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kisahawklin ([personal profile] kisahawklin) wrote in [community profile] 15_minute_ficlets2010-01-11 09:38 am

Prompt #16

If you wish to do this as a spontaneous exercise, don't look at the word until you're ready to write (I recommend having Write or Die open in another tab). If you're going to mull over the word and write later, peek away.

Once you've completed your ficlet, please either comment here, or post a link to it, if you're posting on your own journal. Feel free to reference the community or number of the prompt in your outside posts, but if you use the actual word, please put it under a cut to avoid spoiling others, should they want to write spontaneously.

Today's word is: incense

[personal profile] blood_and_night 2010-01-15 07:42 pm (UTC)(link)
Well, here goes my first try at one of these!

Everything was in place, Absinthe observed as she leaned over the altar, lazily lighting one of the tallow candles with a light touch and a crackle of kinetic energy. She stood back to survey her handiwork, her frame tall and angular in the guttering light. It was all perfect, from the stoneware goblets to the raven's wing and the ornate bowl where the blood of the participants would mingle with her ancient blood. Not that the participants knew that yet. It pleased her, to see everything so neat and clean and ready. It was powerful. All the focus and knowledge of her 200 years' magical experience would come together on that altar, and with the help of a small group of would-be sorcerors, her will would come to pass.

Absinthe turned from the altar for a moment, pushing her hands against her hips and bending and cracking her spine, freeing the tension knots that had started forming as she prepared. Every year on this night thirteen would gather here in her penthouse apartment with its circles of stained glass and rain-soaked vista. She and Mordred made up two of the circle. The other eleven were the most promising candidates picked by her throughout the year. From her work with human sorcerors to the beginner's circle she tutored; from chance encounters in cafes to beautiful young women she caught trying to quickly hide the hungry magic behind their eyes. From all over the dark city she found them, the eleven who would join she and Mordred on the winter solstice. Every year she felt a frisson of excitement as the sun sank, noticeable in this place only as a darkening of the almost permanently grey sky. Every year she felt her age, wondered whether she would still be there in another 200 years, drawing on old magics as they became brittle and forgotten. Every year, she was filled with last minute misgivings.

The first clatter of footsteps on the stairs disturbed her thoughts, and she strode easily to the door to greet the first of them with a bright smile and friendly, if somewhat stiff, hug. She was so pleased to see them, she would say, so delighted that they wanted to share her end-of-year celebrations as fellow practitioners of magic and denizens of the dark city. It flattered them, making them feel as if somehow they were her equal, the ancient witch with the poison green eyes and a feel about her like falling into an endless void.

Soon they were gathered in a circle, chatter dying down, their eager expectations creating a kind of hush. It was exciting, Absinthe knew, to be invited to share in the inner circle of the magical workings within this city. It was a pity, really, that it would be their first and last ritual in the presence of a true master. She felt a slight pang of conscience. Eleven lives a year was no small count, but what choice did she have? The old magics were fading, the living essence of sorcery no longer accessible with any ease. It took blood and life force to kick start a ritual into life these days. And the rituals were a necessity. By the end of the night, another immortal like Absinthe would be born, body formed from the stolen life energy of eleven innocents. It was worth it really, she mused. Unpleasant, yes, but then life so often is. As long as her race survived, so would the magic in one form or another. All the ancients knew the magic was worth far more than a tiny human life. With a tiny smile, her back turned to the waiting acolytes, Absinthe reached out and lit the incense.

[personal profile] blood_and_night 2010-01-22 12:27 pm (UTC)(link)
Sorry it took me so long to see your comment! Just wanted to say thanks :)