My short fantasy story Trailing Trolls was published by Infective Ink today. As always, each month, the magazine publishes stories subscribing to the same theme. The September theme is Girls! Woman! Ladies! Chicks! The guidelines insisted that no man should appear in a story, and no explanation should be given for the fact. I liked the challenge. There is no man in my story, only women, trolls, and magic.
“You’re the Adept?” A surprised frown creased the old priestess’s lined face.
“Yes.” Eriale stifled her irritation. “Do you need magical assistance?”
The multihued sunbeams, streaming through the stained-glass windows of the Scriptorium, twirled around her. They touched the golden embroidery on her tunic, bounced off the diamond buttons, and kissed her pale cheeks. She felt cherished, accepted by the sunny caress. The sunrays recognized her tremendous magical power. Only humans had trouble believing she was an Adept, one of the most powerful mages in the kingdom. Because of her short stature and expensive jewelry, most people considered her an empty-headed noble girl even younger than her twenty years. The priestess’s obvious doubts were vexing but familiar. Eriale braced herself, trying to look taller. “What can I do for you?”
The priestess winced and bowed. “Milady Adept. Yes, I need help.”
“Please, sit down and tell me.” Eriale gestured at one of the benches that lined the small reception chamber of the Scriptorium. Her official position as the royal sorceress made any magical disturbance in the kingdom her business, but what kind of a magical problem could this elderly provincial priestess have?
The priestess sat gingerly, and Eriale perched beside here.
“My temple is in Sedra,” the old woman started, her voice scratchy with age, “a village a few candlemarks north from here. Trolls stole a baby girl from one of our homesteads, while her parents worked with their sheep…”
The painting I used for the cover image is by Allan Ramsay.