This 8 sentence blog hop is hosted by The Weekend Writing Warriors. (Click the link for the list of participants, or rules if you want to join!)

“Jabberwock Keys” is a complete just-for-fun short story that could use some polishing. A sorcerer hires  jabberwock named Daisy to guard his treasure, given a silver flute to summon her, and with Daisy following, returns to his tower on a spire of rocks, going through a tunnel to the top of the cliffs (he keeps cattle up there to feed his guard eagles, which he will also give to Daisy.)

I skipped over some negotiating.

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“I want you to monitor the caves, and patrol the base of the tower, and though you are welcome to hunt the woods, I will supply food, so long as it is reasonable,” Magnus surveyed the mass of tightly-packed muscle before him, wondering if the Jabberwock could fly, because then she likely burned a great deal of calories. “I will pay you every year, with bonuses for a job well done, in gold or gems or whatever you require.”

Daisy scraped the dirt in front of her smooth with the side of her long-fingered front foot, folded her claws until one protruded, and carefully dragged that talon through the dirt she had smoothed, forming a word slowly in the crumbling dirt.

Magnus blinked down at it, reading it again and again, disbelieving his eyes.

She’d written the name that magicians used, not one of the handful of nicknames commoners knew, for a powerful healing crystal, a long-lasting light crystal, one that created a burst of fire, and another that would rust any metal near it to dust within minutes.

“Those are… all obtainable…” Magnus said after a long moment, “We can negotiate the amounts at the end of a year, but I will pay you one of each of those, at the least, if that is acceptable.”

The Jabberwock nodded again, and raked her claws through the dirt, obliterating the words she’d written and leaving a space that looked similar to the patches around it, a random tumble of dirt.

*    *    *

Due to NaNoWriMo, I’ll probably be a little slower than usual, but I still value your feedback, frazzled as I am!

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About Caitlin Stern

I have a MA in English, and have so many fantasy/urban fantasy WIPs it's not even funny. I'm an avid reader of science fiction, fantasy, mystery, romance, biography, fiction, and anything else that catches my interest. I collect books, and bookmarks I find that are visually appealing and useful.

23 responses »

  1. Gemma Parkes says:

    Wonderful imagery as always Caitlin!

  2. You’ve painted a clear and glorious picture in this snippet. The image of the talon in the dirt will remain with me for a long time.

  3. chellecordero says:

    Spellbinding visual. Great 8.

  4. Intriguing! I wonder what a jabberwock needs these crystals for? I hope Magnus keeps his promise. Great 8.

    • caitlinstern says:

      Jabberwocks are magical creatures, but not magic-users, so Daisy can’t cast spells–but she can use these crystals. A girl has to protect herself, even when she’s enormous, scaled, with razor-sharp claws. 😉

  5. Carrie-Anne says:

    I’d prefer those crystals too if I were a magical creature, instead of the more ordinary crystals Magnus seems to have been expecting.

    • caitlinstern says:

      Magnus was mostly thrown by her word choice. It’s kind of like she used the scientific name for a particular kind of wolf, when Magnus was expecting her to say “doggy.”

  6. Hmmm, not only is the Jabberwock beautiful in her own way, but she’s smart – love it! Great 8!

  7. Sarah W says:

    Fantastic, caitlin!

    Is she going to break a spell? Or keep away the vorpal swords? Or turn on her master . . . ?

    • caitlinstern says:

      Daisy could do any of these things, though the last is unlikely–no one hires monsters who keep eating their employers. But she likes to plan ahead. Also, these crystals are really good trading currency.

  8. Alexis Duran says:

    So the Jabberwock can write- I wonder what else she has up her sleeves? Another great snippet, Caitlin.

  9. Letizia says:

    I love how you’re able to convey so much in such a short text!

  10. Millie Burns says:

    Have I told you how much I love Daisy? She’s so darn wonderful! Hope you kicked Nano’s @$$!

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