Welcome! This month I’m writing a small story each day to try to brainstorm a future full-length novel, a sequel to my current WIP Memories and Magic, which is tentatively titled Rebels and Rebellions.
Forgive the vagueness of terms in this piece. I don’t have enough world-building yet. The people in this army aren’t the rebels, more their slaves, but I haven’t nutted out terminology yet.
Today’s prompt is: Music.
The Rebels’ army marched slowly towards the gathered group. Even from a distance, the vacant expression in their eyes was noticeable. But the thing that made Clara’s stomach turn was the smear of red on each of their foreheads; Runes drawn in their own blood, which the Racharan magicians were using to control them.
“They’re like zombies,” Clara said. “Do the magicians really think these people are a threat?”
“There must be something else,” Max replied. “They must have some other power.” He was grasping his Mage’s pen tightly in one hand. “Clara,” he said. “Can you stop them? Hold them back at least?”
“I think so,” she replied. “Why?”
“I’m going to try to get to them.”
Clara nodded and turned to face the oncoming rebels. She took a deep breath and became aware of the air around her. She pushed at it, and soon she could see the faint shimmer of an invisible dome around the rebels. The ones at the front of the group tried to step forward, but couldn’t. They tried again, with the same result, but they didn’t stop. It was like they were in a trance and the only thing that mattered was reaching their goal.
Now that they were contained, Max walked over to the nearest one and reached for her. She immediately shot out one arm, knocking Max’s away. Max staggered under the force of it, holding the arm against his chest and supporting it with his other.
Clara immediately transported herself to his side. He was straightening up now; there was no lasting damage.
“They’re strong,” Max said. “Incredibly strong. That’s going to bruise.”
Now that Clara had removed her concentration from the dome of air, the rebels were starting to move again, so she grabbed Max’s sleeve and pulled them both back to where Rikard and the other members of the Magic Guard were waiting.
“If I remove the blood Runes, will that remove the magic’s influence?” Clara asked.
“Yes,” said Reiner, “it should. The Rune is the thing holding them. What are you going to do?”
Clara took a deep breath. This type of rapid movement was going to take it out of her but she had to try. She focused on the person on the edge of the group. She would need to land close enough that she could wipe the blood from his forehead before he had a chance to strike her. But she didn’t want to land on top of him. Who knew what reaction that would bring?
She exhaled, and raised her arm so it was around height of the man’s head. She sent herself forward into the group, and was pleased with where she landed. She wiped her sleeve across the man’s forehead. He began to raise his arm to defend himself, but the second Clara wiped away a small part of the blood, the magic cancelled out. He stopped and looked around, then hurriedly got out of the way. Clara disappeared from the spot before another one could catch her there, and went onto the next person. Her arms grew tired quickly from the speed she was moving, wiping, moving, wiping, but she kept on.
Their numbers were dwindling. By the time she took herself back to her own group, the army of rebels had halved. She rolled her shoulders.
The rebels she had freed were confused, but they were banding together. There were some cries of alarm, but also laughter and anger. It was all so natural, not like the strange, trance-like droning Clara had heard earlier. The sound was music to Clara’s ears.