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  • Writer's pictureRhiannon Bird

Poisonous Lands

Updated: Aug 11, 2023

Rale cursed, and a bottle smashed against the opposite wall in a spectacular spray of glass. He paced back and forth in deep thought. “I just can’t work out where it is coming from.”

“I told you before that it has to be from another sorcerer,” Ira said spinning her hand and watching a small leaf dance around the room.

“I just think that maybe there is something else causing the curse.”

“Our lands are dying, and you don't want to find out who is causing it? It has to be a person.”

He stopped pacing and looked at her. “Fine, fine.”

She jumped up, the leaf fluttered to the ground. “Brilliant.” Ira held out her hands to Rale. “We can track the source of the poison if we join our powers together.” He took a deep breath.

“Fine, I trust you.” Rale closed his eyes letting the magic flow through his entire body and channelling it to their intertwined hands. The magic between them swelled before fanning out from the little cottage. They fell gasping to the ground,

“Belvo,” Ira breathed in surprise. “I suspected, but there was still part of me that thought maybe he wasn’t behind it.”

Rale still couldn’t quite move or think properly.

“Rale, I can deal with him if that makes it easier.”

“No.” He waved a hand at her. “I can deal with my brother just fine.” He stood up and straightened his clothes. He walked towards the door, thought better of it and turned back to her. “But if you want to come that might help me, a little bit.” He shrugged scratching his neck, she laughed and followed him.

Rale took a deep breath, every time he saw it his entire body felt out of place. The land was fading and turning to dust beneath them. He still couldn’t believe that Belvo did this, to his own home. Grass crackled into dust under their feet and floated away

“You ready for this?” Ira asked as they stood in front of the thick wooden door.

“I have to be don’t I?” He grimaced. “He’s not going down without a fight.” Ira gestured for him to knock as her hands conjured fireballs, ready for the worst.

Belvo swung the door wide and leant with one arm up against it. “Morning brother, what brings you here?” He drawled tipping his head to the side. “Oh, and Ira darling, it's very nice to see you again.”

“Screw you.” She spat at him.

“Always a pleasure.”

“Cure the poison that you’ve spread, and we can all just go back to our lives.”

Belvo flashed a dashing smile and swung the door shut.

“Well, that was helpful,” Ira muttered and walked back from the house. “Step back,” she warned, and Rale jumped behind her.

A fireball hit the cottage in a fantastic display of sparks. The door opened and Belvo stepped out glaring.

“That was unnecessary.”

“Unnecessary.” Rale gawked, “You are going to destroy the entire world if you continue like this and you're worried about your house.”

“Brother you don’t understand.”

“Don’t understand what?”

“This.” He threw his arms in the air with that wild unhinged look that always hid beneath the surface “Immortality is a curse. I have a few hundred years on you and it stretches on forever. A never-ending cycle of mortals complaining about things that don’t matter. It’s all trivial. I am done with this world. I am ending the curse of immortality and the insignificance of mortality with it.”

“So basically he’s decided to die and take everyone else with him,” Ira whispered.

“What do we do now?” Rale asked looking at her while Belvo grinned wildly. She hesitated,

“I don’t think there’s any way around it. If we want to stop this poison we have to kill him, it's tied to his life force.” As she finished speaking a line of fire snaked towards Belvo.

“Predictable Ira, predictable.” He lifted his hands to bring down wind that threatened to extinguish the snake. She lifted her other hand and strained to hold back the torrent of wind.

Rale used one hand to twirl vines around Belvo’s feet, holding him in place. The other hand jumped fire from the cottage onto Belvo’s back. He just laughed manically.

“The fire isn’t burning him,” Ira said and sent her snake into a puff of smoke, “He must have taken a resistance potion.” Rale cursed and waved away the fire, a waste of energy. The vines still wound tighter around Belvo’s ankles, blood tickled out where thorns stabbed into him.

“Keep him distracted,” Rale said to Ira. She nodded dropping her arm, she shaped the roaring winds into a phoenix and attacked as Belvo summoned a wind dragon. As the sky battle raged Rale crouched and put all his energy into the growing vines. He jumped back cursing as a trail of fire crept towards him. The vines were only halfway up Belvo’s body he needed something faster. Using all of his strength, he cracked the earth under Belvo.

Belvo fell and in the bottom of the hole, the vines quickly took root and continued to slowly spiral upwards towards his arms.

“You think a little hole will stop me,” Belvo shouted. Ira looked down at him and smiled bringing a mass of water from the nearby lake down over him. The water crushed him and he screamed out bubbles. Both Rale and Ira pushed their strength into the vines securing his arms, no more magic. Belvo screamed at them through the water and thrashed violently. As he started to convulse Rale turned away,

“I can’t watch that,” he said, sucking in a deep breath. Ira stood next to him silently and they watched colour slowly return to the land.

First published by Fantasia Divinity Anthology in Flashes of Fantasy

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