You really can hear the train coming.

Anaxagoras, lover of knowledge, learned something new every day. However he would’ve rather learned something else.  He planned to have years of learning ahead, but he had exhausted his options and escape seemed unlikely.   His hands were tied in silver cord, grounded into the earth. No matter how Anaxagoras turned, he was unable to touch cord to track.  Magic, being highly conductive, would easily transfer from silver to iron, allowing him to save himself if he was careful.  Anaxagoras was always careful.  The cord, was held tight with a railroad spike, dissipated his magic.

He had tried bribing his captors, but they were clearly barbarians, babbling some strange language.   He knew a translation spell, useless of course.  Kaia, His guild and protector on this adventure was likely unaware Anaxagoras was gone, surely in a drunken sleep instead of earning her rather generous pay.  There was no chance of contacting Athena so far from civilization without prayer beads and incense.

Anaxagoras heard a whistle.   Having explored this area for weeks, he knew he was just under 4 miles from Hermit’s Hollow.  Trains normally only blow their whistle when approaching a settlement.  The only train that stopped in Hermit’s Hollow was the 4:15 pm, so this was an express. Given the average express speed, he had approximately 4 minutes to live.

There was only one course available.  One spell performed hands to the ground, one prayer enhanced by terror.  The timing had to be perfect.

The train rounded the hills. He could see the light. Maybe a minute left.

30 seconds. Anaxagoras shut his eyes from the distracting light of his doom.

“Persephone!” Anaxagoras screamed, releasing every watt of magic he possessed into the earth.

The track stopped vibrating. He couldn’t hear the thunderous clanking.  He opened his eyes.

A shadow figure outlined in the train’s light stood before him.

“Anaxagoras, so nice of you to call,” said a voice sweet as syrup, deadly as venom.


This was written for this week’s trifecta prompt. I love this world and I plan to write more stories here very soon.

The Interview

She walked into the room with grace.  A young woman of breeding, her whole life spent training for her season.   If my information was correct, she was well educated, speaking fluent French and German, well versed in the arts, playing both the piano and violin passably well, and painting acceptable watercolors.   She had an attractive face and was shapely of figure, with a long delicate neck.  She was quite pleasing, but would not be considered a great beauty, exactly what I required.

I followed her discreetly, watching her interactions. She was polite and attentive her conversation, mildly interesting without being controversial. I had once been like her in breeding and training, but my tastes and pursuits had taken me off of the path to marriage.

Her father was a minor Baron with little wealth. Her looks, talents, and social acumen would do much to find a respectable match.  Greater resources could secure a great match.  The best dresses, costly jewels, and good connections could catch the eye of a man with superior wealth and title.  With my help, she could ensnare a Duke’s son within the year.

She was most charming while dancing, her steps perfect, putting me in mind of a swan.  I would have loved to dance with her, but that is not done.   I was impatient, but the matter was too vital to risk approaching her. My reputation, while not common knowledge, was well deserved and not to be associated with her.

When she finally walked away from the ballroom, I followed.   No one was in the antechamber of the washroom, so I sat on the velvet couch to wait. She stopped to check her reflection in the mirror before leaving, making sure every hair was in place.  I stood behind her, making eye contact with her reflection.

“Miss Kensington, may I call you Clare?  I am Ms. Carlisle.  Your services are required, on order of Her Majesty Queen Victoria, concerning the very existence of the Realm.”

Written for this week’s challenge at Trifecta.