31 Fantasy Characters: Vote for your favorite

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31 Fantasy Characters in 31 Days was a success! I hope my readers had as much fun reading about my original characters as I did writing about them. I have a feeling I will be writing many complete stories about them in the future.

However, here’s your chance to get a say in which one I write first!

Vote for your favorite character from the series below, and whichever character gets the most votes will be the first one I make into a short story!

And spread the word!

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31 Fantasy Characters, #31: Zimiriad

31_fantasy_badgeZimiriad stood on the edge of the rickety wooden bridge that spanned the chasm. As he looked down into the blackness, wondering what was down there, he wondered a great many more things. Would the others discover it was missing? Would they then discover he was missing? Would they put the two together, and come after him?

Of course they would. All of them. But they would be too late.

Three kingdoms battling each other for years, trying to wrench from a fourth kingdom a weapon of great death. And here it was in Zimiriad’s hands.

He held the great gem up to the light of the sun, and the red beams that came forth from the dozens of facets shone all around him and down into the chasm – but even that light was swallowed by the depths. This gem was Zimiriad’s crowning achievement, the largest gem ever cut, and it was his gift for his king. Zimiriad had been made a noble for it, with land and herds and more. But he never cut another gem after this. He would not pass on his knowledge of how he had done it. He wanted it to be the only gem of its kind, for he knew the danger it posed. There could be no other, as long as he lived.

To his dismay, the the truth became known one day, how it killed and destroyed when put with water, and his king used it against the surrounding kingdoms to expand. The war for the Flamestone had claimed hundreds of thousands of lives.

“No more,” Zimiriad said, looking at the gem in his hands. “I wish I never found this cursed thing!”

He dropped it into the chasm, watched its red light disappear into darkness. He waited a moment, then looked around. No one was around. He had done it. There was nothing left to fight for anymore. They would kill him for it, yes, but it would be the last death of the war.

Zimiriad started to walk the bridge back home when the rumbling started. The bridge rattled, then wobbled. He saw the trees on the other side of the bridge begin to sway. The very ground itself was shaking.

He looked down and saw a great fire emerging from the depths of the chasm. Almost a mile away from him, he could already feel the flames burning his feet.

“What have I done?” was the last thing Zimiriad ever said.

(The word prompt today was “Only.”)

[– 31 Fantasy Characters in 31 Days –]

31 Fantasy Characters, #30: Kenhaund

31_fantasy_badge“Begin!”

Kenhaund lunged at his opponent at once. The Feline was nimble, and dodged Kenhaund’s rapier thrust effortlessly. Kenhaund expected it though, and turned at once to parry the counter with his dagger. The fighters pushed each other away with their blades and paced in a circle, judging each other’s next move.

Kenhaund lived for Rapier and Dagger matches, but this one was different. This fight was not for his honor, but for his country’s. The Canines and the Felines were in a cold war, each poised to destroy each other, but neither willing to risk the great loss of life. The tension in the room was palpable, despite both sides cheering on their champion. It was if this match was to determine the victor between two great world powers. Had Kenhaund known this, he may not have ever volunteered to fight.

Canxiama, Kenhaund’s opponent, hissed as he came about with a barrage of thrusts and swings, leaving Kenhaund no choice but to parry only. Kenhaund could find no window for a counter, so he let the cat exert all his energy, saving his own for later.

A swish across Kenhaund’s chest tore his shirt, but his mail protected him. He cursed silently as the official called a point for the Feline, and Felines’ side cheered loud while the Canines howled their displeasure.

Kenhaund made a quick maneuver to attack the Feline’s leg, but the cat batted it away with his rapier. Canxiama’s smug whisker twitch combined with that smirk was already driving Kenhaund mad, and they had only met this morning. Kenhaund began to pant, which always embarrassed him.

Tongue lolling out, Kenhaund tried a barrage of his own, quick slices of the rapier and fast jabs with the dagger. Canxiama’s eyes grew wide and he floundered, his parrying sloppy and uncontrolled.

That got his attention, Kenhaund thought.

But just as Kenhaund was about to lunge, Canxiama spun around and cut Kenhaund across the face with his own claws.

Again came the howls of displeasure, this time from both sides. Such a move was illegal, so Canxiama was penalized one point, which infuriated the Felines.

Kenhaund waived away medical attention as it came near. He brought his hand up to his face and then looked at his hand. The blood was minimal, but the smell and sight of it awoke in him the primal Howl of the Hunt, and his fellow Canines joined him. Then he snarled and bared his teeth. For the first time since the match began, Kenhaund saw fear in his opponent.

Now the fight really begins.

(The word prompt today was “Cut.”)

[– 31 Fantasy Characters in 31 Days –]

31 Fantasy Characters, #29: Cassianus

31_fantasy_badgeTwo thousand years as a worm, imprisoned in an alabaster jar, has a way of making you appreciate the little things in life, like having hands, or the ability to taste food. Cassianus was experiencing eating again — as a human — and he was savoring every moment of it. Some of the foods’ smells brought back memories of the life he had on the shores of the great Mediterranean sea. The tastes were exquisite and he closed his eyes as he ate.

The little girl in front of him laughed. “You’re a silly boy,” she said.

Of course, Cassianus had no idea what she was saying. The girl spoke a strange language that sounded faintly familiar, but also similar to the northmen, the barbarians. He just shrugged and continued eating.

It was strange to be a little boy again, let alone a human. He had not expected this turn of events. He looked around the room they sat in, a oddly bare room with no frescoes on the walls, just a plain pale red. The torches on the walls were intriguing, the flames somehow bright white and kept enclosed without being extinguished.

Where was he? This magic surpassed his own.

“Are you and your friend still hungry?” a voice called from afar. The little girl’s mother, he assumed. Cassianus liked her, for she kept bringing them food; when she arrived with a plate, he smiled.

“My, what an appetite!” the woman said.

“Mommy, is Billy going to have to leave?” the little girl said.

“Is that what you’re calling him? Honey, yes, someone will come to take him. He’s obviously lost, he doesn’t speak our language. His mommy and daddy must be worried.”
Cassianus kept watching them as he ate, still not understanding. The little girl was pouting.

The mother pointed at Cassianus with a smile. “You like those?” Cassianus Frowned, not understanding. She pointed at the fruit, mimicked eating something, then rubbed her belly and said, “Mmmm.”

Cassianus understood this. He held up the fruit and smiled.

“Date,” the mother said. She pointed to the fruit, speaking louder. “Date.”

Was this the word for this food? Cassianus shrugged, then obliged. “Date,” he said.

The two in front of him lit up with excitement and clapped their hands.

Strange, Cassianus thought. I have so much to learn if I am to successfully rule over this world.

(The word prompt today was “Date.”)

[– 31 Fantasy Characters in 31 Days –]

31 Fantasy Characters, #28: Brother Heinrix

31_fantasy_badgeBrother Heinrix shivered and wrapped his arms around his legs after bringing his knees to his chest. He was thankful for the small crevice in the ground he found last night, for it shielded him from the freezing driving winds. Still, the frozen earthen walls that surrounded him were enough to keep him awake most of the night. That, and his belly.

Heinrix closed his eyes to concentrate: how long had it been since he’d eaten? Five… no, six days. It shouldn’t have been a problem, for he’d fasted before many times. But in all those cases, he had been at the Sanctuary, where it was warm, and where the Brethren could keep watch on him. This place, this frozen land of absolute nothingness, was something entirely different.

Perhaps the pilgrimage was a mistake. Maybe Heinrix really wasn’t ready for it, as Brother Rano Eto had told him when Heinrix announced his plans. He had studied the maps and the books that described the Path of Zer’em for several years; Heinrix considered himself the Sanctuary’s foremost expert on it! He simply had never walked it out on his own, and that nagging fact had always made him feel like a fraud. When he made the decision to walk the Path, Heinrix thought he was prepared for whatever he would face.

He was wrong. And now Brother Heinrix would die on the Path, starved and alone.

Heinrix sighed in resignation and tried to sleep again, hoping death would catch him while he dreamed. When he woke, it was not due to the cold or his stomach, but the sound of scratching. Puzzled, Heinrix climbed up the small wall of the crevice and peeked over the edge to survey the ground around him.

A few lengths away from him was some kind of large creature digging into the hard ground with enormous clawed hands. Heinrix did not recognize the animal, and was now afraid he would soon be eaten by it. But suddenly the creature lifted its hand from under the ground and it contained a pile of mushrooms, which it immediately devoured.

Heinrix leapt from the crevice screaming and shouting like a mad man in an attempt to scare the creature away. It worked, and then Heinrix began to devour the mushrooms himself. He would live, for now.

(The word prompt today was “Eat.”)

[– 31 Fantasy Characters in 31 Days –]