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Fantasy Shorts: The Mage and the Yeoman

A submission to Matthew Fromm's High Fantasy Challenge; S&S fantasy adventure

By Ian ReadPublished 7 months ago 3 min read
13
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“My vision blurred and my ears rang. When I came to, all that remained of my compatriots was a circle of ashen earth.

Our two armies had chosen the field of battle; a rugged pasture along the Kingsroad where we could easily conceal our presence. Our leaders chose the location well, and we were certain we would win the day. Our scouts had reported the enemy was exhausted from the last engagement and not ready to fight.

But the last thing I ever heard our captain say was, ‘Gods, they have a mage!’

How I was alive was a miracle in itself. I awoke burned and bloodied, my charred shield a grim reminder of the fate I narrowly avoided. I tossed it aside and it broke apart under its own weight. Luckily, my axe was still intact and the battle had moved over the ridge, for I could still hear the cries of battle above the howling wind and thunder which sounded alarmingly close.

A rage filled me unlike anything, and revenge was set in my heart. But I - a simple yeoman - would be as good as dead if I ran over that ridge screaming like a madman. Indeed, as I crept up the ridge, I saw an armored man’s legs sticking out of the mud along with an assortment of other limbs and armaments. No doubt they belonged to some poor glory-possessed lordling who thought they could kill the mage and the poor sods who followed him up the hill. So, I crept forward and snuck my head over the rise.

The battle raged on the other side of the hill. The enemy had our ranks engaged and began pushing them further and further down the hill. The mage stood just ahead of me with his back turned, surveying our ranks and chanting some awful spell while holding a metal staff to the sky. Dozens of bolts of lightning shot down from the heavens and broke our defense whenever our men tried to sally forth. It would not be long until our surrender.

Just then, from the flank came charging a brigade of our knights on their steeds. They had somehow run around the fighting and were about to take the mage by surprise. However, their fierce battle cries and pounding hooves drew the mage’s attention. The foul sorcerer caught a lightning bolt in his hand and redirected it at the charging men. The men and their horses fell.

In that dreadful moment as he turned to look back at the melee, I knew that for all his power mages do not have eyes in the back of their heads. I silently stood and held my axe at the ready. In two steps, I crept behind him and felled him like a tree.”

The man raised his tankard of ale and emptied it, his crowd enraptured, “And that is why I am now called Sir Aelric the Mage Slayer.”

***

If you enjoyed this short, please feel free to give a like, comment, and subscribe.

This short was inspired by popular renaissance fair songs like the March of Cambreadth and popular fantasy settings like A Song of Ice and Fire and the Inheritance Cycle with a few dashes of sword and sorcery.

This is a submission to Matthew Fromm's High Fantasy Challenge, found at the end of the following article:

If you enjoyed this short and would like to peruse my Vocal catalogue, check out my table of contents here:

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About the Creator

Ian Read

I am an archaeologist and amateur story-teller. I publish a variety of content, but usually I write short and serial fantasy and sci-fi.

Find me on:

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From New Hampshire

Reader insights

Outstanding

Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

Top insight

  1. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

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Comments (9)

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  • Veronica Coldiron7 months ago

    Excellent story!! Congratulations!

  • Thavien Yliaster7 months ago

    I don't know why, but I thought the yeoman would do something cheesy like toss a copper coin to the mage so that the mage's own lightning attack would turn around striking him being drawn to the copper. That would be a hilarious, gruesome, way to go for a revenge murder. I'm glad that the yeoman chose not to be brash and overtly loud as he went after the mage. I gotta say, when I read the first line, "My vision blurred and my ears rang. When I came to, all that remained of my compatriots was a circle of ashen earth." I initially thought that a wild dragon had heard the battle going on and was drawn to it by the smell of all the bloodshed, looking for an easy meal of feasting on carcasses after/during the battle. The surprise attack was great! A real slow and steady wins the race tortoise and the hare story. I will admit that I was confused at the quotation marks at the end, but then I scrolled all the way back up and say them at the beginning again. A very subtle detail which is useful for turning a character into a narrator. Nicely done. I haven't done anything like that as of yet. I should give something like that a try. Also, I did like how he starts off with already being humbled. Like in a story about most epic heroes, they had a point in which they almost die or even do die, and thus they must overcome that. He was lucky in having to survive. "I knew that for all his power mages do not have eyes in the back of their heads." Now I'm imagining a mage so powerful that he could do that, or something like what Voldemort and professor Quirrell had in the first movie. It also reminds me that tigers has spots on the back of their ears so as to deter other predators from sneaking up behind them. In areas where tigers are at, the people also wear masks on the back of their heads to deter tigers from attacking. For tigers stealth is numero uno.

  • Stephanie Hoogstad7 months ago

    Great job! The image of those legs sticking up was certainly vivid and gruesome. Congrats on winning second place in Matthew’s challenge.

  • Alexander McEvoy7 months ago

    "No doubt they belonged to some poor glory-possessed lordling" Very Battle of Agincourt! This was extremely well done! Though I don't know if Aelric is just an other braggart in a country tavern. Love the implications

  • Yessssss! He killed off the mage! Loved your story!

  • Amanda Starks7 months ago

    One of my ( various ) new favorites of yours! c: You just do classical high fantasy SO WELL.

  • L.C. Schäfer7 months ago

    I like this one even better! I was hopping up and down for several paragraphs going KILL HIM, CHOP HIS FRICKING HEAD OFF! 🤣

  • Lamar Wiggins7 months ago

    Bravo, Sir Aelric! Loved your entry.

  • Matthew Fromm7 months ago

    ooo loved this one, great work

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