One-Minute Epics are new micro tales from John Klobucher’s Lore of the Underlings, a lyrical fantasy-fiction world. Here’s the latest installment…
Jury stood watch at the edge of a lonely outpost, far from the heart of Nord. It was midnight but lit by a full blue moon that turned the nearby forest into a netherworld, dancing with shadowed things that came to life at the slightest wind. He was dead on his feet, having paced the same stretch for days. He fought back an epic yawn.
But then he heard something, a noise from the blue, and Jury drew his pike. “Who goes there?!” He heard it again, this time more clearly — a voice… a voice he thought he knew. “But it can’t be.”
Lam Lan called his name.
Jury squinted and listened harder. “This is a trick or some kind of witchcraft,” he muttered. “It’s been seventeen years…”
“Dearest,” she beckoned him. He couldn’t help but harken. Soon he was in the woods.
“Show yourself,” Jury cried from an ancient grove of pynes and swaying swillows. He sensed that something was watching him, like a hawk, and somehow he’d lost his weapon. But then an angel appeared amidst the trees — and all was well again.
She whispered softly the same way his long lost love had the day the specter took her. Yet it was her visage that left Jury stricken, too dumbstruck to understand her words. Those eyes, the shiny black hair, her mischievous smile — the memories flooded his mind like honey wine. Jury was good as drunk by the time the siren started singing.
She sang him a love song he could not resist, the music of his dreams.
We’ll be wed by the evening star
One someday when
The end of time is near
And skylarks sing our names
Till forever dawns…
Jury awoke with the morning sun in a soft bed of lillylorn, all but naked. The vision was gone, his only companion a songbird. It chirped a familiar tune.
And he wondered. Was she an echo or a prophecy?
He would soon find out.