Deep Magic

FlameVernía placed a small bottle and a single cup on the table. She was nervous, Callum realized.

“I’ve drunk of Heart’s Desire before. I don’t understand how it will help us.” He gave his sister a wicked grin. “Unless, of course, you think I need a good lay.”

“Callum!” Vernía shook her head. “Any hedge witch can learn to make a basic Heart’s Desire, or Pluck, or what have you. But what you’ll get is a watered-down version of the real thing. A simple aphrodisiac or inhibition-lifter. No, the real thing – that’s deep magic. This,” she tapped the bottle, “this was prepared by the Blackthorne.”

“Ah.” Callum picked up the bottle and held it up to the lamp. The amber liquid inside seemed to glitter and swirl. He handed it back to his sister. Vernía broke the black wax seal and poured a careful third into a small cup.

“It was hellishly expensive,” she said. “I could only afford a gill. I hope it’s enough.”

Callum spun the cup in his fingers, then shrugged. He tossed the drink back and looked at Vernía. “Now what?” he asked. Or tried to ask. His tongue was suddenly thick, and the words seemed to lose themselves in his mouth. He was already fading into the dark.

He blinked several times before he realized that the dimness was due to his surroundings, not the drug. He stood at one end of a narrow hall lined with doors. Music and laughter drifted down from the far end: a taproom, from the sound of it. Halfway down the hall he could see a staircase leading up, and at the foot of the stairs, hanging from a bent nail, a lamp guttered with a dull red flame. Upstairs, a door shut with a soft click. Callum pressed himself back into the shadows as a golden-haired woman in a rose damask gown glided down the stairs toward the noise.


This post was written in response to the Trifecta Writing Challenge  prompt.

You should write a creative response using the given word. You must use the word in your response, and you must use it correctly. Your response can be no fewer than 33 and no more than 333 words. This week’s word is:

deep adj \ˈdēp\

1 a : extending far downward <a deep well>

b (1) : extending well inward from an outer surface <a deep gash> <a deep-chested animal>
(2) : not located superficially within the body <deep pressure receptors in muscles>

2: having a specified extension in an implied direction usually downward or backward

3: difficult to penetrate or comprehend : recondite <deep mathematical problems>

More in the Sable Mark series can be found in previous posts: Need, Salt, Beast, The Other Sort of Need, Damask.

8 responses to “Deep Magic

  1. I’m glad this is only part of a longer story, I want to read more.

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  2. I’m so glad I check back in to see if there was a last person to pick up the Trifecta challenge. Lovely to read you story excerpt –deep indeed.

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  3. Thanks so much for joining up with the Trifecta Challenge this week. I love your style of writing. Because it’s so markedly different from my own, I’m always caught off guard by it. Your word choice always gets me thinking more about my own. Gill, damask, third. These words just add to your beautiful descriptions and keep me going. Great work here. Hope you’ll come back on Friday for the weekend challenge.

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  4. I love the language. It’s so rich and evocative.

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  5. no – no – DON’T DRINK IT!

    oh, dear . . . perfect. 🙂

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  6. I’m also in love with the language here. You capture this world and make me want to know more, more about what he wants, where he’s going, and “the Blackthorn”.

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  7. Pingback: No Three-penny Fool | Trudging Through Fog

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