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January 27, 2013 / minusbar

Artist Spotlight: Maura Lydon

This post is featuring the 2013 Mysticon Scholarship winner, Maura Lydon. Maura is an immensely talented young writer! I’ve read several of her short stories and was blown away. Fantasy publishers take notice, this is a name to remember.

 

Hello. I am Maura Lydon, age seventeen. I’m a senior at Franklin County High, but I’ve only been there since the start of my senior year. Before that I attended high school in the International School of Stuttgart. I suppose you could say I’m originally from Maryland, because that’s where I was born.

I’ve been writing since I was in third grade. It didn’t take much to convince me that that was what I was meant to do. The story I submitted was actually part of a Dungeons and Dragons character, because I believe my adventurers should have a good reason for adventuring. I am so happy to have received this award. I love writing, and it is immensely gratifying to know someone enjoyed reading what I have written. I plan to attend college for a creative writing degree, and I after that I am going to be a fantasy novelist.

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She’s been kind enough to give me permission to share one of her stories. Readers, please enjoy!

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“The King of Glavni,” by Maura Lydon

Part 1
The Dungeons of the Morrigan

A man walked down the road, the longsword lashed to his back looked worn with use. The way he walked, the lithe movements, indicated both his proficiency in weapon use and his elven blood. Will Falcon was an unknown in these parts, but his brilliantly green eyes swept the road alertly. Every now and then he turned slowly, taking in the empty road behind him.
His ears, not nearly as pointed as a true elf’s, caught the sound of a twig breaking in the undergrowth beside the road. He turned, his hand to the sword at his side.
“There is no need for that.” A calm voice said behind him. Will’s face flushed. He already knew who, or at least what, stood behind him. He turned more slowly, dropping his hand from the hilt. As he had expected, a full-blooded elf woman stood on the road that a few moments ago had been empty.
“What do you want?” He asked rather rudely. His human blood had made him unwelcome among elves and Will was quick to remember it.
“We seem to be traveling the same way, and two swords, or morning star, are better than one.” Will’s eyes narrowed. He stopped to consider. She was right, of course. Elves rarely spoke unless they were. Scowling, he muttered an assent, and they set off along the road.
As they walked he examined her. Like all elves, she was tall, with odd golden skin and slanted eyes. Her staff was elaborately carved, with nothing else to decorate it. He noticed a pale orange moonstone in a circle of willow twigs, a sign of Brigit. A cleric then. He thought.
“My name is Sillvia Cedaria.” She said after a while.
Will was silent a moment. “Mine is Will.” He said. She had offered first, after all, even if she was an elf. “Will Falcon.”

Another fighter walked down another road, this one steep. Occasionally it would switch back, doubling its length. She hummed softly to herself. Another elf, though from very different origins than Sillvia, the long sword at her hip was worn with use, though it appeared well cared for. The terrain around her was covered with long browned grass, while just behind her a thick forest covered the slope. Up and down and up and down the hills went, exchanging moor for forest almost as often.
Mantra paused, studying the landscape. Rocks jutting from the hillside made it easy for some one to sneak up on a traveler, but her elvish ears caught the rustle of grass. Her head whipped around, following the sound, only to be disoriented by the multiple figures running through the grass.
She paused barely an instant before taking off, running up the hill. The kobolds shrieked, their cackles all around her. Too late, Mantra was already surrounded. Her sword was out in a flash and arching toward the nearest one, severing its head with a single blow. The kobolds stabbed at her waist with crude daggers, most of them glancing off her armor. One hit, sinking deep into her thigh. The warrior elf gritted her teeth and sliced the culprit in two, leaving three monsters standing. Another dagger sliced open a gash on her abdomen, and she hissed in pain. This cut wasn’t as deep, but it hurt like hell.
Swinging too wildly now, she missed the kobolds entirely, and the third darted in to get his piece. It came to close, she ran him through, letting his body slide off of the sword with practiced ease. The last two kobolds ran, leaving her to limp to the top of the hill. In the valley beyond a small town nestled between the autumn trees, watched over by an abandoned fortress. Mantra stopped to rest, admiring the view and examining the tower closely.
According to the Duke Terell, that was where his sword had been taken. Adventurers had flocked to his banner for the three thousand gold reward, but Mantra was not so foolish as to believe she could do it alone. Some one down there will be able to help. She started slowly down the slope, wincing when the stab wound to her leg or the scratch across her stomach throbbed.

An old man sat outside the local inn, whittling. A long staff lay beside him, a mace by his side. A few of the younger men laughed when they saw this, but the dangerous flash of a spark from the man’s long fingered hands sent them running. Krin Silver sighed heavily. A curse on that ungrateful old magician. He thought sourly. One hand went down and touched the spell component pouch attached to his belt. Not that it affected my fighting. Krin thought ruefully of his master, who had cursed him rather spectacularly when Krin had said he was going to hunt for this sword. He still wasn’t used to his new appearance, and though his true years numbered only in the twenties, his long gray beard attested to great age.
The halfling was almost through his pouch when she pulled her hand out sharply. Krin grabbed her slender wrist.
“It’s not smart to go through a magician’s pouch.” He said softly. “There might be something in there that bites back.” The thief narrowed her eyes and tugged sharply to free herself. He didn’t let go. “What’s your name?” He asked suddenly. The halfling stopped struggling to stare at him.
“Why should I tell you?” She asked. “Do you think I’m stupid? You’ll just go and tell the guards about me, and then I’d need to run.” She didn’t seem all that concerned however. In fact, she stopped to study him as closely as he looked at her. She sniffed disdainfully, but relented. “I’m Cora. Cora Finnigan.” He nodded sharply.
“Then I’m Krin Silver.” He said. She cocked her head to the side.
“If you’re as old as you look,” She said caustically, “I doubt you’ll be of much help.” He laughed.
“Don’t worry.” Krin said, still chuckling. “If you need my help you’ll get it.”

A human cleric, not at all out of place among the other races and classes, sat more quietly. He didn’t know why, but it felt like a gathering storm. Something was going to happen, and soon. Moreover, he knew, through some rudimentary prescience, that he was involved. The wizard he had met earlier, Krin Silver, sat down next to him. Across from Sean a halfling took a chair, her feet dangling above the ground. He stifled a snort, and she glared at him.
“Unless you want to wake up without any weapons, clothes, or money,” She said fiercely, “Don’t. Laugh.”
“Sorry.” He said. Despite her size, he seemed quite sure that she could carry out her threat.
Krin stepped in. “Cora, this is my friend, Sean. Sean, this is my friend Cora.” She folded her arms.
“You’d make a pretty poor warrior.” She said critically.
“That’s no problem.” He said back, a little sharply. “As I’m not one.” She rolled her eyes.
“What are you then?”
“A cleric.” Sean said rather grudgingly.
“Oh, that’s alright then.” She said. “Are we going to get something to eat?”

Will and Sillvia made it to town just as twilight crept over the land. He looked at her rather distrustfully. “I expect we’ll see each other around.” He said, almost glad to be rid of her.
“I expect.” She said. She turned and continued into the inn, raising little stir, which showed just how many elves or half-elves had shown up here. He sat outside for a while, watching the darkness spread over the forests. He would prefer camping out in the woods, but it wouldn’t be a good idea with all the goblins supposedly around.
Will was just about to turn and go inside when he heard something. The streets were almost deserted, and this person walked with a heavy limp. Despite the injuries, those footsteps were too light to belong to any human. He turned and strode quickly in the direction of the steps. His eyes adjusted to the darkness away from the lights of the inn and he saw a woman stumbling toward him. She collapsed with a groan and he ran the last few steps. Her arm was soaked in blood, but in the darkness he couldn’t tell where it came from.
“Sillvia!” He shouted, putting an arm around the unconscious woman and lifting her. “Sillvia Cedaria, I need your help!” The elf rushed out of the common room, took one look at his burden, and knelt down on the cobblestones.
“Stand back.” She said brusquely. Crouching down beside the woman she began to mutter, the willow twig circle in her hands. A light spilled from the orange moonstone into the warrior, illuminating her wounds, a cut along the belly and a stab wound to her thigh. As they watched (for a crowd had begun to gather at his shout) the flow of blood slowed, then stopped. Her wounds shrank but did not vanish and Sillvia sat back. “In another hour or so I’ll be able to heal her again.” She said, her voice shaking. A man, another cleric, came forward. His holy symbol, two spirals branching out from the same piece, began to glow as bright as Sillvia’s had.
“Who are you?” He asked, curious. It was always good to know who the clerics were, and what gods they represented.
“Sean.” He said shortly. He was concentrating on the woman on the ground, who was stirring now. Under the light of Sean’s spell her wounds vanished completely, but unlike Sillvia he had no other reserves. Looking much more fatigued than the elf, he sat down hard on the ground. Someone from the crowd helped the warrior back into the warm light of the inn.
“I can do it.” The unknown warrior said irritably. She turned to Sillvia and Sean, both still sitting on the ground. “Thank you. You saved my life, I won’t forget that.” She held her own hands out and helped both clerics to their feet. As she stood up again her hair fell back, revealing her pointed ears. Will grimaced. He felt the same thing that Sean had earlier, the feeling of a coming storm. He sensed that this was not the last he’d seen of the two elves.
“Wonderful.” He muttered to himself, and turned back into the inn.

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Interested in reading more? Check her other work out on DeviantArt! Also, who knows, she may even drop by with a guest post some time…  🙂

Thanks,

Roger Bellini

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2 Comments

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  1. Carol Migri / Jan 27 2013 8:35 am

    very well written.

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