Day 14: Possessed Guild House

Author Jenna Eatough's Flash Fiction Story from Fyrecon's Fyretober Writing Prompt 2023-10-14

During October I am bringing you extra flash fiction or poetry in celebration of the season and inspired by Fyrecon’s Fyretober!

Enjoy my fourteenth entry into Fyrecon’s Fyretober!

Fyrecon's Fyretober Daily Prompt List

1. New neighbors
2. It’s Alive
3. No Exit
4. Walk in the cemetery
5. Door in the wall
6. Mirror
7. Space visitors
8. The Monster Is
9. Anti-magic costumes
10. Skeleton’s battle cry
11. Djinn party
12. Space dwarves
13. Zombie fireball
14. Possessed guild house
15. Lorekeeper’s mask
16. Dragon sight
17. Alien scryers
18. Trick-or-Treating Shapeshifters
19. Disguised spellbook
20. Screaming trapdoor
21. Ghost weaponsmith
22. Jack-O’-Lantern avatars
23. Pheonix light sail
24. Sparkle castle
25. Graveyard pocket universe
26. Sentient wand
27. Haunted Skyhook
28. Pirate space elevator
29. Disguised terraforming
30. The Witches’ Laws
31. Precognizant cats

Bonus Fanged griffin

“Welcome to the Fighters Guild,” I said and clapping my hands I rubbed them with delight. The abrupt sound along with my booming voice quieted the general conversation in the room. I cast an appraising gaze over the group. Fourteen new recruits to guild this season. The best class we’d had in ages. Paying the bards in the hinter lands had paid off.

I supposed free room and board in the city couple with a glimpse at renown tempted those who wanted off the farms, out of the fisheries, and wherever they’d hailed from. Several had to have been fishers from the odder wafting about the room. Others from the southland bogs. Still, this was the best class in a long time, and we’d need every one of them. I fixed a grin on my face.

“We’re delighted you’ll all have the initiation course and will be joining our ranks.” I paused for the normal groans. No recruit ever enjoyed the course. Racing about, clashing swords, shooting. Tests designed to ensure they weren’t inept enough to stab us while we bashed a rudiment of skill into them.

“Now I’ll show you basic accommodations, and then we feast!”

“DUCK!” The yell cut through the area, loud and echoing through the hallways.

I hit the ground instantly. The trainees didn’t move quite as quickly. Not that I could have given more time to worrying about them. Not as various weaponry began to toss through the air.

Moments after that clattering began, the wailing started. Incessant and unintelligible. I never appreciated the canting in person. I appreciated it less from a distance.

Crawling along the floor. I found cover for the next stage behind a heavy table along with a colleague who’d already overturned it. We exchanged gazes. They would try this during initiation week. We covered our ears. raised hands to cover our ears and waited.

After a minute rampage, the armor resettled back into its original positions. The canting slowly died away until only a whisper of it remained. My colleague and I stayed crouched behind the table even as we heard recruits shuffling into movement. “Hold your positions!” I cried.

A gust surged through the guild house. Not sweeping in from without. No, this erupted in the center of the house. Doors and windows blew out in its passage. Only once the winds calmed did my colleague and I emerge from behind the table.

The fourteen recruits sprawled in various positions of disarray about the room. A few had managed to grab onto another of the heavy tables and clung to it. More lay on the floor scattered behind various unprotective decorations. One stood with his face still smashed against the wall near the door. At least he hadn’t been blown away completely. That happened last season.

I glanced at my colleague, but he just shrugged back at me. No, help there.

I walked back to the center of the room clapping my hands and replastering the grin on my face. “Congratulations on passing the final… er evaluation to become a recruit. As I was saying, we’re going to be showing you your rooms.”

“What was that close quote?” The recruit at the doorway asked peeling himself off the wall. He kept his arms flexed as if the air might betray him again. I couldn’t promise it wouldn’t.

“Well, life isn’t easy in the guild house. One must always be prepared for the unexpected. You’ll be tested at every turn.” I punched a fist into an open palm for effect.

“That’s a load of–”

“Watch it.” One of the female recruits shouted, glowering at the one who’d begun speaking. Hearthland folk always were sticklers for the old ways.

Raising my hands. I gestured for the crowd to calm. “I assure you everything is perfectly fine. We’ll get on with the room assignments and–”

“Oh no, that was no test,” the first recruit said, glowering at the Hearthlander who’d interrupted her. I noticed she’d retrained her language. With her clothing, rough and glaringly colored, she had to hail from Selfault. They were known for being lax. “My mom studied with the wizards. I know canting.”

“Well, wizards aren’t unknown in the guild house. We hire their services at times. They provide the best enchantments for weaponry. And you might have to fight against them at some point too.” I waved my hand dismissively. “Unfriendly spells happen here or there. So–”

“I said I know canting. As in I know what that said.” She narrowed her eyes at me, thrusting hands on her hips. “Either you tell them, or I will.”

My grin fixed stiffly on my face. “I assure you all everything is perfectly fine.” I tucked my hands behind my back as I talked, trying to hide the fists my fingers clenched into. The nerve of this recruit.

An activity that might have been more successful if I hadn’t been standing in the center of the room. A recruit behind me spoke up, “Uh no, something’s bothering you. What did the canting say?”

“The wizards said pay us what you owe or next time we’ll be sending worse.”

The recruits in mass turned toward me.

I managed to hold my faltering grin in place. “I assure you the guild has everything under control. If we all band together everything will be well.”

“You mean everything will be well if we help you pay back existing debts.” The Hearthlander asked, raising an eyebrow.

I opened my mouth but couldn’t figure out what to say. Well, yes, of course. If give us every coin we make in a few years we can pay back the debt old Tom placed us under. Then we can remove the curse from the guild house, stop being possessed, and maybe win back some respect. Somehow, I didn’t think that was the rousing welcome speech they wanted to hear.

“How about that welcoming feast?” I asked with false bravado.

The general muttering in the room increased again, and I watched several recruits turn and walk out of the house. Couldn’t call them back. Couldn’t hold them. Guild law said they had to accept food before their contracts were sealed.

They hadn’t been there long enough yet.

All I could do was stand smiling like the fool the guild had made us all until the shuffling had ended. Of the fourteen only three remained. Tragically from the smell, the remaining smelled of peat. We’d gotten only the truly desperate again. But then we were desperate too, and they would have to do. “Welcome to the Fighters Guild.”

Be sure to check out all the #fyretober creations.

#fyretober2023 #fyretoberflashfiction2023 #fyretoberprompts2023 #fyretober2023day14

“Fyretober is for everyone who loves to create, and this month we’re looking to see your flash fiction, poetry, and illustrations every day. We’ll be providing daily prompts for the month and want to see what new concepts and wonders you can make with them.”

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