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ServiceScape Incorporated
ServiceScape Incorporated
2022

340 Fantasy Writing Prompts That Will Help You Leave Your Readers Spellbound

From Gulliver's Travels to The Hobbit to Watchmen, fantasy has been the cornerstone of fictional literature for centuries, leading to the creation of millions of imaginary worlds full of wonderment and adventure. Whether it is a simple tale told over a campfire or 500 pages of world-building expository writing, fantasy allows us to escape the confines of our own daily lives and experience something truly uncommon. Here are 340 fantasy writing prompts to help spark your creativity and give you the ability to create your own reality from the ground up.

This material is copyrighted by ServiceScape and is designed to be used for writing inspiration. Please feel free to use our ideas as a starting point for your next story! If you use one of our prompts as a basis for a story, you don't have to credit us, but it would be much appreciated if you do. A simple link to ServiceScape is the best way to do that. One caveat: Please do not publish our writing prompts as-is, in their entirety without attribution. This is not the intended use.

Alternate History

Alternate History
Alternate history examines a "what if" scenario that occurs at a point in human history, altering the timeline as we know it.

There is an alternate interpretation or outcome for a nonfictional event within the past, establishing a new fictional historical setting for the characters. This redefined historical timeline incorporates elements of magic and the supernatural.

  1. You wield the magic of the four elements, making you one of the most powerful wizards in the world, but you don't take well to your archmage title and isolate yourself in a small remote village in Tibet. You develop friendships with the local townsfolk and, over time, are able to find peace and hone your powers without the constant interruption that comes with a position of leadership. When your mountain town is invaded during the Annexation of Tibet, you are forced to come out of hiding and use your powers to liberate Tibet from the occupation.
  2. Instead of the British industrial revolution, a magical revolution takes place in the late 1700s that results in the United States never becoming a superpower. Britain engages in a policy of isolationism, keeping all magical technology locked within its borders, while maintaining a dominant position on the world stage. As a British magic dealer, an opportunity presents itself in 1834, so you start illegally transporting bottles of elixirs into the United States and turning a huge profit—until something unexpected happens.
  3. It is 1969, and you are one of the first astronauts to walk on the moon. As you take the first steps on the moon's surface, you and your crew discover stones with magical properties. You collect a few and take them back to Earth for additional research. The Soviet Union immediately sends a group of cosmonauts to the moon to gather their own source of magic. Tensions between Russia and the U.S. reach their peak, and a magical arms race ensues between these two superpowers.
  4. As a historian, you are tasked with deciphering the inscriptions on the Rosetta Stone after it is surrendered to the British in 1801. You translate several inscriptions and discover that you now understand enough of the language to decipher the hieroglyphs you copied during a recent Egyptian archeological expedition. While reading the incantation aloud, it awakens all embalmed Egyptians, who had preserved themselves as well as their civilization using powerful magic. They now wish to resume their dominant role in the world.
  5. You are a witch by trade, and you also just happen to be the mistress of a young playwright named William Shakespeare. Your coven dwells deep within the Forest of Arden and is ruled by your sister, Ophelia, who is the opposite of the sweet wilting flower you and William concocted thanks to the magic spell you placed on his quill. When the play Hamlet premieres, your sister casts a spell on the audience to make them clamor for a story about the young Ophelia. You confront your sister, and she implores you to use your skill to write another play about her namesake — this time without William. You refuse, as you do not want to stand in William's way and prefer to stay in the shadows. But when your once-powerful sister falls ill, you change your mind. You must honor her and — as she has you promise at the foot of her deathbed — make yourself known to the world. You fulfill your promise with the premiere of the soon-to-be world-renowned play Ophelia and are set to challenge your one-time lover's title as the greatest playwright in history.
  6. Using your magical powers, you conjure a sea monster to attack the Christopher Columbus expedition during their initial voyage across the Atlantic Ocean. They survive the encounter and return to Spain with only a tall tale to show for it. Although a few in the royal court believe the story, most dismiss it and consider the expedition to be an embarrassing failure. With European powers uninterested in funding a new transatlantic expedition, you can now sail across the ocean yourself and claim the entire territory as your own. You become the first explorer to land in the New World, bringing your inherited magic with you.
  7. You barge into the theater looking for the president. You see John Wilkes Booth approaching him, his Deringer pistol drawn, and you know you have only one chance to save Abraham Lincoln. You close your eyes and quickly recite a spell. When you hear the gunshot, you are startled by the noise and the screams from the audience. You run to Lincoln's box, finding Booth knocked out cold by a man who accompanied the president. However, the president is nowhere to be found. "Where is he?" the First Lady screams as she frantically looks around. A smile spreads across your face. Your spell worked, transporting the president out of harm's way… but where is he? You walk downstairs to search the theater. Then you review the spell in your mind and realize you forgot one important word, making his location more about "when" than "where." You think more, do a few calculations in your head, and determine that you sent the president to 1965 — 100 years into the future. You visited that point in history many years ago and remember it being a tumultuous time for the United States at the height of the civil rights movement. Unfortunately, there is nothing else you can do. With your powers greatly diminished after performing such a powerful spell, you decide to leave Lincoln there and see what becomes of it.
  8. The Huns race over China. In a last vain attempt to save the outermost borders, the emperor calls for the armies to assemble. Everyone knows you to be a clothier, but your family has a history older than recorded time. Your great grandfather used his magical gifts to counsel emperors, as his ancestors did before him. Your family has never ruled, but their influence could be seen in the very heart of China's history—that is, until the emperor's daughter accused your great grandfather of dealing in all things "unnatural." In fact, such an accusation was the farthest from the truth. Your family's gifts come from the heart of China, the very soul of the country. As the Huns press further into your country's borders, you know that China is calling for you to fulfill the oath of your ancestors. You may have to stand alone and defeat the invaders without help, but you will face the Huns. China gives you no other choice.
  9. After Julius Caesar declared himself dictator for life in 44 B.C.E., conspirators began plotting his assassination. Seeing the dictator's demise in a vision of the future, a soothsayer close to Caesar warns him of this betrayal. Caesar then thwarts the assassination attempt, arresting the conspirators and sentencing them to death. After foiling the plot, Caesar moves to aggressively expand the Roman Empire to every corner of the Earth. This expansionism continues throughout the centuries. Whether it was Alaric the Visigoth, Wu Zetian, or Genghis Khan, no leader could withstand the might of the Roman military. The Romans were even able to traverse the Atlantic Ocean and add the Americas to their massive empire, subjugating the native inhabitants in the process. Today, the entire world suffers under the boot of authoritarianism, ruled by the descendants of Caesar.
  10. You are in command of British forces during the French and Indian War. After your forces suffer a sound defeat at the Battle of Fort Bull, rumors emerge among the British soldiers that the French are being led by a woman with magical powers. You write it off as an imaginary falsehood and continue strategizing with your fellow commanders until a mysterious stranger bursts into your tent, asserting to be a witch hunter. He tells you that the French have been bewitched by a woman who claims dominion over all of the New World. He offers to help you defeat this mystical warrior before she lays waste to the 13 British colonies and becomes Empress of the Americas.
  11. The year is 1830, and the American railroad system is beginning to snake its way across the country. As a surveyor hired under Colonel John Stevens, you have been sent to a remote part of the western territories to scope out the land. During your journey, the landscape starts changing in unexpected ways. The desert sands are now forming hard, sharp peaks, and the reptiles seem to be getting larger the further west you go. The people seem different as well. The settlers you to talk to refuse to make eye contact and are wary of you, regardless of how friendly you are. One older woman warns you not to go too far west, or you might get too close to him. You ask who "he" is, but the old woman shushes you, shakes her head, and shuffles away. Her warning plays over in your mind as you keep riding west, not knowing what lies ahead. Eventually, among the sharpened sand peaks and unspeakable creatures, you see a dark and jagged tower on the far horizon. Soon thereafter, you are captured and brought to the court of the Desert Magus, an ancient warlock with immeasurable power who reveals that he has been the one reshaping the West to his will—and he intends to continue.
  12. You are a member of the most powerful monarchy in the world: the Danish royal family, who has ruled for centuries with dragons by their side. On your eighteenth birthday, you finally learn the family secret. Instead of being gifted a dragon, you turn into one.
  13. In April 2010, an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig located in the Gulf of Mexico caused the largest marine oil spill in history. With hundreds of thousands of gallons of oil seeping into the natural habitats of animals daily, you and your team of researchers and marine biologists have volunteered to help. You quickly realize that this oil spill is not like any other. Some of the creatures you treat have large, oily looking leeches attached to them and, no matter what you do, you cannot remove them. As the days progress, the affected animals magically transform into oily monstrosities that you no longer recognize. Without warning, they migrate, spreading their affliction to every living thing in the world's oceans. Now humanity is under the constant threat of these oceanic monsters, who increasingly venture out onto dry land to feed their insatiable hunger.
  14. For generations wizards kept their knowledge to themselves, practicing their magical arts far from those who should never wield such power. They are convinced that forbidden esoteric knowledge should remain forbidden at all cost. However, in 1450, a wizard peering into the future foresees a world where knowledge is not forbidden, and it spreads like wildfire throughout the land. It all starts with an inventor named Johannes Gutenberg, who builds a machine called the printing press, allowing books to be published and distributed on a massive scale. A renaissance then overtakes the world, with knowledge of every form being distributed amongst the people. However, with the power to enlighten the masses, the wizard-seer fears it is only a matter of time before everyone knows the magical secrets that he and his brethren possess. So, with a snap of his finger, the wizard kills Gutenberg and all those who would dare use machines to distribute knowledge. Soon thereafter, Europe falls into a second dark age, and wizards become the puppet masters of kings and emperors throughout the world, ensuring that their knowledge remains theirs alone.
  15. An airborne virus released in 1989 by the Russians during the Soviet–Afghan War infects millions of people worldwide, turning them into winged, gargoyle creatures. Modern technology is wiped out. As one of the unaffected humans, you must hunt the infected humans if you are to survive.
  16. As an alchemist in China during the Tang dynasty, you have spent many years researching how to create an immortality elixir. However, despite countless hours of experimentation, all of your attempts so far have failed. After gathering a new set of ingredients, you decide to try again, hopeful that your latest experiment will be more successful. You mix saltpeter, charcoal, and sulfur in an attempt to extend the life of the mayflies that you trapped that morning. Unfortunately, the flies drop dead one by one, and you conclude that the experiment is yet another failure. When nightfall comes, you light a few lamps and pack up what remains of your experiment. Suddenly, you are thrown to the floor by an explosion. You look up to see your laboratory engulfed in flames. Then, out of nowhere, water rains down from inside your home, extinguishing the fire in the process. Confused and shaken, you don't know what to make of it all. When a knock sounds on your front door, you open it to find an old man who introduces himself as a shaman. He explains that he is the one who saved you from the flames after you inadvertently invented gunpowder — a highly dangerous substance that can be used to commit unspeakable atrocities in warfare. You don't believe him and brush him off, but before you can close the door, he waves his hands and sends you to the future, where you witness several wars. Once you truly understand what gunpowder can do, you are returned to your time. You thank the shaman for opening your eyes and reassure him that you agree that this knowledge should be forbidden. Satisfied with your response, the shaman walks away, and you quickly close the door. Once alone, you remove a handheld gunpowder weapon from underneath your tunic that you snatched from a fallen officer during your travels through time. You decide to ignore the shaman and discover how this future technology works so you can produce hundreds more weapons for the warriors of your age.
  17. The sudden appearance of ghastly, goblin-like creatures in the late 1800s forces a drastic social change in gender roles when certain women are gifted with the ability to destroy the creatures. As one of these gifted women, you are selected to join a private agency that hunts down the creatures. Your husband disapproves, but you have always believed that you are destined to be more than a housewife.
  18. The great army of Genghis Khan surrounds your home city of Bukhara. The location is not heavily fortified, with just a mere moat and a single wall separating you from the tens of thousands of soldiers preparing for siege. You know what awaits your people: execution for all who resist, and either military conscription or enslavement for the rest. You have only once chance to save the city. You convince the city leaders to allow you to negotiate peace on their behalf. They agree, knowing that you are their best chance for survival. They open the gates, and you leave the confines of the city, approaching a white tent the Mongolians set up that morning. When you enter, you are surprised to see Genghis Khan himself waiting for you, along with a bevy of advisors. At first you plead for mercy from the emperor, yielding nothing but disdain and laughter. After being dismissed as nothing more than a stalling tactic, you decide to reveal what you have to offer in return. Closing your eyes, you take a dead mouse from your pocket, cup it in your hands, and begin to chant, causing ire amongst the Mongolian court. You open your hands, and the mouse has turned to dust. Out of nowhere, a shadowy figure appears beside you holding a sword and shield. Genghis Khan quickly grabs his nearby mace, but you tell him that this is just a mere demonstration of your power. You are a necromantic conjurer who can turn the dead into whatever you wish, including soldiers. All you need are the recently deceased to perform your work. The shadowy figure soon disappears due to the small lifeforce that the mouse provided, but that is all Genghis Khan needs to see. He agrees to spare Bukhara. In return, you are put to work during the siege of Samarkand, creating an army of invincible soldiers from the corpses of Genghis Khan's slain enemies. Soon, the Mongolian's military quintuples in size, and Genghis Khan now has the power to overtake the entirety of Europe and Africa.
  19. It's early in the 20th century, and you're leading an expedition to one of the most inhospitable places in the world: Antarctica. The strong winds and bone-chilling cold make the journey across the desolate landscape an absolute misery. After hours of slowly traversing the frozen wasteland, frustrated by your lack of progress, you decide to set up camp and continue your expedition the next day. A few hours later, you are awakened by the ground shaking. After 30 seconds or so, the tremors subside, and you scramble from your tent. In the distance, the ground has been torn asunder. Surprised, your team decides to investigate the newly formed ravine. As you approach, you hear your colleague yelling that he sees something moving at the bottom of the chasm. You initially ignore his assertion, but he continues to insist that something is in fact down there. You decide to investigate and unpack the rock-climbing rope. After descending down the chasm, you can make out the faint flicker of torchlight and a group of people gathered below. You move closer and realize their scale: Each person is at least 20 feet tall! These giants have lived under the South Pole for generations, trapped below ground during the last ice age. Lucky for you, they are for the most part friendly, although very suspicious of you and your kind. You decide to spend several weeks living amongst the giants, learning their customs as well as a few basic words of their language. One morning, you notice that most of the men are gone. You inquire and are stunned to learn that the giants have decided to invade the surface world, ordering their warriors to climb up the ravine and attack whoever opposes them. With an abundance of food and natural resources, and with little standing in their way except for puny humans, the giants see the surface world as theirs for the taking — and your fear they might be right.
  20. You're sitting beneath an ancient tree whose trunk is so wide you cannot reach around it. The sun is hot on your skin, and you can hear the sounds of the birds in the foliage over your head. This is the place you like to come to be on your own and connect with the land around you. It makes you feel closer to your ancestors, which is essential for a Karadji shaman such as yourself. Suddenly, you hear the cries of your people, and you jump to your feet to see them gathering along the shore, thrusting their spears in the air. You race to the top of the sand dune and see what looks like a strange, white cloud drifting across the water toward the shore. You walk across the sand, and your people part to let you through. They're looking to you to know what to do. As the white cloud nears, you see that it's something else entirely: a vessel of some sort bringing a group of strange looking men to your shores. You close your eyes, focus your mind, and try to perceive the future. When the vision strikes you, you fall to your knees. These men will bring sickness and destruction to your land. They will label you and your kind "Aboriginal Australians" and will subjugate your people for generations. You now know what you must do. You get up and call forth the powers of ancestorial spirts, who surround your homeland with an impenetrable barrier. The vessel crashes into this wall, causing it to sink and drowning the invaders in the process. Your homeland is protected for now, but you don't know how long this will last. All you do know is that you must stop at nothing to prevent these invaders from stepping foot on your soil.

Children's Story

Children's Story
The child protagonist encounters an out-of-this-world dilemma or possesses fantastical abilities in these stories.

Written for younger audiences, these stories usually teach child-appropriate life lessons within the framework of fantasy storytelling. Adult-oriented themes, such as violence, are either downplayed or removed altogether.

  1. You are the son of a farmer who stumbles across a large egg in the woods. You take care of the egg until one day it hatches and a cute little dragon pops out. Through trial and error and your parents' guidance, you learn how to become a responsible pet owner.
  2. On your eleventh birthday, your father gifts you a book about a magical world. You are reading a chapter about three children trying to overthrow an evil ruler when you get sucked into the book and find yourself in that world, standing in front of the characters you were just reading about. All three children stare at you. One of them asks, "Are you the magical hero we summoned to help us save our land?"
  3. While waiting for the school bus on a rainy day, you notice a set of tiny red eyes peeking out at you from a bush. From that day forward, wherever you go, the eyes seem to be there, appearing in dark corners or under furniture. When you finally confront the mysterious eyes in the shadows, a small white mouse wearing a tunic reluctantly appears. He tells you that it is time to go home. He toots on a strange looking trumpet, and you are transformed into a mouse who must fulfill your destiny as ruler of the mouse kingdom—but all you want is to be home in time for dinner!
  4. You are spending the summer at your aunt's home in the middle of nowhere, helping her with her farm as punishment for misbehaving. She warns you to stay inside the stone walls of the farmstead. You do not listen. As you explore the stone wall, you discover a strange silver locket nestled between the rocks. You take it home and pry it open. A gust of air and bright light erupt from it. You have opened a portal to another world, and it quickly sucks you inside. There you find all of your aunt's farm animals, but now they can speak to you and some even possess magical powers. With the help of your new-found friends, you try to find a way back home.
  5. Your older brother is about to go off to college, and you are feeling left behind. Over the years, the two of you have grown apart, and he has traded quality time with you for quality time with his friends and girlfriend. While exploring an antique shop with your parents, you find an old, fancy mirror. A woman appears in the mirror, offering you your heart's desire. You wish that there was a way to make your brother stay forever. She smiles and grants your wish. The next morning, you go into your brother's room to find that he has been trapped inside a mirror himself. You go back to the shop and find that the magic mirror has disappeared.
  6. You have moved to a small oceanside town. Your mother, a librarian, takes you to work with her each day in the summertime. Unfortunately, you hate reading. Impatient, you begin to explore the library's dustier shelves and discover an old journal. It speaks of half-fish, half-human creatures. One day, while out riding your bike, you spot one such creature beached on the sand. She seems to be about your age. You help her and make an unlikely—and forbidden—friend.
  7. "Please help us," a lion says to you during a field trip to the zoo. Shocked, you realize you can now understand and communicate with all animals. Sympathizing with the animals who want to escape the zoo, you hatch a plan to help them.
  8. Your father is always coming home with unusual souvenirs from his travels abroad. His most recent trip took him to the pyramids, where he acquired a painting of ancient Egypt. As you study it one evening, you are pulled into the painting and find yourself in ancient Egypt. You decide to explore this world, learning about Egyptian culture and society.
  9. One day, a strange old man gives you a mysterious bag containing a piece of string, a broken chess piece, a piece of hard toffee, and a feather. You soon learn that each item is magical and that you were chosen to use the items to help four people in need.
  10. When you were seven years old, your mother would take you out into the fields to catch fireflies. She used to tell you that the moon imbues them with magic, and if you find the right one, it will grant you one wish. Now that you are ten years old, you don't believe in such silly stories or your annoying mom—until you catch the right firefly and accidentally wish your mom away.
  11. You attend a wizard school for children and are eager to participate in a contest of magical power against your peers. You feel confident that you will win the trials, but fall short and come in at second place. Although you are frustrated with losing, you learn how to deal with disappointment and the importance of good sportsmanship.
  12. Small valuables have slowly been going missing, and your parents keep blaming you. But you know it is not your fault. Deciding to get to the bottom of things, you stake out the living room, setting a silver spoon from your mother's hutch out as bait for the thief. You awake in the middle of the night and lock eyes with a white cat, the spoon in its mouth. It darts off, scrabbling through an open window, and you follow it, eventually discovering a small city of cats in the middle of the woods. To your surprise, they speak to you, explaining that they only steal to break the curse and that, with enough offerings to the forest's fairies, they may become human again. They ask you to help them.
  13. Your grandpa gardens to keep the gnomes away. That's what he tells you, and you believe him. One weekend, while he's away at a farmer's market, he asks you and your older sister to house-sit and care for the garden. Your sister throws a party, resulting in the smashing of grandpa's pumpkin patch, and the very next night, the gnomes arrive and wreak havoc in the house. It's up to you to stop them.
  14. You are in fifth grade when the dreams begin. You find yourself in a version of your hometown that is not quite your hometown. The people are the same, but they dress wildly, in colorful gowns and suits. The town itself is the same, but the buildings are different; the library is a castle, and the local supermarket is built into a large tree in the center of town. When you are in the dream world, no one pays you any mind until one day a boy your age whom you have never seen before realizes that you are not from here. He tells you he isn't either. In fact, he's been trapped here for years. It's up to you to help him—without getting trapped yourself.
  15. You and your family have just moved into a new house in a sleepy little town. The small garden in the backyard is decorated with a fairy village. Finding the village endearing, you begin to add items here and there. One night, you notice the lights in the homes are on. When you go outside to investigate, you see that actual fairies have moved into the village. They tell you that they need your help, so you do your best to keep them safe.
  16. You are a shy boy who is new in town with no friends to speak of. At a fair, you win one of the games and receive a wooden unicorn as your prize. In the middle of the night, you awake to find a real unicorn curiously staring down at you.
  17. Your mother is an animal trainer who is constantly travelling for work. The summer of your eighth birthday, she takes you on a road trip across the countryside to remote towns you've never even heard of. You have no idea what sorts of animals she trains until you sneak out of the hotel room to follow her. In a clearing within a mossy pine forest you find your mother… with a dragon.
  18. You are a child growing up in a small town. Every evening, bunnies come out in your yard to eat grass and play. You always enjoy watching them, but one day you notice a fox hiding in the bushes, creeping up to get them. You close your eyes and make a wish that the bunnies will be protected. You open your eyes to find the fox running away from the bunnies, who are now the size of your mom's car.
  19. You deliver papers for a local newspaper publication that your family owns. The last house on your route is an old, vine-covered cottage on a dead-end street. Your family has told you to avoid the woman who lives there at all costs. But when the newspapers start piling up on her doorstep for days on end, your curiosity gets the best of you. You knock on her door and soon meet the town witch.
  20. The night that you lose your first tooth is the night you meet the tooth fairy. She is kind and bears gifts for you from her world. You become good friends with her. She says that not every kid can see her, which makes you feel rather special. Years go by, and teeth are lost. Eventually, you lose your last adult molar. She visits you one last time and presents you with a very special gift. She hands you the tiniest jar you have ever seen, which contains a tiny tooth. She says goodbye, and you put the tooth under your pillow. When you wake up in the morning, you are in her world and enrolled in the Tooth Fairy Academy.

Comedy

Comedy
These fantasy stories are all about funny people and absurd situations.

Fantasy tropes are parodied, satirized, and subverted within this subgenre. The plot usually borders on the ridiculous, and characters often have quirky personalities and exaggerated idiosyncrasies.

  1. As the newly coronated queen, you grow tired of the silly games women must play to keep heroes satisfied. You especially dread the annual hike to the dragon's lair, having to yell for help all day long until a hero shows up to "save" you. Throughout the kingdom, women and make-believe villains want to put an end to this farce once and for all. Therefore, you enact the Princess Act, which declares that women are no longer required to carry out damsel-in-distress scenarios to boost the egos of heroes. Shocked to hear that women were pretending this entire time, heroes must now find a new way to prove themselves.
  2. While out walking one night, you come across a comic book store that you've never seen before. You enter, and the odd man behind the counter offers you a free, limited-edition Deeds and Dwarves Campaign book, the game that you and your friends play every weekend. You take it, envisioning yourself as the champion of your friend group who will be applauded for showing them exclusive content for a game they all love. After planning a campaign, you gather your friends in your mother's basement, which is home to your family's four cats and their respective kitty litter boxes. But the moment you finish filling out the character sheet, the room begins to rumble, and suddenly your mother's basement is plunked down in the middle of Dwarfguard, the fictional land of the game. Even worse, your friends are transformed into their dwarven characters, the cats are transformed into horses, and you have become an old wizard with arthritis. None of you will be turned back until you beat the campaign, so you slowly climb onto your meowing horse and set forth into a world of adventure.
  3. The Lord of Hiccups is known as such due to the never-ending hiccups inflicted upon him at birth. Your sadistic uncle forces you into a marriage with the cursed lord and, after one long year, you have had enough of your husband's never-ending ailment. You go on a quest to find the only known cure for such a curse: The Holy Dixie Cup.
  4. You work the night shift at a local 24-hour grocery store in your small town—a job you have because no one else would take it. You are the only one in the store, and hardly anyone sets foot in the place after 11 pm. One night, a rather tall man walks in. He wobbles when he walks, and his face remains obscured by the high collar of his trench coat and the wide brim of his hat. He utters a gruff "hello." Curious, you begin to mop the aisles only to get a glimpse of him. When you get to his aisle, you are shocked to see several small hands peeking out of the trench coat, grabbing cans of beans and corn before returning back into the depths of the coat. You call out to the strange thief, and the trench coat drops. You see a stack of goblins staring back at you, looking as equally as bewildered as your feel.
  5. Unfortunately, your father is about to croak. As the leader of your clan of frogs, he reveals a shocking secret to you on his deathbed: All the males in your family can turn into a human—but only if they can convince a human to fall in love with them.
  6. As the evil Black Knight, you are feared throughout the land as a brutal and ruthless warrior. Although many have tried, no one has bested you in battle. You agree to serve a dark warlock and lead his army of the undead to wreak havoc and destruction across the land. One day, while you are fighting a hero during a great battle, the hero's mace strikes a might blow against your armor and your helmet flies off. The empty helmet hits the ground, and the battle comes to a standstill as everyone is astonished to see that the Black Knight has no head. The hero slowly approaches the still-standing knight and looks down into a seemingly empty suit of armor. Waving away some smoke, he sees you, a small fairy, at the bottom, using a series of gears, levels, and other contraptions to control the knight's arms and legs. The hero picks you up by the wing and shows you to everyone. He begins laughing, and soon everyone on the battlefield, including your army of the undead, join in.
  7. As the jester of the court, your job is to keep the royals laughing. In fact, it was the job of your father, your grandfather, and his father before him. You sing, you dance, and you roast the royals without consequence. But when one of your puns makes King Gerald laugh himself to death, the tables turn. You are sentenced to life on the Island of Fools, a remote island where bad comedians are sent to live out the rest of their days. Armed with an arsenal of jokes and a set of curled toed shoes, you are forced to live among the unfunny for the rest of your days—unless you can find a way off the island.
  8. Ferrying souls across the River Styx is an unpleasant and monotonous business. One day, a living human shows up demanding to speak to the manager.
  9. Frustrated that local townsfolk are being promised untold riches but instead being fooled again and again, a king has finally had enough and places a bounty on a mischievous leprechaun for his never-ending pranks and misconduct. As a reputable bounty hunter, you are determined to capture the leprechaun and claim the reward from the king—not to mention the leprechaun's pot of gold. However, the trickster is on to you and traps you in a series of hilarious scenarios, each of which you must escape before he turns you into a duck.
  10. On the night before graduation, you and your best friend try to conjure up a unicorn in the basement of the mage's school. You're thrilled when it works… then quickly panic when five unicorns appear, then 10, then 20. Soon, the entire castle is overrun by unicorns doing everything from raiding the castle kitchen for apples to chewing on tapestries and knocking over priceless magical artifacts. Knowing that daylight is only a few hours away, you and your friend have to find a way to send these clumsy magical horses back to their world before the headmaster wakes up.
  11. You and your friend are at a carnival when you come across a booth challenging you to test your strength by pulling a sword out of a stone. The sign promises great fortune. Your friend, who is much more athletic than you, gives it a try without success. The carnival workers poke fun at you, daring you to give it a try. When you do, the rusty old sword comes loose from the rock with ease. Suddenly all eyes are on you, and people begin bowing before you, hailing you as their new king. In fact, anywhere you go now, sword in hand or not, people worship you—so much so that it gets in the way of your everyday life. When someone begins following you around town and bangs coconuts together to mimic the sound of a horse galloping, you have had enough. You are now on a quest to break this strange carnival curse and relinquish the crown you never asked for in the first place.
  12. After your great-great grandfather rejects a powerful witch's love, she places a curse on your entire family that forces one member to have the head of a hamster from birth. As the member of the family born with the curse, you must find someone who will love you in order to break the curse forever. You start attending furry conventions around the world in the hopes of finding your true love.
  13. You are a knight on the way to save a princess, which is something you do on a weekly basis. Unfortunately, no princess has been interested in marrying you, even after witnessing your heroic acts. These weekly trips have become a complete dead end, and you are becoming increasingly frustrated with your loveless life. During your latest quest, you stumble upon a potion shop. Inside, an old blind woman is selling concoctions of all kinds, with effects ranging from "chicken breath" to "immortality." She shows you a potion with the promise of making you irresistible, but says that it is not for sale because no one would like that sort of attention. While she's out of the room, you steal it, thinking it's a surefire way to ensure that you'll find a wife. However, when you drink it, you find that it does make you irresistible—but only to flies. Your stench becomes known throughout the land, and you have even less luck in your efforts to find a partner.
  14. You are the last of your kind, a dragon whose lineage has been terrorizing mankind for generations. When you come of age, you consider going into the family business of burning down buildings, eating knights, and spitting out their armor. However, you are hesitant and instead spend much of your time in your cave hiding from others—until, that is, the invention of pizza. You find your calling, from heating brick ovens to delivering food across the land, and you quickly become a legend. But as the centuries drag on and you enter the modern age, people begin to see you as a washed-up mascot, no better than the likes of those horrendous animatronic characters from the 1980s. Feeling the loss of respect from those who once revered you, the choice is yours: live out the rest of your life in shame or show the people how fearsome you can truly be.
  15. The battle for the end of days is waging, and your angel brethren are called to arms. However, you are comfortable in your human form and are more interested in puttering around in your garage than caring about the state of existence. What is the point of being a fallen angel if you still have to show up to work every time there is an apocalypse? You just want to be left alone.
  16. When your human kingdom places a toy and cookie embargo on the neighboring elf kingdom, they retaliate by unleashing a curse that turns all men into trolls and goblins and all woman into pixies and selkies. Now completely comprised of fantasy creatures, the once human inhabitants of this kingdom must deal with all baggage and annoyances that come from being a fantasy character.
  17. You are enjoying your breakfast when you hear a knock on the door. You open it to find an elf, a wizard, a goblin, and a kangaroo standing outside, saying they received your invitation. You have no idea what they're talking about, but before you can object, they proceed to make themselves at home.
  18. You've waited for decades for your prince to come, but to no avail. You are now 60 years old and tired of waiting for other people to solve your problems. You cut off your long gray hair, don some less ornate clothing, and sneak out of your tower to head off in search of adventure. As you near a town, you spot another tower and decide to investigate. Inside is another princess, although she is much younger than you. You help her escape, and together you make it your mission to free the other princesses who share in your plight. Eventually you form a roving gang of ex-princesses and pillage the kingdoms that trapped you.
  19. You and your neighbor have been at odds for years over the state of his front yard. You can't stand how it looks and are convinced that he is a complete slob. Meanwhile, the neighbor believes that one of your kids is tearing up his yard. One day, in the middle of yet another argument, you both witness a gnome come out from behind a bush, rip up a piece of the lawn, shake his fist at both of you, and run away. After a little investigating, you learn that a small colony of grumpy gnomes is responsible for all of the damage, but no matter who you talk to or how much evidence you provide, no one believes your story. When you find your house covered in dirt one day, you decide enough is enough. Reluctantly, you and your neighbor put your differences aside and decide to track down the gnomes before they wreck your entire neighborhood.
  20. You are weak, unathletic, uncoordinated, and scared of anything bigger than you. Considering you are 5'1'', that's basically everything in your small town. Your name is Tim, but everyone in your village calls you Timmy the Timid. You laugh it off, yet deep down you know that no one in town respects you. Whether it was that one time you fell into the chicken coop and got covered in feathers or that other time you lost an arm-wrestling match with a sprite, you always end up as the butt of a joke. One day you hear that your king is searching for knights to fight against the invading horde from the shadowlands and is holding a contest to find the bravest and strongest warriors in the kingdom. You decide to participate.

Contemporary

Contemporary
The real world of today is interwoven with fantastical characters and magical abilities.

The setting takes place within a modern-day time period. Magic exists within this framework, but it is usually either indiscernible to most or has a logical, fact-driven explanation for its existence.

  1. Your grandmother's dog has always bothered you. It's small and white, rather prim, and always sits and stares at you with its unblinking eyes. It's been around since you were a kid, and you feel as if it should have died years ago, but it keeps on living to your dismay. When your grandmother passes on, her dog becomes yours. You begrudgingly take it to your suburban home and, despite your displeasure, realize it really isn't too bad of a house guest. Until the night of the full moon, that is. You wake up to a horrible growling noise and rush downstairs. In place of the dog sits an old man. He wears a nicely pressed white suit and has a thinning patch of curly hair on his head. He smiles at you and introduces himself as your grandfather, who was cursed years ago by your grandmother. She did it to keep the family safe, he tells you with a wicked grin. And with that, he vanishes.
  2. You've never been particularly good at school. You get mostly C's and sometimes even D's, no matter how much you study and prepare for exams and in-class essays. With applying to college on the horizon, your parents are becoming frustrated with you and tell you that you must improve your grades. You walk into your English class, feeling more stressed than ever and nervous about the essay questions on your test. Instead of the old lady who usually teaches your class, there is a young and beautiful substitute teacher with auburn red hair. When you approach the desk to retrieve your test, she can see that you are anxious. You tell her your worries about doing poorly, and she smiles. She reaches into her bag and pulls out a black pen, telling you that the pen is magical and writes only the correct answers. You take the pen and, sure enough, you ace your test. You continue to use the pen on every test or essay, and soon you advance to the top of your class. Things are great until, one day, your pen does not write the answers to your math test. Instead, the pen writes down that it desperately needs your help. You discover that the pen is bound to the soul of a straight A student who ran afoul of a witch with auburn red hair. There is a way to undo the curse, but it requires a single strand of hair from the witch who captured the soul in the first place.
  3. CGI is all the rage, but your special effects makeup studio is still in high demand due to your unnatural ability to make actors look like anything that the script requires in just a few shakes of a tail feather. Your secret? Witchcraft—more specifically, the ability to bend and mold latex and other practical effects to your will. Your coven has allowed this even though practicing magic outside the covenstead is frowned upon. However, when your director suddenly needs 30 zombies ready to go in two hours, not even your magic transformation skills are up to the task. The only solution you can come up with is going to the local cemetery to perform a necromancy spell, which is strictly forbidden by your elders. But will anybody really notice the difference between 30 actors in makeup and 30 real decaying corpses under your control? You decide to take the chance, making sure to place at least three pine scent car fresheners around each zombie's neck.
  4. You download a dating app that you've never heard of after your friend recommends it. She met her current boyfriend through it and, according to her, he's perfect. She warns you that the sign-up process is a little bit strange, but completely worth it. You shrug and fill out the information, thinking nothing of it. The very next day, a box arrives on your doorstep. You take it inside hesitantly and open it to find an odd array of items inside: a pink elixir, a rose, and some chalk. A notification is sent to your phone shortly after. The app requests that you open it and follow the instructions on the screen: draw a small circle on the floor, think of the perfect partner, and drink the liquid. You do as instructed and, in a gigantic poof of pink smoke, a man appears in your living room, standing inside the circle. In a few days, you get used to him. He is perfectly nice and makes an effort to plan dates as well as bring you gifts, but you soon realize that he barely eats, doesn't sleep, and doesn't seem to know anything specific about his past. You try to shake off the odd feeling, but then see his face, with a different name, on a missing person poster.
  5. In Manhattan high society, you are known as one of the most successful psychiatrists south of 42nd Street. People especially talk about your famous hypnotherapy sessions, which can cure anything from cigarette smoking to arachnophobia. What they don't know is that you are also a shaman and one of the last practicing dreamwalkers, being able to enter the dream state of hypnotized patient and work directly with the subconscious. One day, a patient comes in and asks for your help to get rid of a facial tic he has had since childhood. After the hypnotherapy session, the patient is amazed with the results, but you feel off. You look in the mirror to find that your face is now twitching. You look up and scream as you see a small spider on the ceiling. You didn't know it at the time, but you were aiding your patients by absorbing their mental states. Now that your inner dam has been broken, you are overflowing with negative emotion, and you don't know how to make it stop.
  6. You're brushing your teeth when you realize your bathroom sink has a slow drip you've never noticed before. You reach out and tighten the handle, but the drip continues at a rate of about one drip every three seconds. You continue brushing, watching the drip the entire time. The water droplets are stunning. Even against the white porcelain sink, each droplet seems to shimmer with an opal haze. It feels hypnotic to watch them fall to the drain. Your eyes focus on a single droplet hanging from the tip of the faucet spout. Out of nowhere, you feel a rush of water hit the back of your neck, as if a bucket has been dumped over you. Suddenly, you are falling into a dark, watery tube, flying headfirst like you would in a closed water slide flume, plummeting down into an unknown void.
  7. You've been at your new job for a few weeks and, after five interviews and a grueling vetting process, you are finally feeling comfortable in your new role. You have enjoyed the work so far as well as all of the perks that come along with it, especially the view from your high-rise corner office. One day after lunch, you enter the elevator, swipe your badge, and hit the button for the fiftieth floor, where you are meeting with 12 top executives in the boardroom. You are not exactly sure what the topic of the meeting is, but hopefully they will fill you in when you arrive. The digital number counts up, lighting the number for each floor. When 50 lights up, the elevator stops and makes a bell sound. Then the doors open. Instead of a hallway, entryway, or any other office setting, before you is a vast, empty tundra. You hear a sound in the distance and, as you squint toward the horizon, you barely make out the shape of 12 people riding horses straight toward you.
  8. Your wife has recently taken up a job as a pharmacist in your small town. It's a straightforward job, and she's well beloved by the locals, but you sense that she is unhappy. A few months into the job, she starts staying later and later at work, sometimes coming home in the wee hours of the morning. You become suspicious, thinking the worst. One restless night, you decide to pay her a visit at work. You roll into the parking lot near midnight and see that the lights are on inside the pharmacy. You go through the back door and find your wife behind the counter mixing some sort of concoction in a huge cauldron while the other pharmacists stand around her. You have just discovered the local coven.
  9. You come from a long line of elven warriors who crossed an ancient rift to live in the human realm ages ago. They fought ferocious beasts, established civilization, and stayed successfully hidden from the developing human race as it evolved into the modern day. Your ancestors were trailblazers in industry and trade and, with their wit, intelligence, and determination, they paved the way for both human and elven generations to come. And now? You work at a greasy fast-food joint in the busiest part of the city. Your grandmother once told you that the rift back to the elven realm will open once more for those who seek it. You have always kept her words close to your heart. The day a customer spits in your face, you decide to start your search.
  10. Tired and burnt out from your 12-hour nursing shift, you are more than ready to jump in your car and head home. You log out of your computer at 7:02 and collect your things. However, as you are leaving, you glance at the monitor and something catches your eye: You are listed as a patient. Your name and date of birth are right there as someone who has just been admitted to the emergency room. You open the chart, which indicates that you were brought in after a motor vehicle accident. You go to the trauma room listed and see a body on the procedure table, surrounded by medical staff doing CPR. You can't make out a face — there's blood everywhere — so you run back to your computer and look at monitor again. It's definitely you on the board. Then you look at your watch and see that it is 8:15. You shake your head, knowing that you haven't spent more than an hour trying to figure this out. It couldn't have been more than just a few minutes since you saw your name. Confused, you look at your watch again. It begins to slowly wind backwards until the hands point to 7:02. When you look up at the monitor, your name is nowhere to be found. Shaken, you decide to wait a bit before hitting the road.
  11. Generations ago, humanity begged the Fae to leave this world in order to preserve reality. The Fae agreed to leave, but demanded that humanity never practice magic in return because, from their perspective, magic was theirs alone to possess. The leaders of men agreed, and the Fae disappeared from our existence. Humanity then banned the practice of magic, and tales of such power faded into stories of folklore and legend. However, as technology progressed over the centuries, the Fae came to believe that mankind has broken this sacred covenant, mistaking human technological advancement for magic. They have witnessed mankind flying in the skies, talking to one another over great distances, and even creating golem-like creatures called robots to do their bidding. The Fae have decided to come back to our world and put an end to this, reestablishing the covenant at all cost.
  12. You run a bookshop in a quiet part of town. You don't get many customers from foot traffic, which you're grateful for, but you have a very particular customer base who pay well and, in turn, keep your store running. You don't know much about them other than they seem to have an obsession with first-edition books and are often very old. You figure that they're just regular people with a particular hobby. One day one of your patrons comes into the store toward the end of your workday in a panic, asking if you have any first editions left. You tell him you just sold your last one an hour earlier. He rushes out of the store. The following week, you find out he has gone missing. The next day, the first edition you sold turns up on your doorstep, burnt. Worried, you seek out your patrons one by one and discover that most of them have disappeared. The only one left is an old woman who explains to you that the will-o'-the-wisps who reside in the town sewer promised them immortality, but at the expense of something precious—in this case, books. But these sprites are suddenly going back on their promise, the old woman says, and she fears she is next. And she is. You decide to seek out the will-o'-the-wisps yourself, but first must face several trials in order to gain an audience with them and find out where your missing patrons have gone.
  13. Your parents passed shortly after you were born, but you still keep of photograph of them in your pocket. Although your aunt raised you, you do not speak to her much. You are content avoiding her because she is quite ill-mannered. One day, your aunt tells you that she is traveling to another town to meet a friend; she will be staying overnight, leaving you alone. Happy to be by yourself for the night, you settle in to watch some TV. Suddenly you hear a thump from inside the house. You do not know what could possibly have made that sound. Moments later, you hear several other thumps, and you quickly follow the sounds all the way to your aunt's bedroom door. You have never entered this room, which she always keeps locked. Hesitantly, you twist the doorknob and are surprised when it opens. You peek inside the dimly lit room. Nothing appears out of the ordinary, so you open the door all the way and enter. Directly across from you is a line of dolls on a shelf, all staring blankly forward. Upon closer inspection, the dolls appear suspiciously humanlike. Suddenly, one of the dolls turns her head toward you. You fall to the floor and scream. Then, all of the dolls turn their heads toward you to shush you. You cover your mouth with both hands. You hear a faint "thank you" as the dolls go back to their original positions and the room becomes dead quiet again. You slowly get up to take a closer look. The dolls remain still. Perhaps it was all just in your head. Then you notice that two of them look oddly familiar. You remove the photograph of your parents from your pocket and look at their faces, then back at the two dolls, then back at the photo. They are identical.
  14. You have heard something calling to you for weeks on end. It's not a voice, so much as it is a melody, though you feel you understand what it wants from you: to understand the pain it feels. You ignore it for the most part. You are a busy woman on her own in the city, with bills to pay and problems of your own. But when you decide to finally heed the call and follow the melody to a park on the north side of the city, you are met with your true calling. Within an overgrown thicket of thorns, you find a unicorn. It is badly wounded and, though it makes no sound aloud, the mournful melody in your head becomes more painful by the moment. You sit with the unicorn, placing your hand upon its side over the wound and, within moments, it begins to close. When healed, the gentle beast rises and lowers its glowing horn to you. A chorus of "celestial guardian" rings in your head; as it does, more unicorns appear from beyond the thicket, and you realize that it is a title that has been given to you.
  15. Instead of working at Mambo Burger with your friends, you have decided to take a summer job as a lighthouse keeper on an island off the coast of New England. It is quiet work, and you don't see many people on a daily basis, so you often take breaks down at the small dock near the lighthouse's private beach. One day while swimming, you discover an underwater tunnel beneath the dock. Curious, you swim through it and end up in a cave beneath the lighthouse. Following another tunnel off of the cave, you end up in a smaller room, in which you find a golden medallion atop a stone pedestal. You take it, slip it around your neck, and jump back into the water in order to return to the surface. As you swim you realize that the medallion allows you to breathe underwater. Excited, you swim using the medallion daily. But as the weeks pass on, you notice some fishy side effects: Scales appear on your legs, and gills on your neck. You fear that if you don't find a way to reverse these effects soon, you may have to live underwater forever.
  16. Most say they don't exist. Some say they do, showing a grainy YouTube video of a man in a gorilla costume as evidence. However, you know better. You know that the Sasquatch keep to themselves, hidden among the sequoias and other surrounding forests. Myth says they tend to the trees, and their magic makes the forests grow despite the ever-encroaching shadow of human civilization. You even tried to track one down once years ago, but ended up with nothing to show for it. It is almost as if the forest protects them as much as they protect the forest, somehow covering up tracks and camouflaging them from the outside world. One day during hunting season, you come across a deer deep within the forest. You line up your shot and fire. As the blast echoes through the early morning haze, you see the massive buck fall in the distance. When you approach your kill, you are shocked to find a sasquatch standing beside the fallen beast with pure rage in his eyes. You quickly lift your rifle, aim it at the growling creature, and slowly back away.
  17. Your estranged mother has recently passed. In her attic, you find strange artifacts and books. Nestled in one of them is an old United States Road Atlas marked with red dots in various places. You and your brother decide to take some time off work and go on a cross-country road trip to visit these places in the hopes of feeling closer to your mother. But as you arrive at each location, you realize she was hiding an entire second life from you. She had been cataloging magical creatures, making a map of their locations across the country, and you are now seeing them for the first time in your life.
  18. As one of three heiresses to a multibillion-dollar fortune, you have never really questioned where the money has come from over the years. Sure, your great grandfather was an oil tycoon and your grandfather was a real estate tycoon and your father was an internet tycoon, but how they became so successful in their respective careers never really dawned on you until recently. As you enter your father's boardroom, you and your two siblings sit down as your father begins to speak. "Do you know why we are here on the top floor of a skyscraper built by your grandfather? Magic, plain and simple. Our family has a gift to read and influence minds, along with a host of other powers. This has helped us amass a great fortune. Now it is time to pass the business on to the next generation, and I need to know which one of you has the gift." He then hands a letter to each of you that explains the test: a series of challenges that will determine who among you can wield magic and bend financial reality.
  19. Growing up as the daughter of two veterinarians, you were always surrounded by animals. You loved to go to work with your parents and watch them help dogs, cats, bunnies, and even the odd reptile. Your favorite part of all, however, was the interesting conversations you would have with dogs. Unlike the other animals, dogs would respond back to you. Nobody else could hear them but you. It was as if dogs saw something in you that was different than the rest and let you understand their innermost thoughts. Your parents always believed you were just silly and liked to play pretend, but they didn't realize that you could actually communicate with the dogs in their care. As you got older, you feared that people would find you odd if you said you could talk to dogs, so you only ever communicated with the canines when you were alone. One day, a little pup was brought in by a tall, slender man with glasses. The man was fidgety and kept avoiding eye contact with you, your parents, and the entire vet staff. When you started a conversation with the dog, you couldn't believe what he said. The man who brought him in was a kidnapper and was hiding several missing children in a secret room in his basement. Despite the police's best efforts, nobody knew where the missing children were. Even though you now knew where the kids were being held, you also knew nobody would believe you because you got your information from a dog. You only had so much time with the dog, so you used your power to spread the news to every dog that came into the clinic. Perhaps having a group of them helping you would be enough to find the missing children.
  20. As a botanist, you combine your passion for science with your natural born magic. You grow all sorts of fruits and vegetables, each with different attributes, and sell them at the local farmer's market. Your mother, an old-fashioned magic user, tells you to be careful when mixing the two, as the combination of magic and chemistry can often yield disastrous results, but you pay her no heed. You continue your experiments, adding magical health benefits to otherwise normal fruit, and life goes on. However, one of your experiments seems to have grown a mind of its own, something you have never seen. Initially you are proud of this breakthrough. But when your magical plant begins hiding around the house, your mother's warning echoes throughout your thoughts. Of course, by then, it is already too late. Your plant escapes and quickly drops its seeds around town. Within weeks, the neighborhood has turned into a massive sprawling jungle with thousands of plants, and you must find the plant that started it if you ever want to return to normal.

Dark Fantasy

Dark Fantasy
The story has an unnerving atmosphere and contains frightening situations.

A brooding, foreboding tone and an overall sense of gloom permeate these fantasy stories. Noble heroes fighting for the greater good are replaced with grim, morally ambiguous characters who are usually motivated by self-preservation.

  1. In a forsaken empire, a once-powerful royal family has ruled the land for more than ten generations. Yet the lineage is cut short when the queen's fifth pregnancy ends in another stillbirth. Fearing that this was a sign of God's damnation, the royal council meets in secret and decides to kill anyone who has a right to the throne. The best assassins are given their targets and, after the massacre, the royal council takes control of the empire and rules with an iron fist. The sin of such treachery curses the empire, and the land is plunged into darkness. Years later, rumors emerge of a powerful sorcerer in the north, protected by an enchanted barrier no one can break. The royal council sends you, the assassin who killed many of the nobles that fateful day, to destroy the barrier using dark magic and then kill the sorcerer. When you break the barrier and reach the sorcerer, you find that he bears a striking resemblance to the royal family.
  2. You stoke the campfire with a stick, causing embers to dance around and fly up into the night sky. It has been months since you have had a moment of clarity such as the one you're experiencing now. You feel calm and at peace. Then, in the surrounding woods, you hear a rustle. Something is approaching behind you. You turn your head to see a large white wolf emerging from the wilderness. Before you can do anything, the wolf transforms into a slender woman with flowing white hair. She walks over and sits next to you near the campfire. "What brings you here, mortal?" she whispers as she gazes into the flames. "Damnation," you respond. "Why would a man such as you seek out damnation?" You look up at the stars as tears well up in your eyes. "I was once a married man, and we had two children. While I was at the market, our house caught fire. When I came home, I could hear my family screaming for help. I did not try to save them. I let our home burn to the ground." The woman turns her head toward you. "So that is why you seek damnation — because you are a coward?" You look down and respond. "I was not a coward that day. I let my family burn because I wanted to escape. I hated my family. I wanted them all gone, so I let everything burn." The woman smiles and takes your hand. "Then you have come to the right place, my dear. Follow me." You and the woman walk together into the dark wilderness, leaving your campsite behind.
  3. For years you were known as "Stallion Jack," a highwayman by trade who gallantly relieved carriage passengers of their worldly possessions. The stories often describe you as a daring and dashing gentleman of the road whose swashbuckling heroism was matched only by your chivalrous respect for all of your well-to-do victims. But little could be further from the truth. In reality, countless travelers were harmed or even murdered by your hand. It was all just part of the job from your point of view—until you accidentally killed a well-known priest who many claimed had dabbled in dark magic. Fearing the repercussions, you decided you'd had your fill of highway robbery and fled to the countryside to lay low for a while. Strange nightmares have plagued you ever since. In the dreams, a shadowy figure appears at the end of your bed. One night, you awake in a cold sweat and are terrified to find the shadowy figure standing right where you envisioned him. As you scramble to find a way to defend yourself, the figure speaks to you in a rattling voice: "Repent your sins, my child."
  4. Every person is a puzzle. Some are missing a few jigsaw pieces; others are missing almost everything. But each and every person can be harvested to construct a totus anima mea, or "whole soul," which provides everlasting life to whomever possesses it. You travel across the country every year murdering strangers and collecting souls with specific traits in the hopes of one day becoming an immortal. You are an amateur at best, but you enjoy the annual road trip as well as the people you meet along the way. On your most recent journey, you bump into an enchantress working at a diner who is on the same mission. As you talk, you get the sense that a whole soul is almost within her grasp. Eventually she mentions that all she needs is one last jigsaw piece contained within a soul that only a soul harvester can possess. You run for the door.
  5. Your bare feet are caked with mud as you stand in the center of the city square, eyes pinned to the executioner's gleeful smile. It takes all your willpower not to lunge for him. Your mother is about to be hanged. It has been revealed that she is the Red Witch, a powerful mage who has freed hundreds of elves from captivity and enslavement. Unfortunately, you know this is not true as you are the Red Witch. Your mother has sacrificed herself for you and sworn you to silence. Above your head, your phoenix flies, circling as if he knows what you have done. He will not land on your shoulder like he normally does as he sees you have betrayed your destiny and your blood. Tears well in your eyes. No, you cannot let this happen. You will not let this happen! You close your eyes as a tear slides down your cheek and whisper a forbidden spell—one to bring about unbridled destruction. After hearing the sounds of terrified screams and the tearing of flesh, you open your eyes to find the executioner and the guards eviscerated. You are relieved, almost happy, until you look around your surroundings and realize the horror you have unleashed. Everyone is dead, including your mother. Your hatred and anger corrupted the spell, amplifying its power far beyond your ability to wield it. You fall to your knees, knowing that you have laid waste to a city of millions.
  6. The demon king and his vast army march across the land and devastate everything within their path. As kings and lords argue amongst themselves, with even a few choosing suicide over confronting this seemingly unstoppable force, you decide to follow a different path. You ride to the Spire, a tower constructed generations ago to imprison an evil sorceress who threatened the land during her time. Her army of the dead nearly consumed the world until she was defeated and sealed inside this magical tower. You climb the stairs to the top of the Spire and look through the bars. To your amazement, she is not only still alive but also looks as if she has not aged a day. She floats over to you, her feet not touching the ground, and introduces herself. Hearing her kind voice, you begin to doubt all the tales of her wickedness and cruelty. However, you manage to shake off her alluring personality and give her a choice: "My forefathers constructed this prison and therefore, by blood, I have dominion over you. Either aid me in my quest to defeat this foe and you will be freed or rot for all eternity within this cell."
  7. Your family and friends were overjoyed when you were selected to become the apprentice to the town mage — a high honor given only once a generation. You graciously accepted the role and swore to protect the village. You were soon studying the ways of magic and, in time, you became an effective and dependable apprentice. You helped your master with a wide variety of tasks, from mixing potions to fertilizing crops to curing the sick of their ailments. You even helped your master defend the village when the undead invaded your province. However, the town mage's unnatural longevity eventually became your burden, as you waited decades for him to pass his title on to you. It seemed like you would never become a master and take on your own apprentice. However, one day the opportunity finally arrived in a most unexpected manner. While the two of you were collecting ingredients in a nearby forest, your master suddenly lost his footing and fell down a ravine. You rushed over when you heard his cries for help, but as you looked down from the cliff at his mangled body, you decided that this was your chance to take his mantle. Tears welled in your master's eyes when he realized your betrayal and, out of sheer desperation, he began casting several spells, at first to preserve his own life, but then just to harm you in a last-ditch attempt at revenge. Nearly every destructive spell your master knew was cast upon you, but you easily blocked his attacks as they ricocheted off your deflection spell one by one. Eventually, the old mage fell unconscious and bled out. Walking back home, you were practicing your story about the unpreventable demise of your former master when you realized your village was ablaze. Fire swept throughout the land, and pure unmitigated horror engulfed the residents in your hometown. Some were covered in open sores and vomiting; others were overcome by madness. Then it dawned upon you: fire, plague, insanity — these were some of the spells cast by your former master against you as he was dying. You deflected them, but somehow the dispersed spells made their way to your village, causing outright chaos. With nothing left for you but the unintended consequences of betrayal, you collected your belongings and abandoned the doomed people you had sworn to protect.
  8. After your mother dies and leaves you all her possessions, you take a liking to her ornate brass mirror. You hang it in your bedroom but are shocked to learn that the mirror is magical and speaks to you. It shows you all the amazing things you can possess, but each comes at a dark price. As the magic mirror consumes you, blighting your soul with unquenchable greed, you wonder if it was the true cause of your mother's sudden death.
  9. You try to remember who you were before you perished. It was so long ago. There was a great war. Humanity was on the brink. You remember an army of gigantic befouled creatures that wanted to conquer and consume all of mankind. You were… a soldier. An imperial legion archer — a part of the final line of defense. What was left of humanity gathered within your nation's capital. A wall was built around the city. It reached higher than anything anyone had ever built. But it didn't matter in the end. The wall fell, and humanity was no more. Now you roam the battlefield as a bound spirit — a ghost that cannot let go of the past. All of your dead brethren have moved on; some ascended while others descended. However, you are not ready. Over time, you have watched your once bustling city crumble into ruins. You have also witnessed the gigantic creatures turn against each other after all of the people were consumed, fighting and eating one another until only a few remained. You sit on what's left of the city wall and watch one those monstrosities roam the countryside. You look around at your surroundings and suddenly remember that you died here. You were terrified when the creatures attacked. You abandoned your post and fled the battle. When the wall fell, it crushed you, and then you were no more. Now you can remember every detail of your life, providing you an unexpected moment of clarity. If you could only interact with the world, perhaps you could make it right. Perhaps you could have your revenge. But you are just a mere shadow of yourself, without form or ability. You hit the wall out of frustration. Pain shoots through your fist, which is unexpected. Even more curious are the pebbles that were scattered from to the impact.
  10. After three long years of searching throughout the known world, you have finally found it: a weapon of immense power that could strike down a god. The ruinous journey, however, has left many scars upon you—some just on your body, others much deeper. When you began your quest, you were a naive squire, a member of a conroi tasked by the king to find this ancient and powerful weapon. The group comprised the finest knights from throughout the kingdom, including your father and brother. Following a rumor about the weapon's whereabouts, your conroi was exploring a cave when they came upon a witch coven. Many died that day, including your friend and fellow squire, but the weapon was nowhere to be found. Later, your group headed into the mountains, believing that the weapon was at the highest peak. When you climbed to the top, you found nothing but frostbite. While climbing back down, your brother slipped and fell into a ravine, never to be seen again. You took his place as a knight and led your devastated father, along with what was left of your conroi, down the mountainside. Months later, someone or something began hunting your group, picking off knight after knight until only you and your father were left. You saw pure madness in your father's eyes as he revealed that he had killed the remaining members of your conroi because he blamed them for the death of your brother. Your father then accused you of being part of the murderous plot. He aggressively approached you, his sword drawn, and you had no choice but to defend yourself. You won the fight but felt nothing but sorrow afterwards. Now, after so much time and sacrifice, you have finally found the most powerful weapon in all the land. You are a champion in every sense of the word, but it means nothing to you. You stare at the weapon blankly, then turn around, remove the armor from your body, and walk away.
  11. When the moon turns blood red and the cries of wolves can be heard echoing throughout the land, a young woman must be sacrificed to appease the ancient god who lays dormant under your village. Otherwise, this being from a time before men will rise and decimate the world. You wake up in the middle of the night to find the villagers binding your hands and feet before dragging you out of your bed. You have been chosen as the next sacrifice. Although you beg for your life, the villagers ignore your pleas for mercy. You are carried to the pit, a chasm where, deep within, the beast resides. As you are held over the pit, with a void of pure darkness beneath you and sulfur permeating your nostrils, you realize that you will have but one chance to escape. You wrench your head to one side and whisper an incantation to a villager who is holding you. He places you gently on the ground and walks over to another villager to whisper the same spell into that villager's ear before walking into the pit. The second villager whispers into the ear of another villager, walks to the pit, and falls in as well. The pattern repeats over and over again as one by one the confused mob sacrifices themselves. Finally, you are by yourself, tied up on the edge of a pit with an angry ancient god digesting an unvirginal meal that he never wanted.
  12. When you first heard of the falling star that destroyed the Shrine of the Infinite, you were saddened by the unfortunate but unavoidable event. However, after further rumination, you slowly come to the conclusion that this news seems oddly familiar. As archmage and advisor to the emperor, you are well versed in the prophecies of old. Some come to fruition, but most are either proven wrong or so vague that they could apply to almost any situation. This specific incident seems different somehow. After a few days of pondering, you remember reading a scroll decades ago describing this event in detail. You rummage through your personal library, then travel to the imperial archives to research further. Eventually, you find the parchment, which also prophesies the birth of the Prime Heretic in the capital city on the day of the shrine's destruction. According to the prophecy, this person will bring about the corruption of the empire and an end to the royal line you have served for generations. A millennium of darkness will follow, during which all monsters wiped from the face of the world will rise once more and ravage the land. You race to the records chamber and ask for the names of all who were born on that fateful day in the capital, obtaining a list of 12 newborns. You stare at the list, contemplating the unthinkable. Sacrificing innocents because of what one man wrote thousands of years ago is truly repugnant. After all, a prophecy is only words. Even if the Prime Heretic was born on that day, are you prepared to kill 11 others needlessly to ensure you prevent the prophecy from coming true? You can't bring yourself to do it. You close your eyes, rip up the list, and decide to live with the consequences of denying destiny.
  13. When the corruption enveloped your village, you thought that it was simply a passing storm. You were confident that the ominous dark clouds would eventually dissipate and the sun would once again shine bright upon the land. Nothing could be further from the truth. Heavy rains have flooded everything as far as the eye can see, making your once idyllic town into an insect-ridden mire of muck and mud. Desperate for any respite, the village elders order you — a former scout of the King's army — to ride north on horseback to the source of the corruption in order to determine its origin. You do as commanded and ride toward the red swirling skies and streaks of lightning at the far horizon. The high winds and belting rainfall make the journey miserable, and the sounds of rolling thunder become an ever-present and unnerving reminder of what potential horrors lie ahead. Eventually you come upon another flooded village. The land is ravaged just as in your hometown. However, the villagers have been corrupted as well, with their skin covered in weeping lesions and their minds twisted. One man manages to tell you that this was caused by a wizard's descent into madness: "The wizard — insanity took hold of him, so he lanced it off. Ripped the madness right out, so to speak, and poured his chaos into the world. We pay the price for his newfound sanity. We pay the price!" The man grabs your arm and pleads for death, but you shove him away and quickly ride off. As you leave the town, you try to contemplate what just happened, but your thoughts are scattered. Something feels wrong. Your skin begins to throb in pain. You take off your glove and find lesions on the palm of your hand. As you stare at the wounds, you realize you are forgetting who you are and laugh out loud for no reason. Wait, what am I doing? "No, no, no…," you mumble to yourself. You close your eyes and shake it off. You can't lose control — not now! You must reach the heart of the storm, to the source of the corruption, no matter what takes hold of you.
  14. After the Necromantic Wars, anyone caught practicing dark magic is condemned to living out the rest of their days in a prison unlike any other. Carved out of the mountainside at the outskirts of the realm, no one who has entered this prison has ever been seen again. A mounted guard now escorts you, a man found guilty of conjuring the dead, toward the prison entrance along with eleven other sorcerers accused of similar crimes. When you arrive, the large stone doors slowly open to reveal a poorly lit cavernous room. Your fellow travelers plead for mercy but the unresponsive guard simply shoves your party into the room one by one. As the large doors slowly begin to close behind you, the guard makes his way outside, turns around, and tosses a single dagger which lands near your feet. "Here's something to cut your magic restraints — and each other eventually. Welcome to hell, boys!" The doors close with a thunderous sound. You grab the dagger, cut yourself loose, and help the other prisoners with their restraints. One of the imprisoned sorcerers casts a light spell, but catches on fire instead. Another prisoner calls upon the elements to force open the doors, only to be ripped apart himself. For whatever reason, the prison reflects magic back upon the caster. With the dagger still in your hand and the other sorcerers following, you travel deeper into the prison, not knowing what horrors lie within.
  15. You are a demigod, born from a goddess of darkness and a mortal man of little renown. For years you trained in the ways of warfare, knowing that someday the time would come for you to prove yourself worthy on the battlefield. The day finally comes when your mother tells you how one ascends to godhood: by slaying all the other demigods and absorbing their unnatural powers. You then set out to hunt down your own kind, intending to slay the half-gods one by one until you are granted godhood like your mother. However, your mother has not told you the truth. During your journey, you discover that the death of demigods does not bless you with pure divinity, but instead satiates the hunger of the Elder Titan, a primordial god that sired existence at the beginning of time. Although thoughtless and empty, this god has the power to snuff out what it brought forth and must be fed the carcasses of divine beings in order to be appeased. At first, the gods sacrificed themselves to satisfy the Elder Titan. However, as their numbers dwindled, the gods soon realized that it was easier to give birth to demigods and have them slay one another until the last demigod standing is struck down by his parent, thereby ending the Elder Titan's divine feast and setting the stage for a new generation of demigods to be birthed. You tell the other half-gods what you have learned, and you all decide to pursue the path of vengeance. You and your fellow demigods will satiate the appetite of the Elder Titan not with your own blood, but with the blood of your parents.
  16. All was lost when the beasts came out of the woods, seeking to take over the tower of the ancient mage that kept your realm safe. Winged abominations with row upon row of teeth, hundreds of eyes, and sprawling limbs descended upon the world with horrible, unearthly war cries. They started with the cities, turning royals and peasants alike into minced meats and eviscerating village histories with a swipe of their gnarled, clawed hands. Any who survived the destruction of mankind were forced underground, eventually being blinded by centuries of darkness during which they scrounged for worms and beetles to feed their young. You are one of the few blessed with the power of sight prophesized to take back the world from the beasts above and reclaim the power over the tower that the beasts took so long ago.
  17. When the new king rose to power, the immortal and bloodthirsty warrior's first order of business was to kill those who opposed him on the royal council. The king sought to put their heads on pikes as a warning to all who dared speak against him. Hunted and battered, the royal council dissenters were thinned out one by one, until seemingly the only member left was you. You desperately want to murder the king, but killing an immortal requires a magic far beyond your comprehension. You journey to the other side of the world to seek the help of a witch once shunned for her practice of necromancy. She agrees to help you and gives you a simple dagger with a crimson blade, which she says is the embodiment of your vengeance. You thank her for the weapon and return to the king's palace. At nightfall, you sneak into the royal bedchambers while the king is sleeping and slit his throat with the crimson dagger. The king grabs his gushing neck but does not bleed out. Instead, the king begins to rot, his immortal youth giving way to decay. Hearing the commotion, the king's guardsman rushes into the bedchamber. Without warning, the king lunges at him and bites him, initiating the same horrible transformation. The cursed blade did not kill the immortal king but rather made him both living and dead at the same time. Now, through your act of revenge, you have unleashed a living dead plague upon the land that will bring your kingdom to its knees.
  18. You rip the head off of your latest victim and feel the surge of warmth as the victim's soul is consumed by the dark magic that preserves you. But as always, the cold creeps back in as you hunger for yet another soul. You were once a warrior, a champion among men who defended your kingdom against the forces of evil. Injured during a great battle, you were taken back to the stronghold and told that you would never walk again. You accepted your fate, but your king would have none of it. He implored his court mage to cast a spell—any spell—that would grant his greatest warrior the ability to fight again. The mage went through his spell book, found something that would do as the king asked, and then tried to explain the consequences. Uninterested in the details, the king ordered the mage to begin the ritual. When the mage was done, you felt strong yet empty, as if you were just a husk of who you once were. Then the hunger set in and, in an instant, you ripped the king apart, quickly followed by the mage and anyone else who dared cross your path.
  19. When the monsters descended upon your kingdom, they brought an infectious plague. They poured from portals, slimy bipedal beasts with no eyes and too many teeth roaring through the streets. Their single touch killed instantaneously, leaving behind bodies just as infectious. With the king dead and the beasts on the prowl, you quickly realize that you must protect yourself and your fellow villagers. As the local blacksmith, you armor your neighbors as heavily as you can, making sure that they have enough coverage on their bodies to kill these beasts with no contact. But as supplies run short and their numbers grow, you and your small group must find a way to kill these beasts at their source, journeying beyond the safety of your barricaded base.
  20. For two long years you searched deep within the Fagaras Mountains for what many thought was just legend: a simple door standing alone in the middle of a clearing. Before you embarked on your search, you were a blacksmith with a loving wife and three children. You had become a prominent and respected member of your village, but nothing was never enough. You always wanted more than what you were due, so one day you decided to throw your stable life away. You abandoned your wife, your children, and everything else you once held dear to search for the door. But when your supplies were running short, you returned to town in the dead of night and stole whatever you could get your hands on. When one of your former neighbors cornered you, you killed him in cold blood and ran back to the mountains. However, all of it was worth it now that you have found the door. According to the legend, if you open the door and enter, you will be granted what you truly deserve. Knowing deep down that you deserve it all, you open the door.

Fairy Tale

Fairy Tale
A retelling of a classic fairy tale that can be appreciated by adolescent or adult audiences.

Motifs from fairy tales, particularly those from the Brothers Grimm, are reinterpreted with a new perspective. Redefining traditional fairy tale roles, such as the humble protagonist and the evil villain, are mainstays for these types of stories.

  1. There was an old lady who lived in a shoe until its owner returned. After a long hibernation, the giant came down from the mountain to find his forgotten left boot inhabited with pests. Enraged, he gave the old woman and her many children three days to vacate the shoe. Panicked, the mother didn't know what to do. However, her children hatched a plot. They attacked the giant when he returned in three days and demanded that he let them keep their beloved—albeit stinky—home.
  2. You are a 20-year-old woman working with your uncle at his logging company during the summer. It's not your ideal choice for spending your time, but it is a refreshing change in scenery for you. On your days off, you explore the nearby town and the surrounding woods, although you have been warned not to go out after dark due to the increasing number of wild animal attacks in the area. For the most part, you heed this warning. There isn't much to do anyhow, so you spend most of your time reading in the local diner. You make friends with one waitress who works there, a punk-looking girl with bright red hair and a combative attitude who wants nothing more than to leave the town. You become close. But a few weeks later, your friend goes missing. Despite your search, people have no idea where she's gone, some even claiming that they don't know her entirely. When she suddenly returns the following month, with a different attitude and an unfamiliar wardrobe, you are naturally suspicious. The more you look at her, the more unlike herself she looks. Where there once were freckles, there are none. The piercings she had are completely gone and have even healed without a trace. The worst part? Her eyes are an entirely different color. Convinced that this is not your friend, you decide to find out what exactly happened to her in an attempt to get her back — if she's not already gone forever.
  3. There are many things that you take pride in: your success, your possessions, your beauty. But the one thing you take the most pride in is your Tinder desirability ranking. A friend of yours who works at Tinder has been letting you look at the desirability rankings of everybody in your city. A couple of months ago, you decided to start using a powerful glamour charm that you found on Etsy and, after week of wearing it around town, your desirability ranking shot up to the number one position. You have felt like the belle of the ball ever since. Today, however, your heart sinks when your friend sends over the latest rankings with a sad emoji. You have fallen to number two. A girl who has just moved into the city has taken the top spot. You look her up online and find out that she works at an animal shelter and rents a townhouse with seven male roommates. What a weirdo! You vow to take back your top spot by any means necessary.
  4. You and your brother are the children of a notorious thief who became famous by stealing everything from pocket change to valuable jewels. After a particularly risky job gone south, your father retired from the thieving business, teaching you and your brother to steal only when you absolutely need it. But when your father falls ill with a fever and there is no one else to provide for your small family, you and your brother take up the forbidden family business. It starts with small things from the market—fruits and vegetables, an occasional loaf of bread—but you and your brother become greedy and, despite your father's warnings, take things you don't need, such as odds and ends from travelling merchants and even finer items from the marketplace. One day with your pockets already sufficiently stuffed with stolen goods, you and your brother venture to the a little goldsmith shop run by an old lady on the edge of the marketplace. Her shop's walls are lined with expensive trinkets and jewelry; any of them would provide enough coin to buy medicine for your father and put food on the table for months to come. You decide on an ornate golden candy jar in the shape of a gingerbread house and silently slip it into your bag. As you are leaving, the old woman tuts at you, waving her hand and slamming the door shut. She cackles as you look at her with shock, hobbling toward you with magic crackling at her fingertips. You have stolen from the wrong witch.
  5. The king has invited every young lady to attend a ball being held at the castle tonight. You are brimming with anticipation for the evening, but your stepsister, Cinderella, is heartbroken as your mother has forbidden her to go to the ball. You sympathize with Cinderella, but you fear your mother's cruelty and hold your tongue. Your thoughts are elsewhere, anyway. You met the king's son, Prince Charming, by chance a few days ago, and the two of you felt the first stirrings of love. Perhaps if you dance with the prince at the ball tonight you will secure your future as his bride. When you arrive at the castle, you enter the ballroom to find the prince already dancing with a young woman in an exquisite blue gown. You immediately recognize her as Cinderella. You approach the dance floor and notice Cinderella blowing a shimmering pink dust into the prince's face. He gazes at her with a vacant expression. Prince Charming has been captured by a love spell, and you must do everything in your power to break the spell before the prince marries your evil stepsister.
  6. Virtual reality has taken the world by storm, making anything that can be imagined possible in a simulated existence. For some, this is a form of entertainment; for others, it becomes a lifelong obsession. Your wife is determined to live in a fantasy world. She develops a virtual reality system called Maleficent that not only ties directly into the nervous system, but also handles all basic human needs while the person is engaged in the system. In other words, this platform allows an individual to live within a virtual environment in perpetuity. She tests her invention on herself and lives inside her virtual fantasy existence for weeks on end. You are determined to pull your wife out of her virtual reality slumber and shut down the Maleficent platform once and for all.
  7. You are the son of a wealthy divorced couple who own a well-known stuffed toy brand. Despite being divorced, your parents' opposite natures make them excellent business partners. Your father has always been able to strike a deal with his strong, imposing nature, while your mother is able to forge and maintain business relationships using her soft, kind demeanor. You yourself are a perfect mix of the two and, as their only child, you have not only tested hundreds of stuffed toys, but are also next in line to inherit their plushie empire. But trouble strikes when you hear news of a spy infiltrating your boardroom. You make it your mission to follow the trail of evidence to ferret out the traitor. Your parents are sure the spy has been tampering with things in their offices, giving you enough evidence to host a stakeout of your own. After hours of waiting, you finally catch the perpetrator on the CCTV: a middle-aged attorney on the board of directors whom you've only met in passing. You watch as she paws through your files, looking through the stuffed animal prototypes and finding the ones that were deemed "just right." Then her bracelet falls off accidentally, causing her appearance to suddenly change. You zoom in on her face and discover that she is the curly haired CEO from a competing company. She quickly puts her bracelet back on and leaves the room. You try rewatching the video and find that nothing was recorded, as if the entire incident never happened. You must gather evidence and make sure that her plot to steal these prototypes comes to an end.
  8. You're the eldest of three brothers, if only by two minutes. But it counts enough that it puts you in charge. As triplets, you do everything together, including running this city — not legally, of course, but where's the fun in that? Prohibition is a godsend, making you and your brothers incredibly rich and powerful almost overnight, and you're affectionately known as the Three Little Pigs, which also happens to be the name of your speakeasy. But being on top doesn't come without its problems. There's always some hotshot who thinks he can take on the Three Little Pigs. Until now, you and your brothers have made a meal out of anyone stupid enough to try, further cementing your reputation as the most dangerous men in the city. Yet, there are whispers of one who could be your undoing. All you know of him is that he goes by the name of Frank "The Wolf" Corozzo. To some, "The Big Bad." He's left a long line of bodies in his wake while taking over gin joint after gin joint, and now he's coming your way. You and your brothers have worked hard to get where you are. The last thing you want is some mafia outsider taking over your territory. You're ready to fight with everything you have.
  9. As a young woman living with your stepmother and stepsisters, you hope to someday move out and live your life the way you want to. Until then, you have to deal with your overbearing family, whom you support with three jobs while they do nothing but complain. One day while your family was out shopping, your godmother unexpectedly stops by to visit you, which was surprising since you haven't see her in several years. After a cup of tea and a nice chat, she hands you a rabbit's foot for good luck before leaving. You graciously accept the gift but soon forget about it. However, a month later, your luck seems to have turned around when you are selected to be the next contestant for "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire for a Day?" The game show has you live an extravagant, jet-setting lifestyle for just one day. Anything goes in terms of what you can do—the sky's the limit. If the home audience approves of your choices, you win the grand prize. However, if your day as a millionaire is judged to be too mundane, you go back to your normal life at midnight. You are ecstatic that you have been selected and you are ready to take on the challenge, hoping that this will be your ticket to a new life.
  10. On the eve of your twenty-first birthday, you find a mysterious letter addressed to you sitting on the coffee table. You wonder how it got there. You live alone and have been out all day. Opening it only adds to your confusion. It's a handwritten note warning you to get out of town before midnight because you are in danger. You don't take it seriously, assuming it's some kind of prank from one of your friends, yet something about it lingers at the back of your mind. You tell yourself you're being ridiculous and instead go upstairs and jump in the shower to get ready for your birthday dinner with your parents. You're in the shower when you hear a noise. You wrap your robe around you and walk out of the bathroom to find a dozen blood-red roses in a neat bouquet on your bed. They weren't there when you walked in earlier. You discover a second note, but the handwriting is different from the first one. All this note says is "Happy Birthday." You drop it back down on the bed as you sit down, staring at the roses. Before you know what you're doing, you reach out and run your fingers along the stem, pricking your skin on the thorns. You press a bleeding finger to your lips to suck on it. Suddenly, the room spins, and you fall back onto the bed, unconscious. Soon you are dreaming, and you discover you can see into the dreams of others, as if peeking in through their windows. Before you know it, you slip into one of these dreams and find that you can become that dreamer, controlling the dream as it unfolds, for better or worse. While you explore this newfound power, someone in the real world is looking for you.
  11. You are a luna wolf, last descendent of the Fenrir bloodline. With no new litters to speak of, your pack of more than 30 wolves has dwindled to just a few. The future seems bleak, until you fall pregnant — the first wolf to do so in several years. You hope that whatever curse that ailed your pack has now passed. The day you birth the wolf pups is filled with celebrations, and you cannot take your eyes off your five descendants, the future of the bloodline. However, everything changes the moment you encounter a young human girl with a red hood. While searching for food that you recently buried, you see the girl in the far distance as she unwittingly approaches your den, gathering kindling for her family. She pulls back dead logs and foliage, and the den suddenly collapses. As you race toward your home, the girl runs away from you. Desperate to save your offspring, you start clawing at what remains of the den, but it is too late. No one is left alive. With the human's scent still fresh in the air, you decide to hunt the girl down and exact revenge against her and her kin.
  12. Upon the death of your grandfather, you inherit the antique store he had dedicated much of his life to. Everyone else in the family thought it was just a shop full of old useless items that no one could be bothered throwing out, but you and your grandfather knew better. You often spent time there with him, sharing his fascination with all things old, which is why you knew the store would be yours one day. But the first morning you entered the shop after he passed, it felt strange. Still, you were determined to keep the tradition alive. When you unlock the till, the cash drawer shoots open with a ring, revealing an envelope atop the money with your name on it. You open it to find a short note written in your grandfather's handwriting: "The shop is yours now. Good luck! Whatever you do, do not sell the antique in Box 33. It should be protected but never used." You stare at the words, not knowing what they mean. After an exhaustive hunt, you finally find a small, tarnished box on the top of the highest shelves, completely hidden from sight. Pulling it down, you find a sticky note on the lid with the number 33 written on it. You open the box to reveal wooden pan pipes. They don't look too important as you lift them out and inspect them. You know they must be old, but they aren't cracked or weathered in any way. Holding them to your lips, you gently blow into them. They sound beautiful! You then carefully place them in the box and carry it out to the front. When you look up, you are shocked to see a line of people at the door, waiting for you to open. At first, you can only stare. You haven't seen that many people enter the store over the course of a few months, let alone in one day. You open the door, wondering if somehow the pan pipes had anything to do with the sudden rush of visitors. After the most successful day in the shop's history, you close up and take the pan pipes from their box — your grandfather's warning forgotten — wondering what else you might be able to conjure.
  13. There's nothing you enjoy more than the freedom of the forest. It is the only place in the world where you can relax and let your hair down. Not literally, of course. You have been growing out your hair for years, and it takes a good hour of combing every day to keep it from becoming an unkempt mess. One morning you wake up and open your window to a sunny day. A fragrant breeze blows through the window. You decide to make the most of the day, so you wrap up your long hair in a silk scarf around your head to keep it free from any branches you may encounter and walk into the woods. You decide to climb up your favorite tree and spend a few peaceful hours with your book. You haven't even made it through the first page when you hear a voice in the distance. Straining to hear, you make it out to be a male voice, calling for help. As soon as you pinpoint the direction, you pack up your belongings, climb down the tree, and head toward the sound. After what feels like ages, the voice finally becomes clearer, and you know you're close. Suddenly the long grasses part, and you nearly fall into a gaping hole. The man calls up from what appears to be an old well. He has somehow fallen into it. You look around, but there's nothing to use to pull him up. Out of options, you decide to unravel the scarf around your head and let your hair down into the hole in an attempt to save this man in distress.
  14. The life of a giant is a grand one, and one you're proud of. Your lands stretch as far as the eye can see, with your enormous castle in the center. Throughout your life, you've accumulated a vast wealth of gold and jewels, all of which you keep protected and locked up in your vault. You are content and loving your life of solitude, having to venture away from your home only once a month for the Giant Assemblage. Today is one of those days. After packing a sack full of food and wine, you make your way to the meeting, where you greet your family and friends. Normally the meetings are to discuss the crops of magic beans you all farm, but this time it's revealed the number of beans in storage has dropped. No one knows how. You wonder what has happened. Then one of the giants stepped forward, confessing he traded some of the beans in storage for human gold coins that he wanted for his collection. The giants, yourself included, are furious as the beans aren't ever meant to leave the realm of Giants. Nothing like this has ever happened before, and everyone is worried as they argue over what happens next. No one knows what to expect. You all decide to end the meeting early and return to your homes to make sure that all your treasures are safe. As you reach your own lands, you see a beanstalk growing where it hadn't been before, and you hurry toward it. To your horror, you see a large hole looking down to the mortal realm. You realize a human is loose on your lands.
  15. You're slowly getting ready for another school day, wishing you didn't have to. You hate school — or, more to the point, the living hell your two older stepsisters make of it for you. Ever since your dad remarried, they've gone out of their way to harass and bully you. At least when your dad was alive, you had a reprieve at home, where they would be on their best behavior, as if butter wouldn't melt in their mouths. But when he passed away years ago, there was no one left to stop them. If anything, your stepmother seems to encourage them. The only peace you get is catching the bus to school, as they drive to school together in their convertible, being far too cool to be seen with you. Not that you care. Today when the bus pulls up to the school, you see shiny limousine parked nearby. Everyone else seems fascinated with who might be inside, but you walk on, assuming it is just another rich kid who will soon be teasing you. The day passes like all the others. At lunchtime, you grab your bag and head outside to avoid the cafeteria — your sisters' domain. As you rummage through your bag for your book, you trip over a pair of legs sticking out from underneath your favorite tree, sending you sprawling. When you sit up, you come face to face with the cutest boy you have ever seen. He reaches out to help you, offering his apologies. You assume he's the new kid from the limousine, but he seems nice enough so you share the quiet of the tree's shade together as you both spend your lunchtime reading. He's a couple of years above you, so you don't see him the rest of the day, but for the remainder of the week, you see him every day at lunch as the two of you sit under the tree. It becomes the highlight of your day. Meanwhile, your stepsisters are becoming increasingly impossible as they talk endlessly about the new famous kid at school. They try to outdo each other in their attempts to gain favor. After a few weeks of lunch meetings, the new kid asks you on a date, and you agree. You don't tell your family, knowing they will only try to find a way to spoil it, but you enjoy the looks on their faces come Friday night when the limousine pulls up at your house.
  16. When your father lost his job, life went from bad to worse as he struggled to make ends meet. You had no choice but to quickly learn to look after yourself as you took to the streets in search of food. One cold evening, after a long day of scavenging, you return to the apartment to find it boarded up, an eviction notice nailed to the door. You knock on the door, trying to convince yourself that your father wouldn't leave without you, but deep down you know he has. You walk around to the back of the apartment, climb up onto the hot water system, and push open the toilet window, knowing the latch is broken. There's no sign of your father, though his wardrobe is open, and several hangers are bare. You turn to your own bedroom and gather the warmest things you can into a backpack. You layer on the clothes but as you leave, you go to the closed door that once was your mother's study. You were never allowed in before, but now there is no one to stop you. You open the door. It takes you a moment to overcome the mustiness before you turn the light on and step inside. There's not a lot to see, just a desk with a computer and several mismatched bookshelves, all coated in thick dust. You walk over to the desk, where you see a book of matches on top of a notepad with something written on it. Wiping away the dust, you find your name. You frown as you pick up the book matches and open it, seeing only one has been used. You slip the book in your pocket, certain the matches will come in handy in the cold. You climb back out of the window and walk around to the front of the house, wondering what you will do next. Your stomach growls, and you wish you had something to eat. To distract yourself, you pull the matches out and strike one, letting it burn down close to your gloved-fingers before blowing it out. As soon as you do, a hotdog vendor appears before you. "Are you hungry?," he asks. "I want to get home before the snow gets too heavy, and it would be a shame to waste these." He holds out four piping hot hotdogs. Eyes wide, you stare at the book of matches before accepting the vendor's offer.
  17. Your sister, Aurora, is an internet celebrity. Every day she is contacted by brands begging to sponsor her. Most of the time your sister declines these proposals. However, when a company advertising melatonin sleep aids offers a million dollars for one 30-second endorsement, she can't refuse. The next week she shoots the video, even though you beg your sister to reconsider, fearing the consequences of working with such a sketchy brand. Within a few days, her endorsement goes live, and it's a hit, going viral nationwide. Suddenly, everyone is taking the sleep aid. But when people across the nation begin falling into a magic-induced comatose state — your sister included — you realize you were right all along. You and a few of your remaining conscious friends must now infiltrate the company head on and get to the bottom of this waking nightmare.
  18. Your father is a successful billionaire. For years his company has been on the forefront of technological innovation, always one step ahead of the competition. Unbeknownst to the public, his tech is derived with the help of sorcery. But he's not the only one who uses magic to get ahead. Your entire family is wealthy due to the assistance of the arcane, and you are even a bit of a celebrity because of this wealth. When it comes time to marry, your family expects it to be to a man of equal wealth and success. You, on the other hand, have found love in someone quite the opposite. He is humble and kind — a genius in his own right — but dirt poor. When your father finds out about your beloved, he becomes so furious that he turns the young man into a frog. The curse, he tells you, can only be broken by a princess. He explains that you can be that princess if you marry a Hollywood movie mogul who happens to have relations to royalty. You must make a choice: stay with your newly croaking beau and endure a lifetime of a slimy curse, or free him by breaking both of your hearts.
  19. You and your sister are always left out at school. You two are not like the other kids, with their computers and gaming consoles. Your parents are very strict, and they never allow you to game like your schoolmates because they think it will rot your brains. Instead their rules only rot your chances of fitting in with the kids at school. Although you and your sister have tried to hang out with your peers at recess, they mostly ignore you. However, today they ask you to play hide and seek with them. You and your sister are designated as the hiders while the rest of the kids are seekers. Although this ratio makes little sense to you, you're just glad to be included. You and your sister decide to hide deep in the woods to make the game more challenging. Unfortunately, the other kids have no intention of looking for you at all, and the whole game is just a prank to get rid of you. After waiting in your hiding spot for a long time without being found, you decide to return to the schoolyard, but you quickly realize that you are lost. While wandering in the woods trying to find your way back, you suddenly hear the faint but unmistakable sound of video game music. Curious, you follow the sound deeper into the woods, where you are surprised to find a small cottage. You creep closer and see that the front door is slightly ajar, so you ease the door open to get a better look. You are shocked to find that the inside of the cottage looks much larger than it did from the outside, and it contains a massive spread of technology. Video games of every genre are stacked on shelves, devices like laptops, tablets, and game consoles are in abundance, and massive TV screens are mounted on every wall. You've never been allowed access to this stuff before, so you and your sister run over and immediately start playing. What feels like minutes turns into hours, but you don't even notice the passage of time as you stare fixated at the colorful pixels on the screens. You're so entranced that you don't even notice the old woman sitting behind you, coding her next video game. You two will be the characters in her new game, and the longer you play, the closer you are to being trapped forever.
  20. You wake up in a dark room tied to a chair. A man walks in and asks, "Are you CaptainCrypto2817?" You suddenly realize why you are there. Last week, you were bragging on a Reddit thread that you made thousands of dollars a day trading cryptocurrency. Was it true? Not in the slightest. However, your captor thinks that you have insider information and wants to know your secret … or else. The man leaves the room, giving you the night to think over his non-negotiable proposal. An hour later, as you struggle to free yourself, a small imp-like creature enters the room carrying a laptop and approaches you. He opens the computer and points to a couple of charts on the screen. Then he looks at you and says: "Here's your answer, kid, but it will cost you."

Fantasy of Manners

Fantasy of Manners
These Austenesque stories define, interpret, and critique a class-driven society.

There are no ferocious monsters to slay or powerful evil sorcerers to defeat. Instead, these complex stories are focused on a hierarchical social structure. The setting is usually urban, and magic is downplayed or removed altogether.

  1. From your fiancée's perspective, you are a baron—a man born into power and influence. But nothing could be further from the truth. Five years ago, you were hunting for venison when a horse suddenly came out of nowhere and galloped passed you. Curious as to its origin, you followed the horse's trail back to an overturned carriage with bodies strewn across the ground. The scene spoke of a horrific massacre. You open the carriage door to find an entire family of nobles slaughtered. Whatever the robbers wanted, they left no witnesses to tell their tale. However, one particular young man bore a striking resemblance to you. Then it dawned on you: If you could pretend to be him as the sole survivor, you would inherent these lands and become a nobleman for the rest of your days. You took a hard look at the corpse, making sure that your face and his were a perfect match. It was like looking at a reflection. You worked to change clothes and dispose of the corpse, then waited to be rescued, finally being found by a group of knights, who brought you back to the city and your castle. You have ruled there ever since. Those who knew your doppelganger could not tell the difference. Any inquiries into your past resulted in you claiming amnesia brought on from the carriage robbery assault. And now, you were to be wed to the finest maiden in all of the kingdom. This maiden, however, is not what she appears to be. She was once the leader of a gang of criminals — the same criminals who robbed and slaughtered your adopted noble family. Now she has come back disguised as a duchess to kill the remaining witness of her crime and finish the job once and for all.
  2. The ball at Griffin Park is a spectacular annual event held for only the wealthiest and most well-connected families in the capital. People say the entertainment is exciting and the food is to die for. As someone considered part of the "nouveau riche," you have been on the waiting list for years. However, for the first time in your life, you have been invited to attend, and you are elated that you have finally "arrived." On the night of the ball, you spend your evening dancing with women dressed in ornate gowns and speaking with men who have inherited wealth from the success of generations before them. You feel a bit like an imposter among these people of fineries and empty talk, until you meet the daughter of the wealthiest man in the city. You are smitten with her — so much so that you end up lying about your parentage in the hopes of impressing her. Your parents own a very successful talisman shop, but you decide to fabricate a grander story, explaining that your family is involved in the tea import business and has a fleet of ships under their control. The week after the ball, you receive a letter from the young woman's parents requesting your presence, and you realize your mistake. Before you know it, you are in too deep, and what was once a harmless lie has become something spiraling out of control.
  3. You are an herbalist who sells potions at the town market infused with a little touch of your own magic. One day, a man from the royal court catches your attention as he peruses various market vendors. He engages you in conversation, and you are taken aback by his charm and wit. He is looking for some sort of cough treatment, but you find it hard to pay attention as you stare deeply into his eyes. You never planned on falling in love, but you have become instantly enamored by him. Before he goes, you offer him a free sample of your anti-cough elixir, which he gladly accepts. What he doesn't know is that you switched out the elixir for a love potion in the hopes of winning his affection. It will be an uphill battle because you are at a much lower station than he is, with no wealth or land to speak of, but you are willing to take that chance. You watch as, after entering his carriage, he gives the elixir to his ailing love interest, a well-known duchess who is a magnet for gossip and attention. Much to your dismay, she drinks the elixir, looks at you from across the market, and begins to smile as the carriage pulls away.
  4. A few years ago, you were married off to one of the wealthiest men in the county, and now you are one of the wealthiest and youngest widows in said county. Your niece, who is destined to be placed in an arranged marriage in order to maintain her standing and wealth, has elected to stay with you for her final summer before betrothal. You make it the best summer you can for her, throwing lavish party after lavish party in her honor. You become close, and when she expresses her displeasure regarding her future husband, you feel for her — so much so that you decide you must do something about it. Little does your niece know that your previous husband is in the frog pond, living his new life as a mindless amphibian, cursed by the very woman he wed. As your niece describes how unpleasant her future husband is, you feel as if your previous husband needs a new companion. You throw yet another party and invite your niece's unwanted fiancé to see if he's suited for pond life. However, things get complicated when you lay eyes on him and fall madly in love. After a night of banter and frivolity, you feel that he has put you under his spell, and you are not quite sure where your allegiances lie. Do you turn this debonair man into a frog after he marries your niece, allowing her to inherit his wealth while denying you your newfound love? But it would be such a sin to throw away this fine specimen! Perhaps you should push your niece aside and marry this charming man yourself, relegating her to a life of destitution. You can't decide. All you know right now is that you need to see him again.
  5. To whisper in the ears of kings and change the ways of the world, one must first study at the Sovereign Academy to become a royal advisor. Whether it is matters of war, matters of finance, or matters of diplomacy, few royals possess the knowledge to lead. However, royal advisors spend most of their lives studying such subjects and influence the monarchy to such an extent that they are regularly regarded as the true leaders of their lands. Many children of the merchant class apply to the academy in the hopes of one day wielding such power, but few are accepted and even fewer graduate. Above all else, women are stickily forbidden from attending Sovereign Academy—that is until you, an orphan girl, decide to explore a long-forgotten cave and discover a chest containing riches beyond the imagination as well as a single glamour charm that can alter your appearance. You place the charm in your pocket, change your appearance to a boy, and use your newfound wealth to buy your way into the Sovereign Academy.
  6. Lord Nigel Briar has been pestering you for your hand in marriage since you were both teenagers. It has become so commonplace for you to deny him that it is a running joke whispered between you and your two sisters and met with a frown from both of your parents. You do not care. Your eyes have always been set on broader horizons, away from your family's countryside estate. In fact, you have been frequenting several symposiums at the local college hosted by a young man who believes he has harnessed the power of flight. Most attendees go simply to scoff at the lad, but you find it fascinating and, moreover, attainable — so much so that you decided to fund his project in secret with some of your hefty allowance. However, you included one stipulation: that you be his first passenger. You help him build a prototype of his magical flying machine and, in turn, build a relationship that is most certainly forbidden. When your parents find out, they promise you to Lord Briar. You are devastated. Now you and your lover must finish the machine before your wedding day in the hopes of escaping a lifetime of monotony.
  7. As you enter the ballroom and look at your fellow revelers, you are surprised by who is in attendance. There are several from the house of Keenstone, a nouveau family who acquired their wealth through illicit gambling and prostitution. Then there are the Terrarocks, a family with strong ties to the Temple of the Devout who despise the Keenstones for their sordid ways. Families from the banking guild are also there, and they are furious at the Keenstones and Terrarocks as both houses are on the verge of defaulting on their loans. The imps are also there, although no one cared for them at all because—well, because they are imps. Tension riddles the soiree, with everyone clinging to the walls and avoiding the dance floor as if attending some sort of awkward preteen party. Well, you came here to have fun, not to stare across the room, so you get the orchestra's attention, ask them to play your favorite waltz, grab the nearest warm body, and hit the dance floor.
  8. Your neighbor is a strange woman to say the least: a wealthy spinster shunned by most of the aristocracy. She does not attend any galas, avoids the scuttlebutt, and is often seen wearing men's trousers in public. It's completely unheard of… and yet you wish to be just like her. Your family's lifestyle is the polar opposite. You have always been waited on hand and foot by nannies and maids — so much so that you yearn for independence. You find yourself peeking through your estate's hedges to watch your neighbor while she gardens. When she notices, she invites you over for tea. You become fast friends, and she teaches you practical things about life that you never would have known as well as interesting things like ciphers and codes. But her knowledge of the strange and interesting goes further than that. In fact, she herself is an illusionist, meaning she can manipulate the perceptions of others to see what they want to see in order to remain unbothered. She offers to train you to do the same.
  9. You keep seeing a woman in your dreams who is trying to tell you something. Each night, you get closer to understanding what she's saying. During your last dream, you make out one word she whispers to you: "loveless." Despite how uneasy this makes you feel, you still go about your business the next day. As a cobbler in the capital city, you deal with a discerning clientele who demand the latest fashions from the four corners of the world. However, none of that matters the moment the woman from your dreams walks through the door: She is a noblewoman who is about to marry a vulgar arriviste whose standing was less than even yours just a few years ago. In an incredibly short period of time he has been able to obtain an obscene amount of wealth through unknown means. You have seen him carousing around town many times, always with a different woman in tow. Now he wants to climb the social ladder with the woman from your dreams. Somehow, you need to help her find a way to escape this arranged marriage.
  10. Since you were a small boy, all that you wanted to be was an archer. Archery was your passion, and you won tournament after tournament, beginning to make a name for yourself. However, your father had different plans for you. Being an archer, even in the royal guard, was considered lowly work for a nobleman such as yourself. Sure, if you were the son of a peasant or a farmer, you could aspire to become a warrior. However, from your father's perspective, you went meant for greater things. Upon your father's death, you would become the largest landholder in all of the empire. That was your true destiny according to your father, and you must prepare yourself for that outcome. You begrudgingly agreed, but did not give up on your dreams. Instead, you disguise yourself as a commoner and joined the royal guard. From your perspective, you could have your cake and eat it too as long as your true identity is never revealed. However, if word got out, your good name would be ruined and your father would most likely cast you out of the family.
  11. As a young woman attending a magical finishing school, you have been taught the sort of practical magic that all young ladies of marrying age are expected to know. Soon you are going home to be wed, much to your dismay. You have known your suitor since childhood and find him dreadfully boring. You have no desire to marry him, despite your parents' insistence that you do so because of his family's status and wealth. Feeling trapped, you decide to use your magical abilities to do the one thing your professors told you not to do: escape.
  12. You are the son of a wealthy potion trader who has long been preparing you to take over the family business. Before you can do so, you must first get married to a woman of equal or greater status. You have met many beautiful and amiable ladies over the past few months, but you do not feel a strong connection with any of them — until you lock eyes with one of the house servants while calling on a potential bride. You continue to visit the young lady's home, feigning interest in her in order to talk to the servant, and quickly discover that you are a perfect match for each other. As your friendship blossoms into something more, you decide to reveal your secret love to your father.
  13. You have to marry a suitor within your inner circle, finding someone as privileged as you, with wealth and connections to further your family's name. You have a list of potential suitors, but you are disgusted by their pomp and ego, and none of the men can keep up with your wit and quick tongue. During one long night of mindless babble with an obnoxious suitor from the mage guild, you excuse yourself to the restroom but instead wander your family's grounds, ending up at the stables. You run your fingers through your favorite Pegasus' hair and relax a bit. However, you are suddenly startled when you hear someone approaching. You take a couple of steps back and manage to step on your own dress, stumbling and falling into a stack of hay. Someone nervously yells, "I'm so sorry, Miss!" One of the stable boys appears in front of you, flustered and a bit wet from the water that he presume spilled when he dropped a bucket. Annoyed but endeared, you engage in a battle of wits with the boy and are surprised to discover that he is more than capable of keeping up with you — sometimes even besting you. From that day on, you secretly visit the stable every evening after supper, when you should be speaking with your suitors. However, things get complicated when one of your suitors secretly follows you one night and sees you engaging with a mere stable boy. He finds it appalling and decides to use this valuable piece of gossip to his advantage.
  14. You have much to do in preparation for your wedding. Nevertheless, you are excited about every aspect of the ceremony. Your husband-to-be grew up in a faraway land you have only read about in storybooks — a nation comprised of mountaintop villages interconnected by a vast network of bridges and tunnels. He is quite wealthy and sure to bring great fortune to your house, and you are relieved that you are actually in love with him, unlike many of your friends whose arranged marriages have not been so successful. You know very little about his family, which concerns you. Still, you are quite enthusiastic about the marriage — at least that's what you've been telling yourself. The day of the wedding comes, and the ceremony goes swimmingly. It is just as perfect as you could have hoped. But your husband seems different… changed somehow. He does not seem particularly happy, nor does he seem to remember the simplest things about your relationship. You shake this off, deciding he must be nervous, and the rest of the festivities go off without a hitch. But when your husband reveals to you that he is your fiancé's twin brother, ordered to marry you because your fiancé had gone missing a week before the wedding, your heart breaks. Not wanting to shame your families, you both keep up the ruse while working together to figure out where your fiancé went in the hopes of returning to some sort of normalcy. But as you work together as newly married husband and wife, your feelings grow stronger for each other, and you begin to doubt everything you thought you wanted.
  15. You are a governess employed by a viscount to educate his three young daughters at their expansive, rambling estate. You are paid handsomely to make sure his children are up to date on world histories, incantations, and philosophies, and you are glad to have the job, much to your grandmother's chagrin. Whenever you go home to visit, she never fails to remind you that you should be teaching children of your own. But with their father widowed and the girls needing a role model, you feel as if you already do. When the viscount falls ill, you end up taking on even more responsibility. Your relationship with him grows while you nurse him back to health, and you realize this may be a more permanent situation than you had previously thought, but the impropriety alone may be enough to prevent you from returning his affection.
  16. Your mother is known for being a matchmaker for nobility, as she is exceptionally good at setting up young women with men that lead to long, happy marriages. Many dukes and duchesses seek out her expertise and guidance. You have always admired her abilities and intuition, but when it comes time for you to find a husband, your admiration for her fades. Your mother constantly judges your choice in men and goes as far as to shoo potential husbands away. Recently, you have fallen quite deeply for a suitor, despite your mother's attempts at ruining the relationship. Knowing that you are close to marriage, your mother launches into a tirade and bars you from ever seeing him again. You are outraged by her conduct, until she explains that her matchmaking abilities are not a gift, but a curse. Although your mother can help others find true love, the men that your mother loves have untimely deaths, including your late father. To make matters worse, your mother discovered that the curse is hereditary, and she does not want you to suffer as she did. You solemnly accept this as fact, breaking off the relationship with your one true love. However, when he suddenly falls ill the next day, you realize it may be too late. You know you must find a way to break the curse, but how?
  17. Your family has been on the brink of destitution ever since your father died. As the oldest child, you must now support your siblings and sick mother. You are concerned you will not be able to make enough to keep them alive and well until you hear that the palace is looking for a new servant to work directly with the young princess in her day-to-day affairs. A prestigious role for any peasant, this seems like the perfect opportunity to not only support your family, but also escape your small town, where rumors of you being a witch have been slowly taking root. You apply for the job, along with hundreds of other servants from across the kingdom. A week later, you learn that you have been chosen, even though you have limited experience in such matters. When you arrive at the palace, you unexpectedly discover enemies in your fellow servants, who are all vying for palace promotions. Most surprisingly of all, your only friend and ally in the entire castle is the young princess herself, who tries to bond with you on a wide variety of subjects. However, after being taught on day one to only be seen and not heard, you struggle with the premise of having a close royal friend. Determined to win you over, the princess persists and eventually confesses why you were selected as her personal servant: You look exactly like the sister of her one true love. A year ago, the princess fell for a prince from a faraway land during a ballroom gala, and soon thereafter, the two lovers began exchanging letters across continents. However, now that the prince's kingdom has declared war on your land, communication has gone from incredibly difficult to nearly impossible. The princess believes that a person who looks like a member of their royal family could easily slip past the guards and enable her to continue her correspondence with her love. Knowing how important this is to your newfound friend, you agree to be her courier.
  18. One evening, a young man knocks on your family's front door, seeking shelter from the brutal magic-fed thunderstorm. He is soaking wet and shivering from the cold, so you offer him blankets, a cup of tea, and a spot by the burning fire. He thanks you for your hospitality and tells you that he is on his way to the Kargrove Manor, the home of one of the wealthiest families in your county. You speak of your distaste for the Kargrove family and their varied businesses, making the wealthy wealthier and the poor poorer. The young man says nothing and, once the storm has subsided, leaves your home. The following day, you go to the town center to gather food and materials but are stopped when a large carriage comes clattering down the road. The townspeople part to make way for it, and whispers pick up as people gossip about the carriage's inhabitants. Suddenly, the carriage door opens right in front of you, and you stumble back and fall to the dirt ground to avoid being hit. Grumbling, you see a hand extend in front of your face, offering assistance. When you look up, you spot the familiar features of the young man you welcomed into your home last night as hushed voices rise to declare, "Mr. Kargrove."
  19. Growing up as the only daughter of an overbearing lord, your one duty has always remained obvious: attract the attention and affection of a powerful young lord-to-be. You were never allowed to have friends growing up, lest they distract you from your feminine duties and the tasks you needed to master to become the perfect wife. Unbeknownst to your parents, you have found a secret friend in the boy you discovered beside the washing stream one day. After you tell each other of your equally restrictive home lives, he volunteers to teach you how to fight in exchange for friendship. He informs you that there is an approaching tournament at the king's court, with the ultimate prize being a single wish granted to you by the king's mage — no questions asked, no restrictions. When you not only qualify for the tournament but also make it the final round, you find yourself face to face with the boy who offered you friendship, who turns out to be the king's son. Now you are both fighting for the same thing: freedom from home.
  20. You are a harpy, a half-human and half-bird amalgamation that comes from a family of wealthy landowners. Although you are a young baroness, you find it hard to make friends outside of your own family because humans find you and your kind revolting. However, one exception to this rule is a human duchess you have served as a lady-in-waiting. You have known her all your life and consider her to be a close friend. Once the duchess reached the age of marriage, her father held various extravagant balls to enable her to socialize and find a prospective husband. At one of these balls, one of the young noblemen rudely mocked you and called you a disgusting monster. When he started throwing eggs at you, calling them your offspring, you ran away from the ball, crying. His behavior angered the duchess and, after wiping away your tears and eggshell, she cast a spell on you to alter your appearance. A nearby mirror showed that you were now gorgeous, with all of your bird-like features gone. The duchess explained that the spell would work for only a week and then created a plan to make that young nobleman fall in love with you during that week. "When you turn back into a bird, he will be horrified!" she exclaimed. You didn't share your friend's enthusiasm, or her belief that falling in love with you would be some form of punishment or revenge. However, you decided to go along with the plan and feel grateful that you can fit in, even if just for one week.

Heroic

Heroic
A reluctant protagonist rises up, faces adversity, and defeats a powerful enemy.

The quintessential story of the champion who comes from humble beginnings, goes on a quest despite initial uncertainty, encounters trials and tribulations, and eventually defeats a mighty foe.

  1. Every day the sun burns at a hundred degrees or more, but every night it rains, keeping the balance in your world. It has been this way since the beginning of time…until tonight, when a monolith appears on the horizon, and the rains stops. Over time the crops wither, the people go hungry, and you must make a choice: watch your people die or trek across the plains from which no one has ever returned to find answers and hopefully rain. Like many of the other townsfolk, you are but a simple man, but unlike them you crave adventure and are willing to go where most would not dare. You might not survive the journey, but you definitely won't live if you stay. The last leaf has fallen from the trees, and the time for waiting is over.
  2. Your entire life has been dedicated to training: wielding swords, sharpening blades, and battling enemies much bigger and stronger than you. You are in line to become the next protector of the king, the most valued position in the country. You are used to being the best, flaunting your strength and seemingly unbreakable confidence to attract potential partners and friends alike. However, everything changes on the eve of your 21st birthday. Suddenly, the ground begins to quake with a thunderous roar, the sky fills with dense grey clouds, and the wind rips tree roots from the earth. This activity lasts for only five minutes, but that's all it takes for the king to disappear, his guard slain at the foot of the throne. Your life is thrown into turmoil as you grapple with your newly appointed position as the guard of the missing king. You do everything you were taught in battle growing up, but nothing could have prepared you for the ultimate test you face, leaving you with one unanswered question: Are you truly as brave as you once believed yourself to be, or will your ego cost you not only the kingdom, but also your life?
  3. You stand in the middle of the bridge no wider than yourself. Behind you is a village: peaceful, tranquil, and your home for the last year. They took you in when no one else would and hid you from the imperial guard. As you recovered from your wounds, the village elders taught you the ways of the warrior and helped you forge a new sword enchanted by the Goddess of Wisdom. Before you stands the Dark Army: monsters born of hatred that have been ravaging the countryside for months. A fallen wizard unleashed this horror upon the world. For what reason, no one knows. Below you is the Great Chasm: a ravine that cuts your village off from the rest of the empire. You stand at the ready, sword drawn, determined to defeat the forces of darkness one monster at a time.
  4. You are a mage studying mythical archaeology. You have led a comfortable life spent mostly indoors, reading. For the most part, you are content. You've never been one to enjoy hard labor. In fact, the opportunity to attend in-person archaeological digs has arisen many times, but each time you have declined. So, when the headmaster of the school approaches you, asking for you specifically to accompany him on a dig, you already have a list of excuses as to why you're unable. But he insists, telling you that it's in your area of expertise. They think they've found the location of an artifact once thought to be myth. Eventually you accept, and soon after you lead a band of explorers to find the location of the ancient artifact. But a group of explorers from a rival school is hot on the same trail, and it becomes a race to the finish, full of magical sabotage to get to the artifact first. When you both arrive to find that the site has already been looted, both groups unite against a common enemy in order to figure out who stole the artifact in the name of history.
  5. You work as an apprentice for the most well-known wand maker in the land. Throughout the centuries, he has provided wands for a wide variety of wizards, and his knowledge of the subject is unrivaled by any other. Now, being more than 600 years old, this artisan is beginning to feel the effects of his age. He calls you to his home and proposes a final expedition in order to gather materials. He wishes to go further than he has ever gone before to procure a vial of Starheart essence, one of the most powerful wand-making materials known to man, harvested from the first star that fell from the heavens. He rolls out a map he has been charting for decades, showing the location of the star calculated to an exact coordinate. It has been sought after for millennia, he says, and has driven many to madness. He promises that, if you help him harvest the essence, you will be the first to harness the power of the Starheart. He also guarantees that you will become his sole successor. You must now make the treacherous journey to the ends of the world to find the first star while avoiding the grasp of his competitors who wish to harness the power of the Starheart for themselves.
  6. You are the youngest and only female of six siblings. You and your five brothers are the children of a beloved tavern owner who is an exiled knight. He taught each of you to handle a sword with precision. Your blade never leaves your side; it's a part of your soul. One day, your eldest brother makes a foolish wager with an enchantress, who unleashes a curse upon your entire village, leaving all the men weak of mind, muscle, and spirit. Hearing of this, a gang on the outskirts of town decide to raid your village and take what they can. You attempt to gather the local women to fight back, but most refuse. The ensuing raid devastates your small village, leaving much of the town in flames. Before riding off, the gang chieftain demands a monthly tribute; otherwise, they will pillage the village's food supply and poison the wells. Lost, you go to your sanctuary by the lake and pray for guidance. There, you find an alchemist who gives you a small stone, which glows a brilliant purple before transforming into a magnificent sword. The alchemist tells you that the women will listen now, as you were born to be their leader. Fire burns within you. You and the group of women you assemble will not go down without a fight!
  7. While herding sheep, you find an old dagger. When you pick it up, it becomes warm in your hand, and you feel a swirling deep within your body. Your father races into the field to knock the dagger from your grasp. You become confused when he scolds you for touching it and refuses to listen to your protests. Hurt by his lack of trust in you, you go to bed without dinner only to slip into a fitful sleep filled with ominous shadows with glowing yellow eyes, flying witches, and creatures cackling in the underbrush. The screams from the nightmare slow to a gurgle as you wake to the stench of wet fur and decaying meat. You jerk upright when the door shatters, revealing a chittering crazed animal-like monster. It storms inside, its claws searching for your flesh. You react without thinking, moving your arms with seeming practiced control. You parry and block the monster's attack until your hand delivers a final blow, burying the dagger deep in the monster's chest. You step back, staring in shock at the bloody dagger still in your hand, wondering how it found its way to you. As its power fills your body, making you feel invincible, you realize it is not important how you got the dagger, only that it is here with you, now and forever. Gurgling screaming interrupts your thoughts, and you rush into the front room, where your father is on the floor, blood covering his chest. He coughs up more blood as he tells you to follow the pull of the dagger. Your tears fall as he takes his last breath. The dagger tingles in your hand, signaling that your journey is just beginning.
  8. Many years ago, your house was stripped of title and land after the king accused your father of treason. To this day, your father swears innocence and argues that he was framed. The only reason he was not executed for his supposed crimes was because of his dedicated service to the nation and his longstanding friendship with the king. In addition, the king decreed that your house's connection to magic was to be permanently severed. Like many others houses of royalty, your family's powers derive from the kingdom's magical wellspring, which is a focal point of arcane energy. Without the kingdom's wellspring, your family has been forced to rely on labor and pure physicality to survive, and you all now live in a rundown crime-ridden village on the outskirts of the kingdom. One day, your father is badly injured when marauders from the neighboring empire raid your village. With the primary provider of your home bedridden, your family is on the brink of starvation. Now more than ever, you wish you had been born with your family's connection to magic, especially as you know you have the ability to wield it. In desperation, your father tells you the legend of an old mage who could reconnect you to your magical birthright and teach you the ways of wizardry. He points to a distant location on a map where the mage should be, guarding his own magical wellspring. Determined to save your family, you set out on a treacherous and uncertain journey to find the mage and learn the ways of magic.
  9. It's a bright day. The village market bustles with merchants and traders selling all sorts of wares — fleeces, horses, cattle, corn, meats, and pies. You are on your way to fetch a sack of rare spice by order of your ill-tempered master when two masked men ambush you and steal the schillings your master gave you. Never one to back down from a fight, you chase the hooded figures throughout the market and eventually end up in a dark alley. When cornered, they reveal themselves to be members of the Oath Guard — a sword-wielding secret society from the other side of the world. They tell you that your father was their leader before he was slain by your master using dark magic, who then kidnapped you while you were an infant and made you into one of his many slaves. It took more than a decade for the Oath Guard to track you and your master down, but now that you have been found, it is time to exact revenge. "You were able to chase us down in the marketplace, so you do have raw potential, kid. The question is, do you want to help us?" Without hesitation, you say yes.
  10. Your grandfather always told you that you were special. He read to you a lot when you were little, and he made you read to him in turn. Within those big gold-bound books you encountered words in foreign languages and images from history you'd never seen before or heard about. Once you got old enough, he started teaching you to spar. They weren't your everyday karate lessons. He had you practice with long wooden rods tipped in a spear so small it was barely noticeable. Eventually you started working with dummy swords. Your grandfather stressed that these were important life skills you couldn't learn in a classroom. When your grandfather passed away, you noticed someone watching you with a disquieting intensity throughout the funeral. In your grief, you told yourself you must be imagining it and pushed the disturbing feelings aside. All you wanted was to go home and remember your grandfather, leafing through his books and practicing with his wooden rods and spears. But upon entering your home, you came face to face with the stranger from the funeral: spear in hand, horns protruding from his forehead, and eyes dead set on you.
  11. The new monarch promised peace and prosperity, which would be a welcome respite to the war of the past. Although other villages have prospered, the lowlands still suffer. The lowlands have never seen a royal envoy, and the uplanders have been known to take what they could, using their powerful magic to subjugate their southern brothers. Word passes on the wind that the monarch knows nothing of the lowlanders' plight, and their letters to the castle—letters that need to travel through the uplands—have gone unanswered. One brave messenger might be able to blend in and get through, bringing a personal plea to the castle, but the messenger would have to cross the uplands. Their northern neighbors would likely kill the messenger rather than risk splitting their wealth. The smart thing for you to do would be to stay and work the dying farm to keep your village alive for another few weeks, but no one ever accused you of being smart.
  12. You are an archer in the midst of war. Your commanding officer has repeatedly told you that you are easily replaceable, and with all of the casualties this war against the Troll King has caused, you have solemnly accepted this fate. You are prepared to live out the rest of your unremarkable days in the treetops, taking out enemies from afar when they launch attacks against you, ultimately dying as a soldier. Then one night something changes your mind. The foot soldiers have turned in, and you are at your post watching for movement in the brush. During your 6th hour on watch, you hear something rustle and a faint wailing noise to the west. Curious, you jump down from your post and approach with caution, bow drawn. What you are greeted with is hardly a threat. Instead, it is a young troll child, no more than a toddler, weeping softly. Around its neck is a small tag in trollish that you cannot even begin to understand. The child reaches for you, sniffling, and you hesitantly offer your hand. When you pick up the troll, it falls asleep in your arms, you wonder if the war is still worth fighting. You look down at the child and decide it is time to do something meaningful. You break rank, enter enemy territory holding your new friend, and search for the child's home.
  13. As an arcane healer living in the far reaches of the mountains, your life has been relatively peaceful. You and your family have been serving your village for generations and have cured ailments of all kinds, helping the villagers lead long, healthy lives. Your family's powers have been kept secret for the most part, keeping your village quiet and safe. So, when an unconscious stranger is found at the gates of your village, hushed suspicion arises. The elders of your village allow you to take him in and heal his life-threatening injuries. When he comes to, he is in a panic. He tells of massive rodent-like beasts infesting the valley below, destroying everything in their paths, and leaving sickness in their wake. Desperate, the stranger says he has searched out your village, one only spoken of in tales of old, to find someone who can help. You decide to do exactly that, despite the elders' wishes. Together you and the stranger travel to the lands beyond the gates of your village to fight the beasts and cure the sick before it is too late.
  14. The dark wizard's goblin army entered your village last night, moving house to house as they searched for a child of prophecy. An orphan yourself, you have no children of your own and hope his wretched underlings will pass by your door. After a loud crash, the family next door starts screaming. Their child wails, but is quickly hushed. The silence is deafening. Footsteps approach your hut, and a loud bang sounds on your door. You stare at the wooden frame, then look to the window beside you. The spark of a memory that knows who you really are screams at you to run. The door buckles as the goblins force their way in. You grab the small sword you've had since you were a child and do the unthinkable.
  15. When you were a baby, a great tsunami overtook your coastal village. The elders said it was punishment from the gods, but the townsfolk claimed they knew better. The sea, they said, was home to a monster beyond comprehension. They told stories of a beast who would come to snatch children in the dead of night, who wanted nothing more than to kill or maim, and who could walk on land and breathe underwater. You believed that these were just scary stories to get children to stay away from the ocean tides at night and to encourage them to be fearful of things that were different. As you grew up, you ignored these stories and started helping your adopted father with his fishing, eventually become a fisherman just like him. Meanwhile, the storms only got worse. Destruction, rebuilding, and more destruction became the norm for your coastal hometown, ultimately plunging your village into poverty. However, everything changes the night you are thrown off the boat during a tumultuous storm. You awake to find yourself surrounded by half-man, half-fish creatures within a village on the ocean floor. You panic, trying to swim away, only to look down and realize you have a fish tail too. The creatures grab hold of you and tell you that you are one of them. They beg you to listen to their story. Long ago, you were taken to the surface world and transformed into a human to protect you from your father, the old Sea King. Once a proud and courageous leader, the Sea King became a mindless monster when his wife died during childbirth. He wanted nothing more than to exact revenge against his newborn son, who — in the king's eyes — had killed his beloved. When the king realized that his own people had hidden his son on the surface world, he began laying waste to both the village above water and the village underwater. The king now resides in something they call the Rift, a crack in the ocean floor so deep that few return. Legend states that the only person who can end his reign of terror is you, the son of the king. With a team of warriors by your side, you must now seek out your true father in this unfamiliar terrain and defeat the monster that plagues both communities.
  16. You are a fairy-child whose magic has yet to bloom. You were born on the night of the orange moon, which means you are destined to live an ordinary life, so it doesn't matter to anyone in your village when your magic will reveal itself. However, you don't want to live an ordinary life devoid of magic. You want to be something special and do great things, despite the orange moon. One day, while you are exploring the woods, you stumble upon a knight tied to a tree. When you try to set him free, you notice a map has fallen from his sack. You pick it up before he can warn you not to touch it. "No! Now, you've done it!" "Done what?" you reply. He says that you are now charged with rescuing the last wizard of the age. The holder of that map must complete the quest. You try to give the map back to him, but he says it will not work. "The map chooses who the map chooses. For whatever reason, the map has chosen you." As a fairy-child, you don't want to be involved in the business of humans, but then the knight tells you that the wizard can awaken your dormant magical powers. Your eyes light up—you're in!
  17. Your mother has fallen ill, and you and your sister have been left to care for her. Day after day she burns with fever, and night after night her anguished cries fill the house. You notice that her body is slowly changing, with patches of skin giving way to glittering black scales. You urgently send for the sorceress who lives on the outskirts of your village. She tells you that the women of your family have been cursed for generations, doomed to transform into monstrous creatures by their 40th birthday. A cure for your mother's affliction does exist, although it is difficult to find. Terrified, you and your sister embark on a long and dangerous journey to save your mother's life — and your own.
  18. No one knows why or how, but a pestilence ooze has enveloped the beach near your village. The elders send hunters on horseback to set the advancing black ooze on fire, hoping the ocean will come and reclaim the ashes, but the ooze drags the screaming horses and men into the sea, leaving only one hunter to limp home to tell the tale. He warns that the hissing ooze is headed straight for the hills at the base of your village. It is only a matter of days before all will be lost. Only one person alive has ever witnessed such a thing in the past: your great grandmother. She tells a tale of how she was once a powerful sorceress who was able to protect your village from the ocean pestilence. Your parents claim her stories are exaggerations, but you believe her. Your great grandmother takes your hands, looks deep into your eyes, and tells you that you have inherited her power and can save the village if you try. You politely disagree as you help her to bed. However, that night you wake up in the dark, wishing for light. The bedside candle ignites on its own. Suddenly you feel that something inside you can help turn the tide against what is coming. You are just not sure how. After sharing this insight with your great grandmother, she teaches you a few basic spells over the next couple of days, but it might be too little too late. The pestilence has arrived in your town, and the hiss of the ooze sends villagers screaming. A tingle of energy dances across your fingertips. As the ooze breaches the hill, you hope that it will be enough.
  19. You are a traveling bard who plays the violin for coin all throughout the kingdom. You live a comfortable nomadic life, raking in piles of money for each performance. In your travels, you have met many people, most of whom you only meet once or twice, but there is one person in particular who you keep seeing over and over again: an old woman dressed in long blue robes with a hood over her white hair. You've seen her so often that you grow suspicious and decide to confront her. She tells you that she has been observing you and has decided that you are worthy of training. You are thoroughly confused, but before you can ask her what she means, she is gone. A few days later, a passerby drops an anonymous note in your violin case, asking you to meet at a local tavern. When you arrive, the old woman is waiting. She tells you that she is a professor at a well-regarded bard college in the northern territories and that you possess a power that very few have: the ability to magically influence others with your music. In fact, it's the most powerful she has seen in years. She then speaks of a dragon who lives in the ice caves of the north and must be lulled to sleep once every 500 years by enchanted music. She says you are the one destined to do it. Hesitant, you do not accept. But as the weeks continue and word spreads of devastation wrought by the dragon up north, you change your mind. You seek out the old woman's guidance and, joined by a small band of warriors and bards, set out on an expedition to quell the dragon's rage.
  20. Your village works together, with some villagers fishing, others tending crops, and still others watching the children while their parents work. Everyone lives in harmony—some might say bliss—far from the dark magic and horrors of the outside world. One day you return from a local trade of fish and corn to find the village in flames; houses have burned to the ground, and bodies are scattered about. You race to your home and find your brother barely alive. He tells you that hooded figures came at sunrise, looking for you. Your brother coughs before saying that you never belonged here and you need to get to the capital to learn your truth. As your brother breathes his last breath, a hooded figure moves from behind a house, a flaming torch held high. Another hooded figure joins him, then another. This was your village, your home. You can make your stand here or race for the capital. The hooded figures notice you, and your choice is made.

High Fantasy

High Fantasy
A good versus evil story which takes place within a world markedly different from our own reality.

Defined by an epic, magical secondary world that has its own set of rules and dramatically deviates from the mundane, these stories feature an honorable protagonist who must confront the forces of evil and save the world.

  1. Every hundred years, magical blossoms bloom in your land, bringing blessings from the great tree for the citizens of the Elven enclave. Each blossom grants good health and youth, thereby enabling your people to extend their lives and spread their knowledge to younger generations. But on the dawn of the fourth millennium of blessings, the magic seems weaker than ever before. Not as many blossoms appear as in previous years, and a worried murmur floats amongst the elders about the weakening of magic throughout the land. To make matters worse, the protection circle around your previously well-hidden kingdom has been broken by a human. Panic ensues when this person enters the capital and demands an audience with you, the ruler of the Elves. The guards quickly escort him to you, and the human introduces himself as a mage. He states that the magic within the human kingdoms has completely vanished over the course of the last century, and he is seeking refuge at the last known source of magic. But he is not alone; all who rely on magic from human kingdoms will soon be drawn to this land, just as he has been. "I'm sorry to hear of your plight, mage, but Elven lands are not a refuge. The magic here dwindles as well. It is only a matter of time before all magic is lost, just like in your lands." The mage responds quickly, saying, "Then we have no choice! We must form a group of Elven and human mages to find the source of this disturbance and put an end to it." After considering his offer, you agree and declare that you will lead this quest to reignite magic before it is snuffed out entirely.
  2. You are a part of a long and ancient line of immortal warriors. Five hundred years ago, you were blessed by the Goddess of Protection to defend the kingdom throughout your never-ending life. However, such gifts often become a curse. The gods, once approachable beings who could be called upon to aid in the affairs of mortals, became increasing ethereal as their powers increased until their influence over man receded completely and they abandoned our world to pursue more cosmic interests. The void left by their departure was eventually filled by a logic-driven cult that worshipped the natural order. Everyone from commoners to royalty abided by its tenants, the first of which was to reject the old gods and anything associated with them. Soon, citizens of the kingdom began hunting you and your companions throughout the land, trying to break the spell of immortality and end what they believed to be an affront to the natural order. What was once an esteemed role has now become an unending nightmare for you as you focus on one goal: survive against those you were created to protect. Living a nomadic lifestyle, you and your companions are constantly on the move. After one particularly brutal raid of your camp, you become separated from your companions. You wander the woods for days until you come across a dilapidated hut in the center of an oak grove. Inside, a frail, elderly woman sits in a rocking chair, promising you relief if you can complete one task: convince the old gods to return to our world.
  3. Deep underground, within a long-forgotten dwarven sanctuary, exists a mechanical contraption that coverts magic into life. Not long ago, the queen's royal guard stumbled upon this device during a scouting mission. Hearing of its potential, the queen imprisoned you, the court mage, and decreed that you shall be the fuel for her immortality. Trapped with this device, you spend your days spinning a wheel that can only be turned by magic. You long to see your family, but, alas, you accept that such a dream will never become a reality. One afternoon, you spot a plume of black smoke coming from the contraption. Strange…. Before you can react further, a screech rips through the abandoned stronghold, and the cogs grind to a halt. You bound to your feet and run to the door, which you know is guarded. To your surprise, the guards have disappeared. You gasp. After nine years, you're free! You hear screams and chaos below. Then it dawns on you: Perhaps the contraption inadvertently reanimated the long-dead dwarves who were laid to rest centuries ago within the catacombs below. It could explain why the device was overloaded as there was more than one individual feeding off the life force you were generating. The guards must have fled from whatever had been reanimated. You may have unwittingly unleashed a great evil upon the land—an evil that the immortal queen is powerless to defend against, a blight that cannot be undone. You have no time to think. This is your chance to escape.
  4. The light left a long time ago, plunging the world into darkness for decades. Nobody has seen a flicker of flame or a hint of any shining brightness. Except for you. You see it in the sky as a momentary flash of yellow-white brightness that streaks across the darkness. You don't even fully understand what it is as you've only ever heard about light in stories from the elders, who barely remember the feel of its warmth on their skin. But now you see a momentary respite from the black pit of nothingness that you've always known and you're starting to feel it, like a flame beneath your skin, traveling through your veins and pumping heated electricity into your heart. You don't know why you're the only one who can see the light, but you feel the call to illuminate the world around you. Only you can see. Only you can illuminate.
  5. For nearly a decade, your kingdom has been waging war with a neighboring empire over the Arcane Arch, a massive magical amplifier stretching across two islands within the Jade Sea. Some speculate that elves built this structure before they were wiped off the face of the world in a desperate battle to save themselves from annihilation. Others speculate that this was once part of a powerful weapon wielded by an elder god that was shattered when the new gods attacked the Celestial Temple and overthrew heaven. Whatever the arch's history, its power to control the flow of magic has been sought after for generations, with nations prepared to do anything to claim it as part of their territory. Unfortunately, the latest war for the arch has had a significant toll for both sides. With a tenuous ceasefire finally agreed upon, peace talks are underway at a neutral location: a ship anchored directly under the Arcane Arch. As the chief negotiator, you are becoming increasingly suspicious of your counterpart's intentions. There has been little progress so far, and you believe the enemy is stalling for time in order to rebuild their forces for a surprise attack. Your fears are confirmed when one morning you arise early and see an armada approaching from the horizon. You are about to alert your staff when you realize the flags at the top of the armada's masts are not those of the enemy nation. They are from a people not seen in more than three thousand years: the Elven Imperium.
  6. The eight kingdoms of the world are ruled by a select few families who can wield powerful magic that no one else can possess. These powers allow the royal families to dominate their subjects and control their respective kingdoms with an iron fist. Royal magical ability is passed down from generation to generation, although the gift comes in many different forms and is not revealed until the age of 20. You are the servant and close confidante to the princess of one of these kingdoms, and soon your friend's power will be revealed. Though many of her relatives have used their powers for subjection and warfare, you are confident that your friend will protect the innocent with whatever powers she obtains. After the Ritual of Bestowment on the princess's 20th birthday, it is announced that she has been blessed with a magic that the world has never seen before: the ability to teach the non-magical how to wield magic. Soon she starts teaching you how to levitate objects, teleport across the castle, and read other people's minds. However, the royal families inside and outside of the kingdom want to put an end to these teachings as they are frightened of losing their advantage over the peasantry. You and your friend decide to escape the castle and flee the kingdom in the hopes of one day opening an academy that will bring magic to the masses, fundamentally changing the power structure of your world.
  7. Everyone is born with a destiny in the four realms of water, earth, air, and sky. Your mother was the Earth queen's highest general. You are expected to follow in her footsteps, but instead you yearn to join the healers. You feel this inclination is unnatural as no one in your world has ever questioned their destiny. Healers are born and brought up by their masters and mistresses, then begin their posts in the four realms without question. A healer with warrior blood will never be trusted, yet your gift grows everyday—from bringing wilting flowers back to life to curing your sister's deadly fever with a simple touch. You and your family keep your gift a secret, but when the air realm above you is attacked by fire gods and ash rains down from the sky, the two healers from your village are called away to save the high-born at court. However, your people need help too, so you reveal yourself and go to their aid. You grow stronger with each person you save. When it's all over, you are called before the Council of the Realms. They thank you, then promptly throw you in jail. There, in the darkness of the council's pit room, you meet a man who is bound in chains, just as you are. He calls himself a prince of the sky. He believes that destiny is all a lie, but what does that matter now? You two are trapped for all eternity, right? The sky prince has a plan. If you help him escape, he'll take you to the fifth realm—beneath the eye of all realms—where destiny, which is controlled by the great core stone, can be turned off. Though afraid, you are fired up with conviction, but first you must find a way out.
  8. Not many humans enter the realm of the animal men and return to tell the tale. The beasts that rule this land were, at one time, just ordinary animals, but they somehow gained knowledge once reserved exclusively for humans and are now able to walk on two feet and speak to one another as humans do. The animal men emerged fairly recently, with their society being just a handful of years old, but their numbers are growing as more and more animals are flocking to live within the newly built castle walls surrounding the realm. One day the family mule could be plowing the fields, and the next it's speaking in full sentences and heading off to start its new life. Beasts of burden and hunted wildlife are becoming rarer by the minute, resulting in famine throughout the human kingdoms. With little to no communication between the humans and animal men, political tensions are rising — so much so that human kings are ready to wage war to ensure that the world returns to what it once was. One day your family dog speaks to you, telling you that this war will bring devastation to both sides. He asks you to accompany him to the animal realm to warn them about what's to come.
  9. In the past, your village thrived as a hub of commerce in the region. Tradespeople from across the Grand Continent stopped at your village and stayed at your inn, known as the perfect place to rest at the midpoint of their journeys. However, a few months ago the long-forgotten dragons woke from their millennia of sleep, and now your village is in ruin. Travelers cower in the woods, afraid to wander out into the open, as traders have been plucked from their horses to disappear into the sky. Warriors and sorcerers have attempted to slay the flying beasts, but most are never heard from again. There is a rumor that a great and ancient evil from the west awakened these dragons although to what end, no one knows. You now scrape out a meager existence, living off your small garden and well-placed rabbit snares, until your traps catch the unimaginable: a small dragon pup. You should kill it to rid the world of this insidious monster, but the creature frees itself and makes you an unexpected offer.
  10. The king and queen are preparing to make their journey to the elven border for their annual renewal of the Crowcross Peace Treaty. You have been chosen to escort them as their wagoner, as your family has been doing so for many generations. The trip goes smoothly at first, but you sense something is off when, from the corner of your eye, you notice a black cat staring intently at your group. You turn to take a closer look, but the cat quickly darts away. A couple of miles later, you see the same black cat peering from around a bush, and you wonder if the animal is a witch's familiar, which would suggest that a witch has taken a keen interest in the caravan. For what reason is anyone's guess. You tell the royal guards about your suspicions, but they laugh it off as nonsense. A witch has not been seen in these parts in the more than a hundred and fifty years since the abolishment of black magic. The next day, you start the most treacherous part of the journey through the woods surrounding the far reaches of the kingdom, a stretch of land where waypoints are few. On one particularly rainy night, the roads become too muddy for the horses to travel, and you elect to set up camp in a clearing off of the path. The night passes with ease, but when you and the guards awake the next morning, you find the royal tent in shambles and the king and queen missing. Everyone knows that their absence at the peace treaty renewal will be seen as an act of war, and it is up to you and the guards to find them before it is too late.
  11. Almost three decades of drought transformed the Elven Empire from a once mighty and feared power into a shell of its former self. The source of the drought was thought to be a curse — a blight upon their land that turned their soil into dust. Eventually, the Kingdom of Men took advantage of their neighbors' weakened state and invaded the elven lands, ransacking what was left of their villages and overthrowing the empire. Witnessing the drought firsthand, the humans wanted to prevent the curse from spreading into their territory, so they built a massive wall around the fallen Elven Empire, forbidding anyone from entering. Nobody knows what lurks beyond the wall these days. The remaining elves were forced into servitude and ordered to take care of the very people who stole what was once theirs. Your family is among them. What little magic you once had has dwindled over time, diminished from being away from your homeland and shackled in tight chains. Your only reprieve from your suffering is when you care for the princess. She is sweet and affectionate, and she has taken a special liking to you. Over time, you develop feelings for her that are reciprocated, and you begin to believe that she may help your people when she eventually becomes queen. However, your hopes are shattered when the king finds you in bed with the princess, and the princess accuses you of assault. Instead of killing you, the king gives you a worse fate: You are exiled to the land beyond the walls within the blighted elven territory. You travel the barren wasteland for what feels like days, although in reality it has only been a couple hours. You sit on a tree stump to rest, only for the stump to start shining and shaking. Light beams travel through the roots of the ground like glowing veins, and the ground begins to quake. You hear whispers and, figures suddenly emerge from behind dead trees and bushes, surrounding you and trapping you on the stump. Horrified, you brace yourself for the worst. Instead of the cold tip of a sword, you feel a gentle hand on your shoulder. Looking up, you see an old man with pointed ears. The elf speaks. "Welcome, young one, to the revolution. This was our home, and we are going to take back what is rightfully ours."
  12. You are part of an elven tribe that lives underground, in a place many refer to as the Underwood. For years, the sacred pools deep within these caverns have yielded a bountiful mushroom harvest that provides for all. As of late, there has been a hushed whisper from the surface traders in your tribe, rumors of a curse that has been draining the surface world's soil of its fertility. Believing their distance from the surface will protect their crops, your community goes about its daily business. But when the first crops of the season begin to shrivel and die in farming plots across the Underwood, your people realize they too are in danger of not only starvation, but the fading of the magic within the sacred pools. You and three others are chosen to go on a scouting mission to the surface and to travel to the far reaches of the realm, where this sickness reportedly began. There you will find a soothsayer, one who was exiled from the Underwood long ago after prophesizing a future much like the reality you are now living.
  13. According to legend, the world was created by three ancient dragons, each representing a different element of reality. The World Dragon carved the terrain with his claws, the Water Dragon flooded the craters her brother had created, and the Air Dragon created the winds. Life sprouted in the lands crafted by the dragons, and soon the world was teeming with creatures of every shape and size. However, the Water Dragon became furious with her younger brothers for letting life flourish within their domain. She hatched a plot against all who lived, including her brothers, to flood the world with poisonous water so that she could live in solitude. Her brothers heard of her plan and cast a spell that rendered all three of them dormant so that the beings who resided on the lands they had made could thrive. The world and life upon it continued unabated, and soon the settlements of mankind began to take root. Prophecy states that there will come a time when the Water Dragon will awaken from her slumber and attempt to flood the world once more. At that time, a champion of immense power will fight the Water Dragon and defeat her once and for all. But none have been born with any such ability to do so — that is, of course, until you come along. Your powers emerge when you reach adulthood, and when it is discovered that the Water Dragon's dormancy is coming to an end, you must fulfill the prophecy.
  14. Your twin brother was born five minutes before you, making him next in line for the throne. Knowing this has always filled you with jealousy, and the attention he receives makes your blood boil. But you love him and would never do anything to hurt him. Unfortunately, the night before his coronation, you and your twin get into a fight that leaves you seething in your chambers. When one of the chambermaids offers you a chance to get back at him, promising it will be a fun jest that will leave him unharmed, you agree without thinking too much about it. Little do you know that letting your brotherly spite get the best of you means you have just made a deal with a goddess of darkness. The next morning, you awake to find that your brother has gone missing in the hours before his coronation. In a panic fueled by guilt, you follow the trail of destruction that whoever took him made until you find yourself at the edge of the dark forest. The trail leads to a hole in the base of a tree, and you catch the last glimpse of your unconscious brother as he is dragged into it. You scrambled into the hole as well, only to find yourself falling. After what seems like forever, you make a gentle landing in an unfamiliar land — one that is bleak and cold. You continue searching until reaching a glowing river, across which you can see your brother being dragged ashore by the dark goddess. In that instant, you realize that you have entered the underworld. It is up to you to save your brother and escape before you're both trapped there forever.
  15. For a millennium, elves have ruled the land and have subjected humans to a life of poverty and serfdom. Human rebellions, although common, have all been quashed by their elven masters, who wield powerful magic that no mortal man can withstand. The High Elves from the Hollow Mountains include landowners, merchants, and nobility, who are as cunning as they are ruthless. The Woodland Elves from the Ebony Forest are agile warriors who can bend nature to their will. The Snow Elves seek answers from deep within themselves and are considered the most the spiritual and enlightened of all elves. On the opposite end of the spectrum are the Dark Elves, a nihilistic and sadistic people who act as the criminal underbelly of the empire. Together they are an unstoppable foe. However, before they united against the common enemy of mankind, elves plotted and fought amongst each other. You are a human and a master of elven disguise who believes that the only way to liberate humanity is to replant those seeds of mistrust among the elven clans.
  16. As Princess of the Elven Glen, you were born with the ability to cure the flora and fauna of sickness. This gift was less of something learned and more of an intuition. With more training, your power grows to the point where you are able to communicate with the plants brought to you. One gloomy day, an old woman in a hooded cloak begs at the castle gate to see you, insisting that the plant life she brings is in dire need of assistance. When she enters, she is tearful, cradling the plant close to her. It seems to be a single flower in a small pot. Before you can touch it, you hear a voice from within it that warns you not to trust the woman before you as she wishes to add you to her collection. Confused, you silently ask what the warning means, but before the plant can answer, the old crone raises her hand with a grin, and you watch as your entire court slowly stiffens and turns to stone.
  17. The raging forest fires destroyed everything in their path in the Hollows. All of the wildlife died with the trees. Now the water is filled with soot, and the smell of burning permeates the air. The only safe area is to the west in the Shadowlands, where the trees stand tall and strong and rushing rivers run through the city. But the Shadowlands were overtaken by the Fae and other powerful creatures escaping from the raging fires. Using their magic, they forced the humans to live in what was left of the Hollows. As a human, you are sick of watching your mother wither away under the blazing sun, starved and dehydrated. Every family is the same, yet there is no reprieve. If you are lucky enough to find food or water, you have to fight off hordes of neighbors who will beat, scratch, and sometimes even kill others to get their hands on the resources. You have seen too many brawls between scrawny kids and adults for just a handful of berries. When an adult breaks your brother's arm during a brutal fight for a cupful of bitter water, you've had enough. You set out on a months-long journey to infiltrate the Shadowlands and steal enough to save your family from death. What you don't expect is to find a distraught and dirty fae girl running from the Shadowlands, declaring that her once resource-rich homeland is now failing and the creatures that reside there are becoming increasingly savage and barbaric. Warriors from the Shadowlands have organized under the banner of a ruthless Unseelie Fae and are now planning a march on the Hollows in a desperate attempt to scour for resources. This fae girl becomes your friend as you rush back to the Hollows to warn the people of what is coming, all while wondering how any of you stand a chance against an army of powerful beings.
  18. The sun burns red on the horizon as the moon fades to gray. An elven horseman appears on the hill, staring down at your farm, just as he does every morning. His presence is comforting in a way, soothing to know that the new protectorate from the elven nation of Highguard has taken such a keen interest in the affairs of the average man. The war has left many scars upon you and your brethren, but despite losing to the elven invaders, you feel that the new sovereign is ultimately better than the corrupt and cruel human kingdom that once ruled this land with an iron fist. Your former brothers in arms disagree, saying that the ruler of Highguard is anything but benevolent. There have been rumors swirling that he was once an evil demigod, cast down from the high heavens and forced to live amongst mortals. With his immense power and vast elven army, he now subjugates the world to his will, one kingdom at a time. You see no evidence of evil, just the normal ebb and flow of history and, as long as you lay low, no one will bother you or your small farm. But the next dawn, the sound of crashing swords wakes you. You race to the window, and the rider isn't there. Instead, three new elven figures on horseback breach the horizon, charging toward your farm with swords drawn.
  19. Growing up, you heard the stories of how you became an adopted member of the royal family. It all started years ago, when the queen's inability to conceive plunged the kingdom into political chaos. Without a definitive heir, the king's brothers began vying to be next in line for the throne. The king realized that it would just be a matter of time before this infighting turned into outright warfare, so he pleaded with the gods for a solution – any solution – that would prevent the kingdom from descending into anarchy. The next day, the king's prayers were answered when the high priest entered the royal court carrying you in his arms. You were just a few days old, but the priest declared that you were a descendant of celestial beings who was destined to be adopted by the king and queen, and eventually to inherit the kingdom as prophesized by the ancients. Relieved, the king and queen accepted this gift from the gods and raised you as their own, much to the dismay of the king's brothers. Now that you have turned 16 years old, your celestial powers are beginning to take shape. Your father ensures that you have access to the best mystical teachers in the land to help you hone your powers. However, things suddenly change when the queen announces she is with child. Soon you are cast aside in favor of your new sibling. When the king and queen ignore the prophecy and publicly declare the newborn to be the true heir to the kingdom, you resent this child and spend your days brooding over your parents' betrayal. However, this all changes the day when the army of one of the king's brothers storms the castle. During the siege, your family is turned to stone, cursing all but you, who is immune to such spells due to your celestial blood. You barely escape, but now you must find a way to rescue your family and save the kingdom.
  20. When you were born, a goblin heard your wails pierce the quiet of your rural elven village and snuck into town under the cover of night. Uninvited, he entered your home and saw you swaddled in a ratty blanket, cuddled in a cradle padded with straw from the hay barrels of your parents' farm. As your parents tell the story, they heard you let out an ear-piercing screech that sounded animalistic. They rushed to your crib to find the goblin standing over you, tracing a path down your arm with a long, gnarled finger. The goblin looked to your parents and said, "She will be the beginning. She will bring forth greatness like none ever seen before. But she will also be the end, the devastating destruction. That is final." As your parents stepped forward to save you from the goblin, he disappeared in a wispy fog, leaving your parents with an unknown prophecy of your future and you with a permanent black line along your forearm.

Historical

Historical
This somewhat realistic narrative is set within an actual point in human history.

Whether set in prehistoric times, the ancient Celtic era, the Dark Ages, or the Industrial Revolution, these stories tell a magical tale that took place prior to the late 20th century. Magical and supernatural elements are hidden from the ordinary world so as to not disrupt the timeline as we know it.

  1. As a sexton living in Florence during the Renaissance, you have always been fascinated by art, especially the murals found at your workplace in the Brancacci Chapel. One day while working, you notice an extra figure in one of the murals. When you see the mural the next day, the figure has moved closer. You see it again in the evening and, to your surprise, the figure is even closer. The man looks like he is running for his life. Certain that the others would call you crazy, you keep quiet. But the next morning you see the torso of a man emerging from the wall, struggling to break free. He begs you for help, his body half stuck in the painting. When you pull him from the wall entirely, he dusts himself off and runs away. You are about to pursue him when you see something from the corner of your eye: A large group of people have suddenly appeared in the mural. You turn around and stare at the new figures. They seem to be chasing the man and are increasing in size ever so slowly.
  2. You open your eyes when you hear the snap of a twig in the dead of night. Someone is approaching your encampment. Before you left Greenland, your brother Leif Erikson warned you of the people who resided within these unexplored lands. Of course, you ignored his warnings, seeking the wealth of timber, furs, and grapes that the newly named Vinland had to offer. You scramble to your feet, light your torch, grab your sword, and begin searching the area. After a few moments of looking around, you see the trespassers on the outskirts of the encampment: three men with black hair and dark eyes, dressed in strange clothing. You place your sword on the ground and call out to them, waking the other men in your party in the process. You beckon them to approach, and the three men slowly oblige. Eventually, they sit across from you and your rekindled campfire. They are not hostile, but rather curious about you, just as you are curious about them. You try communicating by drawing on the dirt with a stick. First you draw a map of your current location, pointing to surrounding landmarks visible from the encampment and then pointing to the crude drawing on the ground. The strangers understand and soon add to the map with their own knowledge. They draw a pond to the south, a forest to the west, and a swamp to the north. "A forest," you exclaim. Wild grapes are known to grow in the woods within these lands, their vines winding themselves around the trees. You quickly grab a grape from one of the nearby barrels and place it on the map where the strangers have drawn the trees. You point at it, looking for some sort of confirmation. However, the three men look displeased, and one of them draws a large "X" over the forest location. He then proceeds to draw something next to forest. It looks like a cave, followed by a lizard-like monster surrounded by fire. You take a closer look and see it for what it is: a drawing of a dragon.
  3. The Black Death creeps deeper into the English countryside each day. The men in the village build a barricade across the road to keep travelers out, but you know that won't stop what's coming. It's not a disease—well, not in the traditional sense. Someone sent this plague south, and the northern warlocks are following behind, wiping out any resistance as they roll through the country to take it all as their own. What they really want, though, is The Book, which is your family legacy. You'd be burned at the stake if your fellow villagers knew you had it. However, you knew this day would come. You open The Book and recite the spells as you prepare to do battle in secret, hoping to save a village that would kill you for what you are.
  4. As a farmhand working on the duke's family estate in 1905, you have heard a fair amount of gossip about the wealthy family you work for, including whispers of financial trouble and the marrying off of the duke's eldest daughter. But the most intriguing bits of gossip come from the maids who work in the house itself. You only occasionally catch the maids on the back porch, shaking out a rug or tossing potato peels to the pigs in their pens, but each time you do, you hear something shocking. This time a maid tells you that the youngest daughter is afflicted by some sort of curse that has confined her to her bedroom as of late. You do not know the duke's daughter personally and have only spoken to her in passing, but this thought does not leave your mind. One night while closing up the barn, you see the duke's daughter, long haired and nightgown clad, flee across the field. With a sinking feeling in your stomach, you follow after her, fearing for her life. When you reach the edge of the woods, you call out to her. But when she emerges from the darkness, her eyes aglow, you realize that you may be the one in danger.
  5. With the book Malleus Maleficarum spreading like wildfire throughout Europe, describing in detail how to identify and hunt down witches, you know that your time is limited. In an effort to escape, you board a ship with an upstart Italian captain who claims that the world is round. Ridiculous, of course, but with the witch hunters already searching your town, you know it is only a matter of time before you are discovered. If you are lucky, you might be able to use your powers to dissuade these self-proclaimed explorers from sailing off the edge of the world. You board the Santa Maria, the third of three ships, and hide. Most onlookers laugh as the trio of ships push away from the dock to head toward the open seas. Others cry, knowing in their hearts they will never see their beloved sailors again. You hope for a new life, perhaps in India if the ships makes it that far. If you sail off the edge of the world, at least you won't be burned alive at the stake. You take a deep breath, whisper a spell, and call up a strong breeze to sail you away from Europe once and for all.
  6. You are an artist living in the 13th century who has been summoned by Llywelyn the Last, the newly anointed Prince of Wales. When you arrive at his castle, you find a group of 8 other draftsmen, some of which you know by reputation. Llywelyn explains that there have been sightings of strange creatures across the land, and he wishes for them to be documented for further study. You are not experienced in drawing wildlife and would rather return to your work on the Lambeth Apocalypse manuscript, but you have no choice but to obey the commands of your liege and join the expedition. You are sent on horseback to the last known sighting, accompanied by some of the royal guards. What you find is stranger than what you could ever imagine. Multiple-legged animals with humanesque faces. Wings on creatures never meant to fly. Some draftsmen are so sickened by the vision that they abandon the expedition altogether, believing it to be the work of Satan. The remaining party investigates further and eventually uncovers a group of sorcerers merging animals and people together in ungodly ways. No one knows for what purpose, but you are determined to find out.
  7. You are a small child who watches from afar as your family is slaughtered by a vicious kabukimono gang. You flee into the woods, jumping over branches and rocks, to find a place to hide. Eventually, you crawl into a space under a log and quietly wait. After several moments, you hear a rustle nearby. You are preparing to crawl out and run when a fox jumps out of a bush and approaches you in a curious manner. She licks your face and nestles up against you. You are petting the friendly creature when a ronin from the gang finds you and draws his weapon. The fox whips around, jumps on the ronin, and bites his throat. The ronin collapses on the ground, clutching his neck as he bleeds out and dies. Once the ronin is no longer a threat, the fox prances back to you and jumps over your head. You get up and look over the log to see that the fox has transformed into a young woman. She reveals that she is a kitsune and vows to exact revenge against those who murdered your family.
  8. You are a bartender in a speakeasy in the 1920s, hidden within the basement of the city library. There have been hushed reports of police raids among bar goers, but you and your patrons know for certain that your establishment is safe from law enforcement. The door has been camouflaged with magic and is only visible to the eyes of magical beings such as elves, goblins, and trolls. Although these magical beings conceal their true identity from others, you can always tell who they are just by their mannerisms and demeanor. It is something that you have picked up on over time. One day, while you're prepping for the evening shift, a young librarian completely unattuned to magic opens the door. You ask how she opened it, being just a normal everyday human, to which she replies that she'd been following you and saw the glowing sigil. Your boss has told you that humans who discover the space must be disposed of, but you can't bring yourself to do it. Instead, you indulge her questions and pour a splash of potion into her drink to erase her memory of the conversation. The potion works, but she returns daily, following you time and time again as if it was the first time. At the end of every conversation, you erase her memory and send her on her way. Over the course of a couple of months you get to know her and realize that she is a rare type of human: one who can see magic in the world and, could—if trained—wield it.
  9. The English have claimed sovereignty over a land that is not theirs, and your people have been held captive for far too long. Rally cries echo across the Highlands as your fellow Scots long for the freedom they know is rightfully theirs. Whispers carry on the wind that the daughter of your once-king could save you. She's the last Scottish royal, hidden away in a nunnery. The problem is, the English know she is there, too, and the nunnery walls will not be enough to save her if the English queen's soldiers decide to end the line of Scottish nobility. You're not sure what a young girl can do against the might of the English throne, but as the whispers grow more fierce, the will o' the wisps converge, lighting up the night in a trail leading toward the nunnery. You know the Highlands are calling you to act. You are only a farmer, like your father before you and his father before him, but there has always been something different about you—something you've managed to keep hidden until now. Your English vassal lord does not take kindly to his farmers not attending their crops, but when the night beacons become too bright to sleep and the whispers turn into shouts in your mind, you slip away while your family is asleep. Mary, Queen of Scotts is only a girl, but if there is a possibility she can still save her people, you will see it done—if they don't catch you and burn you at the stake first.
  10. On the morning of October 29th, 1929, you stand before your bathroom mirror and straighten your tie. You haven't felt this good in a long time. The stock market has finally finished its correction. After weeks of sell-offs and dire predictions, investment companies and bankers stepped in and were able to stabilize the market. There was another sell-off yesterday, but you are confident that the worst is behind you. Leaving your home, you travel to your office on Wall Street, where you work as one of the most successful brokers in the country. Yet as soon as you step foot into the building, you sense that something is wrong. After the opening bell, you are shocked to see the ticker telling a story of an unmitigated disaster. Everything is plummeting. There is a massive sell-off the likes of which you have never seen before. Minutes turn into hours, and soon your fortune is no more. There is no hope. You are done for. Without even thinking, you walk to the window and slide it open. Your legs tremble as you swing them over the ledge and carefully stand up. You raise your head to the sky and close your eyes as you jump… but nothing happens. You look down and find you're flying.
  11. You are the only daughter of a famous composer in 1790. Your father is often away from home, travelling with his orchestra across Europe, leaving you to take care of your mother and the estate. This year, your mother has been unable to perform herself, as her once angelic operatic voice can no longer carry a note without leaving her in significant pain, bringing her great distress. You have taken it upon yourself to cheer her up, playing your violin for her on nights when she is feeling particularly sad. But lately you find yourself making silly mistakes in your playing and, as the weeks pass, you realize you are forgetting how to play entirely. Tearfully, your mother explains to you that your father's success is not what it seems. Years ago he called upon a demon named Beleth, who offered him fame in exchange for the musical ability of others. Through an ancient pagan ritual, your father sacrifices the talents of the people he knows, leaving these musicians unable to do what they've practiced for a lifetime. Your mother's voice was last year's offering, and it seems that this year your talents are on the table. Enraged by your father's assumed ownership over you and your mother, you decide to seek out the demon who struck the deal in the first place.
  12. In January 1848, gold was accidentally found at a sawmill construction site at Coloma, ushering in the California Gold Rush. Those who first discovered the gold attempted to negotiate a treaty with the local tribe, the Nisenan Maidu, who owned the territory. The negotiations went well until the medicine man of the tribe recommended that the chief decline the offer. Stories passed down through the generations told of an ancient demon who would devour any and all who laid claim to the gold within these lands. From the medicine man's perspective, some things were better left alone. Eventually, the American military government decided that the Nisenan Maidu did not have any rights of ownership to the territory and could not negotiate a treaty. Floods of gold-seeking prospectors poured into the territory soon thereafter. Despite the medicine man's warnings that the gold was cursed, the prospectors took as much as they could find. You are one of the lucky few to have struck it, which has enabled you to live handsomely. You have a large house on the coast and have even staffed your house with a few servants, who are paid more than anyone in the county, as you often brag. But as the gold craze continues, cases of madness are reported. Prospectors have become aggressive, almost animalistic, with their greed overtaking them in the worst way. This is initially thought to be an unfortunate side effect of human nature, but this sickness is different. It seems to spread to everyone it touches, creating in them an insatiable need for gold that drives them to kill for it. You read in the paper that, in the final stages of the sickness, some victims have become delirious, their eyes glazing over, their only coherent thoughts being about the very gold that cursed them. The ongoing violence makes it unsafe to go outside. You have taken all the precautions you can, but your family begins showing symptoms. You decide to seek out the medicine man to see if you can put an end to it.
  13. There's only 7,000 miles left of your planned 29,000-mile flight to become the first woman to fly around the world. You're nervous as you climb back into the cockpit of your twin engine Lockheed Electra after a brief hiatus. The clouds have gathered, and it's starting to rain. However, you fear if you prolong the departure, you won't make the record, especially as your navigator began acting strangely during the last leg, talking to himself behind you. Still, you're determined to succeed. You seal the cockpit, confirm that your navigator is ready, and start the engines. The navigator sounds excited — a little too excited, which only sets your nerves further on edge. You speed along the runway, going faster and faster until you launch into the sky, your eyes on the darkening clouds before you. As you enter them, your navigator begins laughing, and you ask him what's so funny. He only laughs harder. The clouds move strangely around you, as though they have a life of their own. Suddenly you realize his laughter has become a chant of sorts as the dark clouds ebb and flow like waves around the plane. The navigation panel goes haywire. You have no idea if you're flying up or down, north or south. Brightly colored lightning lights up the sky around you, and you try to maintain control of the plane as alarms sound. The navigator is still chanting spells behind you, and you yell out for him to stop. Instead, his voice grows louder as the clouds spiral ahead of you like a horizontal tornado that's growing wider and wider. You are losing control of the plane as it's pulled forward, and you realize you won't be making any records. In fact, you wonder if you will ever see land again.
  14. Since you were children, your best friend Anne has had dreams of becoming more powerful than her father and uncle, and you knew that, as she rose, she would take you with her. Together, you would be unstoppable. Anne had the beauty, intelligence, and charisma while you had the magic of your ancestors, tracing back to Jacquetta of Luxembourg. Your magic worked best with the elements, such as when you were standing in the water of the creek or beneath the trees on a windy day or with your feet buried deep into the freshly turned earth. You love Anne like a sister and are more than happy to cast your spells when she needs them. However, with each spell you cast, you lose a little of yourself, growing weaker over the years. When you successfully place Anne under the eye of King Henry VIII, you think you've finally succeeded in achieving both of your goals, as your best friend showers you with gifts and comfort like you have never imagined. But then the use of your magic takes its toll as Anne's demands grow larger. It's no longer enough for her to have the king's undivided attention. Now she wants to be queen, despite the fact that Catherine of Aragon is already the queen. For seven years you draw upon every ounce of magic you can muster as you fight against the will of the church and the will of the queen to bring about your best friend's dreams. Finally, Anne becomes queen, and you think that you can enjoy your days at her side in the palace. You're now weaker than ever, and fear that you have significantly shortened your life, yet you have no regrets. Anne's happiness is your own. Then the unthinkable happens: Anne's first-born child is not the boy she promised the king, but a girl, setting off a series of desperate pleas from the new queen to save her crown and the attentions of her husband. As much as you love her and want to help her, you fear that you don't have enough magic left within you to bring about the son Anne needs to keep her crown — and her head on her shoulders.
  15. You're certain the 1900s will bring about change and you want to be a part of it. With the magic powers you possess, you're certain you will. But first you need to make your way to St. Petersburg. If you have any chance of making the most of your powers, you need to make friends within high society, and who's higher than the tsar and tsarina of Russia? Making your pilgrimage across the snow-covered lands, you build yourself a reputation by using your magic to heal the sick. By the time you reach your final destination, your reputation has proceeded you. When the heir to the Russian throne becomes sick, the tsar and tsarina are most eager to meet you. You do your best to heal the boy and his hemophilia, but the best you can do is provide him with bouts of wellness. Your popularity allows your powers to grow until you are able to control the minds of those around you. Knowing no harm can come to you, you play the royal court like a puppet-master, oblivious to the rumors swirling amongst the disgruntled peasants. Although you hide your powers beneath the veil of religion, many see you for what you are and believe you to be evil. You try to extend your magic as far and wide as you can to control the rumors, but the growing revolution is more than you can handle.
  16. You are a farmer living in Ireland at the beginning of the Great Famine. Within two weeks, your crops have been destroyed by blight, leaving your family without food or any means of income — that is, until a stranger rolls into town on his caravan. He comes selling bottles of a strange liquid, one that he claims will bring the town bountiful potato yields. Desperate for just about anything, your neighbors shell out their last few coins to this man, who you believe is a con artist. You change your mind when you awake the next day to find all the neighboring potato plants brought back to life. Of course, it is too good to be true. Over the next few days, the potato plants grow to astronomical sizes — to the point where they're destroying entire farms and houses. For each potato harvested, several appear in their place. It is now up to you to find the man who cursed your hometown before it is destroyed.
  17. The rain only gets heavier as you drive your 1935 Chrysler Airstream along Route 66 across New Mexico. It's the dead of night, and your headlights barely pierce the thick darkness of the moonless sky. You push the pedal down further to pick up speed. There's no one else around — or so you think. Suddenly the radio starts to crackle and buzz, and you look down, twisting the knobs as you try to pick the station back up. The car hits something, and you slam on the brakes. Your tires screech as the car spins sideways before you manage to regain control and come to a full stop. Reaching forward to turn the ignition off, you see what looks like a body in the road, lying just at the edge of the headlights' reach. "No, it can't be. I would have seen him," you say to yourself as you push open the door and get out of the car. You run toward the body and kneel before it, feeling for a pulse that isn't there. Getting back to your feet, you tell yourself no one would know, that you could get back in the car and drive off, but then you turn around to see the badly dented fender. There's only small towns ahead, but it's still not likely you could get by unnoticed. Suddenly you see someone sitting in the passenger side of the car. You run over, yelling at him to get out. It's a man wearing a fedora, and he looks at you without blinking until you stop yelling. You ask him what's he doing, and he offers you a deal. He tells you he can turn back time half an hour, undoing the murder. You readily agree before he holds his hands up to silence you. There's a price, he tells you, a debt that you would have to pay. "I don't care. Just make this go away!" The stranger smiles and snaps his fingers.
  18. After the French Revolution, your noble family went into hiding before barely escaping France and relocating to the south of England. There, you and your family set up shop as local merchants while still keeping most of the family's fortune hidden away. When word spread of King Louis XVI's oldest brother establishing a court in Germany, all of the men in your family decide to join the cause against the French revolutionists to reclaim their titles while you and the other women remain in England to mind the store. Before leaving, your father tells you that the family fortune is hidden deep within the Paris sewers. He hands you a compass imbued with a mystical energy that will help you find your way to the treasure. He says he will help you locate the family fortune once the revolutionists are defeated, but that is not meant to be. The new army established in Germany is soundly defeated while aiding a French revolt. Those family members who survived the battle are summarily executed, leaving your family in ruins. Years pass, and Napoleon Bonaparte grants amnesty to the surviving French aristocrats. You and what is left of your family go back home. Almost penniless, you decide it is time to find your family's fortune. With the compass in one hand and a torch in the other, you enter the Paris sewers.
  19. Your mother was a mermaid — or at least that's what your father tells you. You are unable to tell which of his stories from his seafaring days are truth anymore, as he's told you too many to count. But there is something about the way he tells this one that reveals something within him that you rarely see: a gentle sort of longing that seems to hold a special place in his heart. You forget most of his stories as you get older, especially as you gather a few of your own when you turn 16 and begin faring the seas yourself as a deckhand on the RMS Rhone, a Royal Mail Ship transporting mail and cargo between Southampton and the Caribbean. It's hard work, but seeing the world makes it all worthwhile… until the hurricane hits. It overtakes the ship quickly, pulling people overboard and eventually breaking the ship in two. You are thrown overboard as well and, as you struggle in the water, you think that this is the end. Unable to hold the oxygen in your lungs any longer, you take in a gulp of seawater, only to find that it does not hurt you. You are breathing underwater. You look down to see that, in place of legs, you have a scaly, fish-like tail. Your father was telling the truth!
  20. Under the flicker of torchlight within your clan's cave, you paint the history of the great battle beneath this cycle's moon. It took twelve hunters to defeat the mighty mammoth. The first eleven hunters had been thrown and knocked out, as usual, leaving you, the final hunter, to pull power from the moon to finally bring down the beast. It was better that way. You don't want anyone to know what you can do. But then a curious child follows the hunters on the next hunt and sees the power of the moon fill you. Things become complicated as you don't want to be revered as a god or feared by your clan. When a horde of a hundred outland warriors threatens to push your clan from their fertile hunting grounds a few days later, you and the moon may be the only thing that can save them—until the curious child steps beside you and starts to glow.

Low Fantasy

Low Fantasy
A predominately mundane setting is infused with out-of-this-world magic.

These stories focus on magic intruding into a normal setting that previously contained only realistic situations and characters. Traditional fantasy tropes are downplayed, with the introduced magic conflicting with the rules of the realistic primary world versus existing as part of a wholly fantastical secondary world.

  1. Your uncle was always thought of as the black sheep of the family. He was a committed entrepreneur, starting up business after business in the hopes of being successful. His head was always in the clouds, however, and he was much better at being a dreamer than actually implementing his ideas. After his last failed attempt, he disappeared from your town and left a note for your father that he had stumbled upon the opportunity of a lifetime and was moving to China to pursue it. Years passed, and soon the family forgot about the oddball uncle until one day you received a letter from him asking for your help. You had just earned your MBA and were ready to start your new job in New York City, so you were not really interested in flying all the way to China to meet him. However, the tone of his letter intrigued you and you wondered what would possess a man to contact his niece after being absent for more than 20 years. You hopped on the next plane to China, then travelled by boat and later by raft, and finally hiked down a long and winding trail until you found your uncle standing in front of a cave. Just behind him, you saw five small dragons poking their heads out, looking at you like a curious dog would. You were at a loss for words as your uncle explained that he needs your help to start a new business: a dragon zoo.
  2. You have just moved into a typical suburban cul-de-sac neighborhood. All the houses are well kept and look nearly identical — with the exception of one decrepit home with shingles falling off the roof and several broken windows. For the most part, it doesn't seem like there's anybody living there, but when you mention it to your neighbors, they don't seem to know what you're talking about. It's like the house doesn't exist at all from their point of view. Unable to sleep one night, you get out of bed and go for a walk to clear your head. As you pass by the old house, you hear a faint sound of what seems to be chanting. You approach the house and peek through a couple of windows, not knowing what to expect. Through the basement window, you see a group of children dressed in robes encircling an ancient book on a pedestal. After a minute, the children stop their chanting and begin giggling as their feet leave the floor. You watch in amazement as the children float in midair. Then a few candles ignite on their own and start floating with the children. As the candles drift by their faces, you realize that these children look very familiar: They are, in fact, the neighbors kids.
  3. Your cat has gone missing, and you've done everything in your power to find him. After many weeks of putting up posters and searching throughout the neighborhood, you give up. Life goes on. However, one night your lost pet returns, and to your utter shock he can now speak. The cat tells you of the adventure he's had and the strange woman he met. He tells you that she's coming. When you ask him what he means, he does not answer. You worry about this for days. Sure enough, a woman comes knocking at your door with a horde of black cats in tow—all of which can speak. They are good omens, she assures you. You let the old witch in, and she tells you that the end of times is coming. She tells of a prophecy that guaranteed 500 years of peace—a promise made by a king to the elemental fairies of the dark forest. The 500 years is up, and the elemental fairies aim to take back the Earth that was once theirs. Confused, you ask her why she is telling you this, to which she replies that she has heard good things about you from your cat. She leaves you with this knowledge as well as the cats she brought to your home, who are uniquely able to track down and catch these elusive fairies. It is up to you and your band of cats to reestablish peace in the world.
  4. In the months since the death of your mother, you have been frequenting the local cemetery, rain or shine. Your family and friends worry about you and think that what you're doing is strange considering you often stay there late into the night. Little do they know you've been regularly visiting the underworld. A few weeks after your mother's death, you visited her grave, and the doorway to the underworld appeared to you. You were unsure of it at first, frightened even, but eventually you stepped through it. You had hoped that it was a sign from your mother and that she would be waiting on the other side. Instead, an entire world of the dead became known to you—thousands of souls from all time periods in the city beneath your hometown alone. The spirits didn't seem to pay much mind to you and seemed to accept you as one of their own. After getting your bearings and becoming familiar with the vast city, you make it your own personal quest to find your mother and see her again. But after a few weeks of visiting the underworld, you find that you feel weaker and weaker with each passing day. When you realize that each trip seems to be draining your lifeforce, the search for your mother becomes more desperate.
  5. You are the strongest knight in all the land, having defeated warrior after warrior on the battlefield. Legend of your heroism spreads, and soon your exploits became the inspiration of bards and artists. One day, while attending a celebration in your honor, a woman steps out from the crowd and challenges you to a fight. The crowd laughs at the scrawny woman, who has no weapon to speak of except for a small stick. You accept her challenge with a smile, letting everyone know that you'll go easy on her. Then, without warning, she knocks you down without even touching you. You pull yourself up and reach for your axe, but the metal burns your hand and you quickly drop it. When you try to grab the woman, she disappears only to reappear right behind you. After ten minutes of utter embarrassment, you yield for the first time in your life. You ask her how she is able to do this, and she tells you that the power is called "magic." She explains, "Many new foes called 'sorcerers' have mastered this art, and they are entering your realm. Brawn is no match for their powers." She then tells you that she is willing to train you on how to wield magic to defend your land from these enemies. Knowing that brute force will soon be a thing of the past, you gladly accept her offer and study a new way of becoming a hero.
  6. A strange scratching noise outside has been keeping you awake for the last hour. You try to ignore it, believing that it's probably just a tree branch scraping against your window, but it continues to disturb you. Finally, you have had enough and get out of bed to open the window. Something quickly scrambles inside, startling you. You search your bedroom and see a small furry creature with large ears huddled in the corner. It is unlike any creature you have ever seen before. As you stare at it, you realize that it is scared and wounded. It eventually allows you to dress its wounds and, after a few moments of what sounds like purring, it falls asleep nestled up in a makeshift shoebox bed that you made for it. However, when you awake the next morning, the creature is gone. In its place is a single golden coin with a strange symbol engraved on it. You try your best to shrug it off and go about your day, questioning what really happened the night before, but when you see the creature again near your front door, you freeze. It tugs at your leg, gesturing to the nearby woods. Hesitantly, you follow it. The small creature darts down a path, leading you to a clearing with nothing except for an old well in the center, and you suddenly understand what the coin was for. You toss it in, and something deep within the well begins to glow. With this coin, the creature has granted you one wish. You must use it wisely.
  7. You are a public interest journalist writing about the same things over and over again. Lost dog found. Local team wins a championship. The guy next door wins the lottery. You yearn for more, something more captivating and interesting, and one day you finally get your wish when you are sent to interview the owner of a mysterious house that has become a local legend. The house never changes and has always looked brand new, just like the pictures from the 1700s before the town was built up around the original estate. The man who lives there looks strikingly like his father, his grandfather, and his great-grandfather before him, leading to tall tales about who he really is. A chill covers you as you are invited inside. Everything looks new except for the wall clock, which doesn't seem to tick. The man gives you a cup of tea, and you sit beside a window looking out over the back lawn, but there is no grass or gardens on this summer day, only snow. You set your tea down, gaping, as the man sits beside you and starts to explain.
  8. You have manipulated many rich men over the years, all of whom have given you large amounts of their fortunes and even some of their business interests. People call you a gold digger, but you think of yourself as more of an entrepreneur. You do have to admit, though, that you've had an advantage. From a very young age, you've been able to get what you want. It's not that your requests were naturally persuasive or reasonable by any means, but rather that you are able to influence people to do exactly what you want, when you want them to. It's a power you've kept secret your entire life and one that has aided you greatly in accruing massive amounts of wealth. But a few months ago, you decided to change your ways. You found the man of your dreams: someone you can truly love and be with for the rest of your life. You want to be a better person for him, so you give up your con artist lifestyle and wait on him hand and foot. Today, he has given you a special task: transfer all of your assets over to him. You are overjoyed to help him and are talking with your financial advisor about the details until it dawns on you that you are being played. Your lover has the same power as you. You shake off the illusion and decide that it is about time you show him who's boss.
  9. Following your grandfather's disappearance, you and your mother have been working to clear out his large, sprawling estate. Every room is full to the brim with junk, and neither of you are particularly excited by this job. As you explore the house, boxing things up, you find a secret door leading down to the basement. You make your way down and find yourself in a strange stone room, full of colorful bottles and notes. You read the labels and realize that these bottles hold potions. You scoff at this, thinking that in his old age your grandfather must have lost it. As you throw the bottles out, one breaks and spills all over your hand. It's sticky and smells weird, and you're exasperated. When you wipe it off, you start feeling very strange. You tumble to the floor and soon discover that you are floating a foot above yourself. You desperately search your grandfather's notes until you find the exact potion you had just taken. You read that you are now a soul separated from your comatose body — an effect that will become permanent in three days. You must figure out how to reverse the curse before it is too late.
  10. You were never the rambunctious type as a child. While other boys were off playing, you preferred more scholarly pursuits. Philosophy was one of your favorite things to study, as were poetry and theatre, and as you got older you began to write plays and novels of your own, though no one gave them a second look. With your family pushing for you to carry on the family business, you desperately wish for someone to make your dreams a reality. One day you are surprised to find your wish has been answered, but not in the way that you had hoped. Your work of fiction has turned to real life, you being the main character, which is especially bad considering you know exactly how the story ends: with your death.
  11. You love thrift shopping and cannot believe your luck when you find a pair of vintage shoes that are perfect for you. They are old, maybe from the 1950s, but simple and comfortable. They make you feel unnaturally confident. However, each time you wear the shoes, it becomes harder and harder to take them off. In fact, some mornings you awake with them still on your feet, even though you swore you hadn't gotten into bed with them on. This begins to happen a little too frequently. One day while at work, you feel something strange. Your legs are moving without you doing anything, and you find yourself walking out the door and down the street. You fight for control of your own legs, but a voice in your head tells you, as clear as day, to stop resisting. You look around panicked. As you pass a large window on the street, you catch a glimpse of your reflection. It is not your own, but that of a strange man dressed in a vintage suit. It turns out, these shoes belonged to a wizard whose soul was cursed to possess the shoes for the rest of time — at least, until you came along. He's tired of being walked all over, so instead has possessed you.
  12. As the son of two well-known celebrities, your life has been constantly critiqued by the general public. As an actor since childhood yourself, you are feeling the strain of living in the public eye and are yearning for something much quieter. When a young woman at one of the parties your parents dragged you to approaches you offering just that, you are inclined to listen. She tells you that she can give you a break from the spotlight, requiring only an item that means something to you, and you jokingly decide to indulge her by giving her the necklace from your neck, which your father wore to his first audition. She smiles, slinking off into the crowd. Thinking you've just done something incredibly stupid, you return home for the night with your family. The next morning, you discover that no one recognizes you — not even your parents, who think you're a stranger invading their house. You are shocked to find that the entire world has forgotten you. Not a single trace of your existence exists, and it is now up to you to find the woman who cursed you to this new life without the comfort of your friends and family.
  13. You are a nurse who works at a rural hospital in an Appalachian Mountain town. Lately, things have not been easy at home or at work, and you are beginning to feel burnt out by life. The only thing that brings you peace is walking in the woods. You especially like exploring the forest at the edge of the hospital parking lot when your shift is over. You appreciate its calmness, and sometimes you wish you could somehow just live there without burden or responsibility, just like the woodland creatures you occasionally see. On one particularly bad day after one of your patients dies, you decide to go for a walk in those woods. After an hour of exploring, you stumble upon a clearing with the most beautiful pond you have ever seen in its middle. You kneel at the water's edge, peering at your reflection and wishing for a new life. You soon realize, however, that your reflection does not move when you do. Fearful, you try to scramble away, but a hand reaches out of the water, dragging you in. You close your eyes, bracing for the worst, but when you open them, you find yourself at the water's edge once more. You are completely dry, but something feels off. You look down and see a reflection of a deer's head staring right back at you. You are shocked at first, but then the feeling fades. You dip your head down to take a drink. Not remembering what was bothering you a moment ago, you decide to go back into the woods. You turn around and prance away from the water's edge.
  14. The dreams started when you were nine. The echo of a giggle floated past your ears, a light bounce in your step as your tiny feet pushed into the wet sand and propelled you after her, your footsteps washed away in the salty sea. Her long black hair cascaded in waves down her back, but you never saw her face. Now, years later, the dreams still haunt your sleep. You tell your family and friends, but everyone dismisses these visions as inconsequential and something meant to be forgotten. One night, instead of the echo of the warm laugh, you hear nothing but the crash of the waves. She stands with her back to you at the edge of the water, and you step slowly down to her, touching her shoulder, clutching at her shirt like a newborn. She doesn't turn, but she whispers in the silence: "Find me. Help me." You wake up.
  15. You work retail in a small-town mall in the middle of nowhere during 2013. Over the past decade, the mall has slowly been going out of business, with stores leaving one by one. It's sad to see a place that was once so vibrant now be on its last leg of life, but you knew it was over as soon as the last big box store pulled out of their lease. On the bright side, the mall has become a great place to walk around in, and you have even made friends with the gaggles of old ladies who come to the mall to get in their daily steps. One day after work you decide to join the walkers just for fun. But as you come to the opposite end of the mall, you realize one of the shops is still open amongst the darkness. It is one you've never heard of before. Curious, you enter, and find an old man behind the counter selling small, cloudy looking bottles with something strange swirling within them. When he tells you that they're memories, you don't believe him. But then he offers you one. You uncork the bottle and, in a whoosh of air, you find yourself in the mall ten years ago. It's bustling and lively, and feelings of contentment and nostalgia wash over you. The memory fades, and you find yourself back in the shop. Wanting more, you purchase another. You uncork it and find yourself in the mall once more, but this time something is wrong. The memory doesn't seem to end. It turns out the old man has trapped you in a memory that replays again and again. It's up to you to navigate this dreamlike state in order to get back to the life you never knew you'd miss.
  16. It's time for your family's annual Easter egg hunt. Every year, your grandfather hosts this event at his sprawling estate, inviting relatives both immediate and distant to come hunt for eggs full of goodies. Your grandfather is quite eccentric, and he promises that this year's ultimate prize is one the winner will never forget. Hoping that the grand prize is a decent chunk of cash, you are scouring the estate grounds and checking all the usual hiding spots. You round the stone fountain that sits in an older part of the ground's gardens. The stone is faded and spotted with dirt, and there are spiraling cracks throughout the angel figure that serves as the fountain's centerpiece. You glance at the angel and are surprised to see its mouth hanging wide open with a shimmering pearl-white egg sitting inside. You don't remember ever seeing the angel's mouth open, but don't question it because this egg is unlike any other you have ever seen. You lean over the edge of the fountain, reaching for the egg. Just as you feel the slippery surface of the egg on your fingertips, a loud cracking sound escapes the fountain, and the angel's arm grabs you, throwing you into the fountain's water. The fountain is no longer the shallow little pool it appears to be. Instead, you are surrounded by water on all sides, and you desperately swim further, trying to escape it. Eventually, you reach the surface and catch your breath. You look up and are shocked to see the fountain angel floating above the water with her outstretched wings slowly flapping. She reaches out to you, and you take her hand.
  17. You have always been able to see ghosts from the corner of your eye. At least, that's what you think they are. Since you were five years old, you have called them the shadow people. They appear for a second or two, too blurry to discern any distinct features. If you turn your head to take a closer look, they quickly fade away. As your grow older, however, you are able to make out faces and other characteristics. They are dressed in strange robes, seem to possess fantastical abilities, and are usually just going about their day or talking to one another. You try to ignore them the best you can, but you find yourself constantly distracted by them. It isn't until you meet another person, just like you, that you find out that they're not ghosts at all, but actual people from another realm. Your friend explains that magic is commonplace in their reality and is their primary method for powering their technology. However, the byproducts of such extreme use of magic have caused a rift to open between our world and theirs. You and your newfound friend must find a way to repair this rift before the two realities collapse into one another.
  18. After completing graduate school, you thought everything would fall into place: a great job, a long-term relationship, and — most importantly — success. However, you find yourself just as miserable as you were before grad school, maybe even more, because life is not like you hoped it would be. You're dragging your feet down your office building's halls to the elevator, cold mug of coffee in hand and satchel falling off your shoulder. You get on the elevator and press the button for your floor. Right as you're about to reach your floor, the elevator begins to shake, and your nerves grow. The lights go out for a brief moment before flickering back on, and the elevator doors open. Thankful that you made it and determined to never step foot in an elevator again, you walk into the hallway, only to be met with a bright white hall. This isn't your floor. As you continue down the hall, you see doors painted a variety of different colors. You open one and are shocked to enter a vibrant world that is familiar in appearance, but your life is much different here. In this door's world, you are a successful businesswoman in New York City with a penthouse apartment. You exit the door and enter a new one. Your life is different in this world, but just as amazing because you are a world-famous musician. You spend what seems like several minutes going from door to door, experiencing new and exciting lives. In reality, you spend days doing this, and it comes at a price. The longer you stay and enjoy the new lives you discover, the quicker your old, real life disappears — along with your chance to return to reality.
  19. When you were eight years old, you received a beautiful porcelain doll. Your parents do not remember buying it for you, so you made up your own story as to how you got it and the woman who gave it to you, whom your parents assume was your imaginary friend. Although you do not play with it anymore, you still enjoy its presence and consider it one of your most treasured possessions. The night before you leave for your freshman year of college, you are packing and discover that the doll has gone missing. Clad in your pajamas, you look everywhere. Eventually you find it sitting in the back of your wardrobe. You climb in to grab it, only to find that when you exit the wardrobe, the sun has risen. A little girl runs into your bedroom and stops, terrified. You are shocked to recognize her face. It is your own.
  20. Mount Everest is known as the last sacred source of magic within the modern world. Wizards, sorcerers, witches, and warlocks traverse to the summit of the mountain as a rite of passage, unbeknownst to the general public, who believe magic to be a pure fictional fantasy. However, the strength of this magic is slowly dying, and no one seems to know why. You and a group of four other scholars of magic have been chosen to climb the mountain to find out. Midway through your trip, one of your party members goes missing. Then another. Then a third. Eventually, you discover what has taken them: a large construct of rock and ice, and you recognize it as a golem. Knowing that golems are creatures brought to life by magic users, you now have a hunch that someone must be draining the power from the mountain's source to harness as their own. Three party members down and fighting against both the elements and the obstacles put in place by the enemy, you must get to the peak as fast as you can.

Magical Realism

Magical Realism
The ordinary and the extraordinary are intertwined without conflict.

Magic is not part of a secondary fantastical world, nor is it an otherworldly element intruding into a realistic primary world. Rather, both magic and the mundane exist in harmony with one another within the primary world, and the supernatural is a natural part of everyone's worldview.

  1. Your teachers began to worry about you in kindergarten, when you were unable to move your building blocks with your mind. By the time you turned eight, you were diagnosed with a rare syndrome that prevented you from wielding magic due to the absence of a magical aura. But that makes you unique. In a world where magic is the means to almost every end — from warfare to simple household chores — your lack of magical ability means no one can sense your aura or feel you coming. You can slip past any magical barrier, completely unnoticed. Your strength and agility greatly outmatch those of most individuals, whose dependence on magic has left them physically weak. In other words, you are the perfect spy.
  2. The goblin infestation that has plagued New York City for more than a century has nearly come to an end. Most would say that is a good thing. The disgusting creatures spread disease, hang around in alleys, and tip over dumpsters to feed their insatiable appetites. They were a pestilence to be eradicated—at least that is what the government has been preaching within their public service announcements over the years. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Although their exterior is unpleasant to look at, they are as human as you or me. Yes, they harbor disease—because it is illegal to give them medical care. Yes, they live in alleys—because no one would allow them shelter. Yes, they tipped over dumpsters—because they were starving. You have decided to give the goblins shelter, hiding as many as you can in your basement. You could go to prison for harboring the "unclean," but these goblins have become your family and your only true friends in an insane world.
  3. As an agent for many well-known non-human actors in Hollywood, there is a certain kind of guilt that comes when the job market is slim. The need for elves, fairies, goblins, giants, and trolls is just not what it used to be since the widespread adoption of CGI. Why pay a real mermaid a real wage with all of the extra costs involved, including a salt water tank and a food supply of sardines and kelp, when you can just merge a fish with a person in a computer program and call it a day? Lately, the only jobs you can find for your clients are lower-tier, commercial work, which you know may help them in the short term, but won't do much for their careers. Despite several fantasy blockbuster movies being slated for the coming years, your phone has not rung once. However, you are determined to get your clients on the big screen — so determined, in fact, that you're tempted to open your own studio. You have the financial backing of the Leprechaun Banking Guild, who support fair fantasy representation in Hollywood. With the rising outcry of shunned fairytale actors and dramatists rallying behind you, that studio just may become a reality.
  4. On a road trip up the East Coast, your car breaks down in a small Massachusetts town. Being a halfway decent mechanic and a recent graduate of the Philadelphia School of Conjuration, you are able to fix your car with a mix of elbow grease and an auto parts store summoning spell, repairing your broken engine in a matter of hours. You decide to stay in town for an extra day to stretch your legs and explore. Like most small New England towns you've visited, this one is quiet, with a few shops here and there, but there is something odd about this town. The people are stiff and smile a bit too much. They stare and often do not blink. Late that night, you are heading back to the inn you're staying at when you accidentally hit a woman on the side of the road. You rush out of your car to find that she is an automaton powered by an enchanted battery. You bring her back to the inn and are able to repair her quickly, the gears within her clicking back into life. When you question her about her existence, she cheerfully explains that all of the townsfolk were turned into automatons 20 years back by the local artificer to preserve the town, although she will not specify why. You ask her where she lives, but she says that she's just visiting from out of town and leaving soon… or at least she was five years ago. It is then that you realize you are in danger of suffering the same fate. You run out to the parking lot to find your car missing and realize it may happen sooner than you think.
  5. You are the Master Apothecary at Mount Sinai Hospital and are known as the practitioner of last resort. When there is nothing ordinary medicine can do, you save the unsavable, helping those whose only other choice would be death. When you are called to the operating room, you pull on your scrubs, take a deep breath, and charge your magical power. After you enter, your skin begins to sparkle, and the doctors and nurses step away, knowing all too well that magic can have unintended side effects. The patient has been shot, and his heart needs to be rebuilt as only magic can accomplish. As you hold your hands over him, you look down at his face and pause. You've seen this man before… ten years ago, standing over the body of your murdered father.
  6. "Welcome to the Nelson Lake Power Station. I am your host, Heather, and today we will be going on a tour of our facility. Please put on a hard hat, located on the hooks to your left, and follow me into the auxiliary room." You strap on an orange hard hat and enter a large space filled with crisscrossing pipes that extend as far as the eye can see. Projecting her voice over the drone of industrial machinery, Heather begins the tour: "Our plant generates approximately 400 megawatts of power. It consists of four conventional fire generation units. Water from the lake is boiled until it terms into steam at a temperature of 1,000 degrees. We then run that steam through the turbines located—" You raise your hand to interrupt her: "Excuse me, but when will we see the wizards?" Initially irritated, Heather forces herself to smile before responding to your question: "We will see them mid-way through the tour. Now, please hold all of your questions until the end. As I was saying…" While Heather gestures to the ceiling, you look down at the magical charm in your hand: a simple wooden circle with a valknut symbol carved into the center. You were surprised that you were able to get it past security. Perhaps this was all meant to be. As the tour continues, you rub the charm with your thumb and quietly chant a spell under your breath. Eventually, your tour group reaches another large room with four objects in the middle. Heather points to the cube-like structures: "And here is where we store our wizards. As you know, after the magical wielders were toppled during the Primal Rebellion, we faced a moral dilemma regarding what to do with those who survived. Fortunately, we found a good use for many of these wizard POWs as a source of electrical power for our society. Frozen within tesseracts, such as the ones you now see, we can extract their power to boil—" Suddenly, a large crack splits one of the tesseracts, which begins to rupture. As people run for the exits and alarms ring throughout the facility, you smile, knowing that your spell has worked. Soon your brethren will be liberated from this infernal prison.
  7. At the turn of the century, rather than conducting their business solely from underneath bridges, the trolls decided to take a more modern approach to their trade and went digital. With just a few mean-spirited words or unwanted explanations, trolls were able to provoke and torment others, steering online conversations way off topic, to the detriment of everyone involved. Want to discuss astronomy? A troll would bring up how the Earth is flat. Looking for tips on how to make the perfect omelet? A troll would comment that no one should eat eggs due to high cholesterol. Trolls were having a blast with their newfound hobby. To them, nothing is better than infuriating someone to the point where everything is written in all caps. People, on the other hand, were completely fed up. However, where most just saw irritation, you saw opportunity. You went to each and every online community you could think of and enticed every troll you could find to come work for you. Eventually, you opened the very first troll farm that would spark controversy and spread lies on a massive scale, spreading propaganda for the highest bidder.
  8. Each morning the villagers are herded like cattle to the mines to dig precious materials for their magistrate to line his coffers. They cannot object. A magic keeps everyone in line. Through the will of the magistrate, all must adhere to his wants, though no one knows exactly why. It is just the way it has always been. Meanwhile, the villagers' crops have started to wither and die due to everyone laboring in the mines day and night. When the king's heir stops in the village and questions the magistrate about the wilted crops, the magistrate blames the poor weather rather than his selfish ambition. You whisper under your breath, and the heir's head jerks up so he can look right at you. The magistrate follows the heir's sightline. Despite the magistrate's penetrating gaze, you feel like you can take control of your own words and actions for the first time in your life. You make a choice and say words that can never be taken back.
  9. You are a celebrity bride-to-be desperately looking for a dress for your spur-of-the-moment wedding. You decide to visit a dress shop known for its fast turnaround in Los Angeles' magical district, despite its abysmal online reviews. The shop is known for creating the most beautiful gowns from the most stunning fabrics, but the price is heavy — and it is not just monetary. It's an exchange of words that become magically binding; the less money you have, the more you have to promise. These deals have famously backfired. However, with the wedding approaching in just a few weeks, you feel like you have no choice. From your point of view, you're both smart enough and rich enough to take this chance and avoid being duped into something that you will regret later. You go to the dress shop and end up promising to bring them new customers by promoting their brand, which seems simple enough, especially for a famous celebrity such as yourself. The dressmaker creates a stunning dress for you, and the wedding goes off without a hitch. Afterwards, you release photos of yourself in your gown to celebrity gossip websites. As these pictures circulate, people flock to the dress shop looking for a similar fashion statement. You have fulfilled your side of the bargain, but you are not as unaffected by your deal as you think. Under your influence, fans who are not as affluent begin promising things that should not be promised, sometimes ending in personal catastrophe. Feeling guilty about what you promoted to others, you must now find a way to stop this dress stop from ruining anyone else's life.
  10. You are a caregiver recently assigned to help an elderly witch who lives in your coastal hometown. Back in her day, she was the proud owner of a potion shop on Main Street that offered a wide assortment of remedies and elixirs. She sold her business and retired more than two decades ago, and no one has heard much from her since then. Her daughter, who lives across the country, reached out to you and is paying you quite well to take care of her mother, although she has not specified her mother's particular needs. When you arrive on the first day, the old woman is confused to say the least. Despite this, she lets you inside, leading you through her house. From the looks of it — the dishes doing themselves in the sink, the dinner being magically prepared on the stove, a scarf knitting itself on the couch — she's an old witch who doesn't seem to need much help. But as weeks pass and she begins to open up to you, you realize what she needed most was a friend. She teaches you alchemy and potion making and talks about the trip she plans to take to Maine to find an herb with magical properties that she's always wanted to gather, but has never had the time to do so. You decide it's high time that she make that trip, so you pack your car with her in it and take off on the road trip of a lifetime with an unlikely friend.
  11. You have just inherited the family bakery, passed down from your great-grandmother to your grandmother, then your mother, and now you. Your family has been using magic to ensure perfection in their pastries for years. With a few magical ingredients and incantations, you know exactly how to make bread rise perfectly each time and how to magically pipe perfect designs on cakes. For years the business has had nothing but success, but this all changes when a rival bakery opens across the street. The lines of customers that once stretched outside your front door are a thing of the past. In addition, your magic seems to falter, and your pastries begin coming out less than perfect. You have a sneaking suspicion that someone is sabotaging your family's business. After a little investigating, you discover that your competition has been hexing your baked goods. You begin plotting a way to secretly get back at them while still keeping your family business afloat.
  12. You work as a conservation officer at the Northumberland National Park, a wildlife preserve in Northern England that protects several winged dragon species from poachers and other threats. Although dragons have been hunted to the point of near extinction, you have been pleased to see the population levels slowly increasing over the last few years and hope that the trend continues. One day, while perusing your email, you are suddenly interrupted by a distressed wildlife ranger on the two-way radio. You quickly pick up your handheld and ask what's going on. "Our patrol has detained ten trophy hunters near Breamish Valley. There are five, maybe six young dragon carcasses, but that's not the problem. It's their mother." The radio cuts out to static. You get up to look out your window and see a wall of flames on the horizon.
  13. Children's stories told of a time when the rain fell from the sky on its own. According to the stories, the planet somehow knew it needed water and sent rain to make the trees and plants grow. Adults laugh at the stories now and pay rainmakers like you to water their crops. However, more frequently of late, headlines tell of wildfires plaguing the west, just like they had before the rainmakers stepped forward to save the people they once thought of as invaders. As the largest fire in history advances on your ancestral native lands, you step forward. Yet you immediately realize that this is no ordinary fire. It breathes with the heart of the blackest souls, the ancient enemy of your people, and is looking for the strongest warrior. The rain dancers have not done battle since before the gold rush, but this land belongs to you, and you won't let the fires consume what's left of your heritage. You just might need a little help.
  14. Every summer, you work at an equestrian ranch out west —a large property where wealthy people from all over house their horses, pegasi, and unicorns. You soon learned that the only thing worse than a particularly fussy horse is their fussy owners, all of whom have mile-long lists of detailed needs for their prized riding companions. This summer, you find out that there is a particularly famous guest staying at the ranch: an old racing pegasus by the name of Blitz who won almost every race he participated in, unfortunately ending his century-long winning streak with a catastrophic leg injury and broken wing. Blitz's owner has moved onto greener pastures since the injuries, leaving Blitz otherwise abandoned while he heals. You take it upon yourself to help Blitz recover, and over the summer you develop a strong bond with him. When his owner insists that Blitz come back to racing immediately, your heart sinks. You plead with him to retire Blitz, knowing the animal isn't ready, but to no avail. The night before Blitz is slated to leave, you break into the barn, and the two of you fly off into the night.
  15. The Council of Mages gathers on the top floor of its massive Manhattan skyscraper every ten years to conjure a list of all of the families in New York City, ranking them according to magical ability. The list includes many sections, with subsets and sub-subsets of magic wielders, but only the top and bottom truly matter. Families at the top are granted wealth and station and are invited to work directly with the council to shape the future of humanity. Meanwhile, families in the bottom five percent are deemed a hindrance to societal evolution and are taken away, never to been seen or heard from again. Your family is only mildly magical and has always been somewhere in the middle of the list, which is fine from your perspective. Despite being the strongest mage in your family, you've never had more aspiration than working a nine-to-five job. But when the new list is announced and your girlfriend's family is pushed to the bottom five percent, you know you have little time before they come to take her and her family away. The council sees all. Defying them is unthinkable. The only chance is to leave the city. Most die trying to cross the bridges into New Jersey, but you have no other choice. You won't let them take her.
  16. You are a mermaid who teaches orphaned kids from the inner city how to swim at Camp White Dragon, named after the legend of the dragon said to be sleeping at the bottom of the lake for centuries. The campers absolutely adore you, and there is nothing you like more than instilling a love for the aquatic within their hearts. Luckily, the fun doesn't end in the water for you, as you are half human, half mermaid, and able to walk on land when you are not focused on swimming or breathing underwater. Although you long for a familiar connection, you have never met another of your kind. So, when you encounter a 13-year-old camper you once thought was human sporting a tail and swimming beneath the water, you become overjoyed. Unfortunately, she is not as enthusiastic. She is ashamed of being half mermaid, having only recently discovered this ability. You sympathize with her and make it your mission to mentor this young girl, boosting her confidence and teaching her to swim deeper than ever before. However, things don't go as planned when the two of you inadvertently awaken the white dragon at the bottom of the lake. You now must convince your fellow campers and camp counselors of the impending danger and find a way to make the dragon sleep once more.
  17. As someone who works at the DMV, the Department of Magical Vehicles, you can confirm that the word "magical" does nothing to make the place more interesting. Day in and day out, you print, process, and sign paperwork for different licenses and registrations. You have registered vehicles from broomsticks to magic carpets, and everything in between. Today, however, you are getting a change of pace. Hank, who usually does the road tests, called in sick and you have been asked to sub in for the day. Your first appointment is with a sixteen-year-old pimply-faced warlock with a learner's permit. The two of you climb astride his pitchfork. You ask him to parallel park, do a three-point turn, and back up in a straight line. He's a little clumsy and off-balance, but he gets it done. Then you ask him to take to the skies and show you that he can fly in traffic. As he takes off, the hem of his robe gets caught on the tines of the pitchfork and he falls to the ground, but – inexplicably – you and the pitchfork keep launching skyward. You don't know where you are going, or how you will get back home, but at least you know this won't be your typical, boring Tuesday.
  18. As a biology teacher working at a summer school for mages, you know more than anyone that if kids didn't want to do the work during the school year, they certainly won't want to do it now. However, that doesn't mean that you don't try. You teach simple things at first, like Punnett squares and the different parts that cells are made of, but none of the students seem particularly interested. Things continue to be tough until you bring in the frogs to dissect. Some of the kids are actually excited, which is great. A few of them are horrified, which is to be expected. But one of them gets a terrible, mischievous look in his eyes. Before you know it, he is chanting, bringing the frogs back from the dead one by one, sending the classroom into chaos. Shrieks of joy and fear echo through the halls as children run from the zombified frogs. Then the boy recites another spell, and one of the frogs grows exponentially, knocking over desks and chairs as it crashes its way through the walls, the spell-maker on its back. As you have no magical ability, it's up to you to enlist the help of the remaining kids to reverse the damage that has been done and catch their rogue classmate as well as the monster he's created.
  19. You work for an animal shelter. Recently, management decided to accept magical pets alongside their typical menagerie of cats, dogs, and guinea pigs. Unfortunately, they were woefully unprepared to handle these creatures, and the shelter was soon in shambles. Teacup dragons burned through their cages, three-headed dogs devoured bag after bag of kibble, cats started fights with jackalopes, and you with your small staff are left to clean up the mess. Needless to say, your shelter needs additional funding to stay afloat. You and your co-workers must all work together to find a way to keep the shelter open in order to save the animals that rely on you.
  20. You were not a popular kid in high school, and many of your fellow students went out of their way to make sure you knew that. Among other things, you were always teased for your inability to make the simplest of potions and your repeated mispronunciation of different spells. Not surprisingly, you are not looking forward to attending your high school reunion coming up in a few weeks, yet you are determined to show your childhood bullies that they were wrong about you. You decide to raid your savings account and turn to the magical black market, where you find a potion of perception, an illusory manipulation trick that turns the person who consumes it into whatever the other person wants to see. You drink the potion just as you arrive at the reunion. When you enter the high school gymnasium, all eyes are on you. Suddenly, people who made fun of you are coming up to you, are interested in what you've been up to since graduation, and are apologizing to you for how they treated you during high school. But something is wrong. People are getting a little too clingy, and their interest is turning into a magic-fueled obsession. You run out of the gym to head home and go straight to bed, hoping the potion will wear off soon. You wake up in the morning to find your classmates from the reunion on your front lawn. They are still obsessed with you. They follow you around all day and even fight each other to talk to you. You now realize that you have made a mistake and must break the curse or else live the rest of your life in hiding.

Mythic

Mythic
The magical stories incorporate gods, goddesses, and legendary creatures.

Legend and folklore are the primary sources for characters and plot elements within these stories. Whether the world is magical or mundane in nature, myths are heavily drawn upon to retell these old fables in a new light or add a new chapter to what has already been told.

  1. It's been years since you were cast out of Olympus. Bouncing from job to job, you had a difficult time finding your place in the mortal realm. However, over time you slowly built up your reputation as a skilled gumshoe. Whenever someone needed help getting to the bottom of a problem — from a lost cat to a cheating husband — they came to you. Eventually you opened your own private detective agency in Hawaii and named it after your former moniker: Astraea Investigative Services.
  2. You are a poet, though it is not a profitable business, much to your parents' dismay. To make up for this, you spend your late nights and early mornings as a cab driver, ferrying college students from their own late night shifts and drunks home from the bars. They always forget you, and you them. It is, for the most part, an unremarkable job. Until you meet the man in all black. He is unlike the other people you drive around. He tells you to drive to the docks on the opposite end of the city, a full hour and a half away, and while you normally wouldn't, you nod and start the meter. He seems well put together and lucid. He speaks clearly, and his voice is cold, almost frightening. He talks about history, recent and past, and seems to know the answers to most of the questions you ask on the matter, as if he was there himself. Toward the end of the ride, he tells you he is looking for a replacement in his line of work and thinks that you would be the perfect candidate. You let him out at the docks, and he beckons to you. You exit the cab to find a line of rather gaunt-looking people waiting to board an ancient-looking wooden boat. You realize that you have been talking to Charon, ferryman of the River Styx, and he's asking you to take over his job.
  3. All your life you've felt awkward and out of place. You are always the last one chosen in gym class, always sit alone in the cafeteria, always on the outside looking in. Then your adoptive mother enrolls you at a new school, where you meet two girls with the same birthmark that you have on their necks. You look nothing alike, but you know you are kin. You can just feel it. You decide to invite your new friends over for a sleepover the night of your sixteenth birthday, which happens to coincide with the next full moon. That night, after a few good scary movies and far too much pizza, you decide to camp out in the backyard beneath the moonlight. After everyone has fallen asleep, you are awakened by a haunting voice beckoning you, telling you that your reunion has restored your gifts of sight. Frightened, you wake up your new friends. Then you notice her standing there: your queen, the goddess Hecate. She smiles serenely at you before speaking. "Hello, my Fates. It's good to see you again. It's time for your first quest — in this lifetime."
  4. For as long as you can remember, you have always been fascinated by the statue of the Greek god in the local park. One day, while examining the statue, the god speaks to you, revealing that you are his offspring.
  5. You are a collector of rare and mythical items — at least, that's what you tell the billionaires to whom you sell the artifacts on the black market. You've been everywhere — Greece, Egypt, Antarctica, Peru — and each place you go, under the guise of an academic researcher, you have gained access to sites that the general public has no knowledge of. But times are tough in this business, and the once-sought-after rarities are no longer in demand. Desperate, you take advice from one of your former customers, who just so happens to know of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. He talks of the last griffin, a lion and eagle creature that once pulled the chariots of the gods, and how she has laid her final egg. This priceless egg made of agate lies deep within a long-forgotten gold mine, along with the treasure of eons past that the griffin was charged to protect. Your former customer agrees to pay your travel fees if you are willing to take the risks to retrieve these items. Little do you know that everyone is on the hunt for the egg, and you must compete in a race against time and former colleagues to find the treasure of all treasures.
  6. You have been chosen to become an oracle in ancient Greece. Your mother and her mother before her were oracles as well, consulting the gods and relaying their wishes to heroes and others across the years. But there is one problem: You have never heard a word from the gods. Regardless, you pretend you do, and the next couple of weeks go relatively smoothly, although you do feel guilty for giving false advice to those few unlucky heroes. But when a kind, young woman in a hooded cloak arrives, seeking guidance from you specifically, you confess. You tell her not to heed your advice, for you cannot commune with the gods. You beg her not to tell anyone else. She smiles, removing her hood. Something inside of you tells you that this is the Goddess Athena. You fall to your knees, and she shakes her head, thanking you for your honesty. She requests you come with her. In shock, you agree and, with a simple touch of her hand, you are transported to the halls of Olympus, where you train with Athena and learn that the names of each god are titles passed down through many people. You are to become the next one.
  7. Despite being raised in a family of fishermen, you cannot swim. In fact, you have a deep fear of the water. You know that it seems irrational to everyone around you, but for some reason, every time you approach the water lapping at the shore, your body freezes as if you have been paralyzed. One day you are waiting for your father and brother to return home from a day of fishing when the town bell rings. As more and more people report that family members did not return from their day at sea, the townsfolk panic, and soon they are screaming and crying. Your father and brother are among the missing. After several days of searching, your small fishing village gives up any hope of finding the missing people, but you do not. On the dawn of a cool, misty morning, you walk to one of your family's fishing boats and hesitantly step into it. The water is already rough, and you regret setting sail with no experience. A massive wave rocks your boat, tossing you into the cold water. You struggle to keep your head afloat, but your body has frozen. The ocean envelopes you as you sink into its dark depths. To your complete surprise, you are suddenly snatched from above. You come face to face with the haggard old man who just pulled you from the water. He is excited to have found you, repeating over and over again that his vision was right. He tells you that he saw you in a premonition while praying at the Temple of Poseidon and that he is here to help you search for your loved ones. He points to the ocean and says that Poseidon himself has blessed the journey and will aid you on the quest. When you look at the water, unrelenting fear takes hold of you. The ocean almost claimed you today; you know the next time it will pull you into its infinite depths forever. However, you must save your family. With little choice but to trust this strange old man, you set sail across the vast and perilous ocean.
  8. Your dog walking business in New York City has been doing well for the past few years. You work mostly with wealthy clients who have 9-5 office jobs, and you have walked everything from Pomeranians to Great Danes. When one client sends for you via handwritten letter, your interest is piqued. You reread the letter and find a P.S. on the back regarding some sort of charm that the dog must wear to conceal his appearance. You disregard the odd statement and decide to visit the address listed. The next day, you find yourself at the door of a penthouse in an old art deco apartment building. Having read that the dog is fussy and bites, you have brought along your gardening gloves to protect your hands. But as you unlock the door with the key the client left for you under the mat, you find that what she wants you to walk isn't your typical dog. It's Cerberus, the guardian hound of the underworld. You're definitely going to need more than gardening gloves.
  9. Most Spartan teenagers are ready for battle after just a few years of training, during which their bodies grow in size, their muscles bulge, and they shoot up in height. This has been the norm for generations, as Ares, the God of War, blessed the Spartan training grounds on the day that the city-state was founded. Yet despite your years spent on those same training grounds, you do not grow stronger. Instead, you become weaker and frailer. Your trainers are disappointed by your lack of progress, and soon you are deemed cursed by the gods and are exiled from your homeland. Determined to prove yourself a worthwhile Spartan warrior, you journey to Mount Olympus to confront Ares in person and gain his blessing.
  10. You have a job as a customer service representative in a rundown call center in the middle of a nondescript office park. All day long you take calls from outraged customers demanding refunds for the low-quality products your company sells. Being hung up on is the norm, with many customers choosing to hurl insults at you rather than discussing things rationally. You've grown used to it over time, but every once in a while someone will say something that sticks with you. You always hate those calls. As another workday starts, you watch the waiting calls blinking yellow on your computer screen, knowing that each one will probably end in a one-sided shouting match. As you look down the list of thirty or forty lines, you see a call light up in blue. You've never seen a blue call before, and you have no idea what it means. As you watch, the blue call suddenly starts skipping up the queue toward the top, first slowly, and then gaining speed. Each call it passes disappears from the queue, and in no time the queue is empty except for the one blinking blue number. You click "Take Call" on your screen and suddenly, from your headset, a gentle sea breeze blows against your face. A woman on the other line asks you how your day has been and launches into an engaging conversation on topics you love to talk about. The hours fly by and, before you know it, your workday is done. You say goodbye to the friendly caller, go home, have a relaxing bath, go to bed, and wake up the next morning totally refreshed. When you walk into the call center, you are humming a tune that the blue caller taught you. You sit down at your desk and turn on your computer. To your amazement, you find the same blue caller waiting for you. You are ecstatic to start your lovely conversation again. But as you think about it, none of this makes any sense. It is almost as if you are being lured by a siren. However, you can't resist this siren's call.
  11. You and your mother work hard every day to keep your grain farm running in the height of the Great Depression. You feel connected to the land in a way you can't explain, and your mother is a genius at knowing just how to make the crops flourish. Beyond this great closeness to the land, your bond with your mother is unshakable. Life is peaceful and tough, but fulfilling. The only thing missing for you is romance, but you believe that, when it's time, it will come to you. One night, you wake to see a purple orb glowing in the fields. A powerful force compels you to get out of bed and go to it. It's the dead of night, but you can't help yourself. When you get there, you find a hooded man holding a long staff, with the light that led you there emanating from the top of the staff. You don't run or scream, but you can't understand why. Then he greets you by your name: Persephone. He tells you his master would like to meet you. He waves the staff and, to your shock, the ground opens beneath your feet, but you do not fall. Instead, you see a stunning gentleman on a chariot tied to a pair of majestic horses beneath your feet. He asks you to join him for a ride. Before you can reply, your mother's scream rips through the night.
  12. You are an American author spending the summer in Denmark while writing your latest novel on Norse mythology. On the weekends, you go out to the Faroe Islands to hike and write by the beautiful lakeside, occasionally taking a dip. One particularly foggy day you see strange movement in the water. Convincing yourself it's a large fish, you continue to write. But as this creature gets closer and closer, you realize that it's not a fish at all. In fact, it looks like a horse. It rises out of the water and you realize that this horse is a Nix, a beautiful but dangerous creature of Nordic myth that lures people to their doom by enticing them to ride it and subsequently drowning them. You know the perils all too well, but you still approach the creature, reaching your hand toward it. In response, it disappears under the water. You return to the same beach every day for the rest of the week, and every day the Nix appears, getting closer each time. When you step into the water and it sinks below the surface, urging you to follow it, you wonder if the legends about this beautiful creature are incorrect. You swim with it, surfacing in an underwater cave — a perfect pocket of air where its foal sleeps peacefully. The Nix nudges the small sleeping horse, pointing out lesions on its leg. You believe the Nix is asking for help. It is up to you to save this mythical creature while keeping its existence a secret.
  13. Your grandmother from Greece is a hoarder. She has items from generations upon generations stuffed in her house and refuses to give any of them up out of fear of losing an heirloom that she hasn't seen in years. Eventually, she becomes more erratic, claiming that the end of times is nigh, and your mother has to make the very difficult choice to put her into a nursing home. It is then up to you and your family to clear out the house. In the many hours you have spent tossing things in the trash, you have found an array of different treasures, but none as interesting as the old wooden box in the attic. It is small and ornately carved, with metal insignias around its edges. It's also locked tight. Despite your better judgment, you decide to crack it open using a knife, deeply curious to see what's inside. As soon as you do, you realize you have made a mistake. A powerful explosion of air and smoke erupts from the box, shattering the nearby windows. You slam it shut and throw the box into a donation pile, quickly moving on to another task. Less than a day later, news stations are going wild with reports of crime and even the threat of war on the horizon. Your family also seems to be more on edge and endlessly arguing with one another. For some reason, you are immune. You realize that you must have opened Pandora's box — or a version of it anyways. However, the donation pile is gone and the box along with it. While avoiding the turmoil overtaking the world, you must now figure out how to capture what you've unleashed before humanity rips itself apart.
  14. You've always been attracted to bad boys — guys in leather jackets with tattoo sleeves and piercings decorating their bodies. You like them when they're rough around the edges and tell it how it is, so you are thrilled when you meet a mysterious man decked out in black biker clothes in your favorite bar. He's got a fire in his eyes and a wicked, gleaming grin. The two of you flirt all night, and he finally asks if you want to come back to his place. Obviously, you say yes, but you are shocked when a red light blinds you and pitches you into darkness. The next time you open your eyes, you are surrounded by dark walls and stone. The stranger from the bar stands in front of you, but his handsomeness has been stripped, revealing the ugly, scarred face of Hades. You've been kidnapped, added to the group of women he manipulates into coming to the Underworld with him. Your only chance of escape is to somehow outwit this god, so you make friends with all the other kidnapped women, Hades' henchmen, and the rest of the Underworld creatures. You vow that you will get back to the world of the living, no matter what it takes.
  15. You've always loved hiking, and you've finally built up the stamina to hike Mt. Hallasan on Jeju Island. The trail winds through a dense and lush forest, and you just know that the view of the water at the very top of the mountain will be spectacular. The trail isn't as busy as you expected, which means you can truly enjoy the peaceful singing of the birds and the rustling of the trees. Suddenly, you hear the sound of crying in the distance; you decide to investigate in case someone is hurt. You veer off the trail for what seems like only a few minutes, but you quickly realize it has been much longer as you get lost deeper and deeper amongst the trees. You keep following the sound of crying until you stumble upon a young man sitting at the base of an especially tall tree. As you approach, you notice he is clutching his stomach, and his shirt is stained with blood. However, the blood is a deep brown, like it has been dried for a very long time. The man looks up at you, and you feel immense fear but also an indescribable feeling of awe. He springs up from his spot on the ground to clutch your hands, and you feel a shiver go down your spine. He is not normal. In a rushed voice, he tells you that his spirit has been trapped inside the blood-stained shirt for centuries, and he needs your help to break his curse of immortality. You gasp, realizing that this man is a Dokkaebi, a Korean nature spirit. You want to help, but you fear you are being manipulated as these spirits are known for being tricksters and playing pranks on humans. Still, you can't help but be drawn to the man, wanting to help him escape from his prison. You take one more look at his desperate, captivating gaze and make your decision.
  16. Tradition states that mages in your kingdom are granted the companionship of a mythical beast when they reach their 20th year. The beast is said to be a reflection of your future and the path that you are destined to take as one of the few chosen at birth to wield magic. When your 20th birthday arrives, you are ecstatic. The ceremony begins in the evening as the sun is beginning to set. The ritual torches are lit, the sigil drawn, and you step forward towards the Elder Crystal, placing your hands atop it, your family watching you eagerly. As the mages of old recite the birthright incantation, the ground shakes. The earth within the sigil cracks and falls away, allowing a pure, white light to erupt from below. The light shifts from white to a blazing red as a horrible screech echoes up through the hallowed woods. The phoenix rises, its flames blinding and beautiful, and sends a ripple of heat across the crowd. Everyone goes silent as the bird perches next to you, heat radiating from its feathers. This creature, which was thought to have been extinct for hundreds of years, has been prophesized to stand beside the mage who will bring forth the end of times.
  17. Your mother's body is being ravaged by a horrible sickness that has overtaken your village, and you know she will not last much longer. Desperate to save her, you go to the home of the three old women on the outskirts of town. They are rumored to dabble in magic, and you hope that they can save your mother's life. When you reach their home, you beg the three women for their help. Unfortunately, they tell you that they cannot save your mother from her fate. You are disheartened, but thank them for their time as you leave. However, moments later, you hear muffled sounds of arguing from inside the home. You peek in through a window to see that the argument has been settled and the three women are now holding what looks to be a string. One of them cuts it and, at the same time, a woman in the village cries out, shouting that her brother has died. You see the string for what it is: the string of fate. When night descends, you return to the house, sneak in, and rifle through their belonging as they sleep. You find a small box with your mother's name on the lid. Inside is a string with a note stating that it should be cut again, this time in half. You steal it and flee the house.
  18. Having grown up in a busy foster home, you appreciate the peace and quiet of nature. You prefer to spend time alone in the forest, which is where you discover that you can run like the wind, lift rocks as big as yourself, and throw them further than the eye can see. One afternoon, you are walking through the woods when dark clouds suddenly gather overhead. The storm breaks, and rain pelts down on you. Suddenly, a huge clap of thunder shakes the sky, and a fiery bolt of lightning strikes nearby. You dive out of the way, narrowly missing being directly hit, but you feel a surge of electricity shoot up through your feet. The radiating pain from your heels causes you to fall to your knees. You're surrounded by a bright light, and you look up, covering your eyes. As the light fades and the rain subsides, you find a giant of a man standing before you. His hair is long, thick, and grey, as is his beard, and his bare arms are strong and powerful. His face is stern and intimidating. He tells you his name is Zeus, father of the gods. At first, you're afraid, but then he tells you a great war is coming, and you have an important part to play. The time has come to fulfill your destiny. With a powerful swirl of wind, he swoops you up and, before you know it, you're standing in the center of Olympus, where the other gods eagerly await your arrival. You know you're not a god yourself, but you feel your own power grow in their presence. Zeus puts his hand on your shoulder, and the gods part, revealing the most beautiful woman you have ever seen. Zeus tells you she is your mother. As she embraces you, she tells you that, if you agree to fight on the side of the gods, your memory will live forever. However, you will never return to the mortal realm again.
  19. Your mother's crops have never been bountiful. Year after year her harvest yields small, withered vegetables, leaving you and your three siblings in a state of constant starvation, especially as you have to sell some of the yields to help cover other household expenses. When it's your turn to run the market stall, you set out your measly collection of potatoes and misshapen carrots, not expecting much. But when a rather tall woman walks by your stall, she strikes up a conversation with you, saying that she is headed to a far-away land to help them with a drought that has devastated their community. She offers you 600 gold pieces for your entire stock of vegetables in order to help feed these people, but she includes one condition: You are to plant the seed she gives you in your family's garden and save the yield for her the following year. Excited by the sheer amount of gold she is offering, you agree and make the exchange. You go home to tell your tale, and you and your family celebrate. A year passes, and the plot of land you planted the seed in doesn't seem to be growing. But the night of the full moon, two days before the stranger said she'd return for her crop, you hear a deep rumbling outside. You find that a pumpkin as large as a carriage has sprouted under the moonlight. The next day, your mother auctions off the pumpkin. You beg her to remember the promise you made to the stranger, but she does not listen. As the pumpkin is carted away to its new home, you see the stranger in the crowd, a stern expression on her face. She waves her hand, and the ground rumbles. The vegetables in your garden begin to grow exponentially, soon towering above your head. She then reveals herself to be Gefjun, the goddess of agriculture and abundance, and states that she has given your greedy mother exactly what she wanted. If you don't find a way to reverse the curse, the overgrowth will eventually sprawl across the rest of the town, crushing it.
  20. It's after school. You're in the music room as usual, practicing the piano, when you notice a drop cloth covering an instrument you've never seen before. You pull back the cover to find a glimmering harp. Your heart jolts. It is the most beautiful thing you've ever seen. You pull a chair up to the massive golden beauty and, as if possessed, begin to play. You've never played the harp. Although many consider you a bit of a musical prodigy, the way you take to its strings overwhelms you. The majestic tune invades your senses as your eyes shut. Suddenly, you see flashes of times past — of goddesses and nymphs, of heroes defeating monsters. It's all as real as anything you've seen in the ordinary world. When you open your eyes, you see eight women dressed in white gowns smiling softly at you. "We found her!" the youngest one cheers. You gasp and jump from your chair, asking how they got in and who they are. The most regal of them all steps forward and introduces herself as Calliope. She tells you that you were cursed to forget who you are and sent away from them, but they have found you now. Before you can ask any further questions, the lights turn out. You gasp again but, in a blink, they're back on. The women have vanished. Was it just your imagination? You find a note on the ground that simply reads: "Euterpe, we'll see you again." Euterpe? They obviously have the wrong girl… right?

Superhero

Superhero
Characters with extraordinary powers who help those in need.

Defined by abilities that far exceed those of normal people, these individuals protect the public and battle sinister villains. There is usually a backstory to how the hero's powers were established and what motivated the superhero to dedicate his or her life to fighting evil.

  1. The summer that you accept an internship with one of the biggest biotech companies in the United States is the summer your life changes. Upon arrival on your first day, you receive a badge and passcodes for every door in the building, all of which change on a monthly basis. You are assigned to be a research assistant for one of their chief engineers, a famous biochemist. You bring him coffee every morning, take notes, and check his calculations. For the most part, the job is peaceful. Then Subject 237 arrives. Imprisoned for grand larceny and multiple manslaughter charges, Subject 237 is what people have referred to in recent years as superhuman, one of thousands whose body chemistry changed after exposure to a strange meteorite impact in New York City. He has the ability to morph from solid to liquid to gas and back again, unscathed. The biotech company you work for wishes to reproduce this effect in other human beings and struck a very secret, and very illegal deal with the prison warden to experiment on the prisoner. But this doesn't sit right with you. Despite what you've been told, after speaking to him, you believe this man is innocent. When another superhuman with psychic powers is brought into the facility and confirms your belief by reading Subject 237's mind, you know you must act to free and protect this innocent man.
  2. You work at a comic bookstore in New York City. One night, you stay late after closing in order to take inventory. You see a bright light coming from one of the crates in the back of the store. You go to investigate and discover an issue of a comic book you've never seen before. When you open it, a group of superheroes waves you in. Shocked, you drop the book on the ground. You take a step back, close your eyes, and take several deep breaths before opening them again. The book is still there, and it's still glowing. When you pick the book up again—whoosh—you're sucked inside. The next morning, the store manager arrives just as you're emerging from the book. Your manager looks stunned to see you there, especially as you're dressed in a superhero outfit and looking very fit.
  3. When your mother died, you inherited her multi-billion-dollar tech company. Being somewhat of a scientist yourself, you thought the job would be an exciting new chance to develop tech alongside some of the industry's best and brightest. But in her later years, your mother decided to outsource the R&D to other companies in order to simplify management of the business. You soon find out that your position is more about paperwork than revolutionary technology, with a few high-end social events sprinkled in for good measure. Fed up with the mountains and mountains of emails, you take it upon yourself to develop a new initiative, one that could truly challenge you for the betterment of society. After a few months of development, you build a state-of-the-art mech suit capable of defeating any foe. With this fresh new piece of tech that you're proud to call your own, you take to the streets of your city with the goal of stopping crime and helping the community at large. However, you quickly discover that the people don't want your help. In fact, they see your new crimefighting hobby as simply ego-driven self-aggrandizement. With each passing day, people are refusing your help and mocking you online. Soon, you become the source of countless memes and are given the ridiculous superhero name of "Billionaire Boy." Tired of the endless mockery, you decide to switch sides and become a supervillain to garner the respect you demand.
  4. Your great grandfather was a superhero in the 1940s. Although he was popular for quite some time, he went into hiding in the early 1950s after a mission gone wrong ended with the death of his sidekick, your great grandmother. He put his crime-fighting days behind him to focus on raising his sons. Surprisingly, none of his sons nor anyone in the family tree exhibited any superpowers... until you. As you come of age, you discover that you can manipulate time. It starts out small. For example, you go back in time to prevent your toast from burning or turn back the clock a few minutes to ensure you make it to school before the first bell. However, when you accidentally open a time rift and find yourself back in the 1950s, just a few days before the fateful mission that took your great grandmother's life, you realize you can change much more than you previously thought.
  5. You are down on your luck. Your demotion at work has just turned into a firing, your car has finally given out, and — to make matters even worse — your girlfriend of five years has just dumped you. Depressed, jobless, and feeling like the world is against you, you sink into your couch, wishing for something better. When you see an ad on TV for a company with high pay, high stakes, and no experience required, you decide to take a chance. After all, you have nothing left to lose. But when your new place of business implants a chip in you that grants you super strength and allows you to see through walls, you realize you may be in over your head. Now you and your fellow co-workers who survived the implant procedure must work together with your newfound abilities to take down villains while remaining anonymous to the general public.
  6. The first time it happened was in the middle of a basketball game. The second time was when you ran into your ex-boyfriend in the supermarket. The third time, that homeless man was asking you for change. Each time the process has been the same: Time seems to slow down, your body begins to freeze, and your mind becomes quick as lightning as you study the situation. You analyze and decide, and then the moment passes. Maybe you're just imagining things. Maybe it's all the caffeine you've been ingesting or the fact you've slept only 12 hours over the last four nights. Maybe it's just the adrenaline giving you a boost. Then it happens for a fourth time, and it becomes clear that time is actually stopping. You are making a blind turn around a corner when the truck in front of you skids into the other lane. The driver in an oncoming car honks and jams on his brakes while the car behind him veers wildly toward you. All at once everything freezes. Terrified, you assess the situation. You could yank the wheel hard and perhaps miss that oncoming car, but there's a truck behind you that you didn't see earlier. You finally decide on the optimal course of action.
  7. Your mother is a superhero known as the Cosmic Mist who has been saving the metropolis area since before you were born. She is able to manipulate the particles of the very air her enemies breathe and can change its temperature, speed, and chemical makeup within the blink of an eye, turning it into a deadly, iridescent mist. But during one battle against her arch nemesis that was televised live on the news, she summons the mist, and they both disappear completely. When she doesn't show up back home that evening, you know something is deeply wrong. You have to navigate the city—now in a state of heightened crime and danger due to her disappearance—and figure out what happened to her, all while coping with the confusion that comes with the development of your own emerging powers.
  8. The year is 1895. You are an archeologist leading an expedition into a temple deep in the heart of South America. The ruins are rumored to hold a great fortune, and you are one of the first explorers to set foot inside. After navigating through several boobytraps, you and your team stand before a massive stone statue of a sleeping face. When you take one wrong step, the statue's eyes open wide, flooding the room in bright white light. You don't remember much after that. The next day, you awaken back at your encampment. You are heavily bandaged, and a team member explains that the temple collapsed and you barely made it out alive. Disgraced, you return home with no riches to speak of. However, several days later, you are invigorated with more energy than you have ever felt before. In fact, you are able to lift large, heavy objects with ease. The statue, it seems, has granted you the power of superhuman strength. Overjoyed, you schedule a meeting with your board of research directors, excited to share this new development. But within a few days, your skin has hardened. You are horrified to realize that you are slowly turning into living stone.
  9. You have come close to death many times over the course of your life, but each time you have, you are saved by some miracle. Whether it be a quick step to the side or a perfectly timed crouch to pick up a penny from the street, these encounters have been very lucky. Perhaps a little too lucky. You decide to put this to the test by seeking out danger, just to see if you can get out of it. You rock climb without harnesses, cliff dive from impossible heights, and even find that every bullet fired at you, regardless of the distance, misses. This, you deduce, is your superpower. With seemingly nothing left to lose, you become a vigilante, using your luck to stop criminals in their tracks. You begin to make powerful enemies, all of which are powerless to stop you. But when you wake up one morning and stub your toe on your dresser, you fear that your luck is running out.
  10. When the mysterious metal pod washed up on the shores of New England, it became a sensation. People travelled for miles just to glimpse it, convinced that it was living proof of alien existence. One month after the pod appeared, it opened and a man stepped out. A hush of disappointment came over the crowd as he did, but quickly dissipated when he levitated ten feet above the ground. He raised his hand, causing a massive cloud of hot steam to rise from the pod and rocket into the sky. Then it rained for a week straight across the entire United States. As the rainwater seeped into the ground and flooded homes across the nation, people began developing strange abilities, including levitation, telekinesis, and pyrokinesis, to name a few. You, a grocery store clerk from the middle of nowhere, were gifted with the ability to see the future, and you see that the world is going to end in a matter of weeks. Now on a mission to reverse the effects of the mysterious rainfall, you and a few others travel across the country, hunting for the man who emerged from the pod.
  11. You are a teenager who lives next door to an elderly man who has become your friend over the years. You help him out occasionally, watering his garden and chatting while he rests on the porch as well as walking his tiny, yet equally old Pomeranian every night. You both enjoy the company. Despite speaking almost every day, you realize that you know very little about your friend. You decide to interview him for a class project, and he agrees, leading you into his house. The walls are covered with newspaper clippings detailing disasters that were averted over the years, and he tells you that, as a young man, he had a very exciting life. When he leads you into the back room and you see an old superhero suit —one that's been at the center of many urban legends — you know you're in for a good story.
  12. You have idolized superheroes your entire life and want nothing more in this world than to be one. When you move out of your parents' house, you decide to make your dream come true. You attempt everything: exposing yourself to radiation, getting hit by lightning, allowing every strange-looking spider you come across to bite you… but nothing seems to work. After several failed attempts and a few trips to the hospital, you are almost ready to throw in the towel. However, no matter how hard you try, you can't shake the feeling that you were meant for greatness. Then one day it dawns on you: You don't really need superpowers to protect the innocent from the forces of evil — you can be one of those superheroes who uses gadgets! You quickly download the best CAD software you can find, watch a few YouTube tutorials, and get to work.
  13. After a nuclear disaster, people begin developing strange mental capabilities. Levitation, pyrokinesis, and telepathy become commonplace, making the end of the world a very interesting place to be. Your parents died in the blast, so you now roam the wastelands with a group of these superhumans, all of whom prefer to remain pacifistic. But when you meet an opposing group of superhumans that threatens your way of life, you must make the decision to make peace or give into violence.
  14. You can communicate telepathically with animals. It's a superpower you've had your entire life, one that your parents initially thought was just the result of an overactive imagination. Your sister is insanely jealous of your superpowers. Despite this, you both have gotten along fine over the years, growing up with little to no issues with each other. One day while walking in the forest, a random squirrel tells you that people have been going missing over the last few weeks. You ask other creatures in the forest, and they all tell you that something big is coming. "The forest is dying," they tell you. "The monster is here." You investigate further, asking more questions of the local animals. Eventually, they lead you to the edge of the forest and a construction site where scientists and workers alike congregate over the deepest hole you've ever seen. They leave for the night, but before you can make your way over, you see something crawling its way out. It is large and monstrous. As you watch, it shifts form — from animal to bird and finally settling on a human form. You then realize that it is your sister. Jealous of your abilities, she struck a deal with an entity that fed on her envy, gaining the ability to shapeshift. But this power is slowly killing her. You now have to find a way to free your sister from this creature's influence before it is too late.
  15. Each year, the most exceptional cadets from the best military schools in the nation are chosen to become part of the government's superhero team. Every candidate's DNA is tested and then ranked according to the potential for superhuman ability. Cadets who meet the minimum DNA requirements are then put through rigorous physical trials to determine their ability to overcome adversity. The few elite candidates with both the highest DNA ranking and the ability to pass these trials are selected for the program, where they are genetically modified to reach their maximum superhuman potential. You were able to pass the physical trials with a few other cadets. However, you barely made the cutoff for DNA ranking, so you know you are at the bottom of the current candidate list and have no real chance of being chosen for the team. Despite this, you desperately want to be a superhero and are willing to do anything to be selected — including cheating.
  16. You were born into a family of superheroes, so your parents were devastated when you did not possess a single superpower at birth. At first, your family hoped that you might be a late bloomer and your powers would develop over time. However, this was not the case. Now in your late 20s, you lead a normal life while your family is off fighting criminals around the world. Sometimes your lack of powers gets you down, especially when you see news reports of your family's heroism on TV. Nevertheless, your hobbies and interests do keep your spirits up most days. You are even dating someone who is dealing with a similar family issue, though hers is more of the competitive squash variety rather than the saving the world variety. However, when your superhero family is captured by an evil supervillain hell bent on world domination, it falls to you and your girlfriend to rescue your family and save the day. You may not have super strength or be able to fly, but you hope that what you do have will be enough to save them.
  17. Initially advertised as something that would change people's lives for the better, millions of Americans participated in the Superhero Transformation Project, willingly signing over their bodies to the government in order to be subjected to genetic modification. For the most part, the program was successful. People who gained the power of flight or invincibility after genetic modification went on to have the life of their dreams, fighting crime for their local governments while being heralded by the general public. But some people did not gain meaningful powers and instead were granted pointless abilities, such as the power to know someone's shoe size just by looking at them or the power to grow the hair on their head on command. Others, like you, are able to predict the future — but only 30 seconds before it happens. It feels more like a curse than an opportunity. Once you're assigned the night shift at a high security prison, you learn that those 30 seconds are worth so much more than you believed.
  18. In a world overwrought by supervillains, you are always busy fighting crime. However, no matter how strong they are, these villains do not pose much of a threat to you. With the power to incapacitate superhumans by mutating their DNA at will, you have come to be known as the Golden Goddess, the most powerful superhero of your generation. At first, you help as many people as possible, removing superpowers from any criminal that you can corner. However, over time, you become increasingly selective about the supervillains you pursue as you don't believe that every petty crime requires a superhero like you to get involved. When you are invited to join the League of Superheroes to fight the forces of evil as a team, you quickly decline the offer. You would never work with a committee of smaller-scale superheroes, being told who to fight, what to do, and how to do it. A team would just drag you down. However, everything changes when you come across a villain who seems to be immune to your powers. Even worse, this villain manages to absorb your abilities, rendering you vulnerable. With your powers gone, you decide to enlist the help of the weaker superheroes whom you once shunned, hoping that they will aid you in regaining your powers despite how you treated them. When they come to your aid, no questions asked, you understand the true meaning of being a hero.
  19. An outbreak is affecting the entire nation. The flu-like disease is powerful enough to change a person's genetic makeup if catalyzed by some sort of physical trauma. Despite your best efforts, you contract the disease. A week later, you get hit by a car. Lamenting your bad luck, you lay in your hospital bed for months, and the doctors are saying that you'll be paralyzed for the rest of your life. But when you make a full recovery, you discover that you are impervious to any harm whatsoever. You are heralded as a medical miracle. In the months that follow, newscasts are ripe with stories of people all across the nation gaining all sorts of superpowers. Initially it is joyous, with people using their newfound powers to help their communities. But as more and more people gain powers, things begin to get out of control. Crime skyrockets. People who don't have powers keep putting themselves in danger in order to get them, and it becomes a crisis. You decide to form a coalition of other superheroes in order to keep the peace as best as you can, but there is no doubt that the world is headed toward anarchy.
  20. You have taken a pizza delivery job, which is perfect for you considering you can run at superhuman speeds — a power you gained after an accident involving an electrical outlet. You haven't met any other superhumans, so you go out of your way to hide your powers from others while still completing deliveries in record time and earning generous tips. Three months into the job, you finally catch a glimpse of another superhuman jumping rooftop to rooftop and landing impossible distances. Curious, you deviate from your pizza route to follow him and eventually recognize him from one of your college courses. When you observe him breaking into a jewelry store and robbing it of its contents, you realize that not everyone uses their power for good. Now, pizza still in hand, you must decide whether or not to intervene.

Sword and Sorcery

Sword and Sorcery
Medieval-like adventure stories which include magical characters and settings.

These high-action stories incorporate melee and magical fighting within a medieval-inspired world. The overall scope of the plot is not epic. Instead of saving the world from an imminent threat, a few characters use their abilities to accomplish a small-scale goal.

  1. You are the son of the greatest warrior of the kingdom, who — through his heroism and might — has protected the land from the forces of evil for decades. However, your path has not been as glorious as your esteemed father's. After being caught in bed with the princess, you have been banished from the kingdom and are now scraping by as a common sell-sword without title. When a powerful sorcerer sends assassins to murder your mighty father in his sleep, it is up to you as his first born to forge the path of vengeance. You hope that this quest may win you some favor with the king, making up for your past misdeeds. You may even be invited back into the royal court if everything works out as you planned. You form a willing group of sword-wielding fighters at the local tavern to accompany you to the Valley of Doom, where the sorcerer and his followers dwell. Legend has it that no man has made it out alive. After assembling your group, you begin your journey when suddenly the daughter of the local witch jumps out from behind a tree dressed in full battle attire. With a sack bearing endless fruit and meat and a determined twinkle in her eye, she asks, "Room for one more?"
  2. When you turned 13 years old, your master decided that you were more valuable as gladiator fodder than as a field worker and sold you to a traveling slave trader who was desperate for anyone who could pick up a sword. Soon thereafter, you were thrown into the arena to fight to the death. Few expected you, a scrawny boy with no combat experience, to survive long. However, you proved them all wrong, defeating foe after foe in the arena and living to see yet another day. Whether it was magic or might, no gladiator could withstand your blade. Word of your victories spread throughout the land and, at the age of 20, you were freed by the king himself and recruited to join his vanguard. You then marched from foreign land to foreign land at the far edges of the known world. As you eviscerated barbarians, your broadsword laying waste to hundreds in the name of the king who granted you freedom, your infamy only grew. Now, as you near your 40th birthday, you have retired from the vanguard and command your own mercenary outfit. You enjoy the fruits of your labor… but there is still unfinished business. Restless nights haunt you, filled with visions of your former slave master who tore you away from your family and sold you into gladiator combat. You can barely remember his face, but still, you dream of chasing him down, cornering him, and crushing his skull with your bare hands. After waking up in the middle of the night screaming, you push your concubine out of the bed and grab your sword. You are ready for revenge.
  3. "Don't do it!" the sorceress exclaims as she enters the chamber. You ignore her pleas and jam your dagger further into the statue's eye socket to pry the gemstone out. You glance back at her and smile, showing her the gleaming gemstone in your hand. "Don't be so superstitious, Gwendolyn." Just then, the floor begins to rumble, and debris falls from the ceiling. Panicking, you try to push the gemstone back into the socket, but the sorceress grabs your hand. "There's no time for that. Run!" You sprint out of the room, race down the corridor, and slide through two stone doors as they close. Finally safe, you take a deep breath and lean against the temple wall. You look over at Gwendolyn, who stares intently at a nearby graveyard, her unease growing. "What now?" you ask. She raises her hand and points without saying a word. Past the bramble and rusted wrought iron, you can make out the stilted and shuffling movement of recently reanimated corpses. You look back at Gwendolyn and lift your mace. "I don't run from the dead."
  4. You enter the throne room, a once revered place where the laws of the land and the greater good were paramount. Now, nothing could be further from the truth. Although gaining an audience with the king is still considered a high honor, the royal family is a shell of its former self. The royals are more concerned with possessions and comfort than their own kingdom. It has been a generation since any royal has even stepped foot on a battlefield. These days, they are about as useful as the many statues that adorn their decadent palace. The true power lies with those who whisper. Backroom deals hidden from public inquiry are where you find out who comes out on top. An audience in the throne room is no more than a formality — a way to declare to the public what has already been decided behind closed doors. In your case, this means that you cannot seek justice for the death of your brother. The murderer is a member of the high council and one of the last mages in existence. He is, for all intents and purposes, untouchable. You will not have your justice but you are given title to lands near your territory at the barbarian outskirts. In return, you must declare in front of the royal court that your accusations are incorrect and that the mage is innocent of any wrongdoing. You agree to the terms. However, as you approach the disinterested king sitting atop his ornate throne, you become overwhelmed with rage when you see the mage's smug face amongst the council members. The time for talk is over! You knock out one of the royal guards, grab his sword, let out a battle cry, and charge the mage.
  5. You wake up in bed to find a knife pressed up against your neck. An angry woman is on top of you, clutching the weapon with one hand and holding a bedsheet against her body with the other. You try to remember her name, but last night is a foggy blur of taverns and brawls. "Uh, miss… It seems like you have me at a disadvantage. How can I help you, uh, miss… miss…" Her eyes widen with rage. "How dare you! I am the Duchess of Bridgemoor, and you stole my ring. Tell me where it is or I'll put an end to you." The duchess? You have been looking for this woman for the better part of a month, but you never expected to find her in your bed with a knife at your throat. "I'm sorry, m'lady. I believe you used it to wager that your friend could beat me in a fist fight. Unfortunately, you lost. Perhaps I could find that elf bartender who won the wager and convince him to give the ring back to its rightful owner." Seeming somewhat relieved, the duchess relaxes. "Please do so right away. I can't stand to be without it." She places the knife on the bedside table, shimmies off you, and walks to the window. Do you really know where her ring is? Not in the slightest. You can't even find your pants right now, let alone a fancy lady's fancy ring. But her bounty is the largest in all of the four kingdoms and you will say anything to earn her trust.
  6. Each year, men from all walks of life travel to Levania to try their hand at defeating countless warrior opponents. The arena is filled with desperate men — many on the brink of starvation — who fight against battle-tested gladiators. The winner receives endless amounts of treasures and glory alike. However, the arena is an absolute bloodbath, with only one rule to follow: be the last man standing. On the day of the yearly tournament, you are dressed in a drab grey uniform as you serve drinks and food to the riveted spectators watching the unmitigated carnage. Around you, other similarly dressed servers are making their way through the stands, keeping the unruly crowd satiated while the battle rages on. You hear the sickening squelch of bloody flesh being ripped open from the arena floor, but you don't even spare the ring a glance. Instead, your eyes are glued to the Chief Magistri, who sits on a bejeweled throne in the royal box, separated from the brutality by an impenetrable magical barrier. He laughs at the displays of violence and cheers when another poor man falls to his death, just as he did when your father, your grandfather, and your older brother died painful deaths at the gladiators' hands. For the Chief Magistri, it is mere entertainment; for the men of your family, it was a fight for survival. You refuse to be like them. You watch as a boy your age, dressed in the same grey uniform as you, brings the Chief Magistri a goblet of mead. The chief does not spare the boy a glance, immediately taking a sip of his drink to quench his thirst. The boy turns to leave the royal box and catches your eye, giving a slight nod. Seconds later the chief grasps his throat, choking on the poison. His team rushes to help him, but it is too late. All around the arena, the servers in the grey uniforms drop their platters and run toward the center of the ring. You grab a fallen sword and enter the bloodbath.
  7. Wizards — you hate the whole lot of them! Their high-and-mighty attitude and outright arrogance know no bounds. However, they do pay a pretty penny — more than the richest lords of the land — so you begrudgingly guard the front gate of their castle sanctuary. They come and go, sometimes completely ignoring you, other times treating you like a dog. You mostly keep your opinions to yourself, but one day you can't help but laugh. "What are you wearing, little man — a dress?" The insulted wizard turns around, levels a stern gaze at you, and approaches in an angry huff. "I'll have you know that I am the head alchemist and these golden robes signify my seniority. Don't ever speak out of turn to me again! Hey, look at me when I am speaking to you!" You look down at him as he continues to berate you, trying to put you in your place. "Use those big muscles when we tell you to and stay out of my way… or else!" Having reached your fill of righteous indignation, you lift your axe, swing it at his head, and shut him up for good. "Guess I'll have to find a new job," you mumble to yourself as you stare at his decapitated body. Then again… maybe not. Deep inside the wizard's sanctuary, there is a room filled with treasure — at least, that is what you have heard in the wizards' hushed conversations as they pass you by. Perhaps it's time you go visit that room and see what you can find for yourself. You take off your guard helmet, throw it to the ground, rip open the gates, and storm the castle.
  8. As you enter the outskirts of the village, you feel the eyes of the townsfolk upon you. They know their kind, and you are definitely not one of them. Most keep their distance, with the exception of a child who runs up to you and asks, "What's that stick and chain thing?" You look down and answer, "It's called a morning star, kid. It's the best weapon out there for bashing heads. You see, you take this end here and then swing it like so…." Before you can provide a demonstration or speak further, his mother rushes out, grabs the child, and drags him back into their home, admonishing him for talking to you. You continue walking through the village until you reach the town square, where a few dozen onlookers watch you. With a booming voice, you ask a single question to everyone within earshot: "Where's the town's constable?" No one responds. Most just stare at you from a safe distance. You search the crowd, trying to spot the constable amongst the sea of peasant faces, but no one stands out. "I'll ask again. Where's the town's constable?" Someone steps out of the crowd. "I am the town constable, sir. How may I help–" You interrupt his prattling with a simple request: "Give me your list of witch bounties and pay me double." The constable shrugs, explaining that the bounties are not up to him. He would need the sheriff's permission to make such a change. "But if you stop by next month," he says, "I'll let you know his decision. I'm sure we can come to an amicable solution that is satisfactory to all parties involved." You grab his silk tunic, lift him into the air, and whisper, "Do I look amicable?" The constable shakes his head. "Give me your list of witch bounties and pay me double. Do you understand?" When the constable nods, you let him go. He pulls himself together and asks you to come to his home to go over the details. You follow him down the road, with the crowd of onlookers following you just a few feet behind.
  9. Once a hero amongst your people, you are now relegated to live the rest of your days as an exile. You were charged with leading the king's army and defending the empire, yet nothing prepared you for the day when a great chasm ripped apart the land to allow demons to pour out of it like a bleeding wound. When you saw the mayhem unfolding from your bedroom window, you knew for certain that the court mage was behind this abomination. His experiments with necromancy ran afoul of all that was natural and holy. Whatever he unleashed that day would be dealt with first, followed by that man's head on a pike. However, when you stormed into the royal court to convince the king of who was behind this catastrophe, the mage was already there with his finger pointed directly at you. "There he is, my king. The one who unleashed hell. Guards, kill him!" You were too late. The king was convinced of your treachery, and soon you were fighting your way out of the castle, slaying your own men and whoever else stood in your way. When the prince himself confronted you on the drawbridge, you had no choice but to kill him as well. With the prince's blood on your hands, you know you can never go back home. Riding for weeks across deserts and mountains, you find yourself in a place that is completely unfamiliar. You must start anew in this foreign land, selling your particular set of skills to the highest bidder.
  10. As the only daughter born into a family of rough, burly male fighters, you are deemed by your father to be a waste of space and resources. You were ignored by your family until your 18th birthday, when you unexpectedly started to show signs of possessing a dreadful magic that belongs exclusively to dark mages. Believing that such powers should have been extinguished a century ago after the warrior clans overthrew the magic-wielders, your father is horrified of your newfound abilities and what it means for the family. He quickly sells you to the neighboring town's brothel, where you are dressed in rags and poorly mistreated, including being chained and beaten. You're told that your value is directly tied to your ability to pleasure the brothel patrons, but you are disgusted by the drunk men who come stumbling into your room. On one particularly brutal night, you have had enough. You grab the brute's face between your palms, stare straight into his eyes, and say, "Leave this room. Tell them that you have been satisfied. Do not speak of what has happened in this room." The man's eyes widen in a daze as he nods, then he drunkenly hobbles out of the room. You stare at your hands in shock, but rejoice at finding a solution to your problem. From then on, you repeat the same process with your customers, working to earn enough wages to buy yourself out of the brothel. One night, a cloaked figure enters your room. You prepare to perform your magic the same as always, but the figure removes her hood to reveal a scarred face and a wicked grin. She speaks in a high-pitched whisper. "At last, I have found one like me." Before you can protest, she grabs your face, and your world goes dark.
  11. Your entire life, you've heard the stories about the temple deep within the Vanora Woods where cultists worship a tainted god that defiles the laws of reality, even within the celestial plane itself. Rumor has it that those who have witnessed this deity's true form are stricken with madness due to attempting to comprehend the incomprehensible. Between their cries for sanity and their uncontrollable laughter, these individuals describe this god as a pure, unceasing void that perverts nature by being both born of something and born of nothing: a contradiction of existence. The cultists believe that summoning this being into our world would bring about penance for our sins. When the planets align, the window between worlds slightly opens, allowing mortal men to do unmortal things. At this time, if a virgin is sacrificed using the Ethereal Blade, a single dimension of the tainted god will be summoned, and this abomination of tentacles, teeth, and eyeballs will enter our world — or something scary and spooky like that. Frankly, it is all just a bunch of nonsense from your point of view. You honestly could care less about these kooks and their hocus pocus religion. What you really want is the Ethereal Blade — more specifically, the gemstones that adorn it. It is usually locked away somewhere safe. However, the blade will be taken out today for use in the summoning ceremony. The cultist temple stands before you. The time is just about right for the sacrifice. You swing the doors open to find the cultists praying and chanting. The head cultist has the blade in his hand. Below him is the virginal sacrifice, a beautiful young woman with flowing blonde hair, asleep atop an altar. "Bonus," you say to yourself as you unsheathe your greatsword.
  12. Young men and women have been disappearing in your village. At first, the villagers thought it was due to wild animals or raiders, but after a few months, only you and a few others of your age remain. Now you believe something more organized and sinister is behind this plot. One day while walking to the blacksmith to sharpen your battle axe, you pass the village notice board and see your friend's sketch posted amongst the other missing. Fed up and outraged, you decide to take matters into your own hands and retrace your friend's nightly routine so that you can discover what happened to him. The next night, you purposely stand outside the seediest tavern on the outskirts of your town, where your friend worked as a bartender. Just after midnight, you hear a rustling behind you, followed by a swift blow to the head. When you wake up, you feel immense heat. Beads of sweat cover your body. You open your eyes and find yourself in a cave full of glittering jewels. You recognize all the missing faces in the cave, each person equipped with a pickaxe and a barrel, mining gems by torchlight. "Get a load of the muscles on this one," someone behind you says. A pickaxe is pushed into your hands, and the demanding voice declares, "Get to work, big man! The wizard does not condone lazy slaves." Trapped, you must escape and save the others, exacting revenge upon those who have decided your life is worthless.
  13. "'Glorious George and The Dark Castle' — what do you think? Is it a good title for the song?" The bard looks at George, hopeful. You listen in as your group sets up camp for the night. "No, I don't like that," George says. "Not at all. Could you try something more heroic? Perhaps more exciting?" George offers a few options, trying his best to come up with some sort of alternative. You chuckle a little bit under your breath. Assembled two weeks ago by this impetuous and conceited prince, "Glorious George" has led your party of ten travelers across the countryside to find a legendary haunted castle filled with untold treasure, magical weapons, and beautiful damsels in distress. Of course, the castle is just a myth. You would have a better chance finding a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. However, the good prince pays well, so you'll follow him wherever he goes and cater to his every ego-driven whim. Your party includes a well-known historian, who is tasked with chronicling the heroic deeds that George performs on an hourly basis. There is also the bard, the cook, a few squires and servants, and a witch named Esmeralda, to whom you have taken a liking. Then there is you, a warrior from across the great sea who single-handedly changed the tide of the War of the Eight Houses. Your enemies on the battlefield trembled at your towering presence, some dropping their weapons to flee while others got on their hands and knees, begging for mercy. Nowadays, you are tasked with being nursemaid to George, making sure that his royal highness doesn't get into too much trouble. The next morning, George wakes you up and points at a castle in the far-off distance. "There it is! The Dark Castle! Adventure awaits!" As he races toward his horse, you call out, "You don't want to go there, sir! That castle is part of the Crowlin Empire." But before you can stop him, George rides off. You look over at Esmeralda, who shrugs. "We should probably follow him." You begrudgingly agree.
  14. You yell out to the young tavern wench to fetch another round. A couple of hours ago she told you that your money wasn't good here, and you and your fellow warriors have been indulging yourselves ever since. However, now she is shying away from your calls, pretending not to hear you as she quickly walks toward the kitchen door. "Hey! Come back here!" you call after her as you try to get up from your table. As your cohorts egg you on, you manage to steady yourself to make your way through the crowded tavern, pushing anyone aside who doesn't have the common sense to move out of the way for a seven-foot-tall man. When you finally make it to the door and open it, you find a long narrow hallway with no kitchen to speak of. However, you do find something of great interest on the floor: a trail of the tavern wench's clothes. You walk past one shoe, then the other, followed by a pair of stockings. You turn the corner to find even more of her outfit scattered about. You follow the trail until it ends with her kerchief tied to a doorknob. You open the door to find the young woman in bed, covered only by a sheet, patiently waiting for your arrival. You grin, clear your throat, and formerly introduce yourself: "Hello, umm, very nice lady who gives free mead. You might have heard of me and my conquests. I am the brave warrior who just ransacked the nearby wizard's sanctum. Well, it looks like you wanted some alone time with me. I'm happy to let you know that I'm here to oblige." She takes a moment to look you over, then smiles and says: "Yes, that was the point. I definitely wanted you alone — away from your fellow warriors at the tavern table, away from your sword you left next to your barstool, and away from your sensibilities, my highly inebriated friend. By the way, there are some people from that wizard's sanctum you just mentioned who would love to make your acquaintance." You suddenly hear footsteps behind you. You spin around to see five men rushing down the hallway, weapons drawn.
  15. You glance to your left, seeing a faint flicker of light coming down the narrow stone tunnel. "Finally," you say to yourself, "I've found the grate." With a torch in one hand and a map bought from an old witch in the other, you have been walking through a maze of rats and sewage for the last five hours. The first few rooms of the castle's sewers were rather large, with grand archways and even signs pointing you in the right direction. However, every turn has led you to a smaller and smaller passageway, and now you can barely fit through the last few tunnels. You pivot your body toward the light and move forward. Eventually, you find yourself under the grate. You look at your map one last time and think about every turn you have made. "Yeah," you say to yourself, "the treasure room is up there." You extinguish your torch in a nearby puddle of god-knows-what and use the handle of your battleax to push the heavy grate up and out of the lip holding it in place, scraping it along the stone floor of the room above. You then grab the edges of the opening and pull yourself up. As you look around, with your head and arms in the room while your legs still dangle below, you don't see any treasure. "Stop right there!" You turn your head to see eight guards scrambling out of their beds and grabbing their weapons. This isn't the treasure room. It's the castle barracks.
  16. As a battle-weary warrior, you have seen your share of bloodshed and would rather gamble, drink, or visit the local brothel than ruminate about the horrors of warfare. However, when a witch offers you a reward to help find her daughter and kill the kidnapper, you begrudgingly agree. Swinging your axe at a man's head is the last thing you want to do, but your newfound hobbies require a full coin purse. The witch's daughter is being held by a ruthless mage who uses the magic of young witches to prolong his life beyond what is considered natural. With the help of her coven, you, the mother, and two other witches traverse the badlands on horseback in an attempt to track down the daughter before it is too late. However, when you reach the edge of Druid Lake, the trail goes cold. Frustrated, your group decides to shelter overnight in an abandoned castle. There, you find a mad man living amongst the ruins who says that he saw the mage with a young girl about a week ago. Claiming to be an expert tracker, he is willing help you find the child — for a price. Desperate and out of alternatives, you agree to his terms, and the deranged man joins your group. You ride past the lake and enter the Dark Moon Woods, to the displeasure of your fellow witch travelers, who believe the legend that the woods sap the strength of magic wielders. Halfway through the woods, the mad man points to fresh tracks on the ground and says that the girl is very close. However, when a letter slips out of the man's pocket previously sealed with the mage's signet ring, you know that you have fallen into a trap.
  17. In a land overrun by dangerous supernatural species, only the wealthy can lock themselves safely inside their secure castles, leaving the rest of the citizens to fend for themselves. Hunting these creatures is the only way for you to survive, protecting yourself and the people you love. It is also a way for you to earn some coin because neighboring townsfolk pay you to kill the creatures decimating their land. When you return to your hometown after one particularly brutal fight with a swamp of sirens, you find your village in ruins. There is debris where shacks once stood, and you can smell the charred flesh of the people who once lived there, including your family. Devastated, your anguish overwhelms you as you fall to your knees. After a few moments, you manage to gather yourself and look toward the eastern sky, where the light catches the glimmering castles that protect the gentry class from the monster infestation. Why should they be safe from the creatures at the expense of other people's lives? You grab your trusty sword and take off to the east. Nothing has prepared these elites for what is coming for them. Soon you will be the creature they fear the most.
  18. As you leave the forest, the unobstructed daylight strikes your eyes, and you lift your hand to block the piercing rays. You are still getting your bearings when the ground moves underneath you and your left foot slips. You scramble backward and find yourself at the precipice of a ravine, with a river flowing far down below. You take a deep breath as you glance toward your right, where your companion is exiting the forest. Staring intently at her map, she describes the terrain as she continues walking ahead: "Now, we should be close to the cave, but there is some sort of chasm somewhere around here—" In one swift motion, you grab her by the robe and hoist her up just as she is about to step off the cliff. You then set her back down a couple of feet away from the edge. Without acknowledging what just happened, she looks up from the map and points at a nearby tree. "Cut that down and place it across the ravine. We have no time to lose. The sun is setting." You do just as she requests, using your battle axe to chop down the tree before dragging it to the edge and tossing it across the ravine to bridge the two sides. You and the sorceress carefully make your way across, and soon you find the entrance to the cave. After exploring the cave for a few minutes, you come upon a treasure chest. Your partner quickly opens it and begins filling your sack with handful after handful of riches. You glance back toward the cave entrance and see the sunlight slowly fading away. The sorceress notices the diminished light as well. "We have to leave now, before nightfall. Pick up the sack and follow me," she commands before running toward the entrance. You follow her, gripping the heavy sack with both hands. But as you exit the cave and approach the ravine, the dim light of dusk turns into darkness, and an unnatural fog settles across the land. Without warning, skeletons emerge from the mist and attack you. You swing the sack of treasure at them as they claw at your skin. "Give me the damn sack and use your axe!" the sorceress screams. You drop the sack and wield your battle axe, swinging it wildly at the skeleton horde. Meanwhile, your partner is balancing herself on the makeshift tree bridge and slowly walking across, levitating the sack in front of her. You turn your back to the ravine to fight off the skeletons, giving the sorceress the chance to reach safety, but when you call out to ask if she has made it across, there is no response. You fear the worst. Then you hear something unexpected: the sound of bark scraping against the ground, followed by a rush of tree limbs, and finally a distant splash. You turn your head to find that the sorceress has pushed the tree into the ravine, stranding you to fight an unwinnable battle. "Sorry," she yells across the chasm. "I don't like sharing. Good luck! You're going to need it." She then runs into the dark forest, the sack floating by her side.
  19. You are apprehensive about not wearing your armor or having your greatsword by your side, but this job calls for a more subtle approach. The door creaks open, and you quietly sneak into the wizard's chamber in the dead of night. You are trying to steal the Paragon Amulet, a magical medallion forged by the god of fire many eons ago. A hefty coin purse has been promised to anyone who can deliver this trinket, but first you must navigate the pitch-dark room without disturbing the sleeping wizard. As you hear him snoring just a few feet away, you methodically search through his belongings. From the corner of your eye, you see the amulet hanging on a hook on a nearby wall. You grab it and begin to make your way toward the door... but something feels off. You listen and realize that the snoring has stopped. Before you can react, a lightning bolt shoots across the chamber and nearly hits you. You dive behind the foot of the bed as the wizard shoots more lightning from his fingertips. You look around, trying to find a way to defend yourself, but the only things near you are a full chamber pot and a jug of water. As the wizard continues to spray lightning at the foot of the bed while you crouch behind it, you tip the jug on its side and soak the floor where he stands. Then you hurl the chamber pot at the wizard's head. As he ducks, his hands point toward the ground. The lightning hits the puddle, which then travels up his body and knocks him out cold. Not knowing how long he will be unconscious, you make a break for it and run to the door.
  20. As you gulp down your second cup of ale, chaos breaks out in the village tavern. Someone you never thought you'd see again — a beautiful but ill-tempered warrior maiden with whom you fell madly in love many years ago — starts a barfight. She and her two companions — a young squire and an enormous man with a missing ear — take on six local men over an unknown dispute. You don't want to help her, but she was your first love, and your protective instinct fires up. You jump in and knock out one brute after the next. Soon you, the warrior maiden, and her companions are the last ones standing. She then notices you and tells you that she came to find you, but she got into a little trouble along the way. You're not surprised when she reveals that she owes the guys on the floor a little coin over a misunderstanding. You tell her it's been good to see her, but now you need to head home to tend to your father, who is worse off than the last time she saw him. She feels for you and tells you that is precisely why she's there. Your father lost his memory years ago in battle. Together, you and the maiden once sought out a bracelet that would restore his memory, but you grew weary of your failures and fought often. You eventually returned home, and she returned to her clan. But now she's here, saying she's found the bracelet's location and wants you to come with her. Filled with renewed hope, you agree.

Urban

Urban
Magic existing within an urban setting.

In these stories, magic is juxtaposed with a real-life contemporary urban setting. The plot usually has a dark tone and employs tropes commonly found in crime noir.

  1. Elves have lived in the cities for generations, suppressing their magical abilities and cutting the tips of their ears off in order to integrate into human society. Their existence has been kept a secret by those in power, knowing that if word got out, the elven people would be hunted down like they were during medieval times. After several elves are murdered, the police bring you in to investigate who is behind these gruesome acts. You are a private investigator who is trusted by both sides because you are half elf and half human. Your instincts have taught you not to believe in coincidences and, after combing through the evidence, you determine that everything points to a serial killer with a grudge against elves. Elves never kill their own, so the killer must be human, but only a handful of humans in the city know that elves exist, and all of them hold positions of power. Your investigation leads you down an unexpected path of dark sorcery that is more chilling than you could have ever imagined.
  2. You sip your coffee at your favorite hole-in-the-wall café across from a crumbling and congested elevated highway. It's nearly midnight, but you don't want to go home. Your heart is aching. Your grandmother has been taken by a man your kind knows by reputation but no one has seen up close — a fallen angel who will hunt down anyone or anything if the price is right. The owner of the café, an old woman with a weathered face, offers you another cup and a smile of sympathy. When a scruffy-jawed man with thick boots and violet eyes enters the café, the old woman nearly drops her coffee pot. The café owner calls him by name, the shock in her eyes palpable as she begins to tremble. The man nods a greeting to her. Then he notices you and, to your surprise, marches right over to your table with an aggressive, animalistic intent. You hop to your feet and quickly whisper an incantation. He stops in his tracks and smiles, as much as his gruff exterior will allow. "I haven't picked a fight with a Benandanti in a hundred years. Why would I start now?" You slowly sit back down as the man makes himself comfortable in the opposite seat. "Word on the street is that you are looking for a man with broken wings. I have a lead or two, but first could you help me with a little something?" He takes off his fedora to reveal two horns sprouting from his head. You wave your hands, and in an instant the horns disappear. "Thanks, buddy. Now let's get to work."
  3. "Where is she? Where's the girl?" The ogre punches you in the gut again as his two associates hold you in place. You cough and gasp for air. After a moment or two, the ogre grabs you by the necktie and lifts your head up. "Did you hear me, human? Tell me where she is." You look straight into his eyes and say, "I told you I have no idea what the hell you are talking about! I don't know anything about a girl. I'm just a stockbroker." One of ogres holding you up chimes in, saying that maybe you are telling the truth. The leader turns to his associate and levels a hard stare at him: "No. He's lying. I can smell it on him. The girl was seen breaking into that vintage clothing store over there about an hour ago. I found this guy running from the scene." He then looks back at you. "Then again, you were probably looking for a streetwalker or a place to piss when you saw me coming and decided to run. Is that what you were doing, Mr. Stockbroker?" You nod in agreement, and the ogre burps a short laugh before hitting you square in the jaw. As you fall to the ground, the world goes dark. The next morning, you wake up lying in a puddle next to a dumpster. It feels as if every part of your body is throbbing. You manage to get up and look around, relieved to find no sign of the ogres. Realizing the coast is clear, you remove the ring from your finger, breaking the illusion spell and revealing yourself to be a 20-something girl wearing an ill-fitting men's suit and a pair of size 10 horsebit loafers you grabbed from the clothing store last night. You brush yourself off and slowly make your way home.
  4. Your parents own a small convenience store in the heart of the city in which you live and have always pressured you to carry on the family business. You don't mind picking up a shift or two every so often, but it is not something you want to do for the rest of your life. After a failed semester at your first year of college, you come back to work for your family while you figure things out. Your father tasks you with overseeing the nighttime deliveries. You agree, thinking nothing of it and assuming it's like any other delivery the store gets. He gives you the key to the backroom—one you've never been in before—and leaves you to it. But when a tall, winged creature wearing a baseball cap climbs out of the delivery truck to get you to sign for the shipment, you realize your parents have been hiding something from you. You help unload your first shipment of magical potions, shelving them in the massive backroom among the others, and realize this secret has been going on longer than you thought.
  5. You climb off the city water taxi wearing your favorite summer dress. You look around and spot your best friend at your usual picnic spot in Marina Park. As you pay your fare, someone bumps your shoulder, causing you to drop your handbag. You pick it up, glancing back in surprise to the woman you've had your eye on in AP Bio all semester. She's tall, blonde, slender, pale, and exactly your type. You've wanted to get to know her better, but you were too shy to introduce yourself. You look away. She seems busy tuning her guitar anyway. You walk the other direction and finally join your friend. As you sit down and start talking, you can hear your crush in the background as she plays her guitar. A few people come by and drop money into her hat as she strums a tune and sings. She's incredibly good — singing, dancing, and playing her guitar as you watch her from the corner of your eye — and you are having a hard time ignoring her as you try to catch up with your friend. Noticing how distracted you are, your best friend decides to play matchmaker and drags you closer to the singer. "Come on! Maybe you can drop your phone number in her hat instead of money? I think she would appreciate it more!" You begrudgingly follow your friend. When you get there, you spot an enormous man with a serpent tattoo on his shoulder watching with a scowl on his face. Wait. Did the serpent tail on his tattoo just move? As the blonde finishes her set, she catches your eye and smiles at you. Before you can react, the big man rushes forward and grabs the singer. In a thick Bulgarian accent, he yells, "Samodiva! This is for my sister!" The crowd screams and fans out. After the scuffle is over, the man runs off, leaving the singer on the ground. Someone in the crowd calls the police as you hurry to her side. She asks you to get her out of there. Her hand is clutching at her stomach, where a silvery ooze is visible. Is that her blood? She locks eyes with you again, this time with a plea. "Don't say a word." You nod. Whatever is going on, for some reason, you trust her, and you're determined to save her.
  6. Most of the supernatural creatures remaining in the world have left the cities, favoring the small towns where they can more easily blend in with the monotony that suburban humans favor. You refuse to live such a dreary life and instead reside in New Orleans, with its vibrant jazz, brass, R&B, and soul music scene. Being a shapeshifter, you can seamlessly blend in as a human and are able to fully experience the city and everything it has to offer. One night, you're enjoying a live band at your favorite jazz club when you overhear an odd conversation at the end of the bar. A couple of guys are talking in hushed voices, discussing rumors of abductions throughout the city. These aren't just any run-of-the-mill kidnappings though. Supernatural creatures are being targeted. The two men notice you watching and maintain eye contact, recognizing you as a fellow supernatural creature. You nod, but do not engage, thinking about what you have just heard and what it means for you and your kind. As you're leaving the club through the grimy back alley, you hear a scuffle and turn just in time to see two human assailants shoving a bag over the head of one of supernatural creatures from the conversation moments ago. The abductee is herded into the back of a van and driven away by one of the humans. The other one stays behind, leans against a wall, and lights a cigarette. Wanting to get to the bottom of this, you approach the kidnapper, punch him out cold, and shapeshift into his form. As you rummage through his belongings, looking for clues, you hear his phone ring. You answer it, and the male voice on the other end tells you to meet him at a dingy dive bar across town. You agree, eager to pursue the lead.
  7. You are a private eye in the heart of the city who is often tasked with scoping out adulterers, people who skip out on their girlfriends, or shady business deals. When a young woman comes to you, teary eyed, in the hopes of finding her missing boyfriend, you don't bat an eye, even when she says she can't pay your entire fee. The case is as typical as typical can get. But when she tells you how he went missing, how he quite literally vanished, screaming into thin air, you accept her meager offer and get to work. You poke around, visiting his local haunts, and eventually witness something rather shocking: a man in an alleyway talking to tiny, fluttering forms who, when he doesn't comply, seem to zap him with something. He screams out in pain, vanishing into a cloud of mist. You watch a little longer and discover that the small creatures are fairies. Digging into the magical underbelly of the city, you find a retired warlock who says he can help you go undercover. You hesitantly agree. Once you are in your tiny, winged form, you have three days to find the group responsible for these disappearances.
  8. You've just inherited your grandfather's bookshop in Central London. You spent your childhood exploring its shelves and are passionate about keeping the legacy going. The night after the shop's grand re-opening, you receive a strange package containing a leather-bound book with an odd gemstone at the center. Etched in gold ink is an inscription from your grandfather, telling you this book is your legacy and that you must protect it with your life. After flipping through it, you realize in awe that the book can foretell the future. You are reading history that has yet to be written when a group of men break into your store, hunting for the book. They threaten to burn your shop down with you in it unless you hand it over. You decide to run for it, book clasped to your chest. Out the front door, down the back alley, up a fire escape. Everything inside you is telling you to protect the book at all costs. As you turn a corner, the book slips from your hand and lands on the tar-covered rooftop. You look at the open book and see an illustration of yourself on a rooftop looking down at an open book. It is the present moment. You flip to the next page to find another illustration of yourself falling into a swirling black portal as if a tornado opened up below your feet. You suddenly feel a gust of wind.
  9. "Time to go pal!" The bouncer pushes you out the back door and into a dimly lit alley. You immediately trip over your own feet and fall into a pile of garbage bags. The bouncer chuckles a bit before slamming the door. As you look around for your glasses, you find something odd: a playing card submerged in a puddle of gritty rainwater. You find your glasses right next to the card, a crack across one lens. As you get yourself together, you decide to grab the card as a keepsake for the evening. When you pick it up to take a looker a closer look, you're transported to a dingy room filled with imps, trolls, and goblins. They look as annoyed to see you there as you look shocked. Clearly you aren't the guy they were expecting. They heave heavy sighs as they take their seats around a poker table. "You'll do, kid. Take a seat," says a voice from the corner. You do as instructed just as an imp starts dealing the cards.
  10. "What do you think? Have you ever seen anything like this?" You ponder the question while picking up a metal shard from the ground. "No… Never. It doesn't make any sense." The alley is littered with the bodies of half a dozen demons, some decapitated, and others stabbed multiple times. In all of your years on the force, you have never seen demons gather like this on the surface world; doing so would bring too much attention. Why were they all here together? What were they looking for? You stare at the shard in your hand. It is definitely a broken piece of a mystical weapon, the type of weapon that can only be forged by an elf, but the elves abandoned the human world more than a millennium ago. "What is that in your hand, Detective?" the police officer asks. You shove the shard in your pocket and shrug. "I don't know yet." Anticipating that your response will only invite more questions, you decide to change the subject: "So… what's the plan? Are you shutting down the crime scene?" The officer looks around at the carnage. "Yeah. It will be dawn in a couple of hours. We need to clear this out and hose it down before the public starts taking photos and posting it to Snapchat or whatever. Are you done?" You nod and turn toward the street. As you walk away, your pocket begins to glow. Suddenly, the shard flies out of your trench coat and falls down a storm grate on the other side of the alley. You and the officer chase after it and then pry open the grate. Pointing your flashlight down, you see the rest of the shattered weapon on a narrow walkway. A woman stands next to it in knee-deep water, quietly sobbing. The officer whispers, "Oh Christ, is that who I think it is?" You nod without taking your eyes from the woman. "Yeah. The Lady of the Lake. Which means the weapon is Excalibur. At least what's left of it."
  11. You glance at your watch again. It just turned 3:00 AM, the witching hour. You chuckle a bit. "The witching hour. Great," you say to yourself. You can't believe you are here doing this. You have been waiting for an hour at an abandoned warehouse to pay blackmail to a witch. She struck up a conversation with you at a nightclub last week and eventually put you under her spell. The next morning, you woke up in her bed and raced out of there as soon as you could, but it was too late. The photographs she took told a story of sordid infidelity, and you would pay any price to make sure that your wife never finds out. You hear a vehicle in the distance and look up to see the witch's sedan pull up along the far side of the warehouse. She parks her car but keeps the motor running. The headlights are pointed directly at you, and you hold up a hand to stop them from blinding you. As she steps out of the vehicle and approaches, her high heels clacking against the cracked concrete floor, she says, "Sorry I'm late. Busy night. Do you have my money?" You hold out a thick envelope. She snatches the envelope and quickly counts what's inside. "Good, it's all here. See you in a month for the next payment. Right here on the 25th at 2:00 AM." Your jaw drops: "What? It's not just one pay off? I can't afford that!" She looks straight into your eyes and smiles. "Oh, I'm sure you can. After all, you don't really have a choice." She turns around to walk back to her car. Enraged, you look down at the floor, not knowing what to do next. Then you see your answer: a metal pipe in a pile of debris a few feet away. Now is your chance to end this once and for all. You pick up the pipe and slowly sneak up behind the witch.
  12. As a barista, you are used to demanding customers and the never-ending line of drink orders. Disappointed by our muffin selection? Too much whipped cream on your corporate coffee milkshake abomination? "No problem, sir. I'll get right on it." You manage every situation with a permanently plastered smile on your face and feel like you can handle anything. However, you were not expecting the blender to malfunction right before the end of your shift, forcing you to spend hours past closing time cleaning a sticky mess off the ceiling. Now you — a 23-year-old woman — has to speed walk home through a dangerous part of the city well after midnight. As you turn onto yet another empty side street, the streetlights flicker before turning off entirely. Plunged into near darkness, you hear a crash from a nearby alley and the sounds of a struggle. Despite everything in your body telling you to run the other way, you creep around the corner and peer down the alleyway. Through the darkness, you see a man with his face buried deep in a woman's neck, blood pouring from the wound as the woman struggles to break free. Terrified, you gasp audibly, and the man wrenches his head in your direction as the body in his grasp goes limp. His glowing red eyes search for the source of the sound, and his bloody fanged mouth hisses. Suddenly, someone grabs your shoulder and spins you around. You stare at a young man dressed in medieval garb, a crossbow in his hand, as he stares back at you intently, studying you to see if you were bitten. After a moment, he aims his crossbow into the darkness and tells you to get behind him. You brace yourself for the imminent fight.
  13. You lean back in your chair and look out your office window onto the city. The sun has just set, and the off-and-on rain has now turned into a full-on storm right as hordes of people have taken to the streets to head home from a hard day's work. Some race to the subway while others hail cabs. The hot dog stand where you usually get lunch is closing down for the night. In the distance, you see a man apparently talking to himself as he shuffles down a dark alleyway. When you look more closely, you notice some sort of creature on the fire escape above him, preparing to pounce. You shrug, deciding that guy won't last long. It is just how things work around here. Everyone has an angle, whether they want one or not. Knowing a person's angle is how you stay one step ahead in the game. You're still watching the sheets of rain pouring down on the cityscape when you hear a tapping sound on your office door. You swing around to find a woman has let herself in. She is completely drenched from the storm, but that only seems to intensify her incredible beauty. She is wearing an all-black dress and stares at you with eyes that pierce your soul. She smiles slightly as she introduces herself with a sultry voice. You ask her to take a seat, and she tells you her problem: "I heard you're the best private eye in the city. My husband has been missing for more than a week already, and I fear the worst. Can you help me?" You take a closer look and notice that she has no aura or soul. You sniff the air and catch the slight smell of sulfur — a dead giveaway for who she truly is: an everyday run-of-the-mill succubus. Most succubi would skip town when done with a husband; the last thing they would do is ask a person like you for help. What does she really want? Why does she need you involved in it? You don't understand her angle, which worries you. However, she is willing to pay you in full up front, and you need the cash desperately, so you ignore your misgivings and agree to take on her case.
  14. You feel like your coven has held you back your entire life, expecting you to follow rule after rule. It has never made any sense to you why witches, with all their power, go out of their way to repress it. That isn't how you want to live your life. You want power and to use your magic whenever and wherever you choose. One night, while the coven is out celebrating the sabbat beneath the full moon, you make your escape and head far away to the first bustling city you find. Right away you use your magic to extort every elected official you encounter, going unchallenged every step along the way. Within five years, you've used your magic to be elected mayor, with everyone of importance in your pocket. Life is perfect. Then one day you receive a letter in the mail, the words spelled out with letters cut out from magazines. The letter is blackmailing you over your witchcraft. Someone knows of your dark secret and wants to be paid off. Furious, you try to use your magic to discover who sent it, but you can't, which makes you realize someone possessing magic must be the culprit. Immediately you suspect your coven. Who else can possibly know enough to attempt to blackmail you? But you need more evidence. You hire an attractive private investigator to work the case, someone who knows about your kind and can get to the bottom of any situation. But what he uncovers is more than you bargained for.
  15. Down a dimly lit alleyway in the middle of downtown is your store: the last clock repair shop in the city. The business hasn't been doing well for a while. Most people would rather throw away a broken clock than bring it to your shop for repairs. You do work on antique clocks from time to time, bringing them back to their once majestic selves, but the workload is uneven at best, and lately you have been thinking more and more about calling it quits and retiring to Florida. One day while watching TV in the back room, you hear the bell ring from the front door. You get up and turn to look, expecting a package delivery or maybe the landlord, but instead you find a 14-year-old girl. "I'm investigating the disappearance of a man in his mid to late forties. He's just over 5 feet tall with a stocky build. Have you seen anyone that matches that description?" You stare at her for a moment, shake your head, and tell her that the comic book shop is two blocks away, near the subway station. "Maybe you can find him there, kid." She leaves without saying another word. The next morning while unlocking the store, a stocky man runs over to you and shoves something into your hand. "I don't have much time. Just repair the damn thing and I'll be back tomorrow." Before you can say anything, he runs out of sight. You look down and find a simple pocket watch in your hand, but you feel different: more alive, more invigorated. You look at your reflection in the storefront window and find that your gray hair has turned back to brown.
  16. As the son of a Wall Street tycoon and the current mayor of New York City, you're used to dealing with death threats against you and your family. It is simply an unfortunate part of being in the public eye. You're also accustomed to a security detail being right by your side every time you step out the door, which is a comfort when you hear that several sons of powerful politicians and wealthy businessmen have been murdered over the last few months, washing up on the shore of the Hudson River. The tabloid newspapers call the murderer the "Billionaire Boy Killer," and your father has ordered you to not go out after dark until the killer is caught. However, when your friends invite you to join them on a night out on the town, you can't resist. After your family goes to bed, you sneak off and go to the city's best underground nightclub to meet up with your buds. While getting settled at your table, you spot a beautiful girl sitting alone at the bar. You've never seen someone so gorgeous in your life. Her shining black hair, bright eyes, and scarlet red lips are mesmerizing. Just as you decide to approach her, she beckons to another partier from across the club, who walks over and sits right next to her as if in a trance. She whispers something in his ear, and they both get up to leave, the boy slowly following behind her, eyes blown wide and mouth hanging open as if in awe. Curious, you follow from afar as they make their way through many dimly lit streets and back alleys, eventually arriving at a wharf. There, you hear a soft song come from the woman's mouth, and the young man hands her his wallet and Rolex watch without hesitation. She sings another soft tune, and he turns around and walks straight off the wharf, falling into the water below. After the initial splash, there is no noise. The young man sinks to the bottom without attempting to swim. Just a few bubbles float to the surface, followed by nothing. You try to stifle a gasp, but the woman hears you and looks over, smiling. You almost scream when you see her teeth, razor-sharp and pointed. She approaches you, singing, but you continue to back away from her, and she falters. "How can you resist a siren's song? Only the supernatural are immune, but you are just a human." A siren? Scared and confused, you turn around and run into the darkness.
  17. It never seems to stop raining in this city. You pull your hat down low over your face and the collar of your trench coat up high around your neck. As you turn the corner, you see the familiar flashing blue lights and yellow tape of a crime scene. Another state senator has been murdered, the fifth one in as many weeks. Your reputation is on the line. There is a not-so-well-kept secret amongst the police force of the creatures who live hidden in the city. Excommunicated from hell, these demons reside in the extensive sewer systems beneath the streets — their powers diminished without a connection to the Hell source. The chief of police has been pushing the idea that these murders are part of a demon uprising, a conspiracy that some in your department have been slowly adopting. However, you are not buying it. Not that you are fond of demons, but you do not see them as the threat everyone else perceives them to be. Showing your badge, the officers let you through, and you take a look at the body, knowing right away the crime has been staged. Too many obvious indicators point toward demons that it is almost laughable. Someone else is behind these murders, and you intend to get to the bottom of it. You see movement in the alley, and you walk over to find your demon informant lurking in the shadows. He confirms that he saw who committed the murder, but he is too afraid to share the information with you. No matter what, you have to get the information from him if you want to solve the case.
  18. You receive a message from the head office dispatching you to the dark and dirty streets of downtown Los Angeles in order to investigate a spade of vicious supernatural murders. Looking through the thick case file of countless photos and police reports, something about these crimes seems off, but you can't quite put your finger on it. Your first stop is The Black Goat pub, an establishment frequented by many types of otherworldly creatures. When you step inside, you look at the strange patrons who have shed their charm spells, revealing their true identities for any and all to see. You smile a bit and think to yourself that there is nothing usual about these suspects: vampires, shifters, fae, werewolves, djinn, and more. As always, the bar is loud with music and jeering. You remove your hat, shake the rain off it, and order a drink. You then make your way over to the other side of the pub and sit in the dark corner, keeping to yourself as you watch, taking mental notes as you get a feel for who's who. Suddenly the door opens again, letting in a gust of wind and rain. A deadly silence falls over the pub as a figure saunters through the door. The figure approaches the bar to order a drink, and you notice scaled purple skin hidden beneath its trench coat's sleeves. When the figure flicks out a forked orange tongue to lap up the glass of whiskey, you realize you're in way over your head with this one. You can't help but wonder who this being is and why every other creature seems to be in awe of its presence. Where did it come from? What does it do? More importantly, why is it turning to stare at you with golden slitted eyes?
  19. For the last five years, you have been working at a red-light district bar as a cocktail waitress. The patrons are loud and obnoxious, especially after a couple of drinks, and are usually lousy tippers to boot. The boss is an ungrateful deadbeat who won't think twice about asking for a favor only to forget that he owes you the next day. Your coworkers come and go in just a matter of months. No one stays around for too long in a place like this. However, despite it all, you have been feeling pretty good about your job and your life — that is, until one evening when you see your old flame entering the establishment with a bunch of his friends. You lock eyes with him from across the room, and his face lights up. "Sandra! You work here?" he exclaims. "I thought you were… well, dead." You quickly make your way over to him, grab him by the arm, and escort him outside before he can blather more about you in public. As you leave with him, your ex announces to his friends that he'll be back soon, saying, "My old girlfriend wants some private time with me. Who am I to say no?" His companions' laughter rings in your ears you as you wind your way through the crowd and exit out the back door. Once in the alley, you let go of his arm, grab him by the collar, drag his head down, and forcefully whisper, "What the hell are you doing here?" He quickly responds: "Whoa now, little lady! I didn't even know you were alive. A mutual acquaintance told me you made the wrong demon angry, and he put a hit out on you. Every monster was hunting you down back home." You shove him away and fill him in on the details: "That's right. Pretty soon I had no place to hide, so I fled to this city to lay low for a while… A while became five years." Your ex slowly smiles: "You know, there is a contract that I'm working on right now. Big score downtown. Guarded by a couple of griffins. But my crew's not up for the task. I could use someone like you." You turn your back to him and decline the offer: "Not a chance. All of that is in the past. I have a new life now… Sorry, I gotta get back to work." You are heading toward the door when you hear the distinct sound of your ex drawing back the hammer of his gun. "You know, Sandra, there's still a bounty on your head."
  20. You're hunting the gray demon, a creature whose M.O. is known to many in your line of work. In Boston, he convinced a flower shop owner that her plants had come to life in order to exact revenge. In New York City, he convinced a ballerina that she was a statue — much to the dismay of the audience that night. In Chicago, he made a chef go mad when he convinced him that his patrons wanted to eat him instead of his cuisine. Just a mere whisper from this creature can convince anyone of anything, and it has been your job over the last two months to track him down before he strikes again in your city. You and your partner have run out of leads, and you are not looking forward to filing an unsolved crime report for this case. However, when you open the front door to your apartment, you find your spouse knocked out on the kitchen floor and your young son chanting and rocking back and forth with the TV blaring in the background. The gray demon emerges from the wall behind your son, catches your eye, and freezes your movement. You watch in horror as your son takes the demon's hand. You cry out for him to stop, but your son doesn't react. It's as if he can't hear you. The demon smiles down at the boy. He smiles back. Then in a flash, they disappear.

Young Adult

Young Adult
A coming-of-age story with a teenage protagonist.

These character-driven stories focus on teenagers who interact with magical elements and experience dramatic personal growth over the course of the plot. There is an emphasis on interpersonal relationships, including romantic turmoil, tested friendships, and family issues.

  1. For the last several months, suitors have come from far and wide to impress a young and fair princess in the hopes of gaining her hand in marriage. They come in expensive clothes and carriages, showing off their talents and wealth in a spectacle for all to see. But after one year of pageantry, the princess still shows no interest in marrying any of them. In fact, she has never felt any attraction to any man in her life. Her parents are frustrated with the lack of progress and decide to seek the help of a sorceress to set their daughter straight. They ask the sorceress to give the unwilling princess a potion that will make her fall in love with the next suitor. The sorceress agrees and is granted entrance to the castle disguised as a dressmaker. After finding the princess's chambers, the sorceress knocks on her door, but there is no response. She knocks again and, after a few moments of muffled commotion, the princess unlocks and opens the door, seeming somewhat distracted and out of sorts. While the princess looks down at her bed, the sorceress quietly slips the potion into her tea. The princess then drinks it and, in an instant, turns into a bird. The sorceress places the bird in a small cage attached to her belt, takes the form of the princess, and then exits her chambers to greet her "parents" and tell them how excited she is to meet her new suitor. Now destined to be caged for the rest of her days, the princess's only hope is you, a young handmaiden who witnessed these events while hiding under her bed. Moments ago, you were about to kiss the princess for the first time before the sorceress's knocking interrupted you. Jumping off the bed and hiding underneath it, you were able to escape unnoticed, but now must find a way to rescue your one true love and set her free.
  2. You are walking down the street one day when you happen upon an upset dog with four small roller skates attached to his paws. You remove his skates, and the grateful dog licks you on the cheek before running away. The next day, you find your best friend's bike in a nearby bush with a flat tire. You bring the bike over to your friend's house, and he thanks you for finding it. That night, you see some sort of creature near your trash can. You go to investigate, only to find your girlfriend's broken charm bracelet at the bottom of the can. When more strange incidents occur in your town, you are convinced that the creature you saw is behind the mayhem, but your parents and other adults don't believe you. With the help of your friends, you decide to set a trap and see who—or what—is behind all of these pranks once and for all.
  3. You are a 16-year-old girl living with your aunt in New York City. You take the subway to and from school every day and are familiar and comfortable with the route. But one night when you are coming home late from school, you come across a subway station you've never seen before. Curious, you descend into the station only to discover that it is filled with strange beings. They pay you no mind and, although you are nervous, you buy your ticket and board the subway train. To your excitement and surprise, the station it pulls into is not of this world, but of another. You exit the train and explore this new world, excited by the hustle and bustle of magical creatures, but when you try to return home, the subway station is gone.
  4. As the daughter of a wealthy merchant, you live in the countryside, pursuing your passion for things like writing and archery. You devote most of your time to these studies and practices — so much so that your mother worries you are destined to become a spinster. Fearful of the family bloodline ending with you, she hires a woman to give you lessons in more "womanly pursuits." The instructor she hires is older, with silver hair and a quick wit. Seeing as your mother offered to pay extra to host these lessons at the family home, the older woman brings with her three other pupils to learn along with you. When the class starts, you are initially disappointed, but after your mother leaves the room, the subject changes immediately. The books on manners are swept aside, and in their place the woman places books on witchcraft. You laugh at first, but are intrigued as you notice the other pupils taking up the books and reading voraciously. You are even more intrigued when the woman levitates the book nearest to her, plopping it gently on your lap. Anyone can wield magic, the woman explains to you, but only a select few can use it well. Excited by this opportunity to learn something brand new, you begin studying — and under your family's nose, you grow your magical abilities.
  5. One day, you wake to find that everyone over the age of 20 has fallen into a deep sleep in your kingdom. A strange, haunting voice lures those who are awake to a rundown castle deep in the woods. You and your friend, both apprentices to a powerful wizard, refuse to follow the voice, sensing that something is wrong. You use what knowledge you have of the magical arts to get to the bottom of this mystery and break the spell.
  6. As your parents repeatedly tell you, your older brother is nothing but trouble. He's out all hours of the night and is always hostile toward everyone, including you. Your parents think he's going through a phase, but you think otherwise. You've watched him enter the woods late at night and emerge in the morning, covered in mud, leaves, and — lately — scratches. When he does not return one morning, you know that something is wrong. Terrified, you decide to go into the woods and follow his footprints. You find an old tree with what seems to be a doorway inside, along with a scrap of your brother's plaid shirt. You enter and are transported to another world where you discover your brother has been part of a guild hunting monsters for months. When you learn he's been captured, you join his guild to find out where he's been taken.
  7. "You have exceptional power thrumming beneath your veins, little one. Go to the woods, my dear. The woods are dark, but you are light. Find the tree. It is short and wide, with countless grooves and bumps and the thickest roots of all the trees around it. Find the tree, my dear. It is your destiny." These were the last words your grandfather uttered to you before he passed. You were young and clueless at the time, but as you have gotten older, you have noticed that your body is always full of such intense energy, like you are a rod that has been struck by lightning. Your parents say that you are overactive and need to calm down, but you can't help it. The energy intensifies when your emotions are heightened, like when you are ecstatic, heartbroken, or angry. One day, as you watch a peer being mercilessly bullied in the school hallway, feelings of frustration and anger grow within you. You try to ignore your feelings, but your body betrays you. Your veins bulge beneath your skin, glowing a light blue, and sparks fly from your fingertips, zapping the bully with a shock. When everyone in the hall turns to stare at you in horror, you run from the building. You know you cannot go home because your parents will be notified of what you have done. With nowhere to go and no one to turn to, you remember your grandfather's mysterious words and set off into the dark woods that no townspeople dare enter for fear of unknown dangers lurking within. Upon entering the woods, you find yourself in pitch blackness. However, the darkness does not last for long, as your body lights up and, to your amazement, sparks shoot from your fingers. The trees sway in a light breeze, and a voice raises above the sounds: "Find me, for I am your destiny."
  8. You are a teenage boy living with your grandparents on a farm during the summer. Every day, you help your grandfather complete his chores around the farm, including feeding the animals, tending to the garden, and chopping wood. One day while splitting logs, you notice something moving at the edge of the farm close to the forest. Curious, you call out to it, thinking that it's one of the cows that's wandered too far from the pasture. The creature pauses, and for a moment it looks at you and then moves into the light. But it is no cow – it's a unicorn. Amazed at what you have found, the unicorn examines you for a moment, and with a slight nod of its head, its horn begins to glow. In that moment, it takes the form of a girl about your age.
  9. It's 1984, and your father is a famous magician who entertains thousands of adoring fans from Atlantic City to Las Vegas. Though you rarely go with him on his tours since you are still in school, you make sure to watch him during his TV appearances which are always entertaining and go off without a hitch. However, on the night of his televised disappearing act on Johnny Carson, you are shocked to see your father actually vanish into thin air and never return to do the rest of his set. Though your mother is convinced he has run off with one of his assistants, you know something is not right. You look through his old notebooks and find strange writing in a language you have never seen before. Not knowing what to do next, you ask an awkward but smart girl in your history class for help. Even though you have never really gotten along since elementary school, she agrees to help you, and you hit the library together. After doing some research, you're surprised to discover that the language is Sumerian, the written passages translate into ancient spells, and your father was not just a magician, but an actual wizard. It's up to you and your classmate to follow the clues he left behind, and in time, to find him as well.
  10. In your family's coven, it is a rite of passage to go on a yearlong journey in search of your magical purpose. The spirits of witches and warlocks past are more likely to offer guidance to those around the ages of 14 to 17, as they know that it may be their last chance to do so. It's not that those who enter adulthood are unwilling to hear them, but rather that they become unable to do so to over time. You are now 18 years old and have not seen any sign of the spirits. Your mother has begun to worry, as your younger siblings have already had their magical awakening, and you are well past due for yours. You decide to go out on your own, without the help of the spirits to guide you, and find that navigating the world without them is easier than you expected. But after a few months of living on your own, you find that your powers have begun to slowly diminish. Panicked, and afraid of disappointing your family, you seek out a mage who swears to have a connection to the spirits and says he can help you. Little do you know that he's part of the reason you're unable to hear the spirits in the first place.
  11. You are an awkward 17-year-old girl who spends most of her time online, particularly in VR chat rooms, where you find it easier to make friends. You are excited about Knight's Brawl, a VR game you've been waiting to play for months. The game allows you to explore an open world full of dragons and fantasy creatures and travel to different arenas to compete against other players. When someone in your online group chat offers you an exclusive beta-testing code, you jump at the opportunity. You boot up the game, and everything looks incredibly realistic. You swear you can even smell your surroundings. But when you enter your first battle and actually feel each blow, you know something is wrong. Only then do you realize that you are no longer playing the game, but are in it, and you — like the others trapped in the beta — have to fight your way to the top of the leaderboard if you want to escape.
  12. Long ago, the two continents of your world were bound in harmony by the marriage of a sorcerer and sorceress from two opposing royal families. For more than one hundred years, that balance was kept, each heir fulfilling their sacred royal duties and marrying a partner chosen by the council — often a duke or duchess from the opposing family. You are the next in line for the throne. Although you are ready to fulfill your family duties as an 18-year-old and maintain peace through matrimony, your parents are not. In fact, their daily squabbles have become full-blown arguments, with geopolitical tension escalating in their wake. When they abruptly end their marriage after an explosive fight, the two continents rally their troops at the border. Now you must find a new way to establish peace throughout the land while dealing with a family irrevocably split in two.
  13. As a shy girl living with your three aunts in their inn, life has been pleasant. You help your aunts tend to their crops and animals, prep vegetables for dinner, and enjoy the occasional chat with inn patrons, who often share wonderful stories. However, on your sixteenth birthday, your aunts suddenly stare at you strangely and hardly make any conversation. You assume that they have tired of you but are too polite to say so. Perhaps this is all part of growing up: seeing adults as who they really are and not from a child's perspective. The feeling continues to nag at you, and late one night as you pass your aunts' room, you hear strange chanting noises from within. You look inside and see three strange beings gathered around a large cauldron. They are wearing your aunts' clothing, and you realize that trolls have been masquerading as your aunts with the help of magic disguises. They must have taken over the inn in order to ensure a steady stream of food. You are determined to figure out what they have done with your real aunts before they start choosing patrons for their next meal.
  14. The summer of your 17th birthday you decide to drive across country with your best friend. The first few days go smoothly, but on the fourth day, you go to a fortune teller at a travelling carnival who tells you that you're both in grave danger. She's so concerned for your safety, in fact, that she successfully sells you a strange looking talisman that she says will protect you. Uneasy, but laughing it off, you and your friend continue on your journey. But on the fifth day, you notice something following you. It is not a person, per se, but more of a shadow — something constantly on the edge of your vision. When you tell your friend about it, she pauses, horrified, before telling you she's seen the same thing too. At your next campsite, you both are unable to sleep and are even more terrified when you hear a rustling outside your tent. You emerge to find the shadow, who has caught up with you. But it soon takes the shape of a worried young man. Breathless, he tells you that the fortune teller is actually a witch and that he was the last person she cursed with the talisman. His soul has been tethered to it ever since. It is now up to you and your friend to find the witch, free the young man's soul, and save your own.
  15. The house at the end of the street has been condemned since you were a little kid. It has always been part of a neighborhood mythos, a source of scary stories that the people who have lived around it like to spin, with the history of the place changing each time. As you near your final days of high school, you and a few friends decide to explore the old house before you graduate — a final goodbye before you all go off to different colleges in different towns. The house is mostly empty, with nothing of significance. Until you find the mirror. It is as tall as you, its metal frame tarnished with age. You swear you can hear something coming from beyond it. When you touch the surface, it ripples, taking you and your friends aback. Slowly but surely, you all decide to enter the mirror, eyes shut tight, not knowing what to expect. When you open your eyes on the other side, you are standing in the stonewalled hallway of some sort of castle. Frightened, you and your friends turn on your heels to rush back into the mirror, only to discover that the portal has closed. You traverse the halls of the castle, hearing music and laughter coming from far away. When you and your friends, dressed in jeans and T-shirts, walk into the full ballroom of the Elven King's Court, everyone goes silent.
  16. You are a teenage boy living with your divorced mother in a suburban neighborhood. Every summer your father takes you on a cross-country trip in his RV, visiting whichever tourist trap he decides to drag you to this time. But this summer, your dad has a different plan. He tells you that his work has carried over into the summer, so you'll be travelling up to Maine for a while. He even has a job for you. You agree to go with him. You're not particularly excited about working, but you have to admit that you're intrigued. When you get there, you find out what your father's really been doing for all of these years: hunting demons and banishing them back to their own realm.
  17. Two hundred years ago, human soldiers entered your woodland home. Initially their arrival was peaceful, but when they saw the beauty of the trees and lakes, they decided to claim it for their own. Now most of the trees that your forefathers claimed are gone, cut down to use as lumber to create human homes. The grass and meadows have been trodden down to hard-packed roads. In some ways you are thankful you are not old enough to know what the world used to look like. You are a young cobbler with dreams of running your own store, which is ridiculous because you are an elf, making you a slave, like all others of your kind. You will forever mend shoes for your master in return for food and shelter. One day, a woman wearing a hood over her ears enters your shop. She stares at you with tears in her eyes, then leaves before your master sees her. That night, you see the same woman in the distance. She looks at you, then turns to walk into the woods at the edge of town. You follow her, trying to get to the bottom of this mystery. Your master will beat you if you don't return before dawn, but you feel drawn to follow—drawn to what looks like hundreds of torches beckoning you deeper into the woods.
  18. For years, you have lived under the control of a cruel woman, caring for her family to pay off your father's debt. To keep him from debtor's prison, you obeyed without complaint. You would do anything to protect your kind-hearted father, who writes to you often although you have never seen him in person. Now, on the morning of your eighteenth birthday, you awake to find a small box at the foot of your haybed. Inside is an amulet, along with a note from your father. It says you have passed the test of selflessness, but now you must journey to bring this amulet to the far end of the scorched valley of sorrow and bone. You were born cursed to look like a human, but completing this final task will finally break the curse, and you can live with your kind for the rest of your days. You're shocked. Your father lied to you and—even worse—pretended you were trapped and working for this ghastly woman because of him. In reality, all along, it's been because of you. But who are you? And who are your people? The magical folk are vast in this land, but you never thought yourself one of them. The fae court, the elven clans, the centaurs, the mermaids—you could be any of these beings or none of them at all. There is only one way to find out, and you've never been more ready for anything in your life.
  19. Against your wishes, your father has sent you off to an all-girls boarding school in a remote part of the Midwest after moving for his job. You attend your classes and make a few friends, but one group of girls in particular strike you as odd. One night you see them silently sneak into the woods and decide to follow. You find them dancing around a small bonfire, singing in harmony. In the flames, you see the outlines of horses flickering, and within moments, real horses burst out of the flames. The girls mount them with glee and ride off into the forest. The next day you confront them about it and learn that they have been practicing magic from an old book in the library. You join in on the fun, but when you learn the origins of the book and the darkness that seeks to take it back, it is up to you to protect the book, your friends, and the school itself.
  20. Your village is encircled by a massive wall that protects it from gigantic monsters that roam the world, so most villagers never travel beyond the wall. Even as a curious teenager who dabbles in magic and alchemy, you have never been tempted to look through the enormous wrought iron gates out of fear of the consequences. When your brother and sister go missing, all of the clues lead to them being on the other side of the wall. However, your elders refuse to let anyone go out and search for them. With no other option, you must venture beyond the wall with the help of your best friend to bring your siblings home.

And that's a wrap! I hope that you found something inspiring within these writing prompts that will kindle the fantasy writer within you. I would like to thank the following writers for creating all of these wonderful story starters. We really appreciate your contributions!

Images created by Grandfailure.

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