word count limit, that kind of elaboration is impossible 😦
      I’m glad that you liked it! hope to see you around!

  10. saroful

    19 June 2014 at 04:04

    Given the costume, your protagonist is most likely male. Also that’s the sense I get from the host’s reaction to him…

    • DragonSpark

      19 June 2014 at 10:11

      Well, in my defense, I wasn’t going to send a woman into battle dressed in silk robes and high heels… Anyway, thanks for reading!

      • imab00kworm

        19 June 2014 at 10:17

        Haha i just might though, I’ll have to think about it…

  11. Splendid Empress

    19 June 2014 at 16:03

    I agree with Silverleaf – she already said everything I want to including the dark hair shadowing his face. But the protagonist could be a woman if she were pretending to be a man, perhaps for safety reasons in travelling or another need to be in disguise. And Saroful nailed it – the host reacts to the protagonist as if protagonist is male.

    • DragonSpark

      19 June 2014 at 17:01

      Firstly, thank you for reading. Secondly, I have a question(even though i doubt you’ll stumble on here again): how would the old man have behaved with a woman?

      • imab00kworm

        19 June 2014 at 17:20

        I had to reread it and yet I still can’t find one concrete piece of evidence I agree it’s somewhere around there, the way the host behaves towards the character and in turn the way the character reacts, being a girl I can’t imagine this character being a woman, I suppose if it were she’d be more wary of the man who invited her in: because she’s hiding she would question a man who openly invites her into his home and not just listen nonchalantly sipping tea even though she noticed he wasn’t drinking himself. But maybe that’s just me?

  12. Patricia Rivera

    19 June 2014 at 19:38

    loved it so much I read three times! You are a prolific writer. And I notice I’m not the only one who reread, interesting.

    • DragonSpark

      20 June 2014 at 11:03

      Thank you for your time, I’m glad you enjoyed it. I’m not sure what motivated you to rereading it three times but hey, who am I to complain? 😉
      thank you for stopping by, and I hope to see you around!


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