I was cleaning out some old files today and came upon this very short story I once wrote about Stephen Spiritcaller’s first encounter with Yeva Spiderkeeper. I hope you all enjoy it.
The spider’s feet skitter along the cracked brick behind me. There was a time I would’ve panicked at the sound, a time I’d steer the broom hard and fast towards the nearest sidewalk and beg the fates to let me slip away; now it’s just an annoyance. The spider makes a wide turn, retreating the way he came. I like to think he’s turning and fleeing in fear, but everyone knows the eldritch beasts that roam the streets of Dragonspyre are well beyond that emotion.
Four sigils glow in front of me, illuminating the black leather coat I wear, causing the brass buttons to shine with an eerie luminescence. For a moment, I can’t help but reflect upon the first time I stood here – the first time I met her.
I hadn’t even earned my Grandmaster’s badge when I took the quest to do battle with Yeva Spiderkeeper. In those days every duel brought with it an electric charge of new challenges against new foes spiced with the very real terror of defeat. I took to the streets of Dragonspyre alone that particular evening. Call it foolhardy, brazen, or perhaps just anti-social, I was flying solo. Drinking deep from the cocktail of adventure and fear, I stepped into the sigil. Ten seconds passed.
First off, let’s get one thing clear. I’m not normally a romantic. I’m not moved to verse and song in the presence of a pretty face. Not that I don’t appreciate one, but I’m not the guy who wonders exactly just what light through yonder window breaks. That’s what makes this whole situation…awkward.
She looked bored, the tall brunette who stood across the room examining her ruby-red fingernails for the hundredth time that day. A small spider swayed next to her, content just to wait for the next person to step through the door. She squared her shoulders toward me, a little smirk on her face.
And I was, for lack of a better word, smitten. I stood there, staring blankly at her for a few seconds. “Well?” she finally said, “Did you just come for a peek or are you going to briefly entertain me before I send you back to your Headmaster?”
Suavely, I responded, “Fwa?”
“Fwa?” she responded, the smirk widening into a grin, “Look, Fwa, you have two choices here. Step into the circle and let’s see what kind of wizard you are, or head back out the door and maybe come back when you’ve got a few friends to help with that guts issue.” She punctuated her remark with air quotes and a tone that snapped me back into some semblance of a competent wizard.
“It’s Spiritcaller,” I replied, with as much bravado as I could muster, “Stephen Spiritcaller.”
“Spiritcaller,” she mused, rubbing her small chin, “No kidding. You’re on that radio thing. Raven radio or something, yes?”
“Ravenwood,” I started to reply, trying to decide whether I was flattered she recognized the name or annoyed at her mockery of the show.
“Ravenwood Radio, of course,” she replied with a touch of amusement and scorn in her tone.
Annoyed. It was definitely annoyed. Even so, there was no denying the fact that she had a great smile – more of an evil grin, maybe, but it was still quite beguiling.
“And you’re here alone? No friends? No backup?” The more she spoke the less hostility I felt in her voice. There was still an edge to it, but the overt aggression in her tone had faded. “You’re every bit as ridiculous as your on-air persona.”
“But you do listen to the show,” I retorted quickly, adjusting my hat slightly, “want an autograph?”
“Spare me,” she responded, rolling her eyes. It passed in an instant, but for the first time ever, the spiteful grin she nearly always wore was cracked by an honest smile. “Can we move things along, Fwa?”
I slowly drew the sword I carried, the blade softly grinding against the scabbard. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath, “Thanks for listening to the show, Yeva.” I quipped before stepping into the circle.
“Say hi to Leesha, Fwa.”
Obviously I wrote this quite a few years ago, but it was fun to drag it out and read it again. I hoped you all liked it too.