Squire Chloe's Demon
My name is Chloe. I leave this record of the spirit, so the Temple and the city will know how the demon came to the City of the Sun.
It's written that a demon takes three seals before it returns below the Abyss.
One, it already has.
In the darkness of the sleeping city, a squire defends a second.
The third seal would be mine.
"The most eloquent freebie I've read in quite a while, Squire Chloe's Demon is well worth a look. Intriguing world building and a story full of promise."
"Enjoyed reading this short tale of bravery, fear, and choices. Chloe's bravery and final choice is something I wonder if everyone would do? Read and make your own choice!"
Chapter One: The Purity of Wishes
The Great Library stands silent and deserted, awaiting the dawn. The clay tablets sleep in their racks; no one reads their histories; no one sings their songs. Better to let them sleep until they've seen the morning sun, for who knows what dreams they dream.
I was dreaming when the father woke me. Something vivid, but it's mostly slipped away now. I was home, and I'm sure everyone was much younger. We were playing hide and seek, hiding behind glamours. A loud shriek meant my sister had been found, but I was still safe and waiting, with that little thrill of anticipation.
The father sits beneath a fading reading light, tottering piles of tablets to either side. He's a young one, with a full head of hair, and no fathers' belly yet.
He doesn't look up at my charm-light, and I'm not going to disturb a father who's reading without a very good reason.
I stand in front of him, and wait in a resting form. It would be nice to able to sleep here, like this, until the dawn. I've used glamours for looking wide-awake, while secretly drowsing, but I've never heard of a charm for sleeping standing up. That's a pity.
He looks up at me. He's not too bad to look at, though his nose is too big.
I take my moment and genuflect to him. "Father Kai, I was woken," I say. "I was asked to come to you in the library."
He flicks a glance up and down me, like a man sometimes does with a woman he's just met and likes, but that can't be his reason, and anyway, his face is too solemn.
One thing's for sure: this father doesn't like what he's seeing. I look down, embarrassed.
"What's your name?" he asks.
"I... you didn't ask for me, father?"
"You?" he asks. "No, squire. I take it you are a squire? It seems I'm in need of a squire's help."
"Yes father, I'm a squire. My name is Chloe."
His face softens a little, but I don't think it's for me. I've seen that look before, when I say my name; he'll be remembering the Song of Chloe.
"Sit down, Chloe," he says, "You've heard a Temple page is missing?"
"Yes, father." I sit on the bench opposite his.
"And do you know how she's missing?"
"They?" he interrupts.
"Other squires, father. They say you're all worried that it's a..." I don't finish; I don't want to say the name of the thing we fear.
"Yes, we are," he says.
"Oh. I see. It's true." I'd thought this was only another, silly, Temple rumor.
I can't help looking beyond him, into the pre-dawn shadows of the library. I'm sure there couldn't ever be something like that. Not here. But still, I look.
(Search Keywords: magic, charms, woman, female, heroine, courage, valor, sword, armor, demon, sorcerer, mage, sorcery, sword and sorcery, spell, enchantment, charm, glamour, fantasy, epic fantasy, ancient world, historical fantasy, alternate history, fate, destiny, action and adventure, coming of age, free book)