Small short I wrote for a Weekly Write-Up at WDG.
Roughly 600 words.
Her name was Flora, the lunar girl. She tended the Crescent Glaive flowers, those towering silver blades that grew and swayed with the moods of the moon. She glided among them in their patchy groves. Some townsfolk respected her—most fearing her mastery of the Glaives, her instinctive expertise demonized as witchery.
Flora smiled at these accusations. But she never did protest.
A curious old man appeared at her groves one night. He leaned against a wood staff, polished from years of use. He peered between the blades, calling softly, “Flora, I wish to speak with you.” The Glaives rustled beside him. He glanced at them nervously.
Singing to herself, her fingers dancing along the Glaive blades, Flora appeared from the silver spires.
“Hello, my old sir, is there something the matter?”
He waved at the Glaives as they moved with her rhythms and melodies. “I wish you to cease this madness.”
“What madness, old sir?” She tilted her head at him. Her eyes shone like quicksilver in the moonlight. The Glaives seemed to crowd closer, closer yet.
The man took a step back from Flora and reset his staff in the ground. The words came slowly to him.
“You have no idea how your Crescent Glaives are used, do you, Flora?”
She shook her head and smiled, bright white teeth. “What idea do I need to have but that my Glaives are beautiful? That they are grown with love and care and are unrivaled in this world? They are the children of the moon.”
“And they are murder in the sun,” the old man whispered. He ran a cautious finger along a Glaive but pulled abruptly as a thin line of blood bloomed from his skin. “They go to market but are bought for wars and used for death. You know this?”
Flora looked at him suspiciously. “You lie.”
“I do not. My son was killed by one of your Glaives.”
“You lie!” Flora screamed. “They are beautiful. They bring me peace; they grow as only the moon allows. There is no death in them. It is the world that spoils them.”
He raised his thumb to her, the blood congealing. Except it was silver blood. “I will die from this wound,” he said. “As we speak, the blood morphs to liquid silver, poisoning my body. I have a few minutes perhaps. Yet that seems more than I should need.”
Flora stared in horror at his finger. She held it between her hands, mourning it in the moonlight, silver tears falling down her cheeks. “I know nothing beyond these groves.”
“And none know so delicately the power within them. The money from your Crescent Glaives has kept this town alive, yet brought death to many others. Is such beauty worth the destruction it sows?” He staggered, snapping his hand from Flora and clutching his heart. “There is a man, the Silver King, who has made his name in the silvered blood of your creations. They say you are not one of us, just a lunar girl. They are so very wrong.” He collapsed before her.
The townsfolk came from their homes, horrified and awestruck by the fires consuming Flora’s groves. The flames licked the night, burning the stars.
Flora watched, a single shorn Glaive in her hand.
“The Silver King,” she said.