“Marek wants to know what could happen if the spell goes wrong.”
“Oh, just about anything. I could be turned to stone, or we could all become weightless and bump on the ceiling, or monsters could come out of the walls.”
For a moment no one spoke; then Ariella asked, “What’s the most likely way it could go wrong?”
Originally posted to my newsgroup on SFF Net:
“I am the Dread Key of Narthanax, created a thousand years ago
by Appovar of Zalidon to unleash the Twelve Hosts of Vengeance upon an
unsuspecting world! Tremble before me, flesh-thing, as I… hey! Put
–May 17, 2004
The midwife lifted the baby, cooing, and then stopped. Her smile turned to a puzzled frown.
“What?” the new mother asked, still panting from the delivery. “Is something wrong?”
“Not wrong, exactly,” the midwife said quickly. “He’s a fine healthy boy, by the look of him.” The child, silent until that moment, suddenly let out a wail, his face crumpled in displeasure at his new surroundings. “But he’s got a birthmark!” the midwife called over the baby’s crying, as she handed him to his mother.
The father had appeared in the bedroom door at the baby’s first yell, and now stared as the mother cradled her new son. “What kind of a birthmark?” he demanded. “Is he disfigured?”
“No, no,” the midwife said. “It’s quite small. It’s on his left shoulder.”
“I see it,” the mother said, as she held the infant to her breast. The crying came to a sudden end. “It’s shaped like a sword and crown.”
“Like what?” the father asked, startled.
“Like a sword and crown,” the midwife said. “Exactly like a sword and crown. Right down to the star on the pommel.”
The father hesitated. “That doesn’t sound natural,” he said.
“It’s not,” the midwife said. “You can see that at a glance. That’s a magical birthmark if I ever saw one.”
“Magic? My son has some kind of magic?” the father demanded.
“I’m afraid so,” the midwife said. “It’s not one I know, though — you’ll need to talk to someone at the Department of Signs and Prophecies.”
— November 20, 2009