(Short) Sketch

There were no clocks in the basement.

No clocks. No watches. Had it been an hour? A day? It was difficult to tell.

The boy hunched over a wooden desk, soldering iron in hand. The desk was rather shabby, with many chips and scratches, and patches that looked like they might have been scorched. By its side stood a small wooden barred filled with water, half-covered with a metal lid.

There was a soft hiss as the boy welded another pipe onto the small device in his hands. It was curiously formed, a mass of gears and pipes crammed into a tiny space, encapsulated with the beginnings of a protective shell. Some silver, some bronze, and a few dull grey. Most were of different diameters, and showed different amounts of wear.

There was a puff, and vapour began to seep out of the device. The boy sighed, shook the device gently, and a little bronze cylinder fell out. Without looking up, the boy pulled open a drawer by his side, and reached into one of the many small trays, pulling out a replacement.

But something must have gone badly wrong, because the device began to vibrate in his hands. The boy reached over and dropped the device into the barrel of water beside his desk, replacing the lid. A second of silence, and then several simultaneous clangs rang out, exactly as if some sort of device had exploded inside the barrel.

The boy set the lid aside again.

He pulled open two drawers, and counted out a precise number of gears and pipes onto the desk. He could start anew, and would, over and over.

After all, he had all the time in the world.

(Short) Vision

“Alright, tell me what you see.”

“I see… a man. He flees a burning city on a dying horse. Blood flows like water, and ash falls like snow. His heart is filled with grief, but in his arms is the child that has the power to end the Dark Lord, for neither can-”

“No, no, what do you see here?” She raps the board. “What letter is this?”

“Oh, er… M.”

“And this?”

“Z.”

“This one?”

“It’s a P.”

“Alright Mr. Collins, your eyesight is perfectly fine.” She glances skeptically at him. “Your third eye, on the other hand, needs some seeing to.”

“Can you recommend a specialist?”

“Next!”

(Short) High Mages

The two men faced each other across an empty plain. Their brows were furrowed in concentration, their eyes, focused and intent. If you paid close attention, you would notice a faint sphere enclosing each of them, swirling and shimmering in different colours.

Every now and then, a ball of fire, or bolt of lightning or whatever, would pop into existence in the air around one of the combatants, speeding for a thinner section of the sphere. But without fail, the other would wave a hand, and the sphere would shift, the fireball smashing to a thousand embers and dispersing harmlessly.

“I’m bored,” the younger combatant announced. He abandoned his dueling stance and straightened, waving off an opportunistic thunderbolt launched by the other. “Battles between High mages are so uneventful. Defence always beats offense. I think we should find another way to settle this.”

“Fine. What do you suggest?”

The young mage pointed into the distance. “If you can take out five of those birds in one try, I’ll acknowledge the loss and turn myself in. But if you can’t, you will return to the Justiciars and say I was too powerful for you.”

The old mage snorted. “Fair enough. You’ll be in the White Court before the day is out, mark my words.” He gazed into the distance, gauging distances and plotting trajectories. A circle of five miniature suns grew in his hands, spinning larger and larger…

… until a spear of rock pierced through his shield and took the old mage straight through the head. His body fell limp, and the five fireballs spun out of control, detonating in an enormous burst of flame and debris.

The young mage turned away from the conflagration. “What an idiot.”