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Morrigan’s Curse is my first attempt at ‘fantasy’ genre fiction.

The prompt demanded I use the words : stagger, lake trout, conflict, success. Maximum word count : 500. This came in at 496.

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The Swordlord staggered up the bank, his grip on the hilt of his weapon turning his knuckles white. The wet leather tunic pulled tight across his muscular shoulders as he gasped for breath. Reaching for the support of a nearby tree, he twisted around.

Pushing wet hanks of hair back from his face, ignoring the water running down over his cramped features, his gray gaze scanned the water’s surface where the sun scattered a carpet of glittering diamonds.

Daring to look away, he dug his fingers into the holes torn in the leather at his shoulder. They came out smeared with blood. Damn, Athlean, he almost had me. He took a steadying breath, his eyes glowing as the fizz of anger heated his blood. The capillaries in his skin glistened like threads of copper wire. The water on his skin boiled.

At the sudden sound of rushing water, his head jerked around. His jaw twitched as he raised his sword, feet braced ready for conflict.

From the churning water, the creature reared, towering above the Swordlord. The pallid membrane covering it’s bulk glistened, the distinctive lake trout speckled marking on its flesh bore witness to its fate.

“You took my life, cursed me.” Strings of slime-like saliva hung from the gaping mouth, his rage spraying the words. “You hoped for success, Gharient, but now…” The pearl-sheened eyes gleamed. “The potion runs through your blood, too.”

The Swordlord raised his blade. “You failed, Athlean.” He stamped his boot. “Here, on land, you are nothing. You sealed your fate when you drowned my daughter.” Gharient took a step closer, his glare discharging a lightning strike which cut through the air between him and his enemy. The fish eyes blinked rapidly and then were welded open as the jagged blaze bored into his mind. The flaccid lips twisted as the scene of Morrigan’s death burned into his retina. “Never forget, if she had died by flame I would condemn you to Hell.” He spat on the ground. “The lake is your prison for eternity.”

The ice-white blaze of his glare dimmed as Gharient grinned. “You live with what you did, and know this, my warriors slayed your brethren. There is nothing of your bloodline left to avenge you. You are nothing.”

“And yet, you could not stay away.” Athlean bared the ridged blade of his jaw, blood staining the white-bone spines on either side of the cavernous bite.

Gharient laughed. “I have what I came for. Morrigan lives inside your head now, as her suffering has long screamed through mine.” He turned away, the sword slipping from his grasp. Bending to retrieve it, he stopped. Straightening, spreading his fingers, he stared at the webbed membrane clinging to them. “No…”

Harsh laughter behind him faded into the spluttering gush of water. Turning back, ripples racing across the lake’s silver skin were all he saw as his flesh began to chill his bones and breathing air began to lacerated his throat.