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Everyday Drabbles #648: Final Boss

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The massive being, almost as old as time itself, looked down at the three challengers and considered them through a god’s eyes.
They were young. Their cultures would consider them barely out of adolescence. But they had fought a hard road to get to this place, and that journey had left scars upon them, at the end.
The fact that they were hopelessly outmatched didn’t matter to them. They still raised their swords to the End Of All Things and shouted ‘no.’
For the first time in so long, it could not remember the sensation, the ancient darkness felt afraid.

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Everyday Drabbles #645: The Bandit

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The bandit crouched along the desert road and waited, his cat by his side.
“The key to this gig is patience,” he told the beast. “When travelers come by, we’ll relieve them of their valuables. Honestly, we’re doing them a favor. All that gold will only slow down their crossing.” The cat just stared at him.
The sun climbed slowly into the sky, and no travelers came. The bandit balanced a dagger on the tip of his finger, bored and thirsty. The cat hopped up onto his back.
“Maybe you should try someplace a bit more populated,” it suggested.

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Everyday Drabbles #641: The Assassin

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She carried two blades, each about a foot long, made of pure light. There wasn’t anything she couldn’t cut through, and there was no hiding what she was: The greatest assassin who ever lived.
Most assassins chose stealth as their medium. They swathed themselves in black and gray and lurked in the shadows. She fought her opponents openly.
It wasn’t as though she had a code of honor. All the watching and waiting felt too much like work to her. She preferred five minutes of excitement to an hour of boredom.
And it wasn’t as though anyone could stop her.

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Everyday Drabbles #637: Battle in the High Mountains

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The squadron climbed to the mountain’s peak. Some were in human guise, and others preferred their tiger shapes.
They watched their enemies, who soared through the high passes on white wings. Neither side knew how the war between the were-tigers and the giant eagles began anymore. Most of them assumed it had something to do with territory. As humanity expanded, they were both pressed to the high, inhospitable places. They all knew that continuing to fight would only lead to their mutual destruction.
But cats and birds can hardly deny their nature. The leader signaled for the attack to begin.

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Everyday Drabbles #636: The Witness

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The goat climbed the little hill every day. It had a good view of the surrounding fields and the huge boulders that stood to the north.
For his part, the goat ignored the boulders. They were too smooth for even him to climb, and nothing grew on them for him to eat.
But today he heard a thundering crack and the sky went dark. One after another, the stones split open and great black and red dragons flew out into the sky, freed from their eggs at last.
‘Somehow, I bet I’ll be blamed for this,’ the goat thought glumly.

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Everyday Drabbles #631: Angel of Music

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She is, quite literally, an angel of music. Her duty among the celestial people is to play for the gods, a servant and an artist in one. She takes this duty very seriously and has mastered a variety of instruments to serve her masters in any way.
She is always surprised when she meets outsiders, who always assume that her talents are ingrained. They treat her as though she were a vessel filled at the moment of its creation. The truth is always more complicated and less satisfying.
How do you get to the Divine Hall of Spiritual Harmony?
Practice.

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Everyday Drabbles #630: Mermaid Statue

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She rose from the water, a being of fire and light, birthed from the sea by a goddess’s will. Her upper half was human, a beautiful woman limned in streaming lava and sputtering flame. Her lower half resembled a fish’s tail ending in a forked fin that trailed in the water.
The creature sat on a rock and pondered her fate as she inexorably cooled into lifeless black stone.
The Mermaid Statue was later found by human explorers. They marveled at the craftsmanship, believing it to be the work of some lost civilization.
Which was exactly what the goddess intended.

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Everyday Drabbles #629: How the Magic Works

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This is how the magic works: For one night a year, he is immortal and all-powerful. In those brief but infinite hours, he races through the sky, spreading goodwill across the world.
When the last present is delivered and the final stocking is filled, he sits and watches the sunrise over the ocean. As the sky lightens, he gradually forgets. He forgets where he left his sleigh (the reindeer look after themselves.) He forgets the many places he visited. And finally, he forgets himself.
The mission will return next Christmas. But until then, that is the price of the magic.

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Everyday Drabbles #628: Father Christmas

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The morning sun was already peeking over the forest as he climbed the snowy hill. He was running late. He pulled the fur-trimmed red robe tight around his wizened frame and doubled his efforts.
The workshop was old, carved from black stone and blue glacial ice. No reindeer pranced or helpers scurried about. There was no sleigh.
The songs and the stories, the presents and cookies were not the magic. They were embellishments.
A circle of light stood in the center of the cavernous structure. He sat down in the center and began the song that would renew the world.

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Everyday Drabbles #625: The Woman of the Woods

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They call her the Woman of the Woods. Although few have seen her, everyone knows the signs of her passage. The old forest is filled with good, well-maintained paths, hidden caches of supplies, and emergency shelters.
She’s almost a figure of legend, a helpful wanderer out of the golden age when immortals walked the world. They say she can sing the forest to sleep and heal with a touch.
Nobody sees her gathering herbs or surveying routes. There is little true magic left in her.
But hard work makes her eternal life bearable when her grief is all that remains.

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