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Fantasy

 

Balor opened his eyes to the first rays of morning light trickling in and the soft melodies of the birds, and dread filled his senses.  His stomach rolled over several times and his chest felt heavy.  It is here.

 

He heard clatters and movements from the floor below him.  Curse these elves, why must they thrive in such an energetically mischievous day.  Pranks are an embarrassment to the pranked, disrespectful.  A few louder clunks from below and Balor gripped his puffy feather filled blanket tightly and pulled it over his head shielding himself from the day ahead.  

 

Soft footfalls climbing the steps met his ears and he poked his eyes over the covers, heart thrumming.  “Balor, breakfast is set out should you be hungry,” came the steady voice of his host Orym.  Balor narrowed his eyes at the door, it won’t be that easy to get me today elf.  The elf retreated down the stairs likely off for the library as council still had several days before meeting.  Balor waited until he heard the front door swing close before pulling himself out of the cozy warmth of the covers.  He quickly dressed, opened the door, and peeked out.  He ducked his head slightly as he looked around - far from needed as his head only reached halfway up the door frame.

 

Tiptoeing down the stairs, he felt the hair on his arms stand up despite the comfortable spring warmth.  Breathing forgotten, Balor stepped smoothly into the kitchen.  Quickly scanning, he saw the typical bowl of bumbleberries and small seed buns on the counter.  Head held high, he walked past this obvious attempt of trickery, opened the cupboard and pulled out an apple.  Creeping back the way he came a sudden creak in the wood behind him reached his ears.  Balor jumped out of his skin and dropped his apple as he flew a few feet away from the sound and spun to see what was to befall him.  His wide eyes landed on a young elf, the only one in the household shorter than Balor.

 

“What on earth are you doing sneaking around on a day like today Haryk?” Balor asked.

“No classes today Balor sir, I am here for some breakfast.”  Haryk had ears that came to a long pointed top and small near black eyes.  He tilted his head as he looked at the pale dwarf.  “Are you well this morning Balor?  I could call a healer if you’d like.”

 

His heart drummed louder as he considered all the possible ways a doctor could prank someone.  “No need, I am good thank you, simply in need of some food.  A bit of rest might help as well, I will return to my room.”  He turned to leave but the little voice behind him asked, “Are all dwarves serious like you?”

Balor turned back to face him, “Dwarves also enjoy playing young Haryk.  I am a diplomat and thus am older and not here to play.  All that said we play differently - less silliness and trickery and more strategy games and pretend play for the little ones.  We are different people Haryk.  Respect for others is held higher and.”

 

A squeak of a door down a hall halted Balor in his tracks.  He looked down to Haryk and finished, “You have a good day boy.”

 

His feet quickly padded up the stairs and he closed the door to his room as swiftly as one can without slamming it, chest heaving with his breaths.

 

As the sun made its way across the sky, the dwarf sat in his room, eyeing its progress more and more frequently.  It was his duty as a dwarf diplomat to go out and see a part of the elven town every day of his stay.  Your average dwarf was typically one for the comforting predictability of following the rules, a diplomat from such a culture was built out of such ways of being.

 

I will not hide away in my room like a scared dwarf all day.  I have been chosen as a diplomat and will do my duties - whether I get a pie in the face or some other monstrosity.

 

Balor stood up, pulled in a deep breath, and allowed his feet to carry him steadily down the stairs and out of the house.  He decided to visit the park with the fountain nearby, nice and quick outing.  

 

The breeze brushed gently against him, pulling him onwards.  The chirping of birds were harsh pulls on the strings of his anxiety.  As he walked, Balor continued to scan the area around him, turning fully around several times.  The brightly coloured flowers and sparkling central water fountain were passed over by his eyes determined to seek out pranksters.  

 

He did one loop around the fountain, avoiding the few families out enjoying the weather, and promptly returned to his lodgings.  Relief flooded through him as he had nearly completed his task.  

 

As he entered the house, he could see Orym and Haryk placing eating utensils on the table surrounded by pillows for kneeling.  Balor’s stomach growled impatiently at the savory scents in the air.  

 

Orym looked up to see who had entered and smiled.  “There you are Balor.  We are just about set for dinner, won’t you sit and join us?”

Balor felt the panic crawl back up his skin, pricking it along its path.  Goosebumps raised on his arms and his breathing came in quicker stints.  He wanted to eat but also dreaded the possibility of a prank.  Balor blurted out, “Would you just tell me what your plans are, I can’t stand this unknowing.”

 

Orym’s brows furrowed, “I plan to serve trout, some potatoes - likely mashed - and some roasted vegetables from the gardens.  Carrots and some parsnips to be precise.  I didn’t realize our dinner plans were of such importance to you.  I can share them in the mornings in future if you’d like.”

 

Balor stood frozen, eyes slowly narrowing.  “You can’t fool me - it is April fools day.  I’ve tried all day to avoid it but would rather just get whatever is planned over with.  The suspense will kill me if I need to sit and eat not knowing.”

 

Orym placed a basket of bread in the center of the table and turned towards the short man.  “Balor, April first was yesterday.  Haryk and I enjoyed some smaller games and I believe Haryk and his friends continued throughout the day.  We did not think you would enjoy partaking in these festivities so we agreed not to involve you.”

 

The colour from Balor’s face drained as he swayed.  Orym quickly moved one of the pillows by the table behind him and guided him down.  

 

Orym had a slight grin on his face and said, “Really Balor, we may be fairly rambunctious at times but we often try to not put others out.  Our activities might seem unpleasant to you but to most this holiday is about surprise and playfulness, something they enjoy.”

 

Haryk came over with a glass of water and handed it over.  “Maybe we aren’t so different Balor.”

 

He took the glass from the boy and wet his lips.  The dwarf sat stunned as the other two returned to the kitchen to dish up the meal.  Maybe we aren’t so different.

 

April 02, 2021 15:37

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13 comments

Michael Boquet
17:07 Apr 02, 2021

I think fantasy was a creative genre to use for this prompt. All the others I've seen have had modern settings. I really liked Balor. His grumpiness plays well and adds impact to his change of heart at the end. One spot I noticed: "Balor waited until he heard the front door swing close" - I believe it should be 'closed' instead of close. A very enjoyable read. Nice job.

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Sam Ackman
17:11 Apr 02, 2021

Hey Michael! Thanks for the comments! I enjoyed adding a fastest twist to this one. Happy catch on the grammar! Will fix that one. I’ll need to read your next one :).

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Darya Silman
17:45 Apr 07, 2021

Nicely put-together fairy tales. I enjoyed it from the beginning till the end. I feel pity for Balor who is so afraid of the pranks, exactly like me

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Sam Ackman
18:19 Apr 07, 2021

Thanks so much for the comment! I’m also not really one for pranks either. Glad you liked the story :)

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Alyson Ackman
16:40 Apr 07, 2021

Hey Sami! As always I love your stories and love how you pursue even with your hectic life. :) Love this one and like others had said, making it a fantasy story is always fun. I think the only thing I wish you included was more description of their surroundings. I love the references to Balor's height but I couldn't figure out how much of a fantasy scenery you were going for. Oh and I really loved the scene where he "jumped out of his skin" I just love that imagery - like those cats who get scared of the cucumbers behind them. Love ya sis <3

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Sam Ackman
18:18 Apr 07, 2021

Thanks for the comment! I am bad for getting too into the “what I happening” and forgetting to describe the where enough for people to visualize it all. :)

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Claire Lindsey
17:26 Apr 06, 2021

I agree with Michael, the fantasy genre for this prompt was a clever and unique choice. I think you set the scene really well, transporting us into the world. Your main character was intriguing and a bit haughty. In the way of critique, I’d suggest using editing software in the future to help catch some polishing things like missing commas and hyphens and make your writing even stronger. Well written! I enjoyed the read :)

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Sam Ackman
18:32 Apr 06, 2021

Hi Claire - thanks so much for reading and for the comment! Any editing softwares you would suggest? My day job is numbers and processes so I am newer to the world of grammar.

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Claire Lindsey
18:44 Apr 06, 2021

I’ve seen a lot of people on this site who enjoy using grammarly so that would be my first suggestion!

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Lily Kingston
01:40 Apr 05, 2021

I like how Balor finally decides to head it face on--even if he gets a face full of pie--but then discovers there's nothing to worry about. Good on him for confronting them. Keep up the good work and keep writing!!

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Sam Ackman
02:32 Apr 05, 2021

Thanks so much for the comment and for the motivation!! So sweet of you :)

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Ryan Lm Colli
19:42 Apr 08, 2021

First of all, a big thank you for such an excellent critique of my story. And coming from someone who's heading the leaderboard this is very humbling. I gave read a couple of your stories, and as I had mentioned I am a huge, huge fan of writing skills. Let me tell you, this is my first attempt at a longer story though I have penned four full length novels besides two books of poems. I wrote this on my phone, and hit the sent button without so much as a second look. Also, it's something to do with my phone button keys- I get confused and at t...

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Sam Ackman
23:20 Apr 08, 2021

Hey Ryan! I feel like you might have me co fused and wanted to let you know in case this message is meant for someone else. I’m not on a leather board and haven’t read any of your stories (unless you deleted some). I am certainly no expert but can give your story a read. Hope you have a wonderful day and keep writing!

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