Chapter One

Geshea wiped his brow and squinted at the sky. A rivulet of sweat trickled down from his greying hair and behind his pointed ear, which flicked it away. It was the middle of Filkief, or the Season of Life as the humans translated it, but everything was dying. The ground crunched beneath Gershea’s bare feet, and his gray eyes swept over the yellowing fields, the barren trees, and the dwindling stream, all of which could be seen from atop his place on the hill. If it had lasted for just these few weeks, he would not have been all that worried. But this had lasted for all of Harvest and Dying as well. Now they were not even sure that there was even going to be a next harvest.

“Geshea.” He turned. Junta had arrived. It was time for the meeting to begin. Clouds of dust were thrown into the air as the council sat. Leaning forward, Liskef spoke.

“I think it is quite obvious by now that the curse is not going to let up.” He glared at each of them in turn as if they had been the ones that placed the curse on the tribe.

Sigin bristled. “Do use such an accusing tone, Liskef. We have sent scouts to all the neighboring tri-”

“To do what? Surely you did not expect that the caster would come out and confess? We have been wasting our time and now our families are going to starve!”

 “Perhaps a tracking spell!” Fershey said, beads dangling. “Or some such magic! We could find him and kill him!”

Kilskev rolled his eyes at his youthful exuberance. “Do you even remember the most basic rules of magic? You have to know who you are tracking.”

“Well, um…” The long blond hair drooped to his chest.

A hand went into the air. The others fell silent and trained their eyes on Geshea, who cleared his throat. “Now is not the time to bicker. Liskef is right in saying that we have not been doing enough. However,” he added, before elf’s mouth could curl into a triumphant smile, “We still do not have a solution. Unless the caster kills himself, or by some luck is smote by some passing scoundrels.”

“There is another solution, one that I am surprised no one has thought of.” Liskef stretched out his legs before repositioning them beneath himself.

Geshea grew wary. “What is it?”

“We do not have to kill the caster to stop the spell.”

There came the sound of murmuring. “What do you mean?” asked Junta, licking his dry lips.

A light went off in Geshea’s head. “Surely you don’t mean…”

“Tell the scouts that if they do not find the caster in a week’s time, we will send two children to the forest to be sacrificed.”

The End

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